Thatcher, AZ–“Don’t ever try to convince yourself otherwise — this event is absolutely, completely your fault. You created it. You could have prevented it. You encouraged it. You found our pain funny. … If I have the opportunity to haunt you, I will…
“I pray you will see our faces in your mind’s eye and wonder what Ryan could have been and what we could have had if you had only chosen love.”–Tim Parmeter’s estranged wife’s murder-suicide letter
Whenever a man divorces his wife there’s the implicit blame that “he left her.” And no matter what the woman does afterwards–takes the man’s kids, makes false allegations, alienates the kids from him, or, in this extreme case, kills the kid to strike a blow at her ex-husband–some people seem unable to grasp that the man is a victim, and that her behavior post-divorce gives you a good clue why he would have wanted to get away from her. Instead we hear comments like “I wonder what he did to set her off like that?”
In this heart-wrenching case, basketball coach Tim Parmeter’s estranged wife killed his 2-year-old son in order to hurt Tim.
Murder-suicide by mother–Coach endures unthinkable loss one second at a time
Jan. 9, 2008
By Gary Parrish
CBSSports.com Senior Writer
THATCHER, Ariz. — Tim Parmeter pulled into the driveway and clicked and clicked and clicked his garage door opener, probably pushed the thing four or five times, best he can remember. But the door never opened. So he shook his head.
He just thought his estranged wife had changed the code like she had changed the locks, because that’s the kind of stuff people do when they’re going through a divorce. And it was a messy divorce.
There were arguments and fights, countless phone conversations resulting in hang-ups. There were threats, both silly and serious. But the bad moments always seemed to pass with time. And so even though Tim had argued with Paula the previous afternoon and didn’t hear from her the rest of that Friday, he didn’t really think much of it and, at the time, he figured he’d just stop by the house Saturday morning to see his 2-year-old son, Ryan.
“I was kinda surprised she didn’t call that Friday night,” Tim said. “But in some ways I was just relieved to not be arguing on the phone.”
But now it was Saturday morning and Tim was in the driveway and his clicker still wouldn’t work and he was starting to worry. He dialed the home phone. Nobody answered. He dialed Paula’s cell phone. Nobody answered. So he finally called Bryana Flynn, the family babysitter, and asked for help entering the home.
She told him the spare key was in the back. He grabbed it from inside a toy chest.
He unlocked the door. He walked inside.
“And I was still on the phone with Bryana as I was going through the house, and it was a mess,” Tim said. “I checked Paula’s office. Checked the bedrooms. Nothing. Ryan’s stuff was scattered all over the house and I was asking Bryana ‘Where did they go?'”
That’s when Tim opened the door that leads to the garage.
He immediately saw Paula in the backseat of the car, slumped over to the side.
She was dead.
“He was just yelling into the phone,” Bryana recalled. “He was yelling, ‘Oh my God! Where’s my f—ing baby?'”
When Tim got closer to the car he looked inside.
Ryan was lying in the back floorboard.
He was wrapped in a blue blanket.
“I remember yelling into the phone,” Tim said. “I just remember yelling, just screaming, ‘She killed herself and she killed my baby!'”…
“…What he later learned from police is [that]…she wrote six suicide letters addressed to six different people and mailed them all to her brother. Afterward, she placed Ryan in the backseat of the car with six stuffed animals, some toys, a few books, a sippy cup filled with milk and some chocolate candy. She crammed towels in every crack of the garage door and unplugged it, which is why Tim’s opener wouldn’t work. Then she rolled the windows down in the car and opened the sunroof before starting the engine and beginning the process that would kill herself and her son.
“He was just sitting in the backseat with Mom, reading books and playing,” Tim said. “He was just having a good time. What did he know?”…
“And one of [the police] said he had never seen anything like [her letter]. He said it was pure evil.”
“The letter was three pages hand-written.
“It reads, in part: Don’t ever try to convince yourself otherwise — this event is absolutely, completely your fault. You created it. You could have prevented it. You encouraged it. You found our pain funny… If I have the opportunity to haunt you, I will… I pray you will see our faces in your mind’s eye and wonder what Ryan could have been and what we could have had if you had only chosen love…
“The note is signed ‘Paula.’
“Beside her name is some scribbling. It’s clear she also had Ryan sign the letter.
“To the side she wrote, ‘That’s Ryan saying bye-bye, Dada.’
“‘That’s the part that really gets me,’ Tim said, his voice cracking as he placed the letter back into his bag. ‘That part still gets me to this day.'”
Read the full article here.