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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 05:52 AM
Original message
Seven years today
i wrote this a little less than seven years ago. today is the anniversary of my daughter's death.

Bekahs Death

The loss which is unknown is no loss at all.
- Publilius Syrus

The criminal case against Bekah's murderer was decided in chambers and in offices where her family and loved ones were not invited. That my girl was denied her earthly justice continues to complicate matters for me as i attempt to recover from losing my daughter - who was healthy, happy, and 21 years old - a process that would under optimal circumstances still be the hardest thing i have ever attempted.

On 07-24-01, five days after she killed Bekah, the woman known as "Rambo" was arraigned in San Pedro. Although the detective failed to advise me of the hearing, I had called the court myself, and rushed to court with a friend who had traveled from Northern CA for Bekah's funeral, which was planned for the following day.

The judge was one of those been-there-done-that blas sort of guys. I will always remember the audible surprise in his voice when he announced Rambo's case: "...and Ms. Woolever is charged with (pause, quizzical uplift in voice) ...murder." I will also never forget the detective's response when I thanked him later that day for making the case for murder: "We felt it was appropriate under the circumstances."

The 53-year-old woman who had torn my daughter out of her life in a gruesome few seconds on 07-19-01 was still in jail. She was in handcuffs and appeared to be very agitated, afraid, uncomfortable.

She seemed to feel sorry for herself.

I leaned forward in my chair and stared. Stared. Stared. Until the bailiff positioned himself between Rambo and me. He never spoke aloud to me, but it was obvious that he was not going to let the defendant be "over"looked at by this unannounced visitor to the court (meaning me).

So i leaned back in my seat. Noticed that when her attorney asked for something outrageous in the way of bail, like O.R. or $50,000, the judge almost laughed at him. However, he did cut her bail in half, from one million to five hundred thousand dollars. On 08-08-01, Bekah's killer got out of jail. Half a million bail couldn't keep this woman behind bars.

Bekah's body was put into the ground at Green Hills Memorial Park the day after her killer's arraignment. Bekah's body will never be released. Bekah's spirit and soul...survive. I believe that.

Rambo was taken back into custody on 02-15-02 after plea bargaining her way out of the murder charge and being sentenced to four years for felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated and felony hit and run. She could have been sentenced to 15 years, but she got four, the least amount of time possible for the crimes for which she was found guilty.

When she gets out in two years, if she murders somebody else the same way she killed Bekah, you might be thinking, aha! two violent convictions, she will go away 25 to life this time. Of course you'd be wrong. Rambo has no strikes. That's right, no strikes.

She killed Bekah so brutally we could not even see our girl to have one last hug, to really know that truth that our whole entire beings rebelled from believing, to advise the police or coroner or doctor that, "Yes, it is Bekah." Nope. The "massive trauma to the head" sustained by Bekah, inflicted by Rambo, was so destructive that we were persuaded by the people dealing with us not to look at her. And so we buried our precious girl without a last look or touch.

But her crimes don't count as violent.

After being told by her father that Bekah was dead, I made note of the following in an effort to make myself believe it:

1) Bekah is not here; she is not with Matt, or Paul, or at home, or anywhere. If she was alive we would have seen her, heard from her...

2) The policeman verified that Bekah was dead. After my ex told me over the phone, I got the names and numbers of the investigating officers...first I called Bekah's older brother and told him this news I really did not believe, then I called the police and calmly asked whether my ex-husband had been telling me the truth when he said my daughter was dead.

3) I called her best friend, who was already crying, talked to Paul who was inside the building when Bekah was killed (Bekah was crossing the street to visit with Paul). When I asked him how he knew it was Bekah he said, "her shoes..." and he lost it...he said, "Bekah was the love of my life." past tense...I don't think Paul would be so upset if it wasn't Bekah...

It was after 2 a.m. on July 20, 2001. Bekah's father and 17-year-old brother, my son Andy, arrived. John, my oldest son, showed up. I had by this time woken up Rory with my wailing, although I had not shed a single tear. There must be some kind of belief, acknowledgment, before tears can flow. Over a long night in my living room we gathered. Her father related how it was imparted to him that there is no doubt: it is Bekah, she is dead, but don't look at her, massive trauma to the head...even so, at daylight John and I headed for the hills with the plan to see Bekah, to hug her one last time, to learn that she was dead...

We first went to where Bekah died. Her car was still parked across from her friend's apartment building. I hugged Bekah's car. Chalk marks and the soot from many flares verified that something really bad happened there recently. We readily found where each of Bekah's laced-up Skechers landed, but we visited the site three times before finding the spot where Bekah landed. This is because it is so far away from her shoes - we did not think to walk so far from her shoes. We didn't know then, about how Rambo dragged Bekah's body down the street.

A Channel 11 Newsvan had apparently camped there overnight. When the reporter approached me to ask for an interview, I asked him what does he know? That's when i learned that my daughter was killed by a middle-aged woman...somehow i had it in my head that it would be a young man...reckless, drunk, remorseful. But no. It was Rambo - a 53-year-old woman with a reputation.

I would not go on camera with the reporter but did tell him that Bekah's 21st birthday had passed only 13 days before her death. My mind was finally convinced about what my heart and soul would not acknowledge for months yet: Bekah is dead...but still, could I bury her without hugging her one more time?

At the hospital the first tears appeared, hot, brought on by a shuddering wave of the single most terrible realization I have ever experienced. A noise escaped my mouth when the tears sprang from my eyes, and John said, "What, Mom?"

I said, "Bekah's dead!"

Oh to relate the despair of that realization. Impossible, cannot be done. And remarkably it would be still many more days and nights before I really believed. I mean really; and months after that, acceptance, which is an ongoing process so excruciating it likewise defies expression in words.

Instead of being taken to Bekah's side, we were taken into a room within the hospital. A nurse or supervisor came into the room carrying Bekah's chart, and as tactfully as she could, convinced me that we did NOT need to identify Bekah's body. Not even to hug her one last time. As she kindly and patiently recited minute by minute details of Bekah's death, the attempts they made to bring her back, the timeline, the nature of Bekah's injuries, I turned to John and said, "We will never see Bekah again."

But it wasn't a violent crime no...no strikes.
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zanne Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 06:04 AM
Response to Original message
1. Ah, barbtries...
Though I have never had a loved one killed like your Bekah, your words describe your anguish so well. I didn't know Bekah, but I'm sure that you won't let her memory be forgotten. I'm so sorry for your loss.
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 06:05 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. thank you zanne
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alphafemale Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 06:16 AM
Response to Original message
3. My daughter's 21. I can't even imagine,
I'm so sorry.

:hug:
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monmouth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 06:19 AM
Response to Original message
4. Dearest barbtries, I just turned on the computer here in Florida,
and I'm feeling the pain of another mother far away that I have experienced. My heart goes out to you and unfortunately, I know those exact feelings of loss you are experiencing. I lost my daughter Casey, age 23 in a car accident in 1993. I remember sitting upright in my twin bed at 4:45 a.m. and seeing she was not in the other twin bed. After receiving the excruciating news, the deputy who delivered the news told me they did not have an exact time of death. I informed him it was 4:45 a.m. Her date was bringing her home from a Charlie Daniels concert, his eyes left the road, the left front tire went up on the median, he over corrected, the truck flipped over and then bounced into one of the numerous canals down here. Traumatic head injuries... It seems silly to say to you that time will help. It doesn't really, but as in your name, you try. I'm on my way to 8:00 Mass at St. Ann's and will remember you, your lovely daughter and mine in prayers. God love you.
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 06:24 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. thank you monmouth
and i am so sorry to hear about your daughter's death.

time has done its thing. i've come a long way. just had to remember today.
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OneGrassRoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 06:25 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. And sincere hugs to you as well....
Monmouth. :hug:
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OneGrassRoot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 06:24 AM
Response to Original message
6. barbtries....
I do not know you, but I am a mother...I have a teenage daughter...and have lost a child infancy. My heart breaks for you. Even though Bekah is fine ~ I believe that wholeheartedly with you ~ her loved ones are still in pain. How she was taken from you compounds that pain. It's horrible!!!

You shared this tragedy so beautifully and touchingly and I hope it affects every single person tempted to take even one drink and still drive.

I just wanted to send you hugs across the miles. They are sincere, please know that.

:hug:
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 06:29 AM
Response to Reply #6
8. thank you time
(i agree with your sn by the way)
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Nickster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 06:47 AM
Response to Original message
9. Wow, very moving. I'm sorry for your loss. Tomorrow is an "anniversary" of my own. July just sucks
all around.
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 07:02 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. thanks nickster
july is a mixed bag, but it's been pretty much insane month in this household since 2001. bekah's 28th birthday was the 6th. one of my friends from justice for murdered children, a group i've been active with since bekah died, lost her son on july 6. today is his birthday. not only that, but the person who killed her son was exactly - same day, same year - the same age as her son.
another longtime friend in NM lost his son (shot to death) on July 20 2000. after thinking on it for a long time i figured out that jeremy and bekah died almost exactly one year apart, as he was killed shortly after midnight on the 20th in NM and she was killed about 9:45pm on the 19th in CA. weird huh?
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Batgirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 07:21 AM
Response to Original message
11. I'm sorry
I want to say something but don't know what. The raw emotion in your account is something that really hits home. I think most people who have children would find themselves crying or on the verge of tears while reading it, since we can readily imagine how it would feel. You're in my thoughts on this day.
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Libby2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 08:05 AM
Response to Original message
12. I'm so sorry barb. Your post is very moving.
May all of you who have suffered the death of a child, someday find peace.
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mdmc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 08:12 AM
Response to Original message
13. God Bless
I don't have the words... :hug:
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MuseRider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 08:22 AM
Response to Original message
14. There are really not words
to express how I feel after reading this. I can't imagine the pain of losing a child and going through what you went through. I still make my 21 and 23 year old boys call me after they drive 65 miles to their homes after a visit. I live in fear of something like this.

I wish you peace and send love. :hug:
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 08:57 AM
Response to Original message
15. You have my sympathies. 4 years (the minimum) is not enough for justice.


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Maine-ah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 09:00 AM
Response to Original message
16. how does one have words of comfort, for such a tragic death.
:hug:

my best friend's twin brother was killed in a similar fashion. He was walking home (very small town) hit by a DD, and was left in the road to die. In the morning when he hadn't returned home, his best friend went out looking for him, and found him in the middle of the road. The man who hit him, knew what he had done and tried to hide from the police for a couple of days. They eventually found him. He only served a couple of months. He still lives in the same town as my best friend's family and has the nuts to say hello to them when he sees them.

I have lost a couple of other friends this way. I'm so sorry about your daughter. :hug:
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. thank you maine-ah
i don't know how the family bears it. i still have fantasies of meeting up with rambo and getting in her face. not every day...making a conscious effort to let it go for the sake of all of us who have survived bekah. a couple of months?! where is justice? and says hello to them? i really feel for them.
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YellowRubberDuckie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 09:22 AM
Response to Original message
18. This is what pisses me the fuck off about DUI crimes.
They don't count as violent. They don't count as anything. My sister was killed by a drunk driver when she was 8 months pregnant back in 2000. They never even investigated to prove this. They just let him off. He was going 80 in a 45, and the crash caused a fire. Thank GOD My sister was killed instantly.
A friend of mine from college was killed back in like 98, 99 by a drunk driver going the wrong way on a stretch of state highway outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma. He got 11 years in prison. Then a couple of years ago, he whined and moaned about how cruel and unusual it was for him to be in prison so long, and you know what? They shortened his sentence to 4 years and suspended the rest with a fucking ankle bracelet. I wanted to scream that fucker, "Wasn't it cruel and unusual for a beautiful, talented, bright young woman to get hit head on with you going 70 miles an hour with your fucking HEADLIGHTS OFF?" There was no way she saw him until it was too late to do anything about it.
While it wasn't my daughter, I understand the feelings you have for the person who murdered your daughter. I believe that everyone who gets behind the wheel of a car who is legally drunk should be charged with attempted murder. And if you do hit someone, and they die, you should get charged with first degree murder. I will catch hell for this, but I don't care. If you're careless enough to play fate like that, then you deserve to have everything taken away from you.
I am so sorry that they allowed this woman, who by the way, when she gets out will go right back to doing the same shit she was before. What the fuck does she have to be scared of? Nothing. Prison is a fucking cake walk. Especially when you are a "non violent" offender.
My heart goes out to you and your family. :hug:
Duckie
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. my son feels exactly as you do
Edited on Sat Jul-19-08 10:07 AM by barbtries
i was raised by an alcoholic; maybe that explains why i have a different perspective. the reasons i believe rambo murdered bekah have to do with more than simply the fact of her drunkenness: she was in a rage when she killed her. scuttlebutt from the street said that everyone who knew her said, "so rambo finally killed someone." the police said she was speeding on the wrong side of the road with no headlights when she went out of her lane to kill bekah. there was not a skid mark left on the street. she drove on from where she killed bekah to drive up a pitch black switch back 2 lane country road without wrecking it. went to sleep at home and when the police woke her up, denied having done it (although the car with bits and pieces of my daughter splattered all over it sat in the driveway). her lawyer claimed she didn't know bekah was human, but bekah's head shattered the windshield directly in front of her face. on and on.

fortunately my mother never hurt anyone. but there were times, whoa, when she could have. she would have stopped. she would have surrendered, she would have acknowledged her guilt and done her time willingly. i really believe this. rambo to this day has not expressed remorse or even admitted that she is responsible for my daughter's death.

i think manslaughter is proper in many cases, the difference being intent and malice. but i also believe that many DUI hit and runs and crashes are murder and are never investigated as such. i've put a lot of thought into it as you can imagine. in the final analysis, i have had to embrace the belief that nobody escapes justice. if they don't get it here, they will get it on the other side. if i didn't believe that, i'd probably go out of my mind.

edited to add what i should have started out saying: i am so sorry about your sister and her baby. so sorry to hear that. :hug:
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DearAbby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 10:20 AM
Response to Original message
20. ((((( barbtries ))))))
:hug:
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barbtries Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 10:31 AM
Response to Reply #20
21. thank you dear abby
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area51 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jul-19-08 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
22. I'm so sorry for your loss.
It seems like human life is worth so little in this country that "Rambo" could spend so little time in jail.


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