But lawyers are smart, and I am lucky to be friends with several
who have offered me sage advice about the release of a book in the
works since 2008 meant to remove all author's license from

Twenty years have passed since Tammy's death.

Whereas I found great significance in this date, a good friend
suggested to me that releasing a product that is not publicly backed
by my sources would be a miscalculation.  

"You miss her every day, right?" he said. "Then what makes one day
any better than another for launching this book?"

I'm holding back, but stand behind all of it:

Who the killer, yes!
Friends backing him, yes!
Forensic evidence, yes!
Failed polygraph, yes!


LESSON ONE: Assure that my sources, who wish to remain anonymous, whether in law enforcement
or not, would be willing to swear to their statements in court. Otherwise, what validity would any of
my claims have?

To put it another way, would my sources "put themselves out on a limb" to offer me the same
protection I have been affording them by quoting them as anonymous?

LESSON TWO: Assure that I have the time to deal with any reaction to what I have written. I am
working 80 to 90 hours a week in an urban school. My students need me. Can I take on another full-
time job and do both effectively?

The spirit is willing, but I do need my four hours of sleep.

LESSON THREE: Is there more to research, more to vet, more to edit; have I only scratched the

The core of what I have written comes right out of courtroom testimony, eighty percent; another
fifteen percent comes from police records missed or redacted from the courtroom testimony
(example, a failed polygraph test, inadmissible); the last little bit, the part that would "get my ass
sued" comes from fallout after
The Homecoming -- the anonymous hearsay that should have been
reported to law enforcement years ago.

I trust my sources,  mostly because I have spent years cross-checking, but if they won't publicly
acknowledge what they report under the condition of anonymity, they really are pretty worthless. I
don't mean to disrespect anybody, but that's the bottom line. Other people need to step up and do
the right thing.


I'll give a few weak examples of what I have included in my writing and will continue to edify as
time unfolds:

A half-assed death threat sent to me through this website a day after the release of

name = G.
email = profit_from_murder@asshole.com
phone = 555-555-5555
comments = Why don't u try accepting the fact that you are more responsible for her death at this
point than anyone else could ever have been. If u wanted to be a celebrity in "yankton, S.D." u could
have worked at mcDonald's and made more money. In reviewing the facts, u are probably the one
who killed her. If I were u, I would watch your back. You never know who could end up in the ravine,
this time justified.

Murder versus the reporting of a murder? C'mon...

Morally twisted, don't you think?

I could tell you all day that law enforcement traced this back to a Stukel computer, but unless the
DA or any detectives who investigated this death threat publicly acknowledged as much -- which I'm
not sure they can unless the crime was prosecuted -- I probably shouldn't publish this.

I didn't push to get this threat prosecuted. I just wanted to know who sent it...and I was told.  

See, look at that. I'm saving the taxpayers money.

I could also publish the words of somebody whose handwriting evidently matched Eric Stukel's.
This somebody with Eric Stukel's handwriting wrote the message just after Tammy's body was
discovered. The message was found in a notebook seized at the Adamson household. That night,
Stukel and his friends were recording their thoughts in a notebook while going through the regular
routine of getting drunk and high:   

"Life is short—stay hard! Someone will have Mr. 'Confusious' come and take you in! Something is
wrong! They (the FEDS) can fuck you up! I just feel so crushed. No one forget how Mr. Bottoms

To 'Tea'                                         
I love you.
I’m telling the truth.
Aren’t I?

See you in another life
I love you mom and dad
and brothers and sisters
and I love you Tammy Haas
I’ll never forget you Honey.

Hmmm... so sad.

Even Stukel questions his own ability to tell the truth here.

Bottom line. You don't kill people you love. So, no, you were not telling the truth.

Unfortunately, the book Stukel checked out from the Yankton High School library while Tammy was
missing, the book that had a chapter on beating polygraphs, didn't clarify the nature of truth to him.

But, I'll diverge.

I also wonder who this Mr. Bottoms is and how he "became."

Maybe I need to "Dust" off my "List" of suspects in the cover-up to get at who Bottoms could be...

I only know of one person from that time who went by the nickname of Bottoms. And, boy, does old
Mr. Bottoms just, jump, jump out from that passage, that trembling tough with Mommy's 12:13 alibi
for him and his buddy.

Two kids just wrestling around the floor, playing grab ass, while Tammy was being dumped in a

I just wonder how Mr. Bottoms became.

The police records in that capacity are not only enlightening but almost humorous in their
transparency. Amazing how alibis that were taken at face value indicate that several participants in
a cover-up were in two places at one time.

Witnesses exist...but will they step up and do the right thing?

I also elucidate on the craziness of four people (people who claimed they had no clue what might
have happened to Tammy on the night she died) out looking for her in the exact spot where her body
was discovered, before she was reported missing. Hmmm... were they out looking for her or doing
what most do in this situation, returning to the scene of the crime to face the reality of what

But, again, I need the actual, physical police records to be made public, otherwise I'm just spewing
words, words, words...

The case should have been open and shut, but in a town like Yankton, where silence is golden, I
must ask the question, "Who will back me up on so much that should be common knowledge?"

This is three or four pages.

I have a book full of this stuff, ready, but I need people to step up and validate. Otherwise, what I
claim will be meaningless.

I'm glad I have friends who have convinced me of this.

I'm not done. The work and the names of the anonymous sources are in the right hands. I just need
more time to do better reporting.

I hope those who care understand that my purpose has not been blunted and needs no whetting.

m.c. merrill