A call came late at night. It was from a mutual friend who said our friend, JoAnne Hankamer, had been raped and beaten to death in Candler Park, near her home in Atlanta. JoAnne was a girl who had "turned me on" to Wiccanism, tarot, and probably the major force behind, "Don't take yourself so seriously, man." JoAnne was a good listener, a very silly person, and was one of the driving forces that got us and Christine together (Betty always claims it was her, and it was her that actually introduced us, but JoAnne predicted us meeting months earlier).
Her wake was at Evecon 6. The password was, "I am a friend of JoAnne" (not "was"). Bomber garded the doorway. It was held in a hotel function room where about 50-60 people, all her closest friends I can assure you, gathered. Her bestest best friend, Cindy (Ladyhawk), was there, openly wailing through most of it. Betty and Jim hosted the ceremony. There were a LOT of merchants gathered, because most knew her as one of Betty's assistants and one of her brightest pupils. We all got some of her possesions, and each one of us shared a memory of her to everyone else. I got a small wodden pentacle which I still keep in a safe place, and when I feel troubled, I take it out and rub it with my thumb from time to time. I have always missed her, and sometimes she visits me in my memories, jumping around and being silly so I won't be so serious and dark all the time. She was buried with her Grover doll (Grover from Sesame street was her favorite), and because of her death, they placed police call boxes in the park.
At a gathering afterwards, one of her friend whom I only knew as "Merlin," said in drunken wish that he hoped they'd catch her killer or killers, and release them so he could find them and tear them apart himself. He made a solemn promise from the bottom of a Jack Daniel's that from this day forward, he would never think good thoughts again, because with JoAnne gone, there truly was no good left in the world. I was really bummed by that, Merlin, wherever you are. I heard you left fandom and everything.
Well, Merlin, here's your chance. Because remember how they knew they could someday find the identity of at least one of this killers by all the skin and blood under her nails? Sixteen years later... his name is Larry Walker, Jr.
Holy crap, man. The foundations of my life have just been shaken. Please spread this through the Haven community.