A Haunting Letter Leads to Justice

The Associated Press
Sunday, February 25, 2007; 5:08 AM

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. -- William Beebe had been haunted by that night for years. He'd tried to send the letter before _ and failed. Just like he'd failed to stick with Alcoholics Anonymous. Just like he'd failed at so much in life. This time, he was staying with the 12-step program. But should he really take that treacherous ninth step?

It told him to make amends to those he'd hurt _ unless doing so would injure them further.

Some had warned him to leave it alone. But he'd prayed on it.

And so, on a sheet of vanilla-scented paper, he began to write.


The letter arrived on a Thursday morning, tucked among the usual barrage of catalogues and bills. Mike Seccuro tossed the envelope onto his wife Liz's lap as he climbed behind the wheel of the family minivan, their daughter's giggles bubbling over from the back seat.

Who lives in Vegas? she wondered briefly of the postmark before her eyes slid left, stopping on the sender's name.

She froze.

It was a name she had not uttered in 20 years.

Her body suddenly felt cold, her brain fuzzy. With shaking hands, she opened the envelope.

"Dear Elizabeth," the letter began. "In 1984 I harmed you."

Images crackled through her mind with Technicolor vividness. The dark room. The man with the hazel eyes.

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