by Chris Wright
When his mother chided him for being "silly," Liam threw a fit, hurling a china
cabinet down a flight of stairs and threatening to blow her head off. He was
ordered to take anger-management classes and given six months' probation.
"There is no history of him being treated for mental illness," says Paison,
"but most certainly there were a lot of issues that were apparent, not
diagnosed, not treated." He continues: "I don't point the finger at anybody,
but there were people who could have helped. This kid gave out signs, he had
them all. Somebody should have recognized this is not normal behavior."
Ironically, had he been given the chance, Amy's brother Brian Boyer, 28, might
have been just the person to recognize Liam's warning signs. As a social worker
in the Nashua area, Brian specializes in boys like Liam. "My concern is with
kids that are isolated and alienated," he says. "The kid that killed my sister
was both alienated and isolated. For me, that sends a flag -- that tells me
something was wrong. I'd like to reach out to kids like him."
You wouldn't blame Brian Boyer for wanting to reach out to kids like Liam with
a baseball bat. Tim Remsberg says that if Liam weren't already dead, he would
have to kill him. Brian, though, seems uninterested in revenge.
"This is something I've thought about a lot since my sister got killed," he
says. "I don't blame Youens as much as I blame other things -- his situation,
his inability to cope with everyday stresses. God knows what his life was
untitled no 2
One day fadeds into another
People I used to know go on together
But I stay where I was, were I am
Alone and forgotten, I stay
There was at least one person in whom Liam could confide, a
teenager named Pieter. A resident of Greece, Pieter would goad Liam via e-mail
messages, telling him not to stop at a single killing. "Pieter recommends I go
on a rampage," Liam wrote, "but I don't know."
If Liam did in fact feel "persicuted" by his peers -- "God I hate
being made fun of. I can't wait to get out of school" -- why didn't he take
Pieter's advice and go on a rampage? Why eradicate Amy rather than his despised
classmates? The answer his Web site suggests is that Liam harbored tyrannical,
"I think [Amy] may be taking the whole `I love life' thing a bit too far," Liam
wrote. He also seemed to allude to some shadowy effort to hamper her progress.
"Now she's finally happy, but she could have been happy with a good career."
Then his confidence drooped: "Maybe she really will be a
dentist. . . . Oh shit."
Liam's thoughts of killing Amy dovetailed perfectly with thoughts of killing
himself. Amy was everything he wasn't. She had everything he didn't. Ending her
life was like smashing the toy he couldn't play with.
On October 15 -- fifteen minutes before the murder -- Liam left a message on
his site: "Pieter see if I did it," and supplied a link to WMUR-TV.
Operator: Take a deep breath, ma'am. Deep
breath. . . .
Caller: Oh my God. Oh my God.
II. The avenger
Extremes of grief and joy have a way of crystallizing experience. So it is that
Tim Remsberg can rattle off the specifics of October 15 as if he were reading
from a sheet of paper, or watching the events on a screen.
Tim was filling his car with gas when Helen -- Amy's mother -- got the call:
"Get down to the hospital now!" It was Dr. Bednar. He couldn't bring himself to
say what had happened, only that there had been an "accident" as Amy was
leaving the office and that there was a "criminal investigation." Helen called
Tim, who headed over to Bednar's office.
|PEACE IN ACTION:
since the shooting death of his stepdaughter last
October, Tim Remsberg has launched himself into a tireless campaign to stamp
out cyberstalking. "We must show Amy that we care about what happened to her,"
he told a Senate subcommittee.
"I thought she was in an accident, you know, so I'm not driving real fast on
the way," he recalls. "Then I find the further I go, the faster I start
driving, because -- a criminal investigation? Does that mean she was
getting in her car and a drunk driver swung into the lot in a big old Caddy and
just wiped her out? The more I thought about it, the faster I drove, until next
thing you know I'm going like a nut through downtown Nashua." And then an
ambulance hurtled by in the opposite direction, driving even faster than Tim.
"I knew," he says. "I knew."
In the few minutes it took the ambulance to get to the hospital, Amy had died.
When Tim arrived, police and paramedics wouldn't let him see her. Meanwhile,
they couldn't confirm that it was his daughter who was lying in the trauma
room. Her injuries were such that identifying features like hair color and the
condition of her teeth were useless.
"I'm like, `How can you be sitting here telling me my daughter's gone?' "
Tim says. " `You can't recognize her, you can't prove it to me.' "
Eventually, he learned that it was indeed Amy who had been brought in, that she
had been shot, and that the perpetrator was in critical condition with a
gunshot wound to the head. (Liam was to outlive Amy by half an hour.)
Then something else occurred to Tim. "I thought, Oh my God, my wife's on her
way down here. I've got to tell her this. This wasn't your typical
mother-daughter relationship. These two were best friends. I knew what Helen
was going to be like."
Chris Wright can be reached at cwright[a]phx.com.