News this week that Andrew Douglas Dalzell was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Asheville to more than 26 years in federal prison for knowingly attempting to entice an individual, whom he believed was a minor child, to engage in sexual activity. Sounds a bit harsh until you learn that Dalzell is the lead suspect in the 10-year-old unsolved case of Debbie Key, who has not been seen alive since she disappeared from a Carrboro, North Carolina pool hall one December evening. Oh yeah… and a couple of years ago Dalzell confessed to murdering her, but the bleeding-heart Orange County court threw the case out the window onto Churton street, where her grieving friends picked up the pieces and managed to continue a fragile vigil for the past 10 years.
Yes, for the last time… my part in all of this: I bought the house where Dalzell was living at the time of Key’s disappearance, and there was a period of several months where my life was turned upsidedown while local authorities searched the property frantically for a body (you can read it alllllllll here).
For me, I’m glad Dalzell finally got some of what he deserved. Now if he has any shards of decency he’ll finally reveal to authorities where he dumped the body so that Debbie’s family can have some much deserved peace (I’m not betting on him doing this: he’ll die with his disgusting secret.). And when it comes to justice and North Carolina I’m a pessimist. Wait for an appeal to overturn this verdict and Dalzell’s sentence to be reduced. That’s how the shoe drops.
Funny… on Thursday I went into U Mall in Chapel Hill for the first time in months. U Mall is a fixture in Chapel Hill, one of my favorite stores is Hungates, a hobby shop where I love to go and look at the trains and Revell models. Hungates has been there for 30 years, though recently it has struggled. It is remarkably the same junk I looked at as a kid growing up in Pierrefonds, Quebec. Hobby shops were my refuge from my sister who could be annoying at times. Recently I’ve haunted Hungates to purchase igniters for my daughter’s model rockets. And Hungates is where Andrew Dalzell worked for a time, though if I ever saw him in there I was never aware of it. Hungates ultimately lead to Dalzell’s initial arrests (they discovered he had stole merchandise and lifted from the till… go figure).
When I went into U Mall, Hungates had closed its doors for good.
So let’s move on.