Sorry for the long delay in posting the next piece of the story. I’m finding it more work and more time-consuming that I’d expected.
A large part of the following sections will be based upon the police reports from the investigation. They’re far more trustworthy than the newspaper reports, although everything has to be taken with a grain of salt. Every ‘story’ (or report, etc) is told from SOMEONE’S point of view, with the associated prejudices, opinions, attitudes, etc. In the case of a police investigation, you have several layers of that: first, the police officer doing the investigation and writing the report, second the person they’re interviewing, third the people around the person being interviewed. They all have different desires, attitudes, beliefs, pressures (social and otherwise) and fears, and none of them ‘see’ with god-like clarity and all-knowing. So what is the truth? It’s not something that can be cleanly conveyed before, during or after the fact. All we can do is present the available ‘facts’ as best as we can, and let the reader “fill in the blanks” and make up their own mind.
There were a half-dozen primary investigators of the murder, and each of them wrote reports of their activities and findings. Usually two or three of these investigators would work together, driving here and there, interviewing various people, and as a result there is often two or three different police reports covering the same events and interviews. These reports would sometimes be written up the same day they occurred, and sometimes they wouldn’t be written up from their notebook until almost a week later. Sometimes one report would cover one small interview, and sometimes it would cover several days of investigation.
Trying to organize all of that into some more reasonably digestable form was proving problematic for me (the County Sheriff’s file alone is about 240 pages, which includes most of the State Police reports also, but the State Police file has a few additional reports that aren’t included in the Sheriff’s file, so there’s probably closer to 275 pages of police reports to process). Finally, I realized that I really needed to have all of the police reports in a text format that was easily manipulated, rather than just as photocopies and JPG scans of those photocopies. OCR software was no use. On some reports it generated reasonably good scans, but still with many, MANY OCR errors. On other reports the original (or photocopy thereof) was so poor that the OCR software could get NOTHING but gibberish.
So, I decided that the best thing to do was to re-type all of the reports into a text editor. Sigh. Once that’s done, then I’ll be able to “pick apart” the reports, putting the various pieces together into a more chronological order and placing together the reports from different investigators of the same event. Frequently each investigator will include something in their report that none of the others did, giving a better perspective on what happened, what was seen or said. This will also allow me to build a better time-line of exactly who was doing what and when and where and with whom. And that will then let me proceed more smoothly and easily with the telling of the story in a more organized fashion.
Unfortunately, that won’t happen terribly quickly. It’s a slow process. So far, in the past three weeks or so, I’ve typed in just over 100 pages, probably a little over a third of the total (vacations, canning peaches and applesauce, life, all have interfered and reduced productivity to a snail’s pace). However, that’s enough to let me get started on organizing the events of the murder and the first week or two of the investigation. But things are going to slow down even further, as it’s time for me to get to work on my real job, writing puzzle games. It’s been a nice summer break, but sooner or later, we all have to earn a living.
So, please be patient, and have faith that I will finish this story that I’ve started. It’s just going to take a while…