"There was a half moon that night, a winter moon in a cloudless sky. Up in the mountains above the Feather River, the snow-drifts sometimes rose to 15 feet.
"You need a coat," Ted Weiher's grandmother had said, watching him go.
"Oh, Grandma, I won't need a coat," Weiher had said. "Not tonight."
Two hours before midnight last Feb. 24, when the basketball game ended at the California State University at Chico, five young men from the flatlands 50 miles to the south climbed into a turquoise and white 1969 Mercury Montego and drove out of the parking lot. They were fans of the visiting team, which had won. They stopped three blocks away at Behr's Market, mildly annoying the clerk (who was trying to close up), and bought one Hostess cherry pie, one Langendorf lemon pie, one Snickers bar, one Marathon bar, two Pepsis and a quart and a half of milk.
Then they walked out of the store, got back in their car, drove south out of Chico and disappeared.
Ted Weiher's woke up afraid, at 5 the next morning. She cannot say what woke her up, except that maybe the Lord decided it was time to end her one last night of solid sleep. Ted's bed was empty.
The house was still and it was not quite light and this is how the horror began, as it often does: no crash, no wailling, just a dim morning chill in a small house on what ought to be an ordinary day.
Imogene Weiher got on the phone and called Bill sterling's mother as fast as she could.
Juanita Sterling had been up since 2 a.m. "Bill didn't come home either," she said.
Mrs. Sterling had already called Jack Madruga's mother. Jack also had not come home. Mrs. Weiher called Jackie Huett's mother and Mrs. Weiher's daughter-in-law walked down the street to talk to Gary Mathias' stepfather. All five friends had vanished. At 8 that evening, Mrs. Madruga called the police.
The boys had never done such a thing before.
They were men, really, not boys - Huett was the youngest, at 24, and Weiher was 32 - but their families called them boys, our boys. They lived at home. Three of the five had been diagnosed retarded; Madruga, although undiagnosed, according to his mother, was generally thought of as slow, and Mathias was under drug treatment for schizophrenia, a psychotic depression that first appeared five years ago and that his doctor says had not resurfaced for the past two years..."
"An ex police officer has claimed his own force botched a murder inquiry - leading to rumours his family was involved in the killings of a mother, her two little girls and their grandmother.
Former Inspector Stuart Lewis was held in a cell for four days, interviewed 26 times and suspended for four years after being arrested for one of the worst crimes in British legal history.
Mandy Power, 34, her daughters Katie, 10, and Emily, 8 and her mother Doris Dawson, 80, were found bludgeoned to death and their house set on fire in 1999.
In a storyline worthy of TV’s Line of Duty the finger of suspicion fell on Stuart Lewis, his police officer brother Steve and his wife Alison Lewis who was having a secret lesbian affair with Mandy.
Alison and Steve were arrested on suspicion of murder, and Stuart on perverting the course of justice but all three were later cleared.
And, despite a local labourer being later convicted of the murders, some locals in Clydach, Swansea, still believe they are responsible for wiping out three generations of the same family.
Now for the first time in 22 years, Stuart Lewis has spoken about the ordeal that has ruined his life.
Speaking on the biggest murder inquiry in South Wales' history, he said: “I was a serving police officer 22 years ago, who was wrongfully arrested for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
“I believe the police tampered, destroyed and created evidence to implicate me.
“I was remanded in custody for four days, interviewed on 26 occasions and suspended for four years.”
In a statement given exclusively to the Mirror, Lewis believes cops made a catalogue of blunders - fuelling speculation his family was responsible for the tragedy..."
— Source: The Mirror article by Tom Bedford