By Stephanie Zacharek
By Robrt L. Pela
By Aaron Cutler
By Amy Nicholson
By Simon Abrams
By Chris Klimek
By Nick Schager
By Stephanie Zacharek
Ritter now says Ginger shaved five years off her age and only told him about one of her previous marriages. She claims he quit his job the day after they were married and "laid in bed for 48 hours without moving, a ghostly pallor on his face."
Two weeks after the bombing, Ginger told Wayne R. General--a psychologist evaluating the Lyle and Ritter households for the child-custody case--that within a week of her wedding, Ritter had driven her into the desert and threatened to kill her.
"He stated that I had to call my parents 'if you want to eat, have clothes or a place to live,'" she told the psychologist. "They have money, they can support us.' . . . [He] explained in very clear detail that . . . if I would not get the money, he would dismember me and scatter parts of my body in the desert."
Within ten months, the marriage had fallen apart. Then there was a brief reconciliation, but Carl and Ginger were divorced before Rebekah was 2.
It was five years before Ginger would marry again. She married Don Lyle in September 1988. Though Ginger told General they were "getting along beautifully," the psychologist noted that at the time, the Lyle household was split into two separate residences. Don Lyle occupied a house, while James and Joshua lived in an apartment three doors down. Not long after the examination, Ginger moved to an apartment across the street.
In his report, General called Ginger's allegations "incredible" and--despite the girl's request to live with her mother--recommended that Ritter and his second wife retain custody. In the summer of 1990, the Lyles--all of them--moved to Chino Valley, ostensibly to get James and Joshua away from bad influences in Phoenix.
Police never turned up any evidence that Carl Ritter was a drug dealer, nor were Ginger's allegations that Ritter had physically abused Rebekah substantiated. And police made no progress in uncovering who had bombed Ritter's car.
Until Ginger and Don Lyle broke up in September 1990. On October 9, 1990, Ginger obtained an order of protection to keep Don away from the house in Chino Valley. In November 1990, Ritter received a strange message in the mail, a block-lettered note that, in part, read: "If you are still looking for your car bomber--turn over a few more leaves and you may have J.V."
On December 18, 1990, Don Lyle called Detective Kendall and confessed that he had been "less than truthful" in his previous statements. This time he said when he got home from the office party at about 1:30 a.m., he noticed James Vosecky around the woodpile behind his home. He said he didn't think much of it, because he knew James used the woodpile as a "stash."
But the next morning, when he went out to the woodpile, Don found a piece of green cannon fuse--similar to the fuse used in the pipe bomb that exploded beneath Ritter's car. He also told Kendall that a couple of months before the bombing, he had discovered lengths of pipe, gunpowder and fuses in Vosecky's room. He said Vosecky had made statements to the effect that he was going to "blow up" Ritter's car and that, on one occasion, Lyle had taken a shotgun away from Vosecky after the youth had said he was going to "kill Carl."
Lyle told Kendall he believed that four friends of Vosecky's were also involved in the bombing. He gave the detective names. Two months later, Kendall interviewed Vosecky's former girlfriend. She told him Vosecky often talked about his hatred for Ritter and expressed a desire to "blow him away." She also remembered seeing gunpowder and pipe in Vosecky's bedroom, and she told police he told her he sometimes experimented with making bombs from PVC pipe and gunpowder and detonated them in the desert. Kendall also talked to several of Vosecky's friends, who indicated that Vosecky knew how to make bombs and hated Carl Ritter.
But when Kendall approached Ginger and asked her where Vosecky was, she "indicated that she was concerned for his safety and would not divulge his whereabouts." She told Kendall that her former husband, Don Lyle, was capable of committing this type of crime, and she said she had evidence he was a very violent man, but she said her attorney had advised her not to turn it over to the police.
"I subsequently contacted deputy county attorney Michele O'Hair," Kendall wrote in his final report on the case, "and advised her of the details contained in this investigation. . . . [O'Hair] indicated that the case had serious credibility problems from the various parties involved and that it was purely circumstantial at this point and therefore her office would not issue a complaint in this matter.
"In view of this information, I will request that this case be considered inactivated until such time that additional information is obtained which would further help this investigation.
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