It has now been a four year ride for this blog. On Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011 the first post of Ghost Shirt Papers appeared on BlogSpot. It focused on the murders of Carina Saunders and Kelsey Bransby. Both were nineteen years old and both had attended Mustang High School in the far southwest corner of the Oklahoma City metro area.
Saunders, who was living a life on the dark edges of society had gone missing in late September of that year. Her body was found on October 13th behind a Bethany, Oklahoma grocery store. She had been dismembered and her body parts were stuffed into a duffel bag.
The Bethany police force, manned by a little over 30 officers, took the lead in the investigation and assigned five of its members to the case. They were in over their heads from day one. Of course, it didn't help that they appeared more than willing to share every lead and rumor of a lead, plus the names of any potential suspects, persons of interest, and even possible witnesses with the media. The local press went into a feeding frenzy which lasted months.
Names came and went while talk of the existence of a phone video showing the brutal killing both horrified and mesmerized not just the media, but the entire town. Finally two men, Jimmy Lee Massey and Luis Ruiz were arrested for the crime.
Unfortunately for the local D.A, who eagerly jumped at the chance to become Ringmaster of the circus, the evidence given to him by the Bethany PD wasn't worth shit. In fact the Bethany cops had screwed the pooch so completely they were forced to hand the entire show over to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Shortly after that, District Attorney David Prater, knowing he had no real case against either man, dropped the charges against them.
As of this date the OSBI isn't talking to anyone about what they've found, or haven't found and the people who killed Carina Saunders are still out there, somewhere. So is the video, if it does actually exist, although that seems as far fetched right now as Bobby Jindal becoming president.
Kelsey Bransby was discovered shot in her apartment two weeks after Saunders' body was found. She died a short time later at a local hospital. It turns out two of her friends, Cole Hopper and Danielle Cooley were involved in her murder. According to Hopper the whole thing was just an accident which took place while the three of them were copping a needle full of fun and paradise.
After the shot was fired, Cooley and Hopper did what any real friends would do. They fled the scene, leaving Ms. Bransby dying on the floor, got rid of the gun, and concocted an alibi for each other. By May of 2012, Cooley turned state's evidence. She was sentenced to probation, which she quickly violated by testing positive for drugs, then flew the coop, only to be caught within a few weeks. Hopper was sent away for nine years.
The November 17th, 2011 post of this blog reported the nude body of a young woman found in far northeast Oklahoma City had been identified as Alina Fitzpatrick. She was last seen on the 4th of that month near an apartment complex at NW 23rd St. and Western Avenue. A short time afterward her cell phone began to go directly to voice mail.
The 17 year old's body had a number of bruises and abrasions, and some, "cotton, or paper like," material stuffed in her mouth.
By January 20th, 2012 the state medical examiner declared Ms. Fitzpatrick had enough meth in her system that she may, or may not have overdosed. He ended his report by saying the circumstances of her death were suspicious, but he refused to say it was a homicide.
Shortly after the ME's report everyone got a hint of exactly how serious the OKCPD was taking the death of Alina Fitzpatrick. Department spokesperson, Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow issued a statement saying that while there was an open file on the case, detectives were, "not currently investigating the death as a homicide."
Ten days later, another spokesperson, Capt. Dexter Nelson tried to calm the outrage by assuring everyone homicide, "is just a legal term." He told the local print media the investigation was still ongoing and that while the injuries suffered by Fitzpatrick weren't, in themselves, serious enough to be fatal, she, "obviously didn't OD naked on the side of the road."
As far as I can tell that is the last time the OKCPD has ever addressed the mystery of Alina Fitzpatrick's disappearance and demise. In the words of one member of the local media, "The police have little confidence the case will be solved." Well why should they? They wrote her death off as soon as the ME said drugs were in her system. You could hear that file drawer slam shut all the way out to Guymon in the panhandle.
Finally there was the end of Jaymie Adams. She went missing in December of 2011. Her body was found near Lake Stanley Draper in the southeast part of the metro the next month. She was in her 20's and pregnant. To help make ends meet her husband Justin had advertised on Craig's List that she was sexually available in exchange for cash, which, in most minds, is pretty much the definition of prostitution.
According to reports at the time Justin Adams' story about his whereabouts and what his wife was doing had changed enough that our man, David Prater charged him with her murder.
And just like in the Saunders' case he couldn't make the murder rap stick, although he did end up hitting Justin Adams with two counts of manslaughter for facilitating his wife's death by putting her in the position to be killed. Justin Adams pled out and is currently on probation.
A guy named Joe Cyr was finally charged with Jaymie Adams' murder and his oft delayed trial is now set December 7th of this year.
And there we have it. If you count this one it has now been 680 posts over four years. That initial entry seems like a long time ago and there has been lot of agua under the bridge since then. Probably not so much for the family and friends of Carina Saunders, Kelsey Bransby, Alina Fitzpatrick, and Jaymie Adams. There are some things you simply can't distance yourself from. It's what makes some of us human.
sic vita est