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pattydee
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xx Re: Melissa "Missy" Johnson - MN
« Reply #15 on: Mar 6th, 2005, 10:19am »

This is the 3rd article kindly provided to us from the Startribune www.startribune.com One year after Missy was tragically taken from this world her family and friends remember this wonderful, amazing, young lady.
Missy you are missed! cry
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Published: July 9, 1992 Section: NEWSPage#: 01B
Missy is missed
By Jim Parsons; Staff Writer
Kelly Mohs is getting married this summer and, of course, wanted her "best ever" friend to be in the wedding. But Missy won't be there.
Several friends from St. Cloud State University are planning a get-together to rehash last year's student-teaching experience in England and their backpacking trip through Europe. But Missy won't be there.
Marit Meyer is going to have her first baby in a few months. She's nervous and excited, but probably no more so than her big sister would have been. But Missy won't be there.
Patrick Johnson always enjoyed his aunt's visits because she would do fun things like roll on the floor with an 8-year-old. But Missy won't visit anymore.
And every summer, a dozen young women from Alexandria's Jefferson High School, class of '86, rendezvous at a lake for a day of lying in the sun, talking about boyfriends and catching up on what has been going on in each other's lives. This year, Missy wasn't there.
Melissa Johnson's death has left a big hole in a lot of lives. Her parents, Dave and Gayle Johnson, have felt it the most, of course, along with her sisters - Marit, Kris and Stacey - and Stacey's son, Patrick. Other relatives, too. Especially Granddad, who is 81 and hasn't been quite the same since Missy was murdered a year ago today.
Others know the pain - friends, former teachers and classmates, neighbors and folks at church. And thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, felt a stinging sense of loss over Missy's death even though they didn't know her at all.
Initially, there was the anxiety about what had happened to the attractive 23-year-old who had gone bouncing out the door at midnight to walk her roommate's puppy. There was nothing in her experience, either growing up in a small town or in four years at St. Cloud State, that warned Missy about being kidnapped.
For four days, hundreds of people searched the St. Cloud area. Then her body was found. She'd been abducted at gunpoint and raped, allegedly by a man who had raped twice before. He was on parole, having been out of prison only a few days.
Since then, her family says, there have been "hundreds and hundreds and hundreds" of cards and letters and phone calls, and they keep coming. People just want the Johnsons to know that they care.
That wasn't enough for Molly Renslow. She knew that having an endowment fund in Missy's name would help the Johnsons with their grief. A similar fund had helped Renslow when her husband died of cancer at age 33.
Renslow learned that there was a fund, but only $687 had been donated. She mobilized friends and co-workers and, with help from the university, put on a walk-run-bike-blade-athon last month. It raised more than $8,000. A fashion show in Alexandria in September could bring in $5,000. And Renslow is beating the bushes for $10,000 more.
"Molly is incredible," said Gayle Johnson. "We didn't know her, but she has become a friend. And it does help to know that Missy will be remembered."
Said Dave Johnson: "The interest money from the endowment will go to education majors when they do their practice teaching. When Missy did her practice teaching in Shoreview she needed some extra money for moving and to handle some of her living costs. This way, she'll be helping others to become teachers, which is what she wanted to be so much."
Support has come from other unexpected corners. Two members of the Minnesota House, Speaker Dee Long of Minneapolis and Kathy Vellenga of St. Paul, drove up for a short visit. "It wasn't political at all, and we didn't really talk much about passing any new laws or that sort of thing," said Gayle Johnson, although the case did play a role in the passage of tougher anticrime laws. "Mostly it was mothers talking. You know, parents."
Said Dave Johnson: "And it really meant a great deal to us. It helps. So many people have done things that help."
Some members of the family have received professional help to handle their grief. Gayle Johnson had two sessions with a psychologist before he told her, "You're helping me handle this more than I'm helping you."
Melissa's sister, Stacey Johnson, 29, and her son talked to a counselor, too, thanks to the Bloomington mortgage firm where she works. The firm picked up the bill.
Marit Meyer, 22, met with a psychologist and also devised her own therapy. She has spoken at several schools about violence, particularly violence against women. "I talk about what happened to Missy, but I don't make it too personal. If I did, I'd wind up in tears," she said.
There has been some frustration mixed in with the tears for Meyer and the rest of the family. There was some anger when they read in the paper that Missy's accused killer was on a hunger strike, claiming that he had been mistreated in jail.
The legal proceedings against Missy's accused murderer, 26-year-old Scott Stewart, have moved slowly. According to the murder indictment, he confessed to police and led them to the body. He now says that he did not kill Missy and that the confession was coerced by police who also denied him his right to an attorney.
He also has challenged the prosecutor's decision to inform the grand jury, which indicted him, about his prior rape convictions. That legal motion has already worked its way to the state Court of Appeals, where it was denied.
The other motions are pending and there will be a hearing on them today, the anniversary of Missy's death.
"It just happened that way; we're not upset about it," said Gayle Johnson.
"And we'll be there to represent Missy," Dave Johnson added.
Many times, victims' families become frustrated and angry at the legal system's complex procedures, but that hasn't happened to the Johnsons. They are aware that under the state's three-year-old "heinous crimes" law, Stewart probably would spend the rest of his life in prison if he is convicted. That's because of the two prior rape convictions. "We know he has nothing to lose," said Gayle Johnson, "so his lawyer is going to do everything he can. We realize that.
"We have a lot of confidence in Roger Van Heel [Stearns County attorney], and they call us every time something happens. They've even been up here to see us."
The Johnsons have another legal interpreter. Their 27-year-old daughter, Kris Johnson, is a paralegal with a law firm in Alaska and she has helped explain legal proceedings via long distance. The trial, which is tentatively scheduled to begin in about five weeks, will be another emotional wringer.
"We're going to have to hear about what she went through [before she died] and that's not going to be easy," said Gayle Johnson. "You know, they wouldn't let us see the body. Not even an arm or a hand. And that's hard." The trial undoubtedly will revive some of the nightmares and the "what ifs."
What if Missy hadn't walked the dog quite so long that night? What if she hadn't had to take that one health class that she belatedly learned she needed to graduate? She would have gotten her teaching degree earlier and would no longer have been living in St. Cloud.
The nightmares and "what ifs" will be grabbing at Sheri Edlund, too. She was Missy's roommate and it was her puppy. Edlund was busy studying for a test that night and didn't have time to go out.
"We talk to Sheri quite often," said Gayle Johnson, "and it's getting better for her. But it's been tough, real tough for her. She's blamed herself, and we've tried to help her with that. She's very special to us."
The Johnsons have something else special to them sitting on a small table near the front door. It's a snapshot taken eight or 10 years ago when their daughter was in her "little stinker" period.
"When she was being a brat," said Gayle Johnson, "her dad would always say, `Melissa Johnson, I hope you'll have a daughter someday just like you.' "
Finishing the story, Dave Johnson said: "She always had the same comeback. She'd say, `Well, if I did, then she would be perfect.' " Maybe not perfect, but the Johnsons still have visions of their "little stinker" coming through that front door and breathlessly announcing: "Guess what? My car's broke. Somebody will have to do something."
« Last Edit: Mar 6th, 2005, 10:22am by pattydee » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Melissa "Missy" Johnson - MN
« Reply #16 on: Mar 9th, 2005, 12:20pm »

The Startribune also published the following articles about Melissa and her tragic fate.
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Hound, helicopter used in search for missing St. Cloud State student
Published on July 11, 1991
By Jim Parsons; Staff Writer, $03 words

Police in St. Cloud used a bloodhound, a helicopter and a door-to-door canvass in searching Wednesday for Melissa Johnson, who disappeared early Tuesday. But they didn't find any clues as to what might have happened to Johnson or to the puppy that was with her.
Police did get help yesterday in the form of a $10,000 reward offered by the city's largest employer, Fingerhut Companies. Fingerhut's president, Ted Deikel, said Johnson's disappearance was so
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Towns unnerved by violent crimes
Published on July 13, 1991
By Donna Halvorsen; Staff Writer, 828 words

The violent crimes that seemingly used to happen "somewhere else" are shattering the tranquility of rural Minnesota.

The abduction of 23-year-old Melissa Johnson, whose body was found Friday, is one of five that have occurred outside the Twin Cities in the past 21 months.

In two cases, the victims escaped. In two, they were murdered.

In the fifth case - the one that first focused public attention on rural safety - the victim, Jacob Wetterling,
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Complaint says man held in student killing gave details to police
Published on July 14, 1991
By Richard Meryhew; Staff Writer, 630 words

The man arrested in the slaying of St. Cloud State University student Melissa Johnson told authorities that he abducted her at gunpoint before driving her to a rural area near St. Cloud and cutting her throat, according to a criminal complaint filed Saturday in Stearns County.

No other details of the crime were given in the complaint, and authorities declined to speculate yesterday on whether Johnson, 23, was sexually assaulted.

An autopsy has been completed,
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Outrage could lead to clamor for stronger prison door locks
Published on July 16, 1991, 927 words
By Dane Smith; Staff Writer

Minnesota is buzzing with outrage over the events of the past month.

Two young women were abducted and killed in the presumed safety of outstate Minnesota.

Authorities attempted to place a paroled Ohio rapist in the state, despite protests from a victim.

And bullets ricocheted through downtown Minneapolis, injuring six young people in front of two of the city's newest hotels.

It's a run of blood-boiling news that has the potential for
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Slaying suspect has led a troubled life
Published on July 16, 1991
By Richard Meryhew; Conrad deFiebre; Jim Parsons; Staff Writers, 1260 words

Scott E. Stewart, the two-time rapist accused of killing St. Cloud State University student Melissa Johnson, has been in and out of trouble much of his life.
He was into drugs as a boy and did a stint in reform school. He later became a burglar, a car thief, a robber and a kidnapper and rapist.

He once was so strung out from methamphetamine, cocaine and five straight sleepless nights that he asked police what he had done after he was arrested for raping an
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The right to shun rapists
Published on July 16, 1991, 467 words

You can't blame Minnesotans for cold-shouldering Gary Reece. There's little to be gained by allowing the convicted Ohio rapist to set up housekeeping in St. Paul. And there could be danger: Every week seems to bring news of another assault by a recently released rapist;

the Stearns County murder of Melissa Johnson may be the latest incident. If communities are to shield themselves from such peril, surely they should be free to shun its perpetrators. The state's
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Carlson promises to require escorts for violent parolees
Published on July 17, 1991
By Dane Smith; Jim Parsons; Staff Writers, 699 words

Responding to the public outcry over the slaying of a St. Cloud woman, Gov. Arne Carlson on Tuesday pledged that from now on, state corrections officers will escort released prisoners with histories of assault to halfway houses.

Carlson called the slaying of Melissa Johnson a "tremendous tragedy." Her accused killer is a twice-convicted rapist who ignored an order to report to a halfway house.
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Student was stabbed, autopsy says
Published on July 17, 1991
By Jim Parsons; Staff Writer, 307 words

An autopsy on the body of St. Cloud State University senior Melissa Johnson confirmed Tuesday that she bled to death from stab wounds in the throat, but officials refused to say whether she had been raped.

"We're not going to comment on that," said Sheriff Jim Kostreba when asked whether there was any evidence that Johnson had been sexually assaulted or whether her body was clothed when found by police.
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xx Re: Melissa "Missy" Johnson - MN
« Reply #17 on: Mar 9th, 2005, 3:44pm »

More archived articles from www.startribune.com
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Woman deals 'constantly' with pain of 1988 abduction, rape by Stewart
Published on July 18, 1991
By Conrad deFiebre; Staff Writer

After Scott E. Stewart was arrested and charged with murdering Melissa Johnson near St. Cloud, Minn., friends of his victim in a 1988 case asked her if the news brought back painful memories of her abduction and rape.

No, she said Wednesday: The hurt, fear and chronic insomnia caused by Stewart, a two-time convicted rapist, never went away.

"I've had to deal with it constantly," she said. "It's been current ever since then."
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Two killings inspire tough talk from Legislature
Published on July 20, 1991, 1368 words
By Dennis J. McGrath; Jim Parsons; Staff Writers

The rush to "do something" in response to the recent abduction killings of two young women gained speed at the Minnesota Legislature on Friday with calls for action that ranged from creating a study commission to reinstituting the death penalty.

Despite toughening penalties for violent criminals and sex offenders in 1989, key Independent-Republican and DFL legislators are unwilling to wait to see whether those changes will deter crimes such as the slaying almost two
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Letters from readers
Published on July 20, 1991, 1539 words

Something's wrong Isn't it time that we realize that there is something terribly wrong with the way that we handle repeat sex offenders in Minnesota?

My mother, Louise Johnson, was abducted and murdered two years ago. She was last seen alive on July 3, 1989. She was missing for four months until her body was found. The probable suspect in this horrible crime (who took his own life before he could be arrested) was a repeat sex offender who was paroled in June of 1989.
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Protecting against sexual predators
Published on July 21, 1991, 703 words

Thomas Schwartz, released March 9, 1988, from a Nebraska prison where he served time for robbery and sexual assault; arrested two weeks later in Eagan for following a woman home; sexually assaulted and killed Carrie Coonrod on May 27, 1988, in Minneapolis.

David A. Thomas, released May 17, 1988, from a a sentence for several 1980 Minneapolis rapes; sexually assaulted eight women in three weeks following his release; murdered the last of them, Mary Foley, on June 12,
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Letters from readers
Published on July 26, 1991, 1389 words

Change the system
I heard Melissa Johnson's murder reported on the radio as I was driving home. My fist hit the steering wheel and tears rolled down my face. Another innocent woman whose life was senselessly snubbed out by another sick and brutal man. Kate Hebert was my sister's friend and my mother's friend's daughter. My family knew her, just as Melissa's friends and family knew and loved her. Just as each victim's friends and family knew and loved
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xx Re: Melissa "Missy" Johnson - MN
« Reply #18 on: Jul 9th, 2005, 5:03pm »

Today is the 15th sad-anniversary of Missy's death. Her tragic and cruel fate is an argument against releasing dangerous sex offenders.
I'm still trying to obtain an online picture of this wonderful young lady who we miss so much. It's important for Minnesota to remember her!

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« Last Edit: Jul 9th, 2005, 5:54pm by FindCarrie » User IP Logged

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xx For Missy on 7-9-05
« Reply #19 on: Jul 9th, 2005, 5:54pm »

Thinking of Missy today.
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Caring About All Missing & Murdered People
Please visit www.FindCarrieCulberson.Com
And www.AngelGardenOfHope.Com
My group inspired to help others because of Carrie.
See also our missing & murdered person blog
http://findcarrie.blogspot.com
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xx Re: Melissa "Missy" Johnson - MN
« Reply #20 on: Jul 9th, 2011, 07:13am »

I'll never forget this day 20+ years ago. Driving those roads, searching ditches...then being told to come back-you had been found. Thanks for the memories ....teaching you to drive that white mustang, wearinng that letter jacket, the times at the cabin, wearing your hair up in that goofy Madonna wannabe look. Too many to list. Over the years I have came to realize-its not how long or how old someone is on this earth to touch people before they go. Thank you.
Missy Noelle...RIP.

Jeff Karrow

huh
« Last Edit: Jul 9th, 2011, 07:37am by rfn99x » User IP Logged

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xx Re: Melissa "Missy" Johnson - MN
« Reply #21 on: Jul 27th, 2011, 07:52am »

Your message really touched my heart. Thanks for sharing all those special memories.
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