Stephanie Condon was 14 when she disappeared from Myrtle Creek, Oregon in October 1998. This was right around the time when I got interested in missing people and I recall the early days of her case. The NCMEC classified her as a runaway, for just a few days, and then as endangered missing. She had been babysitting and vanished without a trace, her toddler charge left unharmed. Anyway, as I blogged previously, Stephanie’s body was found in 2009. Last spring, Curtis Hill was acquitted of kidnapping and murdering her. There simply wasn’t enough evidence to convict.
Stephanie’s father, Martin “Marty” Condon, shot himself to death at his Douglas County, Oregon home on Wednesday evening. He was 53 years old. Everyone seems to be assuming it’s a suicide, although the police haven’t officially ruled it as one. My thoughts go out to Christine Condon, Marty’s wife and Stephanie’s mother, as well as the rest of their family. As if they hadn’t suffered enough already.
Also in Oregon, the Kaelin Glazier murder trial has been concluded. Kaelin disappeared from the town of Ruch in November 1996, at the age of 15. In 2008, her body was found only eighty feet from where she disappeared from. A suspect, William Frank Simmons, was arrested in 2011. He was sixteen at the time of Kaelin’s disappearance and was the last person known to have seen her before she vanished. Well, he’s just been acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter. (Oddly enough, it was by a 10 to 2 vote: apparently this is allowed in Oregon.) Simmons’s defense attorney asked that sentencing — a mandatory decade in prison — be delayed because he had “additional information that might have substantial bearing on the verdict.”
Dale Wayne Hill, long the prime suspect in the murder of Stephanie Condon, was acquitted of the crime early this month. I just found out.
Stephanie disappeared in 1998, while babysitting at someone’s house. She was fourteen years old. Her body wasn’t found for over a decade. Then Hill was arrested a short time later. But the evidence just wasn’t there.
I really admire Stephanie’s parents for their remarkably sane and sensible reaction to the verdict. They don’t blame the jury for acquitting Hill; they don’t blame the police or the prosecutor; they’re angry but they don’t want to seek vengeance:
“I want to be perfectly clear: I do not want anything to happen to Hill. Absolutely do not,” Marty Condon said. “I don’t want people to build their frustrations, you know, I don’t want nothing to happen. I want him to live with this for the rest of his life. And I want to help him. I want to help him have a miserable life.”
Condon said that, while they disagree with the verdict, they weren’t surprised.
“Obviously we’re very disappointed in that verdict. I don’t blame the jury, they had a tough job,” Marty said. “They didn’t make the leap in their thought process, but I don’t blame them. Under the rules, I probably would have voted not guilty myself.”
“I have a very strong dislike for the tactics that the defense attorney’s used,” said Condon. “Maybe [they’re] borderline legal, but tasteless.”
Condon said he’s not happy with the outcome, but doesn’t believe there was anything else the prosecution could have done to get a different verdict.
“There wasn’t a single person involved with this investigation that didn’t do their best,” Condon said. “Their hearts were always in the right place. Christine and I were painfully aware of all the legal limitations, as the detectives were very concerned with Hill’s rights, and they wanted to do it right. We just came up short.”
The Condons are ruminating the possibility of a civil suit against Hill. Now that the murder trial is over, they can have Stephanie’s body back and bury her with dignity. It’s been a long time.
Some skeletal remains found near Glide, Oregon have been identified as fourteen-year-old Stephanie Condon, missing since October 1998 from Myrtle Creek, Oregon. She disappeared while babysitting. After over ten years, at last her family can bury her.
I remember reading about Stephanie’s disappearance right after it happened. For about five seconds she was listed as a runaway, but the police quickly concluded she’d been kidnapped. I was thirteen years old when she disappeared. She’s almost exactly a year older than me; she was born on October 8, 1984 and I was born on October 5, 1985. Good student. Volleyball player. All-American girl.
No cause of death has of yet, but it’s presumably a homicide. The cops have a suspect, a convicted sex offender they’ve been looking at since Stephanie disappeared. He’s currently in custody in Nevada on unrelated charges. The Oregon cops are grilling him.
Northwest Oregon News
The Associated Press
KPIC CBS News 4
Two days and I’m already missing my website and wanting to get back to it, especially with this news.