Saturday, June 30, 2007

Rick Pics


  In loving memory,
  Richard E. Widman
  Jan 20, 1958 - Dec 30, 1984


  Saint Peter's Church Cemetery
  Waldorf, Maryland
  Thanksgiving Weekend 1985

  Dear old Dad with Dogs
  Major and Spoondog


  Me and Spoondog



  Dad and Brother Jack
  with Dogs


Friday, June 22, 2007

My Brother Rick - Part 2

When the long awaited autopsy report arrived, it failed to answer all the questions.
First there was the confusing use of the word "natural" as to the cause of death.
Directly over that line is the statement that chlorofluorocarbon was found in the lungs.
My first question was, "On what planet is it natural to die by inhaling freon?"
The second, yet more important question was.
"How did the freon (or cfc gas) get into his lungs?"
or --"What was the source?"
I had to obtain my own copy of the medical examiner's report, because my mother couldn't explain to me what it said. It cost me 10 dollars.

My brothers cannot explain to me how they think it happened, and show a reluctance to talk about it.
"Don't you want to know why Rick died?"
It never occured to me, before then, that there was another answer to that question besides, "Hell Yes!"

So I'm on my own if I want to figure this out.
The first person I called, after I have carefully read through the autopsy report when it arrived in the mail, was Steve Moriarty.
Steve plays vocals and lead guitar for Storm Front, a local Rock-n-Roll band I'm sure you've heard of by now.
But he also does a lot of work on his job with refrigerators and air conditioning, and I know him to be knowledgable of things such as this new word I had to learn to pronounce.
"Chlorofluorocarbon" I was reading carefully.
"Oh yeah, that's freon." he says.
I asked him about the possiblity of accidently inhaling enough of it to kill you, and he tells me that you would pretty much have to be inhaling it on purpose to do that.

By privilege of friendship of the family of Joshua Mann (another departed friend I plan on writing about) I met with Dr. Sam Sheps as he was visiting from Vancouver, and asked him to read and interpret my copy of the autopsy report, to which he complied.
The first thing the good doctor explained to me is the legal use of the term "natural cause."
"If it were me," he says, "I would have used the word 'accidental', but what it means is that they believe there is no need for an investigation."

Thanks! Sure am glad someone explained THAT to me!

Dr. Sheps explains further that it is the medical examiner's job to determine the cause by the body itself, not by the scene where the body is found. He does not have to explain how it got there, only that it was there. The crime scene investigation is not assigned if the police find no evidence of "foul play" on the scene.

So why the hell doesn't anyone ever finish answering for me the obvious question?
"The source, and how it got there?"
I am confronted with the possibility that my dear little brother may have been a huffer.
I don't believe this, and I can argue that no container was found near the body, but I have to ask myself another important question.
How objective can I be in my personal investigation, when it involves my close family members?

Had Rick have lived 3 more weeks before he died, he would have been 27 years old.
Rick and I share January birthdays, his on the 20th and mine on the 25th. I was 29 when he died, and about to hit the big Three-0.
Rick and I sometimes had one birthday party for both of us, having our birthdays in the same week. I thought it was fun to celebrate our birthdays together.
Nearly every childhood memory I have includes dear brother Rick.
What a sharp severance from one's childhood that was for me.

My Christian friends, and my New Age friends, tell me considering all the wonderful testimonies I have described from his memorial service, that perhaps he did so many good things for so many people that God decided to reward him with an early trip back home. Cindy said the same thing. To tell the truth, I was able to draw comfort from this thought for a long time.

One thing I am sure thankful for out of this episode in my life is in the comfort of knowing that my dear brother had a good send off.
That means more to me than I can say.
Honest, I'm just making an attempt here.
Although I continue to live with an unanswered question, I've had the opportunity to say good-bye to him the best way I could.

I have pictures from my visit to the grave on the following Thanksgiving Weekend, in 1985, when I took a trip to the cemetery with my Dad and my brother Jack, and our dogs, to see the monument that had been placed there. I'm still learning how to put pics in a blogger, so I can't promise right away.

I wish for all my departed friends to have such a final tribute. All of them, except for Debbie, have had a burial or a cremation, leaving a place we can go and visit to remember them.
All we've come up with so far for Debbie is a parking lot in downtown Carrboro.

Special thanks to Randy Danziger and Tom Sisk, who have provided me with more clues than anyone else.
Bill W -

Thursday, June 14, 2007

My Brother Rick

Yours Truly is number 4 out of 5 Widman brothers. That means I am the second youngest. The Widman brothers are, from the oldest to the youngest, Ted, Jack, Bob, Bill, and Rick. When Rick died, I became the youngest living Widman brother.

On December 30, 1984, I got a phone call from my brother Bob, telling me my brother Rick has died. I will remember that phone call the rest of my life. Soon afterward I was driving to Washington, DC with tears in my eyes.

The whole family was in shock. Rick was the last person anyone had thought would be the first to die in the family. He was the youngest and the healthiest of all of us. My parents were still living then, and it was at their apartment in Forestville, MD, where I met with my brothers, two of which had wives and children. It's amazing how many people could fit in my parent's apartment.

It was December 31, 1984, the next day after the death, but we all seemed to forget it was New Year's Eve. We didn't celebrate it that year. We all seemed to be occupying ourselves with trying to accept the death of brother Rick. I know I was.
We still didn't know why he died.
The body was at the state coroners office in Baltimore to be autopsied.
I was actually considering going there to see it. My family members did not seem to approve of that, so I waited impatiently for the day of the viewing.

I found myself having a strong need to see the body. Perhaps it was like Thomas, who had to see the crucifixion inflicted wounds on Jesus to believe he was alive, I had to see the body of my brother to believe he was dead.
I am reminded that most normal people have an aversion to dead bodies.

My Mom did most of the talking, as my brother Bob would fill in.
On the night of December 29, Rick was at my parents place having dinner. He was his usual sweet cheerful self, happily chopping veggies to make a salad. He had brought his tool box along to do a little plumbing repair before helping with dinner.
Rick has been living in an apartment in the same complex as my parents since he married Cindy. They were married for one year. It was walking distance between them. Cindy was out of town visiting relatives for the holidays, leaving Rick to have the apartment to himself.
Cindy was the next family member we were expecting to show up.
After dinner, Mom says, Rick had asked her for my address, which she had written down for him. Then Rick told my parents (who never did drive or own a car) that he would come and take them to church in the morning. (the next day was Sunday) Then he picked up his toolbox and went home.

It was not usual for Rick to be late, and if he ever was, he would surely call. Mom called his number and got no answer. Then she called her church friends to come and take her and my Dad to church. They went by Rick's apartment and saw his car and his motorcycle still parked in front. They went on to church. On the ride back the vehicles were still there. When they got home they called again. No answer. They knew something was wrong. My parents decide it's time to get the key Rick gave them and go over there.

My poor parents. They were already crazy enough. Why did they have to be the first to discover what was found?
Mom continues the story. When they opened the door the radio was playing. The tool box was by the door. The piece of paper with my address written on it was on a table. Rick was found laying on the floor of the bedroom. He was fully dressed in the clothes they saw him in last. His shirt was neatly tucked in. He was clean and well groomed. He looked like nothing was wrong. But he was dead.
Brother Bob interjects, "Not a hair out of place."
After a screaming fit, Mom called Bob, who was living in Baltimore. He came right over. Bob was the third person to enter the apartment that day. The discovery wasn't easy for him either, but at least he had warning. Bob asked my parents when will the police get here.
"You mean you didn't call anyone but me?"
"We didn't know who else to call."
Bob takes charge of everything after that. He called the police to report the death. He called everyone in the family, including me. He talked to the police, trying to get them to not question my parents so much, as they were not in good shape to answer questions.

No one had a clue as for the cause of death. We could only wait for the autopsy report.

The day of the viewing comes. Ted's wife, Sandy, is a relative I made friends with as soon as I met her. She is the mother of my favorite niece, Julie, who was 3 years old then. It was Sandy who came in the morning to take us to the funeral home.

The funeral home staff were very courteous and professional. Cindy was the first to go in the room where the casket lay. I see her stroke his hair. I was right behind her.
I'm sorry if this sounds morbid, but I was relieved to see what was in the casket. Yes, that's him all right. Now my mind could accept the reality that my brother was dead. I too stroked his hair, touched his cheek, his hands.
This is taboo in some cultures, but I didn't care. To the Jewish, to touch a dead body made one ritually unclean. My family was Catholic.
Brother Ted comes up beside me. His mood is strangely playful. He points to Rick's hands and says to me, "Did you ever see his fingernails so clean?"
He pats the chest and says, "They really stuffed him good, didn't they?"
I look at my brother with a tear stained eye and say, "Your sense of humor never wanes."

After we all had our turn at the casket, I stood facing my Dad. Then I wrapped my arms around him and cried. It was the only time I ever cried in public as an adult. I was not at all embarrassed about it. I felt I had a perfect right to do so. When I was finished, I asked, "When was the last time I cried on your shoulder, Dad?" To my surprise, he remembered. I was a little boy then, and I remembered too when he gave a brief description of the event.
It amazes me that Dad couldn't remember what he had for lunch yesterday, but he could remember that.

After the viewing there is a memorial service in the chapel, which fills up to standing room only. It made me feel good to see so many people show up. I volunteered for pallbearer duty, and participated in common eulogy. The eulogy was started by the priest. Then Cindy, then me, then a lot of other people came up to offer some words. I always knew Rick was a great guy, but it still was nice to hear other people say so. It did my heart a lot of good to hear all the wonderful praise for my dear little brother. I still think often of such beautiful testimonies I have heard.

The day of the funeral arrived. We rode in an Airstream hearse. I didn't know they made a hearse like that. There were enough seats for the pallbearers and family members. The casket rode in a compartment inside the body of the vehicle, underneath where we sat. Cindy would not stop crying. She was on crutches since she came back from her trip. It was explained that when Cindy was called to inform her about Rick's death, she ran out the door and fell down the steps, injuring her ankle.
The hearse parked in front of the church. The funeral home attendants open the compartment and slide out the casket. The pallbearers on my side politely offered me the front position, which I accepted.
Lord, the thing was heavy. Even with all the help carrying the casket, my forearm muscles ached from the weight. I will always remember the procession down the aisle of the church.

I have renounced the Catholic faith long ago, but I still appreciate the beauty of a Catholic church. They were singing "Morning has Broken," by Cat Stevens. (I learned later that he was not the actual author.) I appreciated that song a lot more than I would have any Catholic hymn. As we slowly progressed down that long aisle, all the people were standing and singing, and facing us. I made eye contact with all the faces I went by. I could read sympathy in every pair of eyes.

Prior to that time, I had made plans to legally change my name to Wildman. I was going to add a letter "L." I decided that if that's what everyone wanted to call me, then I would make it official. It was then and there that I canceled that plan. The name "Widman" had new meaning to me. It was the name I shared with my brother Rick, and I was proud of it.
I was also proud that we looked so much alike. People I didn't know seemed to recognize me as a brother of the deceased. That pleased me.

Maryland state law requires a death certificate for a burial. The death certificate required a line filled in under "cause of death." The certificate arrived to us saying, "cause of death -- pending." We would have to wait for the lab results to come back for that information, but at least we were ready for the burial.

Another arm aching tote from the hearse to the grave, and the casket is placed on the nylon web that lowers the casket down into the vault. The priest gave the final prayers, then it started to drizzle.
There was a long ritual of hand shakes and introductions. I thought it was partly because of my face that everyone wanted to shake my hand. There was a pride I never felt before when I'd say "Bill Widman" as I extended my hand. Then we went back to the parking area of the cemetery, in time to get out of the rain.
Why does it always rain at funerals?

This time we go to Sandy's car instead of the hearse. Before getting in the car, we notice Ted is not with us. Sandy went back to get him. She found Ted trying to open the casket, saying "I gotta get him out!"
Back at the funeral home, I'm sitting with Ted in the smoker's lounge, worried about him. His eyes had that vacant and far away look. He lit a cigarette but just held it. I took it from his hand when it burned all the way down. Sandy was with me. We kept talking to him, trying to bring him back. It took a while.
When Ted was ready to talk again, he told us that the impact did not hit him until he saw everyone walking away from the grave site, leaving the casket there. He was not accepting what had happened. He wanted to deny it. When he could no longer do that, he lost it.

Sandy and I had a long conversation about how different people respond differently to the same thing, especially when it's the death of a loved one. I have seen examples of that already, and I would see a lot more later. It became a subject of study for me.

to be continued...

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


While the website was getting it's makeover, I met with some friends to discuss plans for our observance of the 10 year anniversary of Debbie's departure from us. A lot of ideas were tossed around, and we seem to have settled on this one.

We are planning a candlelight vigil (tentatively) in the parking lot across from Jade Palace in Carrboro, on the night of November 30, 2007, into the early hours of December First.

This year Nov 30 falls on a Friday, the week after Thanksgiving, rather than on Thanksgiving Weekend. It seems to me that this will be a good time for everyone. Debbie was last seen alive in that parking lot in the early morning hours of December 1, 1997.
If no one has a better plan, I say let's plan on this.
Bring candles and pink ribbon.
Thank you;
Bill W

Monday, June 04, 2007

That's all for now

Bill Widman said...
Okay Everyone
I have now said everything that I wanted to say about Debbie.
I wanted to say something about Carl Fox, but John Allore, and a commenter of his, beat me to it.
Now those of you still inclined to pick up your torches and pitchforks and resume the chase may do so with my blessing. Should such an event occur, you can be sure I'll be writing about it.
But please remember the First of December.
Now someone else can have a turn.
Come on now, it's not that hard. Really.

BTW - Joy has suggested a candlelight vigil in the parking lot in Carrboro where Debbie was last seen, on Dec 1, or sometime Thanksgiving Weekend.
Another suggestion was for September 21, the birthday of DK.

Now it would just please the hell out of me if I was to find a comment in here from someone else when I come back.
If not, then I suppose I'll start writing about my brother, Rick Widman, who died at young age for reasons which, after explained, leave important questions unanswered.
I might also add my observations on how different personalities respond differently to the same thing, especially when it's the death of a loved one.
Then maybe I could explain why I'm not seeing much response in here. If someone else can explain it for me, I really wish you would.

"The wise do not pretend to know what the ignorant are sure of."
Bill the Wildman

My Eulogy To Debbie

Bill Widman said...
What can I say about Debbie Key? That her favorite color was pink. Her favorite place was the beach. That she loved the Pittsburgh Steelers and Patsy Cline.
She loved children and animals with profound adoration.
She loved the changing of the seasons, to see the coloring of the leaves in autumn, the first snow of winter, the first flowers of spring, and the magic of summer nights.
She was in love with life, and worshipped every day of it. Her joy and enthusiasm were freely shared with everyone she encountered.

How about her triumph after being stricken with Guillain-Barre Syndrome? Confined to a wheelchair for a time, she demonstrated a great zeal for life when it was challenged, and a spiritual fortitude that helped her overcome her affliction. Debbie continued going to concerts, and doing the things she loved during that time.

What has impressed me the most about Debbie is how she has touched the lives of so many people I have known for decades. She had a heart of gold, and her loyalty to her friends was boundless. Debbie wanted everyone to be happy. She put a lot of effort into it, and often succeeded.
I regret that I didn't get to know her as well as many of my friends, but I'm thankful to everyone who has shared their personal stories with me. I can see that she's made quite an impact. There is no doubt in my mind that she was indeed a very special person, a gift.

I always enjoy my visits to David and Chris, especially when they feel up to talking about their very special friend. David told me about how when Debbie was at their house in 1996 during Hurricane Fran, taking refuge from the storm, and she was able to persuade a lost and frightened cat into their house. Some say that Debbie could talk to animals, especially cats, and it was certainly well known that she had a great love for them. They named the cat Poupon, because he was grey, and the cat continued to live at their house until he died, not too long ago.

Whenever I talk to my friends about Debbie, I often hear the word "bubbly" used to describe her. She possesed a great talent for cheering people up, making people laugh, and inspiring people to get off their butts and have fun. Indeed, she was famous for this.
Officer Bob, as he is best known, perhaps the most popular member of the Carrboro Police Dept., once described Debbie to me as, "not a malicious bone in her body."

But Debbie was a human, not an angel, (maybe she is now) and she did have her faults. She had a tendency to drink too much, and a tendency to assume that everyone was good. These things led to her demise.
It was the Sunday night of Thanksgiving Weekend, the night before December 1, 1997, when the friends she usually hung out with at Sticks and Stones were with their families. It was then when Debbie tried to make a new friend and, perhaps for her first time, failed.
I want her killer brought to justice as much as anyone else, but not before paying tribute to the life she has lived. The many blessings she has shared with us should always be remembered. What I want to emphasise most of all is that Debbie Key is not just a "murder victim," but a special friend to us all.

Rest in peace, dear Debbie Key
Sep 21, 1962 - Dec 1, 1997

If the SQ were in a Frankenstein Movie

Bill Widman said...
For those who are familiar with the work of John Allore (of "Who Killed Theresa?" fame) I want to share a story I wrote for him.
I call it--
"If the Surete du Quebec were in a Frankenstein Movie"

Although this story takes place in a village in Germany in the 19th century, the police speak in an accent curiously resembling French Canadian.

A grief stricken man with tears in his eyes carries the lifeless body of a little girl into the village square, followed by villagers murmering to one another. The man walks directly to the police station, where he lays down the dead child and pleads with the Constable, who just happens to be standing outside.

"My little girl, she's been murdered!" cries the father.
"Oh I don't know about that." says the Constable, "Could be suicide. Maybe she was taking drugs."

"MURDERER! MURRR-DER-ER!" screams the crazy old lady we see in every Frankenstein movie. "It's that wicked Dr. Frankenstein and his evil experiments! He's the one who brought this upon us!"
"Lets all get our torches and pitchforks and find the monster who did this!" shouts the village drunkard.
"Now hold on there!" shouts the Constable. "We can't be sure if any of this has really happened!"
"What about all them graves that were dug up in the cemetery?" demands the drunkard.
"We don't know anything about that either!" says the Constable.
"Listen good people!" the Constable shouts. "If you must go running off into the hills with your torches and farming implements with the intention of klling some monster you hope to find out there, then I'm afraid I will have no choice but to look the other way!"
The angry mob storms off into the hills.

Up in the hills a big ugly monster is seen running for his life by two hunters carrying rifles. One of them shoots him, only to get his neck broken by the monster who continues to run. The other hunter decides not to do the same thing himself, but runs likity-split to the village instead.

Outside the police station two officers see a madman with a rifle running and screaming toward the entrance. "I'm afraid it will become very hard to ignore this." says the first officer. "Then we must make extra effort to do so." says the second officer.
Inside the station, the hunter meets the Constable, huffing and puffing from the long run. "Well, what is it, Man?" says the Constable.
"Aurgh! Monster! Big! Horrible! Aurgh! Killed my friend! Aurgh! Shared the scit out of me! Aurgh!"
"Don't know what you're talking about." says the constable. "I suggest you go home and try to forget about it!"

The villagers arrive brandishing their torches at the top of the hill, with their pitchforks, axes, and other implements of destruction, just in time to see the monster duck inside the windmill, which they proceed to set on fire. They gather around to watch it burn down, making sure the monster does not escape.
In the morning the police are there among the smoking remains of the windmill, where they find the body of the Frankenstein Monster.

"Looks like they killed him, Sir." an officer reports.
"Oh I don't know about that." the Constable says. "Could be suicide. Maybe he was taking drugs."


Bill Widman said...
10 Year Anniversary

This year, on December first, will be the 10 year anniversary of Debbie's departure.
I think an observance is due to commemorate the occasion. What do you think?
Here's what I had in mind.
Does anyone remember that jogger who was killed on Estes Dr. back in the early 90's? It was near Phillips Middle School. What I remember best about that was the arrangement of flowers on that spot that kept getting bigger as more people went by. I remember the day the jurors for the killer's trial were taken to the location, and they cleared all the memorabilia away so as not to "bias" the jury with the display. Then the very next day the flowers and baskets began to appear and grow again.
Well now I was thinking we could make one of those, right here, on this website. Maybe we could get people to send in pictures, stories, and other Debbie memorabilia and arrange it together on a page. Let us make a shrine to Debbie.

If anyone else has any ideas, please don't keep me waiting.
Bill the Wildman

Bill W. to the Carrboro Police Department

Bill W said...
I'd like to address this to the CARRBORO POLICE DEPT.
Please be it known that I have the greatest respect for the efforts made by those of your department concerning DK, and I hold no fault, but support.
There are those of the Carrboro Police Dept. who I know personally, and you know who you are.
I regret that you have been punished for what you did wrong in the effort of doing right. The punishment should have gone to the one who was not trying to do right.
Each of us, at some point in our lives, has done the wrong thing for the right reason. Where I am guilty of the same thing, should I ever be confronted with it, I hope to do so with the dignity demonstrated by Carolyn Hutchison.

I'm sorry I don't have the same praise for Carl Fox. Perhaps if he had taken his fair share of the blame, I just might have a little respect for him. Considering that the Carrboro Police have taken more than their fair share, it would have been nice if he had been willing to take a little more.

I have it on good authority that the Carrboro Police have been working really hard to solve this case for 7 years, prior to the arrest. I know that the efforts made by the CPD have been far greater than the amount of evidence they had to work with.

On behalf of Friends of Debbie Key, I thank you for your sincere and honest efforts.
Bill Widman

In no conceivable way could I ever write about the Carrboro Police the way I have the Surete du Quebec.(Copy available upon request)

Bill's Forensic Research.

This week in WRAL News, there's this story about a rather disturbed individual who had disposed of the remains of his ex-girlfriend by using a patio grill. The first question that came to me was, How did he burn the bones?
Local law enforcement says that the body has been completely destroyed, and there's no need for an expensive and exhaustive search of the landfill.

What makes this story particularly interesting to me is that, mere weeks ago, I have done an investigation of my own concering the possibility of finding the body of our dear DK in a landfill, and about burning bones.
In the confession of Dalzell, he says that he had placed the body in a dumpster in Wilmington. I found it curious that, in all the newspaper stories I've read, I have found no mention of an attempt to find the body in Wilmington. So I decided to look into it.
Contacting the Wilmington Police Dept., I have learned that a dumpster in or near the City of Wilmington, when emptied, has its contents taken to a facility north of the city which has a landfill and an incinerater. (On Hwy 421 N)
It has long been believed by some of us that the body of our dear DK has been incinerated with the Wilmington trash.
I have this friend named Vicki who I talk to on my computer often. When I shared with her the information exchanged with the Wilmington Police Dept. (who were very nice, by the way) she told me that bones don't burn in a trash incinerater. Well, at least not like they do in a crematory.
Now this got me going. I found out soon that the temperature inside a crematory is frightenly high (not to mention the energy used!) at around 1600 to 1800 degrees!

I shared this info with John Allore, and he refered me to the Forensic Anthropology Center in Knoxville, Tennessee. I learned lots of interesting things from the website before making e-mail contact. I learn that it is entirely possible that a body in a dumpster can go from the trash truck to the landfill without anyone's detection. (Usually there will be someone standing behind the truck when it dumps.) Anyone who has witnessed a trash truck picking up a dumpster would understand why the driver would never see what's in there.
So maybe we can still find a body in the landfill? I ask about this, and I'm told the search for human remains in a landfill is an astronomicaly daunting task, but it has been done. I am also told how to find student volunteers to help with the undertaking, should I decide to take it on.

But then, John has another interesting piece of information for me.
It is believed by the Carrboro Police that Dalzell was not telling the truth about where he put the body. In his confession, Dalzell was asked if the dumpster he placed the body in had the letters, "BFI" marked on it's side. He said "yes." Both the Carrboro Police and the Wilmington Police confirm that the City of Wilmington does not contract with this sanitation company, and did not during the year of 1997.
They do, however, serve the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area.
If it is true that Dalzell was in fear of his life if he did not reveal the location of the body, it seems he still wanted to keep it a secret. Who knows why?

What does this all mean? It means, dear friends, that the body of our DK may still be found somewhere, someday, and maybe closer to home.
These things have been known to happen. Consider the recent finding of a skeleton in the Oxford area.
As for the one about the guy who burned an entire human body on two patio grills, stinking up the whole neighborhood, perhaps we need to look more carefully into that.

Special thanks to all I have mentioned for helping me gather this information.
Bill Widman
11:36 AM

Bill W's Attitude

Bill W said...
Alright now, I think I've waited long enough.
There are a lot of things I want to say, and for 1 year and 3 months I have been standing back, trying to be a gentleman, waiting for other people to have their turn.
"What's wrong with this picture?" I keep asking myself.
When I started this website along with Joy Preslar and Jackie Helvey, I promised myself that I wouldn't hog it, much as I like to write. I'll be a good boy and wait my turn. Well now I've decided that a year plus another season is enough time to wait for someone else to say something, and if no one else is going to use this blog space, than I'm gonna "have at it" and not feel guilty about it. After a year I see a grand total of one page and a blog page, containing 6 comments. I wrote two of them and Joy wrote two.
What do they say about the third time?

For starters, I should confess that I did not know Debbie Key as well as I pretended to. I knew Debbie only through my friends, and I subscribe to the theory that, "The friends of my friends are my friends."
Perhaps it's because I'm not much of a drinking man, so I don't go to bars very often, but this excuse will only get me so far.
I tend to regret that I did not go out to Sticks and Stones, when my dear friend Joy would call me and say that she and her band, Storm Front, were playing there and "why don't you come by?"
Yes, my friends, I regret not coming by to hang out with you at your favorite watering hole, and taking the opportunity to get to know better the person I've been writing about. (Hindsight being what it is.)
But I have known all of you for a long time.

David Hurlbert I have known since high school. (Way back in the 70s, Man!) His wife, Chris, I have known since the early '80s, when I and all my local friends would hang out at Breadmen's, and she was everyone's favorite waitress. She has since then moved up in the world, and is now one of the managers at Jade Palace, a popular Chinese Restaurant in Carrboro, which just so happens to be across the street from where Sticks and Stones used to be.
Debbie was a bridesmaid at the wedding of David and Chris, and also at the wedding of Paul and Carole Kemp, who are also old and dear friends of mine.
And then there's Joy, who has been my greatest source of moral support when I needed it most during the last decade or two.
These are the people I have seen in the newspapers and read about, from 1997 to 2005, concerning the murder of our friend Debbie. I knew that Debbie was a special person to them, and so she became to me.

It was in December of 2005, when everyone was still upset that, after 7 years they finally arrested a suspect, but it didn't bring the closure we were hoping for.
Joy and I were at her house talking about what do we do next. Let's start a website, the decision was made, and Joy got Jackie on the phone and she came over. Jackie is perhaps most famous for Carrboro.Com in her work as a website designer. I felt we had a great team together.

Well I am sorry to say I was very disappointed in the lack of response. Where are all these people who were gathering at the courthouse at every trial, with the posters and buttons, talking to the reporters, and making such a big to-do about it? Perhaps they feel like they have done their part already, and it's time for me to do mine. If that be the case, then here I go.

Another thing that bothers me is that everything I have read about Debbie is about her being murdered. Yes, of course, this is an important part of her story, but it is not the only part. Am I the only one who wants to write about who Debbie was when she was alive? God, I hope not, but it sure is starting to look like it.

I am very grateful for the support of John Allore, and his website, "Who Killed Theresa?" In that site I have found a lot more about Debbie and friends than we've got in here. Also I am grateful to John for keeping up with me in e-mails. He has never been too busy to respond to my raves and rants. The parallels between his story and Debbie's story are so uncanny, especially considering the house he moved in to when he and his family settled down in Chapel Hill. (see Bad Dream House, an awesome read!)

Now if anyone is offended by me taking up all the blog space in here, please feel free to jump in at any time. Otherwise, you may expect to be hearing a whole lot more from me in the near future. You have been warned. It has long been a goal of mine to prove to all that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.

As Arnold says, "I'll be back!"
Bill Widman

From Tammy Preslar Strickland

tammy preslar strickland said...
I am a sister; wife; mother; friend and coworker.
I would hope that if anyone whom I loved vanished, there would be some type of justice. For the ones in which have followed the proceedings with their heart and soul, they have no more closure and reassurance than the families of the victims loved ones.
If I did not do my job, I would assume that I would be without a job.
What message does that send to potential victims, or worse, to potential criminals? If the judicial system is so that we cannot even take a confession and do proper justice for the crime, in my opinion, something needs changing immediately.
I hope and pray I never have to endure what my sister has endured.
The loss of faith in things we must have as a society frees one up to wonder if vigilante justice needs to return.
If anyone murdered anyone I know and love, I would want justice.
I would want closure.
I would want somebody, praying the right person, would be convicted, to pay their dues.
It is the authoritarians in control whom need to be sure we as civilians can put our trust and faith in them as a system of right, and not wrong. It is not right when someone admits to any crime, large or small, and does not have to pay restitution.
I pray the loved ones of Debbie Key will see justice before they pass from this earth.
If not, their actions and convictions will go unnoticed and in vain.
I hope if I know of anyone whom has this type of tragic outcome happen to them, they have someone like Joy and all others to pursue what the police cannot, or will not.
Tammy Preslar Strickland.

After Trial Bummer

Bill W said...
It is important for us to remember that, as far as the law is concerned, Andrew Dalzell is a suspect, and only that, in this case. If you ask me if I believe he is guilty, I would say, "Yes," but that is an opinion, not a fact. Let us be careful we do not get sued.
For several years I have seen my friends gather at the courthouse with signs and banners, talking to reporters, and doing all manner of things to bring publicity to this case.
To many of us, such efforts have gone unrewarded.
But I don't think so.
It seems, to many of us, that someone has literally gotten away with murder, and that can be most discouraging.
But the case is not closed yet.
We have raised our voices high, produced posters and buttons, and now even a website. Let's not end it here. For those who feel that we have done all that we could, and have nothing to show for it, I suggest you start writing.
This site has been open for several months now, and there are still only 4 comments posted in it.
I have seen an impressive show of enthusiasm among many of my closest friends in the Chapel Hill and Carrboro area, and I hope to see it continue. I see no reason why we should give up.
If you are tired of doing the same old thing over and over again, that didn't seem to do very much, then perhaps it's time to try another approach.
While I would strongly discourage getting vigilante about it, let us look for more positive ways to remember our dear friend.
I am sure in my heart we can all do that.

Comment from Bill W.

Bill W said...
I agree with quietdude.
Among my best friends are Chris and David, who live in Carrboro. Debbie was a bridesmaid at their wedding. Another close friend is Joy, who we have also heard from. She and Debbie go back many years. There are quite a few people I often see and hear from today who have shared a friendship with Debbie Key. So to me, as well as my friends, Debbie is a lot more than just a murder victim, but a friend who is remembered very fondly.
I am sensitive to the fact that our friend Debbie has never had a memorial service or funeral, (except for a small private affair by her family) and I believe I speak for all of us when I say that we would like very much to hear from people who knew her, to honor her memory, and to share what she means to us.
To me, closure is more important than "justice", for what is justice if we cannot remember the personal influence Debbie has made in our own lives?
I do not want to see a man go to prison as much as I want to hear from people who have known this special person who has lived in our world.
A good person like Debbie Key deserves a good final tribute from all of us.
Thank you
Bill W

Comment from Quietdude

quietdude said...
There was more to this woman than "murder victim", I would think. I hope that your site will show the other sides of Debbie Key, and not simply focus on her death and Dalzell's escape from justice.

Joy Reports from Confession

joy said...
Today a reliable source let me in on the contents of the confession of Debbie's murder by Andrew Dalzell.

He told how he met her at Sticks and Stones, played some pool, went out for a cig and waited for his "customary 'goodbye hug'" until she came out. He then threw his cig and said "Hey Sweetie, how about my hug?" Debbie was free with her hugs, and stopped between both their cars.
Ken was locking up, and saw Deb and Andrew huggin. He beats himself up about not asking if she was OK. By all appearances she looked fine.
Andrew then waited until no one was around, and put his hand on "her bottom". She slapped him, as was in her character. To her, no meant no even if there had been previous displays of affection. There were separations in her value system. You could be friends without getting sexual.
Someone once told me Deb had been sexually assaulted. Odds were 1 in 4, so that was very likely. I am 1, as are 1 in 4 of my friends. This is why we tended to look out for one another.
Deb wouldn't think twice about setting someone straight about assuming that she would be intimate with them.
At the same time, she didn't like hurting anyone's feelings.
Some characterized this as "teasing" and if you were assumptuous enough to think you were going to get past her boundaries, I guess it was.
Andrew "snapped" when she slapped him. The rejection was too much, and he started to choke her. She did not struggle, she just looked surprised, according to Andrew's confession. She slumped toward his car, and he placed her in his back seat. He picked up her purse and cigarettes and put them in her car.

We knew when her car was found unlocked with her purse on the passenger seat that something was amiss. She ALWAYS locked her purse in her trunk, and kept the keys in her pocket. That way she would never lose her stuff.

He then says he drove to Wal Mart to get a tarp or something to cover her body. He covered her with a flannel shirt and went inside, where he paid $40 cash for a Tool Locker Box. My carpenter friends say that this would be a plastic box with handles on the side. He says he drove to the back of Wal Mart where "the marshalls would not be at that time of night." New Hope Commons Wal Mart has a road all the way around it, and in back are storage trailers and dumpsters. He says that is where he put her in the box and drove onto I-40 toward Wilmington.

There has been much debate over whether to believe him or not. He says that he stopped halfway there to duct-tape the seams of the box to seal the smell of her bowels emptying. Was she still alive? He then says he got to Wilmington and found a strip mall to the left of the road. A dumpster with metal construction debris and drywall was 1/2 full. He says he "reverently, in some small fashion to make up for what he had done" slowly lowered her into the dumpster.
My question is: how can a 19 year old slightly pudgy kid slowly lower close to 150 pounds of body and box into anything? Do I buy this? Why would he confess to part of it and then make some up? Is he trying to save his butt?

He says he and his girlfriend want to start a family and live a normal life. Was that why he had child porn on his computer? There is a "Delete" button on every computer I know. Is it normal to try to talk a 13-year old girl into coming from West Virginia to be adopted by him and his girlfriend? Is this the way to start a family?
Reporters have asked me if I did not think it possible that he was frightened to falsely confessing.
I think that if I did not murder someone I would go to my grave professing my innocence. It is more likely that a person would plead his innocence if he were guilty. Dr. Jeffrey Macdonald comes to mind.
I did not assume Andrew's guilt until I was convinced that he is guilty. This confession seals it for me. I think the people of Stanley, N.C. have a right to know that Andrew now lives among them, leading a "normal" life.

Message from Joy

joy said...
Debbie was a friend and sister to me.
We taught kids together, went to concerts, laughed and talked about everything. I miss her daily.
The night she went missing was one of the few Sunday evenings I didn't stop by Sticks and Stones because it was Thanksgiving. She came there to hear the various bands, and because it felt safe. We all felt safe there.
My son went to Culbreth Middle School with Andrew. Our friend Jenny went to church with him, and traveled to do repairs on houses for the elderly. She says that everyone loved his father, and when he died when Andrew was 14, it changed him. He hit a neighborhood girl in the head with a brick during a fit of rage, and the kids left him alone after that.

After Debbie's disappearance, and Andrew's interview with the Carrboro Police, I came upon him and another guy pulling a stunt. I was between shifts as a security guard on campus when I turned the corner at Merritt Mill Road and Cameron Avenue, headed toward the stadium. Someone was lying on the sidewalk in front of a dark green Land Rover parked diagonally on the sidewalk in front of the Physical Plant on Cameron. I pulled over, pulling my radio out and preparing to assess the situation. It looked as if someone had been hit and injured. Andrew, the one lying down, jumped up and his partner jumped out of the Rover. I asked if anyone was hurt. They both said "No, we were just fooling around." I have tried to think of what they were doing besides luring someone into the vehicle. I can't.

Knowing that Andrew and his girlfriend had contacted a 13 year old girl on the internet and tried to convince her to come to Chapel Hill to be "adopted" by them gives me reason to question his future actions. He confessed to killing Debbie whether his confession stood or not. I believe he did. One day perhaps the courts will also.