Sunday, February 5, 2017


I cannot explain it; I will not try; I would like to believe it was Angie, but I cannot. During the week of 7 November 2004, for six days in a row, we repeatedly received the same two e-mails from Angela Dales. Each time the messages were identical. The first said, “Hello.” The second said, “Thanks.” Several times a day the messages would come in—always the same, first, “Hello” and then “Thanks.”

I told Janice it had to be a virus somewhere, somehow a virus was still out there, a virus that had picked up messages from Angie’s computer before her death. That had to be the explanation. Maybe it was the same virus that prompted the hideous e-mail that school authorities and the police were so cavalier in handling. Then, on 12 November, the day the lawsuit was settled, the messages stopped. Could this be a coincidence? We want so much to believe it was Angie. We want to believe with every fiber in us that Angie was trying to talk to us, to tell us she was all right.

That was not the first unexplained event that occurred. Six months after Angie was murdered, we returned to Cooperstown, New York, the site of our last vacation with Angie and Rebecca. It was a difficult trip; it was painful. The summer before had been perfect. We had been there on the Fourth of July, 2001. The weather had been perfect; we had relaxed; we had had a great time. It had been so good, so sweet.

Here we were again on the Fourth of July the following year, 2002. This time it was not good; it was not sweet; it was agony. Janice was having an especially difficult time—everywhere we went there were memories of the summer before. In the immediate aftermath of Angie’s death, the stress had been so bad that Janice had lost large clumps of hair. The hair loss had finally stopped, but the stress was nearly as great that July in New York as it had been in the immediate aftermath of the shooting.

On our way back to Virginia we were silent. Binghamton passed unnoticed, Scranton disappeared in a fog. We said little to each other. At Harrisburg we stopped for the night. After checking into our hotel we found a restaurant nearby. A very pretty young blonde waitress bearing a striking resemblance to Angie came up to our table, knelt down and said softly, “I’m Angela and I will be with you tonight.” She didn’t say, “How may I help you?” or “I’m Angela, I will be your server tonight.” She said, “I will be with you tonight.” Suddenly tears flowed down my wife’s cheeks. She felt calm; she felt warm, she felt life would be better; we knew we would recover. To this day Janice believes the presence of that Angie was not just coincidence.

Even if the messages were from Angie, there was little solace for all of us on that bleak Friday in November when the case settled. The legal victory was hollow. (To be continued)

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