The truth shall set them free

John, my step father was frantically trying to get out of that underground room as the sand started to fill the dungeon. He was normally very calm, rocking, and chanting to himself. I knew this particular part of his sadistic lifestyle was coming to an end. It was my fault, I knew that too, that was why I was put in the cage. Once I discovered the power I had within myself I wouldn’t quit talking regardless of what they did to me. And even though he left me down there, pulled up the rope ladder that led in and out of that black hole, and though my cage was locked I was still happy. Happy because he could no longer hurt me or Dawna. I knew he’d leave for ever. Happy because I knew people were watching him and that was his greatest fear. He would undoubtedly find another dark whole to hide in, without us. As the rope disappeared and I could hear footsteps scrambling above my head, I lifted the latch climbed out of my cubby prison cell and went across that underground penitentiary to unlatch a little boy’s cage. He had the most beautiful olive colored skin, bIack hair, and before he was put into that nightmare he had a bubbly happy energetic personality. I remember watching him play, the same day my step father took him, and thinking he would be a fun friend.

That day, when the hole was being filled, I just stared at him wondering why he wasn’t trying to get out or listening to my voice as I plead for him to hurry. Then something very peaceful and calming came over me. I looked deeper into his dark brown eyes with tiny golden flecks in them, they just stared back at me, and they were empty. He was no longer there with me. Though the sand and water kept filling the entire dungeon I stood looking into those eye slowly climbing up the sand pile as it got bigger. I was amazed at the peace and light I could see around him. Not so much in the death process itself but the place I knew he had gone. It seemed to be glowing all around me, I say glowing for a lack of any other word to describe it. He was happy, he was ok. As I think back on it today while I write it down, President Monson’s favorite quote comes to my mind. “I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left. My spirit shall be in your heart and mine angels round about you to bear you up.”(1) I knew the angels were bearing him up though we were in two different places now we were both being surrounded by angels. Nephi also talks about angels “…, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about…” (2)
water filling

I climbed out, went to the other side of the crawl space and just stayed there until I could not hear anyone above me. As I sat there, I began to cry. I wondered why that little boy got to go home. And I had to stay here on earth. Death was beautiful and not something that was terrifying. The terrifying part was living in a world and taking the blunt end of others bad choices. Later that night I climbed out of the crawl space, wet cold and dirty, but tougher and stronger. Determined I would never love anyone again. Up to this point those that I loved were either dead, had used that love to manipulate and hurt me or had lived in another state though they had never hurt me, I wasn’t sure I could trust that to last. So instead, I built a wall between me and the world, with Dawna being the only one with a key to get in. Oh, some saw glimpses of me, and even got a foot in my closed off heart. I truly believed Love was a four letter word synonymous to hate, hurt, and pain. I wanted nothing to do with it.
Until I took missionary discussions and was taught that within certain boundaries it was safe to love. If others followed the Lords instructions, lived them, they would have no desire to hurt you. They just wanted the same things I did. A safe happy life.

I have carried a promise in my heart for that little boy, for all of John’s victims. I promised to set them free. To tell their loved ones they are ok. Where they now are. For 25 years I have been trying to fulfill that promise but, I can’t get the people with the authority to do something about it to act and use the power the law has granted them.

After our trip to Oklahoma I was so excited. I was certain I would be able to fulfill that promise. I was convinced that the police officers would see the error of their ways and just go look at the crawl space. It was exactly the same as I remembered, exactly how I had described it to them. Anyone could tell there was a room there just by looking. And they would arrest the psychopath and no one else would be hurt. But, I was wrong.

crawl spacee 32 years later

One of the first disputes the Edmond Police Officer gave me. Was that all that evidence we found and brought to them was materials accidently swept down into the crawl space when the home was remodeled in the 1990’s. It was obvious to me that, that was not true. So we gave our pictures to an investigator here in Utah and asked them to find as much information out as they could.

Broken pipewe found (2)

By looking on the numbers on the side of the pipe they could tell it was too old to have been used in 1990 when the home was remodeled. They would not have used this material in any kind of plumbing. It was material that they would have used when the home was originally built. Also, it was definitely broken off not cut as they would have done in a remodel. The water line and the vent were exactly as I had described in my police report before I ever went back to Oklahoma. They concluded that this piece of evidence is consistent with the report I had sent the Edmond Police Department. This proved yet another one of their excuses to be invalid.

Thank you for sharing my story with your friends. Thank you for supporting me. I’m sure all of John’s victims are thanking you from above. I just have to believe with a little or a lot of pressure they will have to go look.

(1) The ministering of Angels General Conference talk. By Jeffery R. Holland
(2) 3Nephi 17:24 The Book of Mormon

You are never alone

We Are Never Alone
As I sat on the floor, alone in the darkness of my bedroom, on the floor because that was where I ended up after jumping out of bed in a panic. I ran to the kitchen then to the living room, the bathroom, the kitchen again. Running from what? Running from the images popping up in front of my eyes. But, no matter where I ran, or how fast I ran. Those images that were there causing my heart to panic didn’t go away. The more I panicked the more I wanted to run. The more I ran the more I panicked. I sat down in exhaustion on the floor afraid of sleep. It was when I slept as a little girl that the monsters awoke in our house. They came up as the sun went down. I sat rocking my adult body, wondering why now, why would this be causing me so much pain and fear now? I desperately longed for someone to understand how I felt. Understand how I could make it stop. I panicked even more wondering if I would be stuck in that moment forever. Forever being in fear. Forever alone. When I looked up and on my bedroom wall was this picture of the Savior.
With my arms wrapped tightly around my knees that were pulled up to my chest I rocked myself, the longer I looked at that picture, (1) the more I could image his pain and suffering. The words, his words, quoted by the prophets seemed to wrap around me. Nephi puts it perfectly when he said, “… I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” (2) I closed my eyes and imagined the power, his power, and his love encircling me about. With that image in mind I whispered to myself, ‘it’s ok to remember you are safe now.’ The rocking became slower, as my hearts beat softened. And I remembered a time when as a little girl I desperately needed to be held. I was terrified, alone, and it was dark. ‘It’s okay for those memories to come back, you are safe now Shawna.’ I repeated over and over in my mind, as I allowed the memories to just flow. As if the scared little girl in me was asking the adult I had become to help her feel safe. I looked to the Savior for help on that dark journey. He was crucified, he walked all our dark journeys and not just so we could be forgiven for our sins. But, for the first time in my life the fuller scope of the crucifixion came into view. He was crucified so he could take upon himself our cups (our burdens) upon himself when he prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, “… father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, done.” (3) The savoir kept his cup so later he could hold mine for me. I wasn’t alone on my journey he had felt what I felt, he had mourned like I had mourned, He understood and not only stood on my wall in a painting but stood before me as my brother, friend, and savior to offer me protection from the haunting memories of others bad choices. Confident in his love I was able to stand strong and face the memories. Look straight into the faces, places, and events from a time so long ago and decide to fight. I decided then to never allow the bad choices they made to control my life.
So I fought and for some reason they fought back on the side of my mother.
Another Excuse the Edmond police department gave to the FBI, my family,, and friends was…, they quoted my birth mother, “She was a disturbed young girl. None of it was real. She struggled with truth back then. Very difficult child. None of what she said was true.” But, unfortunately for them and my birth mother. There people around that would argue that statement. The years that the abuse was the most severe were 1976-78. One of those angels that would argue with my birth mother and will still stand against her, sent me these.

So you see, we are never really ever alone. There are angels all around you. On this side of the veil and the other. Waiting for you to ask for help and you shall receive it. Perhaps not in the timing we would want, but, exactly the timing that is best for us.


(1)Picture by Harry Anderson
(2) 2Nephi 1:15
(3) Luke 22:42
This is a great video about the savior None Were with Him. By Jeffery R. Holland

A prayer for help

As I have been thinking about this post today the song, by Alabama, keeps running through my mind. “Oh…oh… I believe there are angels among us. Sent down to us from somewhere up above. They come to you and me in our darkest hour…” Just writing the experience down even years later brings back so much disbelief. I cannot no matter what angle I look at this situation understand why the Edmond Police department would not just go look. So, I searched the words of the prophets to find peace. One talk, one phrase stood out to me in bold writing. “Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed them….,” (1) I loved this because it reminded me that there truly is no power on earth that can make you feel as if you have been consumed by fire. Your whole soul being lite with remembrance of him (our Father) and his power.
That’s how Dawna and I felt when we decided to go back to Oklahoma. It took a lot of faith to get onto that plane and leave the safety of my husband. Without that feeling, that burning within us that tells us we are on the right track and to push forward. Take one more step regardless of the fear echoing in your head. Without that feeling we would have never gone. But, we knew we needed to go and we knew we needed to go that weekend. Why that weekend? We didn’t know at the time.
Amazing, wonderful things happened to us while we were in Oklahoma…. I can’t wait to share that with you…. And the more experiences we had the stronger the feeling came that we were doing the right thing. However, I interpreted that feeling as, “Finally it is all going to end. They will find the children. Maybe even save some now because the psychopath will be locked up.” My interpretation was wrong and it shook me.
They didn’t even bother to go look. At the end of our trip hours before we were to load our plane home, we took our evidence down to the Edmond police department. Excitedly I explained to them what I had found. I told them the homeowner was swinging the front door wide open for them as he did for me. The two officers taking my statement down were not excited in the least. They actually refused to go. They just sat there writing down notes, looking at all the evidence I had brought to them, and listened to me. The dull bored look in their eyes draining every ounce of my enthusiasm. I cried explaining to them that it would only take them 20 minutes, the house was just a couple of blocks away. I had just flown 1,187.4 miles, crawled back through the most terrifying parts of my life, I had cobwebs all over in my hair, my clothes were filthy, and I was weeping. They sat there. My heart broke and sobbed the kind of cry that causes words to be stuck like a knot lodged in your throat…. they did nothing. And I could hardly believe what I was seeing and hearing. I was powerless to do anything. And they knew it. They just sat there.
Still determined even after I got home I followed up with the FBI in Oklahoma City. When the kind understanding FBI agent asked the Edmond police department why they didn’t go look, the cop that took my statement simply said, “She is lying about everything they had talked with my step family and didn’t believe they needed to investigate any further.” They told the FBI agent that they had gone down to the school where I had said I was enrolled and discovered there wasn’t a teacher there that knew me and there was never a little girl named Candy that was enrolled in school there at that time. (Candy was my best friend and my stepfather took her right off her front lawn.) Six months had passed I kept talking with the FBI agent. He believed me. He went to go look in the crawl space, but the homeowner would not let him in. Apparently the kids that were living there moved out because of what they knew happened there. The owner didn’t want the FBI going down because he would never be able to rent the house again rather my story was true or not. He told him maybe when he was in-between renters he would allow it. He has never contacted us again.
I literally felt like the weight of that house and all that happened there was burying me with grief. That wonderful burning feeling that I felt when we left to go there turned to self-doubt and hopelessness. I cried for those children even 30 years later, I knew them, I couldn’t help them…. I still couldn’t help them. I was a parent now and the thought of their parents not knowing what had happened to their kids for the last 30 years brought darkness all surrounded me. I felt helpless, and stuck, so much that I could not smile and laugh with my husband and children any more. All I could think of was, ‘Who else has he hurt, while I have been trying to get them to look? Who else is he going to hurt?’ So I put the Murder by 7’s video out there, said a prayer, and had to let it go. I had to allow myself to heal, continually tell myself, ‘I did all that I can do up to this point, now live in the present and do what you can do for kids now. Leave it in the Lords hands.’
My point in telling you the sadness, doubt and darkness I felt at that time is so I can honestly testify, “There will be times we feel like this, all of us. No matter who we are. But, I have found that in these times, our darkest of hours angels are working among us. We have the power to call upon them and although we may not see the results of our faith until years later. We will, I promise we all will see the results in the Lords time. At that time I had no choice but to believe that. And take life one step at a time. Sometimes one moment at a time continually praying that I could see the good around me. And I did come out of that darkness, and a year or so later I saw some of the results of our Oklahoma trip and the Murder by 7’s video. I received two anonymous folders. Someone was truly being an angel. Sent down to me from somewhere up above. They were around helping me in my darkest hours even though I couldn’t see them. I’ll tell you everything that was in those folders but first let me share my favorite.

A phone book. A listing of everyone that went to school there. It had all our names, phone numbers, and addresses. I was so shocked when I saw that I couldn’t even speak. I flipped open the pages and not only was there a Candi that went to school with me but there were two girls named candy. And my teacher still worked there as a second grade teacher. She retired the year after I had gone back to Oklahoma. The Edmond police never went down to that school.
Although it is hard for me to ask. I need your help now. I don’t have any idea why the police department just didn’t go look in that crawl space. But, the way they have treated me and who knows who else they have treated this way, is completely wrong. I promise you that if they would just go down there it would not take much effort for them to find the first bed chamber where I know my stepfather left a little boy there. I knew him, I knew all of his victims. And their faces still haunt me. Please share this video link with your friends and families, please ask them to share it. Together, I’ve been told, that we can cause enough ruckus, and apply enough pressure to get them to do their job. Please share. Here’s the phone book.