No Body, No Problem: Murder Convictions in Missing Persons Cases

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Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk.

The old Hollywood trope of “no body, no conviction” is usually accurate, but not always true. Generally, it is very difficult to prove the murder of a missing person.

But, between the tenacity of investigators and the legal precedent of the United States v. Scott, plenty of killers are convicted without a body.

In the Scott case, the judge essentially stated that when the prosecution uses enough credible circumstantial evidence, thereby excluding any other rational conclusion, a person can be convicted in the murder of a missing person.

In most homicide cases, the court requires direct evidence in order to convict a murderer. An obvious example of direct evidence would be the discovery of the strangled remains of the victim.

On the other hand, circumstantial evidence requires the jury to rely on inference and, then, connect the dots. So, it’s definitely more difficult to prove a murder relying solely on circumstantial evidence, but as long as the prosecutor provides enough credible dots, the jury can convict.

Here are two high-profile cases where bodies were not recovered, but killers were convicted.

The Chillingworth Murders

In June 1955, Judge Curtis E. Chillingworth and his wife Marjorie were brutally murdered near their Florida beach house. Three men were eventually held accountable for the murders, despite the victims’ bodies never being recovered.

In the early morning hours of June 15, 1955, Floyd “Lucky” Holzapfel and George “Bobby” Lincoln kidnapped the couple at gunpoint. Forced from their home – to a boat that was docked nearby – the couple was bound and gagged. The victims also had to endure having anchors tied around their necks.

The killers sailed away from the coast and threw the couple into the deep ocean waters.

Curtis and Marjorie were never seen again – alive or dead.

Within 12 hours of their murder, the investigation began. And that’s because the judge was a very responsible, punctual man. So, when he didn’t show up at court, colleagues became immediately alarmed.

When the police arrived at the couples’ home, they discovered blood stains on the area leading from the house to the beach.  They also found two rolls of adhesive tape and a smashed porch light.

After analyzing the crime scene, it became apparent that the couple was taken to sea.

Aerial support and dive teams had no luck in locating the bodies. The investigation went stale until police discovered that Holzapfel had been bragging around town that he knew who killed the judge and his wife.

The police eventually got a confession out of him.

Turns out, the brains behind the whole operation was a man named Joseph Alexander Peel – who was also a judge. But a crooked one, who had a long history of being admonished for his behavior by Chillingworth. And when Chillingworth threatened Peel with disbarment due to his unethical behavior, Peel decided that Chillingworth needed to be murdered. That’s when he hired Lincoln and Holzapfel.

After getting a full confession from Holzapfel, the police turned their attention to Lincoln, who was serving prison time on unrelated charges. Lincoln agreed to testify against Peel and Holzapfel in exchange for immunity. This immunity deal forced Holzapfel to plead guilty, with the hope of a reduced sentence.

In order to silence Lincoln, Peel hired two inmates to kill him, but the plot never came to fruition.

The trials didn’t last long. Peel was sentenced to two life sentences, even though the prosecutors asked for the death penalty.  In his old age, he was released from prison due to terminal cancer. Peel died nine days after his release.

Holzapfel got the death penalty, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. Many years later, he eventually died behind bars.

Lincoln completed his prison sentence stemming from an unrelated crime and was eventually released.

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Photo courtesy of dailybeast.com.

The Abduction and Killing of the Lyon Sisters

On March 25, 1975, pre-teen sisters Katherine and Sheila Lyon, were snatched from a suburban Washington D.C. mall.  Despite the massive investigation (one of the largest in the history of Metro D.C.), the girls were never seen again, and the case went cold for almost 40 years.

The case was resurrected in 2013 when the Montgomery County Police Department began focusing their attention on Lloyd Welch, a convicted sexual predator.

Detectives discovered that Welch had voluntarily involved himself in the initial investigation. It seems, that days after the girls’ disappearance, Welch had approached a security guard at the mall with information. Welch advised the guard that he had witnessed a man interacting with the girls on the day of the abduction.

When the police followed-up with Welch, he admitted that his whole story was a lie, and he was forced to take a polygraph test – which he failed. Yet, Lee was never questioned again, until 38 years later.

In 2013, during the reexamination of the case, Detectives zeroed-in on a 1977 mugshot of Welch. The mugshot had a strong resemblance to an earlier police sketch of man, who witnesses had seen staring inappropriately at the girls during their shopping trip to the mall.

Later that year, police visited Welch in prison, where he was serving time for child molestation. Investigators obviously feared that Welch would be apprehensive to speak with them, but that turned out to be false. Welch loved to talk. And, even though, he professed his innocence, his big mouth and intricate lies provided the police with a great deal of useful information.

As a result of Welch’s prison conversation with police, investigators were led to the doorstep of Henry Parker, who is Welch’s cousin. Parker revealed that, in 1975, he helped Welch burn two 60-70-pound duffle bags, which were covered in red stains and had a smell of ‘death’.

Investigators eventually pulled together enough evidence for Welch to confess to the murders. Then, in September 2017, Welch pled guilty to two counts of first-degree murder relating to the kidnapping and killing of the Lyon sisters. He was swiftly convicted and continues to serve time in prison.

Although the victims’ loved ones never had an opportunity to say good-bye, they did receive some sense of closure when justice was served with the conviction of the killers. Do you know of any cases where a body was never recovered, yet the killer was caught and convicted?

***

AVAILABLE NOW!!

FLOWERS ON HER GRAVE

Detective Katie Scott Book 3

A totally jaw-dropping crime thriller with an ending you will never see coming! Perfect for anyone who adores Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh.

FOHG-5-1 hi

Available in Kindle, Paperback, and AudioBook

Amz: ow.ly/AQ6W50yT2hJ

Apple Books: ow.ly/RuwK50yT2hL

Kobo: ow.ly/kAwY50yT2hK

Google Play: ow.ly/jVYw50yT2hM

 

***

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Book Release Today! FLOWERS ON HER GRAVE: A Detective Katie Scott Thriller #Crime #Bookouture #ebook

Exciting news! The third installment for the Detective Katie Scott Series: FLOWERS ON HER GRAVE released today. This was a fun and challenging story to write. See what readers have to say about FLOWERS ON HER GRAVE.

***

“A brilliantly sinister and addictive thriller that will keep you up way past your bedtime which features a tenacious, intelligent and resilient detective, Flowers on Her Grave is addictive crime fiction at its twisted best.” ~ Bookish Jottings

“Yet another great book from Jennifer Chase and I have to say, my favourite so far in this series.” ~ NetGalley

“Love it! Totally, utterly amazingly good book. 5 stars” ~ B for Bookreview

“Katie Scott is such a fantastic character, and I love how Ms. Chase keeps developing her whilst staying true to her military background and history.” ~ NetGalley

“Expertly paced to keep you on the edge of your seat from the first to the last page. I’m feeling the need to tell you to stop reading this review and go buy this (and the other books in the series)!!” ~ Jessica Belmont, Book Blogger & Reviewer

***

SYNOPSIS:

On the floor, among the piles of freshly pressed laundry, lay the woman’s lifeless body, her pale yellow nightdress soaked in blood.

“I didn’t do it…” came a whisper from the corner of the room.

Detective Katie Scott has never seen two people more in love than her aunt and uncle as they danced on the decking the night of their wedding anniversary party. But the next morning, when Katie finds her aunt’s body sprawled across the floor, that perfect image is shattered forever.

All fingers point to Katie’s uncle, Pine Valley’s beloved sheriff and protector – after all, his prints are all over the antique knife found at the scene. Grieving, but certain of her uncle’s innocence, Katie is consigned to the cold case division after she’s discovered searching the house for clues. Does someone want to keep her as far away from this investigation as possible?

Ignoring warnings from her team, Katie digs into her uncle’s old case files and discovers photographs of the body of a young girl found tied to a tree after a hike in search of a rare flower. Her body is covered with the same unusual lacerations her aunt suffered. Katie knows it can’t be a coincidence, but every lead she follows takes her to a dead end.

Moments before the sheriff is arrested, Katie realizes that a single piece of thread she found at the crime scene could be the missing link that will stitch old crimes to new. But how can she prove her uncle’s innocence without throwing herself directly into the line of fire? She doesn’t have a choice, he’s the only family she has left…

A totally jaw-dropping crime thriller with an ending you will never see coming! Perfect for anyone who adores Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh.

***

Available in Kindle, Paperback, and AudioBook

Amz: ow.ly/AQ6W50yT2hJ

Apple Books: ow.ly/RuwK50yT2hL

Kobo: ow.ly/kAwY50yT2hK

Google Play: ow.ly/jVYw50yT2hM

***

Bookouture Books-on-Tour

March 24th–March 27th

PubTour

***

Book 1  & Book 2

 

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Epitome of Evil: 4 Killers Without Motive

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As fans of crime fiction, we all know how important it is for murder investigators to understand a killer’s motive. But what if the killer was not a jealous lover, a greedy business partner or a vengeful ex? But rather, just a psycho looking for some thrills.

Fortunately, for law enforcement, proof of motive is not necessary to prosecute a criminal. Generally, the only three things that are required to convict a criminal are mental state, conduct and causation.

Basically, the prosecutor needs to prove that the criminal had the intent to carry out his crime, then carried out the intended act and that such action was a direct cause of the alleged offense.

Regardless of what is necessary, it is still very important to understand motive, because without it, law enforcement may struggle in narrowing down the potential suspects. And it may be very difficult to convince a jury of someone’s guilt, if you cannot show any real motive.

Killers without any clear motive are a particularly horrific group of people, because, essentially, their homicidal acts may have no explanation.

Here are 4 murders who were caught and prosecuted, but to this day – experts still are not sure what truly motivated the killings.

Brenda Ann Spencer

On January 29, 1979, Brenda Ann Spencer committed the unthinkable. At the young age of 16, she decided to open fire at the children of Grover Cleveland Elementary School in San Diego.

Using a semi-automatic rifle, Spencer fired shots from her bedroom window at kids who were waiting to enter the school’s playground. Lasting for 20 minutes, Spencer’s shooting spree took the lives of two adults – the principal and the school’s caretaker. Both victims were heroically protecting the kids when they were shot dead.

No children were killed, and the entire incident lasted seven hours due to the killer barricading herself inside her home.

When Spencer was finally apprehended by police, she explained that her motivation for killing was “I don’t like Mondays.” And that kids were “easy targets.”

Due to her young age, the killer did not receive the death penalty, but instead, was sentenced to 25 years to life.  All of the people responsible for her apprehension and conviction were utterly baffled by this senseless, horrific crime, as the murderer really had no motive, other than to simply kill for the sake of killing.

To date, Spencer is still in prison.

Dnepropetrovsk Maniacs

During the summer of 2007, Viktor Sayenko and Igor Suprunyuk brought chaos and horror to the Ukrainian town of Dnipropetrovsk. In a span of two months, these homicidal deviants killed 21 innocent souls. Creating videos of some the killings, the murderers gained immediate notoriety after a few of the videos were uploaded to the internet.

Thankfully, law enforcement was able to stop these two killers before they claimed more innocent lives. Although many theories went around regarding their motive, such as earning money for snuff videos and the need for fame, the police were unable to determine any true motive.

The killers kept newspaper clippings of the murders and had put captions on some of the photographs. One such caption read – “The weak must die. The strong will conquer.” A detective on the case believed that these two men killed for the thrill, and that the newspaper clippings were intended as keepsakes, so that they could reflect on their carnage in old age.

Both of the murderers were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Israel Keyes

During a ten-span in the early 2000s, Israel Keyes went on a nationwide killing spree. After leaving the Army in 2001, Keyes traveled the United States robbing banks, kidnapping and killing.

Keyes had no particular “type” of victim. He would go after men, women, and children. Keyes would buy a one-way plane ticket to a distant location, then buy a Home Depot bucket and fill it with guns, ammo, rope and cash. He would store his “kill kits” in a hidden location for later use.

After finding a random victim, he would kidnap, rape and murder them. Then, after disposing of the body, Keyes would buy another plane ticket to a location that was far from his victim.

Local and federal law enforcement had a difficult time with investigating his various murders due to the lack of any connection between the people. And the clear lack of motive.

Speaking of motive, Keyes was asked why he killed these innocent people, and his reply was simply “why not?”

This psychotic killer confessed to eight murders, but many believe that he committed more killings than eight. While awaiting trial, Keyes killed himself in prison.

Donato Bilancia

From October 1997 to May 1998, killer Donato Bilancia terrorized the Italian Riviera by murdering 17 people – nine women and eight men. His killing spree was difficult to stop due to the killer’s inconsistent modus operandi and the apparent lack of connection between any of the victims.

Unlike most serial killers, his murders were “sloppy” and unorganized. Essentially, Bianca did not operate from any particular playbook, so tying the killings together was very difficult for the Italian police.

Bilancia was eventually caught after an eyewitness identified one of his victims entering his black Mercedes. When asked what his motive was for committing the murders, Bilancia said there was no underlying motive and that he had no idea why he killed them. Essentially, he was another psycho who wanted to kill, just for the sake of killing.

The Italian serial killer was sentenced to 13 life imprisonments with no parole.

 

It’s a scary thought to think that people like these killers are walking amongst us. Killers who murder random people just for the sake of doing it, and without any motive whatsoever. That’s a terrifying reality. Have you come across any stories about murderers who fit this description?

***

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SUPER EXCITED to reveal the cover and description of FLOWERS ON HER GRAVE, Book 3 in the Detective Katie Scott series. Out on 24th March. Available to pre-order now:

 

 

 

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Next Generation Threats: The Future of Crime and Crime-Stoppers

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Photo courtesy of aarp.org.

It’s the year 2020 – which means, the future is upon us. And, as we look back at the past 20 years, it is apparent that business, technology and cultural norms have rapidly evolved.

So, it is no wonder that criminals and the crimes they commit have also evolved – and will continue to evolve in our crazy world.

Experts believe that so-called “traditional” crimes will continue to give way to cyber-crimes. Essentially, the street hustlers and bank robbers will be replaced with discreet hackers and computer savvy criminals who can operate from behind closed doors.

Here are some crimes that are sure to surface in the near future. And, on the flip side, here are some examples of how future technology will enable law enforcement to be more efficient and effective.

Crimes of the Future

Human Malware

As medical technology becomes more sophisticated and mainstream, many of us will become dependent on Wi-Fi enabled medical implants. Current examples are insulin pumps and pacemakers. But, with the way technology is moving, that list will continue to grow to the point where large swathes of the population will be fitted with hi-tech medical devices.

When that happens, it is inevitable that criminals will figure out how to hack your implant and install malware, which is shorthand for ‘malicious software.’

The malware could be used to for murder, assault, blackmail, revenge or other nefarious objectives that we’ve yet to even contemplate.

Cyber-Jacking and Assault

The sophistication of today’s computer hackers will pale in comparison to those in the future. As new technologies emerge, the criminal elements of society always seem to be one step ahead. With the advent of self-driving technology for automobiles and the evolving tech surrounding aircraft flight management systems, there is a significant possibility that criminals will cyber-jack aircraft and cars.

Cyber-jacking is a scary thought, especially considering that passengers in the plane or car will not even be able to confront their attacker. Controlling an aircraft from the ground with ill-intent is something that law enforcement and those in the airline industry will have to deal with in the near future.

And then, there’s cyber assaults. So many people have ‘smart’ devices in their homes, ranging from refrigerators to televisions to security cameras. Now, imagine a hacker gaining control of these devices and using them to attack you – like hacking your lighting system to an insanely bright level, causing temporary blindness. Or, using your own security cameras to spy on you with the aim of assisting a physical intruder to learn about your movements and attack you at your most vulnerable moments.

Brick Attacks

When it comes to financial fraud, most everyday citizens fear the thought of fraudulent credit card charges. Brick attacks are far worse than anyone could possibly imagine. Basically, hackers implant malware into a computer system and then render them useless. After a brick attack, you cannot even turn on the server or computer ever again.

So, if sophisticated hackers were able to gain access to say, Bank of America’s system, they could wipe away all of the financial data – bankrupting the monstrous bank and leaving its customers penniless.

Genetic Data Theft

As biometric security (i.e. fingerprint scanners, retina scans, etc.) becomes increasingly popular for both commercial and personal use, so does the market for black market genetic data.

Like anything in this world, it’s about supply and demand. So, as old-fashioned lock and key security gives way to retina scans, there will be a demand for illegally obtained retina data and a whole slew of other genetic material. If the demand is there, there surely will be plenty of criminals willing to provide the supply.

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Photo courtesy of theconversation.com.

Crime-Stopping in the Future

Surveillance State

We’ve all noticed it over the past decade – cameras are everywhere! Whether it’s a group of teens taking selfies or your local municipality monitoring downtown with CCTV, we just cannot escape cameras capturing footage of everything and everybody.

Over the next 15 years, we will see an explosion of security cameras in public spaces. Nowhere will be safe from the watchful eye of Big Brother. From alleys, to apartment buildings, to parking garages, every square inch of public life will be monitored.

Taking this into consideration and coupling it with the emerging technology of AI (artificial intelligence), law enforcement will certainly have an advantage in capturing moments of criminal activity in real-time. And the AI will allow police to immediately identify the culprit.

While some may fear this is an intrusion on privacy, others will cheer the positive ramifications, namely – increased efficiency in finding missing persons and fugitives, while eliminating faulty witness identification.

Drug Decriminalization

It’s no secret that the global drug trade is one of the most pressing issues facing our law enforcement community. The violence begins in the country of the drug’s origin and it follows all the way to the nation of the narcotic’s consumption.

Experts opine that, as more nations decriminalize illegal narcotics, the violence will be reduced significantly, as the black-market shrinks. Not only will decriminalization make an impact, but so will the new trend of illegal dark web transactions. Over the past few years, more and more drug deals occur anonymously on dark web markets. Since no one ever meets face-to-face on these transactions, the violence associated with drug deals is reduced.

No one knows for sure if decriminalization will lead to a significant reduction in violence and arrests, but governments are willing to give it a try, given that the current system is not working very well.

Pre-Crime Policing

Analytics is all the rave these days. Whether its professional sports or marketing firms, everyone is using ‘data’ to get a step ahead of the competition. And, along those lines, law enforcement is also implementing predictive analytics to track past criminal activity in order to predict future behavior.

As more and more data points are inputted into the software, the analytics will ‘learn’ exponentially, and, in turn, become more effective. Truly, the sky’s the limit with predictive analytics, and its usefulness could become a game-changer when it comes to crime prevention and reduction.

 

There are so many possibilities for the future of crime and its prevention. Have you recently read or heard anything of interest that belongs on this list?

 

***

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SUPER EXCITED to reveal the cover and description of FLOWERS ON HER GRAVE, Book 3 in the Detective Katie Scott series. Out on 24th March. Available to pre-order now:

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NEW BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Cover Reveal For My Next Crime Thriller FLOWERS ON HER GRAVE #Bookouture #PreOrder #Thriller

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SUPER EXCITED to reveal the cover and description of FLOWERS ON HER GRAVE, Book 3 in the Detective Katie Scott series. Out on 24th March. Available to pre-order now:

 

SYNOPSIS:

On the floor, amongst the piles of freshly pressed laundry, lay the woman’s lifeless body, her pale yellow nightdress soaked in blood. “I didn’t do it…” came a whisper from the corner of the room.

Detective Katie Scott has never seen two people more in love than her aunt and uncle as they danced together on the night of their wedding anniversary party. But the next morning, when Katie finds her aunt’s body sprawled across the floor, that perfect image is shattered forever.

All fingers point to Katie’s uncle, Pine Valley’s beloved sheriff and protector – after all, his prints are all over the antique knife found at the scene. Grieving, but certain of her uncle’s innocence, Katie is consigned to the cold case division after she’s discovered searching the house for clues. Does someone want to keep her as far away from this investigation as possible?

Ignoring warnings from her team, Katie digs into her uncle’s old case files and discovers photographs of the body of a young girl found tied to a tree after a hike in search of a rare flower. Her body is covered with the same unusual lacerations her aunt suffered. Katie knows it can’t be a coincidence, but every lead she follows takes her to a dead end.

Moments before the sheriff is arrested, Katie realizes that a single piece of thread she found at the crime scene could be the missing link that will stitch old crimes to new. But how can she prove her uncle’s innocence without throwing herself directly into the line of fire? She doesn’t have a choice, he’s the only family she has left…

A totally jaw-dropping crime thriller with an ending you will never see coming! Perfect for anyone who adores Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh.

 

FOHG-5-1 hi

Please join me:

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Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Dead Cold  Scene of the Crime

Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting

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Character Interview with Detective Katie Scott from HER LAST WHISPER #crime #thriller

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What is your name?

My name is Detective Katie Scott and I’m the main character in Her Last Whisper by Jennifer Chase.

What do you look like?

I’m five foot six inches tall, long dark hair, with a fit body because I have to be able to hold my own against bad guys if necessary.

Where are you today and what are you doing?

It’s my day off, so I’m on a hike in the mountains with my military K9 Cisco.

You come face to face with your worst enemy. How do you react?

This is nothing unusual for me. I’ve been in the army leading a team with my K9 through dangerous situations.  If I met my worst enemy, I’d stand strong and get ready to fight with everything I have.

You keep a photo album of memories from your lifetime. If you could only keep one photo, which one would that be?

It would be a photo of me when I was about thirteen years old with my parents. We were at the county fair. I lost them a few years later to a drunk driver.

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

Morning person. I love to get up just before sunrise and go on a run. It’s my quiet time before I go to work as a cold case detective.

What is your favorite piece of clothing?

A well-worn pair of jeans and cowboy boots.

Do you have any phobias? What are they and how intense are they? How have they impacted your life?

No phobias, but I came back from Afghanistan with a case of PTSD. It has tried to take over my life, but I don’t let it. It’s a work in progress.

How do you feel about mortality?

Mortality is something that every soldier and police officer thinks about—but I don’t let it run my life. I want to live my life—my life will end when it’s time.

What scares you?

Not being able to find the killer before he/she kills again.

What’s the last thing you do before you go to bed at night?

I write in my journal. It has helped me deal with my PTSD and give to thanks for all that I do have.

Who is your best friend?

My military dog Cisco who just happens to be an eighty pound black German shepherd.

Who is your worst enemy?

Anyone who wants to hurt someone else or abuse an animal.

Are you faith-oriented?

Absolutely. You cannot go through what I’ve experienced without having faith in God. It’s by that faith and understanding I am who I am today.

Are you married or in a relationship?

I’m in a relationship with my childhood best friend Chad.

You just woke up to find that war has been declared. What’s the first thing you would do?

Plan. Get ready. And fight for what’s right.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A dog trainer.

(Courtesy of the Literary Nook http://theliterarynook.blogspot.com)

 

***

OutNow4

 

SYNOPSIS:

Katie focuses her mind, trying to keep another anxiety attack at bay. The victim’s long brown hair is slick and wet, her body rigid in the grass. She looks more like a mannequin than the woman Katie had spoken with only yesterday, the woman she had promised to protect…

When a cold, naked body is discovered by a couple on a jog through the lush woodlands of Pine Valley, California, new recruit Detective Katie Scott is stunned to discover the victim is Amanda Payton – a much-loved local nurse and the woman at the heart of an unsolved case she’s been investigating whilst getting a grip on her crippling PTSD.

Weeks earlier, Amanda had run, battered and bruised, out into the headlights of a passing patrol car. She claimed to have just escaped a kidnapping, but with no strong evidence, the case went cold. The Pine Valley police made a fatal mistake…

Katie is certain the marks on Amanda’s wrists complete a pattern of women being taken, held captive and then showing up dead in remote locations around Pine Valley – and she won’t let someone die on her watch again.

But then a beautiful office worker with a link to the hospital where Amanda worked goes missing. With only days before the next body is due to show up, can Katie make amends for her past by saving this innocent life?

Totally gripping crime fiction for fans of Lisa Regan, Rachel Caine and Melinda Leigh. Nothing will prepare you for this nail-biting roller-coaster ride…

Get your copy NOW!

AMZ: geni.us/B07X5MPYMDCover

Apple Books: tinyurl.com/y2fynaf3

Kobo: tinyurl.com/yymtfxdl

Googleplay: tinyurl.com/yxhvx4a7

***

Please join me:

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Books: Compulsion   Dead Game   Dark Mind   Dead Burn   Dark Pursuit

Dead Cold  Scene of the Crime

Silent Partner   Body of the Crime   Screenwriting

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Making Magic Happen for Eight Year Old JJ: Paws 4 Autism #GivingTuesday

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I don’t make it a secret that I love dogs–I talk about them a lot and I even feature them in my fictional stories. Dogs have this amazing way of healing and helping us that we don’t completely understand–and even take for granted.

I know an incredible family, the Durrants, that have four children and they opened their home to three (siblings) making their family with seven children. I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must be, but it’s done all in the name of love. With everything going on today, I take heart and pause for selfless, loving people. And sometimes people need just a bit extra help.

Joshua “JJ” is a very special boy. His mom whom I’ve know for about ten years told me this:

“JJ is one of the most unique children you will ever meet. Along with autism, he has synethesia – he sees color when he hears sound; any sound. He’s great with math – he can solve math problems out loud that children his age aren’t doing yet. He can listen to his sisters practice a song on the piano then sit down and start playing what he heard. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty amazing. Along with the ADHD and autism diagnosis, we saw markers for anxiety and ODD.”

If you can remember what it was like to be eight years old, playing outside with your friends, going to school, making new friends, and enjoying everything that a kid should–and then mix in a disability that makes you different. I was heart-broken to hear that JJ was not only teased, but bullied at school for being different. Now imagine being scared to go to school to makes friends and learn.

JJ is a perfect candidate for a special dog: Paws 4 Autism.

Please visit JJ’s fundraising page if you feel so inclined to give anything so that he can have a specially trained dog companion.

“EVERY child should feel safe going to school. This dog will be the difference between my son attending school and being isolated at home instead of taking advantage of all of the enriching things our schools have to offer. This is his hope for more independence, his hope for feeling safe so he can learn, and his hope for making friends.”

JJ’s mom told me that when he heard that people he didn’t even know were donating so he could have an autism dog, he was SO happy and teared up.

The poster is located at the bottom of this post.

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For more information about the Durrant family: Please click HERE

Click HERE to donate: JJ’s Paws 4 Austim Page.

 

Joshua 1;9

Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
  ~KJV

 

 

JJ

 

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