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Into the Truth
It all began in 2004, when Issac James was born on June 23rd. He was 7 lbs 6 ounces and pure happiness to his parents, Joslyn and Jonathan. He was born in Summit Falls, Maryland and still lives there to this very day. In 2016, during summer vacation, he and his family went to Canada for his 12th birthday. They went all over Canada from Yukon to Ontario. It took them two weeks to do everything they wanted to do there. When they arrived at the airport to fly home, Issac said, “When I am older, I want to come back here and do this all over again!”
After a two hour delay and a five and a half hour flight, they arrived back in Maryland. Isaac and his family made it back home and quickly unpacked. It was getting late and was supposed to start thunderstorming into the morning. Issacs’ dad made it just barely inside for there to be a thunderous crack of lightning and rain to start pouring down. Issac was sad to leave Canada but was excited to be home again and see his friends again. The next day Issac woke up at 8:00 in the morning to unpack his bags and clean his room so that he could go meet his friends. At 10:00 he got on his bike and went to the park with his brother, Theodore, or Theo as he likes to be called, and met up with Scott Barnes, Hailey Greer, and Hailey’s twin, Henry. Theo was a year older than them but they all still got along with each other. Of course, Theo had his own friends but he didn’t seem to hang out with his own friends as much as he hung out with them. When they all made it to the park, they played some football, basketball, and soccer. Issac and Theo talked about all the fun they had in Canada. Once again Issac said, “When I get out of high school, I’m definitely going back there.” They left the park to go get lunch and went to their favorite small town diner, Sam’s.
At Sam’s they all ordered the same thing that they have been ordering for the past 4 years. A turkey club with no tomato and with pickles. Theo, Henry, and Hailey ordered a Coca-Cola and Issac and Scott ordered an Orange soda. They all finished their food and headed back home. Issac and Theo rode their bikes home and so did Hailey, Henry, and Scott. Later that night, Issac and his family played board games after dinner. Those 2 weeks in Canada were Issacs’ favorite memory. Sadly, he never did make it back to Canada. When he was a junior in high school, 17 years old, he was murdered. No one knows who killed him or why they did but, let's go back about a month before it all happened.
Issac was almost done with highschool and after this school year, he would have had one more easy year. He had gotten almost all his credits he just needed to pass this year and get 1 more credit his senior year. The first day of junior year was the best for him. He got to see Hailey and Henry for the first time in two months because they went on a family vacation to Hawaii. Scott and Issac hung out almost every day the entire summer whether it was going to the park and throwing a football or playing video games on a rainy day. Theo got a job at Sam’s but hung out with Issac and Scott when he could. When they all got their schedules, Issac found out that he had lunch with Theo, 2 classes with Henry and Scott, and 3 classes with Hailey.
His first class was English and he had Theo’s least favorite teacher, Mr. Turner. After a long day of English, math, chemistry, geography, and engineering, the day was over at 2:45. Issac took his bike home and Theo went to football practice. When Issac approached the front door he saw a note that said, “Issac, Theo we aren’t home right now we should be home about 6:00. Love, Mom and Dad.” Issac shrugged his shoulders, took the note, grabbed his key, and went inside. He finished up his homework and played video games with Scott. When Theo got home about 5:30. Theo walked into Issac’s room and said, “Where’s mom and dad?”
“They left a note saying they wouldn’t be back until 6:00.” Issac explained.
“Okay. You wanna order some pizza? I’m really hungry.” Theo said.
“Sure! I’m really hungry too.” Isaac said enthusiastically.
They ordered a chicken bacon pizza from Summit Pizza. They got it for delivery and got it in about 35 minutes. They finished up the pizza and their parents got home at 6:10. Roslyn walked into the living room and said, “Hey boys! Did you guys get anything to eat?”
Issac said, “Yep, we ordered a pizza from Summit.”
“Okay, good! How was school?” Their Mom asked.
Issac and Theo went on to talk about their days. When Theo asked, “Where did you guys go today?”
“Umm, we went out of town to go pick something up and then we went to get dinner.” Their dad said hesitantly.
“Okay then…” Theo said back.
They went into the living room to play a board game and Theo finished up his homework. The next day, they went back to school and did it all over again. Issac had all of his classes, went home, finished his homework, and played video games with Scott. Issac did this over and over again for the next week until the third week of school when Issac and Scott decided to go to the town arcade and just hang out for 3 hours straight. The month of August was going by really quick and it got to the last few days of the month and their parents had a surprise for Issac and Theo. It was just a normal Saturday, Issac got up, brushed his teeth, ate breakfast, and went over to Henry and Hailey’s house. Scott and Theo joined them a little while later. It was going to thunderstorm and have winds as high as 40mph so they all stayed inside and played card games and board games. They ate lunch together and all went back to their own houses. When Issac and Theo got back to their house, they walked in and saw a small present on the counter with a note on it that said,“Do Not Open! We’ll open this later.” Issac yelled up the stairs and said, “Hey Mom! What’s with the present on the counter?”
“Don’t worry about it! We’ll get to it after dinner.” Their mom yelled back.
Isaac and Theo went to their rooms and finished up the little homework that they did have and did their own thing. Theo was just scrolling through his phone and listening to music. Isaac was doing the same. John yelled upstairs and told them to come down because dinner was ready. Their mom made their favorite food, Chicken Parmesan with garlic bread.
“When are we going to open that present?” Isaac asked impatiently.
“We’ll open it after dinner.” John said.
They finished their dinner and went into the living room. Isaac was really excited to open the present and so was Theo. Their parents stalled as long as possible but didn’t have any more excuses when Isaac yelled, “Can we open it now!?”
“Okay, okay. Just give me five minutes.” Roslyn yelled back
Eventually both their parents came downstairs and sat on the soft mahogany couch that they’ve had since Isaac was born. Both Isaac and Theo looked at each other and then at their parents impatiently. John said, “Okay, now we are waiting on you…”
Theo ripped open the wrapping paper and Isaac took the box from him and opened it. Together they took out the tissue paper that was right on top and it revealed 4 airplane tickets for July 2023.“No way!” Isaac yelled.
The tickets were for a week in Canada. Isaac was finally going to be able to go back to Canada after high school and have the best time of his life again.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Isaac excitedly said.
Isaac had a hard time going to sleep that night because he was going to go on his dream vacation once again. He finally fell asleep after what seemed like forever. On Sunday, the James family didn’t do much besides have their usual game night. It was 6:30 on a Monday morning and Isaac’s obnoxious alarm rang. He turned off the high pitched ringing and checked his phone. There was a message from his brother saying that he went to the school gym early. Issac got up and got ready. He went downstairs and grabbed a couple frozen waffles from the freezer and threw them into the toaster. He put his books into his navy blue backpack and took the waffles out of the toaster and headed out the door. Isaac had his license but didn't have a car so he took his bike to school a lot from the cool days of spring through the warm days of fall when Theo couldn’t drive him to school. He rode the bus or got a ride from Theo in the winter. He made it to school and did it all again, English, math, chemistry, geography, and engineering. Both Theo and Isaac left at 2:45 after school because Theo didn’t have practice. A week passed and it was Sunday night again, the James family had their usual game night and by 11:45 everyone was in bed. Isaac woke up the high pitched ringing of his alarm. As Isaac was getting ready the potent scent of bacon was wafting up the stairs. Isaac went downstairs and found his mom making eggs, bacon, and hashbrowns. Theo was sitting at the table with a glass of orange juice. His father with a cup of coffee and watching the news. Isaac’s mom said, “Hey Buddy, how did you sleep?”
“Pretty good.” Isaac said back.
Roslyn came to the table and sat down all of the plates and sat down herself. “Anything special going on today boys?” John asked.
“I have a test in Chem and we are going to work on group projects after school.” Isaac explained.
“Nothing really, just practice after school.” Theo said.
“Alright, let’s eat. You two have to be at school in 10 minutes.” Their mom said.
They quickly ate their food, Theo and Isaac went to school and their parents headed to work. Like every other day, school ended at 2:45 and Theo went to practice. Isaac went to an after school engineering project. Isaac texted Theo at 4:00 and said that he was heading home. Theo drove back home, walked inside, and didn’t see Isaac. Theo yelled up the stairs, “Isaac! You up there?”
There was no response. Theo went out back, Isaac wasn’t there. He went to the top of the basement stairs and yelled down, “Isaac?”
He ran upstairs into all the rooms and didn’t see Isaac. He ran downstairs and didn’t see Isaac. Theo tried to think logically and stay calm. Theo tried calling Isaac’s phone, no answer. Theo called Scott, Scott picked up and said, “Hey man! What’s up?”
“Hey man. Is Isaac with you?” Theo asked.
“Nope. I haven’t seen him since Geo. Why? Scott explained.
“Okay… I just got home and he isn’t here. He might be at Henry and Hailey’s. Lemme call Henry real quick.”
Theo was starting to get worried. Ever since they were young they were best friends. Of course they had the usual sibling squabble that all siblings have but they had never been extremely mad at each other. Theo called Henry, but he didn't pick up, so he called Hailey. Hailey picked up and she said, “Hey! What’s up?”
Theo said, “Is Henry with you? He didn’t pick up when I called him.”
“Yeah… He’s playing video games-” Hailey was explaining when she got cut off .
“Is Isaac at your house?” Theo asked urgently.
“Uh… I don’t think so. Lemme go see if Henry invited him over.” Hailey said. She went downstairs into the living room and came back onto the phone and said, “Nope. He’s not here. What’s going on Theo?”
“I don’t know… Hey, I gotta call my parent’s. I’ll talk to you guys later.” Theo stammered.
Theo called his dad. “Hey Dad?”
“Yeah son?” John said back.
“I can’t find Isaac. I don’t know where he is. I tried calling him and he didn’t pick up so I called Scott, Henry, Hailey, and now I’m calling you.” Theo said urgently.
“Hey, hey, hey calm down. It’s okay we’ll find him. Call your mom to make sure she doesn’t have him. I’ll start heading home.” His dad said calmingly.
“Okay…” Theo murmured.
His dad hung up and Theo called his mom. “Hey mom? Are you with Isaac?”
“No. Why, what’s going on?” Roslyn said frantically.
“I came home and he wasn’t home. I called him and he didn’t answer. Then I called Scott, Haliey, and Dad, they haven’t seen him.” Theo said stressfully.
“Okay… I’ll be home as soon as I can.” His mom said in a daze.
When Isaac and Theo’s parents got home they called the police to file a missing person’s report. The Sheriff and a deputy showed up to their house 10 minutes later and started questioning Theo and his parents.
“Okay, Theodore, when was the last time you saw Isaac?” Sheriff Mills said.
“I saw him at 11:30 this morning at school for lunch. Oh, and Isaac stayed after school for an engineering project and texted me at 4:00 telling me he was heading home.” Theo explained.
“And you Roslyn? When did you last see or hear from Isaac?” Sheriff Mills asked.
“I saw him at breakfast, this morning at about 6:10.” Roslyn said, trying to stay calm.
“John, what about you?” The Sheriff said.
“Same as Rose, at breakfast.” John said.
“Okay. I’ll go to the station right now and file this. Please let me know if Isaac shows up. I will call you if we find him or if he shows up at the station.” Sheriff Mills said comfortingly.
Sheriff Mills and the deputy walked out the front door and Roslyn walked upstairs to her room in a daze and John followed. Theo just sat there, confused, just wanting his brother to be there playing video games with him or just sitting on the other side of the couch listening to his music. An hour later, Theo starts walking up the stairs to his room, the steps creaking under his feet. He sits on his bed still in a daze. His dad walks to the doorway just to see a tear fall down Theo’s face and his dad says, “Hey bud.”
Theo looks at him with tear filled eyes and says, “Where is he dad?”
“I don’t know, kid. I do know that we will find him.” His dad said consolingly.
“Dad, I’m sorry. I feel like this is all my fault.” Theo says.
“No bud. This isn’t your fault at all. We’ll find him I promise.” His dad said.
“Love you Dad.” Theo said.
“Love you too kid.” His dad said.
Theo stayed home from school the next week and his parents stayed home from work as well. They hadn't heard anything about Isaac from the police or found him themselves. That was the longest week of the James family's life. Then the news came, Monday afternoon at 2:30 the sheriff and two deputies showed up at their front door. Isaac and Theo’s dad opened the door and their mom said, “John? Who is it?”
She started walking to the door and Theo followed. The sheriff said, “John, Roslyn, Theo. I'm so sorry.”
“No. No. No.” Roslyn cried.
“Isaac’s body was found.” The sheriff explained.
“Are you sure it was him?” John said in denial.
“Where was he? What happened to my brother?” Theo said in shock.
“Isaac was found in Blackburn, Delaware. He was found today at 7:00 on a beach. I’m so sorry.” Sheriff Mills said.
“When can we see him?” John said sadly.
“Isaac’s hasn’t gotten here yet but, I’ll call you guys as soon as he arrives.” Sheriff Mills said.
“What happened to him?” Theo asked, staring at nothing still in shock.
“We aren’t sure yet, but it seems that he was beaten. I’m so sorry, I wish there was better news that I could give you three.” Sheriff Mills said consolingly.
“Thank you Sheriff.” John said.
The Sheriff and two deputies walked off the porch and John closed the door. Roslyn walked slowly into the living room and John followed her.” She sat on the couch and said in a quavering voice, “ Why him? What did he ever do to anyone?”
John tried to console her but it wasn’t working. Theo walked upstairs and sat down on his bed and started crying. He just lost his baby brother and could’t think of anything worse than that. At 5:30, he heard dinner being made, so Theo walked downstairs. The shock was gone, he was just sad in a way that was unimaginable. John was making burgers and Roslyn was making her specialty homemade fries. His mom seemed okay, but you could tell she was just as sad as Theo maybe more. She turned around and gave Theo a hug. She said, “ Hey buddy. How are you doing?”
“I miss him already Mom…” Theo said sadly.
“I know, I know. I miss him too.” She said back.
“Hey kid. You doing okay?” John said.
“Yeah. Not great but I’m doing better.” Theo said.
They ate dinner, but it wasn’t the same without Isaac. They talked about some of their favorite memories with Isaac and then went into the living room and talked about Isaac some more. Theo said, “How are we going to tell Scott, Henry, and Hailey?”
“I don’t know how we are going to tell them but I do know that we should tell them soon. I want them to hear it from us, not someone from school or in the news.” Roslyn said.
“I can call them and tell them to come over in a few.” Theo said.
“Okay I think that’ll be best.” Roslyn agreed.
Theo texted the group chat and they all arrived at about the same time. Scott, Hailey, and Henry walked in unknowing that one of their best friends had just died. Theo walked them all into the living room where they saw the tears on Roslyn's face and the sadness on John’s face. Henry said, “No. There’s no way.”
“What?” Hailey said not realizing what had happened.
Scott fell to his knees on the floor. The realization hit Haliey. “What happened to him?” Hailey said in distress.
“We aren’t sure but we know he didn’t do it to himself.” John said.
“So you’re saying he was murdered…” Henry said solemnly.
“Yes. That’s what Sheriff Mills seems to think.” John replies.
“Who did it? Why him?” Henry said with anger in his voice.
“We aren’t sure who did it. Or why.” Roslyn said sadly.
Scott didn’t say anything. His best friend had just died. Roslyn and Scott’s mom had been best friends since high school and were still friends to this very day. Scott, Isaac, and Theo had all grown up together and knew everything about each other. After a while Henry and Hailey went home. Scott was still in shock and barely said anything. Theo walked over and sat next to him and Scott said “Where was he? How did he die?”
“He was found in Blackburn, Delaware.” Theo said.
“Delaware? What was he doing in Delaware?” Scott asked.
“We don’t know how he got there. He was found beaten up on a beach.” Theo answered.
Then, John's phone rang, he answered and said, “ Okay… Alright…”
“Is he here?” Roslyn asked solemnly.
“Yes. Sheriff Mills said we could come now or tomorrow.” John said.
“Can we go tonight? I want to see my brother.” Theo said.
“Sure… Scott? Do you want to come?” Roslyn asked.
Scott nodded his head slowly. Scott called his mom, he explained everything and said that he was going to spend the night. Theo, Scott, John, and Roslyn all got into the car and headed to the police station. When they arrived, Sheriff Mills met them at the door and took them back to the morgue. They walked in and saw Isaac. He was laying on a cold metal table with a white sheet over top of him. Isaac had a 3 ½ inch cut along his right eyebrow, small scratches on his left cheek, and his left shoulder was badly bruised. The James family and Scott were speechless. “Have they done an autopsy on him yet?” John asked.
“Not yet but, they have examined the outside wounds. As you can see he has a laceration along his right eyebrow, some small scratches on his left cheek, and a badly bruised shoulder. He also has 3 bruises on his torso and another laceration on the right side of his torso.” Sheriff Mills explained. They had Roslyn and John fill out some paperwork for Isaac’s death and then Theo, Scott, Roslyn, and John all went home. The car ride home was silent until Scott said, “Who would do that to a person?”
“I don’t know. I think that whoever did that to Isaac should get it right back.” Theo replied.
A few days had passed and John went down to get the autopsy report and a copy of the police report from the station. The results of the autopsy report showed that there were no fingerprints on the body and a knife was used on the right side of his torso. The results show that the laceration on his torso was the most possible main cause of death. The police report explained that there was no weapon at the scene or any evidence that hadn’t been washed away from the water on the beach. That Friday they had Isaac cremated and held a celebration of life for him on Saturday. Theo so badly wanted to find who did this to his brother but couldn’t do anything about it. He just could wait and hope that new information was found. Henry, Hailey, and Scott were right with Theo. They all wanted to find whoever did this to Isaac and put them in jail forever. Theo missed two weeks of school still recovering from everything that had happened. Theo had gone through almost everything in Isaac’s room looking for any clues or information on who did this or why they did it but he found nothing. Theo, Hailey, Henry, and Scott all finally reunited at school all together but not complete. They all felt a little better but didn’t have all the closure that they wanted. Theo went back to playing football and it helped distract him from everything that was going on.
It was October 12, a month since Isaac died. The James family still hurt but it was getting better. Theo, Scott, Henry, and Hailey were slowly coming to terms with Isaac’s death. They were all still so angry but it was getting better. Theo kept this to himself but he started having nightmares. Sometimes he would see what he imagined Isaac went through, someone kidnapping him and taking him to Delaware, beating him up on a beach and then leaving him there to die. Sometimes it was just him walking into that morgue and seeing Isaac lay there motionless on that cold metal table. Eventually the nightmares started to fade and Theo was healing slowly. Roslyn and John seemed like they were doing good, at least the best they could do after losing a child. Scott started talking again. He seemed to be doing a lot better than the week Isaac died. Henry and Hailey were doing better but not great as well. The weeks kept going by and there was no change, there was no evidence and there was nothing that any of them could do about it. Eventually Isaac’s case was closed.
The holiday’s passed and things started to get better. Theo got a scholarship to play football at Somerset University in Maryland. One day they were all celebrating Theo’s scholarship when Henry got an idea. They decided to go to the principal the next Monday and ask about planting a tree in the front of the school dedicated to Isaac. The principal agreed without hesitation. The problem was that it was the middle of winter, so they had to wait until summer to plant the tree. The year ended and 2023 was here. They all were grateful that 2022 was gone because that was the worst year of their life but it was rough for Scott, Henry, and Hailey knowing that Isaac was gone and wouldn’t have a senior year with him. School came to an end and Theo graduated.
During the first week of summer vacation, Isaac’s tree was planted. Everyone from Summit High was there. Theo, Scott, Haliey, and Henry all helped plant the tree. John and Joslyn helped put the plaque in front of the tree. A few weeks later, Theo realized that they were going to Canada soon. He was having mixed feelings about going because it felt wrong going without Isaac but at the same time, he thought that Isaac would have wanted them to go. When it came time, the James family ended up going to Canada. They did the exact same trip that they did for Isaac’s 12th birthday, they went from Yukon to Ontario. That was another amazing week for them but it was also very bittersweet without Isaac there. They made it back to Maryland and Theo decided to meet up with Scott, Henry, and Hailey at Sam’s the next day. They all sat at their normal table and ordered their usual turkey club with no tomato and with pickles. Scott said, “Hey Theo? Do you think we should have gone further into the truth about who killed Isaac?”
You could see that Theo was genuinely thinking about this. Then, Theo replied, “No. I think we would have just been angrier if we did.”
Park City, Utah
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North Waterboro, Maine
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