The Past that Bites You

It’s kind of ‘funny’ that on this day last year I wrote about missing childhood “things” like Twizzler straws and horseshoe crabs. Last night we watched a Dateline program about a woman who was killed by a stalker. Did anyone else see this show? It wasn’t just any stalker that forced his way into this woman’s home. It wasn’t just any attacker who raped and murdered her. Typically, women know their attacker. That’s not unusual. Here’s what had me thinking about this story, dreaming about this woman, and obviously, still fixating on it this morning. Not only did Mary know her attacker and fear him, but she had known him practically his whole life. If she had married his father, her attacker would have been her stepson. How messed up is that? Like a record with a scratch, I keep skipping back to one question: when did his obsession with her start? When he was as young as 10? When did he know he was going to rape her, kill her? What would Mary have thought if someone had told her, “see that kid…that kid at your dining room table? He’s gonna kill you one day.” What would she do?  What would you do?
Here’s the other thing about this story that gets me.: at one point Mary had put her stalker in jail. He had stolen some clothing of hers…and she caught him. She was supposed to be notified when he was released. Alerted to the the danger of retaliation that was sure to come. She wasn’t dumb. She knew it was coming. Here’s where she went wrong: she put her faith in the system. She trusted them to tell her when this guy was being released. Oh, they told her all right. They sent an electronic message to her phone saying he was being transferred to a different facility. She never got that message. They followed up with a print copy of the same erroneous message. It arrived at her home the day after she was raped and murdered. Her stalker was transferred all right – he went from being a burglar/stalker to a rapist/murderer.

Was this kid fixated on Mary as a child, a child who spent a lot of time in her home? Was there something in his kidself that confused adoration with obsession towards his father’s girlfriend, his potential stepmother?  His father had proposed to Mary many times and each time she said no. Why? There was something about his son she didn’t like.



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