My Mother Was Taken From Me Part 2 of a true story of Murder in the family

Updated on December 26, 2019

A True Story Part 2

If you haven't read Part 1, please take the time to read it before you continue. Here is the link.

Arlo started shouting, "It's your mom, It's your mom". I screamed back at him, "You're a liar, I hate you". I knew he wasn't lying, somehow I knew. I had blocked out so many things leading up to this. My mom lying in bed, motionless with her eyes partially open, Nick acting so strangely, the phone line going dead, the carpet missing from the bathroom, my mom not being there to wake us up, the blood that was on the pillow and on my pants, and more than any clue that something was horribly wrong was the terrible feeling that had been building up inside me.

I saw her hair and I yelled at my sister and Arlo to go get my grandpa who lived in a little house in the back. I ran to the phone to call 911 but remembered the phone wasn't working, so I ran across the street to use the phone booth at the market. I was crying so hard I could hardly see, I couldn't breathe, I couldn't think. I dialed the number and cried into the phone, "My mom, my mom, she's dead". I dropped the receiver and ran down the road. I began beating on the doors of my neighbors, my friends, no one answered. I walked into the middle of the road and dropped to my knees on the hot pavement, but I couldn't feel anything. "Why, why?", I kept calling out to the sky, to god. One of the neighbors must have heard me, he ran to me, and picked me up off of the ground. "What is wrong?" he asked, I tried to explain what had happened, but I couldn't talk anymore, I was crying uncontrollably. I pointed to my house and he told his wife to stay with me while he went to the house to see what was going on.

I told her that I wanted to go home, so she put her arm around me and walked me down the road. I was standing there, crying, and in shock, out in front of my house not knowing what to do. By that time Arlo and Sarah were outside with me. We were hugging each other, and crying. They told me that my grandpa came inside the house and lifted the blankets and pulled my mom out from behind the couch bed. I didn't want to believe it. I was in a surreal state of mind. "This can't be happening", I kept saying to myself, over and over. It was like I was in a tunnel, everything was so foggy. My grandpa and the neighbor were inside the house. The front door was open, but I couldn't see what was happening. I just kept hoping and praying that my mom would walk out the front door and wrap her arms around me and tell me that everything was o.k., that she was fine, but that didn't happen.

The police pulled up to the house, sirens blaring. Some officers went inside. A detective separated us, me, Sarah and Arlo, and had us sit in three separate police cars. We were in the detective cars alone, waiting, crying. The detective finally came to the car and started asking me questions. He asked me what I did that morning, I told him everything. When I got to the part about me taking a shower he stopped me and asked, "Are you sure you took a shower?" I said, "Yes, why?". He told me that he couldn't believe that I took a shower and that I didn't see any of the blood in the shower and on the walls. I don't know why I didn't see it, but I didn't. I kept asking him, "Is my mom o.k.? Is she going to be o.k.?". I knew the answer, but I didn't want that answer. Finally he calmly said, "No, she is not o.k., I'm sorry". "Is she dead?", I asked. "Yes, she is, I'm sorry". No, it couldn't be, not my mommy. I just couldn't believe it, I didn't want to. My heart hurt so badly, I just wanted it to be a nightmare so I could wake up. It was a nightmare, but It was real, and I was never going to wake up from it.

(It wasn't until that moment, that I knew for a fact that my mom was gone, really gone. I knew, but I didn't accept it. I still don't accept it. It has been almost twenty years and I can still feel her with me. I can close my eyes and feel her arms wrapped around me. )

My head was spinning, my heart was racing, and aching. Someone had called my uncle Rusty and his wife Lisa and told them what had happened. They showed up a few minutes later. My Aunt Lisa took all three of us with her and drove Arlo to where his parents were. He told them about my mom. My uncle Tony asked Arlo where April was, he told them that we thought she was with them, since that is what Nick had told us. My uncle and aunt went crazy. They didn't know what to do. They told Arlo to go with us to my Aunt Lisa's house and they would come and get him later, after they knew that April was safe.

My aunt Lisa took us home with her while my uncle Rusty stayed at our house. I don't remember the drive to her house, or much of anything else that afternoon.

It was a very long and scary night, I don't remember sleeping at all. All night I kept thinking about my mom, and how I would never again see her face or hear her voice, I would never get to say I love you before I went to sleep at night, and I would never get to say goodbye. Sarah, Arlo and I were also afraid that Nick was going to show up and try to kill us too. We thought for sure that he was coming back to get us. The police didn't know where he was, and neither did we. All we knew is that he had taken my mother from us in a horrible, horrible way.

At 4 o'clock A.M. my uncle Tony and aunt Glenda came and picked up Arlo. When I got out of bed that morning I went into the living room and sat down on the couch. On the table in front of me was the newspaper, and there on the front page it read, "Woman and her 9 year old niece brutally murdered in their home". I broke down.

My mommy and me 1976
My mommy and me 1976

Questions & Answers


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      • Robert Sacchi profile image

        Robert Sacchi 

        2 years ago

        A tragic thing that happened to you and your family. I'm very sorry for you.

      • profile image

        Lori Bumgardner 

        2 years ago

        Hi Sarah. I know you don't know me but when this happen I was working with your cousin Chris and her mom at the time. I remember them coming to work and telling me what had happen and how tragic it was and even though I didn't know you I remember thinking about you and your cousins. I was thinking how does a child ever recover from something like that happening. Through the years I lost contact with Chris and moved to start my career as a nurse. With that being said Chris and I found each other again through Facebook. I want you to know through the years there has been times I thought about you and your family and often wondered how you and your family were doing. I said prayers to hope that you were able to find some peace within. I would love to hear from you and know how your doing. How courageous of you to write your story. Know that I am saying prayers for you.



      • profile image

        Taylor Hall 

        2 years ago

        My mom sent me this the other day, but told me this story a really long time ago, when we moved out of California. My mom told me this story but seemed so real to her and after she told me it. She told me how close April and her were. She knew April well, my moms brandie gerlach now but then she was Brandie Moreno. And my dad Daniel lived a block away, but wasn't the man who got talked to by the investigators.

      • profile image

        My name is jennifer burkart 

        2 years ago

        I'm good friends with Arlo. Known him sincehigh school. I remember him telling me about his aunt and sister. I was able to meet his daughter April she was a toddler at the time. I remember him speaking about this. Very sad . My heart goes out to u .much love and respect.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        5 years ago from Houston, Texas

        What a tragic and horrible story. I am sure that you are happy that he is on death row so that this evil man can never harm anyone else. May God bless you. It is nice that you feel the love from your mother around you.

      • Mel Carriere profile image

        Mel Carriere 

        5 years ago from San Diego California

        This is a captivating tale. I am really sorry for your tragedy. I've never had anything this horrible happen to me and words fail me, but God bless you and I hope that this horrible criminal was brought to justice.

      • Sunshyne1975 profile imageAUTHOR


        5 years ago from California, US

        Angel, I just saw this comment, 4 weeks late. lol. Thank you for your kind words and I love you too! I know deep down it is not really my fault and your mom's death is not your fault at all. Just the simple fact that she loved you so much should be such a great comfort to you. I wish your mother was here and mine too, we would all be great friends, I just know it. So glad to have you in our lives.

      • Angel Van Atta profile image

        Angel Van Atta 

        5 years ago from Delhi, California

        Sunshyne, I'm so sorry for your loss and for what you and your family has gone through. It's not your fault. I just want you to know that. It's not your fault. Had you stayed home the only difference would have probably been that there would be no Jaycee, no Elzie, no Mary, no Alix. You're an incredible mother, because you had an incredible mother, and I'm so very sorry that you lost her, especially in the way it happened. But it's not your fault. Not even a little. My dad murdered my mom, but in a different way. He stole me from her at a time when she needed treatment for her cancer. It caused her so much grief that they had to stop her treatments because she was so sick with it. It's not at all comparable to what happened to you. Not even a little, and I'm not comparing the two situations except for the fact that I blamed myself. I read about the fact that they had to stop her treatments because of how sick her grief and fear over where I was had made her in a newspaper that I found saved in my grandma's house. Because of her love for me she died, and I blamed myself for that. For years I hated myself for that. I think that sometimes I still do a little. But it wasn't my fault. It was his. His choices. I know it's not the same thing at all or comparable to what you went through and what happened to your mom, but he had chose to do what he did. He would have done it no matter what you or sister did. Or your mom. He had to have planned it and you couldn't have stopped him. It's not your fault. It's only his fault. I love you.

      • satice_j profile image


        8 years ago from via the Bronx, NY

        Sunshyne, your story is mind blowing and fills me with sorrow. I am so sorry you experienced the loss of your mother and cousin at such a young age and in such a brutal unfolding. I am glad to know the bastard is in prison on death row who did this to your family members. If God is just, he'll let the state of California do what it should and put this reject to death.

        I know loss, having only experienced it recently. I know the feeling never goes away, though some say it lessens. I hope the memory of your Mom and cousin will prevail always, and that their spirits will continue to propel you forward, giving your writing empowerment. God Bless You and your family!

      • profile image

        kathy stahl 

        8 years ago

        shyn; you did a wonderful job writeing this story that was so hard for you to write "i am sure". reliveing the whole thing over and over in your mind. i know it has always been so hard on you and sarah and probably will continue to be all of your lifes. i love both of you very much.----- kathy

      • profile image


        8 years ago

        Hi sunshyne,

        I have never heard the story in your own words n I cried all the way through right now. I know that you guys have come far in life after dealing with such a tragedy. I will always be here If you need anything.

      • profile image

        joanne wyckoff 

        8 years ago

        hello sunshyn thank you for sharing your story i love you and i do remember those days for you. your mom is with God and you will see her again i love you

      • Thelma Alberts profile image

        Thelma Alberts 

        8 years ago from Germany and Philippines

        What a tragic story! I feel so tense and tears came out of my eyes upon reading your great hub. I hope you have overcome the trauma of the tragic death of your mother. I wish the murderer is punished now.

        You are a great writer. Take care and best wishes from me. Thanks for SHARING.

      • fpherj48 profile image


        8 years ago from UpstateWestern,New York

        This is an incredibly emotional and tragic story. You and your family went through a horrific nightmare. I'm sure this has been a terrible burden to carry all these years. Have you thought of writing more of this incident to place your inner thoughts all out in front of you? This can be very therapuetic and help you to discover a bit of closure for the hole in your heart.

        I'll admit I am left a little confused. Your hub states that your cousin April was found and was OK, but in the hospital. However, you state that the headlines read that she was murdered also? I believe your readers would be so relieved to know how the law dealt with Nick and if he is now imprisoned.....and basically, the rest of the story. I wish you well.

      • duffsmom profile image

        P. Thorpe Christiansen 

        8 years ago from Pacific Northwest, USA

        I'm so sorry, I just can't even find the words. I lost my parents when I was a girl, although not from a crime but it does leave a mark. I'm glad you write, and can put all that emotion on paper. Best wishes!

      • primpo profile image


        8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York

        I'm soo sorry. I am sorry people like Nick exist.. your mother's spirit is watching over you that's why you still feel her, mostly because she couldn't say goodbye. I really hope you can heal from this.. It is tragic and the little girl in you is still screaming, I could feel it. You are amazing.. and you have come this far, and you will go further. I hope they got this person. He doesn't even deserve a name.. God Bless you. I'm trying to think of words to say, and I cant. I will be praying for your peace..

      • A.A. Zavala profile image

        Augustine A Zavala 

        8 years ago from Texas

        Such a tragic story. I'm glad to hear that he was caught, but sorry for your loss. God bless.

      • profile image

        Sunnie Day 

        9 years ago

        Dear Sunshyn,

        I am so sorry for your loss..I cannot imagine what you must of gone through. You are amazing to say the least.

        God Bless hard as this was to write, thank you for sharing you story.


      • Denise Handlon profile image

        Denise Handlon 

        9 years ago from North Carolina

        Wow! I am so very sorry for your loss, SunShyne, and even more so, for the horror you and your cousin and sister had to endure. How very sad. Thanks for sharing this experience. I hope to read more of your work.

      • WannaB Writer profile image

        Barbara Radisavljevic 

        9 years ago from Templeton, CA

        Sunshyne, there just aren't any words to describe how reading this and watching the video made me feel. I lost my son when he was 14, but he died doing what he loved, suddenly, and without much pain. I still miss, him, of course, after 20 years, but one way I consoled myself was to be thankful he had died the way he did if he had to die. I don't know how I would have stood it had I known an evil person had killed him and hurt him with no one to comfort and help.

        I have also seen the shock and horror our neighbor children had the day they came home and found their mother had shot herself. The, oldest, only 10, had gone in to wake her after school. Her door was closed and he thought she might be napping. When he saw the truth, he acted much as you did -- ran out into the street screaming, where another neighbor had found him after running our to see what was wrong. I wonder if those children ever healed after that experience.

        I hope your heart heals someday. What a terrible way to lose your mother and and cousin and be robbed of even saying goodbye. You told this in such way I felt I was inside your brain, experiencing everything as it happened. I know I would never have been the same if this had happened to those I love.

      • arb profile image


        9 years ago from oregon

        There are losses which life can never make up for and our hearts are left to fend for themselves. You have the heart which brought you here today and will carry you, eventually to a place where all things are made right. God bless your heart. voted up and beautiful.

      • Nellieanna profile image

        Nellieanna Hay 

        9 years ago from TEXAS

        I cannot find words to express the sorrow and empathy I feel for you, dear. I know a little about loss and its effects on one. You've written about yours beautifully and with the actual feelings of it at the time. That took a lot of courage for you. I admire your sunny attitude toward life, in spite of this terrible loss.

        I see that you are about the age of my eldest granddaughter, who has a son who is almost 16 and a daughter, 14. You think "gulp" when you realize your eldest is 16. What if your eldest GREAT-grandchild were 16, as mine is? ;-> Hugs, Nellieanna

      • profile image


        9 years ago

        I read your status on Facebook and you mentioned your story being on hubpages. I read your story with tears in my eyes and at times openly crying. I can't believe that it has been twenty years. You write beautifully. I know that it must have been hard for you to write this.


      • DIYweddingplanner profile image


        9 years ago from South Carolina, USA

        Sunshyne, I am proud to be a new follower. I hoped it helped you to put this story into words. God bless and keep you and your family.

      • ROMANCER OF LIFE profile image


        9 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

        *Tears* Speechless.... I'll keep you and your family in my prayers. You are such a wonderful and strong person. To write something of this much pain must of took a lot of courage for you to do. I admire you for your strength. Thanks for sharing with us your story.


      • profile image

        Helen Sullivan 

        9 years ago

        i still cry and to read this sunshyne it still breaks my heart i always wondered what happened to you and sarah and arlo i am related to betsy and cheryl i knew everyone and i am still in shock my name is helen i am sure u kids dont rememeber me but i still pray for you god bless mary and april and all of you. just know you will see them again someday in heaven.

      • soni2006 profile image

        Rajinder Soni 

        9 years ago from New Delhi, India

        Sometimes when something so brutal happens with a person whom we love so much, we are unable to control ourselves and same has happened with you. May God give you more courage to recover from that episode. The best thing you have done is that you have chosen writing which is a very good thing to keep yourself busy.

      • profile image


        9 years ago

        now that is one evil mothaf--ka! I thought my Mom had the market cornered on deadbeat a--holes. One of her boyfriends stole money out of my wallet and took off, never be eard from again. Another had kicked her out of where he was staying and sold a lot of her and my stuff to feed his drug habit--even my freshamn and sophomore yearbooks, and my high school diploma. A third one just abandoned her months after impregnating her with my younger twin brothers. I thank everyday my mother is alive and it eats me up inside that I haven't got my life together and got a place of my own, so she could focus on supporting my little brothers. Mothers are precious, and it takes a monster of unimaginable dimensions to take the life of one with her children in the same house. Thank you for sharing your story.

      • Mr. Happy profile image

        Mr. Happy 

        9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

        Incredible story ... thanks for sharing. I lost my mother at sixteen. We never know what Life will bring.

      • smilngirl4u profile image


        9 years ago from Palmdale, CA

        Sunshyne....thanks for coming to my page today, it led me to your page and to this story. You brought tears to my eyes as well. I can't imagine how horrible it would be to lose someone in such a horrible manner, let alone your mother. It sounds like poor little April was in the wrong place at the wrong time. You and the other children were blessed not to be home and blessed that he did not decide to kill you all as well. Such a scary thought that you were all there while he was planning his escape. So glad to read that he was caught and is in prison the rest of his days. You are a strong and beautiful person also, thank you for sharing your story. Rachel

      • stars439 profile image


        10 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

        Dear Sunshyne: You are such a wonderful and very fine writer, and your mom will always be with you in spirit and in love always to love you and protect you forever. God bless you Dear Heart,and everyone will always look forward to all that you have to share with us.

      • Michael Shane profile image

        Michael Shane 

        10 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

        I am truly sorry for your loss & it's too bad he gets to live out the rest of his days! However, I am a firm believer in "what goes around comes around" Looking at her picture, it appears you look a lot like her....

      • cashmere profile image


        10 years ago from India

        Oh yes, a living death is closer to hell.

        At least he was caught and you know some justice was done.

      • lorlie6 profile image

        Laurel Rogers 

        10 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

        Sometimes that's even more of a punishment. :)

      • Sunshyne1975 profile imageAUTHOR


        10 years ago from California, US

        cashmere-Your words are so true. Thank you for taking the time to read my hub.

        lorlie6-Thank you so much for your kindness. He was caught, and is on death row. However in California, he will die from old age before he gets put to death.

      • lorlie6 profile image

        Laurel Rogers 

        10 years ago from Grizzly Flats, Ca

        What a horror story. I agree with cashmere-hope he was caught and dealt with properly!


      • cashmere profile image


        10 years ago from India

        Oh dear. I can not imagine how a person can be so brutal. All life is precious and to take two human lives....

        I hope he was caught and hung!


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