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Sleigh


Sunset...Sundown

By

Bonnie M. Wells

Page 1

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Our Greatest Loss

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The year was 1986, and my family had just suffered the greatest loss and shock of our lives. On November 24th, my 34 year old brother Mike died of a massive heart attack. Slim, trim and athletic, we just could not believe that he was gone, and by the time we held his funeral on November 28th, the entire family was suffering from shock.

My mother and I would discuss Mike's death and that time period years later, and even though my memory was always relied upon within our family for events, times, dates, etc, neither Mom nor I could ever quite remember Thanksgiving Day that year. I just remember we buried Mike on the 28th and it was the day after Thanksgiving.

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UpTowner Inn

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Janet Sue Miller hailed from Indiana. She checked into the UpTowner Inn on the afternoon of November 28th, 1986. The UpTowner was located right beside Leavitt's Funeral Home where my brother's funeral was held at 2:00 pm that very day. Of course in 1986 I wasn't aware of Janet Miller, and honestly don't even recall hearing about her murder until several months later. Even then it would be years down the road before I suspected there was a connection between my brother's death and the murder of this stranger from Indiana.

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I Don't Know Who Did....But .... He Didn't Kill Her

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I still remember the night that I was heading through the family room with a basket of laundry, glanced at the tv set and saw the man who had been arrested for Janet Miller's murder. I stopped dead in my tracks, and just kept shaking my head and saying..."He didn't kill her. He didn't kill her. I don't know who did, but that guy didn't kill her." Those words were as wasted as most of my words have been on law enforcement in this area. The man was tried and eventually convicted of the murder and people were looking at me a little strangely because I continued to insist...."he didn't kill her."

When I said I did not know who killed Janet Miller, I was telling the truth. In 1986 and 1987 I did not know him, but by the time the West Virginia Supreme Court overturned the conviction of the man that had been convicted, and he was found not guilty at his new trial, I had every reason in the world to suspect that I knew Janet Miller's killer. I continue to believe this.

Rumor had it that Janet Miller dated a cop, or cops. I never could get a straight answer to the question, nor could I ever dig out any specific names, but by 1994 and 1995 I had uncovered several local murder cases in which the victim was directly connected to a cop.

Some victims were sisters of cops, others were wives, girlfriends, nieces, etc.

By 1994 there was more disturbing information about the man whom I believed was the killer of Janet Miller, and I was convinced that he had not just murdered one woman but had possibly killed several women and even a few men, and was actually a serial killer.

By 1998 we had half a dozen more murder cases in which there were "cop" connections, and by that time it appeared the killer had added my name, my sister's name and my daughter's name to his "future victims" list!

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Belpre's First "Run-A-Way"

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The "oldtimers" said I was "gifted" and the "newcomers" said I was "psychic." I wasn't sure what I was, but I was getting concerned.

Belpre, Ohio had lost Marie Blough in September of 1986. She had been employed at Spencer's Funeral Home, 220 ____ Street, and had gone for a walk and never returned.

A few people looked for Marie, but not many. We lived in a very peculiar area. No one seemed to get overly concerned when someone went for a walk and didn't come home.

Rumors circulated that Marie had "ran away." It seemed that was the first thing out of everyone's mouth each and every time someone disappeared. I didn't think for one second that she had ran away.....especially by hopping a freight train as some said!

That only served to show the mind set and self inflated opinions of the people who spread such nonsense.

Marie's remains were discovered along the Ohio River bank, just about two blocks from her home some eighteen months later.

No arrests were ever made in Marie's case and for several years it was a closed case and considered an accidental death. I said, "she was murdered," but no one listened. Until 1996, that is. In 1996 Marie's case was re-opened and she was added to the murder victim list! By this time, I'd already seen a pattern to our murder cases. They came in three's! Oh the killer was skipping years and years and then backtracking to pick up the loose ends and tie them all together. Only problem was ... I seemed to be the only one who noticed. Worse yet, the killer knew I'd noticed!

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Run-A-Way Number Two

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I still didn't know Janet Miller's killer when Belpre resident, eighteen year old Terri Roach was murdered in July of 1990. And I wasn't sure who he was by the time Patsy Sparks (Terri's relative) was murdered in April of 1992, but from the moment Ronda Manley was murdered on August 25th, 1992, I was terrified that I knew the killer quite well, and worse yet, he knew me, and perhaps all my friends and family members.

Through the years, I continued to work "my" murder cases, and maintained an open file of each and every case. Sometimes months would go by before I'd run across another tid bit of information that fit into one of the cases. I'd dutifully file it where it belonged and keep on working. I dared not stop. The killings had not stopped, and they grew ever closer to me and mine.

It would be September 1994 when I unraveled the "anniversary" theory that I'd been dancing around for months. This killer was good. He was one of the best I'd ever studied and in recent months I'd studied almost all serial killers and had read just about every book I could lay hands to that had been written by an FBI Profiler or other lawman. Between reading and writing, I'm not sure when I slept or when the housework got done or the animals taken care of.......but somehow, I managed because nothing seemed to suffer too much.

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Old Details Become Early Clues

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September 19th, 1994: A local news paper had a small article in the Police Reports column that caught my attention.

A woman by the name of Bohl had a purse stolen while at a "Funeral Home" whose name started with the letters McC. I started digging through my files.

Bohl was the name of a young woman who had been shot with her own .357 magnum a few years back. "They" said it was suicide..... but I said, "neah, Jill Bohl was murdered." No blood at the scene and her vehicle found 2.2 miles away from the body with no blood in it either. Sounded like murder to me. She had been a military cop....another connection to a cop. It was murder, simple as that.

By September 1994, I was no longer friends with my "person of interest" but had kept detailed and careful records of conversations we'd had while we were friends. Too many things were starting to add up in this picture. I began writing to the Washington County Ohio Sheriff's Department and sending Detective John Winstanley as much information as I could send on what I believed was an approaching "anniversary" murder.

"Missing purse / September / September 19th / McC / and the partial name....rady... which came from the woman my person of interest was dating in September of 1993 / Belpre woman, but with Marietta connections / 3rd kill for Belpre / similarities to Bohl murder / similarities to Marie Blough case and Janet Miller case / Civitan Park / "my vette....or my veterinarian" / the number 969 in any order / connections to me and my sister / connections to the word/name green/Green and in a letter dated 9-96, I sent the final clue to Winstanley.... "He's going to kill again soon. Probably this month if *you don't stop him. He's coming into Little Hocking, he's coming right at me." I also sent a warning of where the next victim would be found.... on a hill overlooking a road or gravel drive way. She would be "brought across the river" and dumped.

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They Said It Was All Coincidence

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When Jenifer McCrady, "who worked in Marietta," disappeared from her Belpre home (house number 996 {see final clue date!} on September 19th,1996, and was found shot to death with a .357 magnum and buried on a hillside, by a gravel road .... and just across the river here in Little Hocking, I have to admit it was a bit much.

But not nearly as much as I would by the time the entire story unfolded. Not only was Jenifer shot, like Bohl had been, but her maiden initials had been the same as Bohl's.....J.B! She was the daughter of "my veterinarian" and was married to a cop that my sister, who lived on Greene Street in Marietta! had dated for awhile before he and Jenifer married. In fact they dated shortly after our brother Mike's death.

Jenifer's purse was missing from her dump site, and she was barefoot which had long ago become another "signature" for my guy. The similarity to the Janet Miller case was the fact that they both had the same initials...J.M. and Blough came into the picture because Jenifer's vehicle was abandoned within a few feet of where Marie Blough's body had been found.....at Civitan Park in Belpre. The exact park that I'd originally met my "person of interest" in all those years ago. And when I realized that Jenifer had worked at the same place with one of my Tennant's named Green, I really did come unglued!

The "anniversary" portion of my prediction was the fact that both McCrady and Blough had disappeared in the month of September. And 1996 marked the 10th anniversary for Blough, Miller and my brother's deaths.

After Jenifer was murdered I was certain the cops would understand the questionnaire that I'd sent a short time before her murder. I'd asked them to see if they could fill in the blanks for the number three strike on my chart. Of course no one bothered to respond to my little questionnaire, and I knew they wouldn't. So I had ended it with a question.....Are you ready for a double play or perhaps a triple play, or even a double on a triple? I doubt that any of them understood my language, but I figured I'd given them plenty of time to inquire about it, and none ever had. Their silence spoke pretty clearly.

What they thought when Jenifer's murder was a triple play on Belpre women, and a triple play on the anniversary year -Martin, Blough & Miller, I don't have a clue. Nor do I know if they realized it was a double play on Civitan Park.

But, apparently I was the only one on earth who saw the connections..... especially the obscure "Funeral Home" connection. It was so distant, and yet it was there plain as day. Still I watched in silence as my work was first ignored and then discredited while we buried another of our women.

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Back-Pattin' Ass-Coverin' Lies

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Although the murders of our women were bad enough, what I saw emerge from their cases was even worse. Absolute, premeditated, and complete betrayal from some of the cops that I'd been sending information to! Some were stupid enough to brag about it.....others were even dumber than those. They told one lie on top of another....one to me, one to a reporter, one to the next person they came to, until it took an enormous amount of time to sort out the lies and tricks.

Meanwhile the killings continued and widened into ever greater circles. It was not a pleasant time for me. I was betrayed at all levels.....and it was not paranoia as one idiot had said about me. I had the facts, and I'd finally figured out where and when it all started. Parkersburg, West Virginia... 1986. That was the beginning.....and there had been no end.

But I remained hopeful. I recalled the old saying...."Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves".....I was doling out the rope by the yard and building pretty boxes for the fools to climb upon! For now they were still "skipping rope" and having fun, but I remained convinced, eventually it was all going to come undone!


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This story is part of the "Lookin' For A Killer" Series

and can be found in Pure Coincidence Book #4 - The Guardian Angel

Page updates: 2-06-2003 / 3-17-2003 / 2-05-04 / 5-01-04 / Nov-06 / Nov. 2007 // BMW