Saturday, September 11, 2010

RETURN TO SNAKELAND - Third Fragment

* This is a fictionalized account of some shit that actually happened. All the names, locations, etc. have been changed to protect the innocent. – JG *


These are the actual facts of the matter:

This is an elegy, but if I’m being honest I didn’t really know any of the people who died. I attended Kenton North Senior High School from 1984 through 1988. At some point in my freshman year, another Freshman named Kenneth Coloiacovo (14 years old) killed himself with a shotgun blast to the head. Over the summer of 1985 a Sophomore-to-be named Katie Hoehner (15 years old) was strangled to death and her body left on the railroad tracks behind a series of abandoned grain elevators in Kenton that had been nicknamed “Snakeland”. Katie Hoehner sat in front of me in Homeroom freshman year but if we ever said two words to each other it was a lot. Her killer was never brought to justice and the crime remains officially unsolved to this day.

Soon after the beginning of my sophomore year a Senior named Jeremy Janks (17 years old) murdered his younger brother, mother and father (in that order) by stabbing them to death. Jeremy then unsuccessfully attempted to kill himself by slashing his wrists and, in the confusion following blood loss, drove the family car into the back of a restored ’68 Camaro stopped at a traffic light in Kenton. The driver, Will Haynes (25 years old) was killed. Jeremy survived, and served 25 years in jail for the murders. I believe he has recently been released to a halfway house somewhere in Western New York.

I am fuzzier on the next series of dates as I have not been able to retrieve any records from the period but am relatively certain that the suicides of Gene Marsten (17 years old, pills), Carolyn Brewster (15 years old, hanged) and Hugh Corwin (16 years old, gun) all occurred in succession between the winter break of sophomore year and my graduation in May of 1988.

There was no uproar, no village meeting, no systematic investigation into any potential connection between the murders and the suicides. No experts were flown in to consult with Kenton North staff, no team of trauma specialists were dispatched to administer Crisis Counseling to the vulnerable student body. The only thing that was ever publicly discussed by the adults of Kenton is whether or not the name of the Kenton North football team, the Blue Devils, should be changed as it could be interpreted as a reference to Satanism.

All this shit actually happened.


5 comments:

theperceptionpoint said...

You know, not that I really 'know' you, captain G., but as I was reading this I thought 'well that explains a lot about jason.' I know that were are (were?) a social worker, and that you write a lot about young adult issues, so to see that all of this went on around you when you were just a pup yourself, made an impression on you didn't it?

I hope your well. I really like the new layout.

tipota said...

cant say anything jason. stunned

Tracey said...

Holy crap!

It's all about priorities isn't it? Those really important things like the name of a sporting team of course are of the highest priorities ... society sometimes scares me.

KP said...

Jay, I must say that while I've had access to Mixtape for a while, I never read it til tonight. Just yesterday I was telling my wife about the events of my senior year of high school and she could not relate it to anything she had experienced.

Sadly, I can even think of two additional suicides in the summer and fall of '85 that didn't make your story.

One update though. Jeremy Janks was only in a halfway house for a short period of time before he went back to prison on a parole violation. His rearrest came just a couple days before our (his) 20th reunion.

Jason Gusmann said...

hey kp, thank you so much for reading - it truly means a lot to me. were there really 6 suicides total? that is absolutely insane. like the ghosts said in the first fragment, "no one will believe you anyway" - right?