We went camping with a murderer

Lefty Graves

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Group CampingYoav Aziz/Unsplash

** This article is based on nonfiction by actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.

Having spent a lot of time in campgrounds, this particular trip seemed different. The camper next to us was by himself even though there was a large group of people we knew together camping. For some reason, his wife was missing. When we asked him why she wasn’t with him, he said she was feeling “Under the weather.”

We thought that was rather odd, as did the rest of the camping group. They were usually always together. We all wondered why he wasn’t home taking care of her. He seemed rather distant and just “off” compared to his usual jovial self.

When we all got back home about a week later, we heard on the news that his wife was missing. A friend called and asked him if he needed any help or if there was anything that anyone could do for him, but he told us, “no thanks.”

He told everyone that she was gone when he arrived home from camping. He said she didn’t take any of her belongings with her and that he was concerned about her. A few days later, the police received a tip from his neighbor.

The neighbor was worried because there had been a lot of noise coming from their house, and the lights were on in the basement all night. The basement was a dirt flooring-type basement, and they never spent time down there, so this was particularly unusual.

The police went and questioned the man further and decided to detain him and search his house. Upstairs they found a large amount of blood. They used a special chemical that showed the blood even though it had been scrubbed clean to the visible eye.

The police decided to investigate further and went into the basement, where they found freshly disturbed soil. The police called in a forensics team and a cadaver dog. Her body was found that day under the newly disturbed earth. She had been bludgeoned to death.

I reflect back on that camping trip and wonder if she had already been murdered or if he had waited until he returned home. It’s creepy to know that our group of friends were all sleeping snugly in our tents while a criminal was amongst us.

We all felt safe while we were there with a large group. But, could we have prevented her death? Could we have been in danger ourselves? Have you ever been in a similar situation?

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming & more. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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