Karina Holmer was a beautiful, successful woman living in the suburbs of Connecticut with her husband and two children. She was living the perfect life — until she wasn’t. Everything unraveled when she was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.
Chapter 1: Things Fall Apart
Karina Holmer was born to a life of luxury, but she has been haunted by a dark secret since the day she was born. For as long as she can remember, her mother has been abusive towards her in both physical and verbal ways. Growing up, her father would come home from work and find bruises on his daughter’s arms and legs. It didn’t take long for him to figure out that his wife was the one causing them. He reported this to the police but never saw any sign of improvement in Karina’s situation.
Her mother continued to abuse her until one day when she found herself pregnant with her second child. This is when things fall apart for Karina… her mother moves back in after spending two years living abroad with her new husband.
Karina’s stepfather who, surprisingly, seems supportive of her blossoming photography hobby even offers to pay for her first exhibition at a gallery in downtown Los Angeles. But just when it seems like things are finally looking up, they get worse instead; Karina finds out that he tried to kill himself due to a string of bad investments.
I’ve told my friends what my family members have done because I don’t want anyone else to go through what I went through. I know people who have experienced physical abuse at the hands of their mothers or fathers and it makes me sick every time they tell me their story.
Chapter 2: Into the Abyss
Karina Holmer became a detective when she was 18 years old. She had always been a curious child, and her parents loved to tell the story of how she solved her first case at five years old. They would recount the time they found her in their living room with all the lights turned off, holding an ice cream cone and eating it slowly, something she only did when she had successfully solved a mystery.
Chapter 3: That Endless Summer Night
You’re not going to be successful in anything, you know. You’re an angry little boy with a chip on his shoulder. I sat there stunned, not able to form words or any thoughts. What the fuck do you know? I finally managed to spit out.
She smiled and shook her head as she got up from the table and walked back into the house.
I know more than you think, she said before slamming the door behind her.
Chapter 4: Red Flags All Around
Karina’s mother was an alcoholic and her father worked with her at the post office. She had a reputation for being difficult to work with, but no one could deny that she was a hard worker. She didn’t have many friends, and spent most of her time studying or volunteering at the local homeless shelter.
Karina recalls that she never felt safe in their house because her father would make so much noise during his drunken rages, but he wasn’t violent towards her as long as she acted respectful around him. One night when Karina’s father had come home drunk and started an argument with his wife, he grabbed a knife from the kitchen counter and stabbed himself in the stomach.
Chapter 5: Too Little, Too Late
She’s dead! I exclaimed. She can’t be, he said, shaking his head in disbelief. It was all the confirmation I needed. I’m sorry, I said and took a step back as he ran past me and out the door. I closed it behind him and leaned against it with my eyes tightly shut. They were too tired to stay open any longer, but they didn’t close on their own. My mother had been sitting next to me on the couch for hours before she finally spoke. What happened? she asked softly.
And then I knew there was no point in lying anymore.
I went into her room because there are some things you should know about her life before you meet her tomorrow, I whispered and started from the beginning. When we got to the present moment, where my mother sat next to me on the couch, we both gasped at the same time.
Oh God, what do I do now? My mom said. There is nothing that needs done right now other than wait until morning so we could call Aunt Lidia first thing in the morning to see if she could come over again.