Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Killers I have known...pt 1


I was reading one of my favorite blogs recently,
actually a post about 'Jack the Ripper'
and I was flooded with memories
about murder that touched my own life.

In this case..I never met the killer..
worse..
I knew one of the victims.
He was one of my my son's best friends.


We had lived in Bellevue NE..for the most part...
since the early 70s..
in August 1983,
with the local economy in the 'toilet'
and with 6 children..
my husband and I made a bold choice
to move to a small town in Iowa,
closer to his family.

Our oldest child pitched a fit.
He didn't want to move..again...
plus, he had a paper route and he had
to find someone else to take the route...
so he convinced his friend Danny
to take over the route.
Danny had gone with him often enough
that he pretty much knew the route already.

So we moved...to Goldfield Iowa..
the kids began to settle in and make friends..
we really were enjoying 'small town' life after living 
in a city environment for so many years.
Our son got another paper route...
and for the first time ever...he was allowed
to deliver the Sunday papers without having someone help him.
(His dad or his uncle had ALWAYS drove him to deliver
papers on Wednesdays and Sundays..because there were so
many of them..and they were twice the size of the
other weekday newspapers.)

All in all...
Life was good!
In mid-September we got a call from Danny's parents
asking if we'd seen him...
goodness no..we lived a couple hours away...how would
he get to Goldfield anyway???
He'd disappeared from the paper route he'd taken over
from our son...and they were hoping he'd 
just run away .
A few days later, we got a call from our son's principal..
the FBI had come to talk to our son.
So..my husband rushed to the school..
what in the world was going on????

They questioned our son...
did anyone ever try to 'lure' him into their home while delivering papers,
was he ever uneasy about delivering papers to a particular house,
did anyone have anything against him,
(the boys looked remarkably similar...size, build, coloring...even hair style)
did his dad or mom ever touch him inappropriately,
did we like Danny,
the questions went on and on for almost an hour.

A day or two later...Sarpy County Sheriff's 
department officials showed up at our front door.
...more questions.
Since our son had the route for more than a year
and Danny had it for just over a month,
they were sure that...somehow...
there must be 'some' connection to our son.

It was pretty awful and very scary.

A day or two later..
Danny was found and it wasn't
good  news.

Our lives were forever changed.
We no longer felt so safe...even in
'small town america'.

We had learned so much from the
FBI and Sheriff's Department
about what they had found while searching for
clues to Danny's disappearance.

On the paper route they found
17 convicted felons...several for
child molestation.
And the details we learned from Danny's parents..
which were unknown to the public at that time..
gave us nightmares.
Even worse..at that point in time..the killer was
still on the loose.

It was hard to imagine that someone we knew
so well, for so long,
was taken in such a brutal and senseless manner...
after reading about Jack the Ripper..
and seeing all of the senseless crime on daily news...
it makes me sad the things people do
to one another.
And...it really seems to be getting worse.




5 comments:

cArLa said...

wow, that must've been a very traumatic time in your lives. i hope one day that everyone who does wrong, serve the proper sentences... but who's to really say what proper is, specially for all those families they've hurt.

Brian Blacknick said...

My wife and I watch a lot of true life crime shows. And I tend to agree with you -- things do seem to be getting worse!

The Words Crafter said...

I am so very sorry-for all of you. How completely awful. You never know who your neighbors are, even if you actually DO know them. In the privacy of a home, anyone can be a monster, this I know for a fact. The law says that a convicted sex offender can't live within so many feet of a school, but if you go to your local website and look them up, you'd be surprised how many do. And if you live in a city of any size, they're probably really, uncomfortably close. We just have to try and teach the children their tricks and lures, look out for one another, and pray. Is why I don't watch the news....it's too dark...

The Words Crafter said...

Which is worse? The people who believe they have the right to do such things to others, or the lawyers who try to keep them on the streets? I understand mental illness, but it still doesn't make it okay. I read the article linked to your post. It sounds so trite and overused, but I really am sorry that any of that touched you. Perhaps we should stop telling children that monsters aren't real and teach them how to run, fight, spot, ... whatever it takes to keep them safe...dang.

CMZ Art/ Rustic Goth said...

In this case...the culprit was executed in the electric chair. I'm not sure anyone else has been executed in Nebraska since then.