You will never be forgotten...
Jason and Lindsay will always be on our hearts and minds as we live out our remaining days on earth. Today is the one-year mark since the day that they died. They will forever be my inspiration... reminding me that my one and only goal in life should be to live for Jesus! Jesus was the passion of their lives... and I'm sure He still is to this day. I count myself blessed to know Jesus... because without Him, I would not be able to handle this grief. There is an incredible amount of peace that I have because of my faith... and that is what carries all of us through.
A year later, beach slayings haunt families, police...
Monday, August 15, 2005
By Nate Reens | The Grand Rapids Press
ZEELAND -- The photo of a warm California sunset is a cold, daily reminder that a killer remains at large.
Hanging in the dining room of Robert and Delores Allen's house, the image captures a time two families -- the Allens in Zeeland and Chris and Kathy Cutshall in Fresno, Ohio -- would rather forget.
Yet, the glowing sun dropping into the Pacific Ocean horizon creates a bond stronger than family ties.
Their children, Jason Allen and Lindsay Cutshall, planned to marry on Sept. 11, 2004. Instead, the couple were gunned down in their sleep as they lay on Driftwood Beach in Jenner, Calif. The double murder haunts the couple's families, investigators and the town of nearly 800 that prides itself on a quiet way of life. Authorities last month made a fresh push to unearth leads and suspects.
A camera recovered by police next to the couple's bodies provides the sunset snapshot, likely taken the night they were killed.
And if Allen, 26, and Cutshall, 22, spent their final hours living as they did before the deaths, family members can take solace that they died happy, enjoying nature's serenity.
"That degree of evil is hard to comprehend," Delores Allen, Jason Allen's mother, said of the killer. "But God took them when they were at a spiritual peak, and that's comforting to us."
One year after Allen and Cutshall were reported missing and found shot with a rare .45-caliber Marlin rifle as they camped along a rocky coastline about 80 miles north of San Francisco, their parents will spend several days together at a rented cottage in northern Michigan.
Both families, devoutly religious, will share their pain, their memories of better times and their hopes that the killer will be brought to justice, if not on Earth then on a day of reckoning.
"Their deaths have brought us together like nothing else can," said Cutshall's father, the Rev. Chris Cutshall. "If they had married, we'd celebrate together. But now, we lean on each other, and we all lean on the Lord. It's really the only way we can make it after experiencing the depths of sorrow we have.
"It seems very random and very senseless, and we desire justice to be served, but we're not on the edge of our seats. There's not a reason to fret about it. We let it rest in the Lord's sovereign care."
The Cutshalls and the Allens realize their desires have no impact on the investigation, believing it will be solved in time.
Sonoma County sheriff's detectives are not as placid about the probe, recently assigning a team of six investigators to dig through every tip and angle in the case, Lt. Dave Edmunds said.
Edmunds would not say whether the full-court press revealed any new information.
"We've combed completely over this one, looking for that one good lead we need," Edmunds said.
"It's a difficult case, and we all know the numbers of solvability as a function of time go down the longer you go, but we're continuing our efforts and keeping our energy going."
Police compared notes with authorities in Arizona and Oregon, hoping to find connections to unexplained murders of campers in their states. They looked at a drifter who harbored anger toward those with strong religious convictions.
Police ruled out links to the homicides in other states and moved beyond the drifter after he surrendered to investigators and passed a lie-detector test.
The mysterious murders struck a nerve across the country as the national media picked up the story, fueled by two dead young people seemingly without foes.
Multiple press conferences, held to pass along credible information and rebut rumors and idle speculation, gave reporters the opportunity to explore the lives of the Christian camp counselors, who pledged to dedicate their lives to help young people find their calling.
Delores Allen said her family was caught off-guard by the publicity. They did not expect it to take hold and continue for a year, she said.
"Here we are, ordinary, common people, but the way this happened, it caught the attention of so many."
Delores Allen noted she, her husband and the Cutshalls granted interviews to keep people thinking about the crime.
The families said police continued to probe the theory that the couple were killed for their religious beliefs.
"In the world we live in, we know that's a possibility," Delores Allen said. "They weren't afraid to show their faith, but they were gentle about it, tried to share the joy they received from the Lord."
An 'aggravating' case
Authorities are confident the person or people -- Edmunds would not say if police suspect Allen and Cutshall were shot by one or more suspects -- will be arrested.
"This case is so aggravating, but it's really difficult for the person responsible not to leave a trail," Edmunds said. "Somebody's sitting on something, and we'll find it."
The couple's parents, who visited each other at several times since their children were killed, have been to California twice, the first time when police were searching for the pair and again on Father's Day.
During that trip, they led a memorial service at the camp where Allen and Cutshall worked. They also visited with Sonoma detectives.
They did not visit the beach where their children died. Neither family commits to making that trip.
"I'm interested ... but I didn't feel compelled," Chris Cutshall said. "I'm not sure any of us are ready for that. Emotionally, we're a long way from doing that."