Excerpt: Chapter 2
What forty-one-year-old Instructor Dorothy Connors told the officer turned the investigation upside down and shed a new light on a seemingly non-alarming incident?
She described Annette “a good student,” who at times had difficulties concentrating on her studies. “I felt sorry for Annette and befriended her,” she told the officer.
Dorothy described three letters Annette sent her depicting sexual and mental abuse instigated by Dale Johnston. The letters talked of Annette wanting to run away, but she was afraid her stepfather would find her and punish her. Dale Johnston threatened each boyfriend Annette had and forced Annette to accompany him, alone, on camping trips, where he regularly seduced her, then rewarded her with money or new clothes.
Annette wrote of Sarah being aware of the attacks, but refused to acknowledge them or stop them, claiming Sarah cared only about her marriage.
According to Dorothy, she advised Annette to move out of her stepfather’s trailer or report the attacks, but unfortunately, “My advice came too late,” she said.
Many came forward, telling officers Dale “showered” Annette with gifts, while ignoring other family members.
Meanwhile, Hocking County’s thirty-eight-year-old sheriff, James Jones, drove to the Johnston trailer. Even before interviewing the pair, the sheriff knew the couple’s background contained numerous odd kinks.
According to Sheriff Jones, Dale claimed the last time he saw Todd Shultz was week’s earlier in late August, after catching the boy in Annette’s bedroom while she changed into her bathing suit. Dale admitted an intense argument between him and Todd ensued, with Todd forever banned from the property. He told Annette there were certain rules inside his home, and if she could not honor them, she could leave, telling the sheriff, “I Don’t want nothin’ like that go’n on under my roof.”
According to Sheriff Jones, Sarah told him, that same evening when she and Dale were gone, Annette packed most of her belongings and left. Sarah and Dale claimed not to have known to where Annette went, but told the sheriff, “She was old enough to be on her own.”