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E-Mail

To: Sgt. Adam Dalton

From: Daniel Seward

CC: <<none>>

Subject: Ludarac Case

Detective,

I will tell you what you want to know, but I never want to hear from you again. I have no problem telling you that the case of Lucy Ludarac is the reason I left the force. I've seen some grisly things in my time, but [Segment deemed inadmissible], and the fact that [Segment deemed inadmissible]. That great injustice is by far the grisliest thing I'll ever witness. I don't wish to bring up past demons, so what I print here will be the only time I will speak on the matter. Let me be clear, this e-mail will end our interaction. I don't want any statement of gratitude for the information contained here. I don't want any follow up questions. I don't want to ever hear your name again. Please allow me to resume trying to forget what I am about to describe.

I remember the morning we found Lucy Ludarac. A couple, I think their names were Turner, had seen her crumpled at the bottom of a ditch off of County Road 13 about a half mile from Big Tony's. They thought it was one of the local teenagers who couldn't handle their booze and had passed out. Of course, they thought she was clothed. They had mistaken some mud and leaves as a tank top and shorts. From the right angle, I could see what they saw. It was still dark when we found her, almost dawn. I didn't get there until the sun was full-up. Nothing had been moved, but the place already had that cold analytical feeling that comes from people in uniforms placing markers and taking photos.

When I got to her body, it was clear what had happened. I think her official cause of death was "internal hemorrhaging and blood loss." Let me put it in my own words: Lucy Ludarac was raped to death. It was clear. It was obvious.

So, I tried to trace her steps. Essentially, she recently purchased a fake ID from some kid at her school and went to a bar. A friend of hers, Anita Coolidge, had suggested a bar pretty far from the Ludaracs' home for two reasons. (1) They were less likely to run into someone that they knew and (2) the bar they went to, the Cauldron, was known for barely checking IDs if they tried at all (apparently the IDs they had were pretty obviously fakes, badly laminated, although we never found Lucy's). Anita and Lucy arrived at the bar at about 10:30 PM, after Lucy snuck out of her house, and Anita picked her up in her Toyota Camry.

This is what we KNOW. God forbid, I say the truth, which during the trial [Segment deemed inadmissible]. Dallas Gaines and Cullen Krast drove to the Cauldron together, arriving at about 9:00pm and staying until close at 2:00AM. Vincent Bates and Jack Sitersin also drove to the Cauldron together to meet Gaines and Krast, arriving closer to 9:45PM and staying with them until close. The four had been close friends in high school. Vincent was the first to leave their childhood quartet when he went to college. Dallas was next when he received an altogether different kind of education from the state for a grand theft auto charge. After that, Jack and Cullen just lost touch. Cullen got a few minor charges for drugs, burglary and one for public urination, but nothing too serious. Jack was one of those 'stay off the grid' types. As far as his record goes, clean as a whistle (probably part of the reason they were never convicted. Bates and Sitersin seemed too clean to have been involved in this nasty type of business.). The bartender remembers seeing Lucy talking to all four of them at some point during the night, but he couldn't remember if it was early or later, closer to closing time. He was fairly useless during the trial. Anita got too drunk and drove home (we didn't bother charging her with DUI or MIP), forgetting completely about Lucy. The next time anyone saw her, the Turners were staring down an embankment and chuckling at youthful indiscretions.

The case should have been easy. We found [Segment deemed inadmissible]. And then it happened-the accident. It's strange. I can't even remember what the accident was. You'd think I would remember that. It was what [Segment deemed inadmissible]. There was some accident in the lab, a fire or maybe a cooler broke. Anyway, [Segment deemed inadmissible] and the evidence was ruled inadmissible by the judge. I shouldn't have done it, but I talked to the lab tech anyway to see if they had found anything that could no longer be used in the case. He said [Segment deemed inadmissible].

[Segment deemed inadmissible].

I don't blame the jury. I'm grateful they didn't simply acquit, although the fact that they declared themselves hung still eats at me sometimes. It presents the illusion of justice. Both sides were able to make compelling arguments, which is fair, but it undermined the truth. One side should never have been able to argue. The truth proved that. Instead of allowing the facts to display what truly happened to Lucy, the judge, attorneys and jury shattered the truth into pieces, called a mulligan and never cleaned up after themselves. Lucy Ludarac paid the price for their mistake and negligence.

That's why I left the force. I didn't want to be a part of a system that could do that to a poor girl who went through what she endured.

Remember what I said,

Daniel Seward

The People v. Jonathan Ludarac (Abridged)Read this story for FREE!