12 Aug 2013

Memoir unmasks new evidence in 36 year old mystery

4:10 pm on 12 August 2013

A memoir has been released into the mystery surrounding the deaths of an American couple aboard their boat as they sailed towards Tahiti 36 years ago.

"Dare I Call it Murder? delves into the case of Loren and Joanne Edwards who were six months into a trip aboard their sailboat, the Spellbound."

In February 1978, Larry Edwards was told that his parents had died and his sister was injured, not far off the island of Rangiroa.

He flew to Tahiti to be with his sister who was recovering in hospital and the remaining crew - his brother, and a family friend.

Larry's brother soon became the prime suspect of an FBI investigation, which was later dropped largely due to the unwillingness of Larry's sister, who was attacked on the boat, to testify.

Larry Edwards told Bridget Tunnicliffe the unresolved deaths of his parents tore his family apart.

LARRY EDWARDS: First, when the investigation began and the FBI suspected my brother of killing our parents, my father's side of the family refused to believe that, or at least most of them, whereas my mother's side of the family firmly believed that that was probably the case. So even at the memorial service they wouldn't even speak to each other. Then when the true crime book by Ann Rule came out in 2009 then that caused further separation when we disagreed over how best to deal with responding to that book. And the primary problem was... Well, there were two issues. The author, Ann Rule, never spoke to anybody in the family about it, and, two, it was filled with inaccurate information, including details critical to the case, because the author relied on 30 year old newspaper articles and never actually spoke to anyone who really knew anything about the case, including the FBI investigators or me, who was there on the scene in Tahiti.

BRIDGET TUNNICLIFFE: Now that you've pieced everything together. You got the FBI reports, you got the journals your parents kept, the time logs, you've mapped everything out, tell me what you believe happened?

LARRY EDWARDS: Well, there was unhappiness on the boat. My father was not real forthcoming in his journal, but he did mention there were problems and they had meetings to try to resolve these problems. And the last one was held not long before he was killed. The FBI certainly believed that my brother killed our parents and they wanted him prosecuted for murder. I don't know what happened, but I do not believe what my brother said, that our father died in an accident, that Kerry got hurt in an accident and that our mother committed suicide. I don't believe that that's what happened.

BRIDGET TUNNICLIFFE: Do you think you'll ever get the full truth?

LARRY EDWARDS: Well, I hope so. I have a number of motivations for writing this book, and certainly one motivation is to set the record straight and lay out the evidence that was never presented in court. Another is that I'm hopeful that maybe it will lead to a resolution of the case, but it will require somebody coming forward and finally telling us what really happened on that boat, and there are only three people that know. So might that happen? I don't know, but it would be nice.