To be very honest, I don't even know where to start. This 'event', if you can call it that, is just so beyond me and anything I can get into my head that it's hard to express anything really. The story would be much longer if I start from the beginning, but I won't do this today. I will... someday.
Short back-story: When I lived in Vegas, I married a man from Pennsylvania. One with a past. But who doesn't have one? We dated for a short time, moved in together, got married two years later and six months after that I was pregnant. I flew back to the Netherlands when I was 3 months pregnant. I fought hard for that relationship and I fought during it. I took risks and risked a lot. But I refused to risk the life of our child...
It was always going to end badly for him or someone in his life. I just never imagined this.
He has seen his daughter once when she was almost 2 after we visited him at his grandmothers' house in PA in December 2003. Remember that date.
Last week I received a message from his son from a former relationship. I've been in touch with him since he was 14 and we have a great relationship even though we've never met. Jordan is very special to me, not just because he's my daughter's brother, but because he beat quite some odds in his 26 years on earth.
The message read: "Did you hear anything about my dad?"
At first, I didn't quite understand what he was saying, so I replied: "No, you?"
Then it hit me that the way he asked implied that something was up. My ex's name is quite uncommon, so googling it will get results if there are results to find. There were. What I read shocked me to the core but before I could read beyond headlines I received another message from Jordan asking me if he could call me.
His first words were: "It's not good. Not good at all." Yeah, I figured that. But even those headlines and the content of the news article didn't prepare me for what was to come...
I'll break it down. Warning: Not for the faint-hearted.
A cold case of a missing woman who went missing in December 2003 was re-opened and closed all at once.
She was killed by her boyfriend. Her boyfriend was my ex, who I was still married to at the time.
So how did this case get re-opened, you ask?
Well, they found the body. In a storage locker in Philadelphia. But this is not even the sickest part of it all.
She hadn't been in that storage locker all that time. He killed her at his house (the house where he was living with his grandparents at the time and the house we visited just one month before the woman was killed there).
An argument got out of hand and he killed her. Then he kept her in the coal bin for nearly 16 years...
In the barn of the house where his grandparents also lived...and while he was in prison too for some time.
But that's not all. Not quite there yet.
Around April this year, he got in touch and told me and our daughter that he was moving to Philadelphia.
That was about the same time that he decided it would be a good idea to dig up the woman and bring her to the city to stuff her in a storage locker. He must have been short of money (although he sold his house), because it seemed that he couldn't rent a larger locker to fit her in. So he had to 'lose' something.
Yup, it gets sicker and more twisted. Don't tell me I didn't warn you.
Apparently, in May this year, someone found two legs in the Susquehanna River... Her legs. The story above made me sick to the stomach, but that last bit... I can't get over it. I was stunned and numb and sick all at once. I married that monster!
And the sad part was that when I told my daughter, she wasn't even surprised. It breaks my heart. She acts tough and like it doesn't hurt her, but I know it does. She used to say that she had no intentions nor the urge to ever see him. And that might be true, but then she had a choice. That choice has now been taken from her. Unless she's going to visit him in prison. But I don't see that ever happen.
I feel for that woman and the family she leaves behind. Her two kids. But hopefully, they will get some sort of closure now. For his family, the nightmare has only just begun... There are so many questions...
I told Jordan that when I was still living with his dad, he was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I met the Jekyll, and when he wasn't drinking, he was kind and even shy towards strangers. Hardworking and always willing to help anyone. But he turned into Mr. Hyde when he drank. He could go weeks or even months without a drop, but I'd always see the change coming. He'd turn into himself, think about all his past errors and what he left behind (his son) and he'd go for the drink. It always ended in drama.
But I wanted for his son and our daughter to know that, back then, there was also good in him, not just bad. But how do you justify what he did? You couldn't. Jordan told me that he had changed over the years since I left. He had moved back home and made drinking and drugs his mission. He told me that every time he saw him, he would be worse. Even when he was sober.
According to him, he seemed insane at times. The video of his transfer to another facility attest to that and the media, of course, captures that really well. There's nothing left of the man I used to know. The doctor is gone and the monster is what's left.
The worst part is that all of this could have been prevented, probably.
He was in and out of prison before I met him, and he was in and out of prison even more after I left.
His grandmother's savings always paid for his ticket to Easy Street. The best lawyers money could buy made sure that what should have been felony charges, were turned into misdemeanors. Instead of doing hard time, which in his case might have actually taught him a lesson, because to be honest: he was nothing more than a spoiled grown-up child, he ended up getting time in low-security jail. Maybe with probation or sometimes even only probation. If he would have been a man with color, he probably wouldn't have gotten off that easily. Money talks, white privilege too. Hell, if he would have been a state or two up, in New York, he would have been done for life a long, long time ago.
So even though I am not trying to justify his behavior and actions, I blame the justice system.
The judges and the system who dealt with him should have recognized mental illness when they saw it. I sure as hell did.
Years ago, when he was in prison for the longest time since we met, more than three years, he wrote us letters in which he told us that he found Jesus... That really alarmed me and I knew something was seriously wrong, because he would never, ever say anything like that unless he snapped. I figured he was doing it to have a chance to early release, it couldn't have been anything else. No chance he would actually say such a thing. Jesus? No fucking way!
The justice system and the judge who couldn't see past his nose are indirectly responsible for this woman's death.
As are his ex-girlfriends who decided to drop any charges against him. I'm not 100% innocent either. Instead of doing anything about the way he treated me, treated people in general, I left. But I guess that neither one of us could have ever foreseen this.
I met her.
One month before she was killed. I didn't know he had a girlfriend at the time when we boarded the plane. I went because I wanted him to meet his daughter and to see if our marriage was truly over. Stupid things women do sometimes. Yeah, I did.
Well, it was over, and our visit was full of drama. The girlfriend, naturally, wasn't happy we'd arrived and she wasn't just going to let things slide. She was a bit unstable, a heavy drinker and her kids were living with her ex. But she sure as hell didn't deserve to go that way. No one does. When I saw her photo and her name...my heart just sunk into my shoes.
The more I thought of it, the more I realized that our visit to PA could have triggered her horrible end.
I have seen that rage in him too. The kind that could kill. Accidentally or not. I've seen it more than once and that's the reason I left. I even warned her, but whoever listens to the ex (wife)?
From bad to positive
If anything good could ever come out of something like this, it's probably that my daughter talked to her brother over the phone for the first time ever. That they get to build a relationship. We talked to him for more than an hour and even started to make some plans to visit next summer... It's about time. I think we all need to have that, for this to have a positive turn.
Jordan said: "I'm just glad it wasn't you." Bittersweet it is. I was the lucky one who got away. Yes. But someone else lost her life. There are no winners here. All parties lose.
And I hope that her family will find some closure.
Thank you for reading!