No Answers On Sad Anniversary
By Craig Showalter
Has it been 35 years already? It was Christmas Eve 1973 that a hit-and-run driver took the life of my big brother, changing our family's lives forever.
The event shook this community, the aftershocks continuing for years. My mother's unflinching and relentless search for justice was often ridiculed. Yet, it was interesting to stand beside her and watch what crawled from beneath the rocks she disturbed.
My fervent hope is that New London and Connecticut have learned something from the glaring errors and inconsistencies that met us in our explorations. I trust that this city and state are better places now because of it.
All that is left of Kevin Showalter is his cemetery plot and some boxes of his things that sit in my study. I've kept his drawings, some treasured clothes and a few other knick-knacks that remind me of him.
But, except for my other brother and his family, I hardly speak with anyone now who ever knew Kevin. He lived only 20 years and our memory of him has had a long time to fade. Lucille M. Showalter's tireless search for the answers in her son's killing ended on May 10, 2000, when she lost her battle with cancer.
My faith tells me that all my mother's questions have found their answers now. But for me, after all these years, the question remains: Who killed my brother?
Was it the late Harvey Mallove, a man in the wrong place at the wrong time, with a story that no one could corroborate?
Was it Paul Hansen, also deceased, a man who woke up from a night of driving and heavy drinking to find his car damaged and no memory of where he'd been or what
might have happened?
I don't know.
I've concluded I will never really know the answer. This also means I have no one to vent my anger at for being the killer. So, I don't. I can say it now that it was deplorable that police botched the official investigation from the start. The fraternal order of machismo and paternalism ruled the minds of those entrusted to deal with a grieving mother and her still-wet-behind-the-ears 14-year-old sidekick.
Quieting the complainant seemed more important than solving the case. Police assured us they would take care of everything and that our job was to keep quiet and let them work. But it appeared what was getting hushed was the truth and that no one really wanted to tell us anything.
It is so good to know these days are past. No more should the state have to step in to investigate New London for corruption and incompetence. I considered that all over and done with after the conclusion of the one-man grand jury investigation into Kevin's death in 1978.
Now we move forward. I extend my condolences to Harvey Mallove's family, and especially for all the suffering they have had to endure because of this. I extend my condolences to Paul Hansen's family, and especially for the misery that he let befall his life. I do not rejoice at the undue hardships that fate heaps on any person.
Many helpless victims
There are so many others, not named here, who became hapless victims of the whirlwind that spun from this tragedy. I hope they, too, have found peace in their lives.
As for me, it took a long time to enjoy Christmas again. The change happened when I could again recognize that the date was less about a death and more about a birth.
Thirty-five years later, I hope it is better in New London. I pray that if another mother must get such terrible news - that her child has been killed - she can fully trust the people who should be helping her find the answers.
Craig Showalter Now Lives In Miamisburg, Ohio.