Covering the death of 18 year old Emily Egan
One of the things I dread the most in my job is the phone call to the home of a murder victim.
It never gets easier. I cringe at the thought. Even typing those words feels intrusive and abrupt and out of place.
And yet---the call is often necessary. Most of the time it’s the only way we know to connect with the family of the victim.
Often they don't want to talk with me---which I totally understand. But sometimes they do. Today was one of those times.
I called the family of Emily Egan to see if they had a nice picture they'd like to share with the public---or perhaps a comment about her life--maybe even some insight to why someone would murder their daughter.
When Terry, Emily's mom, answered the phone and said---Hi Pat---we were thinking about calling you---I was stunned. But then she reminded me her family attends the same Catholic Church as I do---and her son attends the same grade school. The story became much harder.
I always try to relate with the people I'm covering---and often feel at least some of their emotional pain---but I rarely cover someone I know. This was different.
Emily's father, John, had been to my house not long ago to pick up some information for our school's upcoming auction.
The family's hope about the future had suddenly turned to disbelief and horror.
Their little girl was dead in a downtown apartment---the 37 year old she shared the place with was charged with her murder.
I eventually interviewed Terry for the newscast and was moved by her sorrow and her anger over the world her daughter had been sucked into this past summer.
She told me Emily had met a man in May---just a month after her 18th birthday. She'd struggled with a bi-polar disorder---attended St. Mary's for a brief time---then earned a GED from Pacific Crest---an alternative school.
Her mother believes the man, Paul "Gene" Frizzelle had given her daughter drugs and groomed her for the porn industry.
Terry had worked to gain her daughter's confidence---and she says--recently convinced her to return home.
Emily was supposed to leave her apartment Wednesday morning August 29th.
I can not imagine the beginning of the nightmare as she watched the news Tuesday night.
"My son and I were watching the news last night and we rarely sit down together at that time and
we saw a newscast about a young woman that had been murdered. And we looked at the newscast and we commented that it looked like the front of Emily's building. And I said, well, I'm gonna call her because if people are getting murdered in that building she needs to get out right now!" said Terry.
She called her daughter's phone---but she never answered. She was already dead.
Frizzelle is charged with her murder.
Terry Egan believes there are many other young---18 year olds in the Portland area who have fallen prey to the same sort of men---and she is vowing to turn her despair into action---to help.
Here's a quote from Terry Egan we could not squeeze into the tv story---
"I'm not gonna let someone like that destroy Emily. He may have murdered her---yes he did---but he didnt murder who she was here and who she was in her community and who she was in her family."
And he is inconsequential to me and he will get punished as he needs to be. Who should be worried are the other men out there doing that. Because I'm not kidding. I don't have a plan right this second, but this is not the end. She's not the only who that's out there."
I'm sure the family would appreciate any thoughts or prayers you'd like to offer.