Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Death Of A Killer

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap."
Galatians 6:7

So many of you have prayed and reached out and been so incredibly kind
in the aftermath of the horrific murder of my precious niece, Victoria.
(Read previous posts here and here.)
You have shone the light of Jesus' love into the darkness of our grief.

The man who killed Victoria was immediately identified, 
but has been missing since the time of her murder on May 1st.
To say this fact has made a lot of people uneasy would be an understatement.
I know many of you have been praying earnestly that he would be found.

Yesterday, we found out your prayers were answered, my friends.

Today, I hardly know what or how to feel.

On one hand, 
I am very grateful to God for allowing some semblance of closure to come to us.
I am so thankful he is off the streets and incapable of harming anyone else.
I am glad we can all stop looking over our shoulder, wondering what he will do next.
But, the questions we would love to ask, will forever remain unanswered.

Questions like...
why did you kill her?
How could you do what you did?
Have you no heart?
Do you feel any remorse?
Has it even crossed your mind what you have taken from us?
From her little girl?

As intimidating and horrifying as it would have felt to sit across from him to ask such questions,
a part of me wanted to have the opportunity to find the answers we so desperately seek.

The door of that opportunity is now infinitely closed.

Yesterday, the body that was found floating in a river by some fishermen last week
was identified as my niece's killer.
His body had been decomposing for several days, from all outward appearances,
which indicates he must have died shortly after my niece.

The whole thing is surrounded in mystery.
An autopsy was performed, and results as to the cause of his death will be forthcoming. 
Until then, we can only speculate the many possibilities and scenarios going through our minds.

And, I can't help but feel incredibly sad.
I feel so sad for her...
for the way he made her suffer,
for the beyond-awful last moments of her life on earth,
for the terror and horrors she endured.

And, though I have struggled much against the raging tide of temptation to hate the man who
inflicted such unspeakable evil upon my niece, there is a part of me that is sad...even for him.
I can't really explain it.

I didn't want it to end this way.
I had hoped that, in time, someone, somewhere, would introduce him to Jesus Christ...
that he could have found redemption and forgiveness for the heinous crime he committed.

I am surprised at my own feelings right now.
Because even though, through human eyes, he may have deserved whatever happened to him,
it pains me to know that he may have faced eternity...and Almighty God...guilty of the murder of my niece.

While I am not the judge, nor do I have the right to presume where any soul will go or has gone
after departing this life, these thoughts still run rampant through my mind.

I can only hope that he had time to pray, and that if he did, he took advantage of that opportunity
and made his peace with God before facing Him on the other side.

Oh, dear Lord!  

I think the worst possible part of being in Hell would be the absence of God.
It would be the knowledge that there is no chance of forgiveness....
that one's fate has been permanently sealed...
that there are no more u-turns, do-overs, or second chances.

These are the thoughts racing through my mind today.

I find that I feel a sense of guilt for even caring about the fate of this man,
when I contemplate the way they said he walked out of her apartment right after stabbing her to death, 
as if nothing ever happened.

 But, my guilt is overpowered by the image of his soul being lost forever.

He was some mother's boy...some father's son.
Someone mourns his loss....just as we mourn the loss of my precious niece.

The other day, I was asked to do a very hard thing.
Honestly, I think it had to be one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.

"Aunt Cheryl, will you do me a favor?"
It was my niece, Dorinda, Victoria's sister, on the other end of the phone.

"Sure, I will", I replied, without needing to hear what she was asking me to do.
I would do anything I possibly could for every, single person I care about.

Though I would never have dreamed of telling her "no",
nothing could have prepared me for the favor she requested next.

"Will you call the woman who found Victoria and pray with her over the phone?"

I paused.

My hesitation was completely unintentional.
It was automatic and genuine.

As the full impact of what she was asking of me settled in,
I wanted to be sure I could do this before I uttered another word.

I gathered together my rattled emotions.
"S-s-s-sure.  I can do that."

We talked for a while,
and I shakily scribbled the woman's phone number on a piece of scrap paper.

We hung up the phone.
I knew if I didn't do this quick-like, I would be tempted to back out,
so I hurriedly dialed the sloppily-written number in front of me.

After only a few rings, I heard "Hello?".
I gently explained who I am...and why I was calling.
What followed was hard to describe.
The closest description I can muster is an inconsolable wailing.
Bless her dear heart.
She wailed with such anguish, I could barely decipher what she was saying.
She laid it all out, and I heard it all.
Every.  Last.  Detail.
Of the day before and how happy Victoria had seemed to be...
how they had spent part of the day together,
spent the evening playing a card game,
and how, later, after Victoria had returned downstairs to her own apartment, she had called her and asked her if she had anything for a headache.
She talked of how Victoria, in her usual good-hearted way, 
had walked back upstairs to her apartment and brought the requested medicine.

"She was everything to me", she gushed, through broken-hearted sobs.
"I must have 500-600 text messages from her and 100 pictures on my phone...."
her voice trailed off into more uncontrollable weeping.

All of that was hard to hear.

But, I declare, it didn't hold a candle to what she felt compelled to tell me next.
Through a heart-wrenching, anguished, tormented torrent of tears, she thoroughly described the graphic, horrific scene she and another friend had found when, after not hearing from Victoria all day, they had finally tried the doorknob of her apartment and found it unlocked.

No one should have to see such.
Hearing it all literally made me sick.

She told me how she couldn't go home...
that she was terrified he would come back and try to do the same thing to her.

This woman's life is forever changed by the images that haunt her each time she closes her eyes.

"I just want to ask him why?
Why did you do this to her?"
she wailed.

All of our whys will remain just that.
We will never know.

Both souls now rest in the hands of a just God, the only One who witnessed that dreadful, 
gruesome scene.

I have found myself directing my "whys" to Him.
Why, when He has all power in Heaven and earth,
did He not stop this from happening?

How could He watch and not prevent it?

He reminds me, once again, that He has instilled in every human being a thing called free will...
that He is a gentleman and will not override that.

For whatever reason, this man took it upon himself to do what he did of his own free will,
and now he has left this world to answer to his Creator for what he has done.

I would ask that you continue to pray for my dear brother and our family,
as there are unpleasant tasks ahead concerning Victoria's belongings.
It will be extremely difficult for my brother to enter that place and retrieve what belonged to her.

Pray especially for this.
There is a Bible that little Makaleigh is asking for...
it is the Bible her mama used to read to her.

With her living out of state,
the specifics of the crime investigation, and legal ramifications,
there is much uncertainty.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
Psalm 46:1

How thankful I am that God is in control.
That He loves each one of us and cares about what we feel.
That His great heart is moved when we weep.
That He places such precious people, like you, dear readers,
in our lives to see us through times like these.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your love, concern, support, encouragement, friendship,
and, most of all, your faithful prayers.

Having each one of you in our lives is a precious gift.

Going through fiery trials, such as these, causes us to do one of two things.
We either turn away from God, in our questioning and disbelief,
or we turn our hearts toward Him, like never before.

From the depths of my soul, my heart cries out the words of this song.

If video doesn't load, click here.


  1. What bittersweet news! I will continue to pray when God lays it on my heart. I just can't imagine going through what you and your family has to go through. But as you have said, God is our refuge and strength and through this He will be glorified. I am so sorry.

    1. Dear Kristina! Thank you so very much for your kind words of comfort. It truly means the world to me right now. I trust all is well with you, sweet friend. I am SO sorry I haven't been to visit you lately. Sending you much love and gratitude for your kind heart.

  2. The whys Cheryl, so many whys and so many hearts aching... I have witnessed quite some close deaths and I can imagine what your brother and your entire family is going through.
    But like you have said, God is our Helper and Comforter, He will reveal Himself to all who grieve.
    God is with you.

    1. Oh, how true, my friend! So many hurting hearts...what should we do without Jesus? Where would we turn? I so appreciate you and thank you for your faithfulness and support. Sending you much love from the USA.

  3. Dearest Cheryl,
    My heart weighs heavy right now after reading this post. I am continuing to hold you and your dear family up in prayer.
    I will not leave a comment here for I wish to send you a personal letter. Please look for its arrival, and may your heart be blessed by the hand of God, who so tenderly and lovingly cares about your every need and holds you close to His own heart.
    Much love and hugs are sent your way.

    1. Dear, sweet Debbie, your precious words are just like a soothing balm to my hurting heart. I can't wait to receive your dear letter. I will cherish every word. God bless you for being such a kind, compassionate, faithful friend to me. I love and appreciate you so much.

  4. Cheryl, we will continue praying... O Heavenly Father, You are Jehovah Jireh, our provider, You are El Shaddai, our all-sufficient Heavenly Father, our Abba Daddy, You are everything we need. We ask you to wrap Your Loving Arms around Cheryl's brother, little Makaleigh, Victoria's dear friends who found her, and their family in the homegoing of precious Victoria. You are close to the brokenhearted and You save those who are crushed in spirit. Lord Jesus, help us to experience Your peace and Your presence. We know You respond to our sighs, our tears and our murmurs. We know You are near to all who call upon You; so near that You can feel breath when no voice can be heard for faintness. You are Jehovah Ra’ah, You are our Shepherd, we lack nothing. You make us lie down in green pastures, You lead us beside the still waters. You restore our souls. You lead us in the path of righteousness for Your name’s sake. Even when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil, for You are with us. You are Emmanuel, God with us. Your rod and Your Staff, your Holy Spirit and Your Word, they comfort us. You prepare a table before us in the presence of our enemies. You are Jehovah Rapha, our Healer, You anoint our heads with oil, overflowing with blessings. Surely goodness and mercy will follow us all the days of our lives and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

    1. Dear Beth! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that inspired, powerfully-anointed prayer. Oh, it truly meant so much to me tonight! God bless you abundantly, sweet friend.

  5. I'm praying for your entire family, Cheryl. You have to be numb. The whole thing is unbelievable. I'm so sorry, again. It's so surreal. May our Father comfort you and all of yours until you see your niece again.

    1. Oh, Floyd! Your description is so accurate. Numb. It is surreal...I cannot believe she is gone, and I cannot believe it all ended this way. I just pray God to bring the truth to somehow help things to make some sort of sense and to comfort every grieving heart. I so appreciate your support, encouragement, and faithful prayers. God bless you abundantly, brother.

  6. Oh Cheryl, words escape my friend. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Although it is bittersweet, I glad to hear that your family is able to get some form of closure. May God continue to strengthen and comfort you and yours during this time.

    1. Thank you, dear, precious friend. Your words are so comforting and such a blessing to me right now. Sending you much love and gratitude and trusting God to bless you abundantly for being the dear friend you are to me.

  7. Today is my first time reading your blog. I found you through Solitary Moments (Gayle Cox). I'm glad I found you. None of my problems compare to the pain and anguish you're dealing with. May God give you and your family peace and comfort.

    1. Dear Elaine! How wonderful it is to meet you today! I am so very grateful God allowed our paths to cross, and I so appreciate your kind, comforting words. I so look forward to our future visits together. God bless you abundantly, my new friend.

  8. Cheryl, O how the Lord has used you mightily in the life of your nieces neighbor. How selflessly you reached out to her, despite your uneasiness under the circumstances, and listened as she poured her grief-stricken heart out to you. Cheryl, you are such a blessing to EVERYONE you come in contact with, even while experiencing your own incredible grief and conflicted emotions, you continue to bless and bless and bless.

    May the God of all Comfort continue to comfort you and your family in the days, weeks and months ahead.

    I have lifted you, your family, your niece's neighbor and especially your nieces daughter up in prayer and will continue to remember them in my prayers.

    1. Oh, dear Karen! Your precious words! How I thank God for you, my friend. I just have no words to tell you how much I appreciate you and your kindness, support, and friendship. May the dear Lord somehow reveal to you how much it all means to me, and may He bless you abundantly. Sending you much love and gratitude.

  9. A very courageous and brave post, Cheryl. It must have been very difficult to write it, and I thank you greatly for doing so.

    There has been a lot of hurt and pain to many in this situation. Not only to you and your family, but as you rightly say, to the family and friends of the person who killed your niece. As humans, we try to understand why this happened, and the motivation behind it. We question. We guess. We surmise. And we're often left with no answers at all.

    But Our Lord knows why things happen, and why He allowed them to happen. Perhaps ours is not to know - not yet anyway. But the hurt continues and will do so for some time to come. Perhaps for ever. Our role now is to support each other in this hurt. To love and console each other. To try and find some comfort, wherever we can, by the kindness we show each other at this difficult time in our lives. Like you did when you phoned your niece's friend. Whatever you said to her then, will remain in her memory as a moment of kindness from someone who cared enough to offer some words of comfort and consolation. Thank you for that, Cheryl.

    I pray that God helps you all in some healing from the great hurt your are all suffering right now.

    God bless you all.

    1. Thank you so much, Victor, for your kind visit and comforting words. It all seems so unreal, and we are surely leaning upon the dear Lord to get us through. He works continually through dear friends like you to send His peace. May He bless you abundantly.

  10. Oh Cheryl, no one should have to bear the things you have described. I weep for you all. Only the One who is higher than all can bring resolution. Continuing to pray for you.

    1. You are so right, my friend. Only the One who is higher than all...oh, we do lean upon Him and trust in His everlasting arms that are ever beneath us. Thank you ever so much for your precious support and kindness through all of this.

  11. After reading your post my spirits are higher, sweetest and precious Cheryl, for I think that the thing can give you a little relief, but just a little, so many questions will never have answers, that's a torment to you all ... what a mistery, my lovely, may the Lord support you all your life long

    Have a day as beautiful as you, dearie,
    sending you blessings on your days to come, with my dearest love


    1. Yes, dear friend, it has given a sense of relief, even though it will never bring her back. You are SO kind and compassionate, and I just appreciate you more than I could ever say. May God bless you abundantly.

  12. Cheryl, I'm continuing to pray for your family. I don't know how anyone could ever really adjust to a tragedy like this. How sweet of Dorinda to think of her friends pain and to ask you to help. You, my friend, are obviously looked up to in your faith by all who know you. May you feel His peace and love in the midst of this anguish.

    1. Thank you ever so much, sweet Betsy. Your precious words are so encouraging and uplifting to my heart. May the dear Lord bless you in a big way. :)

  13. A very moving post, Cheryl. I don't know how one continues breathing after such tragedy and loss. Only by God's grace. I concur with Karen's words. May God keep you close as you walk this dark path.

    1. Thank you so very much, dear Gayle. Surely God is proving each day that He is ever-present. His compassions fail not, and His mercies are new every morning. Sending you much love and gratitude for your kindness and love.

  14. Replies
    1. Thank you, Diana. You will never know how much we appreciate your prayers.

  15. So, so sorry to hear of your loss. I have been absent for a while, and this is certainly not what I wanted to see when I came back! I am praying for your family. This is such a tragedy. :(

    1. Thank you ever so much for your kind words and prayers. They truly mean so much to me.

  16. Thank you for sharing your pain, your questions, and your desperate seeking of God in all this. God bless you all. I truly am so very sorry for this horrific loss and the pain he inflicted on so many.

    God bless this family and the people who found and cared for Victoria with peace, shalom peace in the Name of Jesus.

    1. Thank you, precious friend. You are a constant support and encouragement to me, and you will never know how much it means! Sending you love and gratitude. :)

  17. I have been away from the blogging world for a week or so, so this is the first I've read of your niece's death (I went back to see the other two posts). I am so sorry. Sending prayers for comfort for you and your family. It must be devastating.

    1. Thank you, dear Bethany. We so appreciate your words of comfort. God bless you.

  18. Hi Cheryl, I pray that you and your family continue to heal and find peace throughout this horrifying ordeal. I do understand your sadness for the murderer also, his soul must have been very troubled to do this. It's unfortunate that you may never know the reasons for his actions. Take care!

    1. Thank you so much, dear Kelly! I still can't believe it is real. This morning, my family and I were talking about something that reminded me of her, and it just hit me with such force that she is gone....grief is so hard. God bless you for caring and being so kind. I hope all is well with you.

  19. Wow. That must be unimaginably difficult. Praying for you all.

    1. Thank you ever so much, dear Lydia. God bless you for being so kind.

  20. I too pray for healing for your family and the extended family hurting so much right now. I admire your willingness to serve so readily and couldn't help but thank God for you. You have been a buffer for that family in calling the friend who found Victoria. You saved them much heartache by taking that responsibility. God bless you, precious friend.

    1. Thank you so much, dear friend, for your dear, kind words. They were so comforting to me right now. God bless you abundantly for all you do and for your faithful support.

  21. Oh Cheryl, what a whirlwind of emotions you have gone through while trying to deal with this terrible tragedy. And now, to find out that there will be no more answers for the burning "Why?" in your soul, that's really tough. Your precious heart, though, finding a way to feel some regret for the killer, for his soul. Yes, let's hope that something in him turned to God at the last. Eternity without Him, I cannot even think of it...

    What a blessing you were to speak and pray with the woman who discovered Victoria. I can only imagine the difficulty and pain of hearing more details than you ever wanted to know. But, how gracious of you to speak comfort and hope into her heart. God used you mightily that day, Cheryl...mightily.

    My prayers continue for all involved.

    He bleeds when we bleed, mourns when we mourn - but He also binds us the brokenhearted.


    1. Dear, precious friend! Your words meant SO much to me today! They came at a good time and were a great comfort. I love what you said at the end...praise God for such a Savior who actually FEELS what we feel. Sending you much love and gratitude for all you do.

  22. Hi Cheryl, oh it must be so hard to not be able to know why. Only God knows now. And it all seems so fruitless. But God knows why it was allowed. Maybe this is the beginning of others coming to Christ through these hard things. Life seems so fragile. This past week someone steeped in our community died in a head-on collision and although we were not house guests, our paths crossed through school, the Christian community etc, and I look and see what his being gone has left behind and one wonders why! We have to trust that God sees and knows the big picture and it'll all make sense when we live in heaven.
    God bless sweet lady, praying for the family

    1. Dear Tracy! Thank you ever so much for your comforting, encouraging words. You are all seems so fruitless and without point. I am so sorry to hear of the friend who died in your community. Only God does see that big picture, and one day, He will make all things then, we will be up there with Him, and it won't really matter, will it? I think that is one of the beauties of Heaven...that all else pales when held in comparison to it. I so appreciate your kind encouragement and support. You are such a blessing to me! God bless you abundantly, in return!

  23. Cheryl, sweet friend, I'm lifting a prayer now as I read your words. What a horrific thing for your family to have to go through...and yet, you can find words of concern for others, even the one who committed such an act. That's the grace of God flowing through you right there. May God give you comfort and peace today as you continue to walk this road with your family.

    1. Dear, precious friend! Your comforting words mean SO much to me this morning! You are so right...God's amazing grace is all that sustains in times like this...I am learning a new appreciation for it as the journey unfolds. You are such a dear blessing to me, sweet Holly, and I trust God to bless you abundantly, in return. Sending you much love and gratitude.

  24. I pray that this closure will help comfort you and your family. Why does a person commit such a horrible act? The emotions of Satan ruled his heart and the lies took over until he did the unspeakable action. His guilt could not comfort him, and it appears he took his own life and sent himself to hell. May God bring you all closer to Jesus at this time, as you endeavor to "let this all go" and try to put it away from your thoughts. Get busy with other things and help someone in need. Thank you for sharing with us here at Tell me a True Story.

    1. Thank you, dear Hazel. God bless you, my friend!

  25. Oh, Cheryl, I really have no words. You were very brave to call that woman and pray with her, even through your own grief. May God comfort you and your family. May He bring healing. Amen.

    1. Thank you ever so much, dear June! Your words are precious to me. It seems as more details emerge, I am even more mystified as to the "whys", but there are some things we may never know the answer to and have to just submit to God's keeping. Your prayers and kindness mean so much. May God bless you abundantly, my friend.

  26. Cheryl, I just don't even know what to say. I'm touched deeply by the goodness in your heart, even toward someone who has hurt and taken away so much from your family. I believe God sees and honors that.
    Still thinking and praying for you and your family.

    1. Thank you so much, dear, sweet Marissa! Your words are so precious and such an encouragement to me. May the dear Lord bless you abundantly for visiting and for reaching out. Sending you much love and gratitude.

  27. Cheryl - I am so so glad that you were able to be there to pray for the young gal who found your niece. I am at a loss of words for what you must be going through and I know nothing will take the pain and hurt away. I praying that God will be able to bring you and your family peace and comfort as you mourn and move through the stages of this tragic loss. I am your neighbor today at #THoughtProvokingThursday

    1. Bless your dear heart, Debbie. Your prayers and faithful support are invaluable to me. I am SO thankful we were neighbors and you reached out with such kindness. It truly meant so much! May God richly bless you, my friend.

  28. Praying even as I read. Blessings to your sweet family as you live your way into peace.

    1. God bless you, dear Michele! Your prayers and support truly mean SO much! Surely God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in each moment of hurt. Thank you, sweet friend.

  29. Dear Cheryl, thank you for sharing these developments with us. Thank you for turning To Jesus, at this time of terrible tragedy. May the Lord continue to pour His Holy Spirit's comfort on you all. I wish I could Hug you and Zach. Love you, dear Cheryl,
    Ana Maria

    1. Thank you ever so much, sweet friend. I am SO grateful for your love, support, and friendship. Love and appreciate you so much! God bless you always.