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How one woman never gave up on finding the killers who raped and murdered her mother

rabbit heart
rabbit heart

For almost three decades, Kristine S. Ervin lived an inconceivable horror story — hoping and praying that the two monsters who abducted, brutally raped and murdered her mother in April 1986 would be caught.

She wanted justice — and also revenge — to finally be served.

Eight years old when the life of Kathy Sue Engle, 41, was violently snuffed out, Ervin has fearlessly memorialized her mother, the killers and the true crime that had long rocked her world in her devastating new memoir, ‘Rabbit Heart: A Mother’s Murder, A Daughter’s Story.’ [Counterpoint]

Engle’s revenge surfaces violently — and, well, deservedly — in one of the many stark scenes she details.

“As I learned the extent of her pain, of her rape and her suffering from fear, I wanted to hurt you more. I wanted to make you bleed,” she writes of her mother’s killers.

Twenty-eight hours after Engle’s abduction outside an Oklahoma City shopping mall, her car was found 390-miles away in New Mexico, with her bloodied and torn clothing inside along with male DNA.

And seven days later, Engle’s nude, bound and badly decomposed body was found in an oil field on the western border of Oklahoma.

Face-down, hands bound, her throat had been cut from behind, her features virtually gone from wild animals.

Long a frustrating cold case, the killers — Steven A. Boerner, 33, and Kyle Richard Eckardt, 44 — were finally identified in 2008.

Boerner by then was a long dead Michigan ex-convict, and Eckardt was already in jail for an unrelated crime.

Kathy Sue Engle’s killers — Steven A. Boerner, 33, and Kyle Richard Eckardt, 44 — were finally identified in 2008. Brian Jackson – stock.adobe.com
Kathy Sue Engle’s killers — Steven A. Boerner, 33, and Kyle Richard Eckardt, 44 — were finally identified in 2008. Brian Jackson – stock.adobe.com

Boerner was linked to the crime through an old fingerprint found on the steering wheel of Ervin’s mother’s abandoned car; DNA evidence was used to track Eckardt, the rapist, now serving a life sentence for murder.

It took Ervin a virtual lifetime to put her intense feelings in memoir form.

And one can almost feel the pain and the fear that fell upon her.

As she eerily writes, “I have my mother’s features…her long face, her thin frame. I grew up wondering if the men would recognize me, if they’d search for the girl who looks like the woman they killed.”