That's how long Ashland County Coroner William Emery and Prosecutor Ramona Rogers stalled me on my requests to view the hidden details of Amy's crime scene and the autopsy report that followed. Thanks to involvement from Attorney General Marc Dann's office, I was finally given access to those files this morning.
The terms were these: No pens, no pencils, no recording devices. Eyes only. And I had to sit under the watchful eye of Emery's wife, Karen, who recently had the Ashland County bookstore remove a display of the book because it "offended" her. Needless to say, it was a high-pressure situation.
I wish I could unsee what I have seen. I wish I could remember her as the girl with the side-saddle ponytail.
I'm in a weird spot, now. On one hand, I'm a reporter who values open records and open government, who believes that this information should be shared with the public. On the other hand, I am also someone who has become a little obsessed with solving this case. And I don't want to do anything that would jeopardize the ongoing investigation. Especially at the moment, when Bay Village detectives seem to be hot on the killer's trail, once again.
I've decided to hold off on releasing details. I figure six months is a fair amount of time. Long enough for DNA results to come back. If the Bay Village detectives still have not solved this crime by then, I'll tell you what I found. If I was a betting man, though, I'd say they'll have it solved in half that time.
So, on October 27, 2007, on the 18th anniversary of the abduction, I'll release the information contained in those files here, first.
I have learned that I have been mislead by certain informants about the nature of this crime. At least one person intentionally lied to me. What their motivations were are beyond my comprehension. Quotes from individuals that appear in the book in reference to the crime scene should be weighed against the character of the person talking. Like any good mystery novel, there are characters who cannot be entirely trusted.
In the meantime, let me just say that there is reason to hope. I believe that now more than ever. They have the evidence necessary to solve this crime.
And it appears Kristy Sabo was right. Amy fought back.
As I expected, the reaction to my decision to not talk about the autopsy publicly until October is not exactly welcomed by all (see comments below). All I can say is that we've waited 17 years for these answers. Six more months isn't too much to ask. Let's give Bay Village a little more time. And on that subject, please don't assume anything that you know about the crime scene is fact. I've made that mistake myself. Debate, conjecture if you will. But don't state anything as fact. We have not been told the truth in the past. I promise, the truth is coming.