Lindsay C. Cutshall
[09/09/81 - 08/15/04]

Lindsay & Jason
Jason S. Allen
[05/16/78 - 08/15/04]

♥ "The sun is going down on the horizon, and all I see is the beams shining on the cliff face, and I know that God is awesome. I look around and see His Creation all around me." --Lindsay ♥                                                                                 ♥ "As I stir this Mac & Cheese, I think to myself, what a wonderful life. I've just spent two awesome days with my fiance, Lindsay. Can life ever be so perfect? Only with a person who is so great. God gives me this privilege in life and He has given me a wonderful woman to enjoy it with." --Jason ♥                                                                                 ♥ "Live for things in heaven, not on earth." --Lindsay ♥                                                                                 ♥ "Heaven will be a wonderful place of no suffering, hurt, loneliness; it's a great thing to look forward to." --Lindsay ♥

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Memorial Service...

On the morning of August 15, last week Friday, there was a beautiful memorial service held on a small beach not far from the one where Jason & Lindsay died on 10 years earlier. This beach was easier to access, which is why it was chosen for the memorial service. However, the family and several others later traveled to Fish Head Beach, which is where Jason & Lindsay died. The following is a great article from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat (PDF version here) with highlights and photos:

Couple Slain in Jenner Remembered — 10 Years Later


THE PRESS DEMOCRAT ~ August 15, 2014

Kathy and Chris Cutshall remember their daughter Lindsay Cutshall Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 during a memorial service at Goat Rock for their daughter and her fiance Jason Allen, who were slain on Fish Head Beach just north of Jenner 10 years ago. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

JENNER — In a moment that combined both a mother’s love and a mother’s loss, Kathy Cutshall raised the flowers to her lips, kissed the bouquet and laid it on the sand where her 22-year-old daughter, Lindsay, was killed a decade earlier.

A separate bunch of blossoms fastened to a simple cane cross lay on the spot where Lindsay’s fiance, Jason Allen, 26, died.

The couple’s bodies were found three days after their deaths at the makeshift beach campsite where they had slept side-by-side.

Gathered in that place Friday on the 10th anniversary of the young couple’s death, family members and other loved ones revisited that dark time when the pair was found after disappearing on a weekend away from the Christian camp near Placerville where they worked.

But those assembled Friday celebrated more than they mourned, rejoicing in the couple’s love and in the enduring faith that has allowed friends and family to carry on, confident that Lindsay and Jason are in a better place where they all one day will be united.

“What happened on that beach... it isn’t the whole story,” Lindsay’s sister, Kerry Croghan, 36, said during an earlier memorial service a short way down the coast at Goat Rock Beach.

“When Satan struck them down, God raised them up,” Lindsay’s father, Chris Cutshall, said.

The Cutshalls — Chris, Kathy, Croghan, her husband, Ben, and their two little boys, all from Fresno, Ohio — were among 50 people who came together from across the continent Friday to honor Lindsay and Jason, whose deaths on the beach below Jenner in 2004 struck fear in the coastal community.

Among them were the camp directors and others from Rock-N-Water, the El Dorado County camp where the engaged couple shared their devout faith and outdoor adventures with young campers in the weeks before their chilling end.

There were close friends and classmates from Appalachian Bible College in West Virginia, and members of the faith family from Fresno (Ohio) Bible Church, where Chris Cutshall is pastor. Others came from as far away as Toronto.

One college friend, Christine Perdue, took a Greyhound bus cross-country from West Virginia to be with the Cutshalls and express her continuing love and support.

“It was very important to be here,” said Karie Zeager, Lindsay’s close friend and would-be bridesmaid, now of Lancaster, Pa.

Several detectives and others from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office who have worked the case over the years also attended, including Sheriff Steve Freitas, who became deeply religious after meeting the Cutshalls and on Friday called his religious rebirth “evidence of God’s plan.”

“Only God’s love can take a thing like this and make good out of it,” Freitas said during halting remarks at the service.

Jason Allen’s parents, Delores and Bob Allen of Zeeland, Mich., were unable to come to California. But they sent a message to be read aloud, and said they and other family members would stand on the shore of Lake Michigan in solidarity with those who traveled to the West Coast.

That family and friends should be on the beach as they marked 10 years since the still-unsolved murders occurred was the idea of Kathy Cutshall, who always had regretted never going beyond the top of the bluff and down to the beach where her daughter and a man she now thinks of as a son spent their last earthly moments. That so many others could and would join them wasn’t necessarily anticipated.

But because Fish Head Beach is down such a steep and challenging path from Highway 1, they decided to hold the memorial service at nearby Goat Rock State Beach, which is more readily accessible, the Cutshalls said.

Many arrived shortly before 8 a.m. for a special time of reflection in which, under the guidance of Northern California “earthscape” artist Andreas Amador, they used narrow rakes to trace huge flowers across a large expanse of beach, along with the message, “Lindsay & Jason, Never good-bye,” and “Maranatha,” Greek for “Lord come quickly.”

Kerry Croghan said she learned about Amador through a friend’s posting on Facebook months ago and immediately thought, “This would be amazing to do as part of the memorial,” she said. It provided a chance “to do something beautiful, and not just focus on the negative of the loss and what happened, but on how beautiful their life was,” Croghan said.

“It’s a healing thing,” Perdue said.

Kathy Cutshall said she and her family have spent previous anniversaries of the slaying with the Allens, who they said supported her need to go down to the beach this year.

“I just wanted to be in that last spot where she was last on Earth,” Kathy Cutshall said of her daughter, “and it just meant something to me to sit there and see the view and see what she saw. I couldn’t think of any other place I wanted to be on the 10th-year anniversary.”

When it was time to caravan up Highway 1 from Goat Rock for the hike to Fish Head Beach, about half of the group made the trip, recalling once they arrived at the site the words Jason and Lindsay had penned on their last night alive — Lindsay observing what she described as an awesome God in the sunset’s reflection on the cliff face above the beach; Jason cooking macaroni and cheese and reflecting on his wonderful life and “the wonderful woman” God had brought to him.

Gazing on Friday across the beach and out to sea, where two sea lions frolicked against the sound of shorebirds and rising surf, Chris Cutshall said, “You can see why they came here.”

It was he and his wife who lingered longest, kneeling where they laid the flowers, praying and reflecting on what happened there.

“There wasn’t any closure here today at all,” Chris Cutshall later said. “We already had that. But it just brought a sense of OK. It’s OK. We’ve done what we needed to do today.”

A memorial for Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen at Goat Rock, Friday Aug. 15, 2014. The two were slain on Fish Head Beach just north of Jenner 10 years ago. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Chris Cutshall and Kathy Cutshall with family and friends, Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 as they give remembrance for daughter Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen at Goat Rock. The two were slain on Fish Head Beach just north of Jenner 10 years ago. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas talks with relatives and friends of the Cutshall family, Friday Aug. 15, during a memorial for Lindsay Cutshall and Jason Allen at Goat Rock. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Craig Lomax embraces Cathy Cutshall as they mourn Cutshall's daughter Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen at Goat Rock. Lomax is the executive director of the adventure camp where Jason & Lindsay worked, "Rock-n-Water." (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Adam and Sierra Turner listen to a sermon by Chris Cutshall Friday Aug. 15, 2014 at Goat Rock as they mourn Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen. Adam Turner worked with Lindsay and Jason. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Chris Cutshall surveys sand art done by family and friends or his daughter Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance, Jason Allen, at Goat Rock. The two were slain on Fish Head Beach just north of Jenner 10 years ago. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Sand art done by family and friends, Friday Aug. 15, 2014 for Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen at Goat Rock. The two were slain on Fish Head Beach just north of Jenner 10 years ago. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Kathy Cutshall creates a sand heart Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 for her daughter Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen at Goat Rock. The two were slain on Fish Head Beach just north of Jenner 10 years ago. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Family and friends give remembrance to Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen at Goat Rock after making sand art. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Chris Cutshall walks down a hillside Friday August 15, 2014 as he prepares to give remembrance for daughter Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen at Goat Rock. The two were slain on Fish Head Beach just north of Jenner 10 years ago. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Chris Cutshall and Kathy Cutshall help each other down a hillside Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 as they prepare to give remembrance for daughter Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen at Goat Rock. The two were slain on Fish Head Beach just north of Jenner 10 years ago. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Craig Lomax joins Chris and Cathy Cutshall Friday Aug. 15, 2014 as they prepare to place flowers for the Cutshalls' daughter Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen on Fish Head Beach just north of Jenner. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Chris and Cathy Cutshall join Sonoma County Sheriff's Sgt. Dave Thompson, Friday Aug. 15, 2014, as they place flowers for Cutshall's daughter Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen on Fish Head Beach just north of Jenner. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

The Cutshalls, Chris and Kathy, mourn their daughter Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen at Fish Head Beach Friday, Aug. 15, 2014. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

The Cutshalls, left, embrace Sonoma County Sheriff's Sgts. Tim Duke and Dave Thompson, right, Friday Aug. 15, 2014 as they mourn Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen at Fish Head Beach. The two were slain there 10 years ago. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Chris Cutshall is joined by friends and family Friday Aug. 15, 2014 as they sing for Cutshall's daughter Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen on Fish Head Beach. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Chris Cutshall and Kathy Cutshall give remembrance for their daughter Lindsay Cutshall and her fiance Jason Allen on Fish Head Beach just north of Jenner. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat)

Friday, August 15, 2014

Ten years!

A decade. That's how long this has been a reality.

Ten years ago, two humble, adventurous and faith-filled people were murdered. They did nothing to deserve it. It was unprovoked. (How threatening could two people sleeping on a beach be?) Their last words recorded were in a journal that had been previously left on that beach for visitors to sign. They were happy! They were in awe of God and full of joy that they would be married soon! They were blissfully unaware that the unthinkable was about to happen.

There is some consolation in knowing that they didn't see it coming. They weren't in distress. They had no idea that someone with completely evil intentions was about to take their lives. Due to the nature of their injuries, their deaths were swift. So they fell asleep and suddenly they were meeting Jesus face-to-face! That is a beautiful truth that is so comforting... but it doesn't negate the fact that there needs to be justice. Not revenge, but justice.

However, in recognition of this 10-year mark, I want to write about my memories of Jason... to write about his LIFE. He was hilarious and so much fun when we were growing up! Even as a kid, he was adventurous and LOVED to be outside! We were always out in the woods, playing in the yard, climbing trees, riding our bikes on trails, etc. It didn't surprise me that his love for the outdoors continued on into his adulthood. He had (and still does) the most amazing family! Jason was essentially my first real friend. There are pictures of us together at 2 years old. I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't know who Jason Allen was. :) So that's why his sudden and horrifying death affected me so much. I just never EVER imagined anything like that could hit so close to home. It ripped my heart out. :( When I go back and re-read some of my first posts, I can't help but cry because the words bring me right back there and I feel the heaviness of that grief. But 10 years on, I can truly say that God has been so faithful to not let satan have any victories in this tragedy. God brought beautiful things from something that was meant only to destroy. Jason & Lindsay dreamed of starting their own ministry. In death, God has let that ministry continue, albeit in a different way than they had planned. But if they have any idea of how their story has become a ministry of sorts, and how it has changed people's lives for the better because they have come to know Christ... I know they would be so humbled and honored!

For two young adults who traded material possessions to serve the Lord in the great outdoors, they weren't interested in any type of recognition or fame. They loved the ministries they worked in, where they could work with kids and show them the great fun and adventure you can have in God's creation! Tying ministry together with outdoor adventure... for them you couldn't get any better than that. That was their passion and they were living it! They were the real deal! They lived to serve the Lord. So when the sadness creeps in and I'm tempted to focus on the tragedy of their deaths instead of the beauty of their lives, I imagine Jason & Lindsay having a blast in heaven... having the greatest adventures ever... and that one day we will get to join them in that. Beauty from ashes.

Here are photos of them that I will leave uncaptioned. I just want you all to look at them and see their faces. They were real people who were dearly loved and are truly missed. They lived to serve God and serve others. They were funny and fun-loving. They were kind and compassionate. They did nothing to deserve what was done to them.

Please pray for justice for Jason & Lindsay! Not only because their killer needs to be held accountable for what he did, but to protect anyone else who may be in danger. I pray that someone reading this knows something about who did this. If you are that person, PLEASE do the right thing and come forward! There is still a $50,000 reward from the State of California for information that will lead detectives to the killer. Ten years is too long. These families deserve answers.


Here is a beautiful tribute from Jason's family that is to be read at the memorial service in Jenner, California today:

Psalm 98:

"O sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done wonderful things, His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him. The Lord has made known His salvation; He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth! Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody. With trumpets and the sound of the horn, shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.

Let the sea roar and all it contains, the world and those who dwell in it. Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth; He will judge the world with righteousness and the peoples with equity."

We thank you for gathering here today to remember our children. We cannot be with you physically, but as our family stands along the shores of Lake Michigan this morning, our hearts join you in spirit.

As we reflect upon Jason and Lindsay, we are reminded how blessed we are that God entrusted them to us. We also recall how their lives influenced others.

First of all, they influenced those who knew them intimately. The friendships they made were genuine and lasting. They loved adventure and were fun to be with. They knew how to enjoy God’s great outdoors. Yet, beyond that wild and crazy side, they both had a quiet reflective side — a side that directed their hearts to seek and develop a relationship with Christ. Consequently, God gave them a longing to tell others of His love and called them to ministry.

Secondly, Jason and Lindsay influenced others in their deaths. Their legacy, their testimony, has touched the hearts of many around the world. God has used this tragedy to point others to Christ. This is how we remember our children, and it has been our great comfort.

Psalm 98 is full of praise to our great God. Jason and Lindsay join in the roaring of the sea, the clapping of the rivers and the singing of the mountains. Let us rejoice with them in the salvation of the Lord, knowing we will see them again.

May Jesus Christ be praised!

Bob and Delores Allen and family

Jason Scott Allen & Lindsay Christine Cutshall

~10 years in heaven today~

Forever in our hearts... until eternity!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

News coverage...

There has been some news coverage today in preparation for tomorrow's anniversary:

Wood TV8 did an especially great job in covering this. To read the article on their website (and see a video), click here. To read a PDF version, click here.

WWMT News Channel 3 also wrote a nice article, which can be found here. To read a PDF version, click here.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Great article from the Coschocton Tribune...

Today, the Coschocton Tribune in Ohio published an amazing article that I wanted to share. (Click here to view the article online and here for a pdf version.) I am glad to see that people haven't forgotten this tragedy. Sometimes it seems forgotten by the media but this upcoming 10-year anniversary of Jason & Lindsay's deaths is reigniting interest. I pray that somehow the right tips will come in that will finally bring their killer to justice.

Baffling killings lead to newfound faith

Published on August 4, 2014

By Patrick O’Neill
Coschocton Tribune

FRESNO – There's a video that Pastor Chris Cutshall likes to play to familiarize parishioners with his deceased daughter, Lindsay Cutshall, and her fiance, Jason Allen.

The brief film begins with a 6- or 7-year-old Jason flashing a smile at the camera while wading through family at a holiday party in Michigan. As the years pass by on screen — showing Jason fishing, hunting, biking, sailing — what began as solitary activities shift to incorporate Lindsay. The couple met in Bible college in 2002.

Standing beside his wife, Kathy, in his office at the Fresno Bible Church, Chris points to a still frame near the end of the movie: Jason, 26, and Lindsey, 22, are each guiding a raft full of children down a span of white water. Lindsay is paddling hard, eyes fixed on the water ahead. Jason is shouting, paddle extended overhead in a one-handed celebratory pose.

"That pretty much describes it right there," Chris said.

"He was a character," Kathy added. "He said he wasn't sure he'd meet someone who wanted to live the sort of on-the-go adventurous life he did. Then he met Lindsay."

Energetic, spontaneous and deeply spiritual, Lindsay and Jason had just begun living their dream as hiking, climbing, and rafting guides for a Christian youth camp, Rock-N-Water, in northern California. Every Sunday, Lindsay would use a run-down pay phone to call her parents back home in Fresno to relay her most recent adventures. Then, on Aug. 15, 2004, the call didn't come.

It's been 10 years since Lindsay and Jason were found slain along a secluded beach in Jenner, California, less than a month before they were to be married. The Cutshalls still experience pangs of grief, although they come far less frequently than during the first few years following their daughter's death.

"There were times I'd fall out of my chair in these uncontrollable waves of grief," Chris said. "Birthdays, holidays, everything seems to bring back memories. But she's worthy of that sorrow."

The killings

It was the weekend before Lindsay and Jason's final week at Rock-N-Water. The couple decided to make an impromptu trip to the coast, about a three-hour drive from the camp. Hitting the road in Lindsay's 1992 red Ford Tempo, they made several stops on their way to Jenner, including San Francisco, where a picture of the two reclined on a wharf was later found on Lindsay's camera.

From there, the duo traveled north toward Jenner, a coastal town of just more than 100 people. As Saturday, Aug. 14, 2004, came to a close, both added their sentiments to a visitors' journal that was left in a wooden hutch along the beach. Lindsay wrote that the sun was going down, "shining on the cliff face," and that she knew "God is awesome" by the "creation all around" her.

"As I stir this Mac and Cheese I think to myself: what a wonderful life," Jason wrote less than 12 hours before he was killed. "I've just spent two awesome days with my fiance Lindsay. Can life ever be so perfect? Only with a person who is so great. God gives me this privilege in life and he has given me a wonderful woman to enjoy it."

Lindsay and Jason slept among the driftwood of Fish Head Beach, a short distance from the crashing surf. At some point in the night, both were shot in the head at close range with a Marlin .45-caliber rifle, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office later determined.

When the couple didn't show up for Sunday orientation at Rock-N-Water, the camp counselors contacted the Allens and Cutshalls. Despite attempts by law enforcement officials and camp counselors to downplay the disappearance, Kathy said she "knew right away that something wasn't right."

The Cutshalls flew out Tuesday; the Allens arrived Wednesday. The families stayed at the home of camp owner Craig Lomax, spending the majority of their time calling TV stations and newspapers and doing anything they could do to get the word out about their missing children.

At 6:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, Lomax and a group of law enforcement officials drove back to the camp to deliver the news: Lindsay and Jason had been found at Fish Head Beach the day before.

"I was praying, 'Let us know where they are,'" Kathy said. "It was agonizing, not knowing if they'd been captured, tortured. It was comforting in a way. They fell asleep on this beautiful beach and woke up in heaven."

The Midwestern couple had been found lying in separate sleeping bags, fully clothed. Nothing appeared to have been stolen, no signs of sexual assault were present, and the position the bodies were found in led detectives to believe Lindsay and Jason had been asleep when they were shot, said Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas, who supervised the investigation.

"It was very odd," Freitas said. "It's been a difficult investigation from the start. Once we found them, it took us a day just to locate who they were. The geographical location made it a tough crime scene to work. The water comes in, the wind picks up. All the footprints were gone."

The sheriff's office dedicated 25 detectives to the case in the first year. Detectives discussed various motives, including a drifter who'd been stalking the couple, or the possibility they'd accidentally interfered with a drug deal or poaching ring. More than 1,000 tips poured in, people of interest were named, and detectives followed up on each lead. A pond where the gun was reportedly ditched was drained and searched.

Ten years later, tips still are called in to the sheriff's office. Shannon McAlvaine, detective sergeant for violent crimes, said that, although it's considered a cold case, it's very much active.

"It's a huge deal for us here in Sonoma County," McAlvaine said. "Our homicides get solved here. Some take longer than others, but we're holding out hope. Evidence is preserved, and we have new forensic techniques that we're working on and waiting for."

'A great comfort'

The families developed an unwavering trust for the detectives handling the case, and a mutual respect between the families and law enforcement officials was forged. Freitas felt himself being personally affected by the case and was moved by the faith the Cutshalls and Allens harbored during such a painful loss.

In the years that followed, Freitas and his wife made trips to Ohio to stay with the Cutshalls, and the Fresno family reciprocated.

"Their faith was very strong in the face of everything they were dealing with. I hadn't encountered that before," Freitas said. "Over the months and after lots of talking, my faith and my family's faith was transformed. ... It's all because of God. There's no doubt in my mind that God brought us together."

Freitas wasn't the only person whose faith was bolstered in the wake of the killing. Delores Allen, Jason's mother, said letters have poured in from people all around the world who've been affected by the sincerity of Jason and Lindsay's faith. The possibility that something positive was born out of such a deep pain has provided solace to her.

"You're never quite the same once you've lost a child," Delores said. "We knew it could destroy us, but we decided early on we were not going to be angry and bitter. There can be positives. The comments from other people were that they knew their faith was sincere. When they died, people's lives were changed by Jason and Lindsay. That's always been a great comfort."

Four months before his trip to California, Jason embarked on a trip to Puerto Rico, where he and his friends planned to buy a sailboat and spread God's word on nearby islands, Delores said. Although it never came to fruition — they were considerably short on cash — his attitude regarding the trip was indicative of the way the 26-year-old Michigan native lived his life: hopeful and adventuresome.

While guiding at Rock-N-Water, Lindsay asked her mother to pick up her wedding dress back in Ohio. When Kathy showed up to pay for the gown, the woman at the counter told her it had already been paid for. As her mother would later discover, Lindsay had worked as a janitor in a nearby store to save up money for the dress. The can-do attitude reminded the Cutshalls of years before, when Lindsay had raised her own money to travel to a rural African village to do mission work.

"That's just the sort of girl she was," Kathy said. "It never changed."

A 10-year memorial service will be held in Jenner at Goat Rock Beach, a far more accessible stretch of waterfront than Fish Head Beach. After the service, the Cutshalls will descend the hillside onto the same spot their daughter died 10 years ago. It's a place Kathy has always regretted avoiding, and "exactly where I want to be on the anniversary."

The Allens will be in Michigan for the anniversary, surrounded by family.

Things that were once nearly unbearable for the families — going into their children's rooms, picking up rice at the store (Jason's diet consisted nearly entirely of rice and beans) — have become less difficult. Still, Delores said, "that sense of loss never leaves you."

"Through time and God's grace, the deep deep grieving and pain eases up," she said. "This is a time to remember them, and it brings back some sad memories, but healing has taken place. We go on. We know where they are, and we know we'll be with them again."

NOTE: To view all posts, please go to Archives (in right column).