Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia |
A deeply researched and stunningly written investigation of the murder of two young women-and how a violent crime casts a shadow over an entire community.In the early evening of June 25, 1980, Vicki Durian, 26, and Nancy Santomero, 19, were killed in an isolated clearing in Pocahontas County, West Virginia. They were hitchhiking to a festival known as the Rainbow Gathering but never arrived. For thirteen years no one was prosecuted for the "Rainbow Murders," though suspicion was cast on a succession of local men. In 1993, a local farmer was convicted, only to be released when a known serial killer and diagnosed schizophrenic named Joseph Paul Franklin claimed responsibility. With the passage of time, as the truth seemed to slip away, the toll became more inescapable--the unsolved murders were a trauma, experienced on a community scale. Emma Copley Eisenberg spent five years re-investigating these brutal acts, which once captured the national media's imagination, only to fall into obscurity. A one-time New Yorker who took a job in Pocahontas County, Eisenberg shows how a mysterious act of violence against a pair of middle-class outsiders, has loomed over all those involved for generations, shaping their identities, fates, and the stories they tell about themselves. In The Third Rainbow Girl, Eisenberg follows the threads of this crime through the complex history of Appalachia, forming a searing portrait of America and its divisions of gender and class, and of its violence.