Please pardon the delay between posts. I wrote this blog over two weeks ago but held on to it until now. I delayed posting it because I wanted to give the article’s subject the opportunity to do the right thing. Obviously, but not surprisingly, that did not happen.
Recently I received a message (see below) from a reader who wanted to update me to new events in a story Toni Ingram wrote about in her blog.
The reader wrote Toni to suggest that the Morgan’s Stalking blog (she called it Stalking Morgan) be updated to make corrections based on the new information. After Toni ignored the readers request, the reader wrote to me.
The entry to Morgan’s Stalking of which I am referencing was written March 21, 2013 and was titled, Breaking News! Why do people assume the wrong thing, and run with it?
In this particular blog, Toni engages in a self-described rant about runaway assumptions.
Today I just need to get this out. I don’t know what the heck is going on in this valley, but it’s just not right! There seems to be a handful of people who always come up with the wrong conclusion to something they know nothing about or someone that don’t even know, and then spread it around as if it were the gospel truth. What is up with this? I have lived in this valley since the 70′s and I have never seen this happen as much as it is now.
She goes on to fill in details of the events that prompted her diatribe; of which I will summarize:
A fifty-five year old Aspen resident and avid skier by the name of Robert Jefferson Walker, better known as Jeff, was missing. He skied Aspen Highlands almost daily and his last known location was the Exhibition chairlift at 12:04 p.m. on Thursday, March 7. This information, I can only guess, was recorded when his lift ticket was scanned.
By Saturday March 9, family and friends became concerned they had not heard from Jeff and authorities were contacted. Concern grew when Jeff’s personal belongings were found in a Highlands locker. Official search and rescue began in earnest. For two days Mountain Rescue Aspen and Highlands Ski Patrol, along with 72 members of the public scoured all four mountains of the resort, including out of bounds areas, to no avail. By Tuesday March 12 efforts were scaled back to targeted searches by the ski patrol. Jeff’s proactive friends and family picked up the slack by raising over $18,000 and launching a Facebook campaign.
It was around this time Toni wrote her “rant.” She continued to vent her spleen with the following:
The point I am trying to make with this blog is that there was a rumor circulating Aspen while Jeff was missing – it said that Jeff had just run off…this is the craziest accusation that anyone could make in this situation, but that’s what the rumor mill was stating. This really infuriates me because of how this affects his family and friends. I feel like if you really don’t know about a situation, don’t make up lies – because that’s what they are – lies! No benefit to them, just hurt for people who are already hurt as much as they can be. Just like some people have done with Morgan’s case.
Oy Vey; Where do I begin? As much as I would like to go off on my own rant, I’ll stay with the facts.
The rumor Toni is huffing and puffing about? It was “started” by Jeff’s brother Buzz:
When asked if the family has pondered if it was possible that his brother isn’t on Highlands, Buzz Walker replied that the family has an ongoing joke that he is alive and decided to run off and “live as a hermit in the Andes.” Their hope is they will find him alive, “and we’ll kill him ourselves,” he said with a laugh.
No lies here, only wishful thinking from a family trying to hold on to hope. The only person jumping to conclusions and making runaway assumptions is Toni Ingram.
As if a rant about assumptions, based on assumptions wasn’t enough stupid for one day, in that same March 21 blog Toni tells her readers that her super-duper psychic friend, Jennifer Shaffer, the medium who, in Toni’s words “has always been 100% right on everything she sees” was kind enough to use her awesome psychic vision to help searchers find Jeff Walker.
100% right all the time? In everything she sees? Anyone with a handful of functioning braincells knows that statement is untrue. I suspect that even people who believe in psychics don’t believe psychics are 100% right all the time.
I should not be surprised though; anyone who believes that an eighteen year old boy and his “gang” could perform round the clock surveillance of a family, access the roof of the family home, freely enter and exit the home, and kill one of the family members, all without detection of cameras and motion detectors would likely believe anything. I digress though.
Getting back to the original matter at hand, according to Toni her favorite psychic, Jennifer Shaffer was contacted by the Walker family and asked to assist in locating Jeff. Again, according to Toni, Jennifer “very gently told Jeff’s family that he was dead.” and “buried under 3 feet of snow.”
Interestingly, Toni Ingram’s version is very different from that told by the Walker family.
According to the Aspen Times, Liz Sathe, Walker’s girlfriend, said they “consulted with three psychics” after intensive search efforts Sunday and Monday [March 10, 11] failed to yield any clues on Walker’s whereabouts.
Sathe also said, “We’ve got some strong feelings that he’s still alive,” “They’ve all been consistent. They all feel strongly that this is a (critical) day because he can’t scream anymore.”
Aspen Times journalist Scott Condon could not resist a bit of editorializing on the psychic’s contribution. He wrote, “They suggested to search skier’s right on the mountain, and anyone who knows Highlands Bowl knows it’s all “right”; the entire face runs in a series of fall-line chutes bisected by rock outcroppings and tight stands of aspen and conifers.”
On Wednesday March 20, 2013 this story came to an unexpected conclusion with a twist Toni Ingram never saw coming. On that day Jeff Walker’s body was found; next to his body was a gun.
From the final paragraph of the March 21 blog entry:
Truth and only the truth should be spoken, and if you don’t know the facts keep quiet or do the research, ask questions, don’t try to act like you know someone when you don’t, and don’t act like you have some inside information
Good advice. Unfortunately they are empty words that reek with the stench of the writer’s hypocrisy.
First the lies:
In her blog Toni Ingram said the snowboarder who found Mr. Walker was not searching for him.
Toni Ingram said the body was hard to reach and “it was very steep with deep snow so Mountain Rescue could not get his body out until today.”
Now the truth:
The snowboarder who found the body was on the mountain specifically to search.
Mr. Walker was not in three feet of snow, or even deep snow. He was found next to a tree, along with his gun.
Mountain Rescue did not handle the recovery. They were under strict instruction that if and when they located a body they were to have no contact with it and to immediately notify law enforcement which they did.
According to Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo“It was too late in the day to get up there today,” (the day the body was found). “We want to do it the right way, not the fast way.
Everything about the March 21 blog was wrong; starting with the “rumor” that precipitated Toni’s rant to her refusal to acknowledge her mistake. If she had any moral integrity she would have written a mea culpa.
I guess I’m naive because I believe when someone is wrong they should say they’re wrong, and be done with it. No big deal, nobody’s perfect. We all make mistakes. The only real mistakes are the ones we don’t learn from.
Obviously she will never admit to the errors in her Jeff Walker blog. It isn’t in her nature. She’s living a lie and she’s her own worst enemy.
Apr 14- 2013 corrected spelling error.