Life has a way of bringing people together and apart in ways we might not expect. Events and experiences, both good and bad, connect us, and when you find people who share your commonalities — whether positive or negative — you recognize the connection, and do what little you can, exchanging thoughts, ideas, and the willingness to listen like bottled messages cast into the water between our individual islands.
The murder of my parents in 2009, and my brother’s trial four years later, were fairly high-profile events in the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area where they and I had lived. As a result of that, I met some folks involved in other high-profile murder cases in the area. One such case — the murder of Michelle Mockbee — has resulted in an arrest, but the adjudication process remains in progress. I became acquainted with Ms. Mockbee’s sister, and we’ve chatted from time to time in the ensuing years, and will likely continue to do so as the accused murderer’s second trial gets underway.
Another case, however, remains unsolved. During a break in my brother’s trial, a woman named Beth Stephenson-Victor approached me. Her elderly parents had been murdered in 2011, and when I met her, the case had reached a dead end. The detectives had found DNA, but were unable to connect it to anyone. As it happened, a detective on my family’s case was also aware of the goings on in the Stephenson case. He said all that they could do is hope that one day, it would get a hit in a database.
Now, seven years after the murders, the case remains unsolved. A local television station has run a couple of features about the case this week. Beth asked me to share them, in the hope that they may appear in front of someone who knows something. So I do.
It’s among the longest of long shots, I know, and I’m sure she does as well. But we do what we can, putting our messages in bottles and casting them away, in the hope that one day, they may reach someone who can respond to them. Maybe it’s you, and if it is, watch the features. Open the bottles.