Welcome (Back) to Crazytown

Does it seem like you were just here?

I feel that familiarity often.

Sometimes it’s fun…a cute guy that looks familiar. Caught off guard between the “did we?” and “shouldn’t we?” mindset.

Gay-ja vu.

Less fun is what I woke up to Monday morning and again, to a lesser degree, this morning.

Other times, it’s because of what I woke up to Monday morning. A less pleasant deja vu, to be sure.

But because waking up is tricky business, it’s not like I snapped my fingers and had an a-ha moment either time. No, that came later after I woke up from accidentally falling asleep again before getting out of bed.

Hey, I told ya…waking up is tricky.

This morning, I woke to an email the Silver Fox had sent about a Netflix documentary dropping next week about Ted Bundy. I’d forgotten that one of Bundy’s victims had been abducted right outside of The Fox’s dorm when he was at OSU.

Y’know, I like that we’re having to work for Oregon-ish murder stories.

Then I read the article he’d sent in a blithe ignorance that was miserably short. As I read, I remembered Sacha’s aunt, who had been a juror on the Westley Allan Dodd murder trial. As if being a juror in a spree murder trial wasn’t bad enough, she was further traumatized by the experience of knowing Dodd had chosen hanging as his form of execution, so she was literally charged with sending a man to the gallows.

Before I finished the article, I had a further thought on Oregon’s dearth of murder sprees.

And it seems like forever since we have had a family annihilator…

For the record, I think that’s a great thing. Sadly, as I was wracking my brain to remember the name of probably Oregon’s most infamous family annihilator, it hit me.

Oh, yeah. We had one Sunday night. Fuuuck.

That depressing realization linked me to Monday morning coffee with The Fox, when he asked if I’d heard about it.

Saw it. Didn’t read the story.

He told me that someone had killed his girlfriend, their infant child and his own parents near Woodburn. We somehow agreed that it was a shooting.

Pretty sure that he geolocated it as a Woodburn incident ahead of my job interview an hour later at the Woodburn Outlet Shops. Crafty.

We go back to sipping our cold brew and nosing deeper into our respective phone screens.


“Oh, he used an axe!”, exclaimed The Fox.

Aaaaand, welcome back to Stabbytown!

I actually raised my arms in mock surprise at that revelation.

And there I was in bed this morning too depressed about these two too weird facts about my home.

– Portland is prone to expressing itself with sharp objects.

– Oregon’s suicidal population has a “tendency” to wipe out every genetic thing associated with them when they pass themselves away. Because suicide is for quitters. Our family annihilator tend to be of the mindset that they should clean up after themselves before they go.

Writing is so surprisingly therapeutic. I think I just figured out why I fell back asleep.

But the brain is a strange organ, though…once I remembered Sunday’s bloodbath, I just started ticking off annihilators in my mind.

Christian Longo, incidentally. That was the most famous of Oregon’s family annihilators, who killed his family in Lincoln City, OR back in ’01. Hrs in jail now, having fled the country after his crimes versus suicide or death by cop…like a real Oregonian, I guess. He was originally from…Michigan?

Anyway, it’s not like there was a huge gap between this past weekend’s axe hammer wielding Mark Gago and Longo. There was one last year, another from 2017 comes to mind and then I’m kind of happy to say I can’t place another until ’02 or ’03…a dubious pleasure. I worry there were plenty but I was just less attenuated to them because I was living in Seattle in that time frame.

While the Longo murders stick with me not just because of the sensational nature of the crime and the international pursuit. It also marks my awareness of the family annihilator phenomenon. That awareness was heightened because shortly after learning about the existence of these family killers, I learned that the PNW has the highest occurrence of them.

That made me sad. It hurt my hometown pride. I think the Pacific Northwest is amazing. I love living here and when I don’t live here, I’m proud to be from here.

Then there’s these clowns.

I don’t need these guys murking – made up word alert! – up my hometown pride.

Let’s keep the focus on our natural wonders.

Our secretly awesome weather.

The beer and wine!

The food!

Hell, even D.B. Cooper.

Or Twin Peaks’ good old Special Agent Dale Cooper!

As I was rallying myself with that list of what’s great about my homeland, it hit me.

These guys

And suddenly last Summer’s tragic standout came back to me.

The Hart Family.

They actually standout for a lot of different reasons. The annihilator (or annihilators) was a woman, not a man.

The family was headed by a lesbian couple.

The children were adopted.

And they were somewhat famous before the coastal California car crash that killed at least six of the eight in the family. As of a couple months after the crash, I knew that Devonte Hart and one of his adoptive siblings were still missing, but presumed dead.

Devonte stands out because he’s the kid from the hug heard round the world. At a post-Ferguson march here in Portland, Devonte had been spotted carrying this sign

What a classic Portland hipster outfit! It works on kids, they don’t overwork the irony.

This was the photo that kept him famous the first time for several months all over social media

I admit that I became immune to the details of the Hart Family Crash. The kids bodies that were recovered showed that they were drugged. At least one of the mothers was intoxicated.

What happened to the two kids that were not recovered? In the back of my mind, someone is screaming

Lost at sea, you idiot!

But the middle part of my brain is thinking he’s a modern D.B. Cooper…a crimeless and innocent version of our folkish hijacker.

The Hijacked Hipster.

I can get out of bed if I think of it that way…

Welcome (Back) to Crazytown

9 thoughts on “Welcome (Back) to Crazytown

  1. Only you, my friend, can link a case of serial murderers to a child in need of a hug. BTW: I remember seeing the photo and that child passing out free hugs. He’s *really* dead? How sad. Such a tragedy. Naked hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oregon is known to be overcast, but the cloud that is family annihilators is a tough one to have hanging over our heads. Devonte sticks out because his murderer was his mother, not father, and also because it highlights the fact that these murders aren’t spontaneous…they are planned out weeks in advance. You don’t just wake up in the morning and say, “I think I’ll drug my six kids and drive our car off a cliff in the middle of nowhere…”
      Somehow, it would be easier to process if it was spur of the moment, a loss of control. At least for me.
      Ironically, as I’m writing this, the sky in my neighborhood are filled with news choppers. There was a shooting two blocks away.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Damn, I’m not even sure what to say on this one. This post was the first I time I had heard about the Hart family. What a tragic situation, and the photo of Devonte giving out free hugs gives me chills.

    On a (very marginally) lighter note, my husband always gets a chuckle out of the fact that I get the names Ted Bundy and Al Bundy mixed up. In fact, even writing this comment right now, I couldn’t tell you which was serial killer and which was a sit-com dad. (I grew up super sheltered and had never heard of that TV show until adulthood).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow weird coinkydink of a post because today I was talking to a kid and I had ascertained that he wasnt a danger to himself but he kept saying that he wished his parents were gone. So shitty job, but I had to ask if he wanted to harm or get rid of his parents himself. I hate asking that/ as if asking might give him the idea. But I had to and luckily the answer was no. I believe him for now, but wondered if this is how it starts..I dunno but then you wrote this. So strange…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The missing parent and kid perhaps discovered their own weird love nest and offed everybody else so as to eliminate any unwanted finger pointing? Oregon’s weather is the superficial cause for suicides and suicidal maniacs, but if that’s REALLY true then weather, regardless of locale must be the reason. It was so hot in Texas back in 82 that guy in Houston shot his sister for drinking out of his last cold Colt 45. Consider the irony. And what kind of weather makes Dentists more likely to commit suicide than say the Doc who did my colonoscopy yesterday. I mean really. Waking up to “Another mouth full of teeth, maybe some bad breath” or, well, spelunking in another orifice with worse breath?
    So be glad you woke up to the news of Oregon’s Lizzie Borden and cold coffee (really?) and memories of DB Cooper and not a day long parade of bad teeth or pressurized colons waiting for you to pop the cork.

    Liked by 1 person

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