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Jenner killings' effects felt 10 years on

  • 8/15/2007: A1: Jason Allen, 26, and Lindsay Cutshall, 22, took this photo of themselves days before they were found shot to death in August of 2004 on Fish Head Beach near Jenner.
    5/4/2006: A1:
    8/14/2005: A1: LAST PICTURE: Jason Allen and Lindsay Cutshall took this photo of themselves while in San Francisco, days before they were found dead at Fish Head Beach.
    PC: Jason Allen and Linsday Cutshall, murdered one year ago, both shot in the head as they slept in sleeping bags on the beach. The couple had been working for the summer as counselors at an El Dorado County Christian camp. These are their last photos and they took them themselves. The film was found with their bodies. For Scene story by Jennifer Garza.

The Pacific Ocean, silver-flecked by the sun, pulls at the slight curve of Fish Head Beach. It’s been a decade since a devout young couple from the Midwest were murdered on the gray sand just north of Jenner. Most days, a salted wind bites at the steep bluffs they would have had to descend to reach the shore.

Except for the startling beauty, there is no visible memorial to Jason Allen and Lindsay Cutshall, shot dead there in August 2004 as they slept on the beach, their Bible nearby.

The crime stunned the region and captured national attention. It remains unsolved, the killer or killers still unknown.

Jenner Killings: 10 Years Later

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“The ugly outside world visited us that night,” recalled Thomas Yeates, a 30-year resident of Jenner, a village of some 140 people, with seaside inns and vacation cottages, a state parks visitor center, a post office, and a gas station-deli.

Next week, Cutshall’s parents will return to Jenner to mark the 10th anniversary of the slayings. They plan a quiet ceremony at Goat Rock Beach, including the installation of a sand sculpture, to remember their daughter and her fiancé. It is another moment to live out the religious faith that shaped the couple, and defined their actions, said Lindsay’s father, Chris Cutshall.

“We’re kind of the feet and hands and voice for them,” Cutshall said.

Lindsay Cutshall grew up in Fresno, Ohio, some 2,500 miles east of Jenner. It has a small post office and a few dozen homes scattered at a distance around some railroad tracks on the edge of Ohio’s Amish Country, where narrow roads carry horse-drawn carriages and wind past red barns and fields of hay and corn.

Her father Chris, a pastor, is “broken,” he said. And he would have it no other way.

Cutshall, 59, no longer carries his slain daughter’s well-marked Bible when he preaches, as he did for several years; not every sermon can spring from the passages she highlighted. But Lindsay’s name and death — and Jason’s, too — now inhabit the vernacular of his evangelical Fresno Bible Church.

In a recent sermon, titled “The priority of love,” Cutshall told his rapt parishioners: “Did you know that Kathy and I, we pray for the man who killed our kids?… He’s our enemy, but he’s a person in need.”


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