Researching, writing and editing a manuscript for a murder is challenging on many levels. However, it’s not easy dealing with even one horrific murder, let alone two murders, especially when the individuals were murdered so brutally.
It’s been hard to know how to present this research to gain interest without revealing everything from the book due to its in-depth and twisted storyline. The goal for any writer and researcher is to be able to sell a book and right now I’m still trying to find a publisher, but I also want to share parts of the book. This is an important story to tell on many levels, but especially regarding the interests of criminal justice, early forensics, and early photography. So along the way, I’ll share some things I encountered during my research and writing of this manuscript.
- I traveled to three states to conduct my research and over thousands of miles. The best part of my travels was meeting Janice in Oklahoma who helped me beyond measure with my research in that state. Then I learned from Janice during our last day together that her son had been murdered – often real life is scarier and more surreal than anything we can make up in our minds or for books.
- During my travels, I visited courthouses to locate original, historical documents related to this research. While most courthouse personnel were wonderful, some treated me badly because I was an inconvenience to their daily routine of doing nothing in their small courthouses. In Texas, while courthouses remain as a focal point for the county seat, most criminal cases are now handled at Justice Centers in larger counties. Visiting these centers was like going through a TSA checkpoint at the airport – walk through a scanner or personally get hand scanned, the bag is checked, pockets are emptied, driver’s license is checked and a name tag printed.
- Ghosts – yes I did encounter them during my research. Naturally, you would think the experience occurred at the home where the Hunts’ were murdered, but it actually happened in the hospital Dr. Roy Hunt built in Littlefield. When you feel an entity looking over your shoulder through the camera with you and their breath on your neck it literally made my heart leap into my throat and breathing stop. Not knowing if they were good or evil ghosts, I did not stick around long enough to find out their intentions. Maybe they were just very curious after all these years of remaining alone.
- I met the Hunt daughters nearly 70 years later. It was an incredible experience meeting these two ladies who survived the night their parents were murdered. The most extraordinary revelation was their humbleness and beauty were genuine.
Photograph – © Christena Stephens Photography