July 26, 2016

News stories

There has been some huge news around here lately. Remember a couple of years ago (well, those of you that have been reading my blog that long, anyway), when I posted about a girl named Chelsea Bruck who went missing from a Halloween party a few miles from my house? It was a big story, and even made national news. As time went on, there was less and less hope of ever finding out what happened to her, but my hometown community made sure she wasn't forgotten about.

Her favorite color was purple, so people hung purple ribbons in their yards, on their houses, on telephone poles, etc., to show their support.

I was kind of obsessed for a while with the story, because it was so unusual for something like that to happen around here.

I would deliberately run down the road where she went missing, so that I could look in ditches and cornfields for parts of the Halloween costume she'd been wearing, or anything unusual. In the spring of 2015, a woman's decomposed body was found about 12 miles away in a wooded area--and unfortunately, it turned out to be Chelsea's. Her death was determined to be a homicide, although the police didn't reveal any more details than that.

Over a million flyers had been distributed since she went missing, showing a sketch of a "person of interest"--but nothing ever seemed to pan out.

About a month ago, the local police posted an actual photograph from the party of (what appeared to be) the person in the sketch on the flyer, and the man came forward. He wasn't necessarily a suspect, but they wanted to talk to him as a witness. I hadn't heard anything else after that, but I was surprised to see that they were still actively investigating.

This past weekend, out of nowhere, an arrest for her murder was made (not the guy from the flyer). I was half asleep in bed when I saw the post by the local news on Facebook, and my eyes flew open. I was shocked--and so, so, so happy that they made an arrest! The detective was quoted as saying he was "1000% sure" this man was the one who murdered Chelsea. Apparently, the suspect knew things that only the killer would know--things that had never been released to the public.

His girlfriend spoke to the press--saying that he called her from jail the following day, and told her what had happened, and admitted that he did, in fact, kill Chelsea. He was arraigned yesterday, and his name was released: Daniel Clay, a 27-year old man from the same city where I live. He told the judge that he doesn't want bond--clearly, for his own safety from the community.

As you can imagine, this news has caused a flood of posts on social media--everyone is thrilled that he was caught! I had honestly given up hope that they would ever find out who did it. There are still so many unanswered questions--why? how? when? was it planned? why her? Hopefully those answers will come out in court. He's being charged with second degree murder, so the police don't think that he planned it.

Another news story that I got caught up in last week was that a 20-year old girl named Sierah Joughin went missing (probably 30-40 minutes from here?). She was out for a bike ride with her boyfriend, and her boyfriend went back home before she did--and she never returned. A day or two later, her bicycle was found in a cornfield, and there were signs of foul play. I was checking the news constantly, hoping that they'd find her alive.

A man named James Worley was arrested for her abduction, although they still hadn't found her (it wasn't specified what led them to arrest him). Then the following day, a woman's body was found nearby, and the police said they "strongly believe" that it was Sierah (still waiting on confirmation from the coroner).

This case really caught my attention. She was a 20-year old woman abducted while riding her bike! I think about my safety a lot when I ride my bike (or when I run), but usually it's the fear of being hit by a car or something. When I read the story, I tried to think of what situation would cause me to let my guard down while out for a bike ride--and honestly, I think if someone stopped a car to ask for directions or something, I would probably stop my ride to tell them. It just seems like it would be difficult to abduct an adult on a bicycle.

Once I read about the suspect's past, however, it made so much sense. Worley was actually convicted of abducting a woman from her bike in 1990, under very similar circumstances! The woman managed to escape, thankfully. He did just three years in prison for it. But she explained how it happened: She was riding her bike when a truck passed her, going the opposite direction. A few moments later, the same truck struck her bicycle from behind, and she tumbled off the bike and into a ditch. The driver went over to her to ask if she was okay, and then struck her on the head with something. He put her in his truck, and even injured, she managed to escape. I'm amazed he only did three years in prison for that.

It honestly never occurred to me that someone would deliberately strike a cyclist in order to abduct them. I teach my kids all the time about what to do if they are approached by a stranger, in all sorts of circumstances--but this one that I never thought of. The only way to really avoid that is by staying on very public roads, or riding with a group.

I'm so sad for her family, and particularly her boyfriend, who probably feels terrible now for leaving her to finish her ride alone. I hope Worley never gets out of prison! And it makes me wonder if he's done this between 1990 and now. That's a long time between abductions. It's scary.

Anyway, I didn't mean for this to be such a downer of a post! I don't follow the news much, because it really is depressing to read these days. But sometimes, a story really grabs my attention, and these happened to be two of them. So, Friends, please be careful out there! Whether you're cycling or running or anything else.

To end on a positive note, check out this picture I took today--I think Joey looks hilarious! His tongue was hanging out of his mouth and something to his right had clearly caught his attention ;)

Also, my boys are nearly the same height! I didn't even notice until I looked at this photo.



  1. I saw in the news tonight that they positively identified Sierah'so body. So sad. We live not too far from there so it is scary!

  2. Such sad news, but glad both perpetrators have been caught. I always carry pepper spray with me whether I'm on a walk or jog. It's always good to be aware of your surroundings... But I would never think someone would actually hit a cyclist to abduct them! Scary :( my thoughts go out to the families of both victims. Stay safe everyone!

  3. You know, my parents always taught me to ride and run facing traffic, and if you were facing traffic, you couldn't be struck from behind! You'd see him coming. But, bicycles are supposed to ride with traffic now. Hmm.

    Both of these stories super bother me. I tend to get dixated on news stories too, and I remember when you posted about Chelsea. That's really sad but I am glad her family can potentially have some closure now!

    Years ago, like when I was in high school I saw a story on Unsolved Mysteries about a couple of friends in the midwest who had gone and parked their jeep, as they often did to hang out and talk. They were a boy-girl and were best friends. Well, one night they never came back. No trace. A week after they disappeared, the man's hat showed up on the corner of a rural intersection. It had rained the night before, and the hat was dry. they though maybe someone planted it. Maybe someone had stolen the car... The car hadn't been found. They said the key to the case was finding this jeep. It bothered me so much I wrote down the license plate and kept it in my car for YEARS even though this couple disappeared from Kansas or something and I live in California, but I figured, if it was stolen, you never know. They also talked about the midwest being a pass through state and serial killers and criminals pass through on their way to other coasts so they often don't really live there, so I thought it couldtheorhetically turn up on the west coast some day! (I was really bothered by it, obviously!!! I was like 15 years old too.)

    YEARS and YEARS later, like who knows, 15+ years after they were missing, there was a drought or they drained a local aquaduct or something- the water level went down for some reason, and they saw the car. The jeep had been like, a block away from that intersection that whole time and they were both in it. No foul play suspected at all. I forget if there was a storm that night or what happened but they think they drove into the water on accident and drowned. Super sad.

  4. It's so sad and scary too! Definitely important to be remember safety when exercising outside.

  5. It's so sad and scary too! Definitely important to be remember safety when exercising outside.

  6. As sad as this news is, I'm glad you wrote about this because it's a great remember to always be aware of your surroundings when you're getting exercise outdoors. I'm in lower MI also and I mostly only ride in the metro or state parks but that's not a guarantee of safety either. I also tend to walk/run alone. My mom is always suggesting I get some protection sprays and I've been brushing that off but I'm actually going to get some now. You just never know! Thanks again.

  7. It's so sad that I totally think about things like this before I leave on a walk or bike ride....the world is just not like it use to be.

  8. Thank you for this post. I run in a rural area and always run against traffic too. I try to pay attention to any slowing vehicles. If someone stops their car (and you have your phone) take a picture and send it quickly. Make it obvious you are doing so.

  9. My daughter is 15 and a long distance runner. She totally thought I was being an overprotective mom when I wouldn't let her go out on her half marathon training runs by herself. I'll let her do 3 miles in our neighborhood, but anything longer than that, I'll ride beside her or she can go with another adult who is running. You just never know who is out there.

  10. I probably shouldn't have read this right before I did an out on the dike way away from everyone ride this morning but eons ago when I was walking at the lake with Bear, an aussie/rottie mix...he was a super friendly big dog, I had a weird guy kept going by me, turning around someplace and driving by again...this guy spooked me, and we actually went and hid once and ended up taking a thru the woods path to get back to the car faster. Yes everyone, be aware and if at all possible let someone know your intended route and when you will be back...one of my other friends wrecked her bike and luckily her husband noticed she was really running late and went and found her, they live in a National Forest and no one had driven by.

  11. My mom showed me the article in the Toledo Blade that talks about just what you mentioned, how he hit the cyclist from behind back in 1990. I found this really interesting since I watch the local TV news but hadn't heard that his 1990 incident was also a woman on a bike, sounding so similar to this one. I had heard that they 'parted ways' and I thought they went to their respective homes, in separate directions. But, did they live together? If so, then yes her boyfriend must feel terrible. It is all really sad. There are so many creepy guys out there!

  12. AnonymousJuly 28, 2016

    Always so scary when things like that are close to home! i feel like I am often running in a little bit of a daze. Would i "REALLY" notice if someone came up behind me, or something like that?!?! I am not always sure!

  13. My mother grew up in Metamora, Ohio, the small town that Sierah is from. It's such a beautiful, peaceful place to raise a family. It's so sad to think that something so horrible could have happened in that community. But it shows that it does happen everywhere and we always need to be aware of our surroundings.

  14. I always try to be so aware of my surroundings but yes, I would and have stop to give people directions. Right now in my area, there's a 57 year old woman missing. She was regularly hiking and walking in training for a lengthy race. One Saturday morning at 8 am, she's missing from suburbia! She's spotted just once on a house security camera on her street and then never again. Her glasses and cell phone were found near the community centre at the end of my street. Broad daylight. Terrifying.

  15. I always try to be so aware of my surroundings but yes, I would and have stop to give people directions. Right now in my area, there's a 57 year old woman missing. She was regularly hiking and walking in training for a lengthy race. One Saturday morning at 8 am, she's missing from suburbia! She's spotted just once on a house security camera on her street and then never again. Her glasses and cell phone were found near the community centre at the end of my street. Broad daylight. Terrifying.

  16. We must live very close to one another. They found Chelsea's body just 2 miles from my house. I am so glad that they found her killer, and I hope the family can find some sort of peace.


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