Today’s news is filled with negativity – that’s why many of us don’t watch the nightly news anymore. All we ever hear about is murders, violence, burglaries and the like. We hope and pray we will never miss hearing about someone we know in a context like that. Nobody wakes up in the morning expecting to hear on the news that something tragic has happened to someone they know.Unfortunately, last week, something tragic did happen. March 26, a Keller woman was strangled by her husband. The family reported her missing, and the husband aided in the search – until he finally confessed to her murder.
According to a March 30 Star-Telegram article, police reported that he strangled her with a shoestring around 4 a.m. March 26. He drove her car to a location a few miles from their home and then drove his own car to Waco for a business meeting, with her body in the trunk.
When I first heard this story from my Spanish professor, who had seen her friend on the news helping to distribute missing-person flyers, I kept thinking about the fact that the woman was from Keller. Though my home is in Fort Worth proper, my high school, just two miles away, is in Keller. I couldn’t help but wonder if it was someone I knew.
That same afternoon I received a phone call from a high school friend, making an unfortunate connection for me. The woman killed was Donna Sandlin, the secretary in the counseling office at Fossil Ridge High School – my alma mater. As if the story wasn’t horrendous enough in itself, I found out that it happened to someone I knew.
Now, when I see Richard Sandlin’s picture in the media, I cringe. I don’t understand what the state of our moral code must be that a woman’s husband – someone who has vowed to be with her in sickness and in health and to love and cherish her – can look her in the eye and think to himself, “I’m going to kill you someday.”
How is it that our society has become so accustomed to murdering a spouse rather than resolving the minor issue that friction arises from? According to a Star-Telegram article from March 30, police revealed that Richard Sandlin was having an affair with a woman in Denver. It is unknown whether Donna Sandlin knew about it.
Keller police Lt. Brenda Slovak said, “He just recently started seeing her.” Maybe he was just too afraid to confess his adultery to his wife, and, of course, the easy way out from a potential divorce is murder, right?
Maybe the divorce rate has become so high people feel like they do not want to fall into that statistic. But that is not a reason to make yourself part of the murderer statistic – it is reason to work it out.
I am not an advocate of divorce, but perhaps the solution is to promote it so that dazed and confused husbands don’t feel like murder is their only option.
I wonder how he thought he would get away with it – which is the same question many others close to her have been asking. At best, he could have carried on a life with his lover in Denver – holding the secret that he strangled his former wife. Or if he confessed to her, there would be greater motivation for her to be his next victim. And who is to say he would not have killed her anyway, if and when he found a third woman who sparked his interest?
Crimes we hear of every day are unfortunate enough, but when they happen to someone you know and love, coping with the atrocities man is capable of is even harder. A man with a skewed moral compass and an obvious need for rehabilitation took away an adored woman and the nicest lady in the counseling office.
Anahita Kalianivala is a freshman English and psychology major from Fort Worth. Her column appears Tuesdays.