Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Friction Powered Forum

It may just prove that I'm crazy, but I've decided to give this a go and see how it works out.

If nothing else, it'll be a learning experience. Y'all behave now.

ETA: Registration is open but requires Admin approval for account activation. Please be patient, and I'll get to you as soon as I can.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

the ladybug story

While it may seem trite to draw comparisons between the murder cases of Michelle Young and Laci Peterson, the similarities that continue to pop up make it impossible not to do so. The obvious parallels between the two young women and their life circumstances, as well as the way in which their mothers have publicly handled their loss, are tangible in comparison to the ethereal nature of the following annecdotes.

Sharon Rocha shares the story of how Stanislaus County prosecutors saw the presence of ladybugs as a sign from Laci that all was well:

"Listen to this, said Laci's friend, brushing some strands of blond hair from her face. She was one of several of Laci's girlfriends visiting her gravesite with me. It was a beautiful day, perfect for reminiscing about Laci, and at some point Stacey remembered what has since become known as "the ladybug story." Since it involved the prosecution, she was surprised I hadn't heard it, and proceeded to tell me.

Dave Harris was the first person to notice something. It was summer, and at the time he was going through Laci's photo albums, searching for images that might have an emotional impact in the courtroom. He realized from things he saw in various pictures that Laci had a fondness for ladybugs. She did, too – sunflowers, dragonflies, and ladybugs. A couple months later, as the prosecution was preparing for the closing statement, Dave began noticing ladybugs showing up on his sleeve, in his car, on the bushes where he walked, all around him. It happened too often to be a coincidence, he thought, but when he told his wife, she looked at him as if he'd lost his mind.

He continued to see them, though. One day he was in court, and things weren't going well. He was feeling a little down. But then he spotted a ladybug fluttering around the defense table. He watched it land on a book in front of Geragos. Dave was transfixed by it. As he later told me, they were in a courtroom with no windows, on the second floor of a building. The nearest door leading outside was on the opposite end of the building. The likelihood of this thing just flying in were slim to none.

He chuckled. Rick and Birgit looked at him the way his wife had, like he was insane. At the break, he told them about the ladybugs. While he thought they were a sign that Laci was watching over them, he kept that to himself and merely said they were good luck. Rick and Birgit dismissed his ladybug theory as nonsense. However, pretty soon they started to notice ladybugs, too, and then they sheepishly mentioned it to Dave. He still didn't tell them his Laci theory, but he reiterated that they had nothing to worry about as long as they were seeing ladybugs.

One day in mid-October, as Rick worked on his closing statement in his hotel room, he saw a ladybug on the outside of his window screen. At first he didn't pay attention to it, but the ladybug seemed to be watching him as he worked. So he stared back, smiling, as he remembered Dave's story. Later, he told Birgit and Dave about his sighting and they were amused.

I have it on good authority that there were no ladybug sightings during jury deliberations, which lasted just under seven full days, and from what I gathered no one was thinking about ladybugs on Friday, November 12, the day the verdict came back. That was understandable. Rick, Dave, and Birgit all had plenty of important things on their minds that morning when they got a phone call summoning them to the courthouse. They thought they were needed to clarify questions from the jurors, something they'd been doing regularly. They didn't expect a verdict.

But then as Birgit finished getting dressed, she went over to her hotel room window and saw her new favorite red-and-black winged insect – on the inside. Actually, the ladybug was between the glass and the screen. It was a strange place to see one and almost impossible to imagine how it got there. Stranger still was the timing. For some reason, Craig Grogan knocked on her door and she showed him. I don't know how, but by this time Craig also knew about the ladybugs, and he took it as a very good sign. Right before leaving, she called Rick and Dave with the news, and afterward, she later told me, all of them knew it was going to be a good day.

[For Laci by Sharon Rocha, pp. 303-304]

In the following account, WRAL's Amanda Lamb relates the sense of comfort that ladybugs provide to Michelle's loved ones while they await justice.

Linda says prayer has helped her cope and something else, something unlikely – ladybugs. That's right, I said ladybugs.

It wasn't like she came right out and told me about it. I noticed the ladybug pin, the ladybug necklace and the ladybug earrings. I commented on them.

That's when she told me about what they had meant to her since her daughter's death.

First of all, Michelle apparently loved ladybugs and was particularly fond of a ladybug mirror her mother has.

But Linda Fisher noticed something strange since her daughter's death – ladybugs seem to be everywhere she is Sometimes, she sees three, four or five at a time, inside, outside, wherever there is talk of Michelle.

Linda's sister – Michelle's aunt – recently took a trip to Italy – one that Michelle had planned to attend prior to her death. They went to a town that Michelle had always wanted to go. All of a sudden, her aunt looked down and saw a ladybug.

She was not a believer, now she is.

The entire family has ladybug stories from the past year, hence Linda's fondness for ladybug jewelry and all things emblazoned with ladybugs.

It is a small sign of life, but something she holds onto dearly in her profound grief and loss. The ladybugs make her grin, and in turn, make her think of her beautiful daughter's bright smile. They are a small comfort when there is no real comfort to be had for a mother who loses a child.

As we finished the interview with Linda Fisher Thursday at her sister's home, she suddenly called out "Ladybug!" I looked over at the window next to her, and low and behold, there it was, a ladybug making its way across the glass.

[Amanda Lamb, "Signs of Life", Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook,]

As for me, I choose to believe that the ladybugs bode well for resolution in the investigation of Michelle's murder. And I'm grateful to Linda Fisher and Sharon Rocha for sharing their stories, to Amanda Lamb for taking notice, and to WRAL for providing a venue. If you haven't already done so, I urge you to watch Amanda Lamb's exclusive interview with Linda Fisher. Click the image below to access WRAL's video player.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Justice Abides

With the anniversary of Michelle Fisher Young's murder swiftly approaching, the search for justice has taken on a renewed fervor. Despite months of no news and no visible activity in the investigation, various message boards across the Internet are proof-postive that many have never given up hope that Michelle's killer will eventually be prosecuted. In recent days, a group of friends calling themselves the "Magnet Militia" took it upon themselves to remind the public that Michelle Young's killer is still at large and even the smallest effort -- the minutest of clues -- can bring big results. Today, Amanda Lamb, crime reporter for WRAL, brought news of the story to the public. Don't miss Amanda's report via video link at

The group has already distributed magnets to the residents of the Youngs' Enchanted Oaks neighborhood and intends to make more available throughout Raleigh, across North Carolina, and anywhere else that has the potential to yield results. They've graciously provided this photograph of a magnet applied to the mailbox at 5108 Birchleaf Drive, Michelle's former residence.

[Images courtesy of the Magnet Militia]

Kudos to the Magnet Militia! These friends give credence to the belief that justice abides and is determined to triumph.

Please, if you have any information related to Michelle Young's murder -- no matter how insignificant it might seem -- call the number on the magnet: 919-856-6800. It's the same as the number on the Progress Energy reward poster, which promises confidentiality to all tip providers.

Additional Note:

Michelle Young's mother, Linda Fisher, recently gathered together family and friends in New York for a picnic to celebrate Michelle's memory. Visit Statia Grossman's Michelle Young Memorial blog to view her photographs of the beautiful day they shared in her honor.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


1. He killed Michelle

This has not been proven to be a lie. He's the prime suspect.

2. Car accident

I assume you're saying that it's a lie that the accident was intentional. The fact is that Wake County law enforcement officials reviewed the accident. Their determination is yet to be made public.

3. Boat accident

I need more information before I can make a determination about the veracity of this story.

4. Swallowed a ring

If this is a lie, it is Jason's lie. He convinced both Michelle and the owner of the rings that he had swallowed them. The subsequent action taken by them is proof positive that they believed the rings had traveled through Jason's gastrointestinal system.

5. Sabotaged heat pump

I'm not familiar with this rumor. I'm only aware that the unit that heated and cooled the second floor was not working at the time of Michelle's death. I can't see how sabotaging a heat pump could have anything to do with Michelle's death. The broken heat pump is a likely explanation for why Michelle was dressed as she was for sleeping.

6. Sabotaged garage door

As I understand it, the automatic door opener was broken. However, if Jason planned the murder, what could be accomplished by sabotaging the door opener? Nothing that I can see. The broken door opener and heat pump were just things that indicated the possibility of financial problems as probable cause for a search warrant and non-testimonial identification order. On the other hand, this photograph from On the Record suggests that investigators may have had some interest in the condition of the garage door.

7. Locked dog in bathroom

How can you state that this is a lie and in the same comment thread admit that you don't know where Meredith found the dog?

8. He is a narcissist

I'll leave that to the experts. Narcissistic or not, he is a jackass and a lousy husband.

9. He’s not a narcissist

See my response to number 8.

10. He is a spendthrift

Spendthrift is too narrow a term. The fact is that some of Jason's spending habits were a point of contention between Jason and Michelle.

11. He wallowed in the fleshpots of California, Las Vegas

He cheated on his wife.

12. He didn’t want Michelle and Cassie to go on the Calif. trip

I'm not familiar with this one either. As I understood it, Michelle was unable or unwilling to go on the California trip. Jason went without her and Cassidy. It seems strange to me, given the loss of the pregnancy and the impact that would (or should) have had on both Michelle and Jason.

13. He wasted money on the Calif. trip

Apparently, Jason did not consider it wasteful. Did Michelle? Eord11 said that she did.

14. Michelle was upset about money spent for the Calif. trip.

Witnesses A and B told Detective Sternberg that Michelle was upset about the California trip. Was it about the money or something else?

15. He wanted a divorce

I haven't heard or seen anything to suggest that Jason wanted a divorce. I have heard that he told friends that he was miserable in the marriage and never would have married Michelle if she hadn't gotten pregnant. I bet you've heard the same. I do not think Jason would have seen divorce as a satisfactory resolution.

16. She wanted a divorce

That remains to be seen. Hopefully, the therapists notes, and perhaps witness testimony, will shed light on the subject.

17. He bought life insurance a week before he killed her, a month before, etc.

It doesn't matter when the policies were purchased. The fact is that Michelle's death would compensate Jason in the amount of $1,000,000.

Oh, I’m tired of this. I could go on for several more pages.

I could, too.

Now it’s your turn. Tell me the lies told about the Fishers.

You can read them at CourtTV and Refugees Unleashed. I won't be posting them here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Last Ditch Effort

Tomorrow will mark two weeks since I made the following post in the comment thread of Michelle Young Murder: Rage or Planned?

There are some questions I would like to ask before I publish your comment. I can set up a private blog entry here that is password protected. You and I can discuss this matter on the comment section of that entry. All I need from you is for you to give me a password and agree not to share that password with anyone else. I will set up the private entry with the password you provide, and I will agree to not share the password with anyone else. When we are done with the discussion, I will delete the entry and the discussion if you so choose.

If I've heard no response from you by 5 p.m. tomorrow, I'll accept your silence as a rejection of my offer and publish your comment per your previous instruction. I hope that one way or another you'll participate in the discussion the subject of your comment is sure to touch off.

Update: September 28, 2007

Your comments have been published.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Beguilement for Hire

Who paid the Quack? Do you feel like you got your money's worth? Think again. You've been hornswoggled. The Quack has exploited your family's tragedy. And for what? To prolong the agonizing wait for resolution. To delay the inevitable. To make a buck and a name for himself by providing a false sense of comfort to one family while revictimizing the other. That comfort will not last. The Quack's convoluted machinations of dubious information are being sorted out. His endeavor will not change the outcome. One family will eventually be faced again with the truth. The second impact of that truth will be more painful than the initial because it will be compounded by the shame and outrage of realizing that they were misled and that they paid the Quack to mislead them. The other family will endure the continued assault and persevere because their eyes are set on the horizon and the justice that approaches, slowly but surely.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Trying Out Wordpress

I'm testing my blog on Wordpress to see if it's a good fit. Your browser will be redirected to in 10 seconds. Let me know what you think of the new digs.

Update: September 10, 2007

I have removed the redirect script from the blog template, so visitors to this blog will no longer be automatically redirected to the Wordpress version of Friction Powered. Use the above link or the one in the sidebar if you want to check it out. I'm leaning toward keeping the Wordpress version, so I'm considering closing the comment threads here. Thanks for your interest.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Kick-Off at 6:00 PM

Click on image to enlarge.

The below advertisement was published in the August issue of NCSU's Wolfpacker. Inexplicably, it did not appear in the September issue. Here's hoping the reward poster will be up on the Jumbotron during tonight's season opener against Central Florida, as well as at every home game hereafter until Michelle Young's killer is brought to justice.

(Scan courtesy of gorealtors)

Friday, August 24, 2007

A message for gojo

Gojo, if you are thinking about altering my recent PM to you at CourtTV's forum and forwarding it to the moderator in an deceitful attempt to get me banned, I'd recommend that you abandon that idea. I've made a screenprint of my original PM to you and will make sure that Coldwater sees it if you engage in such an underhanded scheme.



Thursday, August 09, 2007

Michelle Young Murder: Rage or Planned?

I made the post below at the CourtTV forum a few days ago, but it got little response. It seems most people discussing this case are already convinced that Michelle Young's murder was planned. I tend to agree with the notion that it was planned, but, as I said in the post, I'm interested in exploring the rage theory. So, I'm bringing the post here in hopes that any who might like to contribute, but are uncomfortable with the registration process required at message boards or don't want to attach a name to their comments, will feel comfortable contributing here.

At this point, I'm not interested in arguing guilt versus innocence. Until the evidence is presented, it isn't likely that any who believe Jason is guilty will change the opinion of any who believe he is innocent, and vice versa. Arguing about it is an endless loop of futility, imo. I prefer to discuss the topic of motive. More generally, was this murder a rage killing, or did the killer plan to murder Michelle before he ever entered the house that night? I tend to believe it was planned, but I'd like to further explore and discuss the rage theory of a fight that got out of control. The essence of a rage killing is uncontrolled physical violence.So the most basic question one could ask, if you consider Jason the perpetrator, is had there ever been any signs of violence in the past? It's been said by people who know the couple that they were not afraid to argue in front of other people and that their arguments were quite loud and made those present uncomfortable. So my questions of them are:

  1. Was there ever any type of physical violence, from Jason or Michelle, during these altercations -- hitting, grabbing, pushing, throwing things, menacing behavior or threats of violence?

  2. In retrospect, were there ever any injuries to either of them that caused anyone to wonder if there had been physical violence?

  3. Was there ever any household damage that could have been caused by physical violence?

  4. Were there ever any odd explanations or excuses from either of the Youngs that left you questioning their veracity, if even for a fleeting moment?

I realize my questions aren't likely to bring any insiders out of lurkdom. Who in their right mind would willingly throw themselves into this arena?! Nevertheless, I think the questions are important. IMO, they are elemental to the theory of a rage killing.

If you have anything to add, just click the Comments link at the bottom of this entry. You can make up a nickname or comment anonymously. On the off chance that you would like to contribute but don't want your comment published, just preface it with "Confidential" and I will withhold it in Comment Moderation.

Update: August 30, 2007

Comment moderation has been turned off. All new comments will be published immediately by the author.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Reward Offered for Michelle Young's Killer

[click image to enlarge]

In case you missed it...

Stan Tribble was convicted.

Yes, convicted of the first degree murder of his wife, Tracy Gostomski Tribble. Take heed; no physical evidence was found in Stan Tribble's vehicle nor in the couple's home that directly tied him to her death. Yet a jury found him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

So what convinced the twelve of his guilt?

A missing comforter

Stan's chilling remark to a friend

Tracy's fractured face

Stan's defensive letter to the media
(strikingly reminiscent of Scott Peterson's letter to volunteers)

Stan's cell phone data, text messages, and email


The testimony of a jailhouse snitch.

Stan Tribble will serve a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

What would I like to see next?

A billboard similar to the one pictured above (courtesy of Omaha's KETV-7) to replace the reward poster issued by Progress Energy last week for the murderer of Michelle Fisher Young.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Transmission Suspension

[personal message redacted]

To all readers:

I am enabling Comment Moderation for the time being. All new comments will be held in moderation until I approve them for publishing, so don't be alarmed if you post a comment and it doesn't show up for some time. I will get to them as soon as I can. Anything unsuitable for publishing will be deleted.

In the meantime:

You can set your minds to work on what one reader termed "that awesome riddle". Then you will know something that I know. It's easier to solve than you might think. It's not like I wrote it in Mandarin, after all.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Message Box Help

If you're having trouble sending and receiving private messages at the CourtTV or Websleuths forums, you probably need to clean out your box. It's necessary to clean out both the Inbox and the Sent Items folder. Otherwise, your box will fill up with sent messages and you won't be able to send or receive anything new.
  1. Click on "user cp" near the top center of the page.
  2. Click on "Private Messages" at the far right of the User CP navigation bar.
  3. Delete any unwanted messages in your Inbox. Just check the boxes to the right of the message labels and click delete at the bottom of the list.
  4. Select "Sent Items" from the "Jump to folder" dropdown menu on the right, just below the navigation bar.
  5. Delete any unwanted messages in your Sent Items folder in the same manner that you deleted Inbox items.

I've been told it's also necessary to clear the Message Tracking items, but I'm not sure that function affects mailbox capacity. Tracking items can be viewed through the "Jump to folder" menu.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Bad News for Stan

Jury selection has begun in the murder trial of Stan Tribble in Council Bluffs, Iowa, for the 2006 murder of his wife, Tracy Gostomski Tribble. Judge Gordon Abel, yesterday, ruled that past incidents of domestic violence will be allowed in as evidence of a pattern of abuse that eventually ended in Tracy's death. Additionally, Judge Abel nixed the defense team's request to present the absurd theory that Tracy committed suicide. Tracy's body was found in the Missouri River on May 19, sixteen days after Stan Tribble reported her missing. She suffered fracturing blows to the head, and cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation due to suffocation or drowning.

There is more information about Tracy's murder in previous entries on this blog. And local news organizations in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and Omaha, Nebraska, appear to be following it closely.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Michelle Young Memorial

Photographer, Statia Grossman, has created a blog as a memorial to her friend, Michelle Young. There she includes photos and video of the recent Arbor Memorial established in Michelle's honor as well as links to her photos and video of the 30th birthday celebration held in February. The address by Linda Fisher is particularly poignant. In addition to expressing the heartache and grief of the family's loss, Linda explains the reason for the Michelle Marie Fisher-Young Memorial Arbor Program and recites the poem etched on a star atop Michelle's evergreen tree. As I understand it, the poem was originally posted at Websleuths by a member named Samiya. Linda found it touching and meaningful, as Michelle often sang "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" to Cassidy at bedtime, and had it engraved on the star with the opening words, "For Cassidy" and closing, "Love, Mommy".

In another clip, Michelle's father, Alan, with Meredith and Linda at his side, addresses the attendees and speaks of the Fisher family's grief as well as their commitment to attaining justice for their daughter and sister. In encourage you to watch each of the clips so generously provided by Statia Grossman. Michelle will not be forgotten.

If I have any of the above details wrong, please let me know and I will make the necessary corrections.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Calm Before the Storm?

It may be pointless to open the comment threads back up. It appears nothing is happening with the Michelle Young case right now. I was on the verge of abandoning this blog last November, so my interest in the Young case is virtually the only thing keeping the doors open.

It's not that I'm no longer interested in, or keeping up with, the other cases I've written about in the past; I'd just lost interest in continuing to blog about them. Some of them -- Natalee Holloway, Trenton Duckett, George Smith, IV, John Fiocco, Jr. -- may never be solved. I don't like it, but I've come to accept it. Others -- Tracy Tribble, Michelle Gardner-Quinn, Nona Dirksmeyer, Tiffany Souers, Imette St. Guillen -- appear to be proceeding toward satisfactory conclusions. I don't feel compelled to press on about them.

It's the uncertainty of an arrest and prosecution, the mystery of what investigators know but aren't revealing, that holds my interest in the murder of Michelle Young. And it's the apparent stagnancy of the investigation that frustrates me to no end. The forums devoted to discussion of the case at various message boards have all but died, progressing from a Groundhog Day-like continual loop of hash and rehash to a virtual standstill. Sparse information publicized by early media coverage and scant search warrants and leaked by people close to the family has been dissected and analyzed past the point of monotony to the brink of exasperation. I can only hope that the investigation being conducted by the Wake County Sheriff's Department and District Attorney Colon Willoughby's office has not gone as cold as the daily discussions at the crime forums. It's too dang quiet.

So like I said, it may be pointless to open the doors here, but I'm doing it anyway. Something's gotta give. Often, all it takes is one little change, one minute vibration of activity, to get the ball rolling. This is my insignificant contribution.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Riddle me this...

A passenger in his own SUV;
Wan and silent or red-faced and sobbing?

The Young pack holds the safety net
Beneath Jason’s tightrope.

Cross Smith’s palm with silver,
And hope springs eternal.

$1,000,000. Baby, that’s a lot of pesos!
A few more than the average death would bring.

Is that a white Bronco in the garage?
Jason drives an Explorer, silly Billy.

The journey spans three states.
In what county does it re-enter North Carolina?

In a perfect world, Cassidy would have her mommy.
In our imperfect world, Mommy’s killer will be tried.

Linda waits for word.
Is her in-law an outlaw?

Turn this riddle every which way,
But don’t lose sight of the big picture.

The answer will get you close;
You must forego the compass to get there.

Solve it,
And you’ll make my day.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Jason's Journey Addendum

If the previous entry, Jason's Journey, was too convoluted for you to follow, the map below should help you to follow along. Click on it for an enlarged image.

The legend at the left of the image shows most of the location labels. Marker #9 labels the green area where I believe Jason's Friday morning business meeting had to have been.

Of course, Jason and some of his family traveled from Brevard back to Raleigh, and ultimately, to Meredith's house in Fuquay Varina (#8) on Friday evening, but I didn't feel it necessary to draw that route on the map.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Jason's Journey

When the murder of Michelle Young was first presented to the public, we learned from media reports only that Jason had traveled to Virginia on business. The exact location of his meeting and hotel were not revealed, and it wasn't even clear if investigators had that information. It could be inferred that the meeting was most likely in the western part of Virginia, as his route ostensibly provided the opportunity to swing by his mother's house in Brevard, North Carolina, before returning to Raleigh. In an earlier entry, I wrote the following in considering potential sites for Jason's lodging on the night in question:

If he did commit this homicide, I surmise that he probably drove about 3 hours on Thursday evening, checking in to a Hampton Inn in the vicinity of the I-77/I-81 junction, outlined on this map. (The map takes a little while to load but is very helpful in visualizing the itinerary, so be patient. And by all means, use the zoom feature.) That stopping point is a reasonable conjecture regardless of Jason's innocence or culpability. There are plenty of accommodations there and it is centric to several options for the location of his meeting, in addition to being logistically plausible with the Get-It-Market, the side-trip to Brevard, and a possible return trip to Raleigh during the night.

On Thursday, a CourtTV forum member by the name of RPD received independent confirmation that Jason's hotel was one of those included in my earlier estimation -- the Hillsville Hampton Inn, to be exact. Interestingly, it is the one in that outlined area that is closest to Raleigh, giving Jason a one-way travel time of approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes over 174 miles of interstate highway.

What else do we know or can we surmise of Jason's travels over those fateful two days? His friend, Rhett Fussell, states that Jason was traveling to Virginia for a business meeting and that he left on Thursday evening to get a head start. Commonly, evening is dinner-time to bed-time, or 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., though some consider evening to extend to midnight. It wouldn't be unreasonable to assume that Jason ate dinner with his family and hit the road after rush hour traffic dissipated. A forum member by the name of "just the facts" stated early on that Jason had called Michelle around 11 p.m. that night to let her know that he had arrived safely at his hotel. Allegedly, all was well at that time, but that phone call has not been publicly confirmed by any other source. Assuming that it is factual or even feasible, Jason had to have left home prior to 8:15. It seems reasonable to deduce that his departure fell some time in between 6:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., more likely in the early portion of that spectrum. A CourtTV member who posts under the name Raleigh Resident reported hearing that Jason may have left as early as 4 p.m. If that were the case, where was he throughout the remaining afternoon and evening? He certainly would have had time to make it to his destination rather than stopping for the night less than three hours from his home.

The location and time of Jason's business meeting are two additional details that investigators have kept close to the vest. However, a CourtTV forum member, and self-described friend of Jason Young, by the name of gojo recently revealed that the meeting was scheduled for 10 a.m. Additionally, a receipt for gas purchase at the Get-It Market places Jason in Duffield, Virginia at some point on Friday, November 3. A full tank of gas could easily have gotten Jason's 2004 Ford Explorer from Raleigh, North Carolina, to Duffield, Virginia, and beyond. I consider Duffield to be a wayside stop that Jason made after his meeting. Why? For a couple of reasons:

  • It doesn't seem all that likely for him to have stopped for gas prior to his meeting. If he hadn't enough gas to make it from Hillsville to the meeting location, he would probably have filled up in Hillsville before embarking on the interstate. Then there's the possibility of messing up his suit or carrying a gasoline odor with him into the meeting. It just doesn't fit with my logic, however strange my logic might be.

  • Duffield is more than 40 miles off of I-81, the major thoroughfare to the southwestern corner of the state. The quickest route from Hillsville to Duffield actually takes the driver down into Kingsport, Tennessee and approaches Duffield from the southeast. That route just doesn't make a lot of sense to me unless Duffield was the intended destination. And I've seen nothing to indicate that it was.
I think it's more likely that the meeting location was somewhere to the north of Duffield and that Jason stopped at the Get-It Market for gas after his meeting, en route to his mother's Brevard, North Carolina home. The main route to Duffield from the north is US-23, which intersects US-58 some twenty miles north of town, which in turn approaches from Abingdon. Abingdon has long stood out to me as having some significance to the case. (And no, I'm not pretending to be psychic. In looking at the map, Abingdon caught my eye in much the same way that the I-77/I-81 interchange did.) Originally, it seemed like a good candidate for the source of the "Hampton Hotel" receipt found in Jason's SUV. However, travel distance and time quickly discounted that possibility, and we now know it not to be the case. So what other significance can Abingdon have? I surmise that it is where Jason left the interstate on his Friday morning trek to a business meeting somewhere to the north of Duffield. From thence, he cruised on down the scenic highways to Brevard, stopping briefly at the Get-It Market where he filled the Explorer's 22-gallon tank and perhaps grabbed a bite to eat. If I am correct in these musings and our friend gojo is correct as to Jason's 3 p.m. arrival in Brevard, he should have been at the Get-It Market around noon. The receipt and video surveillance tape will eventually tell the tale. Taking a stab at a one-hour meeting which began at 10 a.m. would allow for an hour's travel time from the meeting to Duffield. There are several towns to choose from; I still contend that the meeting was in Virginia as that has been the claim from Jason's camp since the earliest days following Michelle's murder.

As I stated earlier, Jason allegedly arrived at his mother's home at approximately 3 p.m. His step-father met him in the yard and broke the devastating news of Michelle's murder, whereupon Jason "fell plumb to his knees." According to gojo, Jason's mother, sister and brother-in-law drove him back to Raleigh, setting off around 4:30 p.m. and arriving in Raleigh between 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. During the drive, gojo claims, Mrs. Young called the Wake County Sheriff's Department to let them know that they were on their way and willing to do whatever necessary to assist in the investigation. Meanwhile, Jason was inconsolable and sobbing uncontrollably. The deputy is alleged to have asked if Jason was with her, to which she replied that he was but could not talk at that time, eliciting a "he'd better be with you" response from the deputy. I'll let you decide for yourself how much weight to give that rendition of events.

It's still unclear what time Jason and company arrived at Meredith Fisher's home in Fuquay-Varina to retrieve Cassidy, the Youngs' 2½ year old daughter. That residence is only about a twenty minute drive from the Youngs' Enchanted Oaks subdivision. When the Young party arrived, Jason's SUV was quickly detained and a search warrant for the vehicle was requested by the WCSD. The warrant was issued at 3:15 a.m. and executed at 4 a.m. but it isn't specified whether the detainment commenced before or after midnight. And it isn't clear where Jason was from the time he arrived in Raleigh until he showed up at Meredith's house. What has been relayed through gojo is that Jason entered the house to reunite with his daughter and remained inside while his family dealt with sheriff's officers outside, hoping to retrieve some of their personal belongings before the vehicle was taken away.

Those are Jason's travels as we know them to be or can reasonably deduce from the information available. Now it is left to determine whether the journey was a completely innocent business trip or a carefully crafted fa├žade. The window of opportunity for Jason to have committed this crime spans the hours of midnight to 6 a.m., according to the time of death estimation. So it's important to investigators to verify his whereabouts.
  • The hotel receipt proves only that he checked in at a certain time. Did he check out in the morning? Even if he did, the opportunity to travel to Raleigh and back during the night is still there.

  • Jason was carrying at least one cell phone with him. What do his phone records indicate?

    Were there pings throughout the night originating in the vicinity of the Hillsville Hampton Inn? That could be explained either of two ways:

    1. Jason was in his hotel room all night and couldn't possibly have killed Michelle.

    2. Jason left his phone in his hotel room, knowing that its pings could reveal his location.

    Do the pings indicate movement to and from Raleigh? That would present strong circumstantial evidence, and Jason would probably be behind bars right now if it were the case.

    Was his phone turned off at the conclusion of the alleged 11 p.m. phone call and turned back on in the morning? Again, there are two logical explanations, one supporting innocence and the other supporting guilt:

    1. He simply turned the phone off for the night to get a good night's sleep and turned it back on in the morning as he set out for the day.

    2. He turned it off so as not to have his movements recorded, returned to Raleigh, and turned it back on only when he was back in the vicinity of the Hillsville Hampton Inn the next morning.

  • A roundtrip return to the Enchanted Oaks residence during the night would have necessitated an additional gas purchase of 17-20 gallons. But there appear to be no other fuel purchases made on the night in question. In fact, the fuel stop in Duffield fits perfectly with Jason's legitimate business travels and side-trip to Brevard. The innocent explanation is that there were no other fuel stops between the Thursday evening departure from Raleigh and the Get-It Market purchase on Friday. In which case, Jason couldn't have returned to Raleigh and committed the murder. However there are two alternative explanations:

    1. Jason paid cash for the additional gas purchase and discarded or destroyed the receipt.

    2. Jason carried in the SUV gas cans containing an adequate amount to provide for the extra mileage.

  • I think it's important to note that between the alleged 11 p.m. phone call from Hillsville and the 10 a.m. meeting in western Virginia, Jason could have spent as many as 3 hours at the crime scene. Did he clean up there? Did Cassidy awaken while he was showering? Gojo has repeatedly made reference to Cassidy's isolated footprints in the bathroom across the hall. Who carried her in there? Were her little feet cleaned off with the washcloth she mentioned to Meredith during the 911 call? Did Jason get her back to sleep and spend as much time as possible with her before he felt compelled to hit the road in order to keep his business appointment? There are so many questions I'd like to have the answers to, but I'll never understand how he could leave her there alone with her mommy's bloody corpse.

What can be deduced from the above information and musings? Either Jason Young is innocent, or he gave careful thought and consideration to ensuring that the return to Raleigh would not be documented, and verifiable information indicating his whereabouts would jibe with the legitimate business trip. Investigators have their work cut out for them, as does Jason's attorney. Will forensic evidence at the scene of the crime prove Jason was there when the murder was committed and make all of these cogitations moot? Are there any witness sightings placing Jason Young where he shouldn't have been between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m.? Does Jason Young have information to prove that he was indeed where he claims to have been? Time will tell.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Meredith's 911 Call

The following is a transcript that I typed up while listening to the tape of Meredith Fisher's 911 call of November 3, 2006 at approximately 1:30 pm. Meredith reportedly entered her sister's home, 5108 Birchleaf Drive in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the request of her brother-in-law, who asked her to retrieve some documents for him. This is not an official transcript.

DISPATCHER: 911 State your emergency

MEREDITH: I need an ambulance. It’s an emergency.

DISPATCHER: What address are you at Ma’am?

MEREDITH: Um Birchleaf…5108 Birchleaf Road

DISPATCHER: Okay and your phone number?


DISPATCHER: Ma’am, what’s your phone number in case I lose you

MEREDITH: Um…(deleted)…hang on. Let me look at the phone. (deleted)

DISPATCHER: Alright, what’s the problem. Tell me exactly what happened.

MEREDITH: Um…I…I…I think my sister’s dead.

DISPATCHER: Okay, tell me what happened, ma’am.

MEREDITH: I have no idea. Oh my God.

DISPATCHER: Alright stay on the phone with me please.


DISPATCHER: What’s your name?

MEREDITH: Meredith Fisher

DISPATCHER: Alright, Meredith.

MEREDITH: And this is the Young address. Oh my God.

DISPATCHER: Meredith, listen to me please.


DISPATCHER: Are you with the patient now?

MEREDITH: Yes and her daughter. And…she’s…

DISPATCHER: Okay, how old is the patient?

MEREDITH: …and there’s blood everywhere. She’s 28…29


MEREDITH: Should I try to move her?

DISPATCHER: Listen to me, ma’am.

MEREDITH: Yes sir.

DISPATCHER: I’m gonna tell you what to do, but you need to calm down so we can help her. You said there’s blood everywhere?


DISPATCHER: Alright. Is she conscious?

MEREDITH: N..., I don’t think so. Should I try to help her?

DISPATCHER: Listen to me, ma’am.

MEREDITH: I’m listening.

DISPATCHER: Is she breathing?

MEREDITH: I don’t think so.

DISPATCHER: Have you checked?

MEREDITH: Michelle? [pause] She’s cold.

DISPATCHER: Okay. Listen to me. Did you see what happened?

MEREDITH: I don’t know. Cassidy, come here, sweetie. I’m here with her daughter.


MEREDITH: There's...there's like blood footprints all over the house from her her daughter's little footprints.

DISPATCHER: Okay, listen to me. What's your first name?

MEREDITH: Meredith

DISPATCHER: Alright, Meredith...

MEREDITH: Yes sir.

DISPATCHER: Did you see what happened?

MEREDITH: I..I..I just came here on a fluke. I usually, you know, don't come here during the day.


MEREDITH: She shouldn't be home. She should be at work. Like...

DISPATCHER: Okay, listen to me.

MEREDITH: Yes sir.

MEREDITH: I...I...[inaudible] right now.

DISPATCHER: Did you say...Can you tell me why she looks dead...looks like she's dead?

MEREDITH: I don't know. I have no idea. There's blood all over the place.

DISPATCHER: Okay, did you say she's cold?

MEREDITH: Sh..uh yes.



DISPATCHER: Alright, stay on the phone.


CASSIDY: [inaudible] there's blood. Can you see my...[inaudible]...get a washcloth into my...[inaudible]...?

MEREDITH: Yes, sweetie.

CASSIDY: [inaudible]

MEREDITH: Sweetie, do you know what happened to Mommy?


MEREDITH: Did she fall?

CASSIDY: gotta boo...She got boo-boos everywhere and...and...she got…

DISPATCHER: Alright, do you think she's beyond any help?

MEREDITH: I don’t know. Honestly, um…

DISPATCHER: You don’t know? Alright

MEREDITH: I’m normally very good under pressure.

DISPATCHER: Okay, we’re gonna tell you what to do then. Okay?

MEREDITH: Yes, sir.

DISPATCHER: Are you right by her now?

MEREDITH: I...I’m keeping her daughter out of there.

DISPATCHER: Okay. Alright, so you’re not with her?

MEREDITH: I’m right outside the bedroom.

DISPATCHER: Can you get her daughter secured s…Can you carry the phone to where she’s at?


DISPATCHER: Alright. Can you secure her daughter?

MEREDITH: Cassidy, sweetie, can you stay in your room for two seconds, okay?


MEREDITH: Okay, can you close the door for two seconds and I’ll be right back in here, okay, sweetie?

CASSIDY: [inaudible]



MEREDITH: Okay, yes sir.

DISPATCHER: Okay. You got a cordless phone?



MEREDITH: Stay right there, sweetie. Okay.

DISPATCHER: Alright, is…I want you to…is she laying on her back?

MEREDITH: No, she’s laying on her stomach.

DISPATCHER: She’s on her stomach? She’s face down?


DISPATCHER: Alright, can you…can you get her on her back?

MEREDITH: [deep breath] okay…oh my God. Michelle? I don’t think so. She’s so heavy.

DISPATCHER: Alright, see if you can get her on her back.

MEREDITH: I just really think she’s dead.


MEREDITH: I really think she’s dead.

DISPATCHER: Okay. Are you certain?

MEREDITH: Hang on. Casssidy, sweetie, please go in your room. Okay, honey?

MEREDITH: I um…I um…I’m pretty sure.


MEREDITH: I…I don’t know…I don’t know. I’m…

DISPATCHER: Okay, we need to make sure.


DISPATCHER: Can you get her on her back for me?

MEREDITH: She’s kind of…twisted in a way that I can’t do that.

DISPATCHER: You can’t roll her over.

MEREDITH: Not…not easily.

DISPATCHER: You’re gonna have to try.

MEREDITH: Hang on…let me…I’m trying to see if I can get her pulse.

DISPATCHER: We gotta try to do CPR if we can get her on her back, Meredith.

MEREDITH: No, she’s ice cold.

DISPATCHER: She’s cold?


DISPATCHER: Okay, alright.

MEREDITH: And her body is stiff.

DISPATCHER: Okay, then don’t try. If she’s cold then just…

MEREDITH: Oh my God, I (inaudible)…

DISPATCHER: …there’s probably nothing much you can do.

MEREDITH: Should I not touch anything?

DISPATCHER: Alright, try not to touch anything more than you did. Was anything out of place or unusual when you came in?

MEREDITH: This place does not look like what it normally looks like.

DISPATCHER: Okay, what’d it…

MEREDITH: There’s blood in the bed.

DISPATCHER: Okay, alright. Try not to touch anything else, okay?

MEREDITH: Okay, I just moved a pillow.

DISPATCHER: Alright. Just leave everything exactly where it is then.

MEREDITH: Okay…okay.

DISPATCHER: Do you see anything else?


DISPATCHER: Do you see anything else that looks unusual?

MEREDITH: No. Cassidy, was anybody here? The dog was freaking out when I got here. Was anybody here, sweetie?

CASSIDY: [inaudible]

DISPATCHER: Alright, Meredith…

MEREDITH: Yes, sir.

DISPATCHER: Alright, I’m gonna…I’m gonna get the sheriff’s department to pick up on the line with us.


DISPATCHER: ‘Cause they’re gonna need to talk to you about what you’re seeing. Okay?


DISPATCHER: Now, I’m gonna brief them on what’s happened, and you just stay on the line.


DISPATCHER: What’s your last name, Meredith?



MEREDITH: Her last name is Young.

DISPATCHER: Are you her relative?

MEREDITH: I’m her only sister.

DISPATCHER: Okay. Alright, Meredith. Stay with me just a minute, okay?


CASSIDY: [inaudible]

[series of clicks and tones]

CASSIDY: [inaudible]



CASSIDY: [inaudible] { some people believe they hear the words, “Daddy did it.”}


CASSIDY: [inaudible]



DEPUTY: Sheriff’s office. What is your emergency?

DISPATCHER: Hey, this is uh Brent.

DEPUTY: Uh-huh?

DISPATCHER: Look, I’ve got a lady named Meredith Fisher on the line from this address.


DISPATCHER: We’ve got E-medicine en route to Birchleaf.


DISPATCHER: And she…she’s in there with her sister. Um, she’s gonna tell you about what she’s seen, and it’s apparent it might be a Code 7 and there may be…there is evidence of trauma.

DEPUTY: We got deputies already en route.

DISPATCHER: Okay, but you need to talk to her. I’m gonna let her talk to you.

DEPUTY: I will. Thanks.

DISPATCHER: She’s on the line with you.


DISPATCHER: Meredith, go ahead.

DEPUTY: Meredith?

MEREDITH: I’m also here with [tape ends]

Friday, February 02, 2007

Perhaps to my peril...

Better known as "The Ring Story"

As a blogger, I have, from time to time, received interesting information about the subjects that spark my interest. Usually, I am asked to keep whatever is shared confidential, as its release may be detrimental to the investigation or the anecdote may be self-evident as to its source. On the rare occasion, I am permitted to publish that with which I've been entrusted. Actually, rare is an understatement. It's rare that I get information that hasn't already been made public either through legitimate news reports, public statements by law enforcement officials, or word-of-mouth. Rarer still that I am able to publish.

The very brief story I'm about to share may be considered nothing more than grapevine gossip. That's the reader's prerogative. However, I will say that I have more faith in it than that. You will have to judge its merit on the basis of your own standards.

Without further ado, here is the story...

At a party shortly before Michelle's murder, Jason Young, ostensibly as a drunken party gag, swallowed the engagement ring of a female friend, later passing it and returning it to the betrothed --undoubtedly astonished and probably appalled --young woman the next day.

Now, even though I was given permission to share this story, I held off at first, uncertain what to do with it. Frankly, it left me aghast. Amid other concerns, the disturbing nature of the incident and its provocative connotations, at first glance, seemed a bit too unsavory and not necessarily relevant. Upon further pondering and discussion with a friend whose opinion I value, I came to the realization that it is indeed useful in giving a glimpse of the personality of Jason Young -- a window on his character, limited though the scope may be. It adds a whole new dimension to the affable, gregarious, late-blooming but charismatic and athletic mountain boy-cum-successful IT salesman previously presented by friends and relatives. Jason's exploit -- what some may consider a frat-boy prank -- demonstrates a total disregard for the sensibilities of the young woman, as well as complete and utter contempt and disdain for the sanctity of marriage, including but not limited to his own marriage to Michelle. I can only imagine the reactions of those who witnessed or were subjected to the despicable stunt.

So there you have it. And you can make of it what you will.

Update: 2/5/2007, 4:52 pm, CT

Some of the feedback on this story indicates that several readers doubt the veracity of it. For those who doubt, I can only say that I have also received independent verification of some of what I wrote. As well, I've been set straight on a couple of details. The incident was apparently Jason's idea of a practical joke rather than a drunken party gag. It did not occur at a party, but among a small group of people at the Youngs' home. You'll have to decide for yourself whether that makes it worse or better.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Young Autopsy Report

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of North Carolina released the autopsy report of Michelle Young on Monday, confirming that the 29-year-old pregnant mom died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head. In summary, the pathologist wrote the following:

Michelle Young was a 29-year-old woman who was found dead in her home along with her small child.

Autopsy examination shows extensive blunt force injury. Multiple blunt force injuries to the head have resulted in lacerations, extensive abrasions and contusions, multiple fractures of the mandible, avulsion of teeth, multiple skull fractures, and subarachnoid hemorrhage of the brain. There is injury to the neck consistent with manual strangulation. Blunt force injury to the left deltoid region has resulted in an abrasion and multiple contusions. Blunt force injury to the extremities has resulted in laceration of the left thumb, abrasion of the right wrist, and multiple confluent bruises over both hands. Other anatomic findings include an intrauterine pregnancy. A postmortem alcohol determination is negative.

Death is most likely due to blunt force injuries to the head.

Though the public has awaited this report for 2½ months, that part -- the cause of death -- was to be expected, having been widely published mere days after the murder. Unforeseen by many is the extreme brutality and viciousness of the attack. An attempted strangulation and some thirty blows to the head, neck and shoulder make it indubitably clear that the assailant intended to kill this woman and was determined to see it through to the bitter end.

Michelle did not die quietly. She fought for her life. A set of fingernail scratches on the left side of her neck illustrate her attempt -- a discernibly successful attempt -- to stave off the strangulation, which is evidenced by hemorrhage of the strap muscles in her neck. It appears that the killer then resorted to a barbaric and merciless barrage of blows, the majority of which are concentrated on the head, that left the victim with skull fractures, a broken jaw, at least twenty-five lacerations, multiple abrasions and contusions, and fractured and avulsed teeth. Scrapes and bruises to the backs of Michelle's hands, as well as a laceration on her left thumb, demonstrate that she attempted to shield her head from the flurry of blows rained down by her attacker. But to no avail. Most likely attacked in her bed in the middle of the night, she was at a distinct disadvantage. Perhaps startled from sleep by an unknown presence in the house or the throttling grasp of the intruder's hands, she was barefoot, unarmed and 20 weeks pregnant. The murderer, on the other hand, likely had the advantage of size, strength, stealth and malevolent intent. Abrasions and contusions on the left shoulder may be an indication that she crouched in a defensive position against the side of her bed or perhaps cowering in the niche between bed and nightstand during part of the onslaught.

Some may disagree with my assessment and interpretation, and of course, the Average Jane Disclaimer applies. I've read speculation that this may have been a verbal altercation that escalated to a physical assault and ultimately death. I admit that the same thought crossed my mind upon first reading the report. But on further review and rumination, I don't believe the evidence supports that theory. The injuries to the mouth were the result of crushing impact that split both upper and lower lips, broke off and knocked out teeth, and fractured the surrounding bone. This was no backhanded slap in response to a verbal offense. There is no evidence that the assailant chased Michelle around the room landing poorly aimed blows on her retreating back. The injuries are concentrated and don't appear to be inflicted by someone swinging in a blind rage. There are no scrapes or bruises on her legs to indicate that she was repeatedly knocked down. The location of her avulsed teeth on the floor near her head implies that she was stationary during much of the attack.

Some contend that Michelle's clothing is proof that she had not yet gone to bed for the evening.

The decedent is clothed in a hooded sweatshirt which is zipped up, a T-shirt, black pants, and pink panties.

Without a more specific description, it could just as easily be argued that this was loungewear commonly worn by women of Michelle's generation. It might be explained as the pragmatic choice of a mother whose husband is away on business, the indifference of a pregnant woman too tired to bother with changing, or a personal preference. Of note is the fact that she was not wearing shoes, socks, or a bra and her hair was not pulled up or tied back.

As for the weapon, some of the lacerations and abrasions -- the crescentic abrasion on the left deltoid, in particular -- have the appearance of being inflicted by a hard, cylindrical object. I tend to envisage the barrel of a hefty flashlight rather than a bat, which in my unlearned opinion, would have resulted in more numerous and pulverizing skull fractures. If the murder weapon has been recovered or identified by investigators, they have not yet revealed that detail.

There isn't enough information to determine if any items of evidentiary value in identifying the murderer were found on Michelle's body. The scratches on her neck provide the possibility that Michelle also scratched her attacker. Her nails were clipped by the ME and preserved for DNA testing of any skin scrapings beneath them. If the murderer was not wearing gloves, his fingerprints may have been found on Michelle's neck, detectable with cyanoacrylate (superglue) fumes. Certainly, the evidence of a struggle gave investigators reason to believe that the perpetrator may have been injured and prompted them to demand DNA samples and photographs of Jason Young's body. A hair found adhered in blood to Michelle's hand was also preserved for testing. However, it wouldn't be very strong evidence unless it proved to be from someone who had no reason for being in the Youngs' house. The presence of a follicle attached to the hair could boost its evidentiary value if it turned out to be Jason's though.

A prelimary report issued in early November placed the time of death between midnight and 6 a.m. on November 3, 2006. The completed autopsy report does not specify time of death. However, there are some details listed that may have been useful in narrowing it. Upon discovering the body at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Meredith, the victim's sister remarked that she was cold to the touch and her limbs were stiff, apparently in full or near full rigor. When the ME examined the body at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, rigor was not detectable. Meredith informed the 911 operator that her sister was lying face-down, but the ME denotes that livor was dark and posterior upon his examination, indicating that it had not yet set when the body was discovered. There was approximately 70 grams of thick, partially-digested food in Michelle's stomach. All of these things might be useful to a trained expert in narrowing the timeline. Perhaps, a more thorough report of the pathologist's findings and interpretations already exists. If one isn't made publicly available beforehand, I'm sure he will be questioned about and testify to his opinions regarding time of death and possible murder weapons when this case goes to trial.

In the meantime, the findings in this report offer more to study in conjunction with information included in other previously released documents. I hope to do that in a future entry. Actually, I was working on an interpretation of the investigation prior to the release of the autopsy report and hope to finish it soon. Bear with me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Brief Note on Michelle Young's Autopsy

I understand that some of you are wondering why I haven't posted an entry about Michelle Young's autopsy findings. You would think I'd be on top of it being that I posted last Friday that the report would very shortly be available. I can only chalk up my untimeliness to a busy real life. I did spend most of my free time yesterday studying the report and briefly discussing it with an acquaintance, so I hope to have a thorough entry up soon. As a matter of fact, I awoke last night with a pretty good discourse running through my head, but today I cannot recall the words. I probably should have typed it up last night, but my husband might have seriously considered having me committed to an institution if I'd gotten out of bed in the middle of the night to post a blog entry. So, be patient and check back later. I will get to it -- hopefully, sooner rather than later. In the meantime, read the report yourself and feel free to discuss it in the comment section. The link in the first sentence of this entry will take you to's copy of the report in a flash media format. Be prepared though. It was an extremely brutal and extensive attack. It's not an easy read by any means.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Back to Basics: The Murder Discovered

While we await news in the Michelle Young murder investigation, I'd like to revisit the events of Friday, November 3, 2006, as can be gleaned from various news reports, court documents available to the public, and unconfirmed reports provided by those who claim inside information and/or a personal relationship with the Youngs. My reasons are two-fold. First, as is usually the case, the process helps me to organize my thoughts and inspires new questions. Second, as more information has become available, some of the theories expressed in earlier entries have become unlikely -- some disproven -- and are not a good representation of my current beliefs about the case.

At about 1:30 p.m. on Friday, November 3, Meredith Fisher called 911. She had gone to the Young's residence, 5801 Birchleaf Drive in Raleigh, NC, at the request of her brother-in-law, Jason Young, to retrieve a document from the computer printer. Upon arriving, Meredith discovered an unbelievable and horrific scene. The family dog was in a highly agitated state; Michelle Young was lyng face-down in a pool of blood on the floor of the master bedroom; and Cassidy, her 2½-year-old daughter, was unharmed by her mother's side.

Meredith soon discovered that her sister was dead and had been for many hours. Her body was cold to the touch and in an advanced state of rigor mortis. A preliminary report by the medical examiner estimates that Michelle had died from blunt force trauma to the head sometime between midnight and 6 a.m. It's unknown at this time whether the time of death has been further narrowed by completion of the autopsy. That report is not yet available. However, of note is the exclusion of the 1½ hours between 10:30 p.m., the time that Michelle was last seen alive, and midnight. It's doubtful that a preliminary examination by the ME could rule out that period of time, so investigators must have some other evidence, such as telephone or computer use perhaps, indicating that Michelle was alive until midnight.

Meredith informed the 911 operator that her sister's house did not look like it usually does; there was blood in the bed and small bloody footprints everywhere. In trying to help her mother and bandage her "boo-boos", Cassidy had tracked Michelle's blood throughout the house. It's been stated by those "in the know" that the dog had also tracked through the blood.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison informed the public that the murder did not have the appearance of a random crime. There was no sign of forced entry and nothing appeared to be missing from the home. Someone claiming to know the Youngs disagrees, insisting that she was told by a person who observed the crime scene that drawers were missing from Michelle Young's jewelry box in the master bedroom and valuable jewelry was taken. Additionally, this person states that Michelle's purse was on the floor. According to this 11/21 search warrant, Michelle's purse was in the kitchen.

There are still a lot of unknowns regarding the document that Meredith was asked to retrieve. According to court documents, Jason Young made the request via a voicemail for Meredith. The time and location of origin of that call have yet to be released by investigators. Early reports were that the document was a fax; various outlets indicated that it had to do with a gift Jason Young planned to purchase for his wife and didn't want her to see. The search warrant for the Youngs' Compaq Presario computer includes the following information about the document:
The victim's sister came to the house to retrieve a document, which was on the printer, located next to the computer. The document had been printed from that computer the hours before the victim's death was discovered.
Authorities have not revealed the contents of that document or where it originated, though it was referred to in the probable cause section of the warrant to search a Dell Inspiron computer belonging to Michelle Money of Ocoee, Forida. The warrant also revealed that Jason and Ms. Money had been involved in a relationship; the pair were in almost daily contact by phone and email for some three months preceding the murder. In addition, the time and location of Jason's call to Meredith have not yet been made public. Understandably, there has been a lot of speculation about the "fax", with many postulating that it was a ruse to get Meredith to the house in order to rescue Cassidy and discover the murder.

Jason Young, the victim's husband, reportedly left home on Thursday evening to get a head-start on a Friday morning business trip to Virginia. The exact time of his departure is not known to the public. According to a friend, Jason planned to visit his parents in Brevard, North Carolina after his meeting and before returning to Raleigh. Whether that side-trip was planned before leaving home or was a spontaneous decision of Friday morning is dubious, as no one as yet has confirmed having prior knowledge of the trip. Receipts found in Young's Ford Explorer appear to confirm the trip to Virginia, but the location of his hotel has not yet been revealed. With information known to date, the timeline still allows enough leeway for Jason Young to have returned to Raleigh during the night, committed the crime, and made it to his meeting the following morning, the exact location of which is yet to be revealed. It's also unclear whether or not Jason actually attended a meeting or kept any sort of appointment on Friday morning. If investigators have that information, they've yet to make it public. What we do know is that, on Friday morning, Jason purchased gas at the Get-It Market in Duffield, VA -- a little burg off the beaten path in the southwestern corner of the state. It's a mystery what took him to that convenience store, as it is more than 40 miles off the interstate.

Jason reportedly arrived at his mother's Brevard home on Friday afternoon. He was greeted in the front yard by his step-father. Upon being told of Michelle's death, Jason "went plumb to his knees." Returning to the Raleigh area with his mother and other family members, Jason apparently drove to his sister-in-law's house in Fuquay-Varina Friday night, probably to pick up his daughter. His vehicle was observed there by WCSO Major R. L. Johnson, who noticed spots, consistent in appearance with blood, on the driver's side rear door and on the seat behind the driver's seat. Major Johnson spoke briefly with Jason Young who officials indicate has refused to be interviewed or assist with the investigation. The Ford Explorer and and all of its contents were detained and a warrant was executed early the following morning.

There have been no arrests in the case, and the Wake County Sheriff's Office has not publicly named a suspect. However, all investigatory documents released to date seem to indicate that Jason Young is the focus of the investigation. If he did commit this homicide, I surmise that he probably drove about 3 hours on Thursday evening, checking in to a Hampton Inn in the vicinity of the I-77/I-81 junction, outlined on this map. (The map takes a little while to load but is very helpful in visualizing the itinerary, so be patient. And by all means, use the zoom feature.) That stopping point is a reasonable conjecture regardless of Jason's innocence or culpability. There are plenty of accommodations there and it is centric to several options for the location of his meeting, in addition to being logistically plausible with the Get-It-Market, the side-trip to Brevard, and a possible return trip to Raleigh during the night.

The investigation goes on as officials continue to be tight-lipped about details. Perhaps we'll learn more with the release of the autopsy report, which I'm told will likely occur later today.

Friday, January 12, 2007

A Tender Tail Tale

Remember Aesop's fable, The Lion and the Mouse? It's the first thing I thought of while watching this video at Enjoy!

Lion gets a hug

Jan. 12: An African lion has struck up a close friendship with the woman in Colombia who saved his life.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Jason's SUV: Items of Interest

If you've read the comment section of the previous blog entry, you've seen this post by Captain Joe:

I've found out where JY went to in VA and why. There was a gas receipt from a place called Get I market shown on a warrant today. I believe that it was a mis-spelling. It should be Get-IT market, and there's only one of those in VA, in Duffield, VA. And from a news article in October, If you read this article about a new medical center in Duffield, VA that was published last October, you can see why he went there. They were looking for bids on a medical data program. I think his trip there was legitimate, that's exactly where he went to.

I consider Captain Joe's find very interesting and a good potential candidate for the location of Jason's Friday morning meeting in Virginia.

As Captain Joe noted, and I mentioned in an earlier entry, a gas purchase receipt, dated November 3, from a business referred to as the "Get I Market" was found in Jason's Explorer. I've been unable to locate any such business in North Carolina, Virginia or Tennesee. There is, however, a Get-It Market in Duffield, Virgina. Duffield is an approximate five hour drive from the Young's Raleigh residence -- a long haul, considering he left in the evening hours. As you may recall, Jason reportedly told a friend at Michelle's funeral that he left Thursday evening for a headstart on an early morning meeting in Virginia. I surmise that Jason may have driven about three hours on Thursday evening and found lodging in the area around the junction of Interstates 77 and 81 in Virginia. There are several Hampton Inns in that region, and the search warrant for Jason's SUV lists a November 2 receipt for a "Hampton Hotel".

During the search of the home, investigators also confiscated a Hampton Inn reservation confirmation for the dates September 5-8. If that Hampton Inn was also in Virginia, it could be an indication that Jason was familiar with hotels in the area I've outlined on this map. Familiar enough to use one of them as an effective alibi in the planning of a murder? Time will tell.

Update: 5:23 pm, CT

Just in case any of you are wondering why I didn't write about the two spots, consistent in appearance with blood, found by Major R. L. Johnson of the Wake County Sheriff's Office on the rear driver's side door and the rear driver's side seat of Jason's Ford Explorer, I can only say that, at this point, I'm not convinced that they have any evidentiary value. They've surely been tested for the presence of human blood and, in the event they tested positive, DNA-tested to determine whose blood it might be. I find it difficult to believe that Jason would have gotten his vehicle back if either of those stains had turned out to be Michelle's blood.

In giving further thought to the absence of mention of any luggage in the warrant, I have a few questions:
  • Did Jason and his passengers unload their luggage prior to arrival at Meredith's residence? If so, where?

  • Did Jason and his passenger transport their luggage in another vehicle in anticipation of the search and seizure that would have seemed inevitable in light of the apparent distrust for Wake County Sheriff's officials exhibited by Jason's stepfather?

  • Or was an additional search done after the SUV was hauled in, detailing the luggage and contents thereof?

It's my opinion that we should expect to see more investigatory paperwork in regard to that SUV. Certainly, there will be a report forthcoming on those two suspicious spots.

Update: 01/07/07, 2:45 pm, CT

It's been pointed out to me that there is another Get-It Market in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. I've charted both Virginia stores on this livesearch map. I've also been told that there are Get-It Markets in Tennesee, but I've been unsuccessful in digging up any information on those. I'd appreciate any help provided in locating those stores.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Young Search Warrants

The search warrant for Jason Young's 2004 Ford Explorer was returned today after his SUV was released to his attorney yesterday. That link will take you to WRAL's copy of the warrant. Of note is the mention in the probable cause section of dark spots, consistent in appearance with blood droplets, in two locations in and on the SUV. Those may turn out to be nothing relevant to the murder but were certainly a good excuse for Wake County Sheriff's officers to search the vehicle.

The vehicle was detained prior to the search at a residence in Fuquay-Varina -- to my knowledge, the home of the victim's sister, Meredith Fisher.

The inventory list is mostly unremarkable, but it appears that the list may be incomplete. There is no mention of luggage and the phrase "nothing follows" is conspicuously absent from the bottom of the list.

Of interest to me are the two receipts for gas and one for lodging. The Han-dee Hugo #89 is located at 2516 South Saunders Street in Raleigh -- not far from the Youngs' residence. After much searching, I was unable to locate a "Get I Market" in any of three states -- North Carolina, Virginia, or Tennesee. I did find a Get-It Market in a little burg off the beaten path in southwestern Virginia -- Duffield, Virginia. I also searched for other variations including Get One Market and Get 1 Market. No luck with those. As for the "Hampton Hotel", this probably refers to a Hampton Inn in Virginia, of which there are several. The one that caught my attention for no particular reason is the Hampton Inn in Abingdon, Virgina. We'll just have to wait and see, I guess.

WRAL has links to the earlier released search warrants on this page.

Update: 9:17 pm, CT

There is, in fact, another page to the search warrant inventory. It includes the Dell laptop computer, various papers, and an automotive repair or maintenance invoice. Still no mention of luggage however.

I've mapped out some of the Hampton Inns in southwestern Virginia for reference as to where Jason may have checked in on November 2.

Hampton Inns Map

Distance and travel time from the Raleigh residence can be easily calculated by hovering over the markers and selecting the desired options.

Update: 01/06/07, 11:45 am, CT

If you've read the comment section of this blog entry, you've seen this post by Captain Joe:

I've found out where JY went to in VA and why. There was a gas receipt from a place called Get I market shown on a warrant today. I believe that it was a mis-spelling. It should be Get-IT market, and there's only one of those in VA, in Duffield, VA. And from a news article in October, If you read this article about a new medical center in Duffield, VA that was published last October, you can see why he went there. They were looking for bids on a medical data program. I think his trip there was legitimate, that's exactly where he went to.

I consider Captain Joe's find very interesting and a good potential candidate for the location of Jason's Friday morning meeting in Virginia.

As Captain Joe noted, and I mentioned earlier in this entry, a gas purchase receipt, dated November 3, from a business referred to as the "Get I Market" was found in Jason's Explorer. I've been unable to locate any such business in North Carolina, Virginia or Tennesee. There is, however, a Get-It Market in Duffield, Virgina. However, Duffield is an approximate five hour drive from the Young's Raleigh residence -- a long haul, considering he left in the evening hours. As you may recall, Jason reportedly told a friend at Michelle's funeral that he left Thursday evening for a headstart on an early morning meeting in Virginia. I surmise that Jason may have driven about three hours on Thursday evening and found lodging in the area around the junction of Interstates 77 and 81 in Virginia. There are several Hampton Inns in that region, and the search warrant for Jason's SUV lists a November 2 receipt for a "Hampton Hotel".

During the search of the home, investigators also confiscated a Hampton Inn reservation confirmation for the dates September 5-8. If that Hampton Inn was also in Virginia, it could be an indication that Jason was familiar with hotels in the area I've outlined on this map. Familiar enough to use one of them as an alibi in the planning of a murder? Time will tell.

I've decided to make this update its own entry. Please comment there.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Cruel & Unusual

As suggested in the December 18 entry on this blog, entitled "What was missing?", it has now been confirmed by Linda Fisher that Cassidy Young has not been allowed to see her maternal family members since Michelle Fisher Young's murder on November 3.

Read this Newsday article for more.