The News Tribune says Troy Culver has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 16-year-old Walter Ackerson, who disappeared from Nye Beach, Oregon in 1990. I’ve written about this case before. Walter and Troy were in the Job Corps and they left the campus with two other guys, Geoff Calligan and Eric Forsgren, without permission. The other three boys returned without Walter and said he had run away. It took close to twenty years to determine the truth: that Troy killed Walter in an argument and, with the help of the other two, tossed his body off a bridge.
Troy has been sentenced to ten years in prison. Unfortunately, the two accomplices can’t face any charges. In a way, I have more respect for Troy, the actual killer. He broke the case himself by voluntarily coming to the police and confessing to his crime. The others, who would have faced far smaller consequences, kept their cowardly mouths shut.
It’s disgusting. If the police and the Job Corps had done their job correctly at the onset of the investigation, this would have been solved long ago and Walter’s body would possibly have been found. The Job Corps in particular didn’t so much drop the ball has hurl it away with great force.
As one of the blog readers alerted me, there has been a HUGE breakthrough in the 1990 disappearance of Walter Ackerson, a case I had known little about until today. Three men have confessed to his murder. One beat the crap out of him and, together with the other two, threw him off a bridge, probably still alive. The two accomplices have immunity to testify against the primary killer, who is facing a whopping ten years. All four of them were enrolled in the Job Corps at the time of the murder.
This Bellingham Herald article is the best I can find on the subject. Though long, it’s well worth the read, telling the whole story behind Walter’s life, disappearance and death. This article sets my teeth on edge. Walter and his family were totally screwed over by the police (who never really bothered to investigate what happened) and by the Job Corps (who were negligent and dishonest, lying repeatedly and deliberately to everyone from Walter’s mom to members of Congress.) If either of those two institutions had done their damn jobs, Walter’s murder would probably have been solved quickly and his body recovered.
Too little, too late. Were it not for the murderer, Troy Culver, voluntarily confessing after all this time (not because the police were after him but because he was in a drug program that required him to make amends for his past bad acts), then there would be no case at all.
Poor Walter. I hope his mother and grandmother can get some solace after all this time, but right now they’re hurt and they’re angry, justifiably so, because they’ve been screwed over to an order of magnitude.