Six Handmade Wooden Crosses
On the side of a few of America's highways, there will be six handmade red wooden crosses. A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in my office preparing myself for a press conference I attended last Tuesday. I realized while preparing my short speech that this was going to be one of the only opportunities these six victims have in getting their story shared around the nation. The more I thought about it, the more nervous I became. I have felt throughout this journey that many people have failed these ladies, and I could only pray we wouldn't do the same.
Many people have asked me where the idea for the crosses came from, and why did I decide to retrace my steps and travel thousands of miles again to put them up. This entire journey I have been apart of while recording for my ongoing series on the Redhead Murders on my podcast 'Out of the Shadows' has been an emotional one. Looking into a 35-year-old serial killer murder case is difficult, let alone adding in that 5 out of the six victims are Jane Does. The idea for the crosses came because of the goal I set for myself at the very beginning - I will treat these women as if they are apart of my family.
Something happened that I didn't expect when I put up the first cross. I was driving south on I-75 in Tennessee toward Knoxville to the location the Campbell County Jane Doe was found. I remember flipping on my caution lights and pulling off to the shoulder; this was when the emotions started. The killer would have done this exact route, and he would have pulled off here just like me. He not only didn't care about taking her life, but he also tried his best to humiliate her and threw her out much like the empty bottles and old tires there presently. I am sure when he was there, he assumed no one would ever care that he was ridding the world of these women. I realized at that moment I was proving him wrong.
Nailing a handmade wooden cross in the ground next to a highway is something I hope no one ever has to experience. Although the sound of cars and semi's filled the air, it oddly became drowned out by the noise my hammer created with each time it met the top of the wooden cross. I said a prayer while hammering each time, and I found comfort in knowing I wasn't alone in doing the hammering. I knew the fantastic high school students and teacher at Elizabethton High School was with me, and so was every single one of my listeners. There is an army of people now, ensuring these women aren't forgotten.
The press conference with the students was successful, Alex Campbell and his students did a fantastic job organizing it and sharing their profile of the killer with the world. I have finished putting three of the six crosses up in Tennessee and Kentucky, in the next couple weeks, I am planning on making two more trips to get the other three victims' crosses placed. You can see where the victims were found, and where there are crosses by going to ShadowsPod.com/Red. Some people have asked how they can help with the costs of traveling; you can do so by clicking the donation button below or by sending a one-time gift over PayPal to Shane@ACCProductions.org.
Soon there will be all six red wooden crosses standing at the side of these US highways. They each represent someone whose life was lost at the hands of another - but more than that they represent an army of people who refuse to let his actions go forgotten.
Thank you for being apart of this army.