Thursday, March 31, 2016

Raymond Fernandez and Martha Beck

Raymond Martinez Fernandez and Martha Jule Beck were an American serial killer couple. They are believed to have killed as many as 20 women during their murderous spree between 1947 and 1949. After their arrest and trial for serial murder in 1949, they became known as "The Lonely Hearts Killers" for meeting their unsuspecting victims through lonely hearts ads. A number of films and television shows are based on this case. Prior to the murders- Raymond Fernandez: Fernandez was born on December 17, 1914 in Hawaii to Spanish parents. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Connecticut. As an adult, he moved to Spain, married, and had four children, all of whom he abandoned later on in life. After serving in Spain's Merchant Marine and then British Intelligence during World War II, Fernandez decided to seek work. Shortly after boarding a ship bound for America, a steel hatch fell on top of him, fracturing his skull and injuring his frontal lobe. The damage caused by this injury may well have affected his social and sexual behavior. Upon his release from a hospital, Fernandez stole some clothing and was subsequently imprisoned for a year, during which time his cellmate taught him voodoo and black magic. He later claimed black magic gave him irresistible power and charm over women. After serving his sentence, Fernandez moved to New York City and began answering personal ads posted by lonely women. He would wine and dine them, then steal their money and possessions. Most were too embarrassed to report the crimes. In one case, he traveled with a woman to Spain, where he visited his wife and introduced the two women. His female traveling companion then died under suspicious circumstances, and he took possession of her property with a forged will. In 1947, he answered a personal ad placed by Martha Beck. Martha Beck: Martha Beck was born Martha Jule Seabrook on May 6, 1920 in Milton, Florida. Allegedly due to a glandular problem (then a common explanation for obesity), she was overweight and underwent puberty prematurely. At her trial, she claimed to have been sexually assaulted by her brother. When she told her mother what happened, her mother beat her, claiming Martha was responsible. As a teen, Beck ran away from home. After Martha finished school, she studied nursing but had trouble finding a job due to her weight. She initially became an undertaker's assistant and prepared female bodies for burial. She then quit that job and moved to California, where she worked in an Army hospital as a nurse. She engaged in sexually promiscuous behavior and eventually became pregnant. She tried to convince the father to marry her, but he refused. Single and pregnant, she returned to Florida. Martha told people the father was a serviceman she had married, later claiming he had been killed in the Pacific Campaign. The town mourned her loss, and the story was published in the local newspaper. Shortly after her daughter was born, she became pregnant again by a Pensacola bus driver named Alfred Beck. They married quickly and divorced six months thereafter, and she gave birth to a son. Unemployed and the single mother of two young children, Beck escaped into a fantasy world, buying romance magazines and novels, and watching romantic movies. In 1946, she found employment at the Pensacola Hospital for Children. She placed a lonely hearts ad in 1947, which Raymond Fernandez answered. Murders: Fernandez visited Beck and stayed for a short time; she told everyone they were to be married. He returned to New York while she made preparations in Milton, Florida, where she lived. When she was abruptly fired from her job, she packed up and arrived on his doorstep in New York. Fernandez enjoyed the way she catered to his every whim, and left her kids for him, he thought it was a sign of an unconditional love, and he confessed his criminal enterprises. Beck quickly became a willing participant and sent her children to the Salvation Army. She posed as Fernandez's sister, giving him an air of respectability. Their victims often stayed with them or with her. She was extremely jealous and would go to great lengths to make sure he and his "intended" never consummated their relationship. When he did have sex with a woman, Beck subjected both to her violent temper. In 1949, the pair committed the three murders for which they would later be convicted. Janet Fay, 66, became engaged to Fernandez and went to stay at his Long Island apartment. When Beck saw her and Fernandez in bed together, she smashed Fay's head in with a hammer in a murderous rage, and Fernandez then throttled Fay. Soon, Fay's family became suspicious. Beck and Fernandez traveled to Byron Center Road in Wyoming Township, Michigan, a suburb of Grand Rapids, where they met and stayed with Delphine Downing, a young widow with a two-year-old daughter. On February 28, Downing became agitated, and Fernandez gave her sleeping pills to calm her. The daughter witnessed Downing's resulting stupor and began to cry, which enraged Beck. Panicked, Beck choked the child but didn't kill her. Fernandez thought Downing would become suspicious if she saw her bruised daughter, so he shot the unconscious woman. The couple then stayed for several days in Downing's house. Again enraged by the daughter's crying, Beck drowned her in a basin of water. They buried the bodies in the basement, but suspicious neighbors reported the Downings' disappearances, leading the police to arrive at the door on March 1, 1949 and arrest Beck and Fernandez. Trial and executions: Fernandez quickly confessed, with the understanding that they would not be extradited to New York; Michigan had no death penalty, but New York did. They were, nonetheless, extradited. The pair vehemently denied committing 17 murders that were attributed to them, and Fernandez tried to retract his confession, saying he made it only to protect Beck. Their trial was sensationalized, with lurid tales of sexual perversity. Newspaper reporters described Beck's appearance with derision, and she wrote protesting letters to the editors. Fernandez and Beck were convicted of Janet Fay's murder—the only one for which they were tried—and sentenced to death. On March 8, 1951, both were executed by electric chair. Despite their tumultuous arguments and relationship problems, they often professed their love to each other, as demonstrated by their official last words: "I wanna shout it out; I love Martha! What do the public know about love?" - Raymond Fernandez. "My story is a love story. But only those tortured by love can know what I mean [...] Imprisonment in the Death House has only strengthened my feeling for Raymond...." - Martha Beck. In popular culture: A number of films and television shows are based on this case, such as: In film: -Lonely Heart Bandits (1950 film) -The Honeymoon Killers (1969 film) -Deep Crimson (1996 film) -Lonely Hearts (2006 film) -Alleluia (2014 film) In television: -"Lonely Hearts" (Cold Case) (original airdate November 19, 2006), season 4, episode 9 of the television series Cold Case

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Australia

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) has had a presence in the Australia since 1840. First missionaries, convert, and congregation: The LDS Church was introduced into Australia when William James Barratt, emigrated from England to Adelaide in November 1840. He had been ordained an elder by George A. Smith, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who instructed him to share the gospel whenever he could. Barratt, whose descendants still live in the Adelaide area, eventually drifted away from the church, but not until after he had baptized Robert Beauchamp, probably the first Australian convert. Beauchamp later became president of the Australian Mission. Andrew and Elizabeth Anderson, also British converts, immigrated to Wellington, near Dubbo, New South Wales, with their three children in 1841. Anderson baptized several converts and in 1844 organized the church's first Australian branch in Wellington. Official LDS missionary work did not begin in Australia until John Murdock and Charles W. Wandell arrived in Sydney from Utah on 30 October 1851. The first church building was constructed in Brisbane in 1904 and the country’s first temple, located in Sydney, was completed in 1984. Current status: As of 6 April 2013, the LDS Church reported 136,617 members, 34 stakes, nine districts, 208 wards, 82 branches, and five missions. There are five temples in Australia, located in the cities of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Sydney. The membership reported by the church in Australia is approximately 0.57% of the country's population. However, the Australian Bureau of Statistics census in 2011 had only 59,770 who described themselves as Latter-day Saints or 0.28% of the population. LDS Church membership statistics are different from self-reported statistics mainly because the LDS Church does not remove an individual’s name from its membership rolls based on inactivity in the church. Temples: The Sydney Australia Temple was the first LDS temple built in Australia; it was dedicated in September 1984. Four additional temples were dedicated between 2000 and 2003.


i feel very conflicted. i'm unsure if i want to be baptized or not. my mom says my mom and dad have no say in the matter. the missionaries (and everyone in church) want my parents to ok it if i do.

Mission (LDS Church)

A mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) is a geographical administrative area to which church missionaries are assigned. Almost all areas of the world are within the boundaries of an LDS Church mission, whether or not Mormon missionaries live or proselytize in the area. As of July 2015, there are 418 missions of the LDS Church. Administrative structure: Geographically, a mission may be a city, a city and surrounding areas, a state or province, or perhaps an entire country or even multiple countries. Typically, the name of the mission is the name of the country (or state in the United States), and then the name of the city where the mission headquarters office is located. New missionaries receive a formal mission call, assigning them to a particular mission for the duration of their two years or eighteen months of service. Each mission has, on average, about 150 missionaries serving there. Mission president: All missionaries serve in a mission under the direction of a mission president, who, like individual missionaries, is assigned by the LDS Church president. The mission president must be a married high priest in the Melchizedek Priesthood; his wife is asked to serve alongside him. In 2013 the mission president's wife was given additional leadership roles in the mission. Mission presidents are typically in their forties or older, and usually have the financial means to devote themselves full-time to the responsibility for three consecutive years. The church provides mission presidents with a minimal living allowance but it normally requires them to supplement it with their own funds. Often, the mission president must learn the local language spoken in the mission, as the missionaries do (although many mission presidents today have either previously served a mission in the mission language or speak the mission language as their native language). The mission president has at least two counselors, who are Latter-day Saints usually from the local area who keep their regular employment. The role of the counselors varies by mission, but they typically serve as liaisons between the mission and the local membership of the church. In some areas where the church is newer senior men who are serving full-time missions along with their wives may be called as counselors in the mission presidency. Mission councils: Like other units of the church, a leadership council is used to assist in governance of the mission. Prior to April 2013, this was often called a zone leader council, consisting of the mission president, assistants to the mission president and zone leaders. In April 2013 the zone leader council was replaced by the mission leadership council, which adds the mission president's wife and sister training leaders, a new position consisting of sister missionaries called to give leadership to other sister missionaries. Mission organization- Organization of missionaries: Missions are organized in two parallel structures. The first is the organization of the missionaries. There are two or more missionaries who serve as assistants to the president (not to be confused with the counselors in the mission presidency). The assistants carry out the direction of the mission president in the organization of the mission, the assigning of companionships and proselyting areas, and oversee the welfare and training of the missionaries. The missionaries are divided into zones, each led by one or more missionaries assigned as zone leaders. The zones may be geographically large or small depending on the mission. The number of missionaries in a zone also varies widely. The zones are divided into districts, each being led by a missionary assigned as a district leader. A district usually has two to four missionary companionships. The zone leaders and district leaders train the missionaries, see after their welfare, conduct interviews, proselyte together, and share successes. In general, only single male missionaries serve as assistants, zone leaders, and district leaders, except in non-proselyting missions which only contain single female missionaries or missionary couples. Each missionary companionship has a geographical area which may include part of a ward or branch, one ward or branch, or several wards or branches. The missionaries are responsible for preaching to the people in their own area. In a mission, the ecclesiastical line of authority is from the mission president down to the missionaries. The missionaries answer to the mission president directly, as opposed to the local branch president, bishop, or stake president. Organization in areas without stakes: The other type of mission structure exists where there are no organized stakes of the church in an area due to a relatively small number of Latter-day Saints living in the area. This may be the result of the church being relatively new in an area or the church being established in a sparsely populated area of the world. In these stake-less areas, the mission president is the presiding local church authority and he is responsible for the welfare of all the members, not just the missionaries. The mission is divided into districts (not to be confused with the other type of district mentioned above) which serve much the same role as stakes do. Each district is assigned a district president who is usually a local resident; the district president reports directly to the mission presidency. The district presidency perform most of the day-to-day functions that a stake presidency would perform in a stake. Certain duties, such as the issuance of recommends to attend the temple, remain the sole prerogative of the mission president. Districts within a mission are composed exclusively of branches. After the membership has grown sufficiently, the branches may be converted into wards and the district may be converted into a stake. Typically, this will not occur until there are least five ward-sized congregations in the district. Once a district becomes a stake, the mission president is only responsible for the proselytizing missionaries in the area, not the local members of the church. Variations in size: The LDS Church mission with the smallest geographic area (approximately 10 acres) is the Utah Salt Lake Temple Square Mission, in which missionaries from around the world serve on Temple Square, often to visitors from their own homelands. These missionaries serve at Temple Square, and occasionally serve in another mission in another part of the United States for a few months, then return to Temple Square for the final months of their 18-month mission call. Only female missionaries and older, retired couples are called to the Temple Square Mission. The mission with the largest geographical area is currently the Micronesia Guam Mission, which covers an area that is roughly the size of the continental United States. However, the vast majority of this mission is composed of empty ocean. The largest mission in terms of geographical land mass and population is currently the China Hong Kong Mission, which encompasses nearly all of the Chinese landmass and population. Outside of Hong Kong and Macau, there are no LDS missionaries in China. Prior to its split in November 2007 the India Bangalore Mission has the largest population amongst which proselytizing is allowed. This mission covers all of India, thus it has more than one billion inhabitants in its borders. It is unclear whether the New Delhi or Bangalore mission should now be considered to cover more inhabitants partly because the New Delhi mission covers Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan as well as northern India, and outside of Northern India does little formal proselyting. Russia contains missions with very large areas. In the Russia Novosibirsk Mission it is possible to take a 42-hour train ride to get to the city of Novosibirsk from some places within the mission boundaries. Special language assignments within missions: Missionaries are sometimes called to serve in a particular mission, but with a non-standard language assignment. To cite some examples: Kentucky Louisville, Spanish speaking; California Anaheim, Vietnamese speaking; Canada Vancouver, Mandarin speaking; Illinois Chicago, Polish speaking. Central church structure: The work of the missions is overseen by the Missionary Committee, which consists of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. Much of the actual work of overseeing the missions is delegated to the Missionary Executive Council (MEC). This committee has roots in the Radio, Publicity and Missionary Literature Committee formed in the 1930s, with Stephen L. Richards as chair and Gordon B. Hinckley as executive secretary. In the late 1940s, Richards and Hinckley held the same positions, with Hinckley essentially fulfilling the duties later undertaken by the missionary department. By the early 1970s, the MEC consisted of Spencer W. Kimball, Hinckley, Thomas S. Monson and Bruce R. McConkie, all members of the Quorum of the Twelve. L. Tom Perry was chairman of the executive committee for several years in the late 2000s. He was then succeeded by Russell M. Nelson. As of August 2015, most of the current members are not known. However, membership has historically included at least two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, one member of the Presiding Bishopric and the executive director of the church's Missionary Department, who is usually a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy. As of 1 August 2015, the executive director's identity is not known. Prior to August 2015, David F. Evans had been serving in this capacity. On 19 August 2015, it was announced that Bonnie L. Oscarson, the church's General Young Women President, had been invited to become the first female member of the MEC. The church's Missionary Department works under the direction of the MEC. The Missionary Department does not develop policy, but oversees its implementation. It directs the missions of the church, along with the 15 Missionary Training Centers and the 20+ visitors' centers and historical sites the church operates. History of missions: The title of "First Mission" is normally given to the British Mission, today considered the lineal ancestor of the England London Mission. This was begun under the direction of Heber C. Kimball in 1837. Missionary work had previously occurred in the United States and Canada, but missionaries were not organized into specific missions. The work of this mission began in Preston, England, largely because one of the missionaries Joseph Fielding had a brother there who initially opened his chapel to the missionaries preaching. Later they often preached at the location also used by the Temperance Society. The first convert in the British Mission was George D. Watt, who would later be important in the compilation of the Journal of Discourses. Within the first year of missionary work the headquarters of this mission were moved to Manchester. In 1840 they were moved again to Liverpool, largely so the mission leaders could play a role in organizing the emigration of Latter-day Saints to America. In 1929 when the British Mission was separated from the European Mission, its headquarters were moved to Birmingham. The headquarters were moved to London in about 1930 since by this time the church was no longer encouraging Latter-day Saints to emigrate from Britain.

skateboarding to church

not as awesome as riding a 4 wheeler to church but still semi-awesome

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Baker–Fancher party

The Baker–Fancher party (also called the Fancher–Baker party, Fancher party, or Baker's Company) was the name used to collectively describe the American western emigrants from four northwestern counties in Arkansas, specifically Marion, Crawford, Carroll, and Johnson counties, who departed Carroll County in April 1857 and "were attacked by the Mormons and Santa Clara tribe of Indians near the rim of the Great Basin, and about fifty miles from Cedar City, in Utah Territory, and that all of the emigrants, with the exception of 17 children, were then and there massacred and murdered" in the Mountain Meadows massacre. Sources estimate that between 120 and 140 men, women and children were killed on September 11, 1857, at Mountain Meadows, a rest stop on the Old Spanish Trail, in the Utah Territory. Some children of up to six years old were taken in by the Mormon families in Southern Utah, presumably because they had been judged to be too young to tell others about the massacre. Background: The Fancher–Baker party consisted of several smaller parties that set out separately from the Ozarks in northwestern Arkansas, and then joined up along the way. Many of the families in the group were prosperous farmers and cattlemen with ample financial resources to make the journey west. Some of the groups had family and friends in California awaiting their arrival, as well as many relatives remaining in Arkansas. Among the groups were the Baker train, led by John T. Baker from Carroll County, and the Fancher train, led by seasoned expeditioner Alexander Fancher,[3] which left from Benton County. Other groups included the Huff train, which also left from Benton, the Mitchell, Dunlapp, and Prewitt trains which left from Marion County, and the Poteet–Tackitt–Jones, Cameron, and Miller trains which left from Johnson County. Pleasant Tackitt, from the Poteet–Tackitt–Jones train, was a Methodist minister who led the others in worship and prayer services while on their journey. When the groups left Arkansas in April 1857, the total company numbered more than 200. However, during the journey, some groups split off and others joined. Some of the trains that joined the company may have been from other states, such as Missouri. The party was well outfitted with wagons, traveling carriages, a large herd of cattle estimated at close to 1,000 head, oxen, as well as numerous horses. They joined the expedition for various reasons; some to settle permanently in California, some to drive cattle west for profit, and some to find California gold. Like other emigrant groups traveling to California, they took money with them and planned to replenish their supplies in Salt Lake City for the remainder of the trip. The actual date of arrival in Salt Lake City is unknown, but historian, Juanita Brooks, places the arrival as August 3 or August 4, 1857 based on reports in the Journal History of the LDS Church. The Arkansans arrived in Utah with over 800 head of cattle and were low on supplies when they reached the Salt Lake area, a major resupply destination for overland emigrants. Emigrants associated with the Baker–Fancher Party Families leaving before reaching Utah Territory: As the different wagon parties traveled across the plains, some of those left by the wayside, ended up traveling to other destinations in safety. If Missourians had ever been these trains' fellow travelers, none are known to share these Arkansans' fate. The following is a list of those known to have separated themselves before arriving in the Utah Territory: -Smith -Morton -Hudson -Basham -Haydon -Reed -Stevenson -Hamilton -Farmer -Lafoon and/or Laffoon -Poteet - cousins to the Tackitt family (left and went to Texas the day before the massacre) (Various other Arkansas trains are believed to have been associated with the Fancher–Baker party while on their journeys westward, yet they did not perish with them, include the Crooked Creek, Campbell, Parker, and John S. Baker – as distinct from the John Twitty Baker – trains.) Families leaving in Utah Territory: The following is a list of those believed to have separated from the Fancher–Baker party, while it was passing through the Utah Territory: -Eaton, William M. -Edwards, Silas -Rush, Milum L., 28 -Stallcup, Charles, 25 -The John R. Page Family Members of the wagon train who were at Mountain Meadows: The following table contains a list of those believed to have been killed during the massacre, along with the survivors (who are listed in bold). The table also lists if the person was listed on the 1955 Monument in Harrison, Arkansas, or on the 1990 Monument in Mountain Meadows. Interactions with Mormons on road toward Mountain Meadows: As these smaller groups arrived in the Utah Territory, they combined together to create the Baker-Fancher Party. The settlers of the Utah Territory were almost entirely Mormons, who were busy preparing for the so-called Utah War, while troops from the United States Army were marching towards the territory to put down a believed rebellion. It was during this period of tension that the Fancher–Baker party passed through the Utah Territory, and soon rumors among the Mormons linked the Baker–Fancher train with enemies who had participated in previous persecutions of Mormons along with more recent malicious acts. The Mormons considered the emigrants of an alien status because of Brigham Young's war time orders forbidding travel through Utah without a required pass – which the Fancher–Baker party did not have. However, Captains Baker and Fancher would not have been aware of Young's martial law order since it was not made public until September 15, 1857. With the Fancher–Baker party and the Missourians of William C. Dukes' wagon train having assisted each other on their western journeys, it was believed by some locals that the Fancher–Baker party were joined by eleven members of a Missouri militia calling itself the "Wildcats." (Yet there is debate on whether these miners and plainsmen stayed with the slow-moving Fancher party after leaving Salt Lake City, or even existed.) Meanwhile the Mormons that the emigrant party encountered along the way were obeying Young's order to stockpile supplies in expectations of all-out war with approaching U.S. troops and declined to trade with the emigrants. This friction was added to by the "range war" that would be expected to erupt between local populations and any emigrants' leading vast herds of cattle – and indeed, both the Fancher and Dukes parties' stock would compete with locals' for grazing and sometimes would break through the Mormon colonists' fences. With the murder and the expulsion of U.S. Government surveyors, there was no demarcation of the territorial lands claimed by Native Americans, Mormons, and those that the Americans purchased from Mexico (Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo). Yet in the war panic, such mundane complaints escalated into more ominous charges. For example, according to John D. Lee, "They swore and boasted openly... that Buchanan's whole army was coming right behind them, and would kill every God damn Mormon in Utah.... They had two bulls which they called one "Heber" and the other "Brigham", and whipped 'em through every town, yelling and singing... and blaspheming oaths that would have made your hair stand on end." While Jacob Hamblin was in Salt Lake City he heard that the Fanchers had "behaved badly ...and had robbed hen-roosts, and been guilty of other irregularities, and had used abusive language to those who had remonstrated with them. It was also reported that they threatened, when the army came into the north end of the Territory, to get a good outfit from the weaker settlements in the south." In his report of his investigation of the massacre, Superintendent for Indian Affairs in Utah Territory, Jacob Forney said: "I ...made strict inquiry relative to the general behavior and conduct of the company towards the people of this territory ..., and am justified in saying that they conducted themselves with propriety." In Forney's interview with David Tullis who had been living with Jacob Hamblin, Tullis related that "the company passed by the house...towards evening.... One of the men rode up to where I was working, and asked if there was water ahead. I said, yes. The person who rode up behaved civilly." In addition, William Rogers later related where Shirts related he "saw the emigrants when they entered the valley, and talked with several of the men belonging to it. They appeared perfectly civil and gentlemanly." On the way back from a circuit through southern Utah Territory, George A. Smith and his company camped near the Fancher–Baker party, at Corn Creek. Some members of Smith's party later testified that during their encampment they saw the Fancher–Baker party poison a spring and a dead ox, with the expectation that Native Americans would be poisoned. Silas S. Smith, the cousin of George A., testified that the Fancher–Baker party suspiciously asked whether the Native Americans would eat a dead ox. Although the poisoning story supported the old Mormon story that Native Americans had been poisoned and therefore conducted a massacre on their own, modern historians generally discount the testimony and rumors about the poisoned ox and spring as false. Nevertheless, the poisoning story preceded the Fanchers on their trip southward. Fanchers' arrival at Cedar City: Cedar City was the last major settlement where emigrants could stop to buy grain and supplies before a long stretch of wilderness leading to California. When the Baker-Fancher train arrived there, however, they were turned a cold shoulder. Important goods were not available in the town store, and the local miller charged an exorbitant price for grinding grain. As tension between the Mormons and the emigrants mounted, a member of the Baker-Fancher train was said to have bragged how he had the very gun that "shot the guts out of Old Joe Smith". Other members of the party reportedly bragged about taking part in the Haun's Mill massacre some decades before in Missouri. Others were reported by Mormons to have threatened to join the incoming federal troops, or join troops from California, and march against the Mormons. According to one witness, the captain of the emigrant train, Alexander Fancher, rebuked these men on the spot for their inflammatory language against the Mormons. After staying less than one hour in Cedar City, the emigrants passed over Leach's cutoff, passed the small town of Pinto and headed into Mountain Meadows. Here they stopped to rest and to regroup their approximately 800 head of cattle. Siege and massacre: During the early morning hours of Monday, September 7 the Fancher–Baker party was attacked, at their Mountain Meadows camp, by as many or more than 200 Paiutes and Mormon militiamen disguised as Native Americans. The attackers were positioned in a small ravine south-east of the emigrant camp. As the attackers shot into the camp, the Fancher–Baker party defended itself by encircling and lowering their wagons, along with digging shallow trenches and throwing dirt both below and into the wagons. Seven emigrants were killed during this opening attack and were buried somewhere within the wagon encirclement; sixteen more were wounded. The attack continued for five days, during which the besieged families had little or no access to fresh water and their ammunition was depleted. On Friday, September 11, 1857, two Mormon militiamen approached the Fancher–Baker party wagons with a white flag and were soon followed by Indian agent and militia officer John D. Lee. Lee told the battle-weary emigrants that he had negotiated a truce with the Paiutes, whereby they could be escorted safely the 36 miles back to Cedar City under Mormon protection in exchange for turning all of their livestock and supplies over to the Native Americans. Accepting this, the emigrants were led out of their fortification. When a signal was given, the Mormon militiamen turned and murdered the male members of the Fancher party standing by their side. According to Mormon sources, the militia let a group of Paiute Indians execute the women and children. Some children were killed while in their mothers' arms or after being crushed by the butts of rifles or boot heels. The bodies of the dead were gathered and looted for valuables, and were then left in shallow graves or on the open ground. Members of the Mormon militia were sworn to secrecy. A plan was set to blame the massacre on the Indians. The militia did not kill 17 small children who were deemed too young to relate the story. These children were taken in by local Mormon families. The children were later reclaimed by the U.S. Army and returned to relatives, and there is legend that one girl was not returned and lived out her life among the Mormons. Leonard J. Arrington reports that Brigham Young received a rider at his office on the same day of the massacre. This letter asked Young's opinion on what to do with the Fancher–Baker party. When he learned what was contemplated by the members of the LDS Church in Parowan and Cedar City, he sent back a letter that the Fancher–Baker party be allowed to pass through the territory unmolested. Young's letter supposedly arrived two days too late, on September 13, 1857. However Jon Krakauer claims that Brigham Young and other Utah territory officials encouraged the massacre beforehand and sought to deny their roles afterward. Some of the property of the dead was reportedly taken by the Native Americans involved, while large amounts of cattle and personal property was taken by the Mormons in Southern Utah. John D. Lee took charge of the livestock and other property that had been collected at the Mormon settlement at Pinto. Some of the cattle was taken to Salt Lake City and traded for boots. Some reportedly remained in the hands of John D. Lee. The remaining personal property of the Fancher–Baker party was taken to the tithing house at Cedar City and auctioned off to local Mormons. Brigham Young, appalled at what had taken place, initially ordered an investigation into the massacre but in the end it must be acknowledged that through his own unwillingness to work with Federal authorities contributed both directly and indirectly to the blunder of justice, and was part of the reason two trials were necessary.

Assassinations of Jeffrey Brent Ball and Todd Ray Wilson

Elders Jeffrey Brent Ball and Todd Ray Wilson, two American Missionaries of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) were killed in La Paz, Bolivia on May 24, 1989 by members of the Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación-Zarate Willka terrorist group who associated them and the Church they represented with perceived American imperialist activities. Later, three Peruvians, Elders Manuel Hidalgo, Cristian Ugarte, and Oscar Zapata were killed in Peru for similar reasons on August 22, 1990, and March 6, 1991. Government officials of both the United States and Bolivia employed their resources in bringing the assassins to justice, and the accused assassins suffered deprivations to their persons and families, including the murder of a brother. The assassination of missionaries laboring in the field has been one of the rarest and yet most visible forms of persecution against the LDS Church. Some missionaries have been killed because of anti-Mormon hostility, some have been killed for political reasons, and some have simply been victims of random attacks. The LDS Church views these slain missionaries as martyrs. Their names "will be engraved forever in the history of this Church as those who lived as faithful servants of God and died as martyrs to His eternal works." The circumstances surrounding the politically motivated assassinations of Jeffrey Ball and Todd Wilson affected people of many different groups. The general membership of the LDS Church was saddened by the deaths of these missionaries, the small Utah communities of Coalville and Wellington were especially shocked, and their families mourned. As one sister of Todd Wilson expressed over ten years later, "It is something you never forget." Their fellow missionaries in Bolivia, as well as the people of Bolivia generally were also impacted. While this led to a few opportunities for missionaries in the region to share their message, as a result of these events, American missionaries were eventually temporarily removed from the region. Many American missionaries at the time finished their missions outside of Latin America, which provided many Latin American missionaries the opportunity to learn to develop church leadership skills, which the missionaries could later apply in their LDS wards and stakes. In the mid-1990s, the American missionaries who were the first to return and their native counterparts learned to readjust to different cultures without having had a continuous tradition of mixed cultures in the mission. Elders Ball and Wilson: Jeffrey Brent Ball was born December 8, 1968, the second of three children born to Alfred Brent Ball and Lois Joyce Bates Ball of Wanship, outside Coalville, Utah, who operated the Rafter-B Gas 'N Grub as a family business,. Jeffrey was a stockily built athlete and an all-state American football player for three consecutive years, acting as the varsity team captain for two of those years. He was also active in student politics at North Summit High School in Coalville, where he served as student body vice president. His older sister, Wendy, described him as "a powerful authority who also had a caring soft side he tried to hide but couldn't." His desire to serve a mission was manifested by his selling his Jeep that he "dearly loved" to finance it. He entered the Missionary Training Center (MTC) in June 1988, and served at the same time as his sister, who labored in the Guatemala Guatemala City North Mission. Their eighteen-year-old brother Greg was preparing to serve a mission as well. Todd Ray Wilson was born May 5, 1969. While he came from a much larger family and was not involved in the same extracurricular activities as Jeffrey Ball, he shared a similar dedication to the ideal of missionary work. He was the seventh of ten children born to mine electrician Avril Gray Wilson and his wife Elaine Bunderson Wilson of Wellington, a small town about five miles southeast of Price, Utah. He had been an honor student at Carbon High School, and had begun attending the College of Eastern Utah, while working as the night manager at Wendy's Restaurant in Price. In order to save more money for his mission, he dropped his classes and continued to work late at night. He had "looked forward to his mission above all else." Todd entered the MTC in July 1988. At the time of his death, his brother Brad was preparing to depart for his mission. Terrorism in Bolivia: When Jeffrey Ball and Todd Wilson arrived in Bolivia in 1988, they entered an environment of severe political unrest and anti-Mormon antagonism in the nation and in Latin America generally. The first violent attacks against the LDS Church occurred in Colombia in 1983 where two meetinghouses were bombed eight times. Between 1984 and 1989, targets of the LDS Church in Latin America were hit by terrorists sixty-two times. The majority of these attacks (46) occurred in Chile, though five attacks took place in Bolivia. The LDS Church in Latin America was attacked in this period more frequently than any other American-based bank, business, church, or other institution. One group that specifically targeted the LDS Church in Bolivia was known as Fuerzas Armadas de Liberación Zarate Willka (Zarate Willka Armed Forces of Liberation, hereafter referred to as FAL Zarate Willka), named for a nineteenth century Indian hero. FAL Zarate Willka was a relatively unknown terrorist group apparently formed around 1985. It first surfaced in August 1988 in connection with a failed attack on former US Secretary of State George Shultz, who was in La Paz for talks with government officials. A bomb exploded near his motorcade, but no one was hurt. The group later claimed responsibility for an attack on the Bolivian Parliament and caused a blackout in La Paz with another bombing. Later that year on December 20, 1989, protesting American intervention in Panama, they attacked the U.S. Embassy in a failed attempt to assassinate U.S. Ambassador Robert Gelbard. This group had previously assaulted the LDS Church on several occasions. At one point, not long before the assassinations, it bombed the Villa Victoria chapel in Jeffrey Ball and Todd Wilson's area, which sustained severe damage to the entrance and exterior facade. Graffiti on the side of the chapel said "Americans go home." Other chapels were robbed, and another nearby chapel was nearly bombed. This chapel was also vandalized, with graffiti saying "Americans go home." A young man attending a youth activity saw a cardboard box in the chapel and took it home to his family, who lived across the street. When he showed it to his mother the next morning, she discovered a bomb inside the box. The family left their home and called the police, who came to investigate. The police reported that the bomb had a main wire and a backup wire and that, although the first wire was disconnected, the second was still intact. They had no explanation why the bomb had not gone off. The mother was convinced that it was a miracle. These incidents were reported to the Mission President, Steven R. Wright, who did not feel inspired to remove missionaries from the area, but counseled them to live close to the spirit and follow that inspiration. Not long after, tragedy occurred. The Assassinations: For several months, members of FAL Zarate Willka had been determining the schedules of the missionaries. Police discovered that one group member, Susana Zapana Hannover, had been a member of the LDS Church and another had been receiving discussions from the zone leader over the area. A rumor later surfaced of a hit list that the group held which named several other missionaries and Americans in the area. On Wednesday, May 24, 1989, after returning at about 9:30 p.m., Jeffrey Ball and Todd Wilson left their apartment. There are two theories explaining why they left. One says that they had simply returned home that evening without having eaten dinner. Since they were hungry, they decided to eat. Thus, they were returning to their apartment at about 10:20 that evening. The other idea is that the assassins lured them out by having someone call them saying that the sisters needed a film projector. Such a call seemed plausible since the sisters didn't have a telephone. They were then followed back to their apartment as they returned at about 10:20 p.m. As they were about to enter their apartment, a yellow compact car (possibly a Volkswagen) drove by, and they were shot with 9 mm machine gun fire. One of the men was killed instantly as a bullet penetrated his heart. The other received a spray of bullets in his stomach and back. He remained conscious for a few minutes, then died in an ambulance. Jeffrey Ball and Todd Wilson shared an apartment with two other missionaries, Thayne Carlson and V. Shane Mylroie. Mylroie was the first to find them. They called an ambulance and notified President Wright. Within half an hour of the slayings, a note from FAL Zarate Willka was received at the newspaper offices of El Matunino Ultima Hora de La Paz. It read: "Yankees and their Bolivian lackeys' violation of our national sovereignty will not remain unpunished. The Yankee invaders who come to massacre our peasant brethren are warned, as are their local slaves. We, the poor, have no other road than to rise up in arms. Our hatred is implacable, and our war is to the death." Motivations: At first, beyond the note received at newspaper offices, officials knew little about FAL Zarate Willka's philosophy. One United States House Foreign Affairs Committee member theorized that the attack could have come from the political left or right, "the left, because they the missionaries represent anti-communist America; the right because they proselytize the Indians, and (those on the right) want them left alone and unchanged. The right includes the big landowners and mine owners." Some guessed that this group might be a branch of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path), a prominent Peruvian terrorist group. At this time, the United States had three main goals in Bolivia, "fostering democracy, supporting economic stabilization and development and reducing production of coca, the plant used to make cocaine," of which the single largest interest was "the impact that production of the coca and cocaine has on the body politic up here. The No. 1 U.S. interest in Bolivia is doing away with that problem." The general climate in Bolivia reflected dissatisfaction with these policies. One former sister missionary reports being accosted by groups of students demanding to know why Bolivia should change its coca culture because the United States had a drug problem. Years later, graffiti asserting that "Coca is not cocaine nor Coca-Cola" could be seen on walls in Bolivia. It was early theorized by Bolivian and U.S. officials that this group resisted U.S. anti-drug policies, possibly being connected with drug traffickers. However, this drug theory later became seen as only part of a larger problem as officials discovered FAL Zarate Willka's Marxist ideology, which was mixed with the philosophies of an Indian Rights movement known as Katarismo. Such findings were further confirmed as authorities learned that one or more of the rebels had received bomb training in Cuba. "It's pure Cuban terrorism, I don't think there is any question about it," said Ambassador Robert Gelbard. Thus, Bolivian Marxist ideologues and politicians such as FAL Zarate Willka considered United States anti-drug and military aid programs as violating their national sovereignty. In addition to using the United States as a scapegoat for Bolivia's problems, FAL Zarate Willka "sought revenge for their political party's poor showing in Bolivia's recent national election," on May 15, blaming the United States for this as well, claimed Gelbard. FAL Zarate Willka attacked religious targets, such as the LDS Church, because they viewed the church as an imperialist agent of U.S. interests. While this may seem unreasonable to an organization that constantly affirms its political neutrality and disavows any connection with any government, according to leftist groups, "the connection is so apparent that there is no need to explain or justify it." Latin America does not share the tradition of separation of church and state found in the United States. On the contrary, religion has played a prominent role in politics since the European colonization of the 1500s. Their idea of imperialism is not limited to territorial expansion, but "involves a whole series of political, cultural, and religious means," including the LDS Church. This view of the LDS Church as Yankee is reinforced by a heavy American missionary presence, midwestern worship styles, centralization of the church in the United States, and the church's doctrinal justification of the United States Constitution.[46][47] This view is further substantiated by the tithes and offerings that go directly to church headquarters in Salt Lake City, Utah, the church's extensive corporate holdings, and the impressive structure and location of its buildings. It is generally felt that this group targeted American missionaries because they were such an easy mark. Their white shirts, ties, and name tags made them stand out prominently, to say nothing of their generally fair complexion and relative height. Jeffrey Ball and Todd Wilson worked in a particularly poor, rough section of La Paz that was "was well known for its brothels and bars, and the fact that most of the people in that part of town wouldn't say anything about what they saw." Indeed, the United States felt it necessary to offer a $500,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the assassins, in an attempt to induce individuals to come forward. Finally, while some have speculated that Jeffrey Ball and Todd Wilson were not the intended targets, that "the group made a mistake and then decided to run with it" and the assassination was "nothing but a tragic error," the evidence suggesting that the missionaries were staked out, might have been lured from their apartment, as well as the fact that the group particularly targeted the LDS Church, and had even bombed a chapel in the area, combined with the assertion of the U.S. Consul in Bolivia that the terrorists could have assassinated practically any member of the U.S. diplomatic mission had they merely desired an American target overwhelmingly suggests that Jeffrey Ball and Todd Wilson were specifically marked by the terrorists for assassination. Reactions: Word spread quickly in the mission. "I speak for the other missionaries when I say I'm scared right now. We're real scared," said Mark Huffaker, a former companion of Ball to Deseret News reporters. "We're all kind of scared right now," echoed Brad Giles, who served with Wilson. "I guess it's fear of the unknown. But everyone still wants to finish their missions." Similar response was heard in Utah. That night in Wellington, Stake President Roger Branch interviewed Wilson's younger brother, Brad, as he prepared for his mission. A few hours later, he and the bishop went to the Wilson home to notify them of the murders. Brad was asleep on the couch, but awoke when he heard his parents crying. President Branch then witnessed Sister Wilson whom he described as an "angel," consoling her family. The next day, the First Presidency issued a statement reading in part: "We are grieved to learn of the assassination of two of our missionaries .... We regret that anyone would think that these ..., who have been sent to preach the gospel of peace, would be characterized as enemies of any group. They have died as martyrs in the cause of the Lord." Community reaction was one of shock. Coalville Utah Stake President Myron Richins said, "This is something we can't explain. It takes something greater and more powerful than us." Jane Caspar, a friend of the Ball family explained the general feeling, "No one can comprehend it; it's just unbelievable. It's something that happens somewhere else to someone else's kids." Another friend, Terry McQueen lamented, "He was there doing what the Lord wanted him to do, so why did this happen?" Later that year, the football team that Jeff Ball had captained dedicated their season to him and went on to win the 1A High School Championship with an 11–1 season. A scholarship fund was also established in his memory. The bodies of the missionaries arrived in Salt Lake City on Delta Flight 705 on Sunday, May 28. Awaiting the plane's arrival were M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve, Russell C. Taylor of the Second Quorum of the Seventy, and Jeffrey Ball's mother, father, grandfather, brother, and sister, Wendy, who had taken a leave of absence from her mission. The Wilsons chose to attend their Sunday meetings in Wellington, and had asked a family friend, a local mortician, to pick up Todd Wilson's body. Ballard told reporters at the airport, "These missionaries returned to us today in these caskets have fulfilled a noble service ... we pray that hearts will be softened and tragedies like this will never occur again to such wonderful, good men who have devoted their lives to preaching the gospel of peace." The funerals for both men were held at noon on Tuesday, May 30, in their respective hometowns. Ball's funeral was attended by President Ezra Taft Benson and his counselor Thomas S. Monson, as well as Ballard and Monte J. Brough of the Seventy and over one thousand guests. President Benson's other counselor, Gordon B. Hinckley, presided at Wilson's funeral, which was also attended by L. Tom Perry of the Twelve, Taylor, and seven hundred others. "Missionaries are so dear to the entire church that when one is lost through death the entire church grieves," said President Hinckley. President Monson affirmed, "It is no small thing to have every missionary parent praying for you and knowing that your hearts are filled with sorrow." He continued, "I think your son would say, 'Do not grieve, mother. Do not sorrow, father. I am on the Lord's errand and he may do with me as he sees fit.'" Ballard stated that out of about 447,969 missionaries who had served, only 525 had lost their lives. And of those, Perry declared, only 17 had died as martyrs in this cause. President Hinckley reminded, "He might have given his life in other causes. He could not have given it in a greater cause than this." Wendy Ball and Dan and Diane Wilson, siblings of the Elders, also spoke. Dan read from Wilson's missionary journal, "I know that my call was inspired of God and there is someone in Bolivia that only I can touch." Wendy commented on a humorous missionary incident of her brother's saying, "He always told us to keep a sense of humor." Dan and Diane Wilson together concluded their brother's tribute, reciting what they felt their brother might say, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith." Similar feelings were expressed at a memorial service held Sunday May 28 in the Sopocachi Stake Center in La Paz, Bolivia. More than 1,500 people attended this meeting, including 120 missionaries. Church leaders and former companions expressed condolences and renewed their dedication to missionary work. President Wright may have shared a dream he had which Ballard later quoted in General Conference: I saw these two elders dressed in white, standing at the doors of a beautiful building. They were greeting numerous people, who also were dressed in white as they entered the building. It was obvious from their dress that those who entered were Bolivians. I envisioned the temple that will someday be built in Bolivia. Elders Wilson and Ball were ushering those they had prepared to receive the gospel in the spirit world into the temple to witness the vicarious ordinances being performed in their behalf. This dream has been a great comfort to me and has helped me to understand and accept their deaths. Following the assassinations, all missionaries were ordered to remain in their rooms for one full week. They were told only to leave when absolutely necessary, and then to wear preparation day clothing instead of regular missionary attire. Members brought in their meals. While they were allowed to attend their meetings on Sunday, including the memorial service, and were reported to be "in good spirits," that week was still difficult. Many worried about their investigators, who would not receive regular contact, and who, if the missionaries were transferred or redeployed, might not be contacted again for "quite some time." Parents of the missionaries were allowed to contact their sons and daughters during this time. Ryan Young remembered "how upset my Dad was when he heard the news on the radio on the way to work." Another mother expressed of her son, "I just don't know how I'm going to live through the next year if he stays there." It was a tense situation. "I don't think anyone felt secure at the time," expressed Young. When missionaries did begin to leave their apartments, they did so at first without wearing their name tags, though shortly after they resumed doing so. M. Russell Ballard, accompanied by Charles Didier of the Seventy, toured nine missions in early June in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. During this visit, they "gave instructions to the missionaries concerning safety precautions they need to observe, including returning to their apartments by 9:30 p.m. and how to travel and conduct themselves in the present climate." The church leaders were accompanied by Richard T. Bretzing, managing director of church security and a retired FBI agent, who gave the missionaries "guidelines for taking precautionary measures," such as to "change their routine every day and not do the same things at the same time." There was a push to pair North American missionaries with Latin missionaries as a precautionary measure. Despite these precautions, trouble continued to brew. Missionaries were pulled out over the Fourth of July in Huanuni, Oruro, a "hot spot," where in an unreported incident in the mid- 1970s the Elders' home was blown up in their absence, killing the members who were staying there.(88) Less than a week later, during the evening of Monday, July 10, 1989, the Hamacas Ward chapel in Santa Cruz, Bolivia was bombed. According to Erwin Birnbaumer, Paraíso Stake President, the bomb caused an estimated $16,000 in damage. While he asserted that "a bomb is not going to scare any of us," the First Presidency responded to the general political unrest by reassigning some American missionaries in Bolivia and Peru to other countries and sending others home early. Mission presidents were contacted directly by members of the First Presidency, and informed that "all (American) missionaries with release dates between now July and December will be sent home this month and next." While a few Americans remained in the mission, most were sent home or redeployed. Any new American missionaries who arrived were dark-complexioned or Hispanic, "not blondies." These changes reduced the ratio of North American missionaries to their Latin counterparts to about 30/70. Six American sisters were reassigned to the Texas Houston Spanish speaking Mission. Government response: The impact of the assassinations was not limited to the LDS Church and its members, however. Political, not religious factors motivated the assassinations, and politics soon became involved. The Governments of Bolivia and the United States both responded with outrage shortly following the attack. Utah's senior senator, Jake Garn (R) expressed, "Such wanton and cowardly acts are among the most disgusting and callous actions of which human beings are capable. They are unforgivable under any circumstances but seem especially so when the victims are young men who have made great personal sacrifices and dedicated themselves to serve their church and fellow man." Orrin Hatch (R–UT) echoed his colleague, calling the killings "a heinous act" of terrorism; "their service was in no way political, and they were innocents in this despicable act." Helen Lane, Bolivian desk officer for the U.S. State Department, expressed the Bolivians' dismay at the slayings, The Bolivian government—from the president on down—is shocked by the crime. ... The work of Mormon missionaries is quite well regarded down there. Several newspapers have written editorials condemning the murders. It was a shock because violent crime is not all that common in Bolivia. These were the first assassinations in memory, at least in several years. Consequently, as is permitted any time an American citizen is killed by terrorists, an FBI probe was sent to Bolivia on May 30 to investigate the slayings. The investigation included five or six members who brought ballistics laboratory equipment, polygraphs, and other equipment. One agent, Michael McPheters, commented on the Bolivians' lack of equipment, "the only big case they'd ever had was when terrorists tried to kill George Shultz. They had one microscope that looked like it came from a high school biology class about twenty years ago. They didn't have cars and they didn't have many guns either." Two of the agents served as liaison between the Embassy and the Minister of the Interior, which heads the Bolivian police. One worked the ballistics equipment, while the other operated the lie detector. McPheters hit the streets with a Bolivian policeman, where they "went through it with a fine-tooth comb and developed witnesses who saw and heard things," in an effort to reconstruct the chronology of the crime. The decision to offer a $500,000 reward was made on June 17 to encourage local residents to come forward with information. While this may have helped, Robert Wharten, press attaché at the U.S. Embassy said that the arrests were "the result of good, solid police work on the part of the Bolivians. The Bolivians should be credited for them." The initial arrests took place over one week. On Saturday, June 24, after following a "trail of suspects," police arrested Constantino Yujra Loza, a sociology student, and his cousin, who was later released. Yujra declared that the police "approached me and told me 'I have an arrest warrant,' whereupon I resisted and even tried to escape, so they grabbed me and started to hit me brutally until they had me on the ground. They did the same thing to my cousin." Yujra later confessed to having participated in the attack on George Shultz. By Wednesday, June 28, police had also arrested Dr. Gabriel Rojas Bilbao, alleged ideological leader of FAL Zarate Willka, and Tema Salazar Mamani. These arrests led to the naming of brothers Nelson and Félix Encinas Laguna as prime suspects of the bomb on Parliament, and according to Information Minister Hermán Antelo, there were also "indications of their participation in the murders" of Elders Jeffrey Ball and Todd Wilson. Also suspected were two individuals known as "Horacio" and "El Sapo" (the toad), presumably the leaders of the group. Cnl. Antonio Rojas, a Bolivian officer assigned to the case, stated that while they were staking out the home of Susana Zapana (the suspect who had been a member of the LDS Church), At 11:30 p.m., Susana hadn't arrived to tell us who Horacio was. ... But two young men did arrive and began to knock on the door and nobody opened it .... So one of our men went to speak with them, and immediately they both ran away. We didn't know who they were. ... One of our men ran, 'stop, stop, stop,' and threw them both to the ground. We didn't know who they were, but afterwards they turned out to be Felix and Nelson Encinas. Despite these arrests, several members of FAL Zarate Willka remained at large, including Johnny Justino Peralta Espinoza, the supposed ringleader of the group, and Susana Zapana Hannover, the former member of the LDS Church, as well as a cousin of the Encinas brothers. The families of these individuals considered them to have disappeared. The trial began soon after Ambassador Gelbard declared to officials of the LDs Church during a Salt Lake City visit that "I have made it crystal clear to the president of Bolivia that this is of the greatest importance to us and we want to bring this to the end of the investigation." However, the trial progressed very slowly. The first judge assigned to the case, Nestor Loredo, resigned on October 4 as a consequence of anonymous telephoned death threats. The second judge also resigned because he anticipated the trial to be thrown out of court for lack of evidence.(107) By February 8, 1990, the trial seemed to be entering into its final phases, when Judge David Rivas Gradin felt that the key testimonies of two women would enable him to reach a verdict. However, after the resignation of the first two judges, Rivas ordered the five suspects (Yujra, the Encinas brothers, Dr. Rojas, and Simón Tema Mamani) to remain in prison without bail. As a result, the prisoners protested their innocence, and began staging a hunger strike on March 31. Rivas (who was not allowed to rule on the case), along with the prosecuting attorney, José Rivero, sent a plea to the Justice Court of La Paz to appoint a new judge. However, according to a report by the U.S. State Department, "Patterns of Global Terrorism, 1990," a new judge had still not been appointed by the end of 1990. However, a judge was appointed in 1991, and by June the case was predicted to conclude sometime over the next few months. Finally, on October 9, 1991, the U.S. State Department announced that the defendants had been sentenced to long prison terms. María Sanchez Carlos, head of the department's Bolivia desk wrote Senator Hatch, "There are eight defendants, three of whom are at large, and they got 30 years. The other five, who are currently in jail, got sentences from five to 20 years." The sentences were expected to be appealed to the Bolivia Supreme Court. Police continued to watch the homes of the remaining members of FAL Zarate Willka. On July 20, 1990, at about 6:45 a.m., a group of agents stopped a student, Juan Domingo Peralta, brother of Johnny Peralta, who was going to take a test at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés. When Juan attempted to hide, the agents shot him. According to witnesses, after the act, a commander of the group realized, "it's not him, we were wrong." After abandoning the body, Juan's mother and sister took him to the Hospital Juan XXIII accompanied by one of the vigilant police officers, where he was refused medical attention, as police had ordered personnel to "not assist the terrorist." While Juan's sister tried to get the order reversed, his mother watched her son die. As a result of this tragedy and a subsequent sickness, where he allegedly "thought he was dying," Johnny Peralta returned to his mother's home, where police promptly arrested him. Peralta later stated: I think that my brother's death was a kind of message to me, a message that was expressed in the most crude, the most violent, the most bloody manner possible. I took that message from the embassy as a type of blackmail, pressure, and action with respect to my person. For me, the death of my brother meant that I had to give myself up at some point, I was a fugitive for three years. Johnny Peralta claimed, "I am politically responsible for the actions of Zarate Willka, beginning with the attack against the companies of multimillionaire Mario Mercado to the last attack" including the attack on former Secretary George Shultz, the attempted assassination of Ambassador Robert Gelbard, the bombing of the Bolivian Parliament building, and the murders of Jeffrey Brent Ball and Todd Ray Wilson. This action resulted in the suspension of the trial for the other five defendants. At the time, Judge German Urquiza had been scheduled to decide whether the defendants had been accessories to the shooting. Don LeFevre, spokesman for the LDS Church, commended "the Bolivian authorities for their persistence in the pursuit of justice." Further developments: Terrorist acts against the LDS Church in South America did not end with the deaths of Wilson and Ball. On August 22, 1990, at about 1:30 p.m., in Huancayo, Peru, members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) ambushed Manuel Antonio Hidalgo of Arequipa, Peru and his companion Cristian Andreani Ugarte of Trujillo, Peru, serving in the Peru Lima East Mission. The missionaries were apparently on their way to a lunch appointment. Both Elders were beaten, one was stabbed in the throat, and they were both shot once in the head. Their bodies were found with a sign saying, "This is how imperialists' supporters die." The First Presidency released a statement in which they expressed shock and sadness and "prayed for an end to the hatred and misunderstanding which led to this tragedy." Following on the heels of this tragedy, Oscar Zapata of Piura, Peru, who had been serving in the Peru Lima East Mission for just two weeks, was shot on March 6, 1991 after getting off a bus in the remote town of Tarma, Peru. No one saw where the shot came from that killed him. As a result of these shootings, North American missionaries were further reduced in Bolivia and Peru. According to Thomas Vea, who served in the Cochabamba Bolivia Mission from March 1990 to March 1992, "90% of the missionaries were Bolivians" at this time, as no new American missionaries were called at this time and those few already in Bolivia completed their missions. By 1993, all North American missionaries had been removed from these missions. Once the missionaries' safety in these areas was determined, North American missionaries began to return around September 1994. In the Bolivia Cochabamba mission, forty-eight American elders and two sisters arrived in the first year (September 1994 – September 1995). Once these missionaries' safety had been reasonably ascertained, fourteen American sisters and three Elders arrived between October 1995 and March 1996. Only five more American elders had arrived by September 1996, when regular groups of Elders and Sisters began arriving. Because sisters are called for periods of eighteen months and elders for periods of twenty-four months, all but a handful of the initial American missionaries who had arrived in the first two years since the mission was reopened to Americans had returned home by July 1997. During this time, Latin missionaries were called to the Bolivia Cochabamba mission at about twice the rate of North American missionaries. Other missions in Bolivia and Peru saw similar patterns as the missions were reintegrated with American and Latin missionaries.

Pray the Gay Away?

"Pray the Gay Away?" is a 2011 episode of the American television series Our America with Lisa Ling. The episode, hosted by Ling, profiles several people as they seek to reconcile their homosexuality with their Christianity. It originally aired on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network on March 8, 2011. Speaking for those who believe that Christianity and homosexuality are incompatible was Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International, an ex-gay organization. Also interviewed were Janet Boynes, a woman who states she "walked away" from lesbianism eleven years earlier and who now runs her own ex-gay ministry, a man named Christian whom Janet has been counseling for the last four years and another man named Ethan, whom Ling met at an Exodus conference. Each of the men acknowledged that they still had feelings of attraction to the same sex. Only Boynes said she had no such feelings. Ling also interviewed several people who had reconciled their sexuality and their faith. Among them was Michael Bussee, who had co-founded Exodus International in 1976 only to leave the group in 1979 when he found himself falling in love with another male founding member. Ling spotlighted The Naming Project, a summer camp program for gay and questioning Christian young people. Gay Lutheran and Naming Project co-founder Jay Wiesner was interviewed along with campers Chelsea, who went from being a closeted cheerleader to an openly lesbian prom queen, and Julian, who had been fired as a counselor-in-training at a Christian camp just two weeks before filming when his homosexuality was discovered. Ling's examination of these two "paths" led her to conclude, "I'm not sure which path is more difficult, but while they couldn't be more different, I think they're both traveling in the same direction." Following the broadcast, Gayle King hosted Ling for a one-hour live program called "Pray the Gay Away? The Conversation Continues" featuring follow-up interviews with some of the participants and telephone calls from the public. Also appearing was Rashad Robinson from the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) who questioned Ling's decision not to place the individual stories she reported into the larger context of anti-gay discrimination in the United States and psychologist Andrea Macåri who noted that there is no reputable medical evidence that sexual orientation can be changed. Critical response: GLAAD Media Strategist Justin Ward criticized "Pray the Gay Away?" for asking "a question that's already been answered". Noting that it has been almost 40 years since the American Psychological Association concluded that homosexuality is not a disorder, Ward called OWN "irresponsible" for broadcasting a program that he said had the potential to do harm to young people who may be enduring bullying and harassment for being gay. Ling, he added, should have included more information on the Christian denominations that accept LGBT people and that literal interpretation is only one of many ways to interpret the Bible. Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out and a vocal critic of the ex-gay movement, faulted "Pray the Gay Away?" and Ling for an apparent lack of research into Exodus. He noted in particular the statement that "Exodus no longer promises to make you straight", which he disputed, and the failure to note that Janet Boynes is listed as a resource on Exodus's website. Besen called on OWN to refrain from re-broadcasting the episode. A reviewer for gay-interest website took Ling to task for presenting the ex-gay movement and the gay people of faith movement as morally equivalent. Noting a quote of Ling's from an earlier episode of Our America in which she deplores the manipulation of peoples' faith, he expressed disappointment at Ling's failure to expose the manipulations perpetrated by Exodus. Conversely, a reviewer for AfterElton's sister site, the lesbian-interest, called the episode "balanced and moving". Finding the episode to be less of a full exploration of the subject and more of a starting point for dialogue, she hoped that Ling would revisit the topic in a future episode and focus on whether sexual orientation is biologically based or behavioural. Follow-up: On August 21, 2012, OWN aired a follow-up to "Pray the Gay Away?" entitled "Pray the Gay Away? — Breaking News". In it, Ling interviews Alan Chambers again about supposed changes in both his positions and the stances of Exodus International on the ex-gay subject. She also catches up with Christian, whom Ling describes as having "lost a little bit of light in his eyes". OWN aired a third, special episode of Our America on June 20, 2013. Entitled "God & Gays", it featured a meeting between Alan Chambers and several "ex-gay survivors" in which Chambers issued an apology for the pain they experienced from trying to change their sexual orientation. Christian attended the meeting and in an interview explains that he has "come out, quietly, to himself" and that he is hopeful about building a community of like-minded people. Chambers expressed uncertainty about his own future and the future of Exodus International. The special aired one day after Exodus announced that it was disbanding.

Murder of Shanda Sharer

Shanda Renee Sharer was an American girl who was tortured and burned to death in Madison, Indiana, by four teenage girls. She was 12 years old at the time of her death. The incident attracted international attention due to both the brutality of the murder and the young age of the perpetrators, who were aged between 15 and 17 years old. The case was covered on national programs such as Dr. Phil and has inspired a number of episodes on fictional crime shows. Shanda Sharer: Shanda Renee Sharer was born at Pineville Community Hospital in Pineville, Kentucky, on June 6, 1979, to Stephen Sharer and Jacqueline Vaught. After Sharer's parents divorced, her mother remarried and the family moved to Louisville, Kentucky. Sharer attended fifth and sixth grades in Louisville at St. Paul School, where she was on the cheerleading, volleyball and softball teams. When her mother divorced again, the family moved in June 1991 to New Albany, Indiana, and Sharer enrolled at Hazelwood Middle School. Early in the school year, she transferred to Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, a Catholic school in New Albany, where she joined the female basketball team. Events prior to murder: In 1990, 14-year-old Melinda Loveless began dating another young girl named Amanda Heavrin. After Loveless' father left the family and her mother remarried, Loveless behaved erratically. She got into fights at school, and she felt depressed. She received professional counseling. In March 1991, Loveless disclosed her lesbian orientation to her mother, who was initially furious but eventually accepted it. As the year progressed, though, Loveless' relationship with Heavrin deteriorated. Heavrin and Shanda Sharer had met early during the fall semester when they got into a fight; however, they became friends while in detention for the altercation. Loveless immediately grew jealous of Heavrin and Sharer's relationship. In early October, Heavrin and Sharer attended a school dance, where Loveless found and confronted them. Although Heavrin and Loveless had never formally ended their relationship, Loveless started to date an older girl. After Heavrin and Sharer attended a festival together in late October, Loveless began to discuss killing Sharer and threatened Sharer in public. Concerned about the effects of their daughter's relationship with Heavrin, Sharer's parents arranged for her to transfer to a Catholic school in late November, and the girls started drifting apart by December. Girls involved in the murder Melinda Loveless Melinda Loveless was born in New Albany, Indiana on October 28, 1975, the youngest of three daughters, to Marjorie and Larry Loveless. Larry was drafted into the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, and he was treated as a hero upon his return. His wife later described him as a pervert who would wear her and her daughters' underwear and makeup, was incapable of staying monogamous, and had a mixture of jealousy and fascination with seeing her have sex with other men and women. They lived in or near New Albany throughout Melinda's childhood.[8] Larry worked irregularly for the Southern Railroad after his military service; his profession allowed him to work whenever most convenient for him. In 1965, Larry became a probationary officer with the New Albany Police Department, but he was fired after eight months when he and his partner assaulted an African-American man whom Larry accused of sleeping with his wife.[9] In 1988, Larry briefly worked as a mail carrier but quit after three months and did very little work, having brought most of his mail home to destroy it.[10] Marjorie had worked intermittently since 1974. When both parents were working, the family was financially well off, living in the upper-middle-class suburb of Floyds Knobs, Indiana. Larry did not usually share his income with the family and impulsively spent any money he earned on himself, especially firearms, motorcycles and cars. He filed for bankruptcy in 1980. Extended family members often described the Loveless daughters as visiting their houses hungry, apparently not getting food at home.[11] Through most of their relationship, Larry was unfaithful to his wife and they often had an open marriage. They would often visit bars in Louisville, where Loveless would pretend to be a doctor or a dentist and introduce Marjorie as his girlfriend. He would also "share" her with some of his friends from work, which she found disgusting. During an orgy with another couple at their house, Marjorie tried to commit suicide, an act she would repeat several times throughout her daughters' childhoods.[12] When Melinda was nine years old, Larry had Marjorie gang raped, after which she tried to drown herself. After that incident, she refused him sex for a month, until he violently raped her as their daughters watched. In the summer of 1986, after she would not let him go home with two women he met at a bar, Larry beat Marjorie so severely that she was hospitalized; he was convicted of battery.[13] The extent of Larry's abuse of his daughters and other children is unclear. Various court testimonies claimed he fondled Michelle as an infant, molested Marjorie's 13-year-old sister early in the marriage, and molested the girls' cousin Teddy from age 10 to 14. Both older girls said he molested them, though Melinda did not admit this ever happened to her. She slept in bed with him until he abandoned his family when she was 14. In court, Teddy described an incident in which Larry tied all three sisters in a garage and raped them in succession; however the sisters did not confirm this account. Larry was verbally abusive to his daughters and fired a handgun in Michelle's direction when she was seven, intentionally missing her. He would also embarrass his children by finding their underwear and smelling it in front of other family members.[14] For two years, beginning when Melinda was five, the family was deeply involved in the Graceland Baptist Church. Larry and Marjorie gave full confession and renounced drinking and swinging while they were members. Larry became a Baptist lay preacher and Marjorie became the school nurse. The church later arranged for Melinda to be taken to a motel room with a 50-year-old man for a five-hour exorcism. Larry became a marriage counselor with the church and acquired a reputation for being too forward with women, eventually attempting to rape one of them. After that incident, the Loveless parents left the church and returned to their former professions, drinking, and open marriage.[15] In November 1990, Larry was caught spying on Melinda and a friend, and Marjorie attacked him with a knife, sending him to the hospital after he attempted to grab it. She then attempted suicide again, and her daughters called authorities. After this incident Larry filed for divorce and moved to Avon Park, Florida. Melinda felt crushed, especially as Larry remarried. He sent letters to her for a while, playing on her emotions, but eventually severed all contact with her.[10] Laurie Tackett Mary Laurine "Laurie" Tackett was born in Madison, Indiana, on October 5, 1974. Her mother was a fundamentalist Pentecostal Christian and her father was a factory worker with two felony convictions in the 1960s. Tackett claimed that she was molested at least twice as a child at ages five and twelve. In May 1989, her mother discovered that Tackett was changing into jeans at school, and, after a confrontation that night, attempted to strangle her. Social workers became involved, and Tackett's parents agreed to unannounced visits to ensure that child abuse was not occurring.[16] Tackett and her mother came into periodic conflict; at one point, her mother went to Hope Rippey's house after learning that Rippey's father had purchased an Ouija board for the girls. She demanded that the board be burnt and that the Rippey house be exorcised.[17] Tackett became increasingly rebellious after her fifteenth birthday and also became fascinated with the occult. She would often attempt to impress her friends by pretending to be possessed by the spirit of "Deanna the Vampire".[18] She began to engage in self-harm, especially after early 1991 when she began dating a girl who was involved in the practice. Her parents discovered the self-mutilation and checked her into a hospital on March 19, 1991. She was prescribed an anti-depressant and released. Two days later, with her girlfriend and Toni Lawrence, she cut her wrists deeply and was returned to the hospital. After treatment of her wound, she was admitted to the hospital's psychiatric ward.[19] She was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and confessed that she had experienced hallucinations since she was a young child. She was discharged on April 12. She dropped out of high school in September 1991.[20] Tackett stayed in Louisville in October 1991 to live with various friends. She met Melinda Loveless but the two did not become friends until late November.[21] In December, Tackett moved back to Madison on the promise that her father would buy her a car. She still spent most of her time in Louisville and New Albany, and, by December, most of it with Melinda Loveless.[22] Hope Rippey Hope Anna Rippey was born in Madison, in June 1976. Her father was an engineer at a power plant. Her parents divorced in February 1984, and she moved with her mother and siblings to Quincy, Michigan, for three years. She claimed that living with her family in Michigan was somewhat turbulent. Her parents resumed their relationship in Madison, Indiana, in 1987. She was reunited with friends Laurie Tackett and Toni Lawrence, whom she had known since childhood, although her parents saw Tackett as a bad influence.[23] As with the other girls, Rippey began to self-harm at age fifteen.[24] Toni Lawrence Toni Lawrence was born in Madison, in February 1976. Her father was a boilermaker. She was close friends with Hope Rippey since childhood. She was abused by a relative at age nine and was raped by a teenage boy at age 14, although the police were only able to issue an order to keep the boy away from Lawrence. She went into counseling after the incident but did not follow through. She became promiscuous, began to self-harm, and attempted suicide in eighth grade.[25] Events of January 10–11, 1992 Pre-abduction: On the night of January 10, 1992, Toni Lawrence (age 15), Hope Rippey (age 15), and Laurie Tackett (age 17) drove in Tackett's car from Madison to Melinda Loveless' house in New Albany. Lawrence, while a friend of Tackett, had not previously met Loveless (age 16), though Rippey had met her once before and had gotten along with her; however, upon arrival, they borrowed some clothes from Loveless, and she showed them a knife, telling them she was going to scare Shanda Sharer with it. Only Loveless had ever met Sharer, although Tackett already knew of the plan to intimidate the 12-year-old girl. Loveless explained to the two other girls that she disliked Sharer for being a copycat and for stealing her girlfriend. Tackett let Rippey drive the four girls to Jeffersonville, Indiana, where Sharer lived, stopping at a McDonald's restaurant en route to ask for directions. They arrived at Sharer's house shortly before dark. Loveless instructed Rippey and Lawrence to go to the door and introduce themselves as friends of Heavrin (Loveless' former and Sharer's current girlfriend). They should invite Sharer to come with them to see Heavrin, who was waiting for them at "The Witch's Castle", a ruined stone house, also known as Mistletoe Falls, located on an isolated hill overlooking the Ohio River. Sharer said that she could not go because her parents were awake, and she told the girls to come back around midnight. Loveless was angry at first, but Rippey and Lawrence assured her about returning for Sharer later. The four girls crossed the river to Louisville, Kentucky, and attended a punk rock concert at the Audubon Skate Park near Interstate 65. Lawrence and Rippey quickly lost interest in the music and went to the parking lot outside the skate park, where they engaged in sexual activities with two boys in Tackett's car. Eventually, the four girls left for Sharer's house. During the ride, Loveless said that she could not wait to kill Sharer; however, Loveless also said that she found Sharer attractive and would like to have sex with her and that she just intended to use the knife to frighten her. When they arrived at Sharer's house at 12:30 a.m., Lawrence refused to retrieve Sharer, so Tackett and Rippey went to the door. Loveless hid under a blanket in the back seat of the car with a dull knife. Abduction: Sharer was waiting for the girls. Rippey told her that Heavrin was still at the Witch's Castle. Sharer was reluctant to go with them yet agreed after changing her clothes. As they got in the car, Rippey began questioning Sharer about her relationship with Heavrin just to trigger off Loveless. Loveless, having heard enough, sprang out from the back seat and put the knife to Sharer's throat and began interrogating her about her sexual relationship with Heavrin. They drove towards Utica, Indiana, and the Witch's Castle. Tackett told the girls that legend said the house was once owned by nine witches and that townspeople burned the house to get rid of the witches. At Witch's Castle, they took a sobbing Sharer in and bound her arms and legs with rope. There, Loveless taunted that she had pretty hair and wondered how pretty she would look if they were to cut it off, which frightened Sharer even more. Loveless began taking off Sharer's rings and handed each to the girls. At some point, Rippey had taken Sharer's Mickey Mouse watch and danced to the tune it played. Tackett, sick of the childish games, started describing the dungeon to Sharer that it was filled with human remains and bones and hers would be next. Subsequently, Tackett went back to the car where Lawrence followed her to retrieve her cherished smiley face sweater. She returned and lit it on fire but immediately feared that the fire would be spotted by bypassing cars, so they left. During the car ride, Sharer continued begging them to take her back home. Tackett turned on a boom box sitting on her lap that played opera and mimicked Sharer, acting like she was crying, and laughed what she called her "devil laugh". Loveless ordered Sharer to slip off her bra, which she then handed over to Rippey, who slid off her own bra and replaced it with Sharer's while steering the car. They became lost, so they stopped for directions at a gas station, where they covered Sharer in a blanket. While Tackett went inside to ask for directions, Lawrence called a boy she knew in Louisville and chatted for several minutes to ease her worries, but did not mention Sharer's abduction. They returned to the car but became lost again and pulled up to another gas station. There, Lawrence and Rippey spotted a couple of boys and talked to them before once again getting back into the car and leaving. They arrived at the edge of some woods near Tackett's home in Madison, Indiana. Torture: Tackett led them to a garbage dump off a logging road in a densely forested area. Lawrence and Rippey were frightened and stayed in the car. Loveless and Tackett made Sharer strip naked; then, Loveless beat Sharer with her fists. Next, Loveless repeatedly slammed Sharer's face into her knee, which cut Sharer's mouth on her own braces. Loveless tried to slash Sharer's throat, but the knife was too dull. Rippey came out of the car to hold down Sharer. Loveless and Tackett took turns stabbing Sharer in the chest. They then strangled Sharer with a rope until she was unconscious, placed her in the trunk of the car, and told the other two girls that Sharer was dead. The girls drove to Tackett's nearby home and went inside to drink soda and clean themselves. When they realized Sharer was screaming in the trunk, Tackett went out with a paring knife and stabbed her several more times, coming back a few minutes later covered with blood. After she washed, Tackett told the girls' futures with her "runestones". At 2:30 a.m., Lawrence and Rippey stayed behind as Tackett and Loveless went "country cruising", driving to the nearby town of Canaan. Sharer continued to make crying and gurgling noises, so Tackett stopped the car. When they opened the trunk, Sharer sat up, covered in blood with her eyes rolled back in her head, but unable to speak. Tackett beat her with a tire iron until she was silent. Loveless and Tackett returned to Tackett's house just before daybreak to clean up again. Rippey asked about Sharer, and Tackett laughingly described the torture. The conversation woke up Tackett's mother, who yelled at her daughter for being out late and bringing home the girls, so Tackett agreed to take them home. She drove to the burn pile, where they opened the trunk to stare at Sharer. Lawrence refused. Rippey sprayed Sharer with Windex and taunted, "You're not looking so hot now, are you? Now let's take her pants off and get to it ladies!" Burned alive: The girls drove to a gas station near Madison Consolidated High School, pumped some gasoline into the car, and bought a two-liter bottle of Pepsi. Tackett poured out the Pepsi and refilled the bottle with gasoline. They drove north of Madison, past Jefferson Proving Ground to Lemon Road off U.S. Route 421, a place known to Rippey. Lawrence remained in the car while Tackett and Rippey wrapped Sharer, who was still alive, in a blanket, and carried her to a field by the gravel country road. Tackett made Rippey pour the gasoline on Sharer, and then they set her on fire. Loveless was not convinced Sharer was dead, so they returned a few minutes later to pour the rest of the gasoline on her. The girls went to a McDonald's restaurant at 9:30 a.m. for breakfast, where they laughed about Sharer's looking like one of the sausages they were eating. Lawrence, horrified, phoned a friend and told her about the murder. Tackett then dropped off Lawrence and Rippey at their homes and finally returned to her own home with Loveless. She told Heavrin that they had killed Sharer and arranged to pick up Heavrin later that day. A friend of Loveless', Crystal Wathen, came over to Loveless' house, and they told her what had happened. Then, the three girls drove to pick up Heavrin and bring her back to Loveless' house, where they told Heavrin the story; although she did not believe it was true, Heavrin comforted the hysterical Loveless. Both Heavrin and Wathen became convinced when Tackett showed them the trunk of the car with Sharer's bloody handprints and socks still there. Heavrin was horrified and asked to be taken home. When they pulled up in front of her house, Loveless kissed Heavrin and told her she loved her and pleaded her not to tell anyone. Heavrin promised she would not before entering her house. Investigation: Later on the morning of January 11, 1992, two brothers from Canaan, Indiana, were driving toward Jefferson Proving Ground to go hunting when they noticed a body on the side of the road. They called the police at 10:55 a.m. and were asked to return to the corpse. David Camm, who was later acquitted of his own family's murders, was one of the responding officers. Jefferson County Sheriff Buck Shippley and detectives began an investigation, collecting forensic evidence at the scene. They initially suspected a drug deal gone wrong and could not believe the crime had been committed by locals. Stephen Sharer noticed his daughter missing early on January 11. After phoning neighbors and friends all morning, he called his ex-wife, Shanda's mother, at 1:45 p.m.; they met and filed a missing person report with the Clark County sheriff. At 8:20 p.m., a hysterical Toni Lawrence went to the Jefferson County Sheriff's office with her parents. She gave a rambling statement, identifying the victim as "Shanda", naming the three other girls involved as best she could, and describing the main events of the previous night. Shippley contacted the Clark County sheriff and was finally able to match the body to Shanda Sharer's missing person report. Detectives obtained dental records that positively identified Shanda Sharer as the victim. Loveless and Tackett were arrested on January 12. The bulk of the evidence for the arrest warrant was Lawrence's statement. The prosecution immediately declared its intention to try both suspects as adults. For several months, the prosecutors and defense attorneys did not release any information about the case, giving the news media only the statement by Lawrence. Judicial process: All four girls were charged as adults. To avoid the death penalty, the girls accepted plea bargains. Mitigating factors: All four girls had troubled backgrounds with claims of physical or sexual abuse committed by a parent or other adult. Hope Rippey, Toni Lawrence, and Laurie Tackett had histories of self-harming behavior. Tackett was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and suffering from hallucinations. Melinda Loveless, often described as the ringleader in the attack, had the most extensive history of abuse and mental health issues. Sentences: In exchange for her cooperation, Lawrence was allowed to plead guilty to one count of Criminal Confinement and was sentenced to a maximum of 20 years. Tackett and Loveless were sentenced to 60 years in the Indiana Women's Prison in Indianapolis. With maximum time reduced for good behavior, they could be released in 2020. Rippey was sentenced to 60 years, with ten years suspended for mitigating circumstances, plus ten years of medium-supervision probation. On appeals, a judge reduced the sentence to 35 years. Appeals: In October 2007, Loveless' attorney, Mark Small, requested a hearing to argue for his client's release. He said that Loveless had been "profoundly retarded" by childhood abuse. Moreover, she had not been represented competently by counsel during her sentencing, which caused her to accept a plea bargain in the face of exaggerated claims about her chances of receiving the death penalty. Small also argued that Loveless, who was 16 years old when she signed the plea agreement, was too young to enter into a contract in the state of Indiana without consent from a parent or guardian, which had not been obtained. If the judge accepted these arguments, Loveless could have been retried or released outright. On January 8, 2008, Loveless' request was rejected by Jefferson Circuit Judge Ted Todd. Instead, Loveless will be eligible for parole in 15 years, thus maintaining the original guilty plea. On November 14, 2008, Loveless' appeal was denied by the Indiana Court of Appeals, upholding Judge Todd's ruling. Small stated that he would seek to have jurisdiction over the case moved to the Supreme Court of Indiana. Incarceration: Both Loveless and Tackett are currently serving their original sentences. Given Indiana's policy of reducing sentences by a day for every day served with good behavior, both women could possibly be released from prison in 2022, when Loveless is 46 and Tackett is 47 years old. Releases: Toni Lawrence was released on December 14, 2000, after serving 9 years. She remained on parole until December 2002. On April 28, 2006, Hope Rippey was released from Indiana Women's Prison on parole after serving 14 years of her original sentence. She remained on supervised parole for 5 years. Aftermath: During Melinda Loveless' sentencing hearing, extensive open court testimony revealed that her father, Larry Loveless, had abused his wife, his daughters, and other children. Consequently, he was arrested in February 1993 on charges of rape, sodomy, and sexual battery. Most of the crimes occurred from 1968 to 1977. Loveless remained in prison for over two years awaiting trial; however, a judge eventually ruled that all charges except one count of sexual battery had to be dropped due to the statute of limitations, which was five years in Indiana. Loveless pled guilty to the one count of sexual battery. He received a sentence of time served and was released in June 1995. A few weeks following his release, Loveless unsuccessfully sued the Floyd County Jail for $39 million in federal court, alleging he had suffered cruel and unusual punishment during his two-year incarceration. Among his complaints—he was not allowed to sleep in his bed during the day and he was not allowed to read the newspaper. Shanda Sharer's father, Stephen Sharer, died of alcoholism in 2005 at the age of 53. He was extremely depressed following the death of his daughter, and so, according to his wife, "drank himself to death". The Shanda Sharer Scholarship Fund was established in January 2009. The fund plans to provide scholarships to two students per year from Prosser School of Technology in New Albany; one scholarship will go to a student who is continuing his or her education, and the other scholarship will go to a student who is beginning his or her career and must buy tools or other work equipment. According to the rules of the fund, the scholarship recipient will also be given a plaque or document of some type that tells Shanda Sharer's story. In 2012, Shanda Sharer's mother, Jacque Vaught, made her first contact with Melinda Loveless since the trials, although indirectly. Vaught donated a dog for Loveless to train for the Indiana Canine Assistance Network program (ICAN), which provides service pets to people with disabilities. Loveless has trained dogs for the program for several years. Vaught reported that she has endured criticism over the decision, but defends it saying, "It's my choice to make. Shanda's my child. If you don't let good things come from bad things, nothing gets better. And I know what my child would want. My child would want this." Vaught stated that she hopes to donate a dog every year in honor of Shanda. In popular culture- In literature and stageplays: The crime was documented in two true crime books, Little Lost Angel by Michael Quinlan and Cruel Sacrifice by Aphrodite Jones; Jones's book on the case became a New York Times Bestseller. The story was turned into a play by Rob Urbinati called Hazelwood Jr. High, which starred Chloë Sevigny as Tackett. The play was published by Samuel French, Inc. in September 2009. In television: "Mean", an episode from the fifth season of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, is based on the murder. The Cold Case second season episode "The Sleepover" is loosely based on this crime. In an interview with Shanda Sharer's mother, Jacque Vaught, on the TV series Deadly Women, Vaught stated that Sharer's father was so destroyed by his daughter's murder that he "did everything he could to kill himself besides put a gun to his head" and that he "drank himself to death. The man definitely died from a broken heart". In 2011, Dr. Phil aired a two-part series on the crime, which featured Shanda Sharer's mother and sister, who both confronted Hope Rippey on the show, and an interview with Amanda Heavrin. In art: American artist Marlene McCarty used the Shanda Sharer murder as one of the subjects for her Murder Girls series of drawings about teenage female murderers, their sexuality and their relationships. McCarty's drawing entitled Melinda Loveless, Toni Lawrence, Hope Rippey, Laurie Tackett, and Shanda Sharer – January 11, 1992 (1:39 am) (2000-2001) is now in the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.