Sunday, July 17, 2011

Foul Ball in the case of Rebecca Lynn Simmons

On May 8, 2011, Rebecca Lynn Simmons vanished. A report was not generated on the 45 year old missing woman missing until May 31st. Although she had a colorful past of drugs and arrests, Rebecca was still a missing person.

It was not enough for law enforcement in South Carolina to do much of anything. When she vanished from a Walmart parking lot on the May 8, she had no cell phone, keys or money with her.

Immediately dismissed and labeled because of her past, a crime of the worst kind was committed by the law enforcement agency in which a report was finally, generated.

"...investigators say they don't believe foul play is involved or that she is in any danger. Please know I realize you and your family are still concerned about her well being. Because she is an adult and investigators don't believe she is in harms way (at this time) there's nothing I can do story wise." (June 30, 2011)

On July 13, the first news report surfaced that Rebecca was missing. Oh and did I mention that Rebecca Simmons had told her family (considered hearsay of course) that if anything ever happened to her that they need to tell authorities to go and search the well on "Hurricane road off Liberty highway." Rebecca was in a very abusive and dangerous relationship at the time she vanished. But the deaf and dumb process of checking out the information entered in the picture. Law enforcement could not be bothered. Again, this was someone who was not important in the eyes of society and law enforcement. Foul Ball!

Finally on July 15, after continued persistence by the family, law enforcement moseyed on out to the well. You know where the family said she would be all along. Guess What? When police checked the well at the bottom of the 50 foot drop, it was Rebecca Lynn Simmons.

It will be several weeks after toxicology reports come back from the lab to determine her cause of death. My question is if it is determined she was murdered, will there be an investigation? Or will the death certificate be stamped "undetermined" as the cause of death so that money is not wasted out of the tax payer budget for someone who choose to use drugs and was an addict?

In the story that appeared after her body was discovered, a reporter from Anderson, South Carolina wrote about the tragedy in a manner I frankly found offensive. Instead of perhaps offering hope to victims of possible intimate partner violence that could lead to homicide and ways in which to get help, the news coverage talks about her criminal past. A real slap in the face for all families of missing persons. Forget the fact that Rebecca was finally found. Forget the fact that law enforcement turned their heads. Forget the fact that she was a victim of an abusive relationship. Forget the fact that she did not deserve to die. Forget the fact that the person who was the last known person should be considered a suspect or at the very least a person of interest by law enforcement.

Forget the facts and justice in this case will never see the inside of a court of law!!

After my mother was murdered in 1989, by my father a Chicago violent crimes detective, I looked at what worked and what did not as it related to violence in the home. Spending 18 years on a perpetual crime scene allowed me to cultivate strategies and techniques that worked to keep victims alive. Through the years more victims of intimate partner violence simply went missing. Cleverly erased by a boyfriend or husband who played a masterful game with law enforcement and prosecutors of "catch me if you can." Between the murders and those who go missing not much in the way of assistance for victims was in place. Until, now.

Created because of women like my mother Roberta Murphy, or Stacy Peterson who went missing on October 28, 2007, without a trace is the book, or the safety "prescription" as it is called Time's Up: Guide on How to Leave Abusive and Stalking Relationships"

The guide is a life raft providing structure in the midst of chaos and it has kept many victims of intimate partner violence, to date, alive.

Among the tools and forms, is the procedure of an “Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit”, a sworn statement detailing the facts of an individual’s victimization, preserving the specifics so they are not lost even if the victim is reported missing. It is difficult to think about speaking from the grave, but no different than any life insurance policy obtained in consideration for those left behind.

An “Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit" and video has the additional psychological benefit of being forced to face reality and admit that the potential for the ultimate kind of violence exists…and that if it occurs the perpetratorwill be held accountable.

The Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit: A Victim’s Voice(c)
Domestic violence or intimate partner victims now are able to provide information, in their own words, about the fears, dangers, experiences they have had at the hands of their abuser. The" Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit" or "EAA" records victim's stories, histories, and experiences which are preserved and stored on their behalf. These videos will provide answers to the many questions, allegations, and fears that arise when a person has disappeared, gone missing, or been found dead.

Recent cases, such as missing mother Susan Powell of Utah, Kelly Rothwell of Florida, and women like StacyPeterson, where the victim’s police officer husband is the person of interest, is the classic example of the benefits of this type of evidence. If Stacy Peterson, or any woman found murdered or is missing, had done an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit, ON TAPE, from following the information in the “Time’s Up" book on a flash drive, they would be able to describe:
- threats made against her life or wellbeing, including details of how the perpetrator would carry out the threat
- incidents of past abuse that the victim has endured
- admissions or comments made to her about other victims or people abused
- where evidence or weapons would or could be located
- possible alibis that the perpetrator would make up in his defense (including identification of people who could be co-defendant’s or co-suspects)
- portray visible injuries or marks
Just think if we incorporate an effective plan and have it available for every prosecutor, law enforcement, church, family law office and social service agency across the country, lives would be saved. And I wouldn't be writing about women similar to Kathy Brados, killed by a man hell bent on power and control.

Susan Murphy Milano is with the Institute for Relational Harm Reduction and Public Pathology Education. She is an expert on intimate partner violence and homicide crimes. For more information visit

Susan is the author of "Time's Up A Guide on How to Leave and Survive Abusive and Stalking Relationships," available for purchase at the Institute, and wherever books are sold. Susan is the host of The Susan Murphy Milano Show, "Time's Up!" on Here Women Talk is a regular contributor to the nationally syndicated The Roth Show with Dr Laurie Roth. Susan is a survivor- the daughter of a police officer family intimate partner homicide by her father who murdered her mother before committing suicide.

1 comment:

leah monroe said...

i miss you so much becca!! more then you will ever know!! icherish the memories that we made together... every last bit of them... i truly hope that they get that bastard... you never deserved for this to happen.... i think about you every day.. I LOVE YOU GIRL!! i hope to one day see you again...

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