Who is leading the breakout session on guns at this Christian kids retreat? @kwilkerson37 @NCEWesleyanCh @WRAL https://t.co/T5UgqEBZQ6 pic.twitter.com/Nnr7FkDLtx— Amy Smith (@watchkeep) April 25, 2017
You'll recall (or please Google) Pastor Davey Blackburn's wife was murdered under what some say are spurious circumstances. https://t.co/a3yA5Kvejp— Stephanie Drury—SCCL (@StuffCCLikes) April 25, 2017
Davey Blackburn's brother gives details of first texts about Amanda, arriving at the hospital, seeing Amanda in ICU https://t.co/JhqUnYS0yi— Amy Smith (@watchkeep) April 25, 2017
What is missing here? We are all thinking the same thing. Yet why can't Investigators see this??? https://t.co/r8HzGmmK6j— Margie Sarcia (@MVSarcia) April 26, 2017
When we arrived at the Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis (after turning an 8-hour drive into a 7-hour one), we took the elevator up to the Neurocritical Care unit. My dad was the first person I saw when I stepped out of the elevator into the lobby. I caught his eyes as I began walking to him and we embraced, tears once again breaking the barrier of my eyelids and flowing freely down my face.“Where’s Davey?” I asked my dad, after he and Tessa greeted each other with hugs.“He’s around here somewhere. He needed some fresh air after being in the room by Amanda’s side all day. Oh, here he comes.”I looked down the hallway and saw my big brother approaching, his eyes red and glassy, his hair disheveled. That was the longest hug we’d ever shared. A memory from over 7 years before came bursting to the surface of my consciousness of embracing my brother at his wedding, when he had pledged to love, honor and cherish Amanda Grace Byars until death do them part. More tears ran freely. I didn’t even know what to say as we stood in the lobby embracing. “I’m so sorry,” was all I could manage before uncontrolled sobbing threatened to arise from deep within my diaphragm.We pulled away from each other and he and Tessa also shared a hug.“Thank you both for coming,” he said to us wiping tears from his face and sniffling. “Do you want to come see her?”“If we’re allowed, yes,” I replied, and Tessa voiced her agreement with a soft, “Yeah.”“Yeah, you’re allowed. Um, just to give you an update,” he said as he, Tessa and I started walking down the corridor to the room, “I don’t know how much you know already, but the prognosis is not good at all. Without God performing a miracle,” he seemed to ever so subtly swallowed a sob, “the doctors say she’s likely not going to make it.” Reality check; I was tempted to pinch myself. I wanted to wake up from this nightmare. “I know God is able, but at present the reality is grim.” He said this with such confidence and grief. His eyes were watering a little, but he was holding himself together remarkably well.“Yeah, we’ve been getting updates from Mom all day,” I said. We passed through some double doors to enter the Neurocritical Care unit.“Okay, that’s good,” he replied.“How’s the baby?”“The baby still has a heartbeat, incredibly. We don’t know if it’s a girl or boy yet. We were supposed to find out in about 3 weeks.” He slowed his pace a little. “Hey, look, just to give you a heads up, she took quite a beating. Don’t be startled when you see her.”“A beating? She was beat up, too? How bad?” I asked, the horror of this event growing more and more evident as gaps in my understanding continued to be filled in.“Bad,” came his simple reply as we approached her room. I could see her through the sliding glass doors, lying there on the hospital bed, intubated, face and neck swollen. I wouldn’t have known it was her had I not been led by my brother and seen my mom, my Aunt Diane, and Aunt Esther in the room with her.As we entered the room, I got a better look at my usually warm, charming, jovial, sister-in-law who now lay unresponsive, all but lifeless, in that hospital bed. To my shame, and only for a brief moment, what I saw made my blood boil with rage. The top of Amanda’s head was completely wrapped in bandages, her face and neck were badly bruised and swollen, other scrapes and abrasions could be seen on her face neck and arms, one eyelid was bright purple, at least 3 or 4 top front teeth were missing, and her left arm was swollen and lacerated from near her elbow where the other bullet had entered to her shoulder where it was lodged. Who would do something like this? Especially to this sweet, kind, joyful blonde-haired 28-year-old girl who had been like a sister to me for the last 10 years?