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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Sister's Killer


Serial killer Lonnie Franklin Jr., was finally caught after years of escaping the law and brutally murdering women who were often, but not all, prostitutes and drug addicts. Majority, if not all, of these women were raped right before he did horrible things to them. This went on, for what police believe to be twenty-five years, but they aren’t sure. They call him The Grim Sleeper, but with a track record like his, there was no sleep for this man. Pictures of 134 women were released not long after his conviction of having murdered seven women.

I still remember when the monster was caught and how the news told the story. It flashed on the screen and they talked about the women he killed in the 80’s and I sat there as they showed the pictures of seven women. I waited. I knew that one of the pictures would be my sister. My mom told me later that she had that same feeling.

I don’t know the whole story about my sister’s disappearance, but from the bits and pieces I did collect, I strongly believe I now know what happened to her. I was only 9 months or so at the time. My sister was bout 30—yes, that’s a huge age difference, my father was young when he had her and old with me, his first and last born, and both girls. She asked my mom to watch her boys, 3 and 6 at the time, while she went a couple blocks over to the store. She never returned. Now, the other version I heard was that she returned after that store trip a few days later, but she went to my brother’s house for a second. From there someone picked her up and she was never seen again.

The stories are all different, but one thing is the same, my sister disappeared. This was 1989 or 1990 right around the time of some of The Grim Sleeper’s killings. He killed prostitutes and drug addicts. My sister, in her worst of times, did drugs and paid for them by prostituting herself. By now, these aren’t coincidences for me, this man killed my sister.

Later, authorities found about 200 more pictures of women he raped and killed. As some flashed across the scene, I saw one that resembled my sister. Could it be? After all these years will we finally have an answer? My dad and brother say no. I think they’re in denial. A coworker of my aunt found a relative of hers that went missing years ago in the pictures. It was getting too close now. Friends of the family that knew my sister’s story questioned whether or not he did it. My brother told his friend it was impossible, but my mom and I felt otherwise. We looked through the pictures. Over and over. All the women started to look the same.

It was hard. Scary. What if that next image was her? We would finally have closure, but the emotions that would pour through my mother and me, I don’t know. We got through the pictures and nothing. My dad and brother believe this man is in the clear. They’re wrong, but I get why they feel that way.

I never got to have my sister and she was my dad’s daughter from a previous marriage, not my mom’s, but my mom was left raising her sons. We both have so many questions and we know the answer is right here, but my dad won’t go forward. We don’t even speak about it in front of him anymore. My mom wants to take my sister’s picture down to the police station to see if maybe we will find an answer because not all of the photos were released. She doesn’t do it because of my dad, but she and I believe it and just need to know. We can see our answer. They just need to tell us were right.

~Michelle Mitchell

2 Comments:

Blogger Editorial Committee said...

Michelle,

Wow. This is so powerful. I want to say that I am sorry for what has happened to your family but I know that sorry doesn't cut it. Keep producing amazing work girl.

Cairesse

February 14, 2011 at 11:50 PM  
Blogger Editorial Committee said...

I admire you for sharing such a deep, emotional, and personal story. I remember hearing about this man on the news. I hope the media brings this case to light again because I haven’t heard much about it in a while. I am proud of you for blogging about this, my regards to you and your family.

-Yenitza Munoz

February 15, 2011 at 10:53 PM  

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