There was really nothing remarkable about the shoe or where it lay. It was the kind of footwear a young woman might wear when she was knocking around her apartment—with no particular plans for the night. It was worn and wouldn’t win any points for style, but it was comfortable. For Jaycene, it was perfect for what she had planned for the evening.
Of course, you'd expect to find two shoes like this together—either on the feet of a 20-something-year-old woman or on the floor of her closet. But here was one shoe—lying on its side in an elementary school parking lot, about a mile from Jaycene's apartment.
The neighborhood certainly wasn’t exciting, either. It was one of those typical slightly upscale residential neighborhoods known (and desired) exactly because nothing ever happened there. The schools in the area (like the elementary school where one shoe lay on its side) were known for quality. The houses and yards were well kept. It was boring.
Of course, one always had to wonder: Why was there only one shoe? Where was the other shoe and what had it seen?
In fact, both shoes had been on Jaycene’s feet the night before. She was spending the night at home and had just taken out the trash before getting ready to settle in. As she made her way to the outside door of her apartment building, she noticed a couple of young men waiting by the door.
That peculiar tingle and sense of unease that single young women sometimes feel went straight up her spine to her brain. But she reminded herself that it was a great neighborhood in which nothing unusual or unpleasant ever happened (unless you considered the constant barking of some neighbor’s dog). Jaycene continued on to the door, with her trash can in her hand.
Before she could unlock the door, the two men grabbed her and began dragging her to their waiting car. Jaycene screamed her lungs out, but it was a hot night and everybody in the apartment complex seemed to have their air conditioning on—and their televisions or stereos turned up. Nobody heard her screams for help as the two thugs forced her into the car at knifepoint and sped off.
It’s unclear exactly where these two miscreants took her. The police reports confirmed that they were higher than two stratospheric kites on a mixture of crack cocaine and alcohol. They couldn’t even tell the police exactly where they had gone.
Where they ended up, was beyond question. For some unfathomable reason, they ended up in the parking lot of the elementary school about a mile from Jaycene’s apartment. There they took turns brutalizing her repeatedly before stabbing her to death, dumping her naked body onto the parking lot pavement, and rolling it under a van that was parked there for the night.
The following morning, one of the neighbors was out for his morning walk while it was still dark. The school was only about a block from his house. As he walked past the school parking lot, he saw flashing police lights and spotlights around the van. Beneath the van, he could make out what appeared to be a body—stiff, pale, and unclothed. Despite what some may say about the beauty of a naked body, there was no beauty to be found in this terrible tableau. It was a deadening and deafening silent shout against human beauty.
Knowing better than to interrupt the police as they examined the scene, he walked on, wondering what possibly could have happened. None of the options were good. And to make matters worse, his own son would be walking right past that scene on his way to third grade later in the morning.
On his way back home, he passed the scene again. By this time there were news vans in the area, and a friend of his—who happened to be a photographer for the local paper—was standing at the corner of the lot. He’d already taken his shots of the scene, but the body still lay under the van as police continued to scour the surrounding area for clues.
The photographer told his friend what he had photographed—and wished he hadn’t. And he passed on what he had overheard from the police, which wasn’t much at the time.
School was canceled that day so that the kids wouldn't have to see any part of what had happened in their school parking lot. Within a day, the police had apprehended the two cretins who had committed the horrendous act. It took nearly a year before the case went to trial. The police and the DA wanted to make sure there were no loopholes or possibilities for dismissal.
The two murderers are still in prison—which didn’t help Jaycene one bit. Nor did it help her mother, who stayed in town until the two perpetrators were sentenced. Then, unable to stay in the town where this unspeakable horror had occurred, she moved away.
Jaycene’s other shoe was found in the perpetrators’ car. There are times when you really don’t want to know that the other shoe saw. The shoes that Jaycene wore were rather unremarkable. The world will never know how remarkable she might have been.