Award Winning Best Selling Florida Author Yvonne Mason

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Oak Hammock Park Port St Lucie, Florida

Silent Scream A True Crime

Oak Hammock Park also known as C-24 Canal located in West Port St Lucie, Florida was the scene of one of the most brutal crimes in Florida History. Two young women by the name of Barbara An Wilcox and Collette Goodenough were picked up hitchhiking by Gerard Schaefer and taken to C-24 Canal brutally tortured, hanged, murdered and then he committed crimes against their dead bodies.

These two girls were just two of the six which he killed while he was awaiting sentencing for Battery for two girls who were able to get away from him in July of 1972. Schaefer was never convicted of the murders of Wilcox and Goodenough, but he was convicted of the murder of Susan Place and Georgia Jessup two girls he had murdered and buried on South Hutchinson Island before he killed Goodenough and Wilcox.

The only reason law enforcement was able to tie Schaefer to Goodenough and Wilcox was evidence found at Schaefer’s mother’s home when a search warrant was executed after Jessup and Place were found. At the time he was serving a six month sentence for the battery charge. Since the crimes appear to be the same MO law enforcement exectuted the search warrant.

The Bodies of Goodenough and Wilcox were not found until much later at the Canal. Then on parts of them were found. At the time of the crime and the discovery of the bodies the area was only known as C-24 Canal. It wasn’t until much later when urban legends began to swirl that the area was made into a park.

The so called “Devil’s Tree” is not where the girls were murdered. They were murdered off a trail away from the tree. They were brought into the area by Schaefer from a road that runs behind the park. At the time Port St. Lucie was still very remote. There were roads which led nowhere and it was one of these roads Schaefer used. Because he was a Martin County Deputy and because that area was located on the Martin County/ St Lucie County line he was able to move into St Lucie County to scout out his killing grounds with little or not trouble from his superiors.

Instead of this area being labeled as haunted and evil, I choose to label it as the final resting place for two young women who were taken way before their time. Schaefer took away their future and the future for their families and friends. He destroyed two lives for his own pleasure and feeling of power.

Every time I visit the park to pay my respects to those girls and to remember their death and to honor their life I visit the so called “Devil’s Tree and the surrounding area. As I am walking in and out of the area on the trail I am led by two Monarch Butterflies. I believe it is the girls letting me know that finally they have found peace. Peace because their story along with the others has been told allowing the world to see what a monster Gerard Schaefer truly was. They know they are no longer forgotten, that their deaths and lives will live on; their memory not stuck someplace where they are just another statistic.

These young girls and young women, the victims of Gerard Schaefer were real they lived, were loved, loved, had families and did not deserve to be murdered in such a heinous fashion. Silent Scream is their story it. Oak Hammock Park is the final resting place for Goodenough and Wilcox it is a place of rememberance and sadness not a place of evil. So if you go there to visit- say a prayer for them, commune with them, remember them.

March 2, 2012 - Posted by | Books | , , , , , , ,

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