Dave Cawley: Susan Yerage did not expect what greeted her when she walked through the doors of the America First Credit Union branch where she worked: a dozen, long-stem yellow roses in a bud vase sitting on her desk.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): They just had a little note on them, to a friend, and it says that you for being a friend or something like that.
Dave Cawley: What friend would have sent her a dozen roses without so much as signing a name? Susan moved the flowers to her credenza, thinking it must be a mistake. Except, it happened again. Another dozen yellow roses arrived a couple of days later, again bearing a card that read “thank you for being a friend.’ She again set the flowers aside.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): I mean, they were beautiful flowers, but when you’re getting, getting them from somebody that they don’t even write their name on the card? It makes you a little nervous.
Dave Cawley: That feeling only intensified at the end of the week, when a third batch of roses arrived. They’d come from a place called Gibby Floral. Susan phoned the company and asked who’d sent them.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): They told me that it was a young kid that came in, paid cash for them and said, ‘Send the flowers.’
Dave Cawley: This “secret admirer” game was not endearing. Some stranger who refused to identify himself was harassing Susan. Her unease soured into outright fear.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): ‘Cause every day I’d walk out looking around the credit union thinking, y’know, what’s gonna happen.
Dave Cawley: She told the florist not to accept any more deliveries in her name. But, Susan once again received a dozen yellow long-stem roses at the start of the next week. They’d come from a different florist, a place called Candlelight, in the nearby city of Layton.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): And I called them and they said the same thing happened. A young kid came in, paid cash for them and they sent them out. And I told them I wouldn’t accept them.
Dave Cawley: This flood of flowers had to have cost the sender hundreds of dollars. While yellow roses are meant to symbolize friendship, Susan couldn’t shake the sense of dread the blooms had brought with them. She wondered if someone might be trying to manipulate her. She did have access to sensitive financial information. She didn’t dare think what other intentions the man who sent the flowers might have.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): You know, if you know who it is, if you know the person and you know a reason, but for any normal person, roses every other day, like that, is ridiculous. I mean, to me, it is. What kind of guy would blast a woman he didn’t know with a barrage of bouquets?
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): Scared me to death. … Because I couldn’t figure out why.
Dave Cawley: This is Cold, season 2, episode 1: The Type That Sends Roses. From KSL Podcasts, I’m Dave Cawley. We’ll be right back.
Dave Cawley: If you draw a line on a map between the cities of Minneapolis, Minnesota and Winnipeg, Manitoba, then stick your finger in the middle of that line, you’ll find yourself pointing at a small college town called Bemidji.
George and Hulda Figel, residents of Bemidji, welcomed their third daughter Joyce Lynn Figel on January 3, 1946. Joyce had two sisters. The oldest, Dorothy, was 19 years Joyce’s senior. Edna, the middle child, was also significantly older, graduating from high school the same year as Joyce’s birth.
The Figel family lived on a farm on the outskirts of town. The older girls helped their mother raise little Joyce, nicknaming their baby sister “Binky,” a reference to the popular brand of pacifier.
George Figel worked as a greenskeeper at the Bemidji Town and Country Club, a post he’d held for decades. But by the time Joyce was old enough to enroll in school, George was nowhere to be found. He and Hulda had divorced, leaving Joyce to be raised by her mother and sisters. As a teen, Joyce met a boy named Mel Roberts.
Mel Roberts: Well, she was a very attractive girl, for openers.
Dave Cawley: Mel was a few years older — he was a senior in high school when Joyce was a freshman — and found himself smitten.
Mel Roberts: She just had a real outgoing personality. Friendly, bubbly, happy-go-lucky.
Dave Cawley: They dated for the better part of a year.
Mel Roberts: We’d go to football games and basketball games. We’d follow the, like tournaments and whatnot we’d go watch the high school teams play.
Dave Cawley: Their relationship took a turn though when, at age 15, Joyce learned she was pregnant. Hulda Figel took news of her unmarried teenage daughter’s pregnancy hard.
Mel Roberts: I went out to her house on a Saturday morning and walked in the yard, pulled in the yard and she was in the kitchen making a cake … and she spun around and left. Wouldn’t even speak to me.
Dave Cawley: The Figel family tree traced its roots back to Germany and Scandinavia. They’d been Lutherans long as anyone could remember.
Mel Roberts: They went to church religiously. Every Sunday and she went through her, y’know, the Lutheran confirmation, which is two years.
Dave Cawley: Hulda told Joyce she shouldn’t raise her baby.
Mel Roberts: She was gonna put her in a Lutheran home and, y’know, give the baby up for adoption.
Dave Cawley: Mel had a different idea: keep the baby and get married.
Mel Roberts: Joyce and I sat there and talked for a few hours and then she finally came in and we, we hashed it out.
Dave Cawley: Mel had by that point started classes at Bemidji State College.
Mel Roberts: When I found out she was pregnant I dropped out of college and went and found a job. (Laughs)
Dave Cawley: Lacking experience or references, Mel went from business to business, knocking on doors, until he ended up at a metal stamping company. The manager invited Mel into his office.
Mel Roberts: He said, ‘Do you have a girl pregnant?’ And I looked at him like he was on Mars. Come to find out, his son was in the same circumstances. Similar age to me. And honest to God, I think that’s probably why he hired me.
Dave Cawley: The job interview took place at about 3 in the afternoon. The manager told Mel his shift started at 6.
Mel Roberts: And I ended up working in that business the rest of my life.
Dave Cawley: Mel and Joyce married in January of 1962. Joyce gave birth to a daughter, whom they named Kim, about four months later. Joyce became a full-time mother at the age of 16. She dropped out of school and moved with her new husband to Minneapolis. A year later, they welcomed a second child, a son named Greg. The Roberts family scraped to get by.
Mel Roberts: You look back on how you survived and it was pretty amazing. Kids today couldn’t do that.
Dave Cawley: They made friends with their neighbors but didn’t have much time for socializing. Mel worked nonstop. Joyce’s favorite pastime seemed to be sunbathing.
Mel Roberts: She was a sun goddess. Always, she’d lay in the sun when it was 40 degrees out.
Dave Cawley: She would even drag the laundry into the yard so she could to the ironing in the sun. Each summer Joyce would take the kids and spend a week or two visiting her sister Edna in Duluth, on the western tip of Lake Superior.
Mel Roberts: Edna spent a tremendous amount of time with Kim and Greg when they were little.
Dave Cawley: Dorothy, Joyce’s oldest sibling, had by then moved away to Utah. She and Joyce struggled to stay in touch during this period, relying mostly on letters.
Mel Roberts: Back then it wasn’t like you had cell phones. We, we didn’t come from wealthy families so long distance calls back then were expensive.
Dave Cawley: Long distance calls weren’t the only luxury they had to forgo. Mel and Joyce were in over their heads.
Mel Roberts: The odds of that succeeding are pretty remote.
Dave Cawley: Joyce took jobs waitressing in the evenings. She couldn’t find better paying gigs, in part because she’d never finished high school. The stress of her situation began to feel like a vice. She wanted out. Joyce filed for divorce from Mel after just a handful of years.
Mel Roberts: Had we not been so young, I’m pretty sure the relationship would have been far more successful.
Dave Cawley: The separation didn’t solve Joyce’s problems. Instead, it brought on a different set of challenges. Money grew even more tight, forcing her to work two or three jobs at a time.
Mel Roberts: She had to work a lot so the kids spent some time alone and whatnot but, she didn’t have any choice.
Dave Cawley: Dating in her early 20s with two young children also proved difficult. She had a few bad experiences with boyfriends that left her, in Mel’s words, “screwed up.”
Mel Roberts: Struggling financially and, and I think she was struggling emotionally as well.
Dave Cawley: Mel had remained close to Joyce, their children and even Joyce’s mother Hulda in spite of the divorce. But forces beyond his control soon swept him away. The government drafted Mel into the U.S. Army in 1968.
Mel Roberts: I spent 15 months in Korea.
Dave Cawley: Joyce needed a fresh start. She decided to leave Minnesota, to take her kids Kim and Greg and head west, following her sister Dorothy’s trail to Utah.
Dave Cawley: Monan Lovell had three sons. The oldest, 19-year-old Russell, was playing a game with 17-year-old Royce at the family’s home in the city of Uintah, Utah. The baby of the family, 14-year-old Doug, watched from the sidelines. Monan interrupted, telling the boys he and their mother had news to share. Doug could tell it wasn’t good.
Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I remember thinking to myself that they were going to tell us someone in the family died.
Dave Cawley: That is not Doug’s actual voice, but they are his words, taken from a letter written many years later. Tears welled in Monan’s eyes. He told his sons he his wife Shirley were divorcing after nearly 20 years of marriage. Monan saw expressions of shock on his son’s faces.
Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I never seen my mom or dad fight, and neither had my two older brothers. We were the perfect family so I thought.
Dave Cawley: Except they weren’t. Royce was beginning to dabble with drugs. Doug had been getting into trouble himself. He’d gone to juvenile court a year prior, when he was just 13, for theft.
Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I can still clearly hear my father’s voice saying you kids need to decide who you want to live with. It was more than I could handle … How dare they make me pick between them.
Dave Cawley: Monan told his boys he would be moving out of the home that very day. Doug bolted to his feet and ran out of the room.
It was September of 1972. Russell would soon turn 20 and could live on his own. Royce, it was decided, would follow his father to his new apartment. Doug would remain with his mother, Shirley.
Doug Lovell had spent his earliest years on a farm on the fringe of Utah’s vast West Desert.
Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): We had all the animals that belonged on a farm and then some. Animals were the love of my life, and I had lots of them.
Dave Cawley: The farm life was not to last. Monan had taken a job with the U.S. Air Force and, when Doug was 10, moved his family north to the suburbs of Ogden, near Hill Air Force Base. Doug started finding trouble not long after. He got into schoolyard fights…
Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I remember back in school when two boys had a problem with each other, they would meet after school and fight. The worse that might happen is a bloody nose or black eye.
Dave Cawley: …and developed a habit for swiping property that didn’t belong to him. Doug turned 15 in January of ’73, days before the courts finalized his parents’ divorce. He landed back in juvenile court the following November on criminal counts of theft and burglary. Soon after, at age 16, the courts decided he could answer the same question his brothers had before: which parent would he choose to live with?
Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I never could pick. I stayed with mom and then I felt guilty for not being with my dad. I always felt who ever I was living with the other one was thinking that I loved them less.
Dave Cawley: Monan remarried two years after the split from Shirley, to a woman named Dorothy. She brought seven children of her own to their blended family.
Doug bounced back and forth between his parents until, in the summer of ’75, he lost the ability to choose. He’d dropped out of school and once again run afoul of the law. The juvenile court sent him to the Utah State Industrial School for a 90-day “observation and assessment.”
The industrial school wasn’t a prison, but life there was not like home. Doug could not come and go as he pleased. He lived in a dorm with other kids whom the state had also deemed juvenile delinquents.
The school’s stated aim was rectifying behavioral issues underlying criminal activity in wayward kids, helping them correct their courses before they became adults.
That time was fast approaching for Doug. He finished his time at the school and turned 18 in January of ’76. He moved in with his brother Russell, who was then living in a mobile home in the city of Clearfield. Doug worked menial jobs to pay his way and spent his free time hunting, playing in the mountains and riding his dirt bike.
Dave Cawley: Joyce arrived in Utah with her school-aged kids Kim and Greg and no safety net. She moved her little family in with her sister Dorothy, who lived in the suburb of Clearfield just west of Hill Air Force Base. Kim remembered her mother and Aunt Dot, as Dorothy was known, being very close.
Kim Salazar: They would laugh and laugh and laugh.
Dave Cawley: Joyce soon found work in the nearby city of Ogden. ZCMI, a now-defunct department store chain majority owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, had a few years earlier opened a sprawling branch store at the corner of Ogden’s 24th Street and Washington Boulevard. Joyce took a sales position at the ZCMI cosmetics counter. Greg told me his mother did well at this, no doubt because she looked the part.
Greg Roberts: She would dress to the nines. And she had a lot of clothes and working at ZCMI and Bon Marché, she’d, she’d put things on hold and they’d go sale and further sale and further sale and she’d end up with these outfits for next to nothing.
Dave Cawley: Joyce had developed this sense of frugal fashion very young, inheriting it from her mother. She used it, paired with her gregarious personality, to great effect.
Greg Roberts: I still have ladies that will come up to me that ‘I knew your mother’ … happens all the time.
Dave Cawley: Securing steady work allowed Joyce to move out of her sister Dorothy’s home before long. She found a place not too far away, in the neighboring community of Sunset.
Kim Salazar: The landlord lived in the basement, him and his son and we lived upstairs.
Dave Cawley: She also met a man by the name of George Yost. George drove a Buick Electra 225, a car of Titanic proportions.
Greg Roberts: We could swim around the back of there. They’d take us to get ice cream and just always take a Sunday drive and go look at nice homes and things like that and go get ice cream at Farrs and nobody had seatbelts on.
Dave Cawley: Joyce and George married. This caught Mel Roberts, Joyce’s first husband, by surprise.
Mel Roberts: I don’t know what that whole deal was about. Maybe security, I don’t know.
Dave Cawley: The last 10 or so years of Joyce’s life had been turbulent but she seemed to be putting down new roots.
Greg Roberts: Her and George bought a home together, George Yost bought a home together.
Dave Cawley: This did not last.
Mel Roberts: She wasn’t married to him very long.
Greg Roberts: She was married to George Yost for about three years, umm, just while we were in kind of elementary school and junior high.
Dave Cawley: Joyce and George divorced after just a few short years, leaving her to once again provide as a single mother.
Dave Cawley: Monan Lovell and his second wife, Dorothy rose early on the morning of January 6, 1977. They had plans down south in Salt Lake City. They were just on their way out the door when, at about 8:30 a.m., their phone rang.
Dorothy answered. A man on the other end of the line identified himself as officer Parks from the Ogden Police Department. Parks said he needed to speak with Dorothy’s then 21-year-old stepson, Royce. Dorothy said Royce was asleep, but given it was the police calling, she decided to wake him. She handed off the phone to Royce. Then, she and Monan left.
They returned about four hours later, around noon. When they came through the door of their home they saw Royce on the floor in a corner of the living room, between the couch and stereo. A small prescription pill bottle containing the psychotropic anti-anxiety medication Librium sat on a nearby table.
In a panic, Monan grabbed his son and pulled him into the center of the room, thinking he’d just passed out. Royce had not passed out. He was dead.
Royce’s brothers, Russell and Doug, were working together at the time. Monan called Russell and told him to grab Doug and get home, quick. They came through the door and saw Royce’s body.
Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): My legs gave out and I found myself crawling to him. As I held my brother’s lifeless body in my arms, I remember pleading to him to wake up!
Dave Cawley: Again, those are Doug’s words, taken from a letter he wrote years later. Monan and Russell had to drag Doug, then just weeks shy of his 19th birthday, off Royce’s body. This demonstration of emotion was notable. Royce and Doug had been at one another’s throats constantly as children, but their relationship had deepened as teenagers.
Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I always seen my brother as being bigger than life. Just being with him I always felt safe and secure.
Dave Cawley: Yet, just the day before Royce’s death, he and Doug had had a furious fight. It didn’t quite come to blows, but it was close.
Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): I remember us standing face-to-face shouting at each other. We were so close, I could feel the tiny splashes of spit and the warmth from his mouth.
Dave Cawley: Doug had expected to take a punch but Royce had instead walked away. After the fight, neither brother would reveal to the rest of the family just what it had been about.
Richie Steadman (as Doug Lovell): There was no doubt that I loved him! In fact, my love for Royce was so strong, I would have traded my life for his.
Dave Cawley: The police came. Monan and Dorothy told an officer what’d happened, how they’d found Royce in a bizarre position in a corner of the room. They mentioned the morning phone call from a man calling himself Parks with the Ogden police. The officer called Ogden PD and asked to speak with Parks, only to be told there was no such person employed with the department.
The officer noticed something else: a scrap of paper sitting on the floor near the front door. It appeared to be a page out of paperback book. Printed text on the page read “sugar and spice and everything nice, acid and smack no way back.”
This was the tagline from a best selling novel titled “Go Ask Alice” written by a woman named Beatrice Sparks. The book was originally marketed as a true account, taken from an anonymous teenage girl’s diary, of her slide into addiction and death. Sparks is dead now but her claim that the manuscript was a true account became a matter of some dispute later in her writing career.
Suffice it to say, the book carried a strong anti-drug message and was widely popular in the ‘70s. How a page of it came to be the same room as the body of Royce Lovell was not clear.
An autopsy would later reveal the presence of IV needle tracks on Royce’s arms and legs. Toxicology testing showed the presence of not only Librium, but also Valium and amphetamines in his system. The coroner listed the cause of death as an accidental overdose.
Monan had his doubts. He told investigators there were other circumstances surrounding the death that made him believe it was not an accident. Royce’s death just days before he was scheduled to act as a state’s witness in a robbery case.
At the mortuary, Monan noticed what he thought were bruises on Royce’s hands, neck and across the bridge of his nose. A small ceramic dog that typically sat on the fireplace mantle in the same room where Royce had died appeared to have been moved as well, suggesting to Monan someone might have used it as a bludgeon.
Police were never able to verify these suspicions and they closed the case.
Dave Cawley: Joyce had not been divorced from her second husband George Yost for long before she became close with another man.
Greg Roberts: His name was … Floren B. Nelson … he was a big part of her life.
Dave Cawley: “Nails,” as he was better known, was an Air Force man. He’d been born in 1921 and played football for the University of Utah before joining the U.S. Army Air Corps six months after Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor. Nails ended up piloting the revered P-51 Mustang fighter during the Second World War’s waning months, flying combat missions over Europe. All of this before Joyce had even been born.
Nails owned a boat. On summer weekends he and Joyce would take it out on Willard Bay, a freshwater reservoir adjacent to the Great Salt Lake, where they’d fish for walleye.
Greg Roberts: She loved to sunbathe and she loved to go boating with Nails. It was a big, big part of her life.
Dave Cawley: Greg was in the 9th grade when he told his mom he’d decided what he wanted to be when he grew up.
Greg Roberts: Told her and her sister I wanted to be a dentist and they just thought that was so neat. And, y’know, we didn’t really have any dentists in the family and I wasn’t sure why I exactly chose that but they made quite a big deal of it and it kind of maybe made it a bigger goal of mine. To have their support.
Dave Cawley: Mel felt a little more skeptical of his son’s plan…
Mel Roberts: Yeah, I don’t know where he, where he ever came up with that. It was nothing I promoted, it was nothing Joyce promoted.
Dave Cawley: …but Greg had his mind set.
Mel Roberts: It was just something he wanted to do.”
Dave Cawley: Monan Lovell tried to counsel his wayward son, asking why Doug kept breaking the law. It seemed to Monan that Doug had the mind of a 13-year-old, even though he was approaching 20. His single piece of advice: stop committing crimes.
Doug didn’t listen. He was picked up for possession of a controlled substance in late ’77 and sent to jail for three months.
Doug went out and stole some lumber around this same time and was charged and convicted of felony theft. In fact, he had two separate theft cases going simultaneously in two different counties. They each qualified for prison sentences. But the two judges, after comparing notes, opted for probation. This was rather remarkable, considering Doug’s rap sheet.
There was a hitch, though. Doug had to serve out part of that probation period at the Lakehills Community Corrections Center, a halfway house in Salt Lake City. There, Doug was to receive training and treatment to help him reform his pattern of bad behavior.
Doug had to live at Lakehills during the week, but was free to hold a daytime job and to spend Saturdays and Sundays offsite. A far less restrictive punishment than prison.
He attended a party with a girlfriend in the city of Roy while away from Lakehills on one such weekend. The party was well underway by the time he arrived. A young woman he knew — not the girl he was there with — spotted him coming through the door. She stood up.
“Lovell, what are you doing,” she asked. “It’s been so long.”
Her name was Rhonda Buttars. Doug and Rhonda had first met as kids, when they’d shared the same 6th grade class at Club Heights Elementary School. They’d never been close, but were acquainted through junior high and high school. That is, right up until Doug’d dropped out.
Doug and Rhonda started chatting, much to the annoyance of Doug’s date. He eventually took that young lady home, then returned to the party to continue flirting with Rhonda. They ended up leaving the party together later that night in Rhonda’s Camero.
They bumped into one another again a short time later, while attending a funeral for a mutual friend. From this sprang the seed of a relationship. They started dating. Rhonda would drive down to Lakehills on Friday nights and pick up her new boyfriend. They’d go to dinner or the movies before Rhonda would drop Doug off at his dad’s or brother’s place. Then, on Sunday nights, she’d return him to the halfway house.
This continued until April of ’78 when Doug completed his time at Lakehills and once again became a free man.
Dave Cawley: Closing time was fast approaching at the U-Save Market. The grocery store at the corner of Ogden’s 7th Street and Monroe Boulevard typically locked its doors for the day at 8 p.m.
Bill Workman, the manager at the store’s front end, was in the process of counting the day’s receipts when, at 7:52 p.m., two men came through the door. One of them, pot-bellied and wearing a plaid flannel shirt unbuttoned down the front, carried a hand gun. A nylon stocking obscured his face. The second man, who was thinner, followed a step behind.
The lead man pointed the gun at Bill and told him to take him to the safe the safe and open it, which Bill did. The second man then grabbed a pair of cash drawers which held the bulk of the day’s sales.
As this was happening, another U-Save employee named Kellie Sherrod was closing up her station at the back corner of the building. She wasn’t able to hear the commotion up front.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): The store was really quite a large store.
Dave Cawley: Kellie was 18, fresh out of high school and working at the U-Save Market six nights a week.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): That particular day in August I was working the drive-in window and doing the gas pumps.
Dave Cawley: The drive-up window allowed customers to pull up in their car, ask the clerk there for a few items and then pay without having to step foot inside.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): People line up in their car to get their last, I dunno, gallon of milk or soda or cottage cheese. ‘Can you run across the store and get me some cottage cheese?’
Dave Cawley: Come closing time, it was Kellie’s job to shut down her station. That meant going outside to lock a metal grate over the window, to disconnect an air compressor hose and to record readings on a set of gas pumps located in the parking lot.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): I would have to subtract the digits from the day before and that way they could measure how much gas had been used.
Dave Cawley: Kellie carried a pen and notebook for this task. She stepped out into an alley behind the store and was startled to see a car parked there…
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): It was a four-door Oldsmobile. I think it was a Cutlass Supreme.
Dave Cawley: …along with a man crouched down near the back bumper. The car was parked near the air compressor hose. Kellie thought maybe he was filling a flat tire. Except…
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): He wasn’t using the air hose. I popped it off of the building and I rolled it up and set it just on the ground. I didn’t take it back in.
Dave Cawley: Many cars built in the ‘60s had their fuel caps tucked away behind the rear license plate. Kellie next thought the man might be stuffing a rag down the tank’s filler pipe.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): ‘Cause I thought he had lost his cap.
Dave Cawley: She had to walk past the car — and the man — in order to perform her other tasks.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): So I said hello to him. He jumped up.
Dave Cawley: Kellie told me the man acknowledged her with a hello of his own.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): I knew he was close to my age just by, he had long hair, a very distinct mustache which I noted, and I noted he had the same color of blue eyes as I did. That’s how close I was to him.
Dave Cawley: She continued past him, rounding the northeast corner of the building. She walked out to the gas pumps, then turned around to face back toward the building.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): And I was standing at the gas pump and I noted that that car had kind of pulled out.
Dave Cawley: Just then, two men came running around the front side of the store off to Kellie’s left. They were sprinting. She saw one of them had a handgun.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): And these two individuals running down the side of the store took nylon stockings off their heads.
Dave Cawley: The front-end manager, Bill Workman, wasn’t far behind.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): He didn’t chase them, just to the edge and he yelled ‘We’re being robbed.’ And that just changed my whole thing. Y’know, I’m thinking ‘Okay, I’m gonna write down a license plate.’
Dave Cawley: The two men dove into the car before she could do anything of the sort. The heavier guy — with the gun — landed in the back seat. He noticed her standing at the gas pumps, staring.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): The guy in the back seat told me ‘If you know what’s good, you’ll stand.’ So I stood.
Dave Cawley: Tires squealed in a burnout as the young man with the mustache stomped on the accelerator.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): And I actually saw the license plate when they pulled out, I had a notebook and I thought ‘I’ll just write down the license plate.’ It was covered. So he was not putting a rag in the gas tank for a missing cap. He was covering the license plate.
Dave Cawley: The car roared into traffic and disappeared. Kellie scribbled down a few notes about what she’d seen. They proved useful when Ogden police showed up minutes later.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): Went out and talked to me about where were you standing and what did you do? Kind of re-enactment. Wrote a verbal report. Probably spent at least an hour, hour and a half with them, talking to us.
Dave Cawley: Meantime, other officers were tracking down the car. They found it parked outside an apartment two miles to the north. Cash and change littered the floorboard, along with a box of .22-caliber ammunition.
The officers knocked on the apartment door with their own guns drawn. A man wearing a blue flowered shirt answered and handed over his ID, which bore the name Ray Dodge. Ray was the guy who’d grabbed the cash drawers from the U-Save Market’s safe.
Ray had spent much of his adult life in prison. He was also smart — a judge would later peg his IQ at 126 — and he’d earned a reputation while incarcerated as a crafty litigator. In the late ‘60s he’d mounted a legal challenge on behalf of some fellow state prison inmates, resulting in 29 of them going free.
There were two other people in the apartment with Ray, but neither matched the descriptions of the gunman or getaway driver. The officers interviewed them and determined the driver, the guy with the bushy mustache, was a 20-year-old man named Doug Lovell.
Doug had swapped into another car, a ’73 Pontiac Grand Am, as soon as he’d arrived at the apartment with Ray and the other robber. The officers put an APB out on the Pontiac and a Utah Highway Patrol trooper found it abandoned behind a carwash a couple hours later. Police wasted no time securing an arrest warrant for Doug. He surrendered the following day.
Ogden police soon identified the other robber as Sherrill Chestnut. Like Ray Dodge, Sherrill was a career criminal. He’d first gone to prison in the ‘50s for burglary. Soon after his release in ’65, Sherrill had taken a pair of Utah Highway Patrol troopers captive at gunpoint during a traffic stop.
How had a young man like Doug Lovell fallen in with these kinds of hardened felons, both of whom were at least 20 years his senior?
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): He to me was a young kid that was doing the wrong thing, y’know at that point.
Dave Cawley: Kellie picked Sherrill, Ray and Doug from a line-up. And she realized it wasn’t the first time she’d seen their faces.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): I knew when I picked those guys out of the lineup I had seen them in the store.
Dave Cawley: They’d cased the store and planned the heist. They’d known what time to arrive and where to park the getaway car to avoid being seen. They’d made sure to obscure their faces and had accounted for contingencies.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): Other than I don’t believe they knew what the back window cashier did, coming out and that.
Dave Cawley: Doug could have rolled over on his accomplices, but didn’t. It made little difference, as Sherrill and Ray were quickly convicted and sent back to prison. Although Doug had only acted as the getaway driver, under the law he was just as culpable. Prosecutors filed a first-degree felony charge of armed robbery against him. He went to trial in November of ’78.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): I did get called as a witness to go to court on Doug Lovell.
Dave Cawley: Kellie felt a little nervous, but also confident about what she’d seen. That confidence only grew on the day of her testimony.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): He’s cleaned up, he’s in a business suit, y’know what I mean? But I knew it was him. There was no question.
Dave Cawley: He had supporters in the courtroom, his new girlfriend Rhonda Buttars among them. The judge had assigned Doug a public defender by the name of John Caine. John was a young, up-and-coming lawyer who’d been admitted to the bar in the fall of ’73 and almost immediately gone to work on a major death penalty case: the Ogden Hi-Fi Shop murders. I’ll have more to say about that in a later episode.
Caine’s defense proved insufficient. Kellie — the only witness who could place Doug at the scene of the robbery — shared her account with the jury.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): I do know that his role was to drive that car.
Dave Cawley: The eight jurors found Doug guilty. Utah law set the penalty for the crime of aggravated robbery at no less than five years in prison and possibly up to life. But when Doug went back to court for sentencing a couple of weeks later, Judge Ronald Hyde said he would not be sending Doug to prison.
He instead enrolled Doug in a course known as the “public offenders program” at the Utah State Hospital. This was a treatment-focused inpatient program for “emotionally disturbed” individuals.
The state hospital, an asylum, operated under the direction of the Utah Division of Mental Health. Doug would have to meet guidelines set by an agency called Adult Probation and Parole but if he kept out of trouble he could serve a much-abbreviated term at the hospital while retaining many of his personal freedoms.
Just as he’d done at the halfway house and the state institutional school. It didn’t work. A parole officer wrote Doug up for failing to abide by the treatment program the following June. Judge Hyde ordered Doug back to court and imposed the original sentence. So on August 8, 1979, almost one year since the robbery, Doug found himself reunited with his accomplices Ray Dodge and Sherrill Chestnut as an inmate at the Utah State Prison.
Dave Cawley: Joyce Yost’s daughter, Kim Roberts, met a young man through some mutual friends not long after starting classes at Roy High School. His name was Randy Salazar. Randy would at times drop by to visit Kim at her mom’s place. That’s how he was first introduced to Joyce…
Randy Salazar: She was a good lady. She was a hard worker. I’ll tell you what.
Dave Cawley: …as well as Kim’s younger brother, Greg…
Greg Roberts: I remember we then lived in like the Hertfordshire Apartments in Roy.
Dave Cawley: …and even Joyce’s boyfriend Nails and her sister, Dorothy.
Randy Salazar: Whenever there was a barbecue they, when we all got together, old Dot would be out there with her little drink and her cigarette and Joyce would be out there too and we’d just, yeah we used to have some pretty good times with them people.
Dave Cawley: Randy was a few years older than Kim. He graduated ahead of her. They stayed in touch and even started dating. That progressed to marriage in 1979. Randy was 20 and Kim was 17.
Greg Roberts: She loved Randy. Just loved Randy.
Kim Salazar: (Laughs)
Greg Roberts: He’s a character.
Dave Cawley: Kim had married young, just like her mother. Randy, for his part, got along very well with his new mother-in-law.
Randy Salazar: I mean, there’s some times she gave me some advice, y’know, some stern advice. Y’know, which is good.
Dave Cawley: Joyce was herself only 33 years old at that point, but she’d been through two marriages and knew a bit about relationships. She was still dating Nails, who’d been married before and had children of his own. Neither Joyce nor Nails seemed in any kind of rush to get married themselves. They’d moved in together though, sharing a condo just west of Weber State University. Greg, who was still in high school, lived with them. Randy sometimes joked to his young bride if she looked as good as her mother did in her 30s, he’d be a lucky man.
Randy Salazar: She was a very, very — and I’ll say — beautiful lady. She was, I mean she was always dressed to the max. Her lips were always just red with another tint on the of, of lipstick. Her hair was always fixed up nice. Her makeup, I mean she was just, she was very, very beautiful lady. She was.
Dave Cawley: It wasn’t just Joyce’s physical appearance that impressed Randy.
Randy Salazar: She was a hard-working, darn good provider.
Dave Cawley: Not only did Joyce work full-time at ZCMI…
Randy Salazar: She used to sell Estée Lauder, Estée Lauder and uh, and she was pretty darn good at it, too.
Dave Cawley: …she also supplemented her income cocktail waitressing at night.
Greg Roberts: Elks Club, Blue Monaco was in Roy. What’s the name of that one in Riverdale?
Kim Salazar: Lamplight?
Greg Roberts: The Lamplight.
Dave Cawley: Joyce would come home from her shift at the club after 1 a.m., knowing she had to rise early the next morning to be back at the cosmetics counter.
Kim Salazar: She did it so we had everything that we ever wanted or needed. She made sure of that. But we didn’t have a lot of time with her.
Dave Cawley: Doug Lovell was two days shy of the one-year anniversary of his arrival at the Utah State Prison when he received his chance to go before the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole on August 6, 1980.
The Board of Pardons had, and still has today, broad authority under the Utah Constitution. It’s the Board of Pardons, not any judge, that decides how much time someone who is sent to prison by the state courts really serves. Impress the board and you can shorten your stay.
Board hearings are audio recorded. Those recordings should be retained in the state archives. But when I asked the board for a copy of Doug’s 1980 parole hearing I was told it no longer existed. It was just too old.
What I can tell you, based on other paper records, is Doug presented as a model inmate at his hearing. He succeeded in winning over the board members.
No one had bothered to ask Kellie, the grocery store clerk whose testimony had helped convict Doug…
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): No, I was never notified.
Dave Cawley: …and maybe it wouldn’t have mattered.
Kellie Farr (née Sherrod): I didn’t see him as a threat that particular day, other than y’know being scared of what was going on.
Dave Cawley: He’d only been the wheelman. At his trial, Doug had presented as an impressionable kid pushed into the crime by two notorious older felons.
Doug had entered a program upon arrival at the prison called “First Offenders.” It was designed for inmates who were young and in on their first felonies. The program operated out of the prison’s special services dormitory, or SSD, a minimum-security section where inmates were afforded more luxuries than in most other housing units. Doug had quickly discovered good behavior was advantageous. It allowed him to remain in SSD.
The judge had sentenced Doug to a term of five years to life. The parole board decided because of his model behavior he should serve just half of the minimum: two-and-a-half years. They scheduled his parole date for February 9, 1982.
Dave Cawley: Kim and Randy Salazar were still establishing themselves when, about a year into their marriage, Kim learned she was pregnant.
Randy Salazar: I remember Joyce saying ‘Now, this baby’s not going to call me grandma.’ … She said ‘This baby’s going to call me Joyce.’ And as time went on and it got closer, I remember she couldn’t wait to be called grandma.
Dave Cawley: Kim gave birth to a daughter, Melisa, in December of 1980. Joyce met her first granddaughter.
Greg Roberts: So she was a rockin’ 34-year-old grandma. She loved it.
Kim Salazar: Yep. She did.
Greg Roberts: She soaked up every minute of it.
Dave Cawley: Joyce had always gone all out on Christmas.
Kim Salazar: Oh my gosh. That’s an understatement.
Randy Salazar: There’d be the Christmas tree and there wouldn’t be much carpet left. Because she would, I mean she would shop and shop and man, she tried to give you any gift, any gift she thought of you during the year, it was underneath that tree.
Dave Cawley: Tradition dictated Joyce take her children over to her sister Dorothy’s house each Christmas Eve. The two sisters were known to gab for hours.
Kim Salazar: Y’know, when we were little we’d cry because it was time to go ‘cause we were going to miss Santa Claus and they’d be laughing and carrying on and we wouldn’t be going and we’d be mad.
Dave Cawley: As Kim and Greg had grown, they’d found themselves more and more a part of the family’s traditions.
Greg Roberts: We’d beg to open one gift. Just beg and beg and beg. And they’d, they had a little strategy you’d always get something kind of—
Kim Salazar: Kind of lame.
Greg Roberts: Baseball glove full of bad cologne or something.
Dave Cawley: Now that Kim had a baby of her own, born just two weeks before Christmas, Joyce shifted her focus to her little granddaughter.
Randy Salazar: And Joyce just, she bought her so many Christmas presents, by the time Christmas was there, it was crazy. And she just loved her, y’know, Melisa couldn’t open the gifts, so she would open the gifts a little bit and show her, like Melisa really didn’t care but Joyce got a lot of enjoyment out of it.
Dave Cawley: The early ‘80s brought some hard years, not just for Joyce but also for millions of people in United States. The nation went through back-to-back recessions in ’81 and ’82. At its worst, the unemployment rate climbed above 10%. Randy found a job in the shops of the Utah Transit Authority. It required that he work in Salt Lake City, so he and Kim moved south.
Randy Salazar: I think it was kind of hard on her because Kim wasn’t around a lot so we, so tried to come back every weekend.”
Greg had finished high school and enrolled at Utah State University.
Greg Roberts: I’d come home on the weekends and she’d do my laundry and pack me up with groceries, y’know.
Dave Cawley: Greg’s dream of becoming a dentist had dimmed. Mel Roberts told me he’d encouraged his son to pursue a different path.
Mel Roberts: His first quarter was in computer science. And he hated it.
Dave Cawley: Joyce split up with her longtime boyfriend, Nails, and moved out of their condo. She landed in a small apartment, the bottom left-hand unit of a four-plex on 40th Street in South Ogden.
Randy Salazar: And she used to lay out in her front yard all the time and after we had Melisa, she would be out on the lawn in the summertime with Melisa and just being a good grandma.
Dave Cawley: Kim and Randy welcomed a second daughter, Melanie, at the beginning of 1982. Joyce and her sister Dorothy would often make the two-hour drive to West Wendover, Nevada on the weekends, where they would play the slots. Randy remembered once running into her there while he was visiting Wendover with his parents.
Randy Salazar: She told me ‘You ought to just play a dollar machine instead of those, instead of those dime and nickel machines.’ And I said ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘Man, I haven’t got the money.’ ‘Just try it.’ So I did it. And I hit a hundred dollars like, just right away and back then man, a hundred dollars to me was a lot of money. … Just right after that … I hit another hundred dollars. … And Joyce was kind of laughing at me and saying ‘See, see? You can do it.’
Dave Cawley: Joyce even slipped away to Wendover by herself on occasion. She didn’t always bother to tell Kim or Greg about those impromptu trips.
Randy Salazar: So she’d call her all weekend and then Kim would worry about her and I’d have to say ‘Kim, she’s alright. That’s, that’s your mom. You know your mom.’
Dave Cawley: Greg decided to switch schools after finishing his first year at Utah State. He transferred to Weber State College, which sat just east of Joyce’s apartment. She had a spare bedroom and invited her son to move in, which he did.
Dave Cawley: Rhonda Buttars had not waited for Doug Lovell after he went to prison in 1979. In fact, she’d soon married another man named Richard Ryan Scullin. They’d had a baby in ’81, a little girl they’d named Alisha. Their relationship had proven rocky, though. Rhona felt unhappy and, by ’82, was considering divorce. This was a daunting proposition. Rhonda thought about separating from her husband moving back home with her parents. While visiting them one day, she received a phone call from Doug Lovell.
The Utah Board of Pardons and Parole had let Doug out even earlier than planned. He’d left prison in January of ’82 and rented an apartment at a place called Pepper Ridge in Clearfield. His finances were in shambles. Upon his release, Doug’s parents had connected him with an employee at their credit union: a woman named Susan Yerage.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): I first met Doug when I was collection, ah, officer, in the collection department and I was collecting on a loan that he’d had prior to going to prison.
Dave Cawley: Susan was 10 years older than Doug. He seemed like a child to her…
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): Young kid. Sandy blond hair, bushy mustache, slight frame.
Dave Cawley: …and she did what she could to help him sort out the mess he’d made.
Part of Doug’s post-prison plan involved rekindling his romance with Rhonda. On this phone call in early ’82, Doug told Rhonda she should forget about moving back with her parents and instead move in with him at his new apartment. Rhonda vacillated. Her attorney had told her the divorce would go more smoothly if she wasn’t cohabiting with another man.
“You’re so wishy-washy,” Doug had said. “I wish you’d just make up your mind.”
Rhonda chose to move in with Doug at the Pepper Ridge Apartments. She brought her daughter Alisha with her but soon found this led to problems. Doug told Rhonda when he looked Alisha all he could see was her estranged husband.
Rhonda told her friends Doug scared her. They argued a lot. She would take Alisha and leave when their fights became heated. Sometimes for a day, sometimes for a week. But he always lured her back.
Late on the evening of January 14, 1983, Doug, Rhonda and Alisha were together in that little apartment watching TV when they heard a pounding at the door. Doug leapt up as the door jamb splintered around the deadbolt. A final thump sounded and the door swung inward, revealing a man standing on the threshold: Rhonda’s husband.
Doug and Rhonda’s extramarital relationship was not a secret to Ryan Scullin. But, according to police reports, he’d had a few drinks that night and decided to confront them about it. They grappled, rolling out of the apartment into parking lot.
Clearfield police, responding to reports of a domestic dispute, arrived minutes later to separate the two men. They arrested Ryan on suspicion of burglary, disturbing the peace and assault on a police officer. Official reports listed Doug Lovell as the victim.
Later that same year, Doug and Rhonda moved out of his little apartment. They upsized, renting a little house near the border of Clearfield and the neighboring city of Sunset. They’d been there a few months when, in October of ’83, Rhonda went in to Clearfield police headquarters. She told an officer Doug had told her he intended to kill her ex-husband. She took the threat seriously because of their fight back in January, as well as Doug’s criminal history.
According to a police report, Rhonda explained she’d moved out of Doug’s house and back in with her ex. The officer warned Rhonda it could prove difficult securing a restraining order, due to the different jurisdictions. They arranged to talk with the city attorney about that issue the next day.
That meeting never happened. The officer called Rhonda a little while later to find out why. She told him she’d changed her mind. She no longer believed Doug was a threat, or that he intended to kill her ex. Police closed the case as unfounded.
Rhonda’s reunion with Ryan Scullin didn’t last long. Doug Lovell lured her back. On January 22, 1984, Doug and Rhonda married in Elko, Nevada.
Dave Cawley: Kim Salazar delivered her third child — a son named Michael — just days after Christmas in 1983. Joyce Yost now had three grandchildren.
Kim Salazar: Oh man, it just made her whole world. She was so excited.
Dave Cawley: Her first grandchild, Melisa, was growing old enough to accompany grandma Joyce on trips into downtown Ogden.
Kim Salazar: She had got her one of those little furry muff things for your hands ‘cause ladies didn’t put their hands in their pockets and, y’know, just always trying to make her be just, just right.
Dave Cawley: Joyce had become good friends over the years with a man named Gordon Kaufman and his wife, Terry.
Greg Roberts: They’d go to lunch at the Tiffen Room at ZCMI and they all just became real tight friends.
Dave Cawley: Gordon was a fixture of the downtown Ogden business community. He’d managed a Morgan Jewelers location near Joyce’s work for 20 years before opening his own store. Joyce sometimes took Melisa there to show her off.
Kim Salazar: She remembers the big chandelier when you’d walk into the jewelry store and she knew better than to touch anything in there.
Dave Cawley: The Kaufmans weren’t the only people to whom Joyce expressed pride over her grandkids.
Greg Roberts: One of my favorite photos is that picture of mom holding Melisa.”
Kim Salazar: At the parade.
Greg Roberts: Downtown Ogden—
Kim Salazar: She used to drive her convertible car.
Greg Roberts: The Ogden temple is in the background and she’s just glowing with holding, holding Melissa in her arms.
Dave Cawley: Joyce owned a 1976 Oldsmobile Delta 88 convertible.
Randy Salazar: And she used to drive around town with that, with that car that probably weighed, oh hell, I don’t know how much it weighed but it probably only got like five miles to the gallon.
Kim Salazar: Sometimes the top wouldn’t work and—
Greg Roberts: (Laughs)
Kim Salazar: She wasn’t going to be late for work. She would literally drive that car with the top down—
Greg Roberts: Holding onto it.
Kim Salazar: —in the rain holding an umbrella. She was crazy. She did some funny stuff.
Dave Cawley: These kinds of little setbacks were nothing compared to the blow that landed on Joyce when ZCMI informed her the company was terminating her employment after 12 years of faithful service.
Kim Salazar: She always thought that that was why they let her go was just because she, she was just about to be eligible for their retirement plan.
Dave Cawley: A more bittersweet heartbreak came in the summer of ’84. Her son Greg had completed his undergraduate studies and was accepted into dental school, out of state.
Randy Salazar: And I’ll tell you what, she was so proud of him.
Dave Cawley: Greg packed his things into a little U-Haul trailer, which he hitched to the back of his Honda Accord for the 2,100 mile drive to the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond.
Greg Roberts: I just remember pulling away from her, y’know? (Cries)
Dave Cawley: Joyce and Greg had always been close but they’d grown especially so during those two years he’d spent living with her while in college.
Randy Salazar: After he left, I think she was a little lonely, y’know? She, I mean those two were like buddy buddies.
Dave Cawley: She filled that void by deepening her social life. Joyce dated several men — none of them seriously — and found a new job working for the Weinstock’s department store in the Fashion Place mall, 40 miles south in the city of Murray.
Dave Cawley: Doug Lovell went to the Ogden Main branch of America First Credit Union on Saturday, January 26, 1985 with his wife Rhonda and her then-three-year-old daughter, Alisha. He was there to secure financing on a car. And he knew just the person to see: Susan Yerage. Doug told Susan he wanted to buy the car from a dealership in town called Lincoln Auto.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): It was a red RX-7.
Dave Cawley: This audio, I should mention, as well as the earlier bits from Susan in this episode, came from a later police interview recording. Susan knew cars from Lincoln Auto were sometimes problematic. Lincoln dealt with a lot of wrecked and salvage vehicles.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): And I went out and looked the car car and inspected it to make sure that the car existed and the serial number matched.
Dave Cawley: Doug, Rhonda and Rhonda’s little daughter Alisha followed Susan into the parking lot. Susan could see the car was all there: a small, sporty Mazda coupe with flip-up headlights.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): And he just talked about how excited he was about having the car.
Dave Cawley: The car wasn’t the most practical choice for a family, but Doug didn’t mind. He could afford it, as well as the home he was renting, thanks to a job he’d secured with the help of his father. His dad had pulled strings to land Doug a gig driving a cement truck. Susan determined the Mazda was in good shape.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): I booked out the vehicle for 9,400 dollars and he only needed 7,000 dollars to purchase it.
Dave Cawley: The credit union cut Doug a check for $7,000. But his name wasn’t the only one on the “pay to the order of” line. Below it was the name Marvin Fluckiger.
I’ll get back to Marvin in a later episode. For now, just know the calendar turned from January to February. That month, Doug arrived at the credit union with his paycheck. He strolled into the lobby, made his deposit and applied some of the money toward the car loan. While there, he dropped by Susan’s desk and noted the huge array of yellow roses arranged on her credenza.
“Oh, I see you got the flowers,” Doug said.
Realization dawned on Susan just who her secret “friend” was.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): He told me he was the one that sent them. And I told him it was ridiculous, that he had a family. It was stupid for him to be spending his money like that.
Dave Cawley: A small thank you gift was one thing, but two straight weeks of roses every other day was over the top. It’d freaked her out. Susan told Doug she had a mind to call his parents and tell them what he’d done.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): Oh yeah. Oh, he knew about it. I mean, I could have wrung his neck for it.
Dave Cawley: Doug seemed crushed, as though he didn’t understand why Susan hadn’t seen the flowers as the nice gesture he’d intended.
Susan Yerage (from 1992 police interview): I let him have it from one end to the other and first place why are you spending money and that was stupid to be doing that and he scared the living bejesus out of me.
Dave Cawley: Little did she know, Doug was about to do something far worse.
Dave Cawley: Rays of sunlight scattered across the waters of the Great Salt Lake’s Farmington Bay. A little to the east, a big boat of a car pulled into a parking stall outside of a strip mall in the city of Clearfield. Joyce Yost stepped out of her convertible and headed for the door of a supper club called the Pier III. It was midweek, a Wednesday evening, and she was stopping off on her way home from work to meet a friend.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police interview): A gentleman friend at the Pier 3 at approximately 7 o’clock for dinner.
Dave Cawley: That’s Joyce’s own voice, from one of the only known recordings of her, describing what happened on this night of April 3, 1985. And let me say, this season will include a lot of rough audio like this from old analog tapes. Some were made under less-than-ideal circumstances. Others are second or third generation copies. I’ve done my best to clean them up. Alright, back to the story.
Joyce and her friend, a man named Lex Baer, spent the better part of three hours that April evening at the Pier.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police interview): We had a couple of drinks and we had dinner and we danced a couple of times.
Dave Cawley: Lex was 62 years old to Joyce’s 39. The age gap didn’t bother her. Many of her closest friends were older, including her sister Dorothy as well as Gordon and Terry Kaufman. And Joyce had dated older men before, like her ex-boyfriend Nails. As the evening waned, Joyce and Lex prepared to leave. They walked out of the Pier III together at about a quarter after 10.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police interview): And the gentleman I was with had his own vehicle and I had my mine own, my own vehicle and he walked me to my car, in fact he gave me a kiss at my car, said ‘Goodnight.’
Dave Cawley: She pulled out of the parking lot and headed for South Ogden. She went from stoplight to stoplight, her mind on the events of the day and on the social outing she’d just enjoyed.
Joyce Yost (from April 4, 1985 police interview): Not realizing anybody was following me. Not really paying any attention to see if anybody was following me.
Dave Cawley: Somebody was following her. A little red Mazda with flip-up headlights bobbed in the rearview.