By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
BRIDGEWATER — It's been six years since her first book, "A Child is Missing, A True Story," and 45 years since Karen Beaudin's kid sister Kathy Lynn Gloddy was raped and murdered in Franklin.
Beaudin, then 15, shared a room with her 13-year-old sister, and has written a second book about Kathy's death that is wildly different than the first, which focused on the grief and pain her close family endured in the minutes, days, weeks and months that stretched into years following her sister's unsolved murder.
"A Child is Missing, Searching for Justice" is about Beaudin as she retraces the criminal inquiry into her sister's death and chronicles some of the internal state and police politics that may have thwarted the murder investigation.
In the area for two book signings, one Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Gibson's Bookstore in Concord and one Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Franklin Public Library, Beaudin talked Thursday afternoon about her research and why she even wrote her second book.
"I thought I would speak to about three people who were involved," she said. "I ended up doing more than 50 interviews and researching everything I could find."
She said she would talk to one person, who would lead her to another, who would lead her to another. By the time she was through, she had interviewed a number of retired police officers who worked on her sister's case in 1971 and officers who were assigned to the first New Hampshire Cold Case Unit in 2010, which was created after she wrote her first book and encouraged the legislature and then Gov. John Lynch to form a special unit for old homicides.
She interviewed classmates of her sister, friends of the young men thought to be involved, and newspaper reporters who remember the case.
Beaudin also interviewed a former female acquaintance of the prime suspect who spoke extensively with police at the time and who still doesn't understand why there was no grand jury convened by then State Attorney General Warren Rudman.
She writes about competing jurisdictions during the time of the investigation and how the State Police, the Merrimack County Sheriff's Department and the Franklin Police were reluctant to share information with each other.
And she retells her own story about some of the intimidation and pain she suffered in the years after Kathy's murder while she lived in Franklin and tried to raise her young family there.
Kathy Lynn Gloddy's death was a horrible one. She had been raped and strangled. Her naked body had been run over repeatedly by a car and left on an old logging road in West Franklin. She was found on Nov. 21, 1971, three miles from the family home she had left in the early evening to walk to the store, accompanied by her dog, Tasha. Hours later, only Tasha returned.
Beaudin said the first three chapters of her new book were the most difficult. It's where she forced herself to review her sister's autopsy reports, research medical terms to explain the science, and write down the gory details of her sister's death.
She said the tone of the second book is different because it's more clinical.
"My first book was about the emotions, the steps we (her family) went through," she said.
While writing "A Child is Missing, Searching For Justice," Beaudin worked with victim's advocates, helping them understand how kids cope with pain.
"I weave a prism of emotional things through evidence," she said.
She described her feelings when she entered into the bedroom she shared with Kathy the day after they found her body and realized that in the course of the investigation, the police had moved everything, had torn up the room, had cut open the mattress and, in her mind, ruined or took everything she had by which to remember her sister.
Beaudin said when she told this part of her story to a group of homicide investigators in Ohio, one of them told her that he has since ordered his detectives to leave everything they can of a deceased person as intact as possible, for the benefit of the family left behind.
Beaudin also identifies the people who were in Franklin at the time. She names names but said she comes to no conclusions because it's up to the reader to do that.
"Everything is validated by law enforcement," she said.
She said writing the book has given her an opportunity to help others.
"I blog," she said. "I have families who contact me from all over the place."
She lectures at universities and colleges for students who want to be victim witness advocates or police officers.
She said she shows pictures of Kathy and one particular picture of her grief-stricken father that gives students a sense of what survivors experience.
Beaudin talked about her relationship with law enforcement and how she has grown to appreciate the work they do and the sacrifices they make to do it.
In a recent lecture she gave to a criminal justice class at Plymouth State University, she said she was asked by a student what is the one thing she would want a police officer to know.
Her reply: "No matter when you go back, the family is still grieving that loss."
She also counsels families who survive victims of crimes not to "burn their bridges with law enforcement" no matter how long the investigation takes or how slow it seems to be moving forward.
"They are your life line," she counsels. "Don't be so quick to judge them. Look at their job and what they do. Hopefully they won't be sloppy, but you can't expect them to be perfect."
Beaudin said she is moving on from writing about death, murder and grieving. She is almost finished with a children's book, which is being illustrated by a family member and is loosely based on the antics of three grandsons.
"I'm not writing a third book about the murder," she said. "If they solve it or make an arrest, I'll write an addendum."
Karen Beaudin has written a second book about the rape and murder of her younger sister, Kathy Lynn Gloddy, 45 years ago in Franklin. (Gail Ober/Laconia Daily Sun)