My name is Kathy Monkman Higham. In 1988, I experienced the worst thing I could ever imagine happening –the homicide of my sister and best friend Cindy. We lost our mother when we were 5 and 7, just 14 months apart and she was my entire world up until the time she was killed. We also have a brother John, who fell in to mental illness (Schizophrenia) after her murder. I am John’s primary support person now so you will get to know him through reading the blog as we pursue the adventure of our lives together. I am blogging quite a bit about mental illness services in Arizona, good/bad/worse. He and my father are relocating to Pennsylvania where I now live to be three minutes away from us.
Cindy was murdered by a man who, with his brother, immigrated to the US from Germany with a plan to con American women. Their various cons elevated to the plan to find women to marry, take out life insurance on them and kill them for money. My sister Cindy was their first and last victim as both were arrested, prosecuted and sentenced to death in 1990. I was 29 and she was 30 at the time of her murder.
My family and I have navigated the waters of death penalty appeals all these years. In 2008, one of Cindy’s killers was released from Death Row on a “mental retardation” claim that was argued for the both of them. This hearing took 7 years to come to fruition interrupting our family’s life and requiring us to participate and testify. I know the death penalty appeals process intimately, as well as the toll it takes on families. The worst treatment our family ever received over these years was by death penalty appeals lawyers.
I also know that I have a life to live that is my own and that has never taken by this tragedy. I strive to live that life at the highest level I can every day. I endeavor to help others when I can and find inspiration wherever I can. I feel living this kind of quality life is the best tribute I can give my sister. I also do my best to care for our dear brother and feel I pay homage to my mother and sister in this way as well.
This blog is the namesake for the photo you see of Cindy and I as young children hugging each other, before our mother died, which she blew up and gave me framed for my 25th birthday. She jokingly referred to this photo as “The Innocents”. A poignant foreshadowing of what was to come.
I have attended some other trials over the years including Scott Peterson, Michael Peterson, Jodi Arias and some local lesser known trials often reaching out to offer support to surviving victims (see links below). I have live blogged from some of them and posted updates from others to bring other interested readers in to the trial experience. I’ve raised funds, appeared on TV and radio, and in other ways supported victims dealing with the trial process.
I live in beautiful Lewisburg, Pennsylvania with my husband whom I married in May, 2015. We also spend quite a bit of time in Sedona, Arizona at our family home there. When I’m not adventuring around the globe with my husband, I enjoy cooking, crafting, dancing, writing, films, and all things creative.
I am currently writing a memoir about my journey through Cindy’s murder and that process can be followed at my other blog Middle Child.
Thank you for visiting my blog. I plan to share experiences related to victims advocacy, mental illness/advocacy, miracles, healing and living the fullest life I can create.
Please join me.
You can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s to Innocence!
Appearance on the Ricki Lake Show:
Advocacy for family of Travis Alexander:
Appearance on the Dr. Drew Show regarding Arias trial: