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Police believe a missing young girl is a runaway until the truth is exposed many months later. The tragedy deepens in a long legal ordeal.
Josette, a pretty, vivacious, and personable twelve-year-old, is angry with her mother over a delay in driving her to a girlfriend’s house. When her mother returns home from work, Josette is not there or at her girlfriend’s house. Friends, neighbors, and family members mount a diligent search and talk to people who might have seen her, but they learn very little. Nobody knows anything about what happened to Josette—or so it seems.
Police learn that Josette’s dislike of her mother’s boyfriend caused family tension, and her estranged father lived thousands of miles away. Josette had told her closest friend she wanted to run away. A retired teacher swears she sees Josette in a mall department store. Police are sympathetic, but their investigation is limited: They see Josette as just another runaway youngster. Finally, a shocking discovery demands that police reexamine their theories of Josette’s disappearance. As the truth slowly unfolds, the tragedy deepens.
When a preteen or teenager disappears, and there is no evidence of an abduction, police are most likely to believe the child ran away from home. Why? Because so many do run away, if only for a short time. Unfortunately, a youngster’s unexpected disappearance can also mean danger and imminent death. While parents educate their children to be wary of strangers, kids are not likely to anticipate potential danger from individuals they know.
Until now, no book has been published about the tragic story of Josette Wright: her disappearance; the tentative investigation by the local authorities; the anguish of her family for more than a year; and their grief when they finally realized she had been gang-raped and murdered. The family’s misery didn’t end with the knowledge of her horrible death. It was compounded by the long journey to justice. Witnesses changed their stories and recanted testimonies. The accused had excellent attorneys who aggressively promoted the innocence of their client—effectively lengthening the trial—which deepened the grief of Josette’s family.
Kevin F. McMurray, who lives in upstate NY, has excellent credentials for writing this book. He is an experienced investigative journalist and book author who has been writing about true crime and adventure stories for nearly two decades. His articles on notorious crimes, such as the D.B. Cooper air piracy case, the unsolved LaGuardia Airport terrorist bombing, and the murder of thirteen-year-old Matthew Margolies in Greenwich, Connecticut, have appeared in Connecticut Magazine, Chic, Oui, and other publications.