***UPDATE, 7 a.m.*** FBI Now reports in a 7 a.m. news conference that Jennifer Wilbanks left due to a case of “nerves” about her impending doom – er, nuptials. She took a bus to Albuquerque, apparently.
I really would not want to be Jennifer Wilbanks right now. And no one owes John Mason a bigger apology than Jennifer Wilbanks.
CNN is reporting that Jennifer Wilbanks has been found alive in New Mexico. Fox News is reporting that Jennifer was abducted by a man and a woman, taken to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she escaped from her abductors. The answer to one question is now available as well; Wilbanks’ hair was cut by her abductors. There is a lot more to this story, more mystery to come, but the outcome for once is good news. And I for one apologize to John Mason for the suspicious speculation… however, I am in the majority now of those who owe Mason an “I’m sorry.”
I’ve switched the status of my previous two Dark Side blog entries about the disappearance of Jennifer Wilbanks to “draft,” taking them off-line, due to the developments I outlined above. It is unfair to Jennifer’s fiance John Mason to allow speculation about his guilt or innocence to remain online if one has the ability to remove it. That is one great advantage of personal blogging, I guess.
Wilbanks is in the protection of the FBI in Albuquerque, and Fox News is interviewing John Mason on the phone on the television behind me.
As told by Mason, here is what happened; while running on Tuesday night Wilbanks was grabbed from behind by an hispanic male and a white female. She did not hear them because she was wearing her mp3 player, which is probably a pretty good lesson to anyone else who runs on city streets at twilight with mp3 players on their ears.
Her abductors apparently cut her hair at some point and then took her with them on the road. At the moment no one is saying what happened during that time, but what is apparent now is that the nationwide coverage of Jennifer Wilbanks’ disappearance may have aided in her captors releasing her. Wilbanks’ abductors may have been contemplating asking for ransom, but the story at the moment is they released in her Albuquerque, or may have “allowed” her to escape.
There is no news as to the disposition of the hispanic male and white female who allegedly abducted Jennifer. If they are still on the loose, they present a whole new mystery and danger to the public.
In a way, if the story of what happened to Jennifer is true, and there is no reason to believe it is not, then it is truly frightening because of the apparently random nature of the abduction.
This was what threw a lot of speculation towards Mason, aside from the curse of Scott Peterson [Google search] hanging over all future husbands or boyfriends whose wives or girlfriends go missing – the supposed ‘safety’ and quiet of suburban Duluth, in Gwinnett County, Georgia. Because much was made of this in the news, even by residents of Duluth, speculation tended to slide back to Mason. To defend those of us who were viewing the man with a jaundiced eye, as late as 1 p.m. Friday, April 29, Duluth police would make no statement that ruled Mason out as a suspect. Many of us were taking our cues from the behavior of law enforcement.
I must admit, that if, God forbid, the same thing were to happen in my family, one of my children or my wife go missing, I’m sure suspicion would light on this shaven-headed “true crime blogger” immediately. Hay would be made of my collection of Ann Rule books, books on profiling and serial killers. One can say of Jennifer’s abduction that it could happen to anyone; one could also say of all the suspicion directed at John Mason that this too, could happen to anyone.
I had begun to wonder if Jennifer’s vanishing might be stranger-related tonight, if only because she had a few things in common with Leslie Beebe [Dark Side of Planet Huff search], the 26-year-old Roswell, Georgia nurse who disappeared last December and was found dead 7 days after she vanished from the Derby Bar in Alpharetta. My dire imaginings were still probably off-base, as the alternate scenario to me went from a “Scott Peterson” paradigm to a “Ted Bundy” paradigm.
Now, for all we know, it was a bit of a Paul Bernardo/Karla Homolka [Google search] paradigm – the killer “Ken and Barbie” couple from Canada who abducted, raped and killed several young girls, including Homolka’s younger sister, in the 90′s. I’ll be writing about Karla shortly – she is either already out or due to be out of prison very soon.
I will be very interested, just like everyone else I’m sure, to hear this bizarre story in detail.
For now, I have to say it’s good to be able to write an entry like this. Yesterday I had a record for me with The Dark Side of Planet Huff, for any blog of mine ever, of 10,000+ pageloads in one day. When I first saw the statistic I was shocked and pleased, then I reflected on the subjects I cover in that blog, and realized that having so many readers in one fell swoop was a kind of pyrrhic victory; a good thing that comes at too great a cost.
For once I can say the vanished fiancee, the missing girl, is alive, and apparently okay, though surely traumatized. I can say about a suspect, I’m glad to know he’s an innocent man, and though I doubt he’ll ever read this or hear about it, I, for one, am sorry… he’s a victim too, in a way. Of the cynicism of a world that has seen Lori Hacking [Google search] go missing while jogging, Laci Peterson vanish while walking the dog. It’s easy to say one will not rush to judgement, but much harder to do, given the very deep darkness that sometimes seems so omnipresent in the world.
The title of this entry originally referred to a mildly troubling slip in tense John Mason made in an interview with Greta Van Susteren. As I was rewriting this piece I wondered if I should change it, then I realized it was still appropriate, in a way.
The Wilbanks Disappearance, as a potential southern gothic domestic tragedy, is now, in the most important way, past tense.