"...to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction..."

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Paradoxical Paradise

The Lois McMillan Story

January 2000, the battered body of a trust fund girl was found washed ashore a beach on the Island of Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The abrasions on her face rendered her almost unrecognizable, her hands were cut from apparent defensive wounds and her torso was badly bruised. An autopsy later revealed that her lungs were filled with sand, which was a strong indication that she was alive when she entered the water and drowned

The focus of the investigation quickly shifted toward four American men vacationing in Tortola. At least two of these men were acquaintances of Lois McMillan and all four of them had spent time with her earlier that week.

Evidence was collected from their residence and sent to a forensic lab in Barbados. Unbeknownst to the authorities in Tortola, portions of that evidence was then sent to Jamaica . It became a slow, arduous process to get the results from the testing of the physical evidence, while all along the four suspects sat in the only prison on the island.

An outcry began to simmer in the United States led by the parents and attorneys of those four very privileged individuals. The uproar reached a crescendo with the call for a boycott of Tortola.

Over four months after the four men were first arrested the scientific reports and physical evidence made its way back to Tortola. It was not conclusive and five key pieces of evidence were missing. The lead investigator on the island then decided it was time to call in the Scotland Yard.

The team of specialist from London began to examine the case file and came to the conclusion that the strongest piece of evidence that had been confiscated was a pair of blood spattered K-Swiss tennis shoes.

Does this start to sound familiar?

There is something eerily familiar about Lois McMillan’s story, or perhaps it is just a reminder of how tragic life can be when we trust the wrong people.

Tortola is a Caribbean island with little violent crime and little ability to properly investigate such and then preserve evidence. The island depends upon tourism, yet it doesn’t like the tourist. Oh, they are happy to take the tourist’s dollars, but the locals are equally happy to see them leave.

The difference in this story, as opposed to the Natalee Holloway case, is that Lois was a 34-year-old experienced woman that left a bar with friends. Men she had known for several years. However, she never made it to her destination and the surrounding area where her body lay lifeless revealed that she fought for her life. Then struggled to escape, leaving torn away jewelry in one location, a lone sandal in another and yards away her other sandal.

This same scene, minus the physical remains, has played out in my mind’s eye many times. The parallels are probably purely coincidental and reflective of a lifestyle, but the tragedy is also hauntingly real.

For further reading about this unsolved crime follow these links:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2001/05/24/48hours/main293104.shtml

http://www.powells.com/biblio?isbn=0312984448

13 comments:

Rammstein said...

difference here however was the presence of a body that proved murder and was a source of forensic evidence.

EasyWriter said...

The difference here is that there was not an orchestrated cover-up and the deliberate destruction of physical evidence. The chain of custody was maligned due to ignorance and items were lost between the various islands involved.

EasyWriter said...

Most importantly the case was never resolved, due to the lack of investigative skills and powerful influences.

Mitral Valve said...

Read my comments on BFN. Twan Huys mentions the island of Torola as the place where the man involved with the disappearacne of Natalee spent his holiday. I qouted on BFN from the book.

EasyWriter said...

BFN must have something to hide, because it only allows members to read there. I’m not a member.

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