Approximately a year ago a colleague recommended the book Fall: The Rape and Murder of Innocence in a Small Town. The book was written by a (now) newspaper editor who lived in the town where and when the events in the book took place.
I work in Denver, and the Wyoming town where the book events occurred is only a few hours from my residence.
The story is fairly intense to those who may read book, and is intense – and more – for those who experienced the events first hand.
Two local criminals abduct 11 year old Amy Burridge and her 19 year old sister Becky Thomson. They drive the sisters to a secluded location. They murder the younger sister, then rape and attempt to murder the older sister.
This was in Wyoming where secluded can take on an entirely new meaning. Being from Nevada, I understood “secluded”.
The murder and attempted murder took place in September 1973 at the Fremont Canyon bridge which lies between the Alcova and Pathfinder reservoirs. The bridge is over 100 feet above the North Platte River which runs through the canyon. The canyon walls at the bridge location are sheer granite.
Eleven year old Amy was murdered by being thrown from the bridge. I will not go into any further detail regarding this – read the book.
Becky’s assailants savaged her then threw her off the bridge.
She did not die.
Becky managed to survive the fall then fight her way through the next 20 years of her life.
Nearly 20 years after her horrific ordeal, however, her Demons caught up with her. Becky plummeted to her death by jumping off of the same bridge from which she had been thrown and left for dead nearly 20 years earlier. As stated in an illustration in the town newspaper, Becky was murdered in 1973, and died in 1992.
Last weekend my wife and I decided to take a trip to Cody Wyoming. To get to Cody, we had to pass through the town where the events in Fall took place.
I could not drive past this place and not go to the bridge.
After driving several miles down a 2 lane road, the bridge appears as you round a bend.
Near the right end of the bridge is the location from which the victims were thrown. It’s 110 feet above the water. Note the talus in the bottom right section of the image.
Broken and bleeding, Becky was able to crawl onto the talus field then took all night crawling up the chute and onto the road surface where she was found by passing motorists the next morning. The 2D image cannot properly convey that the “chute” she crawled up is virtually vertical. Look at the water’s edge in the image and you can just see the face of the talus field.
To give a better sense of proportion to the bridge image above, I stood on the bridge for a photo. I’m 6’3″ and I’m also standing on an 8″ curb. The bridge is large, and this image helps to put the depth of the canyon in better perspective.
A collateral victim not mentioned in the book is the canyon itself. One might easily see the location as a beautiful place. If only you didn’t know what happened there.
An intense story.
Read the book.