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

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

Grieving through the holidays

“This is the most wonderful time of the year…” I love what the holidays bring to our home. The traditions we continue to embrace, the time with our family and friends building memories and remembering the true meaning for the season.

But, I have to admit, it can also be the most difficult time of the year. My heart has ached in recent weeks as I have scrolled through social media and had a glimpse into the personal loss and mourning or struggles with illness that so many of my friends are going through. One who just lost his brother in a tragic car wreck, one whose young son is battling the ugly “C” word, one who will have her first Christmas without her mom, another who had to say good-bye to their family dog, one who’s husband is battling the ugly “C” word along with other’s who are living through another year without their grandparents, parents, siblings, spouse or best friend…

Grieving through the holidays is the hardest thing I continue to do in my own life. When one of my dearest friends posted pictures on Facebook of the beautifully decorated gravesite of my sister, I wept and memories flooded my mind of Christmas past, especially the first one without Vicki…

Vicki's Gravesite  December 12, 2014

Vicki’s Lynnes Gravesite
December 12, 2014

Such a bittersweet time of year.

So, as Christmas is approaching, my wish is that you take a moment out of your busy and hectic schedule to reach out and say hello. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a while, flash a smile to a stranger, but let people know how much you love them, no matter the time or distance between you. Take a moment to get on your knees and pray. Life is a beautiful amazing gift, no matter how hard this moment may be.

From my family to yours, I wish you all the very best this Christmas season.