You Came Back!
Shona and Mary Leah were twin sisters living in Olympia, Washington in 1974. They shared an apartment together and at the age of 35 found themselves attending computer classes at St. Martin’s College. They were taking computer classes at night and hoped after graduation to get a job with the government. This was their final quarter and the two of them were excited.
They had studied hard and practiced quizzing each other on computer definitions as well as solving computer problems. They enjoyed brisk walks and going to the gym three times a week. When Shona opened the refrigerator door and realized there was just a little bit of Almond milk left, she asked her sister if she’d like to walk over to Safeway with her.
Mary put the Danielle Steel book she was reading and said yes. It was May and the sun was high in the sky. On their way to the store, Shona asked her sister to take a short cut down a walking trail through a wooded park. Mary took the lead and briskly walked down the trail, laughing as she called out to her sister to keep up with her. Mary was keeping ahead of her sister by about 35 feet as she took deep breaths.
Suddenly Mary heard her sister scream out her name. As she turned around, Mary put her hand to her mouth as she saw a man pulling her sister backwards towards some brush with one hand pulling on her hair. In his other hand he held a hammer. Mary was frozen with fear as tears rolled down her eyes. She wanted to run away and also wanted to run to save her sister but could do neither.
Just as Shona and her attacker reached the side of the trail, she cried out to her sister to run. As soon as she finished screaming those words, her attacker struck her on the right side of her head with his hammer and Mary heard her sister’s skull crack. She gasped and let out a loud moan and suddenly quit struggling as blood flowed down the side of her face.
The man wore a black jogging suit and his long greasy hair stood out. He wore black tennis shoes and had a pair of latex gloves on, the kind people wore in hospitals. Suddenly her sister’s killer let go of Shona’s hair and she fell to the ground. Now he began running after Mary with his hammer held high in the air. She saw the cruel look in his eyes as she turned around and began running for her life.
She ran for her life and heard his footsteps behind her closing the distance but she was too frightened to look back. She was terrified she would stumble and fall. She knew if she fell she too would die. On and on she ran as tears blinded her as she forced herself to see the side of the Safeway store appear in the distance. At some point her attacker gave up his chase and ran back to Shona.
Mary ran into the parking lot screaming as shoppers walking to the store entrance or pushing carts of groceries back to their car stared. The look in Mary’s eyes was that of a terrified woman. People were on their cell phones calling 911 not knowing why she was screaming. When the police arrived on the scene, a police car was rushing into the parking lot from both directions almost at the same time.
Officers immediately spotted the woman running in the parking lot banging into parked cars, stumbling back only to run in a different direction as she continued to scream. Onlookers stared at the woman not knowing if she was on drugs as a young mother pulled her two children close to her. The two officers ran after Mary trying to catch her and finally blocked her in between two vehicles.
They tried to calm her down but Mary became combative, not able to realize the police were there to help her. She was lost in her minds nightmare of watching her sister being murdered and the police officer tasered her. She collapsed and fell to the ground. A police officer handcuffed the woman and they put her in the back of one of the police cars and began interviewing witnesses.
They tried to find out if the woman was involved in a domestic dispute. All the witnesses could tell them was that they saw her screaming and running into vehicles. Mary was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital emergency room. Mary had to be sedated and the nurse took a blood sample from Mary before two attendants strapped her to a gurney and took her to a private room.
A police officer stood guard outside her room. While the lab was checking her blood for illegal substances or medications, Mary found herself laying on the gurney strapped and unable to move. She turned her head from left to right and saw she was in a patient’s room but didn’t know where. The curtains were open in her room but she was too high up to see anything. But she could hear cars passing by.
She no longer was screaming or panicking. The shot that sedated her had calmed her down. As she lay there unable to move, tears rolled down her cheeks and she began to feel her heart beating faster and faster. She looked at the wall behind her head and saw the call button to request a nurse, but her hands were down at her side and she couldn’t press it. So she did the only thing she could do. She let out a horrible scream.
In seconds her terrified eyes saw the police officer come into her room, followed by two nurses with frightened looks on their faces. Between the three people, they calmed down Mary enough for her to tell them that she saw her sister murdered on a walking trail behind the Safeway store. The police officer asked her what clothing her sister wore. She told her a red dress and black shoes. She also told the officer her sister had long brown hair and had in a braid.
Mary gave a good description of her sister’s attacker. He radioed the description of the suspect and her sister and the location of the attack to the police dispatcher. Just then a doctor with a stethoscope around his neck entered Mary’s room. His name was Doctor Brown. In his hand he held the blood work report for Mary and told the police officer Mary had no drugs in her system.
He asked the two nurses to take the straps off of Mary. When she was helped to her feet she hugged one of the nurses and cried and cried. When the police officer asked Mary if she knew her sister’s attacker, she shook her head no. Then he asked her if she could identify him if she saw him again. With bitter and angry eyes she told the officer, “Yes. “I will never forget his face!”
The police officer asked if she felt strong enough to accompany him back to the hiking trail and Mary wiped her eyes and nodded. He parked his patrol car at Safeway where another officer was waiting. Together they began walking down the trail. When Mary looked ahead and saw several more police officers looking to her left in the brush, Mary knew they had found her sisters body.
She couldn’t hold back her tears and she felt her legs go under her and the officer nearest her caught her. The second officer walked ahead and talked to other officers. From the other direction Mary saw to ambulance workers bringing down a wheeled gurney. Suddenly a police photographer stepped out of the brush with his camera. When his eyes looked into her eyes she knew that her sister was dead.
“We found your sisters body and her purse. I know it’s not what you want to do but we need you to identify the body.” the police officer walking up to Mary asked. As she looked up at the officer helping her to stand on her feet, he told her if she wanted to wait until the next day it would be alright. But Mary shook her head and told her now was best. By now Shona’s body had been place on the gurney and they were bringing the gurney out of the brush.
Her body was covered with a white sheet and the area where her head was, was turning red. On top of the sheet was a large clear plastic bag with Shona’s clothing and purse. It had a small identification tag tied to the bag with a string. As soon as Mary saw her sister’s body she put her hand to her mouth and began to cry. “I should have stayed and tried to save my sister, but she told me to run away!” she cried out as she shook her head in despair.
In a kind voice the officer told her that she couldn’t have saved her sister and that that most likely, she too would have been murdered. By now they were both standing beside the gurney and a police officer told her he deeply regretted having her identify her sister. As Mary nodded and wiped her eyes, one of the ambulance attendants pulled the sheet back from Shona’s head.
Mary saw that her sister had been struck with the killer’s hammer twice. When she looked at the bag of clothes she knew that the man had raped her sister. As she turned to the officer and hugged him he told her other officers were searching for anyone matching the description. “I’ll drive you back to your apartment and if we locate any suspects, we’ll call you so you can look at a police lineup.” he said in a caring voice.
Officer Brooks took down Mary’s phone number and before he said goodbye, he told her that Shona’s purse was found strewn around her body. “I’ll make sure officers are patrolling this area more often. Please make sure you keep your doors and windows locked.” he said. Mary nodded as she wiped her eyes and walked toward the front door of her apartment.
Mary stood in front of her apartment door trembling as she stared at the key in her hand. Finally she put the key in the lock and opened the door. When she entered the living room she quickly made her way to the couch and sat down. She buried her head in her hands and cried. Everywhere she looked she saw memories of her sister in photographs or belongings.
When she finally composed herself, she walked to each room and made sure that each window was locked. She made sure also that the front door and patio door was locked. The next morning when the phone rang and Mary picked it up; she heard Officer Brook’s voice and he asked her how she was holding up? “I didn’t sleep a bit last night. I don’t know what I’m going to do!” she said in a sad voice.
He asked her if she felt up to coming down to the police station to pick up her sister’s clothing and purse. He also said while she was down at the station, a police sketch artist wanted to meet with her so he could make a composite drawing of what the suspect looked like. She told him she could catch the bus downtown and be at the police station by 1:30 that afternoon.