Thirty-six years ago today I said good-bye to my parents. The next day, they set sail for the South Pacific aboard their 53-foot ketch, the Spellbound. I figured I’d see them again in a year or two.
Three months later, on Feb. 24, 1978, I got a phone call: My father lay dead aboard the boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean after being hit by the boat’s boom, and my 20-year-old kid sister, Kerry, was unconscious and bleeding from head wounds. The following day, I learned my mother had also died.
I flew to Tahiti, planning to get my sister home safely, send back my parents’ bodies and sail the boat home. But at the hospital in Papeete, Kerry told me that Dad was not hit by the boom, that she had a fractured her skull in a separate incident, and Mom, apparently, had taken her own life, shooting herself with our brother’s gun. Our brother, Gary, was with the boat at the island of Rangiroa.
The FBI arrived a few days later, and my younger brother became their prime suspect in its murder investigation. The FBI labeled its report “Crime on the high seas: Murder.”
But federal prosecutors never indicted my brother, leaving the case unresolved. My family splintered, some insisting on my brother’s innocence, others convinced of his guilt.
In my book, Dare I Call It Murder?: A Memoir of Violent Loss, I unmask the trauma of violent loss as I ferret out previously unreported facts to get at the truth of how and why my parents were killed.
Praise for the Book
“. . . chilling . . . palpable . . . powerful . . .” —Kirkus Reviews
- Pulitzer Prize (2014): Letters, Drama, and Music > Biography/Autobiography
- Benjamin Franklin Award (2014): Autobiography/Memoirs
Learn more at: http://www.dareicallitmurder.com