We haven’t been to Everett for quite a while. First place we stop is a gas station off of the 128th St exit. We walk around because our butts are numb. Carol buys some snacky stuff and I buy a pepperoni stick. Sheena LOVED pepperoni sticks, taco flavored Doritos and cherry coke. When she’d bring that stuff into the house I would always ask, SO you got some breath fresheners I see. She would call me a goober. We then go to the Sno Co DUI memorial wall. We touch Sheena and Tony’s tile. Then I sprinkle a little tobacco on the ground and a little on top. I do this so Sheena’s spirit will accept my offering. Then I leave the pepperoni stick on top of the wall.
We then went to the Sno Co court house. We called Bob Lenz who is the operations manager for Sno Co Prosecutor’s office. When our victim advocate, who was SUPPOSED to keep us informed of the process and meet us and escort us to hearings was just flat ignoring us not returning our phone calls etc, I called Mr Roe’s office and Bob called us and said, To HELL with THAT, I’M your advocate now. And he WAS. Never missed a call, ALWAYS made sure we were well taken care of. THANK you Bob, we’ll never forget how kind and professional you were.
On the way up to the prosecutor’s office we noticed a nice young lady holding a notebook with “Target Zero Taskforce” written on it. We asked if she was involved with the taskforce she said yes and that she was on her way to a meeting with them. So she got off on the 6th floor, we were going to the 7th. Well, we figured our dear friend Tracy McMillin would be there so we snuck down there and by golly, there she was. WONDERFUL surprise. We got to hug her (gently, she rides motorcycles) SO nice to see her again. She was at every hearing, she honored us at a luncheon, She was and continues to be SO supportive of us. THANK you Tracy, you helped make that first year bearable for us.
THEN we went to the EPD South precinct and met with the two investigating officers who handled Sheena’s case. Detective Davis and Sargent Dorn. These two law enforcement professionals took us under their wing, kept us WELL informed of the process, explained in understandable terms why things were the way they were and what to expect. Carol wanted Sheena’s purse, they arranged for us to go to the evidence place and pick it up. During that trip I mentioned that I wanted to see a pic of the FRONT of Sheena’s car. Wow, at THAT time I had NO idea. They were at EVERY hearing, they escorted us to every one. At the plea hearing we were met at the courthouse by EIGHT uniformed police officers. They were there to support US. As we walked through the halls with these officers around us, people would stop and stare at us. LOL, one lady said to her husband, “JESUS, I wonder what THEY did?”.
It was during the first meeting with Sargent Dorn that he said something SO profound and REAL to Carol that I think it made it possible for Carol to do what she does as far as activism is concerned. He put his arm around her and told her that at SOME point in this process, she would have ONE opportunity to speak in open court to the person who killed her daughter. Although she may hesitate because that kind of thing doesn’t come naturally to folks, she HAD to do it. IF she is going to have a regret about all this stuff, THAT would be it. At the sentencing hearing, Carol and Gloria determined that they could NOT do it alone. So they held hands and walked up together and delivered their statements. Carol refers to Sargent Dorn as her Sargent teddy bear. My goodness when we arrived at the cop shop Sargent Dorn said “Welcome to our family”. We VERY much respect and admire these professionals, ALL of them. This IS the worst time of our lives, THESE people who helped us, guided us, empowered us go out of their way to PRAISE us for what we do. Well folks, the feeling is ABSOLUTELY mutual.
Now we are home, the evening is quiet. Carol is quiet. She is having some of those old feelings float to the surface. I know. Me too. ONE person did all this. ONE person decided that this time was going to be like all the others. It wasn’t It only takes one time, THAT time to change hundreds of people’s lives forever.