Senseless murder of a Vermont teacher

I just read the story about Melissa Jenkins, a popular teacher in Vermont, who went to help her neighbors, only to be brutally murdered as soon as she got out of her car.

I am sick to my stomach. Not only because of the stupid, horrific crime, but because I believe the victim suspected something was wrong.

The story in the Burlington Free Press begins:

ST. JOHNSBURY When Melissa Jenkins answered the phone Sunday night, the couple who used to plow her driveway said they were stranded half a mile from her home. Their car had broken down on the remote country road, they said, and they needed her help.

Before driving out to meet them, Jenkins called longtime friend and coworker Randy Rathburn and said she “wanted someone to know what was going on,” police would recount later. She told Rathburn about the “weird call” she received from the couple whose first names she could not remember. She still had their business card and asked Rathburn to write down the pertinent information: the name Prue, a phone number, an address in Waterford.

The fact that Jenkins called her friend tells me that she had a bad feeling about the call for help. My guess is that she was afraid, but chided herself for her fear, convincing herself that she had no reason to worry.

Jenkins should have listened to her intuition. As Gavin de Becker eloquently explains in The Gift of Fear, our intuition has been honed over millennia to keep us safe. The best thing we can do to protect ourselves from predators is heed that inner knowing.

But we don’t. We are not taught to listen to our intuition. In fact, our rational world seems to regard intuition as mumbo jumbo, so we talk ourselves out of our fears.

This is one of the most important points that I make in my new book: Red Flags of Love Fraud—10 signs you’re dating a sociopath. The book is based on last year’s survey of Lovefraud readers. The results showed that 71% of Lovefraud readers had a bad feeling about the sociopath or the relationship early in the involvement. But most of them did not listen to their gut. Instead, they doubted themselves, or felt like they had to give the individual the benefit of the doubt.

My guess is that Melissa Jenkins had those same exact thoughts. If she didn’t, why would she have called her friend to let him know where she was going?

This murder is a tragedy that I suspect could have been avoided.

Read Melissa Jenkins answers a call for help, and then a sudden attack, on

Story suggested by a Lovefraud reader.

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77 Comments on "Senseless murder of a Vermont teacher"

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I guess this is what makes such a complicated disorder even more complicated for those of us who feel the need to try to somehow wrap our brains around it.
The fact that pathalogical lying is such a part of it.

When my son was a teenager and still living at home his hatred of me was definately more on the surface.

He has been gone for 2 years now and he doesn’t DO or SAY anything anymore to indicate that he hates me.

You can probably GUESS which one of these two totaly different attitudes scares the hell out of me more!

It’s like a slow ‘detox’……you pull away and process it all slowely, in order to digest it all. I’m sure it will continue to evolve for you as the moments pass.
I’m sorry it’s like ‘this’ for you and you are having to endure the pain and heartache. this Can’t be easy!!!
Stay strong darlen!!!

Yes it kind of is like a detox.

As a matter of fact I went to Alonon and AA meetings for many years when my husband was still alive. (and after)

Many of the AA principals that I learned back then are very relatable to this situation as well. Sigh….

Darwin’s mom, yep, you get it. he did not grow up to be a man worth keeping in my life.

Witty, the “disconnect” is scary….but don’t think that the devaluation or the grudge is not there, they don’t seem to get over that in my opinion. They just don’t display it up front.

Oh there is no doubt in my mind that he continues to hate me or hold that grudge.

That was my point when I posted this to darwinsmom.

I think it is more frightening when that hatred it IS NOT necessarily on the surface.

When he was an out of control teenager living at home…proclaiming that hatred by his words or his actions…This is hard to miss or ignore. OR forget.

Now that he is indifferent towards me. And doesn’t “display” this, it is VERY important for me not to forget what is under the surface.

I totally understand what you’re trying to say when you said “guess what scares me more!”
a) you might emotionally forget his feelings of hatred
b) it suggests some planning mindset

I usually am not scared of loud, banging door and cursing people. Barking dogs and not biting, remember? It’s the silent lurking dogs to watch out for.


Thanks for the update. I’m not surprised she hasn’t heard from him…he’s a busy man 🙂

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