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Kill Me Once ... Kill Me TwiceMurder on the Queen's Playground
By Carol Shuman
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Carol Shuman Ph.D., LLC.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneBlood once more soaks the soul of balmy Bermuda—the isle of unsolved murder. For the close-knit island community clams up when outsiders ... call." The Sun (London)—March 12, 1973
Detour to Murder July 3, 1996
DANA RAWLINS CHECKED his watch. Three thirty a.m., a time when very little good happens in Bermuda to those who aren't safely nestled in their beds. Clouds that a few hours earlier dropped dense rain over the island had drifted away, leaving a murky, sinister haze.
Rawlins wanted to get home, but a new guy needed a ride to a tent he'd pitched earlier in the day at Ferry Reach Park. It was well out of Rawlins' way, but he felt sorry for Coy Fox, who was homeless and working odd jobs, typical of more than a few on this wealth-saturated island.
Fox had managed permission to stay a few nights at the Bermuda Regiment barracks, but he had outlived his stay and set up housekeeping at Ferry Reach. This isolated park at the end of Ferry Road clings to Bermuda's airport waterway on one side and lapping ocean waves of Whale Bone Bay on the other. Down to his last few dollars, Fox had returned a rental bike earlier that day, and so needed the ride. Rawlins' friend Angela took the front seat, and Coy Fox piled into the back seat with two others, Sharon and Antonio.
Rawlins' veered his car with its four passengers off the main road and climbed a steep hill along the narrow roadway originally designed for horse and carriage traffic. There were no other cars in sight.
The few twinkling lights from tiny pastel houses would have disappeared by then. Rawlins remembered noticing two enormous hounds, barking and dancing on their leashes, not far from limestone walls that tighten into callous chambers, frightening reminders of the great eruptions that gave birth to the island millenniums ago. That night the rocks' musty odor added to gloom that would seem to welcome the devil, daring all others to pass.
Nonetheless, the five young people in the car were laughing and listening to music as they bumped along.
Suddenly Angela shrieked.
"What the fuck," Coy Fox yelled.
Had a dog had run in front of the car? Or maybe a motorbike accident, a frequent deadly event late at night on Bermuda's isolated roads. Or possibly what some call a "Saturday Night Special," alleged baseball bat slams to the back of a bike rider's neck by another passing rider during gang warfare.
Dana Rawlins slammed on the brakes.
It's not hard to imagine what the four saw. Branches of the casuarinas hanging down, like tentacles of ghostly creatures. Tree frogs would have been screaming like banshees. A scene that can be found in many such locations in Bermuda.
This time there was an added element. A body lay across the road.
"It's a woman," Angela shouted.
All four got out of the car and went to look. They saw an almost naked young woman covered in so much blood that it had pooled on the road beneath her. Her blonde hair streamed across the yellow line. Her neck was covered in slashes. The headlights of Rawlins' car shone on a grass verge directly under the two casuarinas, the location of two more pools of scarlet blood. A ripped skirt, panties, and sandals lay nearby. The girl's blood-soaked bra and shirt still clutched to one of her shoulders. Rawlins knelt next to her, watching her diaphragm move as she struggled for air and to speak, able to produce only wheezing, no words, silent tears.
Rawlins found a strong pulse; she turned her head toward him. "Can you hear me?" he asked.
She blinked. Tears ran down her cheeks. Rawlins took her pulse again. It was now faint.
Coy Fox was too frightened to go near. Someone suggested that one of them stay while the three others went to the nearby park phone booth. But they were worried that an attacker might be lurking, and they left the young woman alone. When the four returned about ten minutes later the dying girl hadn't moved. Rawlins listened for a heartbeat and heard nothing. He checked her pulse again and found it, barely palpable.
"She didn't try to talk anymore," Angela later told police. "Dana held her hand. We were all trying to talk to her to keep her going. Her eyes were dilating, I could see her drifting."
Rawlins kneeled down and kept talking. "Hang on, hang on, you'll make it."
Sharon got a light blue towel from Rawlins' car and covered her nearly naked body.
"We wanted so badly to try and save her life," Coy Fox recalled.
A man on a motorcycle rode up. Sharon asked the stranger to go back and summon police. Before the man left, he gave them a rolled cigarette.
When the first police officer arrived, Angela was screaming, Coy Fox was throwing up.
Rebecca Middleton was dead.
Chapter Two"... The most damaging foreign import is the peaceable tourist ... Governments are only now beginning to realize that tourism is a double-edged weapon. It may revive a stagnant economy, but at the cost of growing political agitation and, perhaps in the long run, revolution." Birmingham Post—March 13, 1973
Lures of Paradise June 20, 1996
A TOMBOY WHO LIVED in a world of "cool," sixteen-year-old Rebecca Middleton normally cast aside dresses in favor of pants and sweatshirts. But for this special day, golden-haired Becky wore the new sundress that her mom made her by hand, along with her straw hat with a sunflower, her favorite. She and Jasmine Meens, who Becky fondly called "Jazzy," both beauties, were heading to Bermuda for their vacation of a lifetime.
Becky and Jasmine's quiet home town, Belleville, Ontario, lies a little more than an hour driving time east of bustling Toronto with its five million people, never claiming the grandeur of Britain's wealthiest territory, Bermuda. Nonetheless, the close knit community, with its some 37,000 residents at the time, welcomed tourists to its yacht harbor on the peaceful Bay of Quinte, boasting fishing, boating, and "world famous cheddar." The Middletons had never known of a murder in Belleville—ever.
There Dave and Cindy Middleton, who named their children after Biblical characters, Matthew, Mark and Rebecca, lived quietly in a neighborhood filled with children, laughter, and strict standards. Her two older brothers watched over Becky, roughhoused, and played sports with her. With her dad coaching, her team won the local soft ball league division. Becky's strength and coordination belied her five foot three-inch stature.
Like her mom, Cindy, whose liveliness fills a room, Rebecca Jane was a beauty since birth. Her blonde hair, highlighted by the summer sun, matched blue eyes as sparkling as Bermuda's waters. For Cindy, the angels had gotten together.... "sprinkled gold dust ... and starlight," a vision of the Carpenters' song.
When four-year-old Matt first saw pink blankets wrapped around his new sibling, he gasped—he'd requested a brother. But his dad told him that God had looked down and knew who they needed—Becky. Dave took photos of Matt and his year-and-a-half old brother Mark holding their thriving eight-pound baby sister, born in 1979—the International Year of the Child.
Matt, like most first-born children, Becky's dad recalled, "is the most serious of the three. Mark is athletic and good-humored. Becky was the cheerleader for all of us."
Dave and Cindy Middleton had divorced three years before Becky and Jasmine set out for Bermuda, a loss that Dave found difficult to accept. Losing Cindy, he said, was like "losing a limb."
Dave's world focused on his kids and his job as water plant superintendent in Belleville, never believing life could get worse.
All three children, then in their teens, romped between Dave's house overlooking the bay and Cindy's not far away, where she lived with Wayne and worked for the Canadian government. Becky cherished her older brothers, and welcomed Wayne's children, her new step-siblings, John and Debbie. All of the kids, for the most part, accepted family changes, continuing to bring their friends to their parents' houses.
Becky was right at home in the tranquil Thousand Islands of the St. Lawrence, bringing friends to camp and dinghy through the islands, taking sailing lessons with her cousin Michelle. She loved swimming and fishing, and she and Mark slept on the dock down by the water on nice summer evenings at the Bay of Quinte Yacht Club.
She took to the piano quickly, carrying home a first place trophy from the Belleville Rotary Festival, thrilled that this was her first time playing a baby grand.
At twelve, Becky inherited from Mark her first job delivering newspapers. Like her brothers, she worked after school to save money for college. By fourteen, Becky was pumping gas and washing windows at a Belleville service station, her smile a welcome sight for locals who adored her enthusiasm, energy, and high spirits.
Becky treasured Mark's high school girlfriend Patti. Cindy recalled Becky hearing a girl on the school bus saying that she was going to date Mark. "Becky told the girl 'No way!'" Becky, though, wouldn't attend Mark and Patti's wedding a few years later.
Becky loved her overnight sleeps when she and her girlfriends giggled all night. She and her friend Meghan Clarke spent countless hours sitting on Becky's waterbed, writing notes to each other in silence. The two thought this was hilarious, saying things they believed they couldn't say out loud. Meghan still has those notes.
Some years later, Becky's mother wept when she found Becky and Meghan's names etched in the drawer of Becky's chest.
For Cindy, it was "like a gift."
A year before Becky and her long-time friend Jasmine Meens set out for Bermuda, Becky had hoped to travel with her friend on her exclusive vacation, out of reach to most Belleville kids, who didn't have a friend with a dad living on the high-priced island where tourism marketers employed by the island government had long made it no secret they preferred wealthy visitors.
Things didn't work out that year, but the next summer, Becky and Jazzy tried again. The girls knew Becky's parents weren't certain they wanted Becky to go, a reluctance shared by Becky's stepfather, Wayne.
Dave Middleton had known Jasmine's dad Rick Meens and his brothers from their teenage days when both played Belleville sports. Divorced from Jasmine's mother, Rick Meens had moved to Bermuda in the late 1980s and remarried. Rick and his Bermudian wife Lynne had a new baby, Micah. Lynne's son, Reese, joined Rick's children, Jasmine and Jordan, on long stays with Rick and Lynne. For Jasmine and the small town girls she brought with her, the visits reached splendor beyond their imaginations.
Cindy and Wayne, on the other hand, had never met Rick Meens, but they knew Jasmine and her mom, Cheryl. Since the girls were seven years old, Jasmine had been one of Becky's favorite schoolmates. Becky's mom and Jasmine's dad spoke at length about the girls' travel. Eventually, Rebecca Middleton's parents gave their okay for Becky to accompany Jasmine on a Bermuda vacation.
When they did, Becky raced to her dad's to get her birthday present, spending money for her trip. Her family also agreed that since she had been living with Cindy and Wayne for some time, Becky would live with Dave when she returned from Bermuda. This kind of accommodation had long marked Becky's reaction to her parents' divorce.
Two nights before their trip, Becky and Jasmine took Woody, a Schnauzer devoted to Becky, for a walk in the park. They chattered about beaches, souvenir shops, and how they'd meet new friends in Bermuda.
They woke up to a beautiful morning the day their adventure would begin. "The sun was shining in the window, and we had smiles on our faces as Becky's mom tickled our feet," Jasmine remembered. They headed to stay overnight with family friends in Whitby, a small town not far from the Toronto airport, so they could be there before dawn the next day.
When they arrived at the airport, Becky jogged up and down corridors. The girls dashed into a photo booth and made comical faces for the camera.
In all the excitement, Jasmine misplaced her purse. They found it without much fuss, and Cindy and Becky told Jasmine not to worry. "Just don't lose anything else," Cindy said.
"I'll miss you, baby." Cindy hugged Becky.
"I'll miss all of you, too. Whenever I look at the moon I'll think of you."
Becky seemed uncharacteristically serious.
Becky scribbled to her dad on an Air Canada postcard as their jet prepared for takeoff. "We're having a great time already. Talk to ya later, alligator."
As they flew over the Atlantic, a fellow passenger took pictures of them with Becky's new camera, an early birthday gift for this special trip. The pilot circled the isolated island in the glistening ocean on a windless, radiant day. Poinciana trees blossomed, and the tiny speck in the sea glowed scarlet. Houses covered small hills like baskets of pastel candy. The sparkling teal water exposed darker reefs, secret graveyards for many shipwrecks and downed planes.
"We're in the Bermuda Triangle." Becky giggled and made scary faces at Jasmine, the more serious of the two.
"We talked about how warm the water was going to feel when we swam," Jasmine remembered.
Jasmine's dad, Rick Meens, met them at the airport and took them on their first tour. "What a difference from Belleville," Jasmine recalled. "The streets were half the size of our Canadian roads, and all around were men cleaning to make it look beautiful. They don't need to try, it is."
Meens showed Jasmine and Becky the island's capital, Hamilton—the waterfront tourist area, with its hotels, yacht club, shops, and billion dollar offshore investment industries. Then the old British section, passing Bermuda's House of Assembly, modeled on the British House of Commons. Afterward visiting a magnificent cathedral, just one of the many Bermuda churches filled to the brim on Sunday mornings.
Past enormous hotels, encircled by lush golf courses and teal seas, Jasmine and Becky shared brochures that Cindy had given them. "Along with the beautiful things, Dad showed us where we never were to go, especially Court Street and 'the back of town,'" Jasmine remembered. This area, where drugs are no secret, was off limits. The girls promised they wouldn't go there, and they didn't.
Moreover, Rick Meens warned them not to rent motor bikes, unsafe on the tiny, winding island roads, and the cause of more than a few tourist deaths. They could take buses, or Jasmine's father would drive them.
At the waterside, they laughed as crabs scurried across the road. That first night they sat on a St. George dock and watched people catch minnows and fish.
Early on Wednesday morning, not long after their arrival, Becky and Jasmine returned to quaint St. George, wandering the twisting alleyways and back streets with names such as Old Maid's Lane, Shinbone, One Gun, and Featherbed alleys.
The girls romped between the whipping post and dunking stool that once kept gossips and scoundrels in their place. Becky popped her head into one of the stockades, while another tourist photographed her grinning at Jasmine. Becky's family would later find disconcerting the photos of Becky pretending to be locked in place.
On Becky's seventeenth birthday, June twenty seventh, the Meens family surprised her with a cake and gifts. That night, Becky wrote to Cindy and Wayne, "On our way home (from Hamilton) a couple of days ago, I tried to look for the moon, but I couldn't find it. This time on our way home, I found the moon and thought about you guys."
To her dad, Dave, Becky wrote, "The sand here isn't as dark as it is in Canada ... and the water is very beautiful." Both she and Jazzy had sunburns, but they went to Hamilton anyway.
Becky wouldn't have the opportunity to mail either letter.
Meanwhile, Cindy had sent a postcard to Becky, joking about the purse incident in the airport, adding a postscript: "Jasmine, don't lose Becky."
The message would reach its destination on a dark day.
Russell McCann and his friend, Ben Turtle, arrived in Bermuda from Britain on Monday the twenty fourth of June, four days after Becky and Jasmine did. Russell and Ben had been in school in Belfast with Jonathan Cassidy, son of a police constable in Bermuda's "Old Town" of St. George. Cassidy's father was among a few remaining white officers from the U.K., a hiring practice now avoided whenever possible. Bermuda now recruits mostly from its neighbors in the Caribbean.
Excerpted from Kill Me Once ... Kill Me Twice by Carol Shuman Copyright © 2010 by Carol Shuman Ph.D., LLC.. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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