I am definitely taking a break from books like this for a while. They're important stories about our most precious assets, but the stories are so painful and heartbreaking. I need a bit of time away from books like this for a while.
This whole case is so fucked up. None of it ever made any sense and even after I read this book and took copious amounts of notes, it still did not make sense. I ended up with 105 notes/highlights when all was said and done, and rather than recount them all over and over and over, you can see what notes you'd like on Goodreads HERE.
In the end, I don't really know what to think any more now than I did when this was going on. The police screwed up bigtime and act like they have no idea what they're doing, letting everyone wander around the house like it is not a crime scene, not securing evidence, not keeping victims/suspects separate, the list goes on and on. You want to white privilege at its most obvious, look no further. The Ramseys were treated with kid gloves because they were a 'good family'.
From everything here so far (and there are other books I have yet to read on the subject, so by opinion might very change), I don't think that JonBenet's death was intentional. I think it was staged to cover up some kind of accident. Maybe her parents were arguing in the kitchen, someone swung the flashlight out of anger, and accidentally delivered the blow to the little girl's skull that would have proved fatal even if she had been discovered in the basement alive. Or maybe JonBenet still wetting the bed at age six just set Patsy off that night and she struck JonBenet in a momentarily lapse of self-control. This does not, however, explain the possible signs of sexual abuse, but I am still unclear if it was determined that there was some kind of abuse possibly happening or not.
All I can think about is that this sweet little girl, who loved being a kid and doing kid things, not pageants, was killed and will never get justice. It breaks my heart.
Talk about a horrible nightmare. You turn your back for just a few seconds, and your child is gone. Eleanor is nearly six and I still make her ride in the cart if we are going to be in a store for a while, or if the store is especially busy. I am what some might call hyper-vigilant when it comes to entering and exiting our car, always on the look-out for anything suspicious. It is helpful that Eleanor is old enough to buckle herself into her booster seat so I am not stuck with my back to the world trying to buckle her as I was when she was younger. Even so I remain constantly aware and I don't care if it makes me seem paranoid. I was six when another high-profile kidnapping occurred, that of Jacob Wetterling in my home state of Minnesota. His disappearance fundamentally changed a the way a whole generation of Minnesota parents parented their children and I have carried that with me since I was six years old. I have never communicated this fear to Eleanor, who is nearly six herself, but it is always there in the back of my mind, and reading about the Walsh case brought it all back up again.
Much like the previous book about the death of JonBenet Ramsey, I took tons of notes/highlights as I read. I will leave the link to those highlights and my thoughts, on Goodreads, HERE once more, as it seems very overwhelming to go through them line by line; it would make for a very tedious review. Some of the quotes I highlighted will infuriate you. Time and again Adam Walsh's murderer confessed. But once more the police did not seem to know what they were doing, and they certainly did not seem to want help from officers/detectives from other jurisdictions who also HAD TOOLE'S CONFESSIONS. So, so frustrating. I can't even imagine being John and Reve Walsh and finding all of this out, that Toole could have been arrested, tried, and convicted before he died and evaded justice. Instead, they had to wait nearly thirty years before Toole was finally declared the murderer. I suppose there is some degree of finality here for them, but they will never have closure, because nothing would ever bring Adam back. Detailed and thorough text, highly recommended.
This whole story is just so awful and sad. Not only was Horner kidnapped and held captive for nearly two years by a man who repeatedly raped her while pretending to the outside world that they were father and daughter, but once she made her way back home she did not have long to live. She killed in a car accident at age 15 within two years of her escape from her captor.
Prior to this book, I had not heard of Sally Horner. I have also never read Lolita, nor do I plan to. The author makes a decent case for the connections, as far as I can see - but again I've not read the book. It was a fairly quick read and just so sad. All this poor girl endured from ages 11 through 13, for her life to be cut tragically short not too long later.
Another tear-jerker. I don't know why I do this to myself, but these cases are so tragic and I also feel like I owe it to these children to know their stories and keep their memories alive. This will have to be the last I read for a while on the subject though, otherwise I will be even more paranoid and poor Eleanor will be attached to me for the rest of her life.
The Patz case is the one that in 1979 made Missing Children a big deal. It may seem shocking to parents today that Etan's mom would have let her six year old son walk to the school bus stop alone in New York City, but this was a different world (although, not that different, NYC was pretty scary in the 70s). And imagine the guilt his mother has continued to drown in all the years, with Etan begging and begging to walk by himself for once, and she finally gave in, and that was the very morning he disappeared without a trace.
Etan's legacy is that in death he brought about massive changes to the way kidnappings are handled. He was the first missing child to appear on a milk cartoon. later would come the Code ADAM (named for Adam Walsh) and the AMBER Alert (named for Amber Hagerman), plus the seemingly obvious idea that if a child does not show up for school, maybe it is a good idea to call home and let the parents know. Just imagine how much the search could have been refined had Etan's school called his mom to let her know he'd never arrived. He even had a $1 in his pocket to buy a soda at the bodega - the bodega where his convicted killer worked. The killer who confessed to strangling Etan, placing him in a plastic bag, then putting Etan and the bag into a box with the trash. He also stated that he believed Etan was still alive when he did so.
That part however, you will not find in the book. Etan Patz's murderer was convicted in 2017, a man by the name of Pedro Hernandez. This book was published in 2009, eight years after Etan was declared legally dead, and at that point much of the second part of the book focused on a man named Jose Ramos who made several almost-confessions, saying he was a certain percent sure that he talked to Etan that day he disappeared, that he wanted Etan to come back to his apartment, but ended up putting the boy on the subway. The story sounds bogus because it most likely is - Etan would not have gotten on the subway alone (his mother addressed this), and what are the chances that a pedophile is going to lure a child home, but when the child says he's 'not interested', Ramos just pats him on the head and sends him on his way? Yeah right. In addition to that, Ramos had been dating the woman who sometimes baby-sat the Patz children. I can't say what would make Ramos "admit" these things, but Hernandez's defense tried their hardest to throw all the blame they could his way. It didn't work.
I thought about how this book would need updating, given that the case is officially closed but that's not really possible. With so much focus on Ramos, the book would pretty much have to be entirely rewritten. Ramos is a pedophile, dangerous, and absolutely belongs behind bars, but I do not believe he is part of Etan's story.
I can not imagine the trauma this family has faced, over and over. They dealt with strangers accosting them in public, telling Julie it was her fault Etan disappeared, calling their home to say awful things. And on top of that, to think they know who murdered their child, only to find out they were wrong; it is all too much. Even so, they still remain in the SoHo loft they lived in the morning Etan walked out of their lives forever, and still have the same phone number. They clung to those things in the hopes their beloved son would return. Etan was a smart boy; he knew his address and phone number, perhaps he could have found his way home.