Friday 8/24/18

Today has been intense. This morning Dona received a call that her ex-husband Ken had been found dead last night. They’d met at Thanksgiving of 1964 when she was a hippy coffee-house waitress in Sacramento, and he was a charismatic traveling folk-singer. After 18 years of marriage (most of it estranged), they divorced in 1984, but had remained business partners ever since, and he’d been living all this time on their jointly-owned property in Kyle, TX, in several trailers, buses and RVs. His mental and physical condition had been deteriorating for years, and in June of 2016 he’d evicted her with threats, accusations and name-calling. He’d also driven away the grown children of his first marriage, and had become an angry demented recluse with no friends or family except a few dozen cats. Electricity and water had been turned off, and the temperatures have been over 100°F for months.

So we drove the 25 miles to the property to check things out. The place was a complete shambles, with trash and garbage strewn everywhere, as if a cyclone had gone through the property and units. A neighbor named Kathy showed up, quite distraught, and told us that she was the one who’d found the body. As she described this, it seemed clearly to have been a brutal murder, with the assailants then ransacking the units looking for valuables. Moreover, there was a broken-down truck camper blocking the driveway, which Kathy said had been towed there recently by a couple of guys who’d promised to trim trees, cut bush and mow grass. But they’d threatened Kathy and Ken a week before, and then she hadn’t seen Ken for the past four days, and came looking for him. Found him, she did, and it wasn’t pretty.

But now Dona has learned that the autopsy performed today indicated that Ken had died of a heart attack, and had not been murdered after all. As to the ransacking of the place—was that by the guys with the camper, or just the way Ken was living? In any case, there’ll be a lot to handle, arrangements to be made, cleaning up to do. And Dona has a lot of her belongings stored out there in bins and barrels, and she’ll need to deal with all that. I’m glad I’m able to be here for her for this ordeal, but I’m leaving next Tuesday for California…

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