I realize that anyone with half a brain can easily plug the words "murder, Sacramento, 1997, car in river" etc and figure out who I'm talking about. I'm not omitting names because I fear discovery, but rather because this is not my story to tell. Jaime was (and still is) my friend, but the circumstances surrounding her brother's murder had nothing to do with me, or even her.
Her brother's body was found wedged under a pier when the waters finally receded. He'd been manually strangled and thrown into the river to drown. The man who did it was the same man who showed up to assist in our riverside search for the body. I'd sat in his car with him and taken his walkies back to Jaime's mom. I was never interviewed or called as a witness. I didn't need to be. The police found a metric shit-ton of evidence in his home and on the computer they'd seized.
There's been a lot of back and forth about blame and responsibility, kangaroo courts held in the YouTube comments section. I'm not going to comment on any of that. Watch the show and make up your own minds. I'm nowhere to be found in the footage. I have no place in this tale...except for one thing: the funeral was held on the morning of March 9th, 1997. My birthday. His birthday. The day we'd been planning to have a huge blowout party. Instead, we stood and sweated in the hot sun in our black formal attire and placed our hands on the closed casket to say goodbye to a young man who would never turn 19 and whose body could not be viewed because it had been too ravaged by the elements. On the perimeters of the cemetery, the local news crews stood filming. They didn't talk to us. We didn't want to be talked to. We went back to the coffee shop and Matt, upon realizing that my birthday had been forgotten in the chaos, walked the short distance to the grocery store at the other end of the shopping plaza and returned a short time later with a bright orange balloon in his hand.
Life went on. It always does, whether we like it or not, doesn't it?