On July 31, 1992, Rebecca Thomson Brown, 37, took a visit to the Fremont Canyon Bridge, a 60-foot span about 35 miles from Casper, Wyo. There, she fell greater than 100 ft to her dying within the churning waters of the North Platte River in Wyoming.
Authorities couldn’t say with certainty whether or not it was suicide or accident. However those that knew Becky mentioned it was the pure finish to a nightmare that started practically twenty years earlier on the identical spot.
“She was raped and murdered 19 years in the past, however she simply died Friday,” Natrona County Sheriff David Dovala advised reporters after her fall.
Dovala was a detective assigned to the 1973 case of two sisters who had been tossed off the bridge. Becky was certainly one of them.
On Sept. 24, 1973, at round 9 p.m., Becky, then 18, and her half-sister, Amy Burridge, 11, drove to a comfort retailer to purchase groceries.
A few half hour later, the women’ mother bought a cellphone name from Amy. She mentioned certainly one of their tires had gone flat and that two “good males” had been going to assist and provides them a elevate house.
They by no means arrived.
The next morning, an aged couple was driving towards the river to go fishing once they noticed a lady, bruised, bloody and bare from the waist down, slumped alongside the facet of the street.
“I used to be raped and thrown off the bridge, and my little sister too,” Becky advised them.
The 2 “good males” Amy had talked about in her name house turned out to be monsters. That they had set a entice, slashing the tire on Becky’s automotive.
At knifepoint, the lads pressured the women into their run-down Impala after which drove into the mountains. On the bridge, one demanded that Amy get out.
“I like you, Becky,” the little woman mentioned, the final phrases she ever spoke to her sister.
A short while later, the lads took turns raping Becky. After they had been accomplished, they dragged her over to the bridge, saying she was about to satisfy her sister. Each males had been weaklings, so that they struggled to elevate her over the railing to toss her into the river, wrote Ron Franscell in his guide on the case, “The Darkest Evening.”
When she fought again, one tried to strangle her, whereas the opposite yelled, “Be sure that she’ll be lifeless.” Lastly, they managed to push her over.
Miraculously, Becky survived the 112-foot plunge.
On the way in which down, she slammed right into a rocky ledge, which despatched her hurtling right into a deep a part of the river. The water cushioned her fall.
Becky described one of many assailants as skinny and dark-haired with loopy eyes. The opposite was fleshy, pale and greasy. Each reeked of booze.
Two locals — Ronald Kennedy, 27, and Jerry Jenkins, 29 — matched her description to a T.
Police knew them properly, a few strolling crime waves who had been out and in of correctional establishments since childhood. In 1968, Jenkins teamed up with Ronald Kennedy’s older brother, Jim, and raped a 19-year-old woman. Each had been arrested, however the lady was handled so harshly by the protection throughout Kennedy’s trial that she refused to cooperate a second time for Jenkins, Franscell wrote. Jim Kennedy went to jail, however Jenkins bought off and shortly teamed up together with his former companion’s brother, Ron.
Police rapidly snatched Jenkins and Kennedy and gathered proof to point out that the sisters had been in Jenkins’ automotive that evening.
Jenkins confessed however made it appear as if he was simply going alongside and Kennedy was calling all of the photographs. By the point they picked up the women, he mentioned, they’d been guzzling beer for hours.
The protection tried to make a case for madness, suggesting that depressing childhoods molded their cruelty and dependancy to crime. However the duo’s psychological issues didn’t meet the authorized definition of insane. In lower than 5 hours of deliberation, the jury discovered them responsible of assault, rape and homicide and worthy of the dying penalty.
Their appointment with the gasoline chamber was set for a yr after the crime. They appealed.
In January 1977, their dying sentences had been reversed, they usually got life behind bars. Kennedy thrived there, incomes privileges similar to conserving a pet, relationship, and ultimately having conjugal visits together with his new spouse. He penned a memoir.
Jenkins didn’t fare so properly, dying in 1998 of coronary heart failure.
As unattainable as it might appear, Becky’s bodily wounds, which included a shattered pelvis, healed. She tried to maneuver on. It appeared as if she was succeeding, with work she preferred, associates — together with Sheriff Dovala — and a husband and child.
However she additionally wrestled with many demons — addictions to medicine and alcohol and guilt over having survived the assault that killed her sister.
By 1992, she was plunging into despair — divorced, in debt and crammed with worry that Kennedy and Jenkins may succeed of their bid to get a brand new trial and that they could go free.
On that summer season evening in 1992, along with her boyfriend and her 2-year-old daughter, she took a drive to the location of her sister’s homicide. As she stood on the bridge, the boyfriend stepped away briefly to place the kid within the automotive. At that second he heard a crash, and he or she was gone.
Becky’s dying got here simply days earlier than the announcement that Kennedy and Jenkins had been denied a brand new trial.