Happy Chinese New Year..The Year of the Dragon
I have wanted to read this book after getting home from Yosemite. I wanted to see how many of places we visited had been visited by Carole Sund, her daughter's friend, Silvina and her daughter Juli. I am just in the beginning of the book and it is very scary to me. Because yes we traveled the same roads. They came to the park from San Francisco and so did we. I will tell you more as I read more.
As the investigation into the deaths of the Sund women and their young friend continued several men were arrested and the case seemed to be closed. It was not until the body of Joie Armstrong was found that the FBI's case began to unravel.
I will go slowly now because I want to get the facts correct. Just an amassing story of a man who was on the decline prior even to these four murders. Cary Stayner was his name.
Cary Stayner's younger brother Steven was kidnapped at a very young age. He lived with his kidnapper for several years. This really affected Cary. Cary would go out in the yard every night and in the same spot look up at the stars and ask that his brother be returned safe to his family. This kidnapping took a tremendous toal on the Stayner family. Steven was the brother that was closest to his father and Cary never really got the attention from his dad that he deserved. Such set the decline and eventual fall of the Stayner family. Steven eventually escaped from his captor but was never really able to get his life back on tract once he returned home.
The lodge where the Sund women and their friend were staying.
The Merced River that runs along the road in El Portal. A beautiful river that brings lots of tourist in the summertime.
El Portal is in the Merced River Canyon along California 140.
Cary Stayner was the fix it guy at the Cedar Lodge. The Sunds and their friend were staying in one of the buildings at the back of the lodge and they were the only visitors in that building in early February. Cary followed their movements for several days. He knew when they would be in their room and the most vulnerable.
While reading this book my mind races back to the places the women had visited. We too had visited all those same spots. Did we ever feel unsafe. No! It must have been the same for these women who had no reason to worry about their safety. Yet they did and they should have been so much more aware of their surroundings. The beauty is so unbelievable that you can't think of much else but to soak up all the gorgeous scenery.
Cary Stayner wanted to kill these women staying in the building at the back of the property he took care of. He had always waned to kill women he once told a friend. He knocked on the women's door. Carole Sund answered. She did not want to let him in but he convinced her that she had a toilet that needed to be fixed. Her big mistake. She let him in. He immediately pulled a gun and separated the women. Carol Sund and Silvina were immediately killed and their bodies loaded in to their rental car trunk. Juli Sound was forced to go with Cary Stayner. Cary took the rental car and drove it to a remote logging road and set it on fire. Juli was found later with her throat slit and her body resting at the top of a bank near a lovely lake. So much beauty and so many deaths
Joie Armstrong was the last to die in Cary Stayner's string of killings. She was staying alone for the very first time since she had moved into her new cabin. Her boyfriend and roommate were both gone when Cary Stayner broke in and raped and murdered her. He dumped her body without its head not far from the cabin. Her head was found just a little distance from the body,
The very interesting thing in all of this is Cary Stayner admitted to the killings. He was very anxious to tell deceives about all four murders.
Now why am I so interested in this horrible person. He was a clean cut all American looking guy. A guy you would believe if he asked you for help or wanted to fix your bathroom. Someone you would trust. But you have to always be aware that this form of evil exists in the happiest, most beautiful places. Being aware of your surroundings when hiking or even staying in a motel is a must. Would I go back to Yosemite after reading this book and learning of these murders...absolutely.