December 27th, 1993
Wild Bill had not been acting right since before Christmas, but became even stranger after Christmas - not that he'd ever acted completely 'normal.'
First he invited me to dinner and shopping with him, only to become angry and accuse me of keeping him up all night so he could entertain me!
The man was nuts....I'd never needed entertaining, in my life! If he was tired and wanted to go to bed early, all he had to do was say so. It was fine with me.
I gathered up my purchases, said goodnight and left around 7:30 pm.
All Night Movies
The slamming of the door must have "woke him up" because as soon as I was gone, instead of going to bed, he went out and rented two movies and claimed he sat up all night watching them!
So ... the truth comes out! It was he who needed "entertaining," instead of me!
See Billy Run
December 28th, 1993 / 5:13 am:
By the time the 'news' reached me, it didn't make any sense. Of course, most of the things "Wild Bill' did didn't make much sense.
He claimed that after I left, he became bored so he rented some movies. Now this was weird enough, considering his actions, but why the man felt compelled to return the movies 'before' he went to work at 5 o'clock the next morning was even stranger. But that's what he claimed he was doing in Little Hocking on the morning of December 28th, 1993.
Why he had driven past a half dozen video rental shops in Belpre, and came to Little Hocking to rent the movies, was an even bigger mystery. But, almost everything was a mystery where this man was concerned. His erratic behavior would have driven a psychiatrist nuts - although I thought a good criminal psychologist might find it interesting!
Never the less, he claimed that he was hurrying - trying to get to work on time [5:00], and absentmindedly ran a stop sign by the video shop.
And, as his luck would have it, a state trooper was sitting nearby and saw him run the stop sign, and whipped out after him. Instead of stopping - like any other 'normal' person would have done - he decided to turn his lights off; race through several inches of snow at speeds up to 80 miles per hour; and try to outrun the cop in a Toyota truck!!!! Man's a damned idiot!
They said he entered his work area broadside with the trooper hot on his ass! The guys he worked with saw him coming; saw the red lights flashing, heard the siren blaring, and dove for cover!!!
Even after entering the 'no way out' area where he worked, they said he just kept going - slid out through an adjoining pasture field and headed for the river! Did he think that Toyota could swim?! The cop must have thought he was chasing a criminal of some type, because he took that cruiser right out through the field after him, and when old Wild Bill bailed out of the Toyota and headed [on foot] toward the river, the cop bailed out of his cruiser, gun drawn and took right after him!!!
They say the cop yelled four times for him to 'get down,' before he finally stopped running and hit the 'snow!'
And I missed it all!!! I was at home asleep - and missed it all....dang it!!
So, he was finally arrested for [failure to stop / speeding / fleeing and eluding a police officer / reckless operation / failure to comply / avoiding arrest .... and probably a few other things, which ultimately got reduced to a couple of minor charges. Never the less, the message on his answering machine from some female caller said it far better than I ever could have ... too bad he didn't get to hear it ---
"Happy F-----' New Year, Big Dick F--- & S--- !!!!
Oh well, I figured the "rest" would do him good. He wouldn't have to worry about running me off so he could get to bed early! When the sheriff said... "Lights out" .... he could go right to sleep!!!
'Tis A Lott Of Lion
I never knew Sammy Lyons, but my sister, Patty did.
Sammy Lyons had several children, three of which were boys, born to his common-law wife... O.[T.] Lott. He also had two daughter's with another woman whom he was married to, but later divorced from.
Patty didn't know either of the women who bore his children, or any of the children, but had known Sammy for many years.
One of his former wives lived in Elizabeth, West Virginia but he lived with his sister in a house situated directly behind Patty's house, and on the next block back. So they were not only friends, but were also neighbors.
The neighborhood was not "the best" in Parkersburg, and yet, with all the neighbors looking out for one another's children, it wasn't too bad.
Sammy pulled up to the curb in front of Patty's house and honked the horn. She went out to talk to him, glanced up the street and noticed Wild Bill's truck parked about half way up the block. He was just sitting there watching her!
Patty had already caught Wild Bill watching her house twice that summer day. She had warned him to stay away from her and her kids......especially her daughter's LeLanea and Amber. Both were absolutely beautiful girls and Patty feared that Wild Bill was trying to seduce....or worse yet....abduct one of them.
He always acted friendly toward her and the kids though, and that made it difficult to get anything done with him as far as the law was concerned. Still, he had an unsettling way of popping up when you least expected him, and he seemed to be awfully hard headed. Patty had already told the man several times that she was not interested in dating him or having him hanging around her home. Did no good at all.
"That son-of-a-bitch. This is the third time today that I've caught him watching my home. I don't know if he's after me, one of my kids, one of the neighbor kids, or what, but I've had it with him." She complained to Sammy.
Patty said Sammy never hesitated ... just turned the motor off, got out of the car and walked directly to Wild Bill's truck. She couldn't hear what was said between the two men, but when Sammy came back to her he said he didn't think she'd have any more trouble with Wild Bill. But, considering the angry look Wild Bill shot her direction as he drove past, Patty had her doubts.
Sammy was right, Patty didn't notice Wild Bill sitting near her home anymore. And there was only a couple of times after that when she or one of the kids would be taking a walk and he'd come driving along side of them and ask if they needed a ride. They always declined, and he'd go on his merry way. It seemed Sammy's words had made a lasting impression on Wild Bill.
December 27th, 1993
Most of the roads in our area were snow covered the night of December 27th, 1993.
Sammy Lyons, a friend named Mike and Sammy's niece took some late Christmas gifts to his children in Elizabeth, West Virginia.
Sammy and his passengers arrived safely and spent the entire evening and into the night visiting.
As they left the house in Elizabeth and headed back to Parkersburg, his niece curled up in the back seat, pulled a blanket over her and promptly went to sleep. The hour was late for the adults, but especially for the girl, who would normally have been in bed hours earlier.
Sammy Lyons and his friend Mike died that night .....on a snow covered road.....over the side of one of the mountains that West Virginia is noted for... the car plunged to their death. Only the sleeping child in the back seat survived, but even her survival was a horrible experience. She was severely injured and had no memory of that entire time period. She remains the same today, and even if her memory was to ever return, she could tell no details of the wreck because she was asleep when it happened.
State Police said the accident occurred "in the early morning hours" of December 28th, 1993. They said something else though that caught my attention .... they suspected that Sammy's car had been forced off the road, but there were so many tire tracks in the snow that it was impossible to say for sure.
What Did You Do, Charming Billy?
Wild Bill insisted that after I left his house on the evening of December 27th, 1993, he drove to Little Hocking and rented two movies, drove back home and watched them both before going to bed!
I checked with the video shop. He had indeed rented two movies. Funny thing was he never could tell me what either one of those movies was about!
When questioned, the video attendant told me they were about kidnapping and taking hostages! Strange movies for a "sleepy man" to be sitting up watching alone until the wee hours of the morning - especially when he had to be to work at five o'clock!
I suspected that he had followed me the night of the 27th, to make sure I went home and stayed there.....make sure I hadn't turned around and come looking for him.
The video shop, overlooking the highway, would have been the ideal place to watch the road that I would have had to take in order to drive back to his house.
I didn't think he was concerned about me calling his house and getting no answer. He'd just say he was asleep and didn't hear the phone, as he'd said several times before. But if I was out on the streets he knew I'd see him if he left town.
It was simply my theory, but I wrote to Detective John Winstanley and told him someone needed to check and see if some suspicious crime had been committed the night of December 27th, 1993 or the early morning hours of December 28th, 1993.
Of course, nothing had happened here in Washington County, Ohio, so there was nothing for Winstanley to sink his teeth into. But, just across the bridge, in West Virginia, it may have been an entirely different story.... but, a story that I wouldn't know about in time to get anything done. .... And when the 'brag' came [as it always did] I'd be the only one who noticed - as usual.
Wild Bill and I parted ways in April of 1994 when he went back to jail for sixty days because of a sex crime he'd committed against a Marietta, Ohio woman.
I'd forgiven a lot since I'd known him. I'd tried to understand things that were completely foreign to my nature, and I'd tried to ignore things that I felt hurt other people but at the same time, no one except me seemed to have a problem with. But this was something that I could neither forgive nor forget and there was no way that I wanted to be seen in the company of this man ever again. He was the biggest embarrassment that I'd ever endured, and I just could not get over what he had done.
There is only one "good" thing that came out of the April 1994 incident. It inspired me and a few friends to start a court record search that ultimately revealed this was not Wild Bill's first sex crime, nor was it the first time he'd gone to jail for a sex crime! I was stunned. Later conversations with various women revealed that he had been exposing himself to women and threatening to rape women ....and actually raping women ..... for years and years, and had gotten by with about 99.9 percent of his crimes.
Then and there I decided that I would not do as others had done before me. I would not turn a deaf ear and a blind eye to this man's crimes.
And I have not stood in silence as the years have gone by. Many things I have taken upon my own shoulders, many others I have reported to law enforcement far and wide. He always said I was different than any woman he'd ever known. He was right.
But one day ..... I will stand shoulder to shoulder with the "other" women he has known.... and I will prop them up with integrity, overcome their fears with courage ...and if I have to, I will carry them one by one into the court room so they can tell what he did to them and their children. Meanwhile, I will tell it myself..and I will tell it, and tell it and tell it until someone listens to me....and to them.
June 25th, 1994
Wild Bill was released from jail and hit the streets a-runnin'!
His search for a woman was frantic. My friends and I watched him as he prowled the dumps and dives looking for a woman....any woman would do.....at least until a "real woman" came along!
I was never sure what he meant by that phrase, but I never forgot it! I'd sometimes catch myself looking at some woman and wondering if she was "real"....although I couldn't figure out what the alternative was!
Soon after Wild Bill's release from jail, a woman who knew him pretty well ..... and who claimed to be a friend of his second ex-wife's informed me that Wild Bill had finally found himself a real woman.... a good woman with a job..... a woman who was going to help him!
I was thrilled. Lord knew he needed help ..... and the Lord also knew he wasn't getting anymore "help" from me!
One of his family members had provided him a job when he got out of jail because he'd been fired from the one he'd held for eighteen years, went to jail.
Wild Bill dated [and cheated on] his 'new woman' for a few weeks, and then managed to convince her and her [three son's] to move in with him. I wasn't surprised. I could say one thing for him ..... he was a fast worker.
I couldn't even find out what the woman's name was and here he was engaged to marry her! I didn't figure he'd marry her though. I figured this was some kind of a game, but wasn't sure how "we" played it. However, I was convinced it involved me.....or my sister.... or my daughter ..... or all three of us.
Wild Bill's new woman drove a little gray Chevy Chevette .....and since I didn't know her name, I dubbed her "Chevette Woman." My friends got a real kick out of the call names I attached to Wild Bill's women, and I had to admit, some were out of this world.
I suppose my favorites were......"The Black Widow," ...."The Hootin' Honey" ....."The Pomeroy Dot" ...... "The Racin' Pony" ....and my all time favorite ....."The Toothless Wonder!" Oh, what stories I could tell ..... and would tell! His life would never be the same.....ever!
He was right.....I was different.
September 21st, 1995
Chevette Woman lived with Wild Bill for eleven months, during which time she believed that they would one day marry.
But I'd never believed for a moment that he would marry her. And when I saw her packing her belongings into the little Chevette, I knew I was right again.
Until that time, I'd never spoken to Chevette Woman. She always glared at me as if she hated my guts, and wished I'd drop dead. I didn't understand her bitterness toward me. I'd done nothing to her or to him.
He was the sex offender, not me! If she wanted to live with him and believe his lies, then that was her business. I was just documenting them.....in case she ever wanted to know!
September 23rd, 1995
It was the first time I ever spoke to Chevette Woman. She called to ask if I knew what Wild Bill's problem was!
We talked a long time that evening. I knew she'd made a terrible mistake with Wild Bill when she told me that she had told him that she did love him, but that she'd never love anyone the way she'd loved her common-law husband Sammy.
My heart skipped a beat and a cold chill creep down my spine!
"Sammy?" ... "Sammy who?" I stammered.
"Sammy is dead now, Bonnie." She said. "Although we were never married, we lived together for several years and he's the father of all my boys."
"He was always real good to me and the kids. We'd been talking about getting back together when he was killed in a car wreck."
I was glad we were speaking over the phone and not in person. I know I was white as a sheet and my hands were trembling .... still, there were hundreds, if not thousands of "Sammy's" in this area.
"You say Sammy was killed in a car wreck?" I questioned.
"Yes, he was killed in a car wreck," She answered. "He was returning from Elizabeth, West Virginia after dropping off some late Christmas presents to his children, when it happened."
I wiped the tears away from my eyes as I silently listened to her story.
"What was your husband's last name....and when did this wreck happen?" I finally interrupted.
"Sammy Lyons .... his name was Sammy Lyons and the wreck happened in the Elizabeth, West Virginia area in the early morning hours of December 28th, 1993," she concluded.
I wasn't sure I was even breathing anymore ..hell, I wasn't sure I even needed air! Just keep on snooping ....keep on asking questions. But my mind stalled! It hit Wild Bill and just stopped right there! Try as I might, I couldn't get it to go any further..
"So, tell me .... did you know Wild Bill when Sammy was killed? Did Sammy know Wild Bill? Had they ever met or spoken to one another?" I questioned.
"Oh no, we didn't know Wild Bill back then. And he didn't know Sammy. He'd never heard of us back then. I met Wild Bill after he began following my sister around and trying to get a date with her. She told him she was married and not interested, but he just kept pestering her. Then she introduced him to me, and he always said he thought I was the one he was supposed to meet. But you know something Bonnie ..... I didn't like him when we first met. There was something about his eyes. They seemed so cold, so unfeeling, and I just didn't want to be around him so I refused to go anywhere with him.
I sent up a silent "thank you Lord," and continued to listen to her story.
"But it seemed like every time I turned around, there he was. I bumped into him at the grocery store, the service station, even the laundromat. Everywhere I turned there he was. And after I talked to him a few times, I decided my first impressions about him had been wrong. He was really nice to me and the boys for awhile." She said.
"Well, perhaps you had not given yourself enough time to get over Sammy," I soothed. "I mean a death is a traumatic shock to anyone, but especially for the wife and children. I can only imagine how bad it was for all of you. Maybe ten months after Sammy's death was not enough time to heal before you became engaged to Wild Bill."
Coincidence - Again?
Perhaps the death of Sammy Lyons, the fact that he was my sister's friend and had at one time "rescued" Patty from Wild Bill was merely another coincidence in our ever growing "coincidence list." Perhaps Wild Bill didn't remember the man's name that had ran him away from Patty .... perhaps. But I found this hard to believe. Then again, maybe he'd never known the man's name to begin with.....neah, I didn't believe that either!
Maybe Sammy's death really was an accident .... and maybe the chance meeting between Wild Bill and Chevette Woman was just that......chance. Maybe. It seems everyone is eager to believe that anyway.
I'd still like to know where he was and what he was doing during the hour or two before his 'fleeing and eluding' stunt at roughly five o'clock in the morning of December 28th, 1993. But as it stands now, I'll probably never know.
Although 1993 may have been the first time that a ....."trooper who lived in Belpre;.....the Little Hocking Marathon Station; ..... the place where Wild Bill worked before he got fired; ....my sister; ....a male friend of hers who had prevented Wild Bill from "getting to her"; ...... a woman with children; .....and a dead body"..... were "in the news", it most assuredly would not be the last! The not-too-distant future would produce the biggest "twisted nightmare" that anyone could ever imagine!
Sammy Lyons' case is closed. It was deemed an accident. I consider all the bits and pieces "coincidence." I have no choice -- today.
The following article is posted for those who know -- know the history and the names associated with the above story - know the time period - know the consequences and that history always repeats itself in peculiar ways - and for those who continue to believe in coincidence. I gave that up a long time ago, but it's never made any difference, and I don't think anything ever will. But for those who are still watching, still waiting for law enforcement to catch up; still looking for answers and justice ......
A Lott Of Coincidence
Family Members Confirm Missing Man Recovered From Ohio River
April 13, 2013
By Jasmine Rogers (email@example.com) , The Marietta Times
Two months after he was last seen checking into the Lafayette Hotel in Marietta, the body of a missing Parkersburg man is believed to have been retrieved from the Ohio River Friday evening.
Authorities would not confirm the identity of a body which was found floating in the Ohio River seven miles south of Marietta, near Marietta Industrial Enterprises.
However, the family of 22-year-old Carl Austin Travis confirmed that the body was the Parkersburg South High School graduate, who disappeared in Marietta while on leave from the Navy.
While heartbreaking, the discovery brings an end to two agonizing months of uncertainty, said Gary Backus, Travis' grandfather.
"This will mean some closure," said Backus, while leaving the area where the body was found.
The ongoing investigation had included a previous scan of the Ohio and Muskingum rivers. Three cadaver sniffing dogs had indicated to the possible presence of a body March 4 by the Ohio River levee in Marietta, but eight hours of searching turned up no physical evidence.
The body has been sent to Montgomery County for an autopsy, said Washington County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Mark Warden.
Warden said he could not comment on if there were indications of foul play.
Authorities will use DNA to try to officially confirm the identity of the body, said Lt. Troy Hawkins of the Washington County Sheriff's Office.
"Arrangements had already been made between law enforcement and the Navy to compare any known DNA when or if remains were located," said Hawkins.
Travis' mother, Susan Lott, of Belpre, said her son was identified by his wallet and jacket.
"He was just a sweet boy. He had his whole life ahead," she said.
Travis was on the track and wrestling teams in high school. He ran in the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon last summer, Lott said.
Lott said she will remember her son as an intelligent young man, who was always thoughtful.
"He was a very kind-hearted person. He had a really warm smile," she said.
Travis decided to join the Navy to see the world, his mother said. He was planning on taking a test to become a supply officer, she added.
Travis was last seen checking into the Lafayette Hotel on Feb. 12.
Family members contacted the Marietta Police Department Feb. 18 to report a prolonged period of no contact with Travis.
However, he was not officially declared missing until Feb. 22, the day he failed to return to his Navy ship, the USS Halyburton, stationed in Jacksonville, Fla.
The presence of a body in the river was discovered around 4 p.m. Friday by employees at Marietta Industrial Enterprises, who were able to retain the body near their dock until authorities were on scene, said Warden.
Officials from the Marietta Police Department, the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the Wood County Sheriff's Office and the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources were on the scene.
Bonnie M. Wells