Sunday, April 23, 2017

In the Beginning

Uhaul murders teraisa goldman
original note cards I could arrange into the entire book
Behind the scenes, there's a common theme with the U-Haul Murders and, in the long run, it belongs in a Coen Brothers' movie; it's that ironic: crazy coincidences that you just can't make up.

For me as a writer of fiction, mothering, and homeschooling articles, this was evidenced by everything being dropped over and over again into my lap, urging me to tell the story I tried to give away. Fate says otherwise.

And yet, if only it was that easy. It's now been more than two decades I've been interviewing, researching, learning, listening, reading, and writing.

The Carson City, Nevada, we knew was on the edge of the capitol city where wild horses roamed... which meant we didn't at that time have cable and, in fact, our TV would only either show the picture or emit sound on local channels, but never both. The radio was no better.

Because of this, the actual U-Haul Murders in January, 1994, went unnoticed in our house. I had seen a blip of Maria Calambro briefly later that month while the news covered the controversy of her leaving jail to attend her son's funeral (there's no surprises in true crime--Maria killed her four-year-old son, Binh) and why it stayed in my mind, well, we now understand.

It would be December of '95, when by chance a free trial week of the Nevada Appeal was delivered to our door. On the cover was Duc Cong Huynh, who made good on his threats and was found dead, hanging in his jail cell. Always some controversy for the masses, this became important because he was on suicide watch. 

My mom and I devoured the newspaper--living in the boonies does that to you--and while reading, I had a premonition: author Gary Provost would absolutely love this story littered with what he calls "...and then's."

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy 2017 (AKA Anniversary 23 -- It NEVER Gets Easier)

The crime that started it all, the actual U-Haul murders, began as a robbery at closing time on January 3, 1994, and "ended" in a double homicide after midnight.

2017 marks 23 years since the tragic killing of Keith and Peggy; the agony and loss lives on.

What do you say each year at the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve to someone who lost their loved one in the most brutal fashion possible? I don't know, either; to say I'm praying for a year better than all the ones before borders consideration and insensitivity all at once but ... what's the rule on what to say?

There's no right or wrong in what you say, but there is plenty of awkward when you say nothing at all.

Victims and their families don't possess a how-to manual any more than you do, they don't even know what is "okay," themselves--they know only what not to say and usually they learn that the hard way.

Each year since 1994, the hope of a new year is always followed by (for me) sadness.

In the very early hours of January 4, 1994, Keith Allan Christopher, 21, and Peggy Ann Crawford, 37, were brutally murdered. To say that this was a most horrendous crime isn't close to adequate (a story for another time), as each judge and prosecutor prove time and time again when publicly admitting The U-Haul Murders was the worst and most memorable case they've had to handle.

The murders were followed by a literal unbelievable crime spree that lasted weeks, crossed state lines, and involved so many jurisdictions many of the crimes went unpunished. After more than 100 total convictions/guilty pleas (including capital convictions), it'd have been a waste of taxpayer money and time to hold convicted so-call U-Haul murders, Alvaro Calambro and Duc Cong Huynh, accountable for everything.

In case you were wondering (warning: spoilers!), both killers are also dead, which makes two more families I struggle to find the right words for.

"It's a new year," I say to the victims and their families and all others touched by the U-Haul Murders. Because ... what else can I say?

PS: Sign up for updates, bookmark the website, or come back every now and then to read about a few of the crimes committed but not prosecuted, as they are only briefly mentioned in the book