I just read the story about Melissa Jenkins, a popular teacher in Vermont, who went to help her neighbors, only to be brutally murdered as soon as she got out of her car.
I am sick to my stomach. Not only because of the stupid, horrific crime, but because I believe the victim suspected something was wrong.
The story in the Burlington Free Press begins:
ST. JOHNSBURY — When Melissa Jenkins answered the phone Sunday night, the couple who used to plow her driveway said they were stranded half a mile from her home. Their car had broken down on the remote country road, they said, and they needed her help.
Before driving out to meet them, Jenkins called longtime friend and coworker Randy Rathburn and said she “wanted someone to know what was going on,” police would recount later. She told Rathburn about the “weird call” she received from the couple whose first names she could not remember. She still had their business card and asked Rathburn to write down the pertinent information: the name Prue, a phone number, an address in Waterford.
The fact that Jenkins called her friend tells me that she had a bad feeling about the call for help. My guess is that she was afraid, but chided herself for her fear, convincing herself that she had no reason to worry.
Jenkins should have listened to her intuition. As Gavin de Becker eloquently explains in The Gift of Fear, our intuition has been honed over millennia to keep us safe. The best thing we can do to protect ourselves from predators is heed that inner knowing.
But we don’t. We are not taught to listen to our intuition. In fact, our rational world seems to regard intuition as mumbo jumbo, so we talk ourselves out of our fears.
This is one of the most important points that I make in my new book: Red Flags of Love Fraud—10 signs you’re dating a sociopath. The book is based on last year’s survey of Lovefraud readers. The results showed that 71% of Lovefraud readers had a bad feeling about the sociopath or the relationship early in the involvement. But most of them did not listen to their gut. Instead, they doubted themselves, or felt like they had to give the individual the benefit of the doubt.
My guess is that Melissa Jenkins had those same exact thoughts. If she didn’t, why would she have called her friend to let him know where she was going?
This murder is a tragedy that I suspect could have been avoided.
Read Melissa Jenkins answers a call for help, and then a sudden attack, on BurlingtonFreePress.com.
Story suggested by a Lovefraud reader.