Lynn Shiner recalls the day that changed her life.
“It began Christmas Day, 1994,” she said. “I was divorced and had shared custody with my ex-husband at the time.”
Shiner's children, 10-year-old Jennifer and 8-year-old David Snead, had spent Christmas Eve with their father in Lower Paxton Township.
“I had looked into the sliding glass door and I noticed Tom was asleep, but when I looked closer I realized there was blood all over the couch,” she said.
Shiner's boyfriend, now husband, and a neighbor went into the home and made a heartbreaking discovery.
“He found Jennifer and David had been stabbed to death by their father, then he committed suicide himself,” Shiner said.
Nine years later, another tragedy for another mother: Nancy Chavez.
“My daughter was a speech therapist at Hershey Medical Center and living a wonderful life,” said Chavez.
At least that's how it seemed, until her only child – 28 year-old-Randi – was killed in her Camp Hill home.
Police later proved a plot between Randi's husband, Brian Trimble, and his friend to kill Randi.
“Brian leaves for dinner with his friends while the other person, Blaine Norris, waited for over two hours for Randi,” Chavez said. “He grabbed her when she walked into the door, strangled her, and then took her back into the garage and stabbed her 27 times. She never had a chance.”
Two women are now bound by a book Shiner and Chavez wrote: “Stabbed In The Heart: Three Murdered Children and Two Resilient Mothers.”
The book focuses on those left behind and is a cover-to-cover recollection of how a survivor lives on, the journey they take from the aftermath and even relationships from clergy and friends to the media; a guide on how to approach those loved ones left behind.
Patriot-News columnist Nancy Eshelman penned the book. For her, it was a revealing moment and a personal one.
“A friend of mine stopped over and I said come on in. We were sitting there watching television and my ex-husband broke into the apartment and murdered the person I was with,” Eshelman said.
She, too, is a victim of crime and appreciates what Chavez and Shiner are doing to make a difference.
“The work they do for victims did not exist when this happened to me,” she said. “Nobody put their arms around me.”
All proceeds from the book will go to charity.
“Stabbed in the Heart: Three Murdered Children, Two Resilient Mothers,” just released today, is sold online only.
For more information, visit www.rjdblessings.com.