I decided to write about the what transpired last Friday night while going through pictures.
Our youngest daughter is turning 24 in a couple of weeks. I decided to create a picture collage of her growing up as a gift to her.As I began to look through the photo boxes, the memories started flooding my mind, many great memories, along with some not so great ones.
A picture of the kids in Yosemite took me back to the year 1999. It had been an extremely difficult year for us. Our Cousin Kathy was brutally murdered in April of that year. I was not handling her death well at all. I was sad and angry. I was distant from those closest to me; my family.
We decided for our 8 year anniversary that June, we would take the kids with us to Yosemite for a couple of days. We agreed that each one of our kids could invite a cousin. I thought they could entertain each other. We had 6 kids with us for our 8th wedding anniversary! What the hell were we thinking?
I think I had been so freaked out by Kathy’s murder that I wanted my kids close to me. The kids seemed to have a good time, for the most part. I, on the other hand, was aloof and depressed. I spent a lot of our time in Yosemite, alone. I didn’t want to continue yelling at the kids so I thought it best to allow Raymond to take them fishing and hiking while I stayed inside the rented house and read.
About a month later, after our Yosemite trip, we were all at home watching tv. A news alert came on the screen. They were reporting that a woman who had been missing in Yosemite was found dead. Her decapitated body had been found in a nearby stream. It was Joie Armstrong. The news showed a picture of who Joie Armstrong was.
Matt Suddenly started screaming saying; she was his science camp counselor from last year at Marin Headlands. Matt was devastated.This was another horrific murder that had touched our family that year.
Not only had the murderer killed and decapitated Joie Armstrong. This crazed lunatic, Cary Stayner, was also responsible for 3 other horrific killings earlier that year in Yosemite; A mother Carol Sund her daughter Juli, and a teenaged family friend, Silvina Pelosso.
The only thing my mind could do was keep asking itself, what the hell is happening. I will never forget how shocked and sad Matt was.
We learned later that Cary Stayner was sentenced to death. Still, today he sits on death row at San Quentin.
The prosecutor in the Cary Stayner case, George Williamson, would be another connection to us. We would come to know George Williamson in the year 2010. He would be the prosecutor in the trials for two men responsible for our Matt’s murder.
Matt was shot in the head while visiting a friend in a quiet neighborhood in Cordelia. It has been called a case of mistaken identity.
My mind is still blown by all these connections. Do these connections seem strange to others? Am I over thinking all of this? God, clear my mind and heal my heart. Guide my thoughts, feelings, and perceptions. Give me the eyes to see, the ears to hear, and the words to speak. Amen