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Still no justice in Florence murders

 

Dear Editor

Most of us remember precisely where we were and what we were doing ten years ago on that fateful September 11, 2001 morning when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. Each year as the anniversary date of that horrific occasion approaches, newspapers and other media devote countless special print editions and hours of on-air reports reminding us of the devastating event that forever changed our lives. This is as it should be; we must never forget that tragedy.
Now, I wonder how many others have like memories of another life-changing event that also occurred ten years ago on November 6, 2001 right here in our own community. I am referring to that unforgettable Tuesday morning when my closest friend of many years, Dorothy Harris, and two other ladies were brutally murdered in Dorothy’s Florence beauty salon, in broad daylight. Do any of you even remember the ladies’ names? To refresh the memories of those who don’t, they are Dorothy Harris, Brenda Patch and Cindy Paulus.

In the past two years I have neither read, heard, nor seen one thing in the media where mention was made regarding the anniversaries of the Florence murders! It would seem after 10 years of no trial or conviction in the case and very little if any investigation progress reports made public by the Ravalli County Sheriff’s Department, it’s no wonder those in the media either did not remember or chose to ignore the anniversaries. Actually, this seeming oversight does not surprise me at all when considering the inept way the initial murders investigation was conducted; falsified official timeline reports and false statements made to the Grand Jury in order to obtain arrest warrants in the case which ultimately resulted in Judge Malloy’s dismissal of charges against Brian Weber; albeit without prejudice, meaning charges can be refiled; however, I seriously doubt this will ever happen.

I also question several other facts in the case: (1) When America’s Most Wanted TV show was to profile the murders on December 8, 2001, then-Sheriff Perry Johnson indicated to me he would fly to DC and be present in the studio to take calls on the tip line yet Mr. Johnson was noticeably absent when the show aired. Where was he? Did he not consider the case important enough for him to make the trip? (2) TV personality Nancy Grace’s then-COURTV show was denied permission to come here and do a segment on the murders and (3), the $10,000 reward offered by the Sund Carrington Foundation was allowed to lapse many moons ago.

Lastly, before the spring Primary in 2010, a friend and I attended a debate between Sheriff candidates Chris Hoffman and Joede Vanek. During that debate we posed several questions to Chris Hoffman regarding the murders investigation and he responded by assuring us the investigation was definitely ongoing and regular updates would be publicly announced. I believe after charges were dismissed against Weber, there is no longer an active investigation being conducted. These three wonderful ladies must be turning over in their ashes urns and grave, still crying out for justice so they can at long last, rest in peace!
Jan Thomas
Stevensville

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