Friday, August 31, 2007

Andi Brewer

May 15, 1999 my life changed forever. My beautiful 12 year-old daughter, Andria “Andi” Nichole Brewer was kidnapped from her father’s rural Arkansas home. After a three day state wide search for her that included hundreds of volunteers, state, local, and federal law enforcement her abductor confessed to the FBI that he had abducted Andi.

He had waited for her father to leave the house then he went to the door, told her that her grandparent’s were ill and that she needed to leave with him. He then drove her 10 miles away to the town of Cove, Arkansas down an old logging road where he raped and strangled her. We learned from his confession that she fought him and begged for her life. She promised not to tell that he had raped her if only he would take her home.

He didn’t. He strangled her to death.

After he murdered her he pulled her 400 yards further into the wooded area and covered her small nude body with scrub brush and disposed of her clothing into the raging Buffalo River. The murderer, Karl Roberts, was a relative by marriage, so none of us found it odd when he helped all of us search for Andi for the three days she was missing.

When we finally learned what had happened to Andi I wanted to die with her. There is no other way to explain the loss of a child other than to say that dying by slow torture would be better. I have never experienced such great pain emotionally or physically. Unless you have lost a child there is no way to for me to explain it in a way you may understand.

There was a little relief when Karl Roberts was found guilty of first degree capital murder and was given the death penalty. For a time that seemed to pacify my rage and hate for him, but soon enough he began to consume my thoughts again. I hated him. I wanted to blow his brains out. I wanted him to suffer long and slow. I even gave him a nickname “Spawn of Satan” and prayed to God that he was being raped and tortured in prison.

Hate and un-forgiveness consumed me. My thoughts were only on ways to kill Karl Roberts myself.

Then one morning I was watching Katie Couric on NBC when the story of Gary Ridgway , the Green River killer, was broadcast. Ridgway was sentenced for the murders of 48 women making him the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history. He was to receive 48 consecutive life terms for the murders of the women he killed. I watched with great interest as the crime victim’s families were each allotted 10 minutes to give a victim impact statement.

NBC showed clips from several statements: "I hope you rot in hell, you son of a bitch.” and “You are not God. It was not your right to decide who lived and who died.” Ridgway sat stoic and hard, eyes squinted seemingly full of hate.

It wasn’t until Bob Rule, father of 16-year-old Linda Rule, stood and faced the killer that something inside of me and Gary Ridgway broke. Bob Rule looked straight at the Green River killer and said.

"Mr. Ridgway, there are people here who hate you, I'm not one of them. I forgive you for what you've done. You've made it difficult to live up to what I believe, and that is what God says to do, and that is forgive, and he doesn't say to forgive just certain people, he says forgive all. So you are forgiven.”

Ridgway’s face softened and his lips began to tremble. Then he began to cry. At that precise moment, I realized that the only way I would be able to go on living was to stop hating. I had to do what Bob Rule had done and let it go, let it quit killing me, let Andi rest in peace.

I had been consumed with hate for the man who had murdered my daughter. My heart and soul had been filled with blackness and it nearly killed me. It had almost destroyed my family, too. I knew that if something didn’t change I would be in the graveyard, dead from a broken heart, next to my little daughter. What Bob Rule had done that day by taking back the power from the Green River killer was life changing for me.

It was then that I felt sorry for the other crime victims in the Ridgway case. I knew exactly what they had been feeling because I, too, had been in a courtroom and faced my own daughter’s killer. I remember seething with hate as I looked at him. I wanted to scream profanities at him. I remember feeling the anger as he sat there looking much as Ridgway had, stoic and hard.

But, now sometimes wish I had said the things in court that Mr. Rule had said. “I forgive you for what you’ve done.” I sometimes wish I had taken the power back then , when I gave my own victim impact statement.

But I didn’t and I’m okay with that.

Because now I have and I don’t hate anymore.


kaykay said...

this is so sad i would never forgive anyone that harmed my children.

Damaris said...

Forgiveness is the best option, you do the rigth thing. Andi is now waiting for you in Heaven, may Jesus be in your heart so you could be with your precious daugther someday. (sorry any mistake, my English isn't the best)God bless you.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, brilliant phrase and is duly

Anonymous said...

It is remarkable, a useful phrase

bobby said...

Don't forget that cock sucker, after he raped and murdered her went back to the house and ate dinner with the family as if nothing ever happened. Then he tried to pawn the murder off on me until he failed the lie detector test on the third day. I still remember those three days as if yesterday. I still carry a picture of Andi to this day.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say that I know I didn't know your daughter so this sounds like I'm making assupmtions but wherever she is I know she's proud of you, and that you did what she would have wanted

Anonymous said...

Hi Rebecca, I found this blogpost after googling your daughter after seeing an article on facebook. I wanted to thank you for writing about the witness impact statement...about the forgiveness statement. I was floored by those words...and I understand how they affected you. You said it so well when you said the speaker took Ridgeway's power (back). I don't have children, so I can not feel the hurt you and others have felt ....but I am keenly aware of the horrible random evil that can and does befall us. A crime against anyone is a crime against us. Congratulations on working so hard on behalf of your daughter and for others. I want to forgive people.....and because of reading this blogpost, I will try my best to do that. You are a wise person.

Anonymous said...

Clearly he hasn't forgiven. However, I do not blame him one bit for how he feels.

Anonymous said...

I believe this article was written by the mom given it says she was kidnapped from "her fathers house" not "my house".

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine losing my child especially in such a horrific, evil way. You are a strong woman of God to be able to forgive. One day you will meet your daughter again, in Heaven.

Anonymous said...

The Lord wants us to show others Him THROUGH Us... Through forgiveness... Through Love... Through Example. There's no greater gifts than Grace and Love. I pray for comfort for you and your loved ones. You are doing the right thing. Like my mama always says, NOTHING TRULY WORTH IT AND REAL CMS EASILY.