Saturday, May 21, 2011

Back to work...what were we thinking!

We were excited and had lots of thoughts to share on the ride home. Back to work at oh dark early the next morning to catch up on email and get ready for a 9:00 a.m. Meeting. Ten minutes in to the meeting my assistant pulled me out of the meeting. The call was from the manager of Knollwood at the Richfield retirement community. My mother had fallen in her apartment and was being transported to the hospital. I was on call as a witness that morning in the murder trial of one of my employees. I called the Commonwealth Attorney's office to figure out what to do. I was lucky to catch up with Josh's assistant. The murder happened in July 2009 and we had been waiting to testify for 18 months in the hopes of keeping Susan's killer in jail. Susan was a delightful employee and everyone it seemed loved her. Her husband had abused her and she had left him. He continued to stalk her and the restraining order did nothing to protect her. We went to her apartment when she did not arrive at work as scheduled. Susan was always thirty minutes early so we were all concerned. Another employee and I drove to her apartment and could not get her to the door. Her car was parked out front and had been since the previous evening according to a neighbor. In my heart I knew right then she either was not in the apartment or it was too late. We called the police and they indicated they would send a car but they could not break in without cause. We needed to get in touch with the landlord. We talked to an elderly neighbor but she was no help. The young man who lived next door pulled up and I explained what was going on and he ran in and got his lease. We were able to reach the rental company and they were sending someone with a key. The police arrived first. We quickly explained our concerns and they knocked on the door with the same lack of results. The officer walked back and asked a couple of questions. I told him I had thought of looking through the large mail slot on the door but I wasn't able to bend over that far and I was concerned he might still be in the apartment. The officers went back to the front door and we watched as he bent over and looked through the mail slot. He jerked upright and pushed the other young officer back with his outstretched arm. He stepped back, raised his right leg up and with one motion he planted his size 12 foot in the middle of the door and it flew open! I tried not to look and we got back in the car. They started calling for back up and it was clear to us that Susan was dead. We tried to get the officers as much information as possible from our personnel records and from her friends at work. We were able to get a description of the husband and a description of his truck. The officers would not tell us what had happened but it was clear Susan was dead. We stayed as long as they needed us and then we had to go back to work and talk to her team members and confirm what they feared. It was a day we will never forget...and I had been waiting for 18 months to tell my story and try to get justice for Susan. So I was torn about what to do I was under court order to testify at the same time my 79 year old mother was being transported to the hospital. I was on hold with the clerk at the courthouse and all of these thoughts were replaying in my head including what was I thinking getting involved in buying and renovating a beach cottage seven hours away with all of the things I was already trying to juggle. I must be out of my mind...what had I done!

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