The tragic case of Vindalee Smith‘s murder is causing quite the stir in New York City. The 38-year-old pregnant bride-to-be and mother of four was found with her throat slit in her apartment this weekend. There was a note left behind by Smith’s killer that has gotten plenty of attention and terrified plenty of pregnant women throughout the city. The note said that one pregnant woman would die every week until DC Sniper, Lee Boyd Malvo, was released from jail. Whether it’s a hoax or not, the threat is enough to send shivers into the spine of soon-to-be mothers everywhere.
Vindalee Smith’s case is by no means simple. The woman had told friends and family that she was getting married to her fiance Anthony Jackson this weekend. However, Smith’s suitor is still married to another woman. Adding to the suspicion, Smith seemed to know her attacker. There was no sign of forced entry into her apartment. The personal drama and the scene seem to suggest that Vindalee knew her killer.
It’s completely possible that the note left with this poor woman’s body was simply meant to throw off police from looking into the victim’s personal life. Even if next week comes and another woman isn’t attacked, the distraction would give the killer time to distance himself or herself from the crime. (I’m completely talking out of my Criminal Minds-watching behind right now.)
But even if that explanation sounds likely to my crime procedural mind, it doesn’t stop the threat of violence directed at pregnant women from being terrifying. Really, any threat of violence is terrifying. Leveling it at pregnant women isn’t more gruesome, though it seems crafted to trigger the most disgust and sorrow possible.
So far, the police have found no connection between the DC Sniper and Vindalee Smith. Malvo was the younger accomplice to John Allen Muhammad. Muhammad was put to death in 2009 and Malvo is serving his punishment of life in prison. Obviously, there’s one big way in which this case differs from any you’ll see on television. No amount of threats will ever convince authorities to let Lee Boyd Malvo see the outside of a prison cell.
Even if this story isn’t one of a psychopath attempting to free another serial killer from jail, it’s still horrible and it still has the power to instill fear in women across the country. What if Vindalee Smith really knew her killer, but the criminal decides to follow through with the threat to sell their story? Will it matter whether the threat was a ploy or not? And no matter what, a mother of four has been taken from this world in violence. Whatever the reason behind this tragedy, our thoughts and prayers are with the family, community, and police officers looking to bring this murderer to justice.