Vol 1: Spellbound‎ > ‎Read‎ > ‎

Ch 01: Treachery

My uncle Larry lay in a five by six foot bunk, much like a coffin, with the levolor door to his cabin locked tight.  He locked the door, even though he knew it would not hold against the slightest assault.  The flimsy lock offered false assurance that he would be safe.  The pitch-black dark of the night encircled him.  He couldn't see his own hands clutching a wrench to his chest. It was the only item he could find on the way to his cabin when he went to bed that could be used to defend himself.  Larry could hear his heart pounding in between the slow, steady waves lapping at the side of the boat. The 53-foot yellow sailboat, the Spellbound, lay anchored just off a small island in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. Somewhere in the Ocean was the watery grave of his parents. His parents were dead and he was scared he would be next. 

Larry's breathing was shallow and sleep would not come easily.  The waves rocked the boat, moving with the turmoil of his emotions.  He tried to quiet himself, synchronizing his breath with the rocking - breathe in, breathe out, breathe in, breathe out.  All he could do was manage was a long sigh.  He could feel adrenaline pumping through his veins.  He closed his eyes and listened.  He was far from civilization and felt alone even though his brother Gary was somewhere on the boat.  Where was Gary?

Then he heard it.  Footsteps.  He could smell his brother on the other side of the door.  His hand gripped the wrench tighter, his mind telling his body to be ready to smash his brother if the door opened.  They hadn't bathed in a few days and it was hot even at night.  The odor permeated the tight quarters of his cabin; his sense of smell heightened by fear.  Larry had no idea how long his brother stood outside the door.  No, there would be no sleep that night.

After what seemed like hours, Larry figured Gary had given up lurking and went to bed in his cabin at the other end of the boat.  Larry pictured him asleep.  Despite the darkness and fear, Larry smiled.  It was ironic that his brother had managed what he could not.  He imagined Gary's steady breathing mimicking the sway of the sea, gentle and slow. “Gentle and slow,” he huffed to himself.  No, he thundered in his mind, Gary's breathing was likely the peaceful slumber of a murderer.  He couldn’t reconcile his current feeling with the images of living with his brother in their parent’s home more than a decade ago.

The words patricide and matricide tumbled about in Larry's head with the steady gait of the Spellbound in the water.  Just thinking the words tore at his heart, imagining how his brother could have killed their parents.  The happy pictures of his mother and father from only a few months ago flashed before him.  Memories of growing up with his sullen and angry, yet charming, younger brother tugged at his consciousness.  Movies of his “Brady Bunch” family rolled past his clamped-shut eyes.  He searched his mental footage for some sign foretelling the horrific events of the weeks before.  Nothing.  He rummaged through his memories again.  He wondered what he was missing.  Sleep never did come to Larry that night. The dawn was a welcome light; perhaps today he would learn what really happened.

I have often wondered how my uncle Larry could spend the night, many nights in fact, on the sailboat his parents built by hand, with the man who may have ruined our family's future and dreams.  Could my uncle Gary, and perhaps my aunt Kerry and their friend Lori, really have committed such an unthinkable atrocity - murder?  What sequence of events could have occurred during the last weekend of February in 1978 that left my grandparents dead and Kerry critically wounded?

These questions have haunted me my entire life.  As a four-year-old girl I stood on the edge of my family tragedy.  Now as an adult, it swirls about me, a constant reminder of how easily lives can be changed.  What happened onboard the Spellbound over thirty years ago is something one part of my family continues to ask while the other endeavors to forget.  I am ready to dive into my family's dark past to try and piece together what happened.  

I am asking you to take this journey with me to investigate the unsolved murder of my grandparents, Jody and Loren Edwards, in French Polynesia in early 1978.  These are the notes of a woman trying to make sense of a life-altering event that ripped her family in half, and continues to tear at our familial fabric.  Some members of the family believe the explanation of uncle Gary and aunt Kerry, while others found too many holes and contradictions in their stories.  I cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information.  All I can do is tell the story as I heard it growing up, refined with discoveries from research and interviews. I now ask you to help me make sense of, and hopefully solve, the greatest mystery of my life . . . 

Funeral Announcement for Loren and Jody Edwards

The songs the Edwards' kids choose for the memorial service reflect Loren and Jody's love for each other and their passion for sailing. 

Songs FrOM Memorial Service

Moonlight Serenade - Archie Bleyer and Orchestra

Melody of Love – Billy Vaughn

Sunrise Serenade – Glen Miller

Around the World – Roger Williams

Twilight Time – Andy Williams

Lawd! You Made the Night Too Long  - Louis Armstrong

Over the Waves - Loretta Brank (played here by Fiddlin’ Red Herron)

Farther Along - The Byrds

Christian Islands - Gordon Lightfoot

Changes in Attitude, Changes in Latitude - Jimmy Buffet

I am Woman - Helen Reddy

Gentle on My Mind - Glenn Campbell

Desiderata - Les Crane

Weary Blues - Louis Armstrong

Done Gone - Loretta Brank (played here by Kenny Baker & Joe Greene)

The Impossible Dream – Andy Williams

Link to songs played at Loren & Jody's Funeral (this will open i-tunes)