The Choice: Divorce or Murder?
When I followed the Scott Peterson case I was drawn to the fact that this man showed no emotion before and after his trial. His eyes were “dead” and hollow and he kept that blank look that was there from the beginning when Laci Peterson and her unborn child, Conner, first went missing. What was he thinking? What was behind that blank facade? How could he just go on living like nothing happened and start another relationship? After reading the book authored by Marilee Strong, “Erased“, I came away with a clearer picture of the psychology involved in why men can “erase” their partners and sometimes even get away with it.
Lately it seems we have many more names to put on the list of cases covered in Marilee’s book. Since I live in the Carolinas, those cases stand out in my mind, Janet Arbaroa, Michelle Young, Kelly Currin Morris, Carol Batten Dowless, and I’m sure there are more. Some of these spouses will get away with murder based on past cases, such as Peggy Dianovsky and Toni Bachman. Some of these spouses have confessed, some haven’t been charged, but in each case there is a pattern that presents itself.
*Charm turns to manipulation and deceit.
*A pattern of control issues
*Escalation of domestic violence.
*The beginning of the end of the relationship.
*Woman goes missing.
As a follower of true crime for many years on several online forums and blogs, it’s almost too easy to follow this pattern and accuse the spouse. My fellow sleuthers are not often wrong and follow these cases with diligence. The inconvenience of a divorce with the possibility of child support payments, the loss of control of the relationship, and an escalation of violence, moves these men into the realm of murder. It’s also clear, in several cases, that he moves on with his life, remarries, has more children, and the missing woman is no longer spoken about, she has been “erased” for all intents and purposes, from the lives of her children and her family.
While Marilee Strong goes into great detail about every psychological aspect of these men, my concern is for the children that have been left behind. Their mothers have been literally erased from their lives, but the bond will always be there somewhere. The children left behind will always be searching, always carry the burden, and sometimes be brainwashed by the murdering spouse to forget and move on. What are the long term affects for these children, who many times witness acts of violence in the household? How can the cycle of violence ever be broken?
The words emotionally spoken by Sharon Rocha at the trial of her son-in-law Scott Peterson ring so true now as they did then. “Divorce is always an option, you didn’t have to murder her!”
To this type of man, divorce is not an option. He will murder before he gives up any control, any money, and anything of his own. Mothers vanish every day, some we hear about and some we don’t. Someone is getting away with murder in this country right now and there is no remorse, no empathy, no mourning, no signs whatsoever of an emotional loss. Most importantly, there are children who have questions, who have lost a mother, and will never see her again, she has vanished.
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Bloomington, Indiana, United States