One Small Cemetery
Steven L. Rubcic
As your author, I will bring over 25 years of criminal investigative experience to the table. Through my series of books titled, One Small Cemetery, and beginning with Book 1: Kellie’s Story, I present a seldom seen perspective by telling the story as I lived it. I witnessed the victimization of so many innocent people; families, friends and officers alike. I was there for the long hours, sleepless nights, and even the nightmares; playing a part in the events from start to finish. To augment my memories, over the years I have amassed a significant amount of research material to include court transcripts, grand jury testimony, offense reports, newspaper articles, photos, notes and interviews with two of the convicted murders. Additionally, I’ve had personal conversations with other significant characters in this as well as other projects I am considering.
I started my career as a Chief of Police for the small town of Lyman, Wyoming, followed by positions as a deputy sheriff and investigations supervisor for the Uinta County Sheriff’s Office and as a special agent for the Wyoming Attorney General’s Office, Division of Criminal Investigation. At the request of the Uinta County Sheriff, I ultimately returned to the sheriff’s office to head a cold case homicide task force that continued the investigation into the capital punishment case, as well as several other unsolved homicides. After retiring from the sheriff’s office, I couldn’t shake my passion for seeking justice and eventually ventured to Afghanistan where, for several years, I trained and mentored the Afghan National Police. Upon fully retiring I plan on continuing to utilize my experience and investigative skills by devoting full time to researching and writing in the nonfiction/true crime genre
As told through the author’s eyes, the series, One Small Cemetery chronicles the events surrounding a chain of brutal homicides and the resulting indelible imprint that remains in the minds and hearts of so many innocent individuals in the rural ranching communities of southwest Wyoming.
The journey begins with One Small Cemetery, Book 1: Kellie’s Story. Shortly after the author, Steve Rubcic, became a police officer in 1974, the tiny close-knit ranching communities of Uinta County, Wyoming were shocked by four homicides in less than 45 days. Three victims were local and the fourth was a Utah Highway Patrolman who was murdered a scant 15 miles from the state line. The populace soon began to wonder if their small county harbored four separate murderers or perhaps a serial killer. At the time, no one would have believed that spawned not from outsiders but from this fiercely resilient, self-reliant, pioneer progeny, even more cold-blooded killers would soon surface; the likes of which modern-day Wyoming had never seen. Violence struck the county once again, when between 1976 and 1979 seven more victims lost their lives. Were they connected to the recent resurgence of satanic cult activities, the mysterious cattle mutilations that had plagued the county over the past few years or senseless acts of random violence?
Book 1: Kellie’s Story, will delve into the investigation surrounding the heinous murder of 15-year-old Kellie Wyckhuyse. She was kidnapped and her sexually mutilated body was found several months later in the badlands of southwest Wyoming. As Book 1 concludes, a false alibi from one and perjured testimony from another frees a suspected killer. While one of Kellie’s accused killers is found not guilty, the investigation continues into those who were complicit in her tragic death.
In future books in the series, the reader will learn how, at the direction of one sociopathic individual, a prominent Evanston, Wyoming attorney, his wife and son were murdered in their beds when a 36-stick dynamite bomb was dropped through a basement window. Finally, a prospective Grand Jury witness, with a darker side, was kidnapped; systematically tortured to elicit information and his lifeless body dumped on the cold barren ground overlooking the lights of Bridger Valley.
As his career comes to an end, with the spirits of the dead continuing to haunt him, it is of little consolation that so few were punished. The obsession to fully resolve the cases still burns bright in his mind as the now retired investigator continues to make frequent visits to the cemetery. He still feels as though he has failed to speak for those who can no longer speak for themselves and is haunted by the idea that he may have even caused the death of one.
One Small Cemetery is a true crime account of drugs, greed and friendship that led to betrayal, torture and multiple murders in a small rural area of southwestern Wyoming. Visit the cemetery where the spirits of the victims, their families and murderers will spend eternity; it exists. Stand by the graves and experience for yourself. Read the series; discover the truth . . .
After the initial photos were taken, Leonard and Steve cordoned off the area with the yellow and black crime scene tape. They started down close to the road and taped off much of the knoll. Leonard then took several additional photos depicting the taped area. That way they would have two sets of scene photographs to present to a jury; one set as the area would have looked prior to discovery and a second showing the general scene after it had been secured.
They had to establish venue by proving the site was in Uinta County, so after the photographs were taken, the deputies located the knoll on the topographic map and recorded the approximate latitude and longitude for future reference. This would enable them to testify that the site was in Uinta County, as well as allow them to relocate the grave even years later, should it become necessary.
Next they took some preliminary measurements of the actual grave and Leonard began gently scraping the dirt away. It was slow, tedious work that neither of them much wanted to do. They had to document the excavation, so Leonard would scrape a little and Steve would snap another picture. The dirt being removed was placed on a large plastic trash bag so it could be sifted later if necessary. Despite the chilly October wind, Leonard and Steve were both pouring sweat. Jamey hadn’t stayed at the Blazer very long and was just sitting there staring at the hole as it took shape. The deputies had been at it for fifteen minutes and had removed around six inches of dirt when Leonard stopped and turned to Steve.
“I’ve got something here, Steve. Go down to my outfit and get that small brush out of the back. See if you can find a spoon or something also.” Leonard said.
Steve didn’t waste any time getting down to the Blazer. He found the brush and dug a spoon out of Leonard’s mess kit and trekked back up the hill. Leonard was just sitting there, legs folded, looking at the scene.
Steve came up behind Leonard and said, “Here’s what you wanted.” Leonard’s head snapped around and he said, “I think we have found her.”
His voice seemed to echo in Steve’s mind. Jamey was up and pacing around the area. He kept glancing toward the deputies but couldn’t or wouldn’t make eye contact with either of them. Steve took more pictures and then Leonard leaned over and went back to the work at hand. He began brushing the dirt away from the object he had uncovered.
“Well, there’s not much doubt what that is, right Steve?”
Steve could see what remained of her left hand sticking up out of the cold, barren ground. It still had the tarnished little charm bracelet dangling from the wrist. A bracelet that once represented the dreams of a little girl now announced her grave. They had finally found her. The wind whipped up and a small dust devil swept through the area as the three just sat there looking at the bracelet.