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In her own words: Excerpts from Laurie's diary
Laurie Kuykendall Kepner meticulously detailed the last months of her life in diary and notebook entries, and in letters to family and even to estranged husband Martin Kepner, who murdered her and Barb Schrum on May 29.
From her diary:
"Why is everything my fault?"
"He let me have it this morning. ... His manhood not working is my fault."
"All his plans and dreams for the future (are ruined)."
"I have the power/choice to run away."
"Martin tells me how miserable his life is. He wishes he was dead."
"I told him I don't love him anymore and he's smothering me."
"No one (from law enforcement) will escort me to my house. I am to go get my stuff and call 911 if there are any issues." (Jan. 14 entry, in which she writes she was unable to get a police escort, also called a standby. She notes in her diary that she called the office of District Judge Richard Thomas, the York County Sheriff's Office and state police.)
From letters to Martin Kepner:
"I felt like I was being suffocated. You told me I was your possession. You didn't sleep much and you told people that you felt like shooting yourself. ... I was warned that people who want to shoot themselves usually take someone with them and I didn't want to go. You told me you wanted to drive the Blazer up a tree. Then you asked me to go away with you in the Blazer. I don't think so. Do you see why I was so scared? When you said you wanted to shoot yourself, you would leave the room and I would look around the corner to see if you were getting a gun."
"You scared me so much in Oct. when you said all that stuff to me ... All scary things. It got to the point where I didn't want to fall asleep with you around."
"The day I left I was very hurt and sad but I was more terrified of you. You have become so unpredictable and I was hearing what you were saying and I was scared to be around you. ... You timed my drive between work and home. You would wait at the table every evening with smart comments like 'nice of you to find your way home.'"
"You always made sure I was safe and warm. Which is ironic since you were the one who intimidated and scared me the most? Guess it was because of all the times I was slammed against the wall by the throat. Yet I trusted you when you ran heavy equipment around me. Figure that one out! You could be the sweetest man when you wanted to be and turn mean and violent at the drop of a hat."
"I can't forget all the bad things and always being blamed for everything. ... Many times I thought of leaving but always stayed because that was the life I knew and you made me feel like I belonged to you and I couldn't do anything without your permission."
From a letter to her uncle 10 days before her murder:
"I can't begin to tell you how much freedom I feel. Like a bird that just got out of the cage. I am finally learning who I am. A friendly, warm person who (doesn't) have any problem connecting with people. I go dancing every Saturday night and I love it."
(Regarding driving to Texas in April with a niece.) "I learned I am strong willed, determined, and fearless. I traveled 3,480 miles and along the way I was in (awe) of all the scenery I saw, the kindness of other people and the strength my friends gave me with all the phone calls every day while I was on the road."
"Sure wish I would have had the strength to leave him years ago. But I was always afraid. Afraid of him and afraid of what would happen to me."
"All he does is complain to me about how I ruined HIS plans for HIS retirement. He can't live off me anymore. He had to go get a job since I left."
"I miss my house and all my cats. But it got to the point where I had to leave. I feared for my life. I did manage to stay hidden for 2 months. With help from friends and help from my counselor."
"Found out that I want to live my life without someone controlling me. This sure sounds self-centered, but after all the years of doing what I was told ... the freedom of choice is amazing."