True crime: Caffey family murders

After the killing spree, Charlie told the detective, he had carried a suitcase of Erin’s belongings, which she had previously packed, out to the car. She seemed happy, he remembered. She smiled and said, “I’m glad that it’s over”………………………….. As they hurried down the gravel road away from the Caffeys home, the teenagers could see that the house was ablaze………………………They drove down back roads for a while to blow off steam. Later that night, he told the detective, Waid dropped him and Erin off at the trailer, where they had sex. “I hope that God forgives me”, Charlie added.

Been reading some good crime reporting lately. If there be a food pyramid for social commentary, crime reporting would be tiger. Almost every social interaction from interpersonal to familial to racial to intensely political is is weaved into the fabric of a crime, and when good reporters spend years on the subtle nuances of the whodunit and why-did-they-did-do-it of a crime, some very complex societies and very disturbed people emerge. And more than anything it is fun to read crime reporting.

The characters are best in what in they do and each cat survives on a different drug. Serial killers, non-serialized killers, petty thieves going for the big one, racially motivated violent people and pathological killers who turn out to be excellent critics of existential angst. Like a Russian man who killed over 40 people with deep empathy for a Soviet people who lost their gods and then lost their brotherhood in the post-Soviet era – a people who didn’t believe any more. He believed the people he killed didn’t have a lot left to die.

But no other story stood out for me like the Caffey family murders. The Caffey family was a house that served the Lord –

Penny played piano at Miracle Faith Baptist Church, and her husband, Terry, was a home health aide and lay preacher. Their daughter, Erin, worked as a carhop at the Sonic. They also had two sons: Matthew, known as Bubba, who was in the seventh grade, and Tyler, a fourth-grader. The Caffey children who had been homeschooled for three years were shy and well mannered, though sixteen-year-old Erin was the least reserved. A slight, pretty blonde, she was known for her beautiful singing voice, which she showcased in soaring gospel solos at Miracle Faith on Sundays.

Three people in a family of five are killed on the same night and someone in the family was involved.

The whodunit is pretty straight forward though Pamela Colloff who originally wrote the over 8000 word article unwraps the details of the investigation keeping the suspense live. But the why-did-they-do-it never becomes clear and Pamela drops a bombshell in the end. The crime and punishment and Christian forgiveness involved makes this case a compelling read. Read the full story here.

In the end you might end up sympathizing with the police officer from No country for old men, who put it-

“The crime you see now, it’s hard to even take its measure. It’s not that I’m afraid of it.I always knew you had to be willing to die to even do this job, not to be glorious. But I don’t want to push my chips forward and go out and meet something I don’t understand. You can say it’s my job to fight it but I don’t know what it is anymore.”

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