Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Murder of Our Friends

Never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever think I would write the words in the title of this blog.

Doug Dooley

I haven't written about this before; frankly, it's just been too hard and disturbing to think about. But since I do use this blog as a type of journal, I wanted to write down a few thoughts. Below is a picture of our friends, Irwin and Shirley Marchand. He was 74 and she is 72. Above is a picture of Shirley's son, Doug Dooley. He was 50. Darryl and I knew Irwin well from meeting him at church and other activities. He was a fun, kind, gentle, hard working man who loved God and his fellowman. When he spoke in church about the redeeming love of his Savior, Jesus Christ, it was apparent that he was a man who knew about the principles of the atonement first hand and applied them in his life. We did not get to know Shirley as well as she was having some health problems and was unable to come to church regularly. But all who knew them loved them. Doug was staying with them while he was working in the area.

Saturday, February 18, 2012 was "Bishop's Storehouse" day in Baton Rouge. Brother and Sister Marchand were service missionaries called to oversee the volunteer workers and the unloading and distributing of food to families in need. Although they had been sick during the week Brother Marchand had assured a friend on Friday evening that he would be there on Saturday morning to unlock the building and oversee the work.

Saturday morning came and Brother Marchand did not show up to open the building. Some tried to call but received no answer. It was assumed that Shirley had taken a turn for the worse and they were back at the hospital. Throughout the day no one was able to reach them. After working at the "storehouse" Darryl, Cody and I went to the temple. Cody mentioned to us that something just didn't "feel" right. He couldn't put his finger on what it was exactly, but it just felt wrong and .....? He just didn't know. In reality I think we all felt a little unease during the afternoon and evening.

Sunday morning at 8:00 Darryl received a phone call from one of his assistants telling him that Brother Marchand had died sometime Saturday. Darryl is very careful about information given him and will not repeat it unless he gets it verified. He called Bishop Masten and was given the sad a tragic news. Brother Marchand, his wife and her son, Doug, were bludgeoned, and their throats were slit. A safe was stolen from their home with a rare coin collection in it. Brother Marchand and his stepson were dead and his wife was clinging to life undergoing emergency surgery at the hospital. The attack had taken place sometime between 10:00 p.m. Friday night and 10:00 a.m. Saturday morning. When Doug's wife had tried to call him all day Saturday and couldn't get him or her in-laws she became worried and local law enforcement were asked to check on them. They found the bodies around 9:00 p.m. Saturday night.

What kind of monster does this type of thing? By the look of the human damage was this really just a robbery or something more?

Yesterday I had the privilege of singing "How Great Thou Art" at Brother Marchand's funeral. I have sung at dozens of funerals over the years. Relatives whom I love, Babies and children of friends, teens, the elderly, the young who died of disease or accidents, those who committed suicide. This funeral was the first time I was unsure if I could make it through the song. For a few short months I had come to know this kind, wonderful old man who loved and cared for all he met. Who could be so evil to do such a horrible thing?

I prayed like I had never prayed before that the Lord would strengthen me and bless me to be able to sing in such a way as to bring comfort to those whose hearts were broken and peace to the hurting soul, but deep down I also wanted to be able to sing in such a way that if the person who committed this crime was present that the song would rack them to their very soul with guilt and fear for what they had done. Was this wrong of me to want, for just a moment, such power with my voice? I know I was blessed, for I was able to sing with more power and control in my voice than I have had in a long time.

It was a beautiful funeral service that did much toward bringing comfort and peace to the broken heart. There are still so many unanswered questions we have, but we were assured by President Riggs, the Stake President, that whoever did this horrible crime would face the justice of the law of the land and would never be able to escape the Justice of God, and they needed to be pitied.

They have found the safe.

Click HERE for a link to the news stories.


Ryan and Skye Lowry said...

Our prayers have been with you, their family, and the community since we heard about this terrible ordeal. That Sunday was hard because of that news plus the death at the resort that Ryan had to deal with. I just sang these words over and over in my head:
Abide with me tis eventide and lone would be the night
If I cannot commune with thee nor find in thee my light
The darkness of the world I fear would in my home abide
Oh Savior stay this night with me behold tis eventide

Darryl and Cindy Cunningham said...

Sister Shirley Died Friday March 2 around 6:00 a.m. God was merciful to her by taking her. May her family find peace.