It’s a special thing when a kid can grow up with a real childhood ‘best friend,’ someone who they meet at a very young age and stay close with as they grow older together. The kind of bond you can have with someone that you know through every stage of your life can be unlike any other friendship.
Of course, as people grow and change, they may not always remain compatible as friends. And because those friends can be so emotionally invested in one another, if the friendship goes bad, it can go really, really bad.
In Arleta, a community in Los Angeles, California, there was a little girl named Missy born at the tail end of the ‘60s. She would eventually become best friends with Karen, a girl of the same age whose family moved into a house just around the corner.
After Missy became the first friend of the shy “new girl” Karen when they were eight years old, the two girls were virtually inseparable. They would walk to school arm-in-arm, then come home to play with Barbies, skip rope, or just sit under the willow tree in front of Missy’s house and share secrets.
Growing And Changing
When the two girls started junior high school and their circle of friends began expanding, they still maintained their closeness. But when Missy and Karen started attending San Fernando High School, they started drifting apart as a green-eyed monster drew a wedge between them. Karen was growing jealous of her lifelong friend.
The Pretty One
Apparently, the red-haired and gregarious Missy was considered the more attractive and popular one of the two friends. She was getting more attention from boys than Karen was, which soured the relationship. Because Karen’s resentment made her less fun to be around, Missy naturally began spending less time with her.
That only left Missy more time to spend with some of the boys who were vying for her attention, creating a spiral of emotions that ended with the two former best friends as “frenemies” at best. Things between the two of them got so bad that Karen resorted to starting rumors.
The worst of those rumors played upon the very things that Karen was jealous of, Missy’s looks and popularity with the boys of their school. She spread word around that Missy was sleeping around with other girls’ boyfriends.
The rumors had been so effective that at one point, a group of girls confronted Missy. The angry girls ended up giving Missy a pretty bad beating for what they thought she’d done and beyond the physical pain of the experience, she was hurt by the idea that people would think so badly of her through no fault of her own.
Not My Friend
Missy would be furious when one girl later told her that it was Karen who had started the rumors, though not at at her “friend.” “Missy was so mad at the girl for telling her it was Karen’s fault,” said Missy’s mother Irene. “She knew Karen would never do a thing like that.”
Things came to a head during the girls’ junior year in high school, starting when Missy Avila dated a boy named Randy. They were only together for about a month before Missy broke it off with him because of his constant partying. But very shortly after they had broken up, Randy started dating Karen.
Karen Severson was apparently all in on the relationship because she and Randy moved in together into an apartment that quickly became party central. One afternoon, when Missy was over their apartment, Randy pulled his former girlfriend onto his lap just as his current girlfriend Karen walked into the room.
‘He’s Bad News’
Missy was once again clear that she wasn’t interested in Randy but that didn’t stop Karen from becoming infuriated. Missy later tried to talk with Karen about it, suggesting that she dump the no-good Randy but according to Irene, it did nothing to help the situation. “Karen was really upset because the guy she wanted didn’t want her. He wanted Missy,” she said.
Soon after that incident, the two girls stopped talking to each other entirely. Shortly after that, witnesses saw Karen push and slap Missy before threatening her with a broken beer bottle in a neighborhood park. Ten days later, Missy would take a car ride that would prove to be a defining moment of her life.
On October 2, Missy told her mom she was going for a ride with Laura Doyle, an old school friend. “When Laura got to the house, the girls were laughing and talking about boys,” Irene said. “As they drove off, they seemed very carefree.” She thought nothing of the outing until Laura called the house four hours later, asking to speak to Missy.
“I told her I thought Missy was with her,” Irene said. Laura told the worried mother that she’d dropped Missy off to talk with three boys in a blue Camaro while she drove off to get gas but when she returned, Missy was gone. For two days, the 17-year-old was missing with no answers about where she was. Then, her body was found.
Alone In The Woods
Hikers found Missy Avila’s body face down in a stream in Big Tujunga Canyon in Angeles National Forest. The once-beautiful teenager had been badly beaten, her waist-length hair had been hacked off, and she had been drowned in the 8-inch-deep water before a hundred pound log was placed on top of her body.
It seemed that the killing of her once close friend put everything into perspective for Karen Severson. Over the months that followed, she appeared to be just as obsessed with Missy’s killing as the girl’s family, visiting her grave two or three times a week to leave flowers or balloons, covering the walls of her bedroom with pictures of her deceased friend and newspaper articles about the murder.
Her obsession seemed to go well past being healthy with Karen visiting the scene of the crime often, drowning her sorrow in beer after beer beside the creek where Missy drowned. She even claimed to see Missy’s ghost several times floating over her bed at night, in her van, and even on the couch once while she was visiting Irene.
No Good Leads
Meanwhile, the investigation into Missy’s murder had all but fizzled out. The police search for the three boys in the blue Camaro didn’t bear any fruit and after chasing down every conceivable lead, they were no closer to discovering who was behind her death. Their first break in the case would come nearly two and a half years after Missy was discovered.
In July of 1988, a girl named Eva Chirumbolo came forward with information that had been laying heavily on her all that time. On the day of Missy’s disappearance, she’d been in the car with Laura Doyle, Missy and Karen as the four girls drove 45 minutes away into the mountains. She had split up with the other three girls when they got to the woods where Missy’s body would eventually be found.
Based on her testimony, Laura and Karen, both jealous of Missy, lured her to the creek where they yelled at her about her supposed promiscuity before beating her up and drowning her. The two were charged with murder and in 1990 would be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
“When they told me that it was Karen and Lara, I didn’t believe the cops,” Irene said. To learn that her daughter had been betrayed by two of her former best friends and that she had died for so petty a reason was just too much. But an even worse emotional dagger would come more than 20 years later after Karen was released from prison.
It turned out that Karen was trying to profit off of her horrific deed by promoting a memoir about what she’d done. She even made a deal with a company that wanted to make a film out of the story. “She keeps damaging us over and over and over,” Irene said. “Well it’s going to stop today.”
Not About Money
The Avila family filed a lawsuit against Karen Severson and her book distributor for slander and infliction of emotional distress. “It’s not about us making money off this lawsuit, it’s about letting the public know that crime is paying in California,” Irene said. To add credence to that point, the family also fought to get a new law on the books that would stop criminals from profiting off of their crimes after serving out a sentence.
With the help of California legislators, the state passed “Missy’s Law” in 2015, which didn’t stop people like Karen from profiting by telling their stories, since that would violate their First Amendment rights, but it would legally require the victims of crimes and their families to be notified about projects like the film or memoir. “I feel like we’ve won a really big battle, but there’s still a war going on out there, and we’re going to keep battling as long as it takes,” said Irene Avila.
Best Friendship Gone Sour Ends In Terrible Tragedy For California Teenager is an article from: LifeDaily