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Of Mysteriously Murdered Girls

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They could be sisters.

One girl, had she lived, would be in her 40s. The other would still be 11. She’d still be riding her bike around town. Just a kid.

I have written before about Marcia Trimble, and how her disappearance and unsolved murder in 1975 influenced the writing I do now. How the crime seemed to affect my hometown, Nashville, and my generation.

Constantine, Michigan is much, much smaller than Nashville, Tennessee. Even the Nashville of 1975 was 10 times the size of Constantine.

On Thursday, November 8, Jodi Parrack was riding her bicycle home in Constantine when someone apparently snatched her.

She was quickly reported missing, and unlike Marcia Trimble, who was missing for more than a month, Jodi was quickly found.

Her mother found the girl’s body in the Constantine Cemetery just before 11 that night. There were no outward signs of how she died. She simply lay in the graveyard dead, not far from her silver bike.

Early reports of Jodi’s death were vague. Only today did police declare that the girl was indeed murdered. They warned parents in the area to stay alert.

The thing is, parents in the area had been on alert for a while. There’d been reports in the area for weeks of mysterious vehicles following kids as they walked to school. One source reported to the True Crime Weblog that they’d even escorted their kids to school a few times out of worry over the mysterious vehicle(s). This source didn’t live in Constantine, but they did live nearby.

The same source had been in Brownies and Girl Scouts with Marcia Trimble. She’d lived in the same neighborhood as Marcia.

I knew that the mystery of Jodi Parrack’s death was troubling me for all the normal reasons — how does a little girl just vanish, only to end up dead in a cemetery hours later? If the murder was sexual, why was it so hard to determine prior to autopsy whether or not the girl was the victim of a homicide?

But there was something else, too. Today it hit me, and I found the color photo of Marcia Trimble to compare with Jodi’s photo.

As coincidences go it may not even be all that unusual, but it still raised gooseflesh on my arms. I sent my comparison to my source, the woman who’d been a girl with Marcia in Brownies and Girl Scouts, who now was a parent living in the same area as Jodi Parrack. She wrote back: “[Seeing] the pictures side by side – unbelievably scary. It took me a bit to realize what was troubling [. . .] Saturday I had my assistant’s two girls (4 and 9). We went down to the park near our house. There were a few kids out but every parent was watching unbelievably close.”

Every death is individual, and murder is committed for a variety of reasons. The connections between Marcia then and Jodi now are simple coincidence — about the same age, both popular, well-liked girls who disappeared about the same time of day. The resemblance between the two may be more a matter of camera angles and light than actual appearance.

Who killed Marcia? In 1979 Nashville thought the answer was near. Then a young man who’d bragged of killing the girl was acquitted for lack of evidence. In the 21st Century his DNA proved beyond a doubt that Jeffery Womack didn’t kill Marcia Trimble.

Who killed Jodi Parrack?

The pool of suspects may be smaller in Constantine than it was in Nashville. At least one registered sex offender lives on Peachtree Lane there in Constantine, spitting distance from the cemetery where Jodi was found and not much further from her home.

But cops may have already eliminated most local sex offenders, as it is pretty common to simply go down the local list and talk to each offender when a crime like this occurs.

At the moment, Jodi’s death remains a mystery.

My and my friend’s responses to Jodi’s image, to her tragedy, prove that we carry ghosts with us wherever we go. They are like bells in our hearts, tuned to certain frequencies, and they ring sometimes when we were on the verge of believing we were no longer haunted.

There are greater, longer-lasting tragedies spinning out from crimes like this. For in 29, 30 years, there may be someone out there who once knew Jodi Parrack writing out their memories because they have once again seen a young face in the news, the word “murdered” or “vanished” beside it. Memories of a funny, spunky girl who glittered, for a time, and then was too soon gone.

Source: WSBT.com.