Authors: Beverly Simcic
By BEVERLY SIMCIC
Copyright © 2012 by
Beverly Simcic. All rights reserved.
Published in 2012 by
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“Every single word in this book is the truth to the best of
my ability after thirty years of time lapse. A few names have been changed and
a few have been fabricated due to no recollection at all of their real ones.”-
Table of Contents
I want to thank all the people on
this page for their support in this project. A very special thank you to my
lifelong friend, Dana Katselas, for her guidance and highly skilled technical
knowledge. Without your help I would have never finished this book!
T. A. Powell
Detective Mike Blasko
Detective David Hatch
Dr. Cyril Wecht
hristine Casilio was found dead and decomposing
in the bathroom of her small efficiency apartment in Las Vegas, Nevada on June
During a summer of average daytime
temperatures of 99 degrees and up, the air conditioning unit in her apartment
had been purposely turned off, therefore causing her body to decompose at a higher
than normal rate.
Chris was twenty-three years old
and someone who had been my friend and neighbor in Pittsburgh, before we
mutually decided to hop a plane to Vegas for a vacation and the possibilities
of new jobs and extensive dream weaving.
Chris was sent back to Pittsburgh
in a body bag, while I returned to a life that would carry the mystery of her
death in my heart and mind for twenty some years before overcoming the paranoia
and debilitating fear in order to begin telling the story. Angeline and
Josephine Casilio, Chris’s aunts in Pittsburgh, would spend the remainder of
their lives searching for answers in their niece’s death. They were both near
sixty at the time that Chris died. They are both deceased at this writing.
A miracle, a vision, a premonition,
and an unsolved death in Las Vegas have hung in my memory like a broken antique
for the last twenty-four years of my life. I’ve had that long to think about
the reason it all happened in the first place and why I was drawn to, and
ultimately placed in the old apartment building on Riverview Avenue in
Pittsburgh. If you believe that nothing happens by accident, or if you have
lost your faith, this true story of fate and divine intervention will shed a
bright light on all the possibilities….
I’ve had this true story locked in
my mind since June of 1982. I have never told this story to anyone—for reasons
of paralyzing fear and the fact that the murder has never been solved.
There has been no time for
stillness in my life. Life changed drastically for my husband and me in the
summer of 2006. We lost our clothing stores to (what I call),
—the U.S. economy was on a down swing and we were right in
the middle of it. My husband returned to truck driving with a local steel
erection company, and I was lost. I had never felt this alone in my entire
life; it felt like I’ve been thrown down a well and left there in the dark
What does a fifty-something woman
who’s owned her own business for twenty-three years do when there’s no more
business? That’s only one question that arose; there would be a hundred more
in the months to come.
I’ve come so far since the summer
of 1982—a single working mom until the 90s, and now a former business owner who
walks the garden daily for inspiration.
I have my computer, but what do I
now Google? I can Google anything; every single morning I try to think of
things to Google. Looking for jobs, mainly jobs—I must find something to do,
but what do I do? I can’t rush this, it doesn’t feel right, and it doesn’t
feel worthy right now. I don’t feel worthy of anything. I feel defeated,
angry, and full of nothing—empty as hell.
I must regress myself to the time
before I owned my business; what did I do? I don’t want to regress in any
way—it’s depressing. Why is regression so painful, so anxiety ridden? I haven’t
figured it out yet, and I don’t care to. I want to feel motivated,
enthusiastic, like I felt every single day when I had my business. But, there’s
no more business.
I should be thinking about the
bankruptcy and the realization that we almost lost the house; I want to have
some kind of real passion for something, a project, a career, a something—
One afternoon while putting out
seed for the backyard birds, I have a passing thought about Chris.
what she’d be doing today if she were still alive.
I don’t know how old
she’d be; I can’t remember and don’t want to remember. As I’m listening to the
questions coming at me in my head, I ease myself into the lounger—heaven. This
is the first attempt at relaxing, breathing, taking in my woodland gardens
surrounding me, sun on my face, arms, warming my entire body. I close my eyes;
I see Chris, and she’s standing there, telling me she’s sorry. I mumble to
myself, “What are you sorry for, Chris?” She sighs, “I’m sorry I left you
thinking I didn’t like you; I’m sorry I couldn’t listen to you then; I’m sorry
I missed out on life.”
So I’m taking this in stride, this
conversation with a dead person, someone who’s been gone since 1982, someone I
haven’t thought much about in all these years. It’s my memories that are trying
to resurface, and I don’t want them. I don’t want those memories because I’ve
deliberately suppressed them; I can’t allow it. I know that if I allow Chris
back in, Marty and Fred will follow. The terror will overcome me; the fear that
paralyzed me in the eighties will sweep back in, stalk me, and snuff me out.
This small willingness to allow regression of my memories must be a sign that
something’s happened…something I’m not yet aware of. Marty could be dead now,
gone forever, and I won’t have to think about him anymore. I’m suddenly
relieved that Marty is probably dead, and I can feel the tension drain out of
my body like rainwater running down my garden hillside. He’s older than I am;
he really could be dead by now.
Fred is probably in prison, and he
was from Philadelphia so he’s not around here. Or Marty could have done away
with him in 1982.
Sun on my shorts, feels like warm
butter, slipping into half sleep, I’m there. I’m hot and paralyzed in a hundred
degrees on my belly on the towel in the grass, next to the pool at the
Woodbridge Inn in Las Vegas. It’s getting ready to happen. The memory is
suddenly vivid again, the delicate robed hand touching my shoulder, the meek
whispering voice telling me, “Get up and go to your room right now”…bright
white light strobe flashes like a camera going off, shocking me awake like a
cattle prod had been thumped on the back of my head and shoulders.
It’s the first time I’ve allowed
myself to open this memory, and it’s frightening me to the point that I have an
immediate overwhelming desire to tell someone about it. There is no one to
tell! There hasn’t been time in my life for close friends. I’ve lived a
hectic, narrow, pointed-in-the-right-direction life since Chris was murdered in
1982. I am a product of raising a child on my own and not having one minute to
think about anything except earning money to pay my bills and support my
child. The emptiness inside me is an aching pain that has lodged itself in my
body and I can’t shake it. I now know I have to pursue this until it’s out of
my body, out of my psyche. It’s been lodged like a splinter in my brain for too
long, and if I don’t get it out it will become a giant block of wood that
eventually crushes me. Weeks go by before I approach the only person who is
there for me now.
I attempt to talk with my husband,
Jake, and he listens, but he is a black-and-white thinking guy and his psyche
operates in straight, balanced lines. We are completely opposite for
philosophical thinking; his opinion is un-cluttered with emotion and he’s very
direct on solutions. I haven’t told anyone this story, my story—no one knows it
until now, when I finally trust someone enough to tell them. Jake handles it
well, without emotion, only with his balanced and deliberate evaluation.
Why would I want to open up this
can of worms that has been lying dormant for all these years? Especially since
the murder has never been solved, and considering the fact that Marty lives
right here in Pittsburgh. Marty could be dead by now, or...
He then adds more intense
descriptions of how Marty could still come after me or that (in his opinion),
there could have been some sort of cover up by the Las Vegas Police, because in
the eighties there was so much crime going on out there that the police could
have had a tendency to dismiss it and cover it up quickly and silently. I had
to consider all these things.
After telling the love of my life
the entire story from beginning to end for the first time, he runs all the
scenarios at me. The “what ifs,” the dangers, the complications, and all of his
other sensible theories and opinions. I love my husband with my entire being
and I trust him with a trust that I never thought was possible for me. I value
what he has to say, and I try to stop thinking about it.
I gave the flat facts to the
detectives in Las Vegas in 1982 and then the more emotional, intricate story to
Marty upon returning to Pittsburgh after Chris’s murder. Marty insisted I tell
him the story because he was at that time, a Pittsburgh cop and one of Chris’s
unofficial boyfriends, the one who had the key to her apartment while she and I
were both in Las Vegas.
Marty was the chosen one by Chris’s
family to interview me when I returned from Las Vegas, the last person to see
Chris alive—other than her killer. Marty was the guy everyone looked to for
procedures and interrogations, because Marty was a cop.
My premonitions, and the fact that
I firmly believe I was saved from being murdered too, were pushed into the back
of my mind because (as I now know) I was in shock and was living with secondary
trauma syndrome, which is similar to post traumatic stress disorder in that it
changes the way you look at life and creates fear and stress to the point that
it interferes with how you function every day. I realized this quite suddenly
in 2009 after accidentally finding Terri Jentz’s book,
Strange Piece of
. I had been voraciously reading every true crime book I could
find and still hadn’t found the book to inspire me to dig up the truth,
investigate the survivors of the crime and bring the entire story to some kind
of truthful meaning.
Strange Piece of Paradise
was so intense that it
jarred me back into writing again after being frozen and stopped dead, because
somehow, I couldn’t get to the real reasons I was stumbling on my every attempt
to write. I must thank Terri for her inspiration and encourage anyone living
with crime trauma to read her inspiring book. The bravery of this woman is
beyond belief—her story is one you’ll never forget.