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Where the story begins.
While in eighth grade, Cherie couldn't help but notice the newcomer, Don Wier's, rugged good looks. Cherie nurtured a crush on the handsome student, confiding her feelings to her closest friends. Don returned to his former school the following year. The two would not see each other again for nine years.
Nine years had passed since Cherie was in junior high. One evening while working as a carhop, Cherie found herself waiting on a car occupied by Don Wier and his brother. The chance encounter led to Don and Cherie dating and within six months the couple married.
Don and Cherie married in an intimate family wedding ceremony at the First Christian Church in Southern California. The couple dressed at a cousin's home a block from the church and walked to the venue. Thus began their life together.
When Don and Cherie married, they hoped to raise a large family. But, eight years after the wedding, the couple was disappointed that Cherie still was not pregnant. Don and Cherie decided to adopt a baby boy and were thrilled to have their hopes fulfilled when they brought home three-week-old Dwayne in February of 1970.
One of the pastoral sights that greeted Don and Cherie as they surveyed the Applegate Valley with a real estate salesman in their search for property in the Pacific Northwest. The beauty of the Valley surpassed Don and Cherie's wildest imaginings.
Around this time Dwayne started a fire in the Wier home.
The home was also the scene of the crime.
The couple spent years transforming the overgrown, scrubby, poison oak infested property into manicured lawns, flower beds with rock borders, and a variety of evergreen and deciduous trees growing throughout.
The author and her husband met Don and Cherie Wier at this event and sat with the couple during dinner. No one knew that eight months later Don would be killed.
Don enjoyed his work as a mechanic. Even in his off hours he could be found tinkering on his work truck, the family car, or friends' vehicles that were giving them trouble. Family dog, Polar, is standing watch.
Photo taken at the time of Dwayne's arrest hours after the murder.
Dwayne's truck at the Murphy Creek Road address where it was searched and impounded.
Mug shot taken at the Josephine County jail.
Belonging to the same church, Marilyn and Melody met Cherie the day after the crime. Their friendship lasted more than 35 years.
Photo taken to accompany a report written by the probation department to the circuit court judge with recommendations to Judge Neufeld regarding Dwayne's sentencing.
Seven months after the murder, Dwayne is sentenced in the Josephine County Circuit Court.
Cherie Wier's life changed forever in the early morning of October 18, 1986. In the struggles that followed, Cherie found a place of solace and healing--she called it her "Crying Rock." This rock still lies near Cherie's house in Southern Oregon, where she lived before, during, and after the tragedy.
Cherie waitressed at the Yacht Club, a family eatery in nearby Murphy, where she worked for Michael Wood starting in 1987. The two formed a lasting friendship. The photo is taken inside the restaurant.
The view of this photo is taken from the site where couples' exchanged vows during the years Cherie and Donette opened up the property as a wedding venue.
2018 quote from Cherie as she reflected on the months after the murder. "...with the Lord's help I've gotten through it. If He hadn't have been there all the time with me and I hadn't have been a Christian, I would not have made it I don't think. I think I probably would have just been crazy."
Dwayne met Paul during the time he served as a lay pastor for the Catholic Church in the Umatilla prison. Paul's kindness had a profound affect on Dwayne.
Written to Cherie by Dwayne from prison. "Do I have a rational explanation or some kind of half-assed excuse why I decided to destroy our lives? No, I am sorry, I do not. I so desperately wish I did have some kind of answer. Sure, I have come up with bits and pieces, many probablys and maybes, some of which may even make a sliver of sense to one so inclined to seek the understanding of a truly twisted mind. How could I ever expect another to forgive me when I can't even forgive myself?"
On this very day, while visiting with a group of ladies at the home of Cherie Wier, the author and Cherie agreed to collaborate on the writing of this book.
The author wrote Cherie's name in the sand during one of several trips she took to the coast when working on this book.
Standing in front of two of Cherie's enormous rhododendron bushes.
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