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Friday, September 05, 2014

Juanita Nelson

If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? 

1 Cornithians 15:32

The above is the epigraph to The Silence of the Lambs, which is actually an extremely well-written book.  I have this quote written in my research notebook for Ravine.

Something plucks at me as I continue to research and write: the unsolved murder of Juanita Nelson, eighteen years old, who disappeared while walking to San Lorenzo Valley High in 1998.  She was eight weeks pregnant when she vanished; it has been theorized that her body was dumped into a ravine off Bear Creek Road.  Apparently there has been a jailhouse informant, but without a body, no charges can be filed. And how reliable are jailhouse informants, anyways? It all depends.

What I would like to try and find out, while researching this book, are any parallels, any potential contacts, between Juanita and McClish.  Given the efficiency with which he killed Asha, hid her body, rid himself of her backpack, and hid her car, I wonder about whether he killed before.  It's something to think about.  In the meantime, I might email one of the detectives who worked on Asha's case about Juanita.  It would be "good" (wrong word to use, but you know what I mean), if there could be closure for Juanita's family.

Tomorrow: County Building, again, to get Asha and Richard Veil's marriage license, and her death certificate.  

All this information has to go very slowly.  It is hard to take.  

Still, after what I have been through in the last nine months, nothing surprises me anymore.  The trick is not to let such an experience taint my entire world view.  What I went through has nothing on what Asha went through:  in a matter of minutes, I discovered that someone I loved with all my heart is just about the worst thing a human being can be, forever complicating the fact that I still love this person, realizing I was just a "thing" to him, the man whose baby I carried and lost in secret.  In the very same way, Asha was a "thing" to McClish.  

Asha saw the monster under the mask of someone she loved, too, and he killed her.

Anyways, less of this thinking and more focus on the book, the intent, and perhaps considering Juanita's murder.  Though I may never be able to do this for Juanita's family, I would feel I had accomplished some good in life by helping to bring closure on a horrific tragedy.