One thing that I have mentioned before, and many of us have seen first-hand, is the profound effect that Jason & Lindsay's tragic deaths has had on those who have been close to the story. One man, in particular, was Sgt. Steve Freitas, who worked on the case from the very beginning. His involvement in the case led him to spend a great deal of time with Jason & Lindsay's families, and he was moved by the grace and strength with which they relied on God throughout the whole heartbreaking ordeal. I have to say, he was not the only one! I think, more than anything, their faith has helped me to develop and strengthen my own. Their refusal to do anything less than praise God for His mercy and compassion was remarkable to me. I was taking baby steps before that... and now I'm stepping out of my comfort zone regularly to do what I can to live out God's purpose for my life. I think sometimes it takes something huge like that... something that truly shakes you to your very core... for God to get your attention. Those are the kinds of things that truly change your perspective forever. Steve Freitas, who has since been promoted to Lieutenant in a neighboring community, has been forever changed by Jason & Lindsay's story too and he is now traveling around the country to talk about it. :) How awesome is that? God never ceases to amaze me.
Here is an article that was featured in the Coshocton Tribune newspaper yesterday.
Calif. deputy now part of Fresno family's lives
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
BY: KATHIE DICKERSON | Staff Writer
FRESNO - Lt. Steve Freitas of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department in California has dealt with countless crimes of violence in his 21-year law enforcement career, but nothing touched him like the deaths of Fresno native Lindsay Cutshall, 22, and her fiancé Jason Allen, 26, of Zeeland, Mich.
The seasoned law enforcement officer is now invited to share how the tragic event changed his life. He speaks in churches on the West Coast, and recently at an annual policemen appreciation event in Lancaster, Pa., as well as at Fresno Bible Church, where Cutshall's father is pastor.
"God used the innocence of our kids to soften his heart," said the Rev. Chris Cutshall, Lindsay's father. "Then as he got to know us he saw how God was working in our lives."
Lindsay and Allen met at Appalachia Bible College in West Virginia and were working at a youth Christian camp in California that fateful summer before they were to return to Ohio for a September wedding.
They were reported missing after they failed to show up for work Aug. 16, 2004. Their bodies were found on a remote Sonoma County beach two days later, victims of gunshot wounds to the head, according to authorities.
The couple's camp site appeared undisturbed, and belongings found included a Christian book, wedding literature, camping gear and backpacks.
Throughout the days, weeks and months following their daughter's death, the Cutshalls remain steadfast in their faith.
"The promises of scripture - faith, trust and hope - that gives us confidence and assurance that Jason and Lindsay are eternally with Christ," Cutshall said. "They're better off. We weren't better off without them, it's been an incredible loss for us and we've dealt with pain, but we also have the promise that we will see her again, and she will show us her own heaven, which will be really cool."
Freitas said the senseless, random act of violence turned his life around.
"This situation is what brought me to the Lord," he said. "We've become close friends with the Cutshalls, we're basically family at this time - spiritual families."
His wife, Michelle, is now a strong church member and their children Michael, 5, and Zachary, 2, are being raised as Christians, Freitas said.
"This is an ongoing thing, the Lord is still working in people's hearts," Freitas said.
Several people have turned their lives over to Christ after hearing his story, he said.
The Cutshalls and Freitas vacationed together this year, spending a few days at a time-share condominium in Virginia and most recently several days together at the Cutshalls' home near Fresno.
The family participated in the Community Family Weekend at Fresno Bible Church this past weekend. The children have enjoyed Lake Park Aquatic Center and fishing in a local pond, and a trip to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton was on the agenda.
"We've been relaxing on the deck a lot and just hanging out, too," Cutshall said.
Freitas is no longer investigating the Allen/Cutshall murder case. He serves as chief of police for the city of Windsor under a law enforcement contract with the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department. The case remains unsolved, and in May more information was released in an effort to generate additional leads.
Based on statements of a witness in the case, Cutshall was reportedly given a necklace a few days before her death, and the necklace was not located at the crime scene. The sheriff's department obtained a similar necklace and released a photograph of it. Authorities would like to know who left drawings of devil-like faces on driftwood located near the victims and a distinctive, short-brimmed, black-and-white patterned hat partially covered with black and white fur that was found near a turn-out on Highway 1 above Fish Head Beach.
"The release of information recently has generated many tips and leads that they're working on," Freitas said.
Pastor Chris Cutshall (left) & Lt. Steve Freitas