February 15 marked the 6-month "anniversary" of the day that Jason and Lindsay were killed. I think about them every day. Although I want so much for Jason's and Lindsay's families to have the kind of closure that comes with capturing the one responsible for their murders and putting him behind bars for life... I know that God is in control and no matter what, His Will will be done. And when it comes down to it... that is all I truly want. I have learned that even in the midst of a tragedy of this magnitude, God can bring great GOOD from it. Not that I don't wish for circumstances to be different... I wish that this never happened. I wish that Jason and Lindsay were enjoying married life together at this very moment. I can't tell you how heart-wrenching it is to watch Jason's family, whom I have known and loved my whole life, go through this. Sometimes I just don't know what to say or do. None of us wished that we would be experiencing a loss such as this. (I consider the pain that is in my heart over this tragedy... and it is profound. I can hardly imagine what it is truly like for Jason's and Lindsay's families.) But when all is said and done... Jason and Lindsay did die at the hands of a monster... but God used this tragedy to change the hearts of many. My faith is stronger now than it ever was before. Because of what happened, I turned to God for help in understanding it all, and my relationship with God has strengthened dramatically. Furthermore, many people have come to know Jesus because of this tragedy as well! Their eternities have been changed because they witnessed the deep faith of Jason's and Lindsay's families and wanted that kind of faith for themselves. This tragedy has been turned into triumph by our Holy God! The person that killed them only killed their earthly bodies, but couldn't touch their spirits. Their spirits are in the presence of God at this very moment... and there is no better place to be!
Read the latest article that comes from our local newspaper:
Slaying of counselors stumps police...
Zeeland native, fiancee were found dead 6 months ago on California beach.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
The Associated Press
JENNER, Calif. (AP) -- On the remote beach where two camp counselors were murdered in their sleeping bags last summer, there is no memorial to the young couple and no sign of where they died.
Twice a day for the past six months, high tides have remade this place, erasing footprints, stealing away driftwood that surrounded their campsite and rearranging the sands where former Zeeland resident Jason Allen and Lindsay Cutshall spent their last night.
Their killer or killers also have apparently vanished, stumping Sonoma County sheriff's investigators and leaving family members of the two Midwesterners anguished and wondering what went wrong last August along the rugged coastline.
"I haven't a clue. I have no idea. It's a mystery to us," said Delores Allen, Jason Allen's mother. "I would like very much to see it solved, but it's not something that I worry about. I don't carry it around like a burden."
Allen, 26, and Cutshall, 23, who were to be married in September in Ohio, had been working all summer at a Christian camp in the Sierra Nevada foothills when they headed to the coast for a weekend getaway before their final week of work.
A search and rescue team in a helicopter discovered the bodies Aug. 18 while plucking a stranded hiker from a bluff above the rocky shore in this area that draws tourists along undulating Highway 1. The two had each been shot once in the head as they lay in their sleeping bags, a few hundred yards from the highway.
While more than a dozen officers once scoured the beach just north of this seaside village of fewer than 200 residents, only one officer is assigned to the case full time, said Lt. Dave Edmonds.
Officers have said very little publicly about the case. In September, they revealed that the murder weapon is probably a .45-caliber Marlin rifle, a relatively rare gun. Edmonds said they had found some models of that firearm, but he refused to say if the actual murder weapon was recovered.
In November, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the killings. The governor's rewards, which have been paid 18 out of 165 times they've been offered since 1967, are only offered when other means are exhausted.
The state doesn't offer the reward if police are about to make an arrest, Edmonds said. The reward, along with $10,000 posted by a private foundation, may inspire a tipster to come forward with evidence that solves the crime, he said. In any case, they haven't given up.
"It's not lost on us the gravity of the case. So that gives us greater impetus to push harder," Edmonds said. "We're also familiar with statistics about success rates diminishing with the passage of time. We can't pay attention to that."
The six-month anniversary of the bodies being found arrived Friday without any special attention in Jenner, although residents said the killings remain fresh in their minds.
Jim Daly, a local plumber and crab fisherman, said he used to camp on the beach frequently. "We don't think about doing that any more.
"Spooky," Daly said of the murders. "I mean, they never caught the guy."
Investigators believe the killings happened sometime after sunset Aug. 14 and before the morning of Aug. 16, when they were due back at Rock-N-Water, a Christian adventure camp in Coloma, Calif., about 50 miles east of Sacramento.
A scholarship program named Kids in Creation to help send children to such camps was set up in honor of Cutshall and Allen.
The camp, which teaches youths about the Bible and leads them on whitewater rafting on the American River, plans to dedicate a memorial to the two sometime this summer in a private service, a spokesman said.
Kathy Cutshall, Lindsay's mother, said her family privately acknowledged the passage of time earlier in the week.
"It's a difficult day, but not any different than any other day," she said by phone from her Fresno, Ohio, home. "She's always in our hearts and our minds."
The parents of both counselors are devout Christians and say their faith has seen them through the ordeal.
The Rev. Chris Cutshall has been preaching a series of sermons dedicated to his daughter and Allen. The sermons are based on scripture that Lindsay had marked up extensively in the Bible they found among her belongings at camp.
Recently Chris Cutshall read a letter from the pulpit that was written by a 17-year-old girl Lindsay had counseled. In the letter, the girl said she now understands things she didn't understand before and that Lindsay's death had brought her closer to God. If she had a daughter, she said she would name her after their daughter.
"I broke down," Chris Cutshall said. "There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Something so precious about the letter is that it reminded us what a beautiful girl she was."
He said investigators have shared some of what they've learned about the case, but he was not going to discuss those details other than saying that investigators have indicated they're looking for a killer, not multiple suspects.
"Detectives refer to the person as 'he,' Chris Cutshall said. "They've never said, 'they."'
The two families are confident the killer will be brought to justice eventually.
"This person is really sick and needs to be taken off the streets and the beaches before he hurts someone else," Chris Cutshall said. "At the same time, I can honestly say that my wife and I have prayed for this guy's soul because we know he's under the wrath of God."