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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)

TITLE: I Didn't Know
By Esther Phillips


The amber alert flashed across my television about a beautiful young high school girl that was missing. They gave details of where she was last seen. Later in the day, her mother was interviewed and she begged anyone with any information to please call Crime Stoppers.

As time crept slowly forward, pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place. The girl was last seen getting into a white pick-up truck with two boys. The police found the pick-up and questioned the boys, but they didn’t get any information as to where the girl was. The boys reported that they had dropped her off.

Several days went by and the girl’s parents were interviewed on television. They told about the wholesome young woman who was into raising animals for FFA and how she had a prize animal that was going to be shown in a few short weeks.

Agonizing time seemed to stand still. Then one day, a home builder’s crew showed up at their site where they were preparing land to put in a new sub-division. They found all kinds of tracks dug through the ground they had already prepared. In the middle of the tracks, they spotted a limb poked up through the ground so they called the Sheriff.

The Sheriff’s department dug up the body and sent it to be evaluated. It was most certainly the body of the young girl who had been missing for several days. After more investigation, they determined that the white pick-up was involved in this case. They obtained a search warrant and headed for the boy’s homes. When they got there, they found the boys had skipped town.

While they were there, they found a gun and some other items in one of the homes that corroborated their suspicions of these being the correct suspects. Persons-of- interest reports were sent to the media in search for the two young men. The next day, they were detained when they tried crossing the border into Canada. After a short time, they were extradited to Texas to face charges of murder.

When one of the men was questioned about why he did it, he replied that it was just out of curiosity about how it would feel to kill someone. In the trial, he didn’t appear to have any remorse. He was found guilty and is now serving a very long prison sentence.

The other young man was also found guilty but on a lesser charge. He claimed, “I didn’t know he was going to shoot and kill the girl.”

Apparently his claim was validated by the first young man. Even so, he was there when the murder happened, and he was there when they tried to escape by going into Canada. Furthermore, he wasn’t forthcoming in letting anyone know of the tragedy until they were caught.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/07/08
What a tragic story!

This reads almost like a newspaper report--consider presenting material like this more like a short story, perhaps from the POV of one of the detectives working the case.

I've read about people like these young murderers--how very, very awful!
Marilyn Schnepp 02/08/08
True life stories are always stranger than fiction. It is also true that sometimes you don't know the inner thoughts of those you mingle and run with; however, you did a good job of writing the sad, but detailed account of the murder...leaving the Reader with a thoughtful reflection of life in general and friends in particular.
Patty Wysong02/09/08
These situations always drive fear clear to my bones.
Julie Arduini02/11/08
What a tragic story! I'd like you to put the reader there through showing more than telling. You've got what it takes to make my toes curl from feeling like I am standing in the dump with the police when they ID the body. Don't be afraid to take your reader there. Great potential!
Lucile McKenzie02/13/08
This was eerily familiar as we had a similar event here. A young mother, working late at a local Dairy Queen was seen being forced into a white pick-up truck. Neither she nor the truck was ever seen again. This was an excellent story, all the elements are there. It only needs some more details to fill it out. It certainly is pertinant for today's world. Good job!