Wednesday, October 24, 2007
A Baffling Mystery
at 9:58 AM
The two sisters, Erin (19) and Kelly (18) Stanley, were young, vibrant and healthy. Yet sadly, on September 1, 2007, Erin's body was found lifeless at her family home by her boyfriend in the middle of the night. Erin and her boyfriend, James McFarland, had just recently moved home to her family's house with their young daughter.
At first, police didn't release any details. Then, rumor abounded that Erin died of strangulation -- which the police later confirmed.
When Erin's sister, Kelly, ended up dead six days later, it was widely reported that she, too, died from homicide, and again, indications were that it was from strangulation as well. Obviously, there was a murderer among them.
As reported by the Palladium-Item, "The affidavit for the search warrant said that both deaths appeared to be caused by "similar action on the part of another party."
During all of this, I looked to see if I could find any red flags. The only thing I could find to review was the 911 call made by the girls' mother, Lonny Stanley.
Lonny Stanley's behavior was strange during the 911 call. It was odd, and the first thing I questioned was if the mother was on drugs, because her behavior was not normal. She acted weird and strangely disconnected.
I wrote this story on Crimeblog.US., which has now moved and been renamed to TrueCrimeWeblog.com. With that, while the post is up, the comments have not been transferred by the site editor over to the new site. However, I do have a copy of what I wrote on September 23:
I heard a segment of the 911 tape here:
I found the mom’s behavior exceptionally STRANGE!! Something isn’t right here.
Why isn’t this mother concerned?!!!! Is she high as a kite on drugs? You sure do wonder, because her reactions aren’t normal.
“Is she breathing,” the operator asked.
“I don’t know. Is she breathing, dad? …She’s trying,” Mrs. Stanley said.
This is just WEIRD! It was like she was asking if there was tea or coffee being served — not if her daughter was facing life or death!!
I’d like to hear more of this, and the other 911 call.
On September 25th, here is an excerpt of another comment I wrote:
But when I listen to the entire 911 call, there are inconsistencies that cannot be ignored. Emerson, you are right on the money, and I completely concur!
When a child is near death, either the mother is right there doing all she can, or she is in hysterics because she can’t cope—in another room, unable to deal with it. I’ll accept either, but I can’t accept this middle ground of running to and from, yet offering no help. It does not fit.
I also find it extremely odd how she conveniently finds time to pick up the cell phone when the EMT arrives, but didn’t find it important enough to grab it when her daughter was in the throes of death. There (sic) This is a huge red flag. The only thing that makes sense here is when the EMT got there, she wanted to see if they were going to revive her daughter. She didn’t seem to care to help her when her daughter needed it most, but she sure was curious if someone else was going to help her. This gives me the creeps!!!
And it still does give me the creeps. If we knew that Lonny Stanley was on drugs or medication, it could explain her strange behavior. I could at least live with the fact she was subdued and not thinking clearly, but we do not know this for sure. So, for me, it will remain a big red flag.Then on October 2, 2007, I wrote the following in the comments section (which is not online at this time):
Next, on October 10, news came out that Erin's boyfriend, James McFarland, who openly admitted to finding her unresponsive, was arrested and charged with her murder. While I found that odd, it could be plausible, but how would that explain the fact that Kelly ended up dead six days later?? After Erin's death, James McFarland moved out of the house. Did he break back in, do they have the wrong suspect, or did something else happen?
Apparently, James McFarland is making statements (to the media?) stating his innocence.
I looked around hoping to find video of him, but I haven’t been able to.
From what the media has quoted, nothing raises my suspicion, but without reading an entire transcript, it’s not conclusive in any way.
I was waiting and wondering what would develop when I saw more news come out about Lonny Stanley again that raised the hairs on my neck. On October 11, police release a few more details of the case, and a comment made by Lonny stopped me dead in my tracks again (in bold below). I wrote about it here:
This statement is flat out STRANGE again. It's odd, and it is not normal whatsoever. Either Lonny couldn't cope or she could, but she keeps playing this middle ground and waffling, which people don't do in situations like this. In high-stress environments, people tend to be very black and white. Her behaviors are not--they are gray and inconsistent--that is all I can say. I am not comfortable with them."Lonny Stanley...called for an ambulance for Erin about 5:15 a.m. Sept. 1. Although she suggested during the 911 call that her daughter was still trying to breathe, court documents filed Wednesday indicate Stanley likely was dead before a police officer arrived.Lonny Stanley later told investigators that "was more of a hope than an observation," according to a probable cause affidavit." Indy Star
With all of the news that has broken, I have not seen anywhere where the Stanleys have come forward and spoken about their daughters' deaths. I would find it valuable to see them speak, as they leave me with lots of questions.
And now, yesterday, more news has developed. According to the coroner, the second sister's death is being ruled death by natural causes. Apparently, they are saying she died of a stress-induced seizure, or a psychogenic seizure (what are the odds?). Just a few weeks ago, reports were suggesting that she died of homicide (see above).
This is one mystery to say the least. The odds are very unusual here -- one-in-a-million -- or higher, and while freaky things happen, until I see James McFarland and Lonny Stanley speak, I won't be at peace.
Update February 2009: