On July 15th 1984, Kari Swenson, a highly successful US Biathlete, was abducted by father-and-son pair Don and Dan Nichols. The Nichols’ were survivalists who had planned to make Swenson the son’s bride in order to start a cult in the mountains.
After Kari failed to return home, a search party was sent out to look for her. Dozens of locals, along with family and friends spent hours combing through the woods of Big Sky, Montana, where they knew Kari had been cross-country training earlier in the day. Eventually a member of the party, Alan Goldstein, a friend of Swenson’s, stumbled onto the Nichols’ camp and was fatally shot by Don. In a state of panic, Dan Nichols slipped and his gun accidentally fired, shooting Kari in the abdomen. She miraculously survived. The duo fled, leaving Swenson chained to a tree. She sat alone with her dead friend for over four hours until she was found by rescuers.
Her surviving such a horrific injury is certainly amazing, but even more so is the fact that she went on to compete in the Women’s Biathlon World Championships in Chamonix, France. Despite having only 80% lung capacity, Swenson led the U.S. Team to win a bronze medal. Nowadays, Keri works as a veterinarian in Bozeman, Montana.
Shout out to the victims who live in small towns. People who have to see their abusers every day, people whose abusers come into their workplace, people who constantly feel trapped because their abuser lives so nearby. It is so hard to live in that cage of memories. But one day you’ll be able to leave that place, and you can leave their ass behind.
If you’re a boy (and you better believe this means trans men and masculine aligned n/b people), and you have been through some trauma that makes it very hard for you to be touched or be near other people, you’re okay. It’s okay. Please love yourself and know you’re not weird or different or a freak. You’re you, and that’s all anyone could ask for. Take care of yourself, okay?
Los Angeles Police Department, homicide detectives investigate the murder site of Lauren Rae Wagner, who was killed by the Hillside Stranglers. The body was found November 29, 1977 on the west side of Mount Washington.