Dave Cawley: I need to talk to you for a moment, before we get started. This is normally where I advise you of the content of this podcast — discussions of murder, domestic abuse, sexual assault and so forth — and advise your discretion in listening.
Please hear me when I say this episode in particular deserves not just discretion, but also consideration on your part about whether you really want to listen and, if so, about when, how and with whom you choose to do so.
What you’re about to hear includes a depiction of a woman’s rape and the events which immediately followed. The level of detail goes beyond what you might normally expect from a news report. People with firsthand or even secondhand lived experience in this realm might find this episode particularly difficult.
I’ve spent a great deal of time debating with colleagues — and personally deliberating — about how best to present this part of the story. This episode represents my imperfect attempt to find a balance in showing the truth of what happened to Joyce Yost against the risk of harm to survivors of similar assaults. It is in no way my intent to titillate you, exploit Joyce or sensationalize the topic of sexual assault. So, if you choose at this point to proceed, please do so with that understanding in mind.
Sheryl Worsley: I’m Sheryl Worsley, director of podcasting here at KSL Podcasts. Before we get started with this very difficult episode, I want to make sure you know that help is available 24-7 if you or someone close to you has experienced rape or any other form of sexual abuse. In the United States, you can go rainn.org. That’s the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network website at R-A-I-double-N-dot-org. You can also call 800-656-HOPE to connect with free resources. No one need suffer in silence. You are not alone.
Dave Cawley: Orange orbs of streetlamp light strobed up the hood of Joyce Yost’s big, white Oldsmobile convertible, reflecting off the glass of the windshield as she drove home on the night April 3, 1985. Joyce had spent the evening having dinner with a man at a supper club called the Pier 3. She’d left a bit after 10 p.m., driving toward the apartment where she lived alone on the corner of 40th Street and Liberty Avenue in South Ogden, Utah. She had not realized someone was following her.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): And I pulled in my driveway and all the sudden, this little red sports car pulls right in the parking stall next to me.
Dave Cawley: Joyce’s parking stall was the third of four in the carport outside the four-flex apartment she called home. The little red car pulled up beside and slightly behind her. Its driver stepped out before Joyce had even realized what was happening. In a few short strides, he’d reached her driver door and popped it open.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): He didn’t wait for me to roll the window down or to open the door myself or anything. And he stayed right inside of the car door.
Dave Cawley: That’s Joyce’s own voice from one of the few known recordings of her. It has never before been public. The man, with feathered hair and a prominent walrus mustache, wedged his body between the car door and the chassis, preventing Joyce from closing it.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I didn’t, ‘God,’ he says, ‘I can’t believe I’m doing this.’ Uh, but he said, ‘I noticed you at the Pier 3 and I was attracted to you and decided to follow you.’
Dave Cawley: The man said he wanted to get to know Joyce.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): And uh, he wanted to know if I would like to go have a drink and I said, ‘No thank you, I’ve got to do a few things and be up early for work.’
Dave Cawley: He did not take no for an answer. They were at an impasse.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I uh, was reluctant to go have a drink with him. I did suggest that maybe, if anything, a cup of coffee and he didn’t seem to want a cup of coffee. He was more insistent of a drink and I was more insistent of coffee and so we forgot that.
Dave Cawley: She sensed danger. Joyce knew from experience that the path to safety was narrow. She had to tread with care, acting nice to avoid stinging this stranger’s pride.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Oh, I said, ‘What is your name?’ … ‘I don’t, y’know, know your name.’ And he says, ‘It’s Dave.’ I said, ‘If you’ll just leave,’ I said, ‘I’ll visit with you some other time.’ Y’know, and I, oh in the meantime, I brought up the age difference. I said I, ‘Obviously, I’m old enough to be your mother.’ And, ‘Well, does that matter?’ And I said, ‘Well, I guess not necessarily but,’ uh, I said, ‘I am 39 years old.’ I said, ‘How old are you?’ And he said he was 27.
Dave Cawley: Joyce didn’t date younger men and didn’t intend to start with this fellow. But he wouldn’t leave. He continued to stand next to her, blocking the car, holding her captive without touching her. That is, until he did.
This is Cold, season 2 episode 2: A Case of Rape. Back with more in just a moment.
Dave Cawley: The man who stood at the side of Joyce Yost’s Oldsmobile had heard enough. With a swift stroke, grabbed Joyce’s neck with one hand. She felt the grip of his fingers on her throat, squeezing her trachea, stealing her voice. She writhed, trying break free. It did no good.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): He grabbed me by the throat and he uh, was forceful and told me if I screamed or said anything that uh, he would tear my throat open.
Dave Cawley: Joyce’s pounding heart seemed to shriek in protest, her skull throbbing to the rapid beat of her occluded pulse. The man leaned in, placing the weight of his body against her. He pressed her flat across the Oldsmobile’s split-bench front seat.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I, I realized I was in a rape situation. That I wasn’t just with somebody that was being a little bit forceful that I was going to be able to get rid of. But I was in a rape situation.
Dave Cawley: Terror surged through Joyce. She flailed, her legs and arms swinging, infused with the desperate vitality of self-preservation. She kicked so hard her shoes flung right off of her feet. She scratched at her attacker with her long acrylic fingernails, using such force some of those nails split or were torn clean off.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I put up a fight because that was my natural reaction and I could see that wasn’t doing any good.
Dave Cawley: After some time — seconds or minutes, Joyce tell — the man’s grip loosened. She gasped and struggled to make sense of what was happening.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Realizing I was in a rape situation I decided I’ve got to do some thinking here about how to handle this.
Dave Cawley: She started to talk, tossing out any reason that might dissuade him. She said she was pregnant, even though she wasn’t. She said her husband was inside and he would come out and find them, even though she wasn’t actually married. He didn’t care. The man told her to stop fighting. He told her they should take a drive.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): So, he wanted me to go to his place in Sunset and I said ‘No.’ I was not going.
Dave Cawley: Joyce feared going with this man to his house would mean the end of her life. That’s why she dared say no.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): And he said, ‘Do you want it right here?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ I decided at this point to cooperate.
Dave Cawley: It wasn’t as though he’d given her an actual choice.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): He, uh, took off his pants, pulled up my dress, pulled my pantyhose down and he did proceed to have sexual intercourse.
Dave Cawley: Joyce’s language here is clinical and precise. In a bit, I’ll share more about the circumstances behind this recording which should help explain her choice of words. For now though, just understand that Joyce calling this “sexual intercourse” doesn’t adequately describe to what was happening to her.
While forcing himself upon Joyce, the man also tore open the front of her shirtwaist dress. The thread connecting three of its buttons snapped. Those buttons clattered onto the upholstered car seat, joining the severed fragments of Joyce’s fingernails. The man also tore open the clasp of her bra and ripped off her pantyhose. Joyce endured the indignity, hoping when the man had satisfied himself, he would leave her in peace. But that’s not what happened.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): That wasn’t good enough for him. He was still was insistent on going to his place.
Dave Cawley: Joyce’s thoughts were jumbled.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): So, I absolutely did not want to do that but I also figured I wasn’t going to have any choice.
Dave Cawley: She offered a silent prayer in her mind, begging God for help. Her hands swept about the car, fingers frantic to find some way of defending herself. They came across an object, cold and metal. Her keys. Joyce’s knuckles closed around them.
She saw her target as she looked up at the shadowed face of the man atop her. Joyce’s muscles tensed. Her arm swung upward, driving the blade of one of those keys toward the dim spot where she believed the man’s eye would be. He caught the glint of it coming and recoiled a fraction of a second before the blow landed.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I was hoping to get him in the eyes but I got him right alongside the nose here on the side of the face.
Dave Cawley: The key raked down the left side of the man’s nose, tearing open the skin around the curve where his nostril and cheek met. Blood raised in the wound. He grappled Joyce again, shook her and threatened to kill her. He had a gun, he said, so she’d better behave.
The man straightened up, pulling up his pants. Joyce saw an opportunity.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): While he was doing that, I laid on my horn. I was able to get ahold of my horn hoping that if I just did that, that maybe a neighbor inside of the apartment complex would, would come out.
Dave Cawley: The car’s horn seemed to shriek in the quiet of the night. The man’s arm shot out, his hand once again gripping her throat. He yanked her out of the car and tossed her onto the ground. The car horn fell to silence.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Well, that was a total loss. Nobody came out, nobody came to my rescue. So, by this time my shoes were off, I didn’t even have my purse. I didn’t have my keys, either.
Dave Cawley: The man then dragged Joyce over to his car. She tried to break free, to run, but the man kept hold of her. He shoved her inside his car, pressing her head down into the cramped passenger footwell of the little sports coupe. Joyce was folded in half, her back on the floor, her legs up against the passenger seat’s headrest. The man dropped into the driver seat beside her, saying again as he did so that he had a gun.
“One wrong move,” he said, and he would not hesitate to use it.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): By this time I’m, I’m really frightened and I do feel like my life is on the line. … My children, my grandkids, everybody was flashing through my mind and I, I, I felt like my life was on the line.
Dave Cawley: Joyce heard a metallic sound, a sort of click.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Just before he pulled out of the driveway he did something. And I, I wasn’t sure what he was doing but it was like he was putting a shell in the gun, a gun or something. He was doing something.
Dave Cawley: The sports coupe’s rotary engine cranked to life. The man put the car into reverse, backed out onto the street then began driving away from Joyce’s apartment. She couldn’t see a thing. The Mazda’s interior was all black. All she could make out were the sunroof overhead and the slats of louvers running across the back window.
“Don’t make any wrong moves,” the man said.
He reached his right hand across the car’s center console and placed his hand high on her hip, holding her in place. He pulled the hand away for only moments at a time, when he needed to shift gears.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I didn’t honestly think he had a weapon but I, I wasn’t going to take any chances, either. So, I cooperated all the way. I didn’t move, I didn’t argue, I didn’t try to get out of his car or anything.
Dave Cawley: Loud music played over the car stereo, drowning out the waspy rasp of the engine. Time seemed to stretch and distort. Joyce couldn’t tell how long the drive lasted. Her internal compass spun, her sense of direction obliterated. The car did, eventually, come to a stop. Joyce heard the driver door open and shut. Then, the rear hatch popped open, only to slam shut as well.
The next thing she knew, the man was draping something over her face, pressing a dark, silky fabric against her eyes. It felt cool against the heat of the bruises that were forming beneath her skin. He didn’t tie the fabric around her face, only held it in place with his hand. The blindfold made it difficult for Joyce to find her balance as she more or less rolled out of the little car. The man used his other hand to push her in the direction he wanted her to go. She dared not run or shout by this point. Instead, she went along in silence.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Then he led me into his house, blindfolded and back to his bedroom and just more or less dropped me on the bed, waterbed.
Dave Cawley: Water. Joyce’s throat burned. She asked her captor if she might have a glass of water.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): And he was, seemed reluctant at first to get me the drink of water but I said, ‘Look, I’m not going any place and I’m not, I will cooperate with you.’
Dave Cawley: After thinking it over, the man pulled a cigarette out of a pack, lit it and gave it to Joyce. He lit one for himself as well, then went into the kitchen to grab a beer and fetch Joyce some water. She glanced around the room but couldn’t make out much of anything in the dark. The only light came from the glow of a digital clock radio on the headboard. She calmed herself and tried to think. Physical resistance hadn’t worked. Neither had appeals to this man’s sense of decency. So, she decided to try and negotiate.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): In fact, when he came back with the drink of water, and we sat and had in fact a couple of cigarettes, I felt as though I was maybe talking him out of it. I said, ‘Look, I, y’know, if you have a problem or there’s something bothering you or anything I can do to help you,’ I said, ‘Please, let’s talk about it.’ And umm, he didn’t want to tell me too many things because I think, I don’t think he wanted me to know too much about him. And I did tell him that if he, y’know, didn’t hurt me, that I wouldn’t hurt him.
Dave Cawley: Joyce wondered if something had happened to the man earlier in the night at the Pier. She asked if he’d had trouble with a girlfriend and offered to talk to him about it. He started to say something, then stopped, apparently thinking better of it. The man said there was only one reason he’d brought Joyce to his home.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): This conversation didn’t do me much good because he was still going to proceed with intercourse and told me to undress. So I undressed, what was left of my clothing and uh, I cooperated with him and uh, he uh, stopped having intercourse for awhile. In fact, we had another cigarette and then uh, he, I asked him if he would please take me home. I said, ‘I’m very tired, I have to work tomorrow,’ and I, y’know, all these things to try and get him to take me home. He said, ‘I’m not through yet.’
Dave Cawley: I’m going to interrupt here and acknowledge we’re about to enter a part of this story involving description of specific sex acts. These are matters of fact and while difficult to hear are necessary to understand later events. I include such detail only with that relevance in mind.
The man began again. He made demands. He ordered her to perform oral sex. Humiliated and terrified, she complied.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): So, I thought, ‘Well, I’m on his grounds and I don’t know whether he’s going to, y’know, still harm me at this point so I cooperated.
Dave Cawley: At one point, the man told Joyce he wanted to perform anal sex. This was too much. In spite of her fear of death, Joyce said no. The man insisted. She held her ground. To her surprise, he didn’t resort to using physical force and instead gave up on the demand. A minor victory, perhaps, but a monumental one for Joyce in that moment.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): When he was through, then uh, he said, ‘Do you want me to take you home now?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’
Dave Cawley: Here, Joyce noted a shift in the man’s demeanor.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): He uh, seemed to be feeling remorse, like he uh, ‘Oh, I can’t believe, can’t believe I did this,’ y’know? And uh, I said, ‘Well,’ he asked me how I felt and I said, ‘I don’t feel well at all.’ I don’t mean like I was sick to my stomach, I just was not feeling well about the whole situation mentally.
Dave Cawley: She found her ruined dress and wadded it into a ball.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I asked him if, if he had an old t-shirt or a sweatshirt or something that I could wear home and uh, he got me a light blue silky Arrow shirt.
Dave Cawley: Joyce pulled the shirt over her torso — the man didn’t give her any pants — and then she followed the him out of the bedroom. He didn’t cover her eyes this time and thanks to a single light he’d left on in the kitchen, she was able to see the layout of the house. He led her through it, out the side door and onto the driveway. The moon, just a day short of full, painted the landscape with soft, silver light.
Joyce looked around. She saw several bags of trash sitting next to the door. She noticed a carport but no garage. And she saw the car, a red Mazda. The man led her over to the car and sat her down in the passenger seat, right-side-up this time. He put his key in the ignition and turned it. The car’s headlights popped up from the hood. Joyce made note of that detail: the car had flip-up lights.
The man backed out of the driveway, then headed east. In the moonlight, Joyce could see the looming figure of the Wasatch Mountains on the horizon, unmistakable even at night. But she wasn’t sure exactly where in Sunset they were. She caught a glimpse of a road sign that read 200 West. The man made a few turns before ending up at a place Joyce did recognize: the onramp to the I-15 freeway at 650 North in Clearfield, the city immediately to the south of Sunset.
The west gate of Hill Air Force Base sat just across the overpass. Joyce’s sister Dorothy’s house, which she visited frequently, was only a quarter of a mile or so to the south east. The Pier, where Joyce had had dinner with her “gentleman friend” Lex Baer just hours earlier, was right down the road as well.
The man who’d abducted her and repeatedly raped her, seemed to be lost in thought as he steered the car onto the freeway.
“I’m really a nice person,” he said after a time. “I don’t normally do things like this.”
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I was feeling terrible and uh, he said, ‘I, I probably won’t ever get to see you again.’ I didn’t even want to tell him at that point that he was absolutely correct because I knew I still wasn’t home yet—
Dave Cawley: To Joyce, it seemed as though he was feeling remorse.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): In fact, he, he took my hand and he held my hand and I said, ‘I have a feeling you’re probably a gentleman.’ ‘Yeah,’ he said, ‘I’m the type that sends roses and buys presents and, and uh, y’know, does nice things.’
Dave Cawley: The type that sends roses.
The car continued north, every rotation of its tires bringing Joyce that much closer to home. It exited the freeway and turned onto 40th Street. The peak of Mount Ogden, looming five-thousand vertical feet above, seemed to grow larger in the windshield with each passing second. At last, Joyce’s apartment came into view. The Mazda slowed to a stop at the curb.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): So then he said, ‘What is your husband going to say?’ And I said, ‘That’s really my problem, not yours.’
Dave Cawley: Hopefully, she said, her husband would be asleep and wouldn’t notice her coming in looking as she did. Then, she wrenched the handle of the car’s passenger door, pushed it open and swung her legs out. Her bare feet came down onto the cool grass.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I just got out of the car and uh, had my clothes in my hand and walked over to my car because my car still had the car door open. My purse was in it, my car keys were in it. My shoes were in it. And I gathered up those things and went on into my apartment.
Dave Cawley: The apartment door closed behind Joyce with a thud. She locked it. A wave of emotion then washed over her. Tears cascaded down her cheeks. Her entire body convulsed in spasms.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I was quite hysterical at that time and I was trembling, I was shaking, I was cold, I was upset.
Dave Cawley: Joyce didn’t know quite what to do, standing there in a man’s shirt in the middle of the night, her sense of security shattered. She had to tell someone what’d happened to her, but didn’t dare dial the police. Instead, she picked up the phone and called her sister, Dorothy. It was after 1 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, April 4, 1985 when Dorothy Dial, or Dot as her friends called her, came awake to the sound of her telephone ringing.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I just told her what’d happened and she was, y’know, startled to get a call from me at that hour and, and find me hysterical and she said, ‘What in the world is the matter?’ And I said, ‘I have been raped.’
Dave Cawley: Dorothy is no longer alive, but she shared her side of this experience in a 1992 police interview.
Dorothy Dial (from January 1992 police recording): She was crying and she said, ‘I, I have been raped.’ And I told her to call the, the police.
Dave Cawley: Joyce told Dorothy she didn’t want to do that. Terror gripped her. He might come back.
Dorothy Dial (from January 1992 police recording): She said that he told her that he had a gun. She never seen it, but he, he had threatened her with a gun.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): She says, ‘Well you call the police.’ And I said, ‘I really don’t want to be put through the humiliation.’ I said, ‘I’ve watched A Case of Rape twice and seen things on TV and I said, ‘I don’t want to go through it.’ But I said, ‘I feel like, y’know, tomorrow he could go out and harm somebody’s little girl or something,’ y’know?
Dave Cawley: A Case of Rape was a made-for-TV movie that first aired in 1974. It starred actress Elizabeth Montgomery — then best known for her leading role in the TV series Bewitched — as a woman who is twice raped by an acquaintance. She reluctantly pursues charges, endures a grueling experience as a witness during the criminal trial and then watches the man who raped her walk free after being acquitted. The movie had had a profound impact on Joyce. She did not want to go through a similar experience.
Dorothy Dial (from January 1992 police recording): She was scared and upset. Ah, I, I think for awhile she didn’t really know what to do.
Dave Cawley: Dorothy did her best to calm her younger sister. Joyce then began to pour out the story of what’d happened to her that night.
Dorothy Dial (from January 1992 police recording): She said that she had been up at the Pier (phone rings) for dinner with a friend and left and, ah, when she got in the, ah, driveway of her apartment, a car pulled in beside her and she didn’t know that she had been followed.
Dave Cawley: Joyce told Dorothy she’d never seen the man before. He’d attacked her without provocation, abducted her and raped her.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): And uh, she said, in fact, the more she heard from me, the angrier she was getting and she says, ‘Well, you call the police right now,’ or she said, ‘If you don’t, I will.’ So, I said, ‘I will.’
Dorothy Dial (from January 1992 police recording): And she was a little bit hesitant, at first, and ah, I told her, ‘If you don’t call them, I will.’ But she, she called and called me back and, and said that, umm, she had called. In fact, the police came while we were still talking.
Dave Cawley: I have a copy of a handwritten South Ogden police dispatch log from that night. It shows Joyce’s call to the police came in at 1:58 a.m. The dispatcher sent two patrol cars to Joyce’s apartment. Officer Rob Carpenter arrived first. When Joyce answered his knock at the door, she was wearing a green velour jogging suit. She’d changed out of the shirt the man had given her. But, importantly, she had not yet showered. Carpenter stepped inside, followed moments later by the second officer, Mel Hackworth. Carpenter began taking a report from Joyce, rolling tape on a little handheld recorder.
Officer Rob Carpenter (from April 4, 1985 police recording): And you realize how serious this accusation is, don’t you?
Dave Cawley: It’s tough to make out, but Carpenter was asking Joyce if she really wanted to go through with making a report.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Yes I do.
Officer Rob Carpenter (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Alright, I just want to make sure. It sounds like there’s some doubt on, on whether you really want to report this now or not.
Dave Cawley: He wasn’t trying to discourage her, from what I can tell, but was instead picking up on Joyce’s own hesitance.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I know, I mean, I know how I feel.
Dave Cawley: Joyce had, after all, not wanted to report the rape to police.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): And yet…
Dave Cawley: She’d done so only when pressed into it by her sister.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): He might be sitting here tomorrow night. I don’t know what to do. I don’t—
Officer Rob Carpenter (from April 4, 1985 police recording): He might be, I’m, I’m just saying, you’re acting as though you, you really don’t want to do this but you’re doing it anyway. That’s what I’m—
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I know.
Officer Rob Carpenter (from April 4, 1985 police recording): That’s what I’m saying.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I know, I know.
Dave Cawley: Officer Carpenter wasn’t doubting Joyce, but instead giving her the opportunity to end the process there. Joyce considered what might happen if she backed out. She told Carpenter she worried the man who’d attacked her might go on to hurt someone else. And so, she decided to press on, to tell what’d happened. She said she wasn’t sure the man had had rape on his mind when he’d first approached her.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Maybe if I’d have gone with the guy and had a drink with him, I’d have been better off. Like, y’know, I had no idea I was getting myself into such a mess.
Dave Cawley: She wondered aloud what had caused him to snap. She said she believed the man had a conscience and must be feeling as miserable as she was. Yet, she couldn’t reconcile that with what he’d done.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I feel like, like he feels like hell about it and yet he did it. I mean, y’know, I feel like tomorrow it could be somebody’s little girl, y’know? And uh, or, somebody else.
Dave Cawley: Officer Carpenter collected Joyce’s clothing. She pointed out a blood spot on the dress, saying she thought it could be from the wound she’d inflicted with her keys. And she handed over the shirt the man had given her to wear home. Carpenter took all of it, placing each item in its own brown paper evidence bag. Next, he asked Joyce if she had a physician or gynecologist whom she saw regularly.
Officer Rob Carpenter (from April 4, 1985 police recording): We’re going to have to have you examined, is the thing. And uh—
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): When?
Officer Rob Carpenter (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Tonight. As soon as possible.
Dave Cawley: Joyce was going to have to undergo an invasive physical exam, what’s known as a rape kit. The two officers conferred about how best to proceed. Carpenter said he’d start writing up a report and checking in the evidence while Hackworth drove Joyce back to Sunset to look for the house.
The three of them then walked out to the carport. The Oldsmobile’s driver door was still hanging open. Joyce showed the officers where the man had parked and how far he’d dragged her. Then, she and Mel Hackworth sat down in his squad car.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I know he’s, I know he’s feeling pretty bad about it.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Hold on just a sec. Dispatch 30.
South Ogden dispatcher (from April 4, 1985 police recording): 30.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I got the victim with me now. We’re gonna head back out to Sunset, see if we can find out where this guy lives. My mileage is 79,593.1. We’re leaving from this address.
South Ogden dispatcher (from April 4, 1985 police recording): 30, 10-4. KSM 897-0233.
Dave Cawley: It was 2:33 a.m. Hackworth started driving down 40th Street, headed for Sunset. He talked to Joyce as he drove, probing for more specifics: words or phrases the man had used, what she’d seen or even smelled inside his house.
Much of the sound that’s to follow will be difficult to understand. Listen close and in this clip, you’ll hear Joyce say she’d cooperated because the only thing worse than being sexually abused would be to die.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I had made up my mind at that point, I was going to cooperate with everything because, uh, I guess the only thing I figured that would be worse than being sexually abused at that point was to die.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): That’s, that’s right.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): And I cooperated.
Dave Cawley: Here again, Joyce made reference to that TV movie, A Case of Rape. Joyce told Hackworth the ending — in which the rapist is acquitted by a jury and the victim’s life is shattered — was on her mind.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Yeah and, y’know, the guy walks out with a smile on his face and here they showed her throughout the movie, I mean she was really, she was beaten and bloody and, y’know, abused in every which way, right?
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Well—
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): The thing, the thing that bothers me is I, I had made my mind to cooperate with this guy which, would in turn probably make him feel like, like I was enjoying myself. And I also told him, I said, ‘Look, I’ll be your friend. I’ll give you my phone number.’ I said, ‘If you want to talk to me.’ I had told him my name. I mean, anything. I wasn’t going to put up a fuss. And uh, I wanted, I wanted to live. I was scared. I was scared.
Dave Cawley: If you couldn’t make that out, Joyce said she feared the rapist might’ve interpreted her cooperation as consent. She’d told her name and phone number because she wanted to live. She was scared. Hackworth tried to reassure Joyce, telling her prosecutors won rape cases all the time. Defense attorneys could be tough to face but he encouraged Joyce not to let that deter her. Hackworth drove through Sunset and just over the border into Clearfield. He turned onto 650 North and asked Joyce if she recognized the route.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Now, here’s the freeway entrance.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Right, uh huh.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay. This is the road you came up?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Uh huh.
Dave Cawley: They headed down to 200 West, the street Joyce remembered seeing a sign for when leaving the man’s house. Hackworth drove down each cross street as Joyce peered out the window. She told him more than anything, she was looking for that little red car.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Of course I’m, what I’m looking for more than anything is that little red car and who knows what he’s done with that one. Oh Jesus, I wonder if it’s that house back there. (Sound of car reversing)
Dave Cawley: So many ranch houses, all lined up in rows, all looking somewhat alike. Joyce struggled to find the right one, telling Hackworth she thought it was going to be easier.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Should we try it?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Try the next street over and see what…
Dave Cawley: Joyce struggled to find the right one.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Shoot!
Dave Cawley: Telling Hackworth she thought it was going to be easier.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I thought this was going to be easier.
Dave Cawley: She began to grow frustrated with herself.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Goll, I wanted to remember everything so good. And, y’know, I did have my mind on so much, and just—
Dave Cawley: Hackworth gave her continual reassurance.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): That’s alright, just relax. Everything will be fine.
Dave Cawley: He believed her.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Now, do you want me to go up the street a little ways?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Well, I was thinking about up this street and possibly—
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): That’s fine.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Does that one go up?
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Yup. Let’s go up this street and see what we have.
Dave Cawley: Time and again, they reached the end of a street without Joyce pointing out a house. But they did succeed in finding the road sign she’d seen.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Somehow, see, see this 200 West sign, but how in the heck did we get to it?
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Well, this is a street we haven’t been down yet. So let’s—
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Oh, we haven’t?
Dave Cawley: Hackworth turned off of 200 West onto 750 North, the last street in Clearfield before reaching the border with Sunset. That’s when it happened.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): See that place right there?
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Yeah?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Oh my God. He helped out.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Is that it?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): It sure is.
Dave Cawley: Joyce spotted a little red Mazda sitting under a carport next to a house. Hackworth hit it with his spotlight and made note of the license plate. It read W-W-P 1-0-1.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Dispatch, 30.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): (Whispering) That’s it.
South Ogden dispatch (from April 4, 1985 police recording): 30, go ahead.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Get a 28 on Whiskey, Whiskey, Papa one-zero-one.
South Ogden dispatch (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Standby.
Dave Cawley: In police 10-code, 10-28 is a vehicle registration check.
South Ogden dispatch (from April 4, 1985 police recording): 30.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Go ahead.
South Ogden dispatch (from April 4, 1985 police recording): What kind of vehicle was that plate off?
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Looked like a Mazda.
Dave Cawley: The dispatcher recorded the address at 3:01 a.m. From there, Hackworth told Joyce it was time for them to go the emergency room. They started north toward McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden.
Joyce sat without speaking for a time, finding herself carried along in the flow of events that felt beyond her control. The relief and elation she’d felt at having found her attacker’s hideout had all too soon given way again to fear. And so, she asked the police officer who sat next to her in his squad car the one question that kept repeating in her mind.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): How uh, how safe am I? Uh, if they come after him and, how safe, y’know?
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Well, I don’t know.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): (Nervous laugh)
Dave Cawley: “How safe am I?” Hackworth said it was difficult to know just what was cooking in the man’s mind.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Guy might be as meek as a lamb and our detectives might go out there and he feels bad about it and if he was drunk or if was under the influence of some intoxicant or something and he realizes he screwed up, he may just admit to everything and go down and get his comeuppance and that’s it. You just don’t know.
Dave Cawley: Joyce told Hackworth she sometimes felt fearful living alone, ever since her son, Greg, had moved away to attend dental school. Of the units in her fourplex, she said, only three were occupied, hers and two others. If her attacker came back to get her, it wouldn’t be hard for him to figure out which unit was hers.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Nobody lives above me. There isn’t anybody in that one for quite some time. And then there’s just one down next to me and then her parents live in the upstairs.
Dave Cawley: The situation reminded her, she said, of a problem she’d had a couple years earlier with a young college football player who’d approached her after seeing her sunbathing out in the yard one day. He’d been large, physically imposing and very insistent. He’d showed up at her door in the middle of the night. Joyce had been so unnerved by it that she’d filed a police report about his harassing advances. It just so happened that Mel Hackworth had also been the officer who took that report.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Did you come to my house before?
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Yeah.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): When that football player—
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Kept bothering you?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Yes.
Dave Cawley: Joyce said the football player had come back a year later and apologized for how he’d treated her. Maybe the man who’d raped her that night would feel a similar stroke of guilt and confess. Or, maybe he would just claim it’d been consensual. Joyce said she knew how it would look. Maybe she hadn’t fought hard enough.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): You did tell him no, did you ever tell him no, you didn’t want to have any sexual intercourse with him, or did you ever—
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I really didn’t because, umm, I pretty well knew what I was in for and I didn’t want to, I didn’t want to make anything any worse. I, I just uh—
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): So the only thing you ever told him you really said no to was the, was the rectal?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Yeah.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Y’know, I mean, I, I figured I did my fight and my, uh, whole bit in my own car and out, y’know, there. And uh, that’s where I really did put up the fight and tried to, uh, oh I just wanted to hurt him so bad. Wanted to do something to him.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I, I fought there and then I realized he, y’know, got ahold of me and thought, I know I’m in for it.
Dave Cawley: The patrol car pulled into a parking stall outside the hospital emergency department. It was 3:16 a.m.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Dispatch 30.
South Ogden dispatch (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Go ahead.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I’ll be at McKay ER. I’m on 79611.7.
South Ogden dispatch (from April 4, 1985 police recording): 10-4. 0316.
Officer Mel Hackworth (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay, let’s go in.(Car doors open and close)
Dave Cawley: Bill Holthaus wasn’t sure what time it was. All he knew was he’d been deep asleep when his phone started ringing. He was the detective on call for the Clearfield police department on the night of April 3, 1985.
Bill Holthaus: I was at the time Charlie 16. And I was low man on the totem pole. There were 16 officers. It wasn’t a big, it wasn’t a big police department.
Dave Cawley: Clearfield wasn’t a big city, either, especially back then. It claimed a population just shy of 20,000 people. Many of its residents commuted to jobs in larger cities nearby, like Ogden or Salt Lake City. Hill Air Force Base occupied Clearfield’s eastern border. To the west were onion fields stretching out toward the marshes and mud flats of the Great Salt Lake. Clearfield’s heart was the Freeport Center, a former Navy supply depot-turned-business park. But when those warehouses closed down each night, the city went to sleep.
Bill Holthaus: My chief of police when I was in patrol would say, ‘I would like you to get two citations a night.’ Not just me, but everybody. You would be lucky if you could find two cars moving, y’know, in the middle of the night.
Dave Cawley: The phone call that’d rattled Bill from sleep in those dark hours came from the lone patrolman on duty, Randy Slater. Randy told Bill they’d received a call from another town — South Ogden — where police had taken a report of a rape.
Bill Holthaus: …that had occurred in our city, would I come in and interview her?
Dave Cawley: Clearfield sat at the far northern end of Davis County, while South Ogden was at the southern end of Weber County.
Bill Holthaus: It was questionable at the time, because there were two jurisdictions involved, who was going to take the case. But there was a South Ogden patrol officer that took the initial call and he felt like it probably was our case.
Dave Cawley: Bill got out of bed and got dressed. At the same time, a young woman named Jan Schiller received a similar call at her home in the nearby city of Layton. Like Bill, she was on call, not for the police department, but for the YWCA.
Jan Schiller: Even though you’re on call, umm, it still startles you because it always happens when you’re asleep.
Dave Cawley: Jan had taken a volunteer position as a rape victim advocate. She was 25 years old and fresh out of college.
Jan Schiller: I had just seen this volunteer opportunity and it was during the recession years and I just thought, ‘Gosh, I’d like to get, y’know, some experience even just volunteer while I’m, y’know, working at just a job for the, y’know, until I get something that I really want.’
Dave Cawley: This was Jan’s first actual call-out — one of only two she would ever take. She put hair in a ponytail and started driving bleary-eyed toward South Ogden police headquarters. Joyce was already there by the time Bill and Jan each arrived.
Jan Schiller: I mean, Joyce was, y’know, sitting upright, square-shouldered. … And I was thinking, ‘Wow, this woman is so together and I feel like a slob.’ (Laughs) Which is kind of a funny, funny reaction.
Bill Holthaus: She was not the typical young rape victim that you see on television.
Dave Cawley: The rape kit exam had taken about an hour-and-a-half, so it was after 4:30 by the time Joyce, Jan and Bill sat down for a formal interview. The smell of brewing coffee wafted on the air.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay, we’re ready to start. Is everybody still awake?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Coffee?
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): He’s, he’s working on it.
Dave Cawley: This recording — taken from the only surviving cassette tape copy of the interview known to exist — is the source of many of the clips you heard in the first half of this episode. It had sat for years undiscovered in a box at the Weber County Attorney’s Office until I started looking for it. Even Joyce’s own children had never heard this tape.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay Joyce, what I would like you to do, is I would like you to tell me in your own words what occurred tonight, probably starting at the Pier.
Dave Cawley: Although he was then 40 years old, detective Bill Holthaus had only been a cop for a couple of years and only a detective for about half of that.
Bill Holthaus: But it was the first sexual case that I had handled.
Dave Cawley: That’s not to say Bill was a novice when it came to interviews.
Bill Holthaus: The interview in and of itself wasn’t that, wasn’t difficult.
Dave Cawley: To understand why, I need to tell you a bit about who Bill Holthaus is. Bill grew up in Michigan in the years immediately following the end of World War Two. His father had emigrated to the states from Germany, settling in the city of Wyandotte, between Detroit and Lake Eerie.
His father was a devout Lutheran who pressured Bill, one of three children in the family, to enter the seminary. Bill didn’t want to do that. He wanted to see the world. So, in 1962 at the age of 18, he rebelled by enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. Bill started out as a missile mechanic, then became a bomb loader. He bounced around the globe, serving at various Air Force bases.
While stationed in San Antonio, Texas, he took a second job as a reserve police officer. One night, while responding to a call about a man burglarizing storage units, he stepped out of a patrol car. A man on the roof of the storage unit building opened fire. A bullet hit Bill in the lower leg. Bill would face hostile fire again, while serving two tours in Vietnam and Cambodia, first in 1966, then again in ’69 and ’70. Bill moved up the enlisted ranks of the Air Force, becoming a First Sergeant. He went to work in air operations.
Bill Holthaus: Even in the, in the Air Force part of my job as you move up the supervisory levels is interviewing people and I always did enjoy that — not that I was always good at it — but I always enjoyed it and I really just kind of fell into it.
Dave Cawley: As a senior non-commissioned officer, Bill often had to mediate disputes between subordinates, including some cases of sexual misconduct.
Bill Holthaus: I had had experience with young airmen, female airmen, who had been molested and stuff.
Dave Cawley: By 1980, Bill had landed in Utah, at Hill Air Force Base. His 20-year mark with the Air Force was approaching and he felt an itch to make a change. Even though he was by then in his mid 30s, he wanted to go college. To make tuition money, Bill took a side job.
Bill Holthaus: I was doing security work for a Job Corps center.
Dave Cawley: The center was home to hundreds of young people who lived in dorms while receiving vocational training. Problems were inevitable in that environment and Bill often ended up interviewing Job Corps residents who were suspected of petty crimes.
Bill Holthaus: In the process of that I met all the police officers, all the patrolmen. And I, I got a call from the chief of police saying that they liked the way that I’d done the interviews and testified in court to some of these cases ‘cause if I was the initial interviewer, I had to go to court — most of them were misdemeanors — uh, and uh, I was offered a position when it became available.
Dave Cawley: So in 1982, Bill retired from the military and took a full-time job with the Clearfield police department. He was 38. Bill spent several months working dispatch, then patrol. He didn’t actually attend the police academy until the department had an opening in its investigations division. When he at last started his academy class, he found himself surrounded by younger cadets.
Bill Holthaus: The interesting thing about the police academy in Utah is you can be 21 or 38 and you have to still pass the same physical stuff so it becomes difficult (laughs) when you’re 38 years old.
Dave Cawley: All this is to say that when Bill sat down with Joyce early on that April morning in 1985, he brought with him a lot of life experience. Jan Schiller, the rookie rape victim advocate, could see it in the way he carried himself.
Jan Schiller: He was big and had the shorter haircut and, y’know, he had that cop presence but when he spoke, it was, it was very gentle even with the gruff voice. There was a lot of caring in that voice.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): During, or while you’re telling me this, I may stop you and ask you some questions. If you find that that is breaking your train of thought, then let me know. Then we’ll go back and ask the questions later.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): But we’ll start out by trying to ask them during, while it’s fresh in your memory. Okay?
Dave Cawley: Jan had never heard this recording of the interview, until I played it for her.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Y’know, tomorrow he could go out and harm somebody’s little girl or something.
Jan Schiller: (Listening to audio of Joyce) I remember her saying this.
Dave Cawley: Upon listening back, she praised the way Bill — the large, gruff detective — validated Joyce.
Jan Schiller: He was never mocking and he was always just, y’know, trying to give her that control. ‘I’m going to ask you questions, but if that’s not working for you, we’ll wait.’ Y’know that, ‘I’m giving you the choice of how to do this again.’
Dave Cawley: By that point, Joyce had already recited the events of the prior evening multiple times — to her sister, to the South Ogden officers, to the physician at the hospital — and as a result her thoughts were less jumbled, her voice less emotional.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay, can you tell me anything in particular about the sports car? Was it a soft top, was it a convertible-type sports car?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Uh, it had a sunroof.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Had a sunroof. So it was a hard top, then. In other words, it didn’t have a canvas top. It had a hard top on it.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Right, right. It was a little, shiny red Mazda with the—
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Oh, it was a Mazda.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): —uh, lovlor, louvres in the back window.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): They’re black. The car is red.
Dave Cawley: I need to acknowledge here journalistic ethics typically preclude identification of sexual assault survivors without their prior consent. Joyce is not able to provide that consent, due to circumstances I’ll discuss in later episodes. I’ve had to consider with care the level of detail to include in this narrative. My decisions are driven in part by knowing Joyce made this police report willingly and later provided a substantially similar account in open court, making those facts a matter of public record.
Back to the interview.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Starting out with the Pier, and about what time of night—
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay, I met—
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): —did it start at?
Dave Cawley: Bill had Joyce go over it all in fine detail: the attack in her car, her physical struggle, the man dragging her to his car.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I don’t think there was a gun but I did not see one.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay, so the sound that you heard when you were leaving there—
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I can’t figure out what he did. I really can’t—
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): —did it sound like a tape recorder? Possibly putting a tape in a tape recorder?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Possibly, he did have some very loud music going.
Dave Cawley: Jan felt awed by Joyce’s poise.
Jan Schiller: I was so impressed with how really quite calm she was in the retelling of everything, how articulate she was. I just, I thought, y’know, in her day-to-day life she must have been such a confident, fun woman and just that, y’know, her, her umm, her sense of, ‘I’ve got to think this through and how do I get through this safely,’ y’know, that she was that with it while all this was happening to be having those thoughts.
Dave Cawley: Bill, too, found Joyce’s demeanor remarkable. Given their similar ages, he chalked it up to her also having had life experience.
Bill Holthaus: She’d been a, either a divorced or separated mother, she’d raised kids, umm, she’d had a traumatic experience but probably not the first one in her life. Y’know, she’d had children who’d had problems, those kinds of things.
Dave Cawley: This also helped when Bill had to pivot the interview toward some very direct questions.
Bill Holthaus: I did feel, feel an empathy for her. I will, y’know, I thought that she was wronged. I did. But there’s certain questions you have to ask.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay. Now, you say you had intercourse. Uh, was this in the missionary position? Meaning face-to-face?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Yes.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Anything other than that?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Uh, then he had me turn over and that—
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): And that, he had me in some very unfeminine positions or whatever you should say.
Dave Cawley: Joyce wasn’t quite as forthcoming in her descriptions here as she’d been in her conversation with officer Mel Hackworth a couple hours earlier. Bill did not press her, at least not right at that sensitive moment.
Bill Holthaus: I was little bit hesitant to ask her some questions in the initial interview. It became more comfortable later in subsequent interviews. But the first one was a little difficult for me. I still remember that.
Dave Cawley: The deeper into the details they went, the more of the experience she relived, the less control over her emotion Joyce maintained. Her body began to shake, just as it had when she’d arrived back home.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): I was quite hysterical at that time and I was trembling, I was shaking, I was cold, I was upset.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Like right now, so why don’t you stop for just a moment—
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Well—
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): —and have, have a cup of coffee—
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): —no, y’know, I—
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): No, stop right now and have a cup of coffee and then we’ll talk— (Tape stops)
Dave Cawley: Here, and at a couple other points, Bill stopped the recorder, giving Joyce time to compose herself. During one of those moments, Jan took Bill aside.
Jan Schiller: And I was saying, ‘My gosh, she is so put together’ and he said, ‘But did you notice her broken fingernails? This woman’s put together.’ I mean, she worked at a department store. She was this elegant, put-together, sophisticated-looking woman. He said, ‘Yeah, she wouldn’t have gone out with broken fingernails.’
Bill Holthaus: What convinced me that something really had happened was the evidence. Y’know, I believed what she was saying based on the evidence that I first saw.
Jan Schiller: He was reading her so well. He was catching things that I wasn’t catching. Although I was quite young, I might have caught them being older and he’d had a whole lot more experience, but, y’know like the broken fingernails and the, ‘Yes, we’re going to stop and you’re going to, y’know, have a cup of coffee. Yes, you are trembling right now.’
Dave Cawley: Jan also noticed how Bill used the lightest touches of humor to help Joyce get through the tough spots.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): When he had the light on, could you see his body?
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Mhmm.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Did you notice any scars, marks, tattoos, umm, missing fingers or toes? (Laughs)
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): No, I didn’t.
Bill Holthaus (from April 4, 1985 police recording): Okay.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police recording): And really, I honestly didn’t look that hard. I, I remember he had a hairy chest.
Dave Cawley: Jan had said only a handful of words herself by the time the interview had reached its conclusion.
Jan Schiller: She really had a voice that, during that interview though. Umm, it wasn’t really necessary to, to do to much coaxing because she had a voice.
Dave Cawley: There’s a point I want to address here before moving on to the next part of this story. It’s the concept of consent. In each of Joyce’s interactions with police that night, she expressed concern over how her story would be received. She worried about not being believed, of being humiliated. Jan told me this is very, very common for women who report cases of abuse and sexual assault.
Jan Schiller: We’re taught to be nice. We’re, y’know, we’re taught to not be forceful and when we are forceful, there’s all sorts of words for that that aren’t complimentary. (Laughs)
Dave Cawley: A large degree of Joyce’s trepidation rose from the fact she had capitulated. She’d decided to cooperate after receiving a physical beating in her own car. You’ve already heard her — in her own voice — say she believed putting up a fight would have meant the end of her life. But that, she also said, could be mistaken for consent.
I put the question to Jan: did Joyce agreeing to have sex with this man under those conditions qualify as consent?
Jan Schiller: No, it does not qualify as consent. It qualifies as duress. (Laughs) If you’ve been violent with a woman and threatening with a woman and then she says yes, that’s not consent.
Dave Cawley: South Ogden police headquarters sat less than half a mile to the west of Joyce’s apartment on 40th Street. With the interview complete, Bill drove Joyce back home. He noticed a few things as soon as they arrived. First off, the driver door of Joyce’s car was still open. He poked his head inside.
Bill Holthaus: There was, uh, a partial fingernail in her vehicle which she had described to me. Umm, there was some keys, which she had described to me, in her, in her vehicle which uh, she had told me, umm, in the initial interview that uh, she had fought with him getting out of the vehicle. That was enough to convince me that something had happened.
Dave Cawley: He also spotted the buttons from Joyce’s dress, as well as one of her earrings sitting on the car’s front seat.
Bill Holthaus: What she told me on the initial interview, the evidence matched. It wasn’t a matter of me going and finding evidence and then asking her about it. She’d told me about that before I ever found the evidence. And that makes it much more solid than if you find something and ask somebody about it.
Dave Cawley: They went into the apartment. Bill pulled out a Polaroid camera and snapped photos of Joyce’s broken fingernails, as well as the bruises on her neck, arm and jaw. He took photos of her car as well, showing its position in the carport. The sun was breaking over the mountains to the east, lighting the scene.
Bill Holthaus: Now it’s daylight.
Dave Cawley: Bill decided it was time to go and see the house Joyce had pointed out in Clearfield, to knock on the door and ask some questions. And so he left. Joyce was exhausted. She hadn’t slept. In one of the photos Bill had taken of her that morning, her eyelids are drooping as if she might nod off at any moment but for the adrenaline and caffeine in her bloodstream. She was at last able to shower and to call her daughter, Kim Salazar…
Kim Salazar: She called and just told me that she’d been raped and of course I couldn’t get in my car fast enough.
Dave Cawley: …and repeat once again the story of what’d happened. Or at least a Cliffs Notes version of it.
Kim Salazar: Like she never told me everything that happened that night.
Dave Cawley: Kim’s husband Randy remembered hearing the news as well.
Randy Salazar: I remember Kim saying ‘What? Why didn’t you call me last night?’
Kim Salazar: I don’t suppose it was an easy thing for her to tell me in the first place and the fact she had to do it on the phone.
Dave Cawley: Kim rushed over to her mother’s apartment, finding Joyce midway through the job of repairing her broken fingernails.
Kim Salazar: She was putting herself back together. What was broken was being fixed.
Dave Cawley: At least, on the outside.
Kim Salazar: I mean, it’s just so devastating. You don’t, you don’t know what to do, you don’t know what to do. You’re just helpless. I mean, I didn’t know what to do for her.
Dave Cawley: Bill had by that time arrived back in Clearfield.
Bill Holthaus: And as I pulled off of 650 North exit, a deep red Mazda with black louvers pulled on going southbound on I-15. So I just came back behind that car and uh, followed that car until I could get ahold of a trooper to back me up and uh, when the trooper got in behind me, I pulled it over.
Dave Cawley: This was very lucky timing.
Bill Holthaus: And sometimes lucky is better than good.
Dave Cawley: The driver of the red Mazda was a slim, younger-looking guy with feathery brown hair and a large mustache. He wore a plaid shirt with the top button undone, revealing a tuft of chest hair.
Bill Holthaus: And that was in fact Doug Lovell.
Dave Cawley: Bill looked Doug in the face and noticed a cut just to the side of his nose. It appeared fresh, with a single drop of coagulated blood still at the bottom.
Bill Holthaus: There was things in the car that immediately told me he was the right person.
Dave Cawley: Looking into the car through the driver window, Bill could see something sitting on the floorboard of the passenger side: the matching earring to the one he’d already observed in Joyce’s car.
Bill Holthaus: We would have got him anyway but it was just funny the way we did get him with the earring laying on the, he might have gotten rid of the earring later in the day. I don’t even know if he knew it was there.
Dave Cawley: Bill figured this was more than enough probable cause, the legal standard he needed to clear in order to make an arrest, and so he did. He took Doug out of the Mazda and read him his Miranda rights. Then, he placed Doug in the back of his unmarked police car. Bill didn’t have a warrant to search the Mazda right then, so he instead locked it up and left it on the side of the freeway.
Bill then drove Doug to Clearfield police headquarters for an interview. He started out by once again reading Doug his rights. He asked Doug if he understood them and, for a moment, Doug hesitated. He wondered if he ought to have an attorney present. Bill said that was up to Doug, who thought it over and then agreed to talk.
Bill Holthaus: He actually admitted being with her, but his, his, his uh, story was quite a bit different than hers.
Dave Cawley: Unfortunately, this interview was not recorded so I can’t play you actual audio. But I have reviewed Bill’s handwritten notes, which he took down that very day. Here’s what they say.
Bill wrote Doug claimed both he and Joyce had been sitting in their cars outside the Pier 3 the prior evening. Joyce had motioned him over. Doug said Joyce had asked if he’d like to follow her home, and so he had. Doug had said it was Joyce who suggested they go for a drink as he stood next to her car in the carport. Bill asked if Doug had assaulted Joyce in her own car.
Bill Holthaus: When I did ask him about the car, he didn’t answer anything on that. At all. He just said that he picked her up, followed her from the club, picker her up, took her home, had sex with her, brought her back.
Dave Cawley: During the interview, Doug called Joyce by name, saying he remembered her last name — Yost — because a ghost town near where he liked to go deer hunting shared the same name. Doug insisted his time with Joyce had been 100-percent consensual.
Bill Holthaus: Yeah, he just said that, y’know, that they agreed to have sex.
Dave Cawley: Doug Denied having given Joyce one of his shirts. Bill asked Doug about the cut on his face. Doug said it’d resulted from an accident at work the day before. Bill told Doug he knew he was lying. While they’d been speaking, another officer had impounded the Mazda. Bill explained about the matching earrings in the two cars. Bill told Doug he was going to book him on suspicion of rape and sodomy.
Bill Holthaus: Took him down to jail, booked him in, came back, wrote the reports.
Dave Cawley: Fewer than 12 hours had elapsed from the time of Joyce’s first confrontation with the man in her carport to his arrest. Bill credited that quick turnaround to Joyce herself.
Bill Holthaus: You can put that whole case on her. I was just peripheral on that. I was just picking up the pieces is what it amounted to and making them all go together.
Dave Cawley: The following day, Doug Lovell went before a judge. The Davis County Attorney’s Office, after reviewing the evidence, had filed much more serious charges. They included aggravated kidnapping, two counts of rape, aggravated sexual assault and forcible sodomy. In spite of this, the judge set Doug’s bail at just $25,000. That should’ve been the end of it.
Randy Salazar: After they pulled him over and, and took him to, and took him to jail and booked him, I think he was, I think he already had his mind made up what he was going to do.
Dave Cawley: Joyce’s son-in-law Randy Salazar told me it was only the beginning.
Randy Salazar: That’s where it all started it. That’s where uh, (pause) I think that’s where this nightmare begins.
Dave Cawley: Doug Lovell was not going to remain in jail for long. But Bill Holthaus would soon make a discovery about the little red Mazda that could put Doug right back in a cell.