Monday, June 13, 2011

Twenty Years Ago Today

Today is Bruce day. On June 13, 1991 I saw my brother alive for the last time. He came down to visit me when I lived in Virginia and we went to VA Beach. We had some hamburgers on the boardwalk. Later in the early afternoon, he went back up to Maryland, then on to Connecticut, where he lived. Less than a month later, he and his girlfriend, Karen Vinnik, would be tragically murdered in Tuscon Arizona.
I think my memory is failing, because I can't remember him arriving in Virginia, I can't remember if he stayed at my apartment. I wrote soon after his funeral that I never wanted this memory to fade, that last day together, the funeral, and all the feelings. I never wanted them to fade, I wanted time to stop, and hope that it would go backwards. Now there's bits of memory missing...


Blogger Jill/Twipply Skwood said...

I'm so, so sorry about your brother and his girlfriend. I think the memory is probably not missing. I think it must be there somewhere even if you just can't get to it right now. I don't know what to wish for you because I can't imagine missing my brother like that. But I do wish you good friends and missing him a little less and remembering him a little more; as well as you want to be able to.

June 13, 2011 9:11 AM  
Blogger Chris H said...

I have the same problem.
My big brother died 27 years ago... I can hardly remember our last time together.
And my little brother died 11 years ago and I have to struggle to remember our last visit too.
Why is that?
I loved them both sooooo very much, as I'm sure you loved your brother too.
I can remember both of them and what they were like, how they laughed, talked, walked etc though!
I hope you have a good day... and remember your brother with love.

June 13, 2011 4:19 PM  
Blogger Chris H said...

Forgot... sadly I remember their funerals VIVIDLY. That sucks.

June 13, 2011 4:20 PM  
Blogger Anna E said...

Mark, though I dont know you at all, I want to send my condolences - what a tragical and meaningless way to die..!! Only "comfort" (the way I see it) is, that now they are in a better place and the person who did it has to live with that fact for the rest of his/her life :-(
I think it is natures way of healing that memories eventually "fade" away to some extend, and it says to me that your life is filled with lots of richness and therefore you are not stuck with living in the past. But the feelings and values for your brother will always be there, and I think that matters much more than a detailed memory. Wishing you strength a healing...

June 14, 2011 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very strange to have come across this site some 20 years afer the tragic murder of these two young people. The relavance of my post is that I, in fact knew Karen Vinnick. I went to high school with her in Allendale, NJ. We graduated from Northern Highlands Regional HS in, wow...1989. We were not close friends, in so far as I shared a few classes with her. She always fancied herself a part of the rich girl crowd, granted we all grew up in the affluent suburbs of Northern NJ,however even among n affluent school she tried to be a part of the, "I'm rich and I know it", group. However, that is not the point at all. We had all recently graduated from HS and had all gone off to college, yet still were young enough to still be coming home to NJ for school breaks. I still remember as a 20 year old, now 40, reading in the local paper, as the town we grew up in was small the story of the tragic murder of Karen Vinnick and her boyfriend. I recall the circumstances accoording to the story. They were mixed up in buying large quantities of marijuana in AZ and selling it for large profit back in NJ. seems they got mixed up with the wrong crowd who clocked them for what they East Coast college kids using daddy's money for the wrong stuff, and in way over their heads. I recall the brutality of the murder in the news story. They were bludgoened with a baseball bat and a golf club. Horrible. I know when you play with fire, which Karen and her boyfriend were most definitely doing....these things, unfortunately can happen. Yet, having known Karen and seeing her in school daily in high school and class...we shared Marketing classes together...I remember her answering questions in class ans some marketing projects she participated in....the point being the knowledge of her murder, hit a bit closer, not because we were close friends, which we were not, but rather because I recall observing her as a fellow student, I recall seeing her alive as a young kid, 16 or 17, then coming back from college break and reading of her brutal death. It jolts you. You recall the innocence of childhood, even in high school and the reality of death to someone who you remember in the so called "security" of the confines of school. I do also recall the thoughts upon learning of her death as...."Play with fire and you get burned" which any rational person would recognize. Yet, it was a tragic death which punctured a hole in the insulated world we all thought we lived in, in Bergen County, NJ. I hope Karen and her boyfriend are at peace some 20 years after their death....RIP

January 21, 2012 12:35 AM  
Blogger MarkD60 said...

I wish you weren't anonymous. I'd like to communicate with you.

January 25, 2012 11:33 PM  
Blogger Tina Gonzalez said...

I think about Karen all the time even to this day. She was a very close friend of mine at the U of Arizona and was supposed to live next door to me off campus. We even attended the same high school (Northern Highlands) but I was a few years ahead of her and did not know her at that time. I still remember speaking to her just a few days before she and Bruce were murdered. I had no idea about the crowd she was involved with in reference to the drug trafficking and I had to give my testimony to the Pima County Sheriff's Dept about what little I did know. I will always remember Karen's vibrant smile and good nature. She was one of the most beautiful, friendliest people I have even known.

June 22, 2013 11:34 PM  
Blogger Ham said...

I worked with Karen at camp in 1989. It was a fun summer. I'm sorry about your brother. I hope some kids learn a lesson from this story. My brother dealt drugs and ended up in jail and never really got his life together.

December 16, 2013 12:32 AM  
Blogger Albert R. said...

Karin is in my 3rd and 4th grade class pics....myself and other class members were crushed to hear about her passing....she was a sweet girl.

March 02, 2015 10:10 PM  
Blogger Jason Hatt said...

I received a letter from Karin about the same day, and she actually called me from a diner in Texas that morning. In the letter she told me she was really nervous about going to Tucson, and she had expressed concern about Heath previously. And I was alarmed by the way she sounded on the phone. Then she just disappeared. I called her numerous times over the next few weeks, and then finally the phone was disconnected. I finally reached her father's house in Saddle River, and connected with the gardener. At this point I was hysterical. His voice was very sad. And I just asked him to tell me the truth, was she still alive. And he told me that she was dead. It was a very sad time in my life as a 20 year old suburban middle class kid. I was really forever changed. I don't think I can emphasize enough her cryptic message in the letter, or her voice on the phone the morning of, it really struck me, not just later. Those kids basically just didn't understand what somebody like Heath was capable of, and neither did I. I went back to UofA in the fall, and dropped out just weeks later, lost, and having wrecked my car.

June 03, 2015 2:44 AM  
Blogger Jordan DeMilia said...

My mom was bestfriends with karen growing up, they grewup together and went to highlands together. She loved my poppy and was always at their house. Im actually named after karen, we have the same middle name, leigh. My mom loved her and i really wish i could have known her. She seemed like a beautiful happy person. Their memory should always live on. Rip

July 18, 2015 12:24 PM  
Blogger Jason Hatt said...

I still have a photo of Karin from around March or April of 1991 in Tucson, if anyone is interested.

February 14, 2017 11:08 AM  
Blogger Tina Gonzalez said...

Jason, I gave the one and only picture I had of Karin and I to the Pima County Sherrif's department after her untimely death. If you could make a copy of it, please contact me a

Thank you.

March 20, 2017 2:02 PM  

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