A Secret Grave 138: Coincidence? Hardly.

 

Going by anonymous author, CD Knowles’ book, A Hidden Grave, Sarah Ann Grinnell’s roommate, Mary Hernandez, would have been responsible for Victor’s disappearance. I found a grainy newspaper photo of someone who could have been her, but can’t be certain except for one very interesting coincidence. Helen Sprouse, Victor’s receptionist, was also in the photo.

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Left – Mary Hernandez? Right – Helen Sprouse

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There’s no indication that Mary hated Victor in the same way that Cynthia, in CD’s novel, hated Theo Dryer. Sarah Ann’s parents, and not Mary, mounted the lawsuit against Victor. Other than the photo above, I could find very little about her. There was a Mary Hernandez who owned a house in the right time frame in Plano, Texas. The house was sold in 2001, a year after Sarah Ann’s death. I found mention of a Mary Hernandez on a Sears Roebuck employee list (she worked in HR) and mention of another Mary Hernandez who’d slipped and badly broken her leg on a climb down from Machu Picchu. The latter caught my attention because, in an interview around the time of Sarah Ann’s death, Mary had talked about how it had been Sarah Ann’s goal to climb Machu Picchu once she lost enough weight to manage the ascent. The last thing I found about Mary Hernandez was an obituary dated February 14, 2007 that might have been her since certain details were similar.

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Obituary photo of Mary Hernandez, May 10, 1955 – February 14, 2007

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It didn’t cite the cause of her death, but through luck and a little bit of questioning I learned that she died of carbon monoxide poisoning when she fell asleep in her car with the engine running on Valentine’s Day 2007. Was this a suicide? According to Lloyd Peterson, Ramona’s new beau, it was indeed. It turned out that Lloyd was being treated by Victor as far back as 2000 when he was suffering from a bad case of hives. He vividly remembered Sarah Ann Grinnell as “a fat girl who never cracked a smile,” from Victor’s waiting room. And he remembered her “equally somber” girlfriend, Mary, from a lunch Victor gave for clients in the summer of 2000. “The thing about them,” Lloyd said, “was they kind of just kept to themselves, didn’t talk to anyone. Except for one thing. We had this discussion about the best way to commit suicide, and for Mary, who’d obviously thought about it carefully, the only way was carbon monoxide poisoning.” Also according to Lloyd, who was quite the gossip, Mary had left a goodbye note saying she loved her friends and family, but couldn’t bear the burdens of her life anymore. What burdens? I wondered. Ongoing sadness over the long ago demise of a beloved girlfriend? Or perhaps a guilty conscience because she was somehow involved with Victor Goodlove’s disappearance in July 2006, not quite a year before her own death? You could say my imagination is overheated here, but sometimes when you connect the dots, you jump to certain conclusions.

 

To be continued…

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Cover photo ~ http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/pincourt-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-hospital-1.3556663

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