Friday, June 27, 2008

A Family Murder

By Jean Henry Mead

I gasped when I noticed the drawing of a murder victim in the newspaper one morning in August 1981. A police artist had sketched the face of a young woman who resembled my husband’s niece. Not long afterward I received a frantic call from my husband’s mother.

No, it can’t be Belinda.

I called the sheriff’s department in the next county where the body had been found near a bridge in the North Platte River. When I asked if the victim had been identified, they refused to tell me her name, but asked why I was inquiring. I was finally told that a friend had identified her from a pinkie ring she wore. No further information was forthcoming, so I reread the entire news report many times over.

I felt sick as I thought back over the period when Belinda’s mother had died and she and sister came to live with us. When their father remarried, the girls returned to live with him, and I eventually lost track of them. Several years later, I heard that Belinda had given birth to a daughter. It wasn’t long before I read that she had died.

But who had killed her? The case has yet to be solved . The murder is reminiscent of Ted Bundy’s killing spree and Belinda fit his victim’s profile, but Bundy had been captured three years earlier. I heard rumors that her boyfriend had strangled her and dumped her body in a bathtub filled with water. But why hadn’t the police arrested him?

Murders are always traumatic when they happen to a family member. But when they go unsolved for a quarter of a century, you question the resourcefulness of local law enforcement agencies.

I recently came across the following listing of unsolved murders, which I’m including here in the hope that someone, who may have information about the murder, will get in touch with the Wyoming DCI:

Homicide, August 6, 1981, Converse County, Wyoming:

On August 6, 1981, Belinda May GRANTHAM, age 20, was found in the North Platte River near a bridge in Glenrock, Converse County, Wyoming. She had a rope tied around her neck weighted to a rock. She had been strangled. She was last seen at the Natrona County Fair in Casper, Wyoming. Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact the Converse County Sheriff's Office at (307) 358-4700 or the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation at (307) 777-7181.


Beth Terrell said...

Jean, what a chilling story. And how terrible not to know who was responsible or where he might be. (I assume "he," because of the manner in which she was killed.)

I just don't understand how anyone could do a thing like that to another human being.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I don't understand as well, Beth. Belinda was even-tempered and had the sweetest face and smile I've ever seen. Her infant daughter was adopted, and by a stroke of luck we met her recently, after she managed to track down her birth parents. It was like having Belinda back again. :-)

J. said...

Jean, I was horrified to learn of Belinda's murder. I lived with her for a year or so at the Children's Home and she was a great friend of mine. The last time I had seen her was when she had came back to the Children's Home for a visit and she brought her beautiful new baby girl to show all of us. She was so proud and loved that little baby with all of her heart. Her sweet face was just glowing with joy, her large sweet smile went ear to ear. I just wanted to let you know that she is with the lord now, but she will never be forgotten. Hopefully someone will take this cold case and solve it soon.

J. said...

Jean, I just have one question--did Belinda's sister adopt her daughter?
Thank you,
J. Blount

Phil Beach said...

Would like to meet her. When she was born her name was natasha. I believe that im her bio father as this is what belinda told me. And I went out with her for yrs.

Phil Beach said...

Will always miss her. And think of our daughter often. Belinda told me that Natasha was my daughter. And I went out with belinda for long time. I also live with her at the childrens home. Sh also hung out with my brother don. I have no reason to not believe that natasha ( her name then) is not my bio child. I hope and pray that the person or persons that took belinds life pay for this hidious crime. A piece of my heart is empty since she was taken.

Phil Beach said...

Dont know who took her life. But hope they pay dearly. As for the baby girl. Belinda told me that she was my daughter. Her name at the time was natasha nicole. I think of her all the time. I hope to meet her one day. I was so young when she was born. I was also in the military or had just gotten out. Not real sure as that was 33 years ago. Hope and pray for justice.

Natasha Grantham said...

This is Natasha Nicole Grantham it youre my dad I want your phone number so I can call when I'm ready.

Natasha Grantham said...

You want justice I wanted to at least see my mom one time

Unknown said...