Something for this week:
Shortly after the police searched our house at 500 Robin road, I did a Lexis-Nexis search on Deborah Key and came upon this letter-to-the-editor written by Deborah’s mother.
The letter had a large influence on me. This was back in June of 2000, I had not yet begun looking into my sister’s death and I found I shared many of the feelings Deborah’s mother so eloquently expressed in this letter:
September 21, 1998
Today is my daughter’s birthday although she is not here to share it with us in the traditional family celebration. Years ago, as soon as they were old enough, it became a tradition in our family for each child to choose a birthday meal to share with the family. Sometimes, it was to be cooked and eaten at home and at other times it was eaten at a restaurant of the birthday child’s choice.
Deborah’s favorite food is seafood and in her adult years she always chose 42nd Street Oyster Bar for her birthday meal. No one ever asked because we knew well in advance to make reservations there for all to enjoy.
We not only miss her smile today, knowing how she always looked forward to her birthday, but we also feel a sense of great tragedy and loss. The deep sorrow her family feels because Deborah, almost certainly is a victim of a cowardly sexual predator laying in wait, cannot be measured.
Although we still have high hopes for her return to us, we have to be realistic at this time, as difficult as it may be. She has been missing for almost 10 months now.
Deborah is my flesh and blood and no one knows her better than I do. Much you have read in regard to my daughter’s lifestyle is merely hearsay. I was deeply hurt when I read what I consider an assault on her character and I feel I must defend her in her absence. It seems as if she, the victim, is being made responsible for this horrible, inhumane act.
Deborah is a great humanitarian. She always sees something good in every individual – no matter what the social economical background. She feels a need to help those in trouble and with confidence she tries. She is caring, sensitive to others’ feelings, intelligent, fun-loving, beautiful and yes, very friendly. Her friendliness has been publicly attacked and mistakenly interpreted as living a reckless life and as an invitation for assault and possibly murder. Those who truly know Deborah recognize this as a completely rude insult. I recall a verse from the New Testament: Hebrews 13:2.
Deborah attended private schools from age 4 through 16 where she learned at a very early age to trust her classmates and friends. She is a wonderful reflection of God’s love and I share with you today a hospital picture of her when she was just a few hours old. I was so overjoyed and to finally become a mother and vividly remember the pride I felt when I held her in my arms. I consider Deborah and my other children the greatest gifts from God amongst many other of His blessings to me. My children are the absolute center of my life. Deborah was beautiful, well-behaved, good-natured and obedient as a child.
Deborah is not an outwardly affectionate person but she has many loves. Her family is the greatest love of her life. She also enjoys music, good food, great conversation, all sports, friendships, flowers, the beach, snowflakes, rainbows, nature and God’s creatures. The creatures I instantly think of are our dog, birds (especially the hummingbirds she enjoys watching at our feeder) and butterflies.
It is incomprehensible to me why anyone would commit such a cowardly crime as destroying Deborah’s life. She is compassionate and has no enemies. She certainly deserved the right to love her life here on earth until God chose to end it. I personally feel the person responsible for this horrendous act does not walk with God and may never.
My love for Deborah cannot bring her back if she has been murdered and this is almost a certainty. I love her, I love her spirit and I love the way she wove the things that mattered to her into a life that mattered.
Because of her love for nature, I chose a stepping stone with a floral and a hummingbird design on it and placed it where I believe she last walked. Around it I planted pansies, one of her favorite flowers. Above this is a lively butterfly fluttering its wings in a shrub.
Deborah’s family will protect her memory and keep her alive in our hearts always. We will forever love her and miss her. Death can end a life but not a memory. We have many happy ones we shared with her.
Happy Birthday, Deborah, wherever you are. We wish we knew.