Our daughters shouldn’t end up in trash cans.

Cover of Esquire Feb 1967In 1967 ad great George Lois did a cover for Esquire that is now on display at the Museum of Modern Art– it showed a woman in a trash can- with the headline “The New American Woman through at 21.

Heather Walker, 18 and deadHeather Walker was only 18, and ended up in a trash can in Dayton, off Jersey Street not to far from where I live.

The police department refused to take a missing persons report on Miss Walker, parent of a 2 year old, because she was 18 and “emancipated” and had a history of running away from home.

Somehow, that just doesn’t cut it with me.

Not just the response from the police department, but the people who live near where the body was found. The people who were around Miss Walker as she was obviously becoming a crime statistic. Someone had to know- and somehow didn’t come forward.

February 9 to April 6 is a long time for someone to vanish- and not, morbidly and literally, cause a stink.

Is it because of who she was that we didn’t give a shit?

If you are Steve Fossett, and you don’t come home, people look for you.

If you are an 18 year old woman, who lives with your parents, no crime has occurred until we find your body.

We all wonder how a man could keep his daughter imprisoned in his basement in Austria for 24 years, but seem to think it’s OK to ignore a parents plea for help in finding their daughter.

Photo by Ty Greenless, Dayton Daily NEwsTo the people who live near where the body was found- how could you not know something was amiss?

To the police who sat on their hands- how can you look at them now with out seeing Heathers blood?

And to the people who did this- Esquire cover or no- women don’t belong in trash cans.

If people wonder why we have the death penalty, this is it.

But, before we condemn the killer- we have to look at ourselves. If it does indeed take a village to raise a child, we all failed Heather Walker, and for that, I’m angry, sad, hurt and disgusted.

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19 Responses

  1. Gene May 1, 2008 / 8:48 pm
    This is a very sad story. We can blame many, but those directly responsible for her death are the ones who will have to face God. The police did little – too little too late? – sure. This should never happen.

    It does take a village – a village of willing and able and sound minded participants. Loving and caring participants.

    David, thanks for taking the time to remind us all how short life can be, and in this short time how we should make this sort of thing never happen.

  2. Sara Walker May 1, 2008 / 10:21 pm
    I think you as well as Mary McCarthy (who did this same Op Ed topic today in the DDN) went WAY-WAY-out on a limb for this “shame-on-us” item.
    Yes it was alarming and disturbing to discover that an 18 year old was found in a trash can. No one can or will ever deny that point.
    However, I question the elevation of a young woman who at 18 could have chosen several paths – community college (we have one of the most affordable), technical colleges (there are several and as an ADULT with a depended child Ms. Walkers available financial aid would have been above the “norm”) or how about the path that you chose which was the military?
    Yet, Ms. Walker chose another path. She chose to have a child out-of-wedlock, keep it and live with her parents. She CHOSE to run with a less than savory crowd – regularly. She chose to ignore the sage advice to “fly right” and raise her child. She stole a car, she wrecked her parent’s car (without their authorization to use it), she shoplifted, she stole and YES she was a HABITUAL run-away.
    She wasn’t innocent and don’t make her out to be.
    Furthermore, Ms. McCarthy, who resides in the BURBS, doesn’t seem to be aware of crime in the City of Dayton. And I would think that you (who does reside within the City limits) WOULD be aware of the typical issues facing the DPD – rape, assaults, and yes, murder – not to mention all the other petty crap that City of Dayton residents are “expected” to tolerate.
    This is not the Oakwood police department which makes an effort to “fill up” their 12 hour shift with “something to do” – ie traffic tickets, pulling over cars with broken head lights, keggers on the West Side of Far Hills.
    Oakwood PD probably would have found her – run her name – and dropped off at the Mont. County jail. To wit – she would have RUN AWAY AGAIN.
    In the scope of criminal events, Ms. Walker’s death is tragic, but certainly not worthy of the level of “extra police effort” that you and Ms. McCarthy have emphasized. Ms. McCarthy is under the misguided belief that most helicopter mommies are “My child is the only one in the world that matters”. Perhaps you are under the same parental hysteria.
    Or maybe the Dayton Police Dept didn’t show the last time you called them?
  3. David Esrati May 1, 2008 / 11:10 pm

    Sara-
    You seem bitter.
    I never made Heather out to be a saint.
    Nor do I blame any one group-
    I said we’re all to blame.
    But, maybe if the DPD did spend more time writing traffic tickets and laying down a rule of law, people might start respecting the laws more.
    On my block, it’s not just the police that keeps watch over our homes- it’s our neighbors.
    Something major is broken- and Heather Walker is just a small warning to us all.

  4. Larkin June 6, 2008 / 1:03 am
    Community college? Are you effing kidding me? She didn’t even finish high school! (Which in this case was the lovely Belmont campus, a “computer themed” high school that lacks even a basic website. 4 out of 10 students there drop out. 93 percent of their students are considered “economically disadvantaged.” This is a good a place as any to show where Heather began to get lost. On her myspace profile, under “favorite books,” she wrote “F*** Books.”

    Of course, when the Dayton Daily News covers graduation, they don’t even cover their own inner city schools, preferring instead to showxase Centerville, Kettering, Oakwood, etc. Given the kind of media coverage Heather Walker’s death generate, is it any wonder that the kids of East Dayton feel totally disenfranchised.

    See this link http://www.truecrimeweblog.com/2008_05_18_archive.html if you’re interested in an accurate account of Heather’s story. (I can’t tell you how sick I am of the “habitual runaway” business. She hadn’t run in a year. She didn’t take her wallet or cellphone, nor did she call her mother– her usual pattern.) She didn’t run this time, she was stolen.

  5. randi July 22, 2008 / 6:26 pm
    if you want to know in depth about belmont high and the kids that go there, take a second to stop ridiculing everything and ask. i myself attended belmont high, at the same time that heather did. I myself wasnt the best teenager but i moved from ohio to kentucky, and have since changed my life. all it took was a parental figure that cared enough to tell me how it was. i am now happily married and follow closely by the law. just because heather was into trouble at the time dosnt mean that her death was a bit more unimportant. sarah, you dont know what kind of wife, mother, or daughter this girl would grow to be. her death should have nothing to do with the type of death she endured.
  6. WILLIAM MCCARTHY September 16, 2008 / 11:09 am
    LISTEN SARA I KNEW HEATHER VERY WELL AND IN NO WAY DID SHE EVER DESERVE WHAT HAPPENED TO HER SO IF U DIDNT KNOW HER DONT TALK BS
    U CAN CALL ME AT 254-3851 AND ILL LET U KNOW JUST WHAT A PIECE OF SHI* U ARE
  7. David Esrati September 16, 2008 / 11:22 am

    William, I don’t think anyone suggests that Heather “deserved” what happened to her. It was a horrible way to die.
    I think what was being discussed was the way the media and the police department and the community reacted to this story.
    It’s true Heather could have made different choices in life- however, she shouldn’t be an relegated to the unsolved murder category.

  8. brittany snyder February 1, 2010 / 11:42 am
    heaather is gone but not forgotton!
  9. Adriana October 12, 2010 / 2:24 am
    Ok so I never got the honor of meeting Heather. I remember reading the article and being sad, no person deserves that no matter how far off the right track they were. I do know she was a good mom and I didn’t have to meet her. I see her son every day and seen him grow into an amazing, smart boy with a heart of gold.
  10. Megg October 21, 2010 / 11:25 am
    I new heather very well also and some of the things you people are saying is b.s. She was a great person. Gone but never forgotten boo!
  11. destiny March 15, 2011 / 8:43 pm
    i know who killed her terrie mccoy  but now shes dead over od
  12. Adriana March 15, 2011 / 10:05 pm
    Destiny why in gods name would you write this stuff, if you knew should have contacted the police and not on here, kinda disrespectful
  13. Ashley Lunsford April 13, 2011 / 8:16 am
    Frist of all Desting could you plz tell me how if you say Terrie Mccoy killed ker how did she die of a overdose?? Or why you havent call the police or even her parents thats kinda stupid!! This aint just a game this is someones life your talking about!! and to the sara lady or anyone elce how dare you say anything like that the cops should had made moe of an effort regargless were you live the cops should at least do something heather was not a bad person and did you know her cause all thats put out there is the things of her past nobdy say how she was a good person or that she was a good mother she would have done anything she could to help anyone!!!
  14. laura groves November 4, 2011 / 10:45 pm
    hi this is laura i am heather walkers cosin and for the pepole talking bad about her you need to STOP.And as for you destiny you need to stop saying you know who killed my cosin if you dont and if you really do know how did it then why did’nt you take what info you had to the cops.
  15. Shannon Walker March 19, 2012 / 12:14 pm
    @ Sara – I am Heather’s aunt and yes you do sound a bit bitter for whatever reason.  Regardless of the choices Heather made in life, that does not negate the fact that she was someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s mother & someone’s friend.  She was still a human being and was loved by many.  Just because she made choices that you would not agree with doesn’t make her any less human and deserving of the same treatment that a diplomat or celebrities child would get.  Put yourself in my brother-in-law’s place.  How would you feel if it were your child & your child had made some choices that maybe you didn’t approve of but you still loved that child & they disappeared….would you be as understnading and as cool about the police not searching to try & find you “baby”?  Nuff said !

    Shannon – Katy, Texas

  16. Jennifer September 17, 2012 / 11:59 am
    ???We thought of you with LOVE today, But that is nothing new. We thought about YOU yesterday and the days before that too. We think of you in silence, we often speak your name, Now all we have is memories and your picture in a frame. Your memory is our KEEPSAKE which with we will never part. GOD has you in his keeping, We have you in our hearts…ILY Heather…..Rest In Peace Baby Girl ???

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