Sometimes the harsh reality of life comes way too close for comfort. So it was in the case of murder on two separate occasions for my husband's family.
Until the Ted Bundy/Chi Omega murders in 1978, the most famous murder case in Tallahassee was the Sims murders which happened in 1966. The Sims family lived down the street from my husband's family. Before the Sims family was murdered, Tallahassee was small town, USA. But that night, everything changed. It was the first sensational crime to ever hit this town. Like many of her neighbors, my mother in law still lives in the same house forty years later.
Recently a story about the Sims murders appeared in our newspaper. One evening shortly after the newspaper story, we were over at my mother in law's house and the subject of the Sims murders came up. It was the first time that I can remember us talking about them.
The big rumor around town at that time was that the minister of then largest church in town was somehow involved. But my mother in law that was definitely not the truth. Then she said something that completely surprised all of us. She said that she and everyone else in the neighborhood knew who did it, but no one had proof.
Apparently, the neighbors all suspected the same suspects as the sheriff. They were a teenage boy and girl who lived in the neighborhood at the time. That would explain why there was no sign of forced entry into the Sims home. Sad that after 40 years, the suspects are still alive and free because there was never enough evidence to arrest them.
The second murder case that touched my in laws family was much more famous than the Sims murders. It was the Ted Bundy/Chi Omega murders in 1978. My sister in law was a member of the Chi Omega sorority and lived in the house at that time. Late on Saturday night, Ted Bundy broke in and murdered two of the girls as they slept in their beds. Two other girls were savagely beaten, but managed to survive. One of the girls who was murdered had spent Thanksgiving with my in laws family the prior November.
My sister in law was also asleep in her room when the murders occurred but never heard anything. She was awakened by her roommate who came in late and was the only person to see Bundy as he was leaving the house. As a result, both my sister in law and her roommate were put under a 24 hour guard by the local police department for a couple of weeks after the murders.
My sister in law has never talked in detail about the case to anyone outside the immediate family since I have known her. For her, it was a case of there but for the grace of God, since it could have easily been her instead of one of the others who was murdered. Sometimes reality gets too close for comfort. On January 16, 1978, it was for Lisa Levy and Margaret Bowman whom Ted Bundy savagely murdered.