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.

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

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

Delayed until May 11th, 2015

Someone recently said to me “Can you ask the courts to change Atwood’s sentence to life in prison instead of the death penalty so you don’t have to go through this anymore?”

I said, “Sure, if I want to take the chance of him being a FREE man.”

“Why? I thought if we abolish the death penalty those guys just get life in prison…”

Let’s face it cases just like Vicki’s are classic examples of why the death penalty does not work. Delay after delay, appeal after appeal, hundreds of thousands of dollars spent, and heart ache with each step forward or back.

To honestly answer the question of WHY we don’t fight for life imprisonment for Atwood vs. our continued quest for the death penalty has nothing to do with closure for our family.

Based on the laws at the time of Atwood’s sentencing almost 28 years he would be parole eligible today. And, although I would like to think that a parole board would never grant him parole, I never dreamed in a million years that my family would still be fighting for justice for her 30 years later. The sheer thought of him possibly ever walking the streets as a free man is reason enough to continue my quest to fight for the death penalty.

For those who are under the impression that converting these ‘ol death penalty cases to life imprisonment would be simple and easy think again. It’s not.

Late yesterday we were notified by the Attorney General’s Office that Atwood’s defense team was granted yet another delay to file in their brief to the 9th Circuit Court until May 11th.

I realize that the defense is playing a game with time and lots of money. And, to try to express the frustration and anger is virtually impossible. The delay was well anticipated but the punch in the gut when you receive the news always feels the same.

What we will do is continue to push and fight for justice for a little girl who no longer has a voice. We will do our best to believe in a broken system. We won’t ever give up on her…

Don’t forget Vicki Lynne.

Vicki Lynne 1984

Vicki Lynne 1984

Delayed in the 9th Circuit… again…

Vicki & I, 1979

Vicki & I, 1979

March 12th, 2015 is the new filing date that the defense counsel in the case of State of Arizona v. Atwood, Cause # CR 14065 has to file in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Stalled again in our fight to bring justice to Vicki Lynne. 

The range of emotions that come with yet another delay are hitting every scope of the spectrum. Trying to convince my logical mind that there is a reason for everything, to be faithful & trust in God’s plan and not let this consume my every thought and emotion is simply difficult…

And the questions are pouring in… Why another delay? How many more can he have? Why is it that the justice system seem to keep giving him all the breaks? How come others from death row who committed murder long after Atwood took Vicki’s life in 1984 have been executed but he still sits, wasting our tax payer dollars every day?

I can’t answer any of them… nor can anyone else, which is even more frustrating, and makes me feel even more helpless when all I want to do is bring justice to a little girl who’s life was taken far too soon… who was a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, a niece, a cousin, a friend…

And while we face this delay, I also have to be realistic that the March date isn’t definitive either. Or the fact that our road is still very long, and there are no guarantees that new case law can come along and alter our path as it has in the past. But, what I can hope for is that in the grand scheme of things that our case will impact a very broken judicial system, and that maybe, just maybe it will help make legislative changes so that another family might not have to suffer this judicial hell the way we have.

So, tonight, I will do my best to smile through the tears and continue to fight for justice for my sissy…

September 17… 30 years later

Vicki Lynne 1984

Vicki Lynne 1984

September 16, 1984, we were an average American family, normal as far as I knew. My parents had divorced, both had remarried making my family larger. Vicki & I lived with our mom who had married George (dad), he brought his daughter, Carie, from his first marriage into our lives, together they had my brother, Brian. My dad (Ron) married Tammy, who was pregnant and expected to deliver my brother, Larry, in October of 1984.

As kids, we spent many of our Saturday nights going to the race track to cheer on our Papas, and our weeks playing softball, a sport we both loved! We enjoyed trips to the lake, playing in our neighborhood with friends and going to school.

Sunday, September 16, our mom, dad, Vicki, Brian I were out looking at campers we were going to purchase for our family. I remember being pretty excited about one we had looked at! I was sure my parents would go back and buy it!!! Funny, how some of the happiest moments can be replayed in our minds…

Monday, September 17, was a normal school day. Vicki & I got up, and she went on to Homer Davis Elementary where she was in the 3rd grade. I had just entered the 6th grade at Flowing Wells Junior High, both schools were just a few blocks from our home. Little did I know that that morning when we parted ways to school that it would be the last time I would ever see my sister alive or that the events of that afternoon would still be such vivid memories in my mind today. 

I had joined the Cross Country Team at FWJH, we generally had practice daily after school. But during my last period of the day I was informed that practice had been cancelled. 

I can still close my eyes and see the girls locker room of FWJH. There was a big glass window in the office that looked into the locker room, it was where I used the phone to call my mom to tell her cross country practice had been cancelled and I would be coming straight home after school but the line was busy. No call waiting, no call waiting caller id. It was 1984. 

I headed home after school with the rest of the kids in the neighborhood.

I still remember the look of surprise on my mom’s face when it was me walking through the front door… Mom told me she had let Vicki ride her bike to the mailbox a few blocks away to mail my aunt’s birthday card. My mom never let us go out alone, but was growing concerned because Vicki should have been back by now. I could ride my bike and find her, she probably stopped by to see her best friend, Jen.

And the innocent sense of freedom I felt riding my bike for the first time alone, knowing Vicki would be in BIG trouble for stopping off at Jen’s house (her best friend) and losing track of time, when she got home…

And how puzzled I was when she wasn’t at Jen’s…

And the sense of panic I felt the moment I found Vicki’s bike in the middle of the road, she was no where to be found…

And the faces of my friends as I road my bike frantically through our quiet little neighborhood calling for Vicki, them asking me what was wrong??? 

And my mom’s utter distress when I came back home without her…

It was 1984… and when I learned pure evil exists. 

I have struggled these last weeks, searching for the words to properly convey the emotions that this day brings but I have honestly come up short… 

And as much as I wanted to post a blog filled with loving memories about Vicki on the 30th anniversary of her death, I can’t. 

I can’t because there has been no justice in our failed system. The monster that took Vicki’s innocent life that September day still sits on Death Row in Florence, AZ. 

Because we are NOT battling whether or not Frank Atwood is guilty of the kidnapping, sexual assault or brutal murder of my sister, but whether or not his counsel was “ineffective” at the time of his trial and if he actually suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at the time he murdered my sister. 

And we are still waiting to see if his defense team will actually file an opening brief by November 21, 2014 in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals or file yet another extension that could possibly be granted by the court. 

Because I have to explain to my children the evils of the world; not because they exist, but because it happened to my life and still continues to happen, 30 years later. 

And because 10,957 days is a really, really, really long time for a family to not have closure and be able to move on…

So, today, I will do my best to to smile through the tears, and continue to fight for justice for my sissy…

Delayed Until November

Vicki Lynne 1984

Vicki Lynne 1984

Last week, the United States Courts for the Ninth Circuit granted Atwood’s defense team an extension in filing their opening brief until November 21, 2014. As I stated in a previous blog, I should have placed a Las Vegas wager that this would happen as it was a much anticipated move by Atwood’s defense team, claiming the case is long, complicated and they needed more time to prepare the brief on his behalf.

Borrowed time on our tax paying dime, as they continue to manipulate the legal system to their benefit.

It’s been 10,860 days since Atwood kidnapped, sexually assaulted and murdered my 8 year old sister, Vicki Lynne. 10,860 days he has lived on this earth, freeloading off the tax payers, getting a college education, writing books and selling them from his website, repeatedly trying to have contact with children through the mail and fighting for his life that should have ended long ago for the brutal crime he committed.

The clock is ticking for Atwood, and as each day passes we are one day closer to seeing his punishment being carried out. For now, I have satisfaction in knowing he is haunted by Vicki’s cries and the horrible torture he put her through, secretly wishing he was dead.

This delay is frustrating and so incredibly difficult to explain to those who carry this horribly tragic and personal story in their hearts. Why will we have to wait any longer? It’s already been 29 years, 8 months and 26 days to see justice carried out.

Today, I continue to have confidence in our attorneys as they prepare for what lies ahead, and pray for the panel of judges who will hear our case… and will wait to see what November brings.