An update on Megan Sharpton’s murder investigation

Help bring Megan Sharpton’s killer/killers to justice.

A short time ago I wrote about the gruesome murder of one of my high school classmate’s daughter, Megan Sharpton.  There’s no reason to repeat the details of this heinous crime, but there is an unfortunate update to the story.  The investigation has moved along to the point where the police and TBI (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation) have an undisclosed number of suspects.  They are in the process of gathering evidence and waiting on lab results.  That’s all good and hopeful.

The unfortunate part is one of the suspects is now threatening Megan’s family.  He approached a member of the family at a Tullahoma High School football game and made hostile remarks.  He (and perhaps his accomplices) may have even resorted to firing gunshots at Megan’s grandmother’s home. The district attorney in the case has been slow to take action either because his hands are tied by the nature of the legal system or because of other reasons beyond my comprehension.

As you can imagine, Megan’s mother, Kelly Sharpton, is frightened for the safety of her family and for the community.  This individual is at large and may be even brazenly stocking and intimidating those closest to Megan.  I’m guessing he is unhappy that the family is offering a reward for any information that leads to an arrest.  If he is the killer, he’s putting his freedom at peril by manifesting his fear of discovery into such loathsome and repulsive behavior on a very public level.

He should know that the discovery he fears is inevitable.  He will be caught.  There are others who know what he did.  There’s an entire community on his heels. The police have him on their radar, maybe even under surveillance. There’s an army of online watchdogs digging for information on him. He may even be his own worst enemy.  I imagine he gets drunk or high frequently.  He’s probably talked openly about what he did.  He thinks people are afraid to talk, or perhaps he thinks he’s only told people he considers confidants.  But they’ve talked.  In an inebriated state, they’ve confided in others what they know about him.  The whispers of his deed are spreading.  There is a growing web of informants eager to tell someone what they know.  Every person he sees has the potential of being the one to bring him down.  Every person.  There is no one he can trust in his world.  Deep down, he knows it, too. His only logical move at this point is to turn himself in because the longer he waits the longer he has to endure the unbearable stress of looming discovery. It’s the only way he’ll find even a shard of peace.

To the people of Tullahoma, help keep the Sharptons and your community safe.  Don’t put yourselves in harm’s way, but report any suspicious activity or any information (no matter how insignificant you think it may be) to the local authorities.

Tullahoma Police Department – 931-455-0530

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office – 931-967-2331

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation – 1-800-TBI-FIND

9-11 from a Georgia highway

A reprint of where I was on 09-11-2001

I was in my car when it happened, on my way to Milledgeville, Georgia from Charleston, South Carolina.  I sat in misery as I drove down a backwoods highway.  I was 34-years-old, and I hated my job.  Worse than that, I couldn’t remember a job I liked since I quit my gig as a dishwasher in a hospital at the age of seventeen. I had lived an entire lifetime since dreading the concept of waking up on a weekday and dressing for a job that would slowly suck the life out of me.   Professional fulfillment was something that eluded me so thoroughly I was convinced that I was hardwired to hate working.  Not the physical effort just the emotional investment.

Howard Stern was on the radio.  He is the one who told me what happened that morning, and because of that I am indelibly linked to the shock jock.  I like Howard.  It’s not his fart jokes and sophomoric ramblings about the female form that draws me to his show.  It’s his pure unadulterated love for his job.  It was a feeling I couldn’t relate to at the time.  As foreign as the concept was to me, I still longed for it and Howard exuded it.  You could hear it in the timber of his voice.  And it wasn’t just him. It was everyone in the studio with him.  They all loved their jobs.  Listening to them, I was sucked into their world and for the time I listened, I enjoyed a workday morning.

That morning they were talking about Pamela Anderson.  Howard had gone to a club with her, and she kissed him.  The crew was stunned and envious.  They wanted every detail, and Howard was more than happy to oblige.  He let the facts drip out in masterful story-like fashion.  My mouth agape, I gripped the steering wheel tighter and bent in closer to the radio.   He was teasing everyone with insignificant side-bars mixed in with outrageous claims, and then there was a misplaced pause.  I can still hear the void left by that pause.

“What is that?” Howard asked.  “One of the towers is on fire.”  The confusion crackled through the dying signal on my radio.  I slowed down to hold onto the signal for as long as I could.  I wanted him to get back to the story.  But scattered details came in about the fire.  “It was a small plane.”  Someone said.  “I don’t know how that doesn’t happen more often,” someone else said.  They talked about the air traffic around Manhattan.  The planes fly much too low.  Another misplaced pause.

“The other building’s on fire,” Howard said calmly but puzzled.  A panicked voice followed from someone else in the room.  “It was another plane!  Another plane flew into the other building!”  My heart pounded against my chest.  The static on the radio began to drown out their voices.  I fiddled with the tuner.  I couldn’t lose the signal.  Not now.  Just before I went completely beyond the signals range, I thought I heard the question, “Are we under attack?”

I looked at the car to my left on Highway 95.  The driver was stooped over and fiddling with his radio, too.  The driver of the car in front of me was doing the same.  I sat back, breathed deeply and spotted a sign for a state of Georgia visitor’s center.  From my frequent trips along this road, doing a job I hated, I knew the visitor’s center had a lounge with a TV.

The parking area for the visitor’s center was crowded.  Cars, RVs, trucks, motorcycles, nearly took up every square inch of pavement.  I squeezed my car into a spot near the back of the lot and parked.  I gave the radio one last try before I exited.  Nothing.  Not even a local station.  Outside of the car, I noticed that the air was unusually still.  Something was missing.  When I turned to the highway, I realized what it was.  There were no cars passing the visitor’s center.  The hum of rubber passing over the road was notably absent, as notable as Howard’s first misplaced pause.  The void had returned.  Looking back, the day was filled with eerily quiet moments.   Pauses that didn’t belong caused by an avalanche of confusion and anger and fear.

I walked into the visitor’s center, looked to the right and was amazed to see no one standing inside.  Given the number of cars in the parking lot, the place should have been packed with people.  I turned to my left and quickly unraveled the mystery.  Everyone had jammed themselves into the lounge.  A sea of people stood staring up at the TV.  Not a word was exchanged between anyone in the crowd.  They watched in silence as smoke billowed from the World Trade Center buildings.   Occasionally, I heard sniffles and stifled wails.  A scan of the room revealed a lot of tears and strained gazes.

Finally, someone next to me answered the question asked by the unidentified person on the radio.  “We’re under attack.”

Me hating my job suddenly seemed like such a small and insignificant thing.

Lou’s Diary – Entry 12 (text)

I’m not the only who keeps a diary.  I was cleaning up the fire tower, which included shoveling some blood soaked snow off the deck, and I found a notebook that was used as a journal.  The first page read as follows:

This is the diary of Floyd Templeton.  He lives among the dead. He wishes it was the other way around.

It didn’t occur to me until I had read a few pages of the diary that Floyd Templeton is FT.  The man who warned me about the Gore.  The man who left me clothes and food.  If it wasn’t for Floyd Templeton I’d still be wondering in the blinding snow, freezing and starving to death without ever dying.

The first part of the journal is just filled with stories about his life before the end of the world.  He was a chef in Charleston, South Carolina.  He had just opened his own restaurant when everything fell apart.  Délons were the first of the destroyers to show up.  Everyone thought it was an alien invasion.  Within a week of the first Délon sighting, Charleston was a ghost town. He wrote:

The Market, King Street, the hospitals, the ports, nobody is anywhere.  I am the only one left.

He holed up in St. Philips Episcopal Church for awhile thinking that if any other survivors were left they’d surely come to a church to pray.  After all, that’s what people do when the world ends, isn’t it?  Pray?  He spent three months looking for others on the streets during the day, and sleeping in the church at night.  Every day, he’d come across at least one dead body.

He started noticing something strange about the bodies.  He hadn’t given it much thought at first, but the more bodies he saw the more apparent it became.  They were all missing a part and it was never the same part.  Even the dead animals he’d come across were missing something.

He kept log of the missing parts.  His diary was filled with things like: Cat – left eye, Woman – left arm, boy – head. It was a gruesome list of the mangled dead.  There were so many entries of the dead and their missing parts, I stopped reading them.  It was just too horrible.

I read his diary until it was too dark to see.  The last thing I read before I couldn’t read anymore was this:

I went to the aquarium today.  I had been avoiding it because I could smell the stench of dead fish and animals from Francis Marion Square, but I ran out of places to look for other people, so I went.  I wish now I hadn’t.  The tanks were filthy and the fish were dead and floating lifeless in the murky water.  Their eyes were bulging, milky white orbs.  Their bodies were bloated.  Some even had exploded bellies with guts dangling in the water.  But that wasn’t the worst part.  The worst part was what was on the second level.  Those body parts I’ve been tracking were there.  All of them, stacked in neat piles taller than me.  There were dozens of piles with hundreds of body parts.  I couldn’t move when I realized what I was looking at.  I stood there wanting to throw up, scream, run, cry – but I couldn’t do anything. That is not until I saw a head; a man’s.  It was bald with a thin strip of gray hair just above the ears.  Its eyes were closed; were closed.  As impossible as it sounds, they opened.  I would have thought it was just a natural occurrence.  Dead bodies do that sometimes.  They move when the muscles stiffen.  But then they blinked.  I ran.



The Oz Chronicles passes a milestone

101 reviews and counting

So, we indie authors count victories in smaller increments than the big boys.  For instance, the Oz Chronicles books just passed a tiny milestone.  The five books just went over the 100 reviews mark on Amazon.  Collectively, they have a total of 101 reviews to be exact.  Even cooler, only one review is a one star review, but I count that one as a badge of honor because it was a mother who made her boys stop reading the books because – well, why don’t I just post the review so there’s no chance I misquote the woman.

Terrible………My teen boys love to read so I am always looking for a good series. I typed in teen fiction and this series popped so I bought all of them. After they were almost done with the series, I asked them what it was about. By the time their description was over I felt like I wanted to throw up. What had I subjected them to? I couldn’t believe the gore details they described. Sure that I had not subjected my Sons to this type of disgusting reading, I had them read aloud. I made them stop and took the books away. I cannot believe that these were in the teen section. Gross, Gore, Evil, Blood, Guts……….I’m so full of regret that I had ever bought these. The series should not be listed anywhere near teens. In fact, it should be labeled with a parental advisory. I think I’ll burn the books. I will use much more discretion with my selections from now on!

Thanks to all who are among the 101 reviewers (even the mother who wants to burn them).  You’ve helped me sell books over the years, and I can’t ask for more than that.

Lou’s Diary – Entry 11

My heart is pumping a hundred miles an hour!  It’s been – I don’t know how long since my last entry.  Everything has been a blur since I went into the woods and returned the rubber wrist band to the body parts.  I was jumped.  A guy and girl came out of nowhere when I stepped out of the tree line.

I was so focused on the shelter I found.  I just let my guard down.  It was so stupid.  Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!  I didn’t even have time to put up a fight.  The guy charged me and knocked me flat on my back.  I could have taken him if I had seen him coming.  The girl flashed a knife in my face before I knew what was happening.

They called each other Pain and Fury.  He was Pain.  She was Fury.  It was pretty obvious they were nuts.  They tied my hands behind my back and forced me to the fire tower and practically dragged me up the stairs, screaming like idiots all the way to the top.

They trashed the cabin.  For no reason.  They just tore it apart.  They kept yelling, “Pain and Fury own this place!”  I tried to get them to calm down at first, but they stuffed a rag in my mouth and blindfolded me.  I sat in the corner and just listened to them senselessly throw things on the floor.  It was crazy.

They laughed and screamed and destroyed everything they could.  When there was nothing left to break, they finally settled down.  They talked about killing me.  Fury even pressed the cold blade of the knife against my cheek.  Pain said stabbing me was too boring.  He was tired of killing things with a knife. He wanted to kill me in a fun way.

Lucky for me he couldn’t think of a fun way.  He was too tired.  He wanted to sleep on it.  I heard them walk to the center of the room and things got really quiet.  I leaned my head against the wall and worked the blindfold loose until I could see under it.  They were asleep on top of the overturned lockers.

I twisted and jerked trying to work my hands free.  They may have been crazy, but they knew how to tie a knot. I scooted forward.  If I could stand, I just might be able to get out the door without them hearing me.  I worked to get on my knees but stopped when I heard a sound.

Bang.  The same banging from the night before.  It was coming back.

I managed to stand and tried to quietly move to the corner of the room to the right of the door.  It was the only place where I could even remotely hide The problem was I could barely see under the blindfold, and I tripped on nearly everything in my path.  Fury and Pain never even flinched.  They were dead to the world.

I pressed up against the corner just as the heavy footsteps stopped.  I heard the strange crying again.  The door slowly pushed open.  It stepped into the room, but it was still hidden by the door.  Pain and Fury slept.  Another step, I could make out a foot.  There was something off about it.  I couldn’t tell exactly what because of the stupid blindfold.

Fury stirred.  She mumbled something in her sleep.  Pain told her to shut up.  I wanted to scream, “Open your eyes you idiots!” But, I didn’t dare.  I pressed myself against the wall and tried to breathe quietly.

Finally, Fury rolled on her back and opened her eyes.  She let out a scream that was so loud I thought it would bring down the fire tower.  The thing at the door reached out, grabbed her ankle, and yanked her outside so quickly I couldn’t get a good look at it.  It was just a blur.  If I didn’t have the stupid blindfold on, maybe I could have seen it.

Pain sat up and yelled out for his fellow nutcase.  He got up and stood in front of the open door yelling her name over and over again.  He looked in my direction and got the word “What,” out of his mouth before he was ripped out the door.  I swear I could hear his bones snapping he was pulled out so violently.

I fell to my knees.  I was next.  My hands were tied behind my back.  I couldn’t see.  I could barely breathe.  The room started to spin.  The last thing I remember before passing out was falling forward.