It’s a May afternoon in California, and an elderly couple are driving through the scorching desert. En route to visit family for Mother’s Day, they lose their way amongst the rough terrain. Then, two weeks later, an off-roader stumbles across a vehicle stranded in the brush — and what he finds inside defies belief.
The story began on May 10, 2015, when 79-year-old Cecil Knutson and Dianna Bedwell, 68, arrived in Valley Center, a community some 40 miles north of San Diego, CA. A former marine, Cecil had been an expert in the disposal of landmines during the Korean War. Later, he became a school bus driver — a profession also once shared by Dianna, his wife of over 25 years.
Before meeting Cecil, however, Dianna had led a life touched by tragedy. As a teenager in Indiana, her younger sister, Sylvia Likens, had been tortured to death by Gertrude Baniszewski – the woman who was supposed to be responsible for her care. At the time, the crime was notorious for being one of the most horrific that the state had ever seen.