September 17, 2017

The afternoon of September 17, 1984 the world of my family, friends and community was forever changed. The disappearance of my sister, Vicki Lynne, would become so much more than we ever knew.

In the days and months that she was missing, people tied yellow ribbons to everything as a symbol of hope for her safe return. On February 7, 1985, Vicki had been missing 143 days. To bring a positive token of love and hope for her safe return, our family with students & teachers from Homer Davis Elementary School, planted a Palo Verde tree in the courtyard. Yellow ribbons were tied to the branches of the tree. https://youtu.be/v0W4U0GLhDo

For the next 30 years the tree grew tall and strong, blooming yellow flowers, still representing hope as we fought to bring justice to her. In October of 2015, the tree was uprooted and blown over in a storm. We were devastated that the beautiful symbol of love and hope was forever gone, and although we thought to replace it we knew we never could properly do so.

With the help of some amazing men, we were able to have a bench made from the wood of the Palo Verde tree and just a few short days before school started this August, the bench was placed in the front office of Homer Davis Elementary bringing back to the school the beautiful symbol of hope in Loving Memory of Vicki Lynne.

My mom and dad were able to take a special part of the tree which they will hang in their dining room, it will have the scripture “With God all things are possible” Matthew 19:26 placed with it.

I’m so very grateful for all those involved in making this possible. What started out in February of 1985 to be a positive tribute to my sister, still gets to be part of our lives for years to come.

A very special thanks to Jaime Sirminski who spearheaded the project and was able to put it all together, Rob Assenmacher, of Kevin Stout Operations who did the the CAID laser cut of the butterfly backing, and Matt McDonald of MHM Resources for milling the wood. I hope you realize what an incredible gift you have made by taking something so important to so many and making it beautiful again. 

To Dr. Baker, Superintendent of Flowing Wells Unified School District, Mr. Dunbar, Principal of Homer Davis School,Chad Miller, Principal Flowing Wells Junior High School, and all the staff, thank you for encouraging us to keep a piece of Vicki’s memory forever part of the school.

Vicki lives on in so many of us, our hopes are to continue to honor her in a positive and beautiful way. I encourage you, today especially, on the 33rd anniversary of her disappearance to share any stories you may have about her. If you never had the chance to meet her, share how her life and death impacted you… we will never be able to know all those who she has touched, but we do love to know her voice in strong in us all.

If you happen to stop in and sit on the bench, be sure to share a picture here or via Facebook. 

Today we will honor the beautiful little freckled face, blue eyed girl who lives in our heart forever.

Don’t forget Vicki Lynne.

September 13, 2017

Ever have things happen but you don’t share because your busy, don’t think they would make sense to anyone else or just don’t share because its just a moment, you laugh along with and not think much of it?

First thing this morning I was scanning documents at work, when I pulled up the file to review before I attached it in an email, all the pages had a yellow line stripe through them.

I went back, scanned them again, to still find the yellow stripe on all the pages. I forwarded the file with an added note that I apologized about the yellow stripe and was looking into why this would be happening.

I did a few other things and went back to the copy machine and found a yellow “sign here” tag stuck on the inside of the feeder portion of the lid. I took it off… then sent an email to my fellow office mates that if you ever have a yellow stripe on your scanned documents to look for a “sign here” tag in the document feeder… truly I must have over looked the tag the first few times I opened and shut the lid to the copier and document feeder and missed the obvious yellow tag…

We all cracked up about it … it was silly to be honest, and I wouldn’t really think much more about it until a short time later when I hung up the phone with Attorney General’s Office.

And then I thought about all the “things” that may have been happening lately that I wasn’t paying attention to but should have been…

And the conversations to follow with my parents and siblings sharing similar stories about signs, feelings, things that have been going on with them lately too.

When Vicki disappeared in September of 1984, yellow ribbons were everywhere, from mailboxes and car antenna’s to people wearing them pinned on their shirts… there’s still one in the window of my Tahoe today.

So the yellow stripe on the documents this morning still has me giggling…

Today the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Writ of Habeas Corpus, the original appeal was filed in March of 1998. A copy of the opinion can be found here: http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2017/09/13/14-99002.pdf

Nineteen years to get to this day, its so serene knowing that that something you’ve waited for for 33 years is possible. It’s reachable. It WILL happen.

The defense has 14 days to file for a motion to ask for a rehearing, which we know they will do, its up to the 9th Circuit to give an extension timeline, and we will remain confident based on the ruling issued today, they will deny this motion.

Once that is denied, the defense has 90 days to file for the Writ of Certiorari, basically appealing to the United States Supreme Court to hear their case, which can only be extended once, for 60 days.

Vicki’s case has been presented before the US Supreme Court on TWO other occasion’s, both ruling in her favor, and we are confident that they will do so again. The timeline for that is unclear, but once they do make a ruling, a writ of execution can be issued.

… “A writ of execution can be issued” its actually strange to write that.Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, 4

We know he will fight like a coward to the last possible moment he can, it’s a given in the 33 years …

Tonight, I’m grateful that we have turned the page to the last chapter.

As we live through this last chapter, we will be her voice, and relish in the fact that we get to see the twinkle of her eyes in the faces and smiles of her nieces and nephews and will cherish the gifts she continues to send us…

Love Never Forgets.

June 7th, 2017

On Wednesday, June 7th, 2017, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in our case.

It’s been two months since that hearing and I’ve written this and walked away, trying to find the right words to say what I wanted … The brutal truth is that I feel that the hearing on June 7th was the opportunity for the defense to have their final moment in the sun and they failed miserably.

There were three points brought forward that day:

1. Law Enforcement Misconduct. 

I was shocked they brought this out as I thought this argument had been previously ruled on and settled. I could give Mr. Hammond a list of software and apps I can use to enhance photographs. What he is trying to bring forward is “new photographic evidence” to argue that multiple law enforcement agencies collaborated across states in September of 1984 to frame Atwood in the kidnapping of a child whom was not recovered at the time, with photographs that are not date stamped. This seems to be one of the furthest stretching plots of a bad B movie I’ve heard. I actually feel bad that they still want to argue this theory, it was 1984. Why would any one person, let alone multiple Law Enforcement Agents from multiple agencies try to frame Atwood just days after the disappearance of my sister? If I were going to give the defense any advice, I’d say give up on this one….

2 & 3. PTSD and Ineffective Counsel.

It’s easier to group these two together for me, my brain hops back and forth with the two points, because I feel they actually meld together.

The claim or question is, did Atwood suffer from “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” at the time he drove through our neighborhood, kidnapped my sister as she rode her bike innocently on a sunny afternoon, sexually assaulted her and then left her for dead in the dessert? And, why is this diagnosis important for the defense?

If it’s proved it would alert the sentencing that was handed down in May of 1987.

In 2013, in 3 days of testimony in the district court by Mental Health Professionals brought forward by both sides, they testified that Atwood did not suffer from PTSD until Post Incarceration, meaning after he had been in prison for the kidnapping & murder of my sister.  The Mental Health Professionals also agreed on the fact that they could diagnose him with Sociopath, Antti-Social Disorder & Pedophilia,

During the trial, Atwood’s attorney successful suppressed from the jury Atwood’s previous offenses that included the “groping and kissing” of 10 year old girl, the more violent sexual misconduct of a 4 year old boy, and I’m not sure if it is shown in any of the pre-trial or trial documentation but it was reported at one point that Atwood’s first offense was actually against an 18 month old baby, but because of his age and that of the child’s it was not presented in court.

Atwood does not think sex with children should be illegal. You should STOP reading this if you think sex with a child is ok….

At the time of trial Stanton Bloom had 2 of the 3 aggravating charges dropped. I’m not sure how people who have been through traumatic event’s in their life remember things, but for me, I remember things in parts and pieces like a putting a puzzle together, I was 11 when my life was ripped apart by Atwood’s crime. And my memories are often triggered by events like the hearing in June. What came out for me were raw emotions similar to what I felt in the days probably close to the time when Bloom successfully had 2 of the 3 aggravating charges dropped…  knowing the jury wouldn’t hear everything I thought they should, knowing Atwood is guilty of the murder of my sister, knowing it’s been proven, knowing the horrible things he did to children prior to taking her life, and knowing that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals could rule today and he could walk a free man. 

It’s a fear that is crippling in unexplainable ways to my family and I….

What I didn’t understand back from the time Bloom came to represent Atwood was that he was a pioneer in his field, Atwood’s parents went to the best to represent their son in one of the most notorious crimes in Southern Arizona in the 1980’s and his parents banked their money and prestige would once again free their son from yet another crime. They hired the best. They paid the best. And even though Atwood would swear he wanted his attorney to do something different 30 years ago to save his white ass from the punishment he’s going to receive in the murder of my sister, I didn’t understand that what Bloom would do all those years ago, his work, would actually help us today. And I believe that the Justices will agree with us on this point.

I haven’t spoken to one person in the years following that would say that Bloom did anything less than fight with passion to represent his client, by the law, even if he knew the truth. And I find it hard to believe that a defendant would beg their attorney to please make sure the jury knows they think it should be legal to have sex with children. Oh, and please please tell them about how I have been institutionalized and the crimes I’ve committed prior, and let me read the letter I wrote to my lover in Oklahoma in which I stated I would make sure the next child I sexually assaulted wouldn’t live to tell. Because anyone in their right mind listening to these arguments would not find sympathy in any defendant.

Which brings us to the ineffective counsel claim.

I’ll be honest, as a child thrusted into this reality, I thought Bloom was the most vile man aside from his client until many years later when I realized how hard he fought to defend Atwood would actually help us. He was a pioneer in his field, and continued to lead a very successful career up until his death. Regardless of his clients guilt, he fought tooth and nail to defend him.

And, I’m not surprised that Atwood would throw Bloom to the wolves now to save his own life, even though Atwood was uncooperative and adamant that Bloom make sure his history wasn’t revealed in court then, he’s been sitting in prison a long time, on Death Row, getting a college education, being married and breathing every day. He’s had a lot of time to reconsider what should have been done…. it boils down to the fact that Bloom represented Atwood in a way no other attorney was capable of in that era. And, I feel very strongly that the money that Atwood’s parents paid to have Bloom represent him has paid dividends for us now. His parents just banked on their money freeing their son once again from the punishment he rightfully deserved.

The most comical point of Hammond’s arguments from June 7th was when he emotionally claimed to the court that his client was “the most vilified criminal” in Southern Arizona. I could NOT believe my ears… literal jaw drop.

Sociopath. Pedophile. Anti-Social Disorder. Those are diagnosis by “Mental Health Professionals” given to his client, but he graveled to the court how his poor client had been “Vilified” and compared to Charles Manson. Pathetic argument at best. If I was a friend to Mr. Hammond, I would have felt very sorry for him watching …

But it lead me to wonder if Mr Hammond is successful in this appellate process to free Atwood, his poor vilified client, would he move Atwood into his neighborhood to roam freely, unsupervised? Better yet, I wonder if he would invite Atwood stay with The Hammond Family and their grandchildren, without supervision, of course, and prove to all of us that this poor vilified man won’t harm anyone.

Who am I kidding? Hammond isn’t gonna have Atwood over for dinner or let his client near his grandchildren. He represents one of the most vile people to walk this earth, but we wouldn’t want this man free in his neighborhood…

I’d like you to raise your hand if you could walk into a court room and be juror and know:

  1. The defendant has had sexual misconduct with children as young as 18 months.
  2. He was institutionalized and released because he wasn’t rehabilitatable (How is this even possible?)
  3. He thinks sex with children should be legal
  4. Even in prison he has tried to contact children
  5. He promised the next child wouldn’t talk

And not convict him on the scientific evidence that was presented in court without knowing his confession of the crime down to the details of her last cries.

What it boils down to, as we wait of the 9th Circuit to make a ruling is this:

  1. Can the court find truth in the photographic evidence?
  2. Does the court believe that multiple agencies collaborated to frame Atwood in the days following my sisters death without a body to prove she was even dead? She was missing a few days while this was going on.
  3. Bloom did not effectively represent his client.

In the weeks following the hearing the most common thing people said about it, aside from details that they never realized about his criminal history, was that in the hearing Vicki was never referred to by her name but as the victim.

I didn’t really know how to explain it to people other than to say that in the eyes of the court & attorney’s, she isn’t their daughter, sister, niece, cousin, friend…. she’s just another case… and it’s not to say they don’t care, they just still aren’t living this nightmare like we continue to.

So, we will remember her wisdom eyes, those glossy blues that were bigger than life. That she was a competitor whether you met her on the playground to play tether ball or on the fields to play softball, she meant business and you better be ready. That she may have wondered why you slept with socks on. That she didn’t like pizza but Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, 4tacos weren’t safe if she showed up at the table. That we drove the yellow Barbie jeep around the house what may have been a 1,000 miles and when we got in trouble we would still play together passing our things through our secret hole in our closet wall. She captivated an audience with her presence …. she just had this magic about her.

Vicki is more than a case to so many people, we are her voice, she will never be forgotten…

Purpose.

Purpose

Noun 1. the reason for which something is done or created or for which something existsa person’s sense of resolve or determination

I have thought a lot about this word lately in trying to search for answers to questions no one will ever be able to answer for me. I honestly think it is our human nature to have answers, to know things, so we can fix them or at least understand them and when we don’t it leaves us searching…

Vicki Lynne 1984

The searching that started in September of 1984. The day my sissy rode her bike through our neighborhood to mail a birthday card to my aunt, to the days, weeks and months that followed that we searched desperately to bring her home. The day we laid her to rest. The day that the man responsible for taking her life was sentenced to death. And the weeks, months, years and decades we have been fighting him.

Who would have ever thought we would be here now? In May of 1987, when the sentencing was handed down and the process was started that has lead us to now, I bet, if you asked anyone then, they would never guessed we would still be battling legalities in court now…still waiting for answers, justice for a little girl without a voice.

Purpose. What is the bigger purpose?

Today we were notified that the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit will hold an Oral Argument in our case on June 7th at 9:00 am at the William K. Nakamura Courthouse in Seattle, Washington. The hearing will be in front of a panel of three judges, names who will be released when they take the bench. The hearing is slated for an hour, giving 30 minutes to each side to answer the questions the judges bring to court that day.

This hearing will be streamed live on the courts website, which you will be able to find the link to here under Audio & Video. http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/calendar/

It is unclear how long the panel of judges will take to issue a ruling in this regard, and I feel as though this hearing is not only a win in our case, but it also gives us forward motion again. I remain faithful that the court will find in our favor, issue a ruling that will send our case on to the United States Supreme Court who have ruled in our favor twice previously. Once the US Supreme Court rules in our favor, a Writ of Execution can be issued. The end of the road for this case, justice for my sissy.

We may never know the bigger purpose, but it’s there. And we may never know the answers or why this has traveled the road it has, but the end is coming. And we will never know the lives one little girl impacted, but I know her spirit lives on in the hearts of so many and that gives me faith in the unknown purpose.

The Tree

It’s page 18 of 365 in 2016. One of my favorite quotes is by C.S. Lewis “There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” How true is that?

It’s been a busy 3 months since the last update to my blog, but really there has been no forward motion from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in our case since September. Frustrating? Yep. I’ve learned that a 30 year old case with a guilty defendant and miles of boxes full of documents just seems to bog down a very broken system with nothing we can do but keep looking to the horizon…

To be honest, I’ve struggled to write this blog for more than a week. I’m not sure why, when it comes to writing or conversation, I’m not usually a loss for words… those who truly know me can insert your comments and laughs here…

Looking back on all that has happened, both wonderful & amazing and heartbreaking & trying, and I feel I’ve really needed to stop and listen more … Who has truly had “ahhhh haaa” moments? I’ve had quite a few lately…

Vicki Lynne's Tree planted at Homer Davis Elementary School Arbor Day, 1985

Vicki Lynne’s Tree planted at Homer Davis Elementary School Arbor Day, 1985

See in February of 1985, we planted a tree in the courtyard of Homer Davis Elementary School where Vicki & I attended school to bring hope that she would be found alive. When Vicki’s remains were recovered in April of 1985, that tree continued to grow and bloom for 30 years. Last October (2015) it was uprooted and blown over in a storm… it was as if a piece of what we watched grow through our journey was gone and we were absolutely devastated. And, I feel we started to mourn again.

Our initial reaction was to replant a tree to replace it… and in time we realized we could never do that, it would never be the same. Honestly, I know with all my heart Vicki blew the tree over for a reason, and we may not be able to understand it right now, but in time, we will.

We were able to recover a substantial amount of the wood from the fallen tree and have plans as a family to have something made with it and rededicate it to Homer Davis at a later date. We will take the fallen pieces and make them beautiful again… just as we have done with our lives.

I want to make a very public thank you on behalf of myself and my family to Flowing Wells School District. From Dr. Baker, Mr. Miller, Governing Board, and the entire staff with a big SHOUT OUT to the Grounds Crew, each and every person has been so protective, caring and sensitive to us as we have moved through this process. The love that continues to shine in our community is extraordinary and comforting.

I will continue to keep my blog updated as we begin forward motion in the appellate part of this story, and as each day of 2016 unfolds, we will continue to look ahead and embrace our past as it is the seeds that continue to grow our future.

#dontforgetvickilynne #loveneverforgets

Why are some years so hard?

In my last blog, I asked “Why are some years so hard?”

This anniversary was probably one of the hardest I have faced in many years, and as the days march forward each one gets easier. Some wounds will just never heal, it’s as if you are carrying a box of puzzle pieces and they drop on the floor, scattered all over for you to pick back up and put back together again, unfortunately, when my life was shattered on the 17th of September 1984, no one provided a “How to” book for surviving the murder of sister. You just pick up the pieces and look to the horizon…

Vicki Lynne, Age 4

Vicki Lynne, Age 4

In the last week and a half, I have spent much of my time answering the hundreds of calls, texts, messages & emails that I have received. I continue to be so humbled by the outpouring of support from people who knew and loved Vicki, to people who have just been touched by her story. Until this war is over, there is a huge army still so willing to fight.

Very much to my surprise, the defense counsel filed their Reply Brief in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday, September 25, 2015. Honestly, I think I can count the number of times a defense team hasn’t asked for a delay in court over the course of this 31 year battle with one finger.

A few points I want to make sure everyone who reads this blog knows:

  1. Atwood’s innocence is NOT in question. He admitted to the crime in detail down to the last words she spoke as he took her life and his guilt has been upheld in court.
  2. This case has been to the United States Supreme Court twice. First on the automatic appeal, the second time on the Post Conviction Release. Both have been denied.
  3. The Writ of Habeas Corpus (this appeal) was started in March of 1998, 17 years ago. All claims in the initial habeas filing have been denied but these last claims of ineffective counsel & the famed claim that “he” suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I promise, I will expand more on the points above in the future, I just want to make sure that you, as the reader, are clear where we stand in this relentless fight. I will continue to keep the entire process that looms

before us updated here as the wheels of justice continue to turn… 

Tonight, as I look into the beautiful pink and blue sunset in the horizon, I hope, for my parents, my family,

friends and our army of supporters that things turn faster than they have the last 31 years.

Don’t forget Vicki Lynne… 

September 17, 2015

September. The start of fall, absolutely my favorite season, yet a time that holds my heart completely hostage. This year I would equate my emotions to that of a “soup sandwich”. I’ve wore my feelings on my sleeve and the battle in my mind has gotten the best of me more days than not. It’s a relentless war that started 31 years ago and still wages on as we continue our legal fight to bring justice for my sissy.

In reality, the middle of August is when I started to feel the spiral of emotions happen and in one conversation with Mackenzie, it’s as if the dam broke… 

I had kept telling myself my emotions were crazy because summer was coming to an end. (Is it possible to have a “summer hangover”?) We had a hectic but great time with family & friends, memories made and lots of miles traveled, with school starting it would come to an end. And then the reality of my talk with Mackenzie made me realize that what happened to me 5 years ago when our oldest, Madison, started 3rd grade was happening again. 

Why are some years so hard? 

Vicki Lynne 1984

Vicki Lynne 1984

Accepting things you can’t change or control and rationally asking your heart to work through them can be the single most difficult thing a person will ever do. I had to face the fact that my 8 year old daughter would be starting the 3rd grade, she’s the same age and grade as Vicki was when she was taken from us. Coupled with the fact that Mackenzie resembles Vicki not only in looks but personality, has stopped me in my tracks a thousands times, sometimes taking my breathe away. There isn’t a moment that I look at Mackenzie and don’t think about or see Vicki, from her freckled face and gapped tooth smile to her witty personality.

Can you imagine a fear that some days is almost paralyzing? Flashes of feelings from my childhood while telling my 42 year old mind everything will be ok is the toughest thing I have ever done. I feel as though I am telling myself every 5 minutes I can work through it because I have a two beautiful girls who are walking this world and I will do everything I can everyday to keep them safe. 

When Mady started 3rd grade, I did my best to keep it together. I cried every day for weeks as I left her at school, some days sobbing so uncontrollably in the school parking lot I couldn’t even drive. I still think Mady’s teacher is a saint, she was so patient and gracious when dealing with me, the ultimate crazy mom.

And to be completely honest, I truly thought this year, would be easier than what I experienced with Mady. Things are supposed to be smoother with your second child, right? It’s true for many things, not this… I’ve been prickly most days, and feel so blessed that my family, friends and co-workers have loved me without truly understanding the battle in my heart and mind. Mackenzie’s teacher has embraced her with a special heart that I’m not sure I could ever properly thank her for, and she is patient with me, the ultimate crazy mom. Fourteen days into the school year and I’ve cried every one, but am so thankful that I am in a position that I can grab a hug & kiss from Mackenzie anytime during the day. 

As far as the conversation I had with Mackenzie the middle of August, I will share that some day, but the dam it broke is meant to help heal emotions that I need to make peace with. Each day is a new beginning, and I will be stronger tomorrow.  “After your season of suffering, God in all His grace will restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

Our legal battle continues on, the defense has until September 25, to file their Reply Brief to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. I will assume they will ask for an extension, and expect another delay, because one thing Atwood’s counsel has shown us is they are really good at delaying everything they can as many times as they can, buying a child murderer more time on our tax paying dime. Once the defense files their brief, we will wait to see if the 9th Circuit will hold a hearing in the matter, and that date. And the time continues to tick by as the fate of the man who took Vicki from us still fights the system while dragging us through hell.

31 years later, September 17th, the battle continues but we will win the war. 

Today, I hope that everyone who was touched by her life takes a moment to share a memory. This day will always be one to reflect on and honor the life of a very special freckled faced, blue eyed angel, my sissy. Don’t forget Vicki Lynne.

2nd Annual Vicki Lynne Memorial Scholarship

Vicki Lynne 1984

Vicki Lynne 1984

Last Thursday, May 7th, another scholarship at Flowing Wells High School in Tucson, AZ was given to a graduating senior in memory of my sister, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson.

It’s the second one we would give in her honor. Last years recipient, Anisa Jimenez, is such an amazing young woman, and I am so blessed that our families have grown very close over the last year. I have so much to share about her and will do so in a blog to come soon!

This year’s recipient was a young man. He is an aspiring engineer student and will attend the University of Arizona in the fall. His academic accomplishments, awards, leadership roles and community service spoke greatly about his drive and spirit. When my brother, Brian, saw that he played baseball it struck a sentimental place in his heart. My sister, Carie, loved his aspiration to become an engineer, it’s what my nephew would like to do do as well. So to say this candidate was chosen on his academic accomplishments alone would be untrue.

I called him the other day to ask permission to share about him on my blog. I was curious to talk to him, and honestly less than a minute into the conversation, it took a lot to hold back the tears. He started out by telling me that he and his sister went to Homer Davis Elementary, and that his mom taught 3rd grade there for a lot of years before going back into Special Education at another school within the Flowing Wells District. He said she had actually come to Homer Davis not long after Vicki had died. And, although, we have not made any requirements that a student attend FWSD from elementary school through high school to be awarded the scholarship in memory of Vicki, it blew me away that again this year we would unknowingly pick a recipient that had. He said that he had spoken to his mom about Vicki and shared his appreciation that we would believe in him to award him this scholarship in her memory.

My mom flew down to present the award to this years winner, Nathan Syers. We are honored to help such an amazing young individual again this year. We look forward to following you as you make your dreams come true!!

Here is a video of the presentation of the 2nd Annual Vicki Lynne Memorial Scholarship!

Thank you to all you who have helped our family this possible! I wish I could explain how deeply touched my heart is to honor Vicki in such a positive way and to help Nathan & Anisa make their dreams become their reality!

The last chapter…

An Opening Brief was filed by the defense in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit yesterday. 

The original file date was June 12, 2014 delayed to November 21, 2014, delayed again to March 12, 2015 and finally filed on May 11, 2015.  

It took almost 11 months to produce 99 pages arguing technicalities and reasons why Frank Atwood should not be put to death. Imagine the money the tax payers have spent in 333 days just for this brief? 

I am so relieved to have some sort of forward motion again…  for my parents, for my siblings, for my children, for my family, our friends… for our community.

But, I have to be completely honest here… I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that people actually get paid to defend a monster like Atwood. I know this may sound silly, but I can not imagine the time and man power it took to put together 99 pages of this crap!

And now… how many hours it will take the State of Arizona to rebut this…

On September 17,1984, Atwood hit my sissy with his car while she was riding her bike home from her best friends house. He drove with her in his car to the desert not far from our home and I can not fathom the fear she experienced on that ride. He sexually assaulted her. And, he didn’t kill her the first time, I know Vicki’s last words still haunt and puzzle him today… He would eventually bury her in a shallow grave in the desert… 207 days later only parts of her precious little body were found… placed in a small box and given to my parents to lay to rest. 

And more than 30 years later we are fighting him on technicalities. Nothing will change the fact that he brutally murdered this little girl in 1984. And I am confident that this brief will be the start of the last chapter in this book that has had no ending or justice for this beautiful little girl. 

Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, 4

Don’t forget Vicki Lynne.

April 12th… 30 years later…

It’s hard to believe that time has gone by so quickly… 30 years is a long time, but this day is still as vivid in my mind as yesterday. My heart still aches the same it did that day… that pain will never go away.

I wrote the following a couple years ago and felt the need to re-share it again today. Thank you for those who continue to follow our case and support us as we fight for justice for my sissy.

Reflecting back on April 12, 1985

Today marks a significant anniversary in my life. It is a day that is forever etched in my mind, a day to reflect and a day to be thankful for.

On September 17, 1984, my 8 year old sister, Vicki Lynne Hoskinson, disappeared from our neighborhood. She had gone on her bike to mail a birthday card to our Aunt Lori for our mom. When she didn’t come home, I road my bike to find her. At that time, being 11, there was no doubt in my mind that she had stopped off at a neighbors or was playing with kids from the neighborhood and had lost track of time. We lived in a community and time when you left the house, played outside & people watched out for each other. Kids didn’t just disappear, and if they did it happened on T.V. and not on your street, let alone to your sister.

Vicki had been gone 6 months, 26 days…. or 207 days total. 

April 12, 1985 was a friday, and I was sitting in Mr. Abrams 6th grade core class. When the door opened and one of the ladies from the office walked in, I knew she was there for me.  Mr. Abrams paused, looking down and then up at me. He squeaked out the the words that I needed to gather my things and go to the office.

I sat in the yellow polyester cushioned chair against the windows that looked down the sidewalk and out into the parking lot. I was 11, and trying to understand the world that I had been thrusted into so many months before. There, in the office of the junior high school, everyone was quiet, and working just as hard at keeping it together as they were trying to act like they were working.

I can not tell you how long I sat in that chair in the window, but I knew when I looked over my left shoulder and saw my parents walking down the sidewalk it’s as if the world stopped.

They had found my sister….

Today, 28 years, 6 months and 26 days later, I can close my eyes and remember that day. The warmth of the Arizona sun through the window in the office, the look first on Mr. Abrams face, then on that of my parents, and the feeling of despair by those who surrounded me.

There are no words to express how incredibly grateful I am for the man who went looking for his dog that day and stumbled upon her remains, for at least we could have closure and lay her to rest.

If I had a penny for every time I thanked him, and those who gave so unconditionally those months we searched for her I would have enough money to buy the world.

Today, I miss Vicki just the same as I have in the 28 1/2 years it has been since she was taken from us. And I appreciate how incredibly blessed I have been in my journey between here and there…

**Our family has set up a Vicki Lynne Memorial Scholarship Fund at Flowing Wells High School where I graduated, and Vicki would have. If you would like to make a donation in her memory, you can do so by sending a check to:

Flowing Wells Unified School District

Attention: Monique Mata

1556 W. Prince Road

Tucson, AZ 85705

Flowing Wells Tax Id # 86-6003684

Please make sure you indicate that the donation is for the

VICKI LYNNE MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

I am also doing a fundraiser, Be-YOU-tiful Lashes for Vicki!!!! 100% of my proceeds will be given in her memory to a graduating senior at Flowing Wells High School in May!! If you haven’t tried our famous 3D Fiber Lash Mascara or LOVE all natural skin care & beauty products you will LOVE Younique!!! Click the link to shop!!!

www.youniqueproducts.com/SBrandt/party/1716475/view

Apache Lake, AZ, Vicki & I

Apache Lake, AZ, Vicki & I