Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, July 27, 2013

MVNews this week:  Page 5

Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 27, 2013 5arouNd SaN GabrIel Valley Mountain Views-News Saturday, July 27, 2013 5arouNd SaN GabrIel Valley 
“What’s Going on?”FIrSt uNSolVed HomICIde 
news and Views from Joan Schmidt SummIt at SHerIFF’S 


This pastSaturday I 
attended an 
awesome but 
very heart 
first unsolved 
Summit at 
Sheriff’s Headquarters. Two groups,
Justice for Homicide Victims and 
Justice for Murdered Children,

sponsored this summit to facilitate 
communication between various law 
enforcement/county agencies andthe victims’ families. 

Representatives from two groupswere there: Those whose familymembers’ murderers have been 
convicted and are serving time in jailand those who are awaiting justice.
When I arrived, I met JeanetteChavez, mother of Samantha Salas, 
who was shot at Riviera Apartmentson Peck Road in Monrovia. The 
crime has been solved, but Jeanette’s 
life will never be the same-no parentever gets over the loss of a child.

Justice for Homicide Victims 
was founded in 1984 by the late Ellen 
Griffin Dunne (daughter Dominiquemurdered at age 27) and the lateRobert W. Leach (Husband of During the program, there were two panels ofMarcella Leach, Marsy’s mom.) Today, Marcella, Speakers, both moderated by Retired Judge,
William and Jane Bouffard, Thomas Vardon, Honorable Michael Latin. The first panel includedLaWanda Hawkins, Jeanette Chavez and Cythia Long Beach Police Commander Donald Wood,
Bejar continue the battle for justice.Inglewood Police Captain Marie Di Beranando,

Justice for Murdered Children was Pasadena Police Commander John Perez,
founded in 1996 by LaWanda Hawkins ((Her LACDA Major Crimes Division John Lewin,
only child Reggie was murdered) LaWanda, and LASD Homicide Bureau Captain Duane Harris,
other parents who had lost children to homicide LASD Director of Bureau Operations, Dr. Stevendiscovered their cases were going unsolved and Sultan, LAPD Captain Thomas McMullen andthat they had been left out of the criminal justice LACDA Forensic Science Section, Marguerite 

The Summit began with a welcomed by 

On the second panel, were Homicide LAPD

La Wanda Hawkins and Jane Bouffard. LaWanda 

Detective Tracy McClanahan; LASD Unsolved

spoke of losing her only child Reggie, while Jane 

Homicide Bureau Sgt. Delores Scott; Pasadena

told us about her parents’, Gladys and Elmer 

Star News Editor Frank Girardot; Dr. Danielle

Benson’s murder-Samuel Zamudo was tried, 

Dirks, Occidental College, Dept. of Sociology;

found guilty in 1997, and his death sentence 

LAPD Coordinator Regional Crime Stoppers, 

upheld in 2008.

Officer Do; and FBI Victim Specialist Carmen de

We learned of Marsy Nicholas’ murder 


by her ex-boyfriend. One week later, hermomMarcella walked into a store and was confronted 

The Panelists introduced themselves, told exactly

by the accused murderer. She had no idea he had 

what their work involved and gave hope to the

been released on bail. But the passage of Marsy’s 

attendees. For instance, Forensic Specialist Rizzo 

Law in 2008 changed all that in California. 

spoke of the advances in DNA testing which has

(Please go on line to . 

been instrumental in proving cases.

There are SIX pages of the RIGHTS of victims’families!)Prior to the program, attendees filled out cards 

Another speaker was Colleen Campbell, with questions. Judge Latin read the question 
sister of the late Mickey Thompson who with and different panel members answered.
his wife Trudy was murdered in Bradbury. It 

One man, Sault Zavala said after his daughter and

took NINETEEN years for justice to be served. 

niece were murdered, the killer fled to Mexico. 

Michael Goodwin was convicted and sentenced 

Although US prosecutors agreed to remove the

to two consecutive life terms. However, Colleen 

death penalty, the Mexican government would 

told us of the harassment and threats by Goodwin 

NOT extradite him to the US. The killer stood

during those nineteen years; it was unbelievable. 

trial, was convicted and sentenced to 60 years in a

Sheriff Baca told us that it takes “extraordinary Mexican jail, but Zavala doesn’t trust the system 
strength” to deal with the murder of a family in Mexico. After Zavala spoke to FBI Agent 
member. “The nature of the suffering never goes Robert Clark, he had new hope.
away; it only gets managed.” When the Sheriffleft, a distraught mother ran after him clutching Please go on line to www. 
her daughter’s picture and a reward poster. It’s and www.jfmc.
been twenty years, but the case remains unsolved. org. Both groups are nonprofit and provide 
The Sheriff hugged her, and said, “Let’s try to get services to familes. 
another effort going.” 


By Christopher Nyerges 

[Nyerges is the author of several books, including “Enter the Forest” and 
“How to Survive Anywhere.” Information about his books and classes is 
available from School of Self-reliance, Box 41834, Eagle Rock, CA 90041, 

I hadn’t been able to 

sleep much the night 

before having been 

involved in a deep in

trospection of my life. 
It was one of those introspections where I concluded 
my life was all chaos and disorder. Still, 
Phoenix-like, I arose very early the next day.

 It was Saturday, and the sun had not begun to rise 
over the hills to the east. It was very quiet, and I 
could actually feel the collective heave and sigh of 
relief as the city took a break from the madness 
of racing around day after day so you can afford 
to do whatever it is that you believe you’d rather 
be doing than racing around every day making 

The streets were still dark, and cool, and devoid 
of people. I began to bicycle through the city 
streets, first working my way through the downtown 
apartment areas, and then gradually north 
where there were more trees and bigger yards. 
The mountains were glowing with the rising 
sun, and by now the sky was light and birds were 
chirping everywhere. A few cars were now on 
the road, and an occasional jogger whished by on 
the sidewalk. 

The city was magical when everyone slept. Oh, 
I knew that there was some chance of encountering 
no-good criminals who would try to accost 
or rob me -- that’s part of the tightness of the city. 
But everyone seemed to be asleep, even the muggers. 
I didn’t even see homeless, for they too were 
tucked away in whatever spots they’d found for 
staying warm. 

The sun took its time in rising and the sky was 
overcast and cloudy on this early Saturday morning. 
A cool breeze blew down the city streets as 
a mountain breeze might blow down a canyon. 
Where you’d expect to see hawks perched high in 
the tallest mountain trees, I saw pigeons perched 
on the edges of the tall buildings. No matter what 
man does, nature usually adapts, and ultimately 

I began to bicycle to the north, towards the mountains. 
What had been a truly casual and leisurely 
ride was now becoming a bit of work as I went 
uphill closer to the foothills of the San Gabriel 
range. I slowly rode to the very base of the mountains 
and watched a group of Boy Scouts unloading 
from the family vans and station wagons and 
loading on their backpacks for a day or weekend 
of adventure. I could see the excitement in their 
faces and hear it in their voices. For most of them, 
this would be a first adventure in campcraft. 

I turned my bicycle around and began to coast 
back down the hill, and after a few miles, I turned 
down a street where a family I knew lived. I slowly 
bicycled by and saw that only Jim, the young 
six-year-old, was out in the yard playing. I said 
hello, and he recognized me and said hello. He 
asked me if I wanted to see the dirt people. I 
got off my bike, and got down on my hands and 
knees, and he showed me the little tunnels and 

trails of the dirt people, and he showed me where 
they lived, and how they drove around on little 
pebbles. He pushed a pebble with a long stick, 
and made a sound like an automobile engine. 

“See how they go?” he said, excited. “Make yours 
go,” he commanded, and so I began to push a 
little pebble around with a stick. I had to make 
sounds like a car when the dirt people wanted to 
turn quick or stop suddenly, and I had to keep the 
pebble on the roads that Jim had built. Jim told 
me about the monsters that come out sometimes 
and the dirt people have to run and hide, because 
the monsters are so powerful. 

He pointed to a little ant that had come out of 
a hole, and Jim gave voice to the monster-ant: a 
slow, deep growl as it walked along the dirt people’s 
road. I was informed that the monster always 
takes the easy path along the dirt people’s 
road, because the monster was lazy. That was its 
weakness, and the dirt people could use that fact 
to their advantage when they wage a war against 
the monsters. 

Each pebble, each leaf, each stick, each undulation 
of the ground had a name and a meaning in 
Jim’s world into which I had entered. I was lying 
there in the dirt with him, pushing a pebble, making 
sounds, and truly enjoying myself when his 
mother came out. 

“What are you guys doing?” she asked.
“The dirt people are all getting together because 
the monsters are getting ready to invade. We 
watched the monsters begin the war, and the 
dirt people are now all trying to defend themself, 
right?” he looks at me. 

His mother looks at me sideways, noting that I 
am covered in dirt as is Jim. She smiles, and says 
only “Oh.” She just stands there and looks, and I 
know that it means nothing to Jim, but I feel the 
censure of an adult in the adult world, and I realize 
that I should feel embarrassment. When I 
think about it, I realize that I did feel a little embarrassed, 
but mainly because somehow I’ve been 
taught that some things are for children and some 
things are for adults. Adults are not allowed entry 
into the make-believe world of children, at least 
not by other adults. 

So after a while, I got up, and shook off the dust. 
I told Jim’s mother that I was just passing by, and 
I said goodbye to Jim. I rode on, and eventually 
headed back home. 

I had truly enjoyed myself lying there in the dirt, 
without video games or electronic entertainers. 
We were enjoying a simple pleasure of life that required 
nothing but an active imagination and the 
ability to believe. And that’s what’s wrong with 
adults. Our bodies got older and we allowed our 
minds to ossify. We put aside imagination for 
pragmatism, and we gave up the ability to believe 
for hard-earned cynicism. 

That morning, I realized that childhood ends 
when you can no longer lie in the dirt and