On Friday, January 25th, 2019, after forty years of friendship and fifteen years of research and writing, Jennifer Jordan and I signed the contract with Atria/Simon and Schuster to co-author The Babysitter: My Summers with a Serial Killer.
Despite the thrilling occasion, we were mindful then—as we are today—that on January 25, 1969, exactly 50 years earlier, another pair of longtime friends were on a winter weekend getaway to Provincetown, Massachusetts. On that bright Saturday morning, those friends, Patricia Walsh, and Mary Anne Wysocki agreed to give a ride to a handsome stranger. Shortly thereafter, they disappeared.
On that same winter afternoon in 1969, I stood on a chair in our wallpapered kitchen helping my mother put the last bits of buttercream frosting on my sister’s 8th birthday cake. Later, I stuck out my tongue for the camera during the group shot. My mother was furious. What neither of us could have known was that the photo she took would memorialize the precise date and time that Pat and Mary Ann were being led, on foot, into the Truro woods and then brutally murdered by that same handsome stranger. Years later the discovery of this “coincidence” of timing would be some of the fuel for the writing of this story.
So today, on this bittersweet anniversary, we honor the memory of Patricia Walsh and Mary Anne Wysocki and the strange intersections between them, Tony Costa, and me.
I don’t believe in coincidence.