The episode on the case of Jodi’s murder will air tonight on the Investigation Discovery channel on a show called Solved: Extreme Forensics at 6p PST.
It has been almost a year since I became a stalking victim. During the year, my family and I have made numerous changes to ensure our safety and gone through a spectrum of emotions. Becoming a stalking victim is a true tragedy. You experience the five stages of grief, but it is your choices during those stages that will make or break you!
1. Denial – “I am sure he/she is not stalking me. He/she is just really friendly/persistent/having a hard time with the break up.”
This is what I hear most often from people. Yet, they have made an effort to reach out to me at this point so they do understand on some level that what they are experiencing is stalking. As a stalking victim, I skipped this stage. I knew and understood almost immediately although I did not tell anyone including my husband and the police for almost two months. I guess that was my denial. Ignore it and it will go away.
2. Anger – “Why me?”
Stalking victims who reach out to me usually at least initially feel like the stalking is in some way their own fault. This could not be further from the truth. Stalkers have some bizarre sense of entitlement to their victims. As with rape victims stalking victims do not choose their fate, rather it is forced upon them.
I have spent the most amount of time in the Anger Phase. I have been angry that the stalker would do this to me, that the stalker was not fully prosecuted, that I moved out of state, that I moved out of what I thought at the time was my dream house (built for us only a year earlier), that apparently I was targeted based on the stalking advocacy work I have done, and the list goes on. I have moved in and out of the Anger Phase throughout the past year often.
3. Bargaining – “He/She wants to talk to/see me one more time.”
I hear this most often from intimate partner stalking victims. The stalker has told them if they do this then he/she will leave them alone. Out of pure desperation for the stalking to stop the victim often believes them. Too often it is the last meeting the victim ever has as well.
I did not go through much of a bargaining stage at least with the stalker. I guess it is due to my work with other victims and understanding that it never does any good. I bargained with myself by needing to understand and thinking it would make a difference. I hired a private investigator to tell me about the stalker. Some people look down on this. I have even heard it called “stalking the stalker,” but I assure you the P.I. did it legally without following her and via public information. As a matter of fact, the P.I. was located in another state. I simply thought by knowing more about who this person was and why she would stalk me I would feel safer. The conclusion was you can never understand why someone would choose to stalk another person. It is like trying to understand why Justin Thurber chose to take Jodi’s life. A sane person simply cannot understand the thought pattern of a stalker. You cannot assign rational thought patterns to an irrational person. We did find a very troubled lifestyle and a pathetic person who apparently simply likes to cause problems for people.
4. Depression – When your life no longer feels like it is your own it is the most helpless a person can ever feel.
Stalking victims have every bit of privacy and independence taken from them. My husband and I found spyware on our cell phones meaning that every love note, call, argument, etc could have been heard/viewed by the stalker. It took a few months for us to realize the information was coming from the phones. I was unable to walk from my car into my office without a security escort and went absolutely nowhere by myself until we moved out of state. I am a very independent and private person by nature so all of this made for a very hard adjustment.
5. Acceptance – Moving on
By acceptance I do not mean accepting the fact that you are a stalking victim, I mean taking back control of your life. I have seen victims do this in a variety of ways, but what worked for me was the following.
I purchased a handgun (three actually) and learned to use it. A lifelong fear of guns meant nothing anymore. I wanted to protect myself. After purchasing the first gun, I spent every day at the range learning to use it safely until I was sure of my skills. Now I am a great shot.
I moved. This is an extreme solution and not possible for everyone, but in my case it was apparent that even though the stalker had been arrested on felony aggravated stalking charges it would not result in a prosecution due in large part to local politics. The stalker had continued to stalk me after her arrest and informed me that she would not be prosecuted on multiple occasions as the hearing drew near it became apparent that she was correct. So my family and I left. We left great jobs and many friends behind, but for us it was the right choice. We have never looked back either. Since our relocation, there have been challenges and triumphs, but in the end we are much better off having moved.
As is the case with any life experience becoming a stalking victim changes you forever. It makes you a much more private person and much more aware of people’s true intentions. Is this all bad? Probably not. All the changes are not bad though. It reminded me, and my family, what is truly important in life…each other and taking no moment together for granted.
Everyone will find his or herown way through the chaos of being a victim of stalking unfortunately there is no magic bullet to make someone feel safe again. It takes time and understanding of those close to them. I have met some of the best people I have ever known since “restarting” my life after being stalked. Victims must make the choice to first ensure their own safety and then move past the stalking. Learn from it and realize that for the horrible stalkers that are in our world there are also wonderful people!
“It’s not just celebs who attract stalkers. Over one million UK women are victims. Here, two share their stories…
On first glance, it looked innocent enough. It was a plain white envelope, hand-written and addressed to single mum Ann Moulds.”
Today marks the third anniversary of the murder of Jodi Sanderholm. Jodi is terribly missed by her friends and family, but since her death two states (KS & NM) have changed stalking legislation in her name and countless stalking vicitms have been helped by Jodi’s Law and the awareness it has raised. The law came too late for Jodi, but it came in honor of Jodi!
Last week’s stalking story recap.
Metuchen man charged with stalking and peering into woman’s house
Robert Tennant, 61, was charged with criminal trespassing, peering and stalking after his arrest late Saturday afternoon, Patrolman David Liantonio said. …
Man charged with impersonating Panther
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A Peril in War Zones: Sexual Abuse by Fellow GI’s
New York Times
Her ordeal ended with the military equivalent of a restraining order and charges of stalking against the officer. It is one case that highlights the new and …
Internet makes protecting stars even tougher
And it isn’t just burglary that results from such electronic reservoirs of information. Stalkers can locate targets as well. Paparazzi can zero in on stars. …
Man accused of stalking, burglary waives case to grand jury
UK The Kentucky Kernel
A Lexington man charged with stalking and burglary of a home occupied by female UK students waived his case to the grand jury Tuesday. …
Accused stalker back in court
A 43-year-old man who was fined in City Court just last week for assaulting his ex-girlfriend was back before a judge Monday for stalking the woman in the …
January is ‘Stalking Awareness Month’
By Matthew Jackson HUNTSVILLE — January is National Stalking Awareness Month, and the Huntsville Police Department Community Services Division is working to …
Ex-boyfriend held on stalking charge
SARASOTA COUNTY – A 40-year-old man stalked an ex-girlfriend and threatened to have the woman and her husband killed, authorities say. …
Cops: Stalker grabbed victim’s butt in the drugstore
A Belle Meade man was arrested and charged with criminal sexual contact after the victim alleged that his continued stalking and harassment of her ended …
Blogging Against Sexual Violence: Illinois Man Pleads Guilty to …
As Stalking Awareness Month is just around the corner, this story illustrates the fact that stalking remains an important issue that needs to be addressed. On December 15th, Michael David Barrett, an Illinois insurance executive, …
Stalking « Delicacies
By delicate flower
My son, the Man-child has been the victim of stalking for the last month or more. To a lesser degree, so have I. We have been very careful to document what was happening as well as protect ourselves as we felt necessary. …
Internet safety is a must
Stuttgart Daily Leader
“The bottom line is that thousands of predators and potential stalkers are on-line daily,” said Clint Van Zandt, MSNBC analyst and former FBI profiler. …
Kerry Katona has a stalker! @ Unreality TV
By Lisa McGarry
Kerry Katona has been forced to contact the police after discovering that she has a female stalker. The woman obviously has mental health issues.
Police: Stalker killed grocery store cashier
Atlanta Journal Constitution
By Larry Hartstein The 32-year-old Marietta woman fatally shot Tuesday outside the supermarket where she worked was killed by a man who had been stalking …
Custody row father who murdered Maisie and her mother ‘stalked his ex-wife …
By Daily Mail Reporter The dad who killed his young daughter and girlfriend before turning the gun on himself also stalked his ex-wife with a crossbow and …
UF Police Officer Accused Of Stalking Woman
A University of Florida police officer accused of stalking a woman the past two years was charged with aggravated stalking and obstructing justice, …
Native Americans stalked more than other ethnic groups
Tulsa Native American Times
They noted that violence (eg, battering, sexual assault and stalking) affects Indians in disproportionate numbers to any other race—violence that is mostly …
Felony stalking charge reduced for Twin Lake man
Muskegon Chronicle – MLive.com
By John S. Hausman | Muskegon Chronicle MUSKEGON COUNTY – A felony stalking charge has been reduced to a misdemeanor in the case of Terrance Patrick O’Toole …
Bloodbath father was a woman-hating stalker who torched his ex-wife’s car
By Kate Loveys and Christian Gysin A father who gunned down his ex-girlfriend and four-year-old daughter had previously stalked his ex-wife with a crossbow …
Guardian Angel found guilty of stalking and sexual harassment
A Guardian Angel has been found guilty of stalking and harrassment after failing to keep its distance from an Isle of Wight woman. In a landmark ruling Lord …
2010 National Stalking Awareness Month | National Sexual Violence …
“January is National Stalking Awareness Month, a time that challenges our nation to fight this dangerous crime by learning more about it. …
Stalking | RAINN | Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network
The exact definition of stalking varies by state, but in general, stalking refers to “a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves …
Agency explains: What is stalking?
Albert Lea Tribune
During what is National Stalking Awareness Month in January, advocates are spreading the word of what stalking is and how people can protect themselves …
New Law Cracks Down On Stalkers
Chicago Public Radio
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says stalking is a serious crime that could lead to something worse. MADIGAN: This is not just something that happens …
Audrina Patridge’s obsessed fan sentenced to community service
The case is not connected to his alleged stalking of Audrina Patridge however. Patridge obtained a restraining order against Loring after he allegedly …
Domestic violence and stalking victims get new legal protections
By Megan Twohey Tribune reporter Victims of domestic violence, stalking and sexual assault have new legal protections available to them in Illinois starting …
It’s National Stalking Awareness Month, and Native Americans are …
Native Americans, especially tribal leaders, tribal attorneys, activists and artists, are stalked more than any other ethnic group in the country. January is National Stalking Awareness Month. Mother Earth Journal will focus on this …
St. Petersburg woman stalked, threatened via cell phone, police say
PETERSBURG — A 26-year-old man is accused of stalking a woman and threatening her life using cell phone voice mails and text messages. …
439 UK Cops Disciplined Over Porn & Facebook Stalking // Current
Hundreds of police workers have faced disciplinary action for looking at internet pornography and social networking sites, figures show. More than 400.
Social Media, Social Networking, and Social Electronic Mail Share …
With social media and social networking often described as “a stalkers dream”, many have concerns that the citizens of a global internet are benevolent with their personal information; leading to the threat of stalkers and sexual …
‘;Ski Mask Rapist’ coming up for parole
Dallas Morning News
The “Ski Mask Rapist” picked his victims carefully, stalking them beforehand and sometimes taunting them by phone afterward. But a plea agreement in 1990 …
Multiple Murder Motive Still Uncertain
“However, there is evidence of stalking and harassment well before April. This was a long-term problem, one going back years.” Haapala confirmed to YLE that …
Shaq Accused of Stalking… Again | Binary Basketball
Shaq has been accused for stalking. Again. Yes, this isn’t the first time he has been accused of stalking and now it gets a bit more serious. Shaq has been accused of stalking a model by the name of Vanessa Lopez.
Suspect arrested in stalking case > Friendswood Journal > News …
The Grand Jury handed down a felony indictment for the offense of Stalking – Enhanced. He is being held at the Friendswood Municipal jail pending transfer …
Last year at this time I thought I had accomplished all my dreams. My husband and I had built and moved into our dream home just a few months earlier. Almost three years earlier we had relocated to New Mexico, a place I had wanted to live since I was a young girl. I had a great job. The trial of Jodi Sanderholm’s murderer was scheduled to begin in January and significant evidence had mounted against him. Everything was coming together well or so it appeared. It is amazing how quickly everything can change.
The trial came and went with what by all accounts was very swift and uneventful. The verdict was guilty. The penalty was death. I couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.
It was approximately a month after the trial concluded that my life was changed forever. I had exposed myself to some dangers by working to strengthen anti-stalking legislation and increase awareness on the crime of stalking. A passion to create a change that would not allow someone else to suffer at the hands of a stalker like Jodi had just two years earlier. Somewhere along the way I got a stalker. I was prepared on some level and knew it was a good possibility. That awareness did not leave me prepared for the next few months though. After speaking with countless stalking victims I thought I had a pretty good understanding of what it would be like. I was dead wrong!
Initially, I kept my situation very quiet and tracked everything that was happening. My stalker chose anonymous emails, notes on my car or home and driving by my house. I told no one. Not even my husband. I had identified the person I felt was stalking me. It was a person known to both of us and knowing my husband I knew he would confront her angry that someone would target his family this way. Confronting a stalker is never a good idea. They are after the attention and even negative attention will satisfy that need and likely cause the stalking to continue.
By May, I realized the situation was only getting worse. More emails. The drives by my house were almost every night. I tracked it all just like I have told many other victims to do. I finally told my husband. He was in disbelief that I had not come to him sooner, but just as I had expected he confronted the stalker. The situation got worse again. The tone of the emails changed and became more threatening. We sent our daughter to my father’s house for a month to get her out of the situation. Shortly after we applied for and received an Order of Protection for five years. We hoped we would find some peace, but I knew that the Order of Protection was a necessary step, but often did not stop the problem. I was right it did not.
Before June, I had never shot a gun in my life. In June, I bought two handguns and learned to shoot. I carried a gun everywhere I went. This was a big step for someone who was terrified the first time the gun shop put an unloaded gun in my hand. I chose to confront the terror of holding a gun to be better prepared just in case the threats came true.
By July, we were done. We were ready to leave everything to have our peace. A funny thing happens when you are confronted daily with the possibility that you may not make it thru the day and if you do you could be made a widow by the end of it. My husband and I found an even deeper love than we had in the past. We went back to basics for lack of a better term. We spent all our time together because we wanted to, but also because I was told by law enforcement to not be alone at any time. We began looking at relocation options. Neither of us felt like we could transfer due to the fact that we could easily be traced. The unemployment rate was higher than ever. How could we pull this off? We took a chance. We chose a location and moved. I would do marketing consulting and John would find a new job. It was the gamble of a lifetime, but all we cared about was that we would be together and safe! Some people may see this as running from the problem. We simply saw the problem as not worth putting up with any longer. It was a difficult decision. It felt like we were giving up a lot at the time. But once we made the decision it was easy. We both quit looking at it as giving something up and began looking at it as protecting what was important…our family.
The first month in our new (and undisclosed) location I was miserable. I missed my old job, my friends, our dream home and New Mexico. I found solace in the fact that we did find peace from the stalking and we are together. No one got hurt or killed and we were a thousand miles away from Santa Fe.
I resumed consulting and working on the official launch of Jodi’s Voice as a charity. I had originally planned to launch the charity last April, but when my own stalking started I postponed it. Everything began falling into place. Celebrities began signing up to help with the cause. Clients that I love working with began signing contracts. Within a matter of two months I had replaced my income and was enjoying the work. All of this has been great and I have met some simply wonderful people in my new home town. The most important part of my happiness is my family. I lost track of the real importance in life with my career and volunteer work clouding my vision in New Mexico. It is all crystal clear now though. My husband and I work on Jodi’s Voice together driven by an even deeper passion now that we have been victims too. We are still together all the time, but now only because we choose to be and not for the safety reasons we had in New Mexico.
Please do not think this is my way of saying I am thankful for being stalked. That is far from the truth. Stalkers in general are obviously very troubled people in need of some intensive psychiatric help. However, I am thankful we are out of the situation, safe and together with a deeper appreciation for each other. My life is changed forever in many ways. I am more aware than ever of my surroundings and I am prepared to protect my family and myself. But the biggest way my life changed is to reopen my eyes to the most important part of my life…my family.
This Thanksgiving I am more thankful than ever. Not for things. But for my family. For opportunity to pursue my passion of increasing stalking awareness and legislation. For some great friends I have met along the way that want to help too.
Discovery Channel filming of Sanderholm case under way
By FOSS FARRAR Staff Writer
Published: Monday, August 17, 2009 1:43 PM CDT
Jodi Sanderholm’s mother got a little choked up Sunday talking on camera about her 19-year-old daughter, who was murdered two years ago. She and two other Sanderholm family members were interviewed by a producer for the Investigation Discovery Channel, which is doing a documentary on the murder.
“I held it together pretty well,” said Cindy Sanderholm, Jodi’s mother. Sanderholm said the family at first was concerned that the documentary might focus on the murder for entertainment purposes.
But producer Jessica Grumet assured them the show would focus on how small community law enforcement solved the murder with a little bit of forensic evidence. A piece of the murderer’s hair was found in the victim’s car.
In March, a judge sentenced Justin Thurber to death for the killing of Sanderholm a little more than two years before. The 19-year old Cowley College student’s body was found on Jan. 9, 2007, four days after she went missing.
Grumet conducted interviews with Cindy, her husband Brian and her daughter Jennifer on Sunday, Cindy Sanderholm said. “They are sweet people, very calm and understanding,” Cindy Sanderholm said. Among the people Grumet planned to interview are KBI agent David Falletti, Arkansas City Police Chief Sean Wallace, other members of the Ark City Police Department, EquuSearch team member Tim Miller and trackers Ron and Jon Cannon. Grumet told the Sanderholms that her crew plans to complete filming on Wednesday, after spending about a week in Ark City.
The Jodi Sanderholm story is expected to air on “Extreme Forensics,” a show focusing on criminal investigations, on the Investigation Discovery Channel next year. The new season for the series begins in February 2010, Sanderholm said.