Editor’s note: This is a developing story. Below you’ll find the fourteenth journal entry that Caitlin Wang, our advice columnist who went missing in mid-February, wrote after she and her husband, Dr. Li Wang (from UT’s virology lab), fled Austin. Caitlin gave us her journal to publish in the hopes it will help her efforts to find her missing husband who disappeared in the Hill Country in May. A lot has happened in the interim, but we’ve made the editorial decision to finish publishing Caitlin’s journal before we catch you up on the horrific events that came soon after she asked for our help. We highly recommend starting at the beginning of this story with our series of videos, when we first announced that Caitlin was missing til when we finally found her and met in person for the first time. If you’d like to start with her journal entries, click here. We’ve included a summary at the bottom of this post of the parts of her journal we’ve made public so far.
May 22, 2020
I’m still so jittery I can barely hold my hand steady enough to write. I had to leave V’s abruptly about two hours ago and have been driving around ever since looking for a place that isn’t too dangerous to spend the rest of the night in the truck. Now, finally, I’m parked outside the house of a lady who runs a website I used to write for. It’s about four am Friday. Here’s what happened:
I’d gone to bed as I described in the last entry and was so exhausted that I managed (miraculously) to fall asleep. Next thing I knew, V was in the bed wrapping her arms around me. I’m not opposed to same sex relations or gay marriage, but it’s not my thing and I’m not attracted to V, so my first reaction was to start screaming. Which only made V hold me closer. “There, there,” she cooed. “You just had a little nightmare, but I’m here and it’s all gonna be okay.”
OMG she was attempting to slide her hand between my legs!
“No! It’s not okay!” I yelled, trying desperately to get out of her grasp. “Let go! I’m out of here!”
She held on tight and ignored me. “Oh honey, but I love you so much,” she murmured, kissing the back of my neck. “I’m the one who’s been your faithful servant, buying you all the stuff you need the past few years, so I know you love me back.”
“I don’t love you!” I shouted. “Let go of me!” I slammed my elbow into her chest, then turned around and clawed at her face. In the background, in her covered cage, Lola was screeching “Help! Help!”
That was when V started going crazy, saying stuff that made no sense. She had loved me a long time and assumed I felt the same way. She was furious that I’d left for the country three months ago without telling her. She could protect me in ways my husband couldn’t. If I stayed with her and admitted I loved her, my life would be good — otherwise I should just GET THE FUCK OUT!
“I’m leaving,” I said, jumping from the bed, grabbing my clothes.
“Good!” she screamed. “I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE, BITCH!” And she started throwing things at me — my phone, which was being charged on the nightstand, my sneakers, thud, thud, landing in the middle of my back, a glass of water that missed me, thank god, but splintered on the floor. The worst thing she did was go after Lola, seizing her cage and violently rolling it out of the room and down the hallway with a final heave that sent it crashing into the front door. You can imagine the squawking, the flapping, the flying feathers.
I got out of there as fast as I could, heart racing, so shocked and frightened I had no idea where to go. As I said, I drove around awhile before deciding to park in the cul-de-sac outside the lady who publishes ArtProfiler’s house. I will sleep here an hour or two before it gets light. Then I’ll go through a drive-through for coffee. In the meanwhile, I’ve taken Lola out of her traveling case, allowing her loose in the truck. She’s begun, out of anxiety I suppose, to pluck the feathers around her neck, making her look a little deranged. “I love you,” she says, cuddling in my lap. My eyes tear up. “I love you, too,” I say.
Then I lean back against the seat, hoping for a snooze. At 2:00 this afternoon, Friday, I have an appointment with the lady whose house I’m parked in front of, and I’m praying to god she will allow me and Lola to stay with her. In the dark, the house looks large and silvery with columns and tall palm trees in front. We’ll see.
Dr. Li Wang’s sister Mei was researching corona viruses at the Wuhan lab in China, but she disappeared under suspicious circumstances after having mailed highly classified material regarding her research to Dr. Wang here in Austin. (It was sent on an external hard drive hidden inside a key fob.) When he received news of Mei’s disappearance from his niece (who lives in China) in February, Dr. Wang packed up his lab and some supplies, and he and Caitlin set out to live off the grid in a cottage outside of Doss, TX. While there, Dr. Wang had been working in full Hazmat gear on various vials he stored in the small lab fridge. He told Caitlin that if anything should happen to him, she must not, under any circumstances, go to the authorities, and that she was to take the key fob to a researcher in Galveston named Otto Ling.
One morning a few months after arriving at the cottage, Dr. Wang went to the grocery store but never returned. The next afternoon, two law enforcement officers showed up at the cottage with the keys to Li’s truck which had been abandoned, keys still in the ignition, on the side of the road. Caitlin left with the cops to get the truck and returned to a ransacked cottage – Dr. Wang’s computer and all his scientific research had been stolen. She decided to search for him, first in the small town of Doss, and then back in Austin at their house, which had also been burglarized. At that point she had no choice but to drive to Galveston to deliver the key fob to Otto Ling.
Arriving at Ling’s house in the middle of the night, Caitlin slept in her truck, and when no one came to the front door the next morning, she jimmied open a window and let herself in, where she found a chatty African Grey parrot and came face to face with Ling’s angry neighbor. A visit to Ling’s lab at UTMB was a dead end – he’s on sabbatical, no one knows where he is. The neighbor who was taking care of Ling’s parrot, Lola, was ill with what Caitlin suspects is Covid-19, so she packed the bird and her things into her husband’s truck and headed back to Austin to visit his lab at UT, something he had specifically warned her not to do. That’s where she ran into one of Li’s associates, Dr. Greta Shultz, who was neither kind nor helpful.
Caitlin stayed that night with her friend Henry Sullivan who graciously offered to look into Greta Shultz and to check Caitlin’s computer to see if it had been hacked. Henry is allergic to birds, so Caitlin couldn’t stay with him more than the one night. That’s when she found herself settling into the guest bedroom of her former personal shopper, V, who revealed her true (romantic) feelings for Caitlin over dinner.
We’ll post another journal entry on Wednesday. To start at the beginning of this story, when we first announced that our advice columnist, C.D. Knowles (now confirmed to be Caitlin Wang), had gone missing, please click here. This will be an ongoing publication as we continue to sift through her journal and post the entries that explain everything.