The Murder of Thora Chamberlain: Coming Soon! A Shocking True Crime Story
This is the most fascinating true crime story I've come across in years.
A 14-year-old girl disappears, her body's never found.
Will her killer be convicted?
How can prosecutors hope to put him away? He keeps changing his story every couple of days.
And they don't have a body. How can they even be sure Thora's dead?
How about this? The wife of a guy who's looking for Thora's body winds up dead!
That's just the beginning of what I guarantee will be the wildest true crime story you've ever read.
This is a work in progress.
I'm still writing but wanted to treat you to a sample.
November 2, 1945
Thora Chamberlain and her friends decide to walk to a football game in Campbell, California. The contest is between Campbell Union High School, which the girls attend, and Washington High School of Centerville.
Only twenty days short of her fifteenth birthday, Thora, with brown hair and blue eyes, stands five feet two inches tall and weighs 120 pounds.
She’s wearing a gabardine coat, a blue sweater, a white blouse, a red skirt, and just like her friends, two pairs of overlapping bobby socks — one red, the other colored blue— on each foot, and tan loafers.
And, again, like the other girls, Thora’s carrying textbooks, a zippered binder, and a cowbell to ring in support of the Campbell Union team.
Thora fits right in with her friends, but she is undoubtedly the leader of this pack. The girls are already having fun. Laughing, talking over each other, smiling, and even skipping to the football game.
Why not? The school week is over.
But more than that, like the rest of America, Thora and her friends are finally over the war.
Two of Thora's friends -- Elaine Scimeca and Catherine Ban -- both fifteen years old with blonde hair and green eyes, are the first to see the car. It’s a blue Plymouth slowly coming up alongside the girls on Winchester Boulevard.
Elaine and Catherine think it looks like one of those cars the gangsters drove in the movies.
It's old, but that is nothing out of the norm across America. Since the auto plants were all converted to military manufacturing in 1942, nobody could buy anything new from GM, Ford, or Chrysler for close to three years.
However, there is one thing unusual about this car. It is creeping up alongside Thora and her friends, and stops when the girls halt.
Looking back at her friends, Thora giggles and shrugs her shoulders. Never shy but still cautious, Thora looks back for reassurance. Nobody signals for her to stop, so she presses on.
Just as Thora moves a couple steps closer to the Plymouth, the guy inside reaches over and rolls down the passenger side window.
While her friends nervously laugh, Thora takes two steps back and then one step forward.
“Hi yourself," she says.
Like the car, this guy isn’t the worst she’s ever seen. About thirty years old, which of course is “damn old,” Thora thinks she’ll say later when she and her friends are huddled under the bleachers at the game smoking cigarettes.
But still, he is a guy, and Thora’s been finding herself more attracted to the males of the species than ever.
He’s got thick, wavy black hair that Thora just loves and a quick, easy, kind of goofy smile. The man’s wearing a U.S. Navy-style white t-shirt with a Purple Heart and blue insignia bearing the words “Londonderry, Ireland.”
Pinned on the shirt are several service medals. He’s got a garrison hat with a water-repellent cover on his head.
All in all, he seems more than worth talking with, at least in the eyes of a soon-to-be fifteen-year-old girl.
She moves even closer and bends over a bit to look through the passenger window. He puts the car in neutral, not bothering to turn off the motor, but sets the parking brake.
The man clears his throat. Thora thinks he looks a little nervous too. The other girls move up behind her, close enough to hear the conversation.
“I was wondering if you could help me out,” the man says with a grin, winning a return smile from Thora before his gaze shifts from her blue eyes to those of her friends standing behind.
Then his attention shifts back to Thora, making her feel like there’s no one else in the world but the two of them.
She lifts an eyebrow and waits for him to continue.
“Well, here’s the thing. I need someone to babysit my sister’s kid. A baby, no trouble at all. He’ll probably sleep for the rest of the afternoon.”
Thora lifts her eyebrows and says, “we’re all going to the football game.”
“I know, I know. So, I would really appreciate this, that’s why,” the man reaches into the front pocket of slate-grey U.S. Navy trousers and pulls out a five-dollar bill. “I’m ready to pay you.”
Now, this gets the girls’ attention, especially Thora’s. Five dollars buys a lot of fun in Campbell. But there’s the football game.
“I’d only need you for about thirty minutes. My sister and I just have run a couple of errands. No more than half an hour, I promise. And, then, I will drive you to the football game. You’ll be there by halftime.
He folds the bill and rubs the fiver between his thumb and forefinger, lifting an eyebrow again, looking damn cute to Thora.
“What do you say? Easy money, right?”
He holds the money close to the rolled-down window and smiles.
Taking a deep breath, Thora looks back at her friends. She’s made a lot of money babysitting for mothers whose husbands are overseas. So, Thora’s up for the job. But first, she looks back again at her friends.
No takers. What the heck, she figures, five bucks is five bucks.
“Save me a seat, will ya. See you in thirty.”
She snatches the fin out of the man’s hand. They both laugh as he pushes the passenger side door open, and Thora jumps in.
He drops the Plymouth into first, quickly pulling away, with Thora laughing and waving to her friends.
“Don’t forget to save me a seat,” Thora yells out the window, “see you soon.”