The images of beautiful Jenni-Lyn Watson are difficult to look at too closely in light of recent discoveries
The 20-year-old ballerina took off from college and headed to her parents' home in Liverpool, New York, for the Thanksgiving holiday last week. But instead of enjoying time with friends and family and feasting on turkey, she was reported missing shortly after she arrived home.
Today police found what they believe is her body, dumped "like garbage" in the woods.
Steven Pieper, 21, who had reportedly been dating Watson off and on for 18 months has been arrested and charged with second degree murder. According to reports, Watson had tried to end things with Piper last month.
Watson's MySpace page offers a glimpse into her seemingly happy life. It contains numerous of pictures of her and a guy who appears to be Pieper together, looking like any young couple in love. Her status still remains: "loved."
Her "about me" is haunting in its lack originality, in the way it reads just like that of any other typical college girl:
“im jenni-lyn, everyone calls me Jenn-ay (like in forest gump). I’m going to be a sophomore at Mercyhurst college, im majoring in dance!! i love all my friends they are the best!! I’m a pretty simple person and usually pretty happy, especially at college!! i love black and white photography, watching the clouds, chillen at my camp, happy endings and disney movies, drinking hot coco after being out in the snow, and just the simple things in life. i’ve had some experiences that opened my eyes and made me who i am now but with that comes my huge trust issue... i dont trust people easily so don’t take it personally. I love my boyfriend he is thte best thing thats ever happened to me”
Whether Pieper is the boyfriend she's referring to, or the source of her trust issues, or both, isn't clear. What is clear is that she was a talented, vibrant young woman whose life ended much too soon.
I can't stop looking at all the photos of Watson and her friends, of Watson dancing, of Watson looking like the happy, well-rounded daughter any parent would be proud to call their own.
Then I think of Pieper. Did Watson's parents welcome him into their own home? Did they imagine him as their future son-in-law (some reports say they were engaged at one point)?
Or did her mother have a bad feeling about him from the beginning? Had she tried to warn her daughter?
And what of Pieper's parents -- how can you cope with the fact that your own child may have taken someone's life?
There are many known dangers we can prepare our children for and protect them from as they grow, but when it comes to relationships there's often a pull over which we have no control.
It's terrifying enough as a parent to think of your child's fragile, trusting heart being broken by love, but to imagine her life being taken in the name of it, is unfathomable.
R.I.P. Jenni-Lyn Watson. I hope you're dancing with the angels.
Have you ever worried about a child or a friend in a relationship you felt may be dangerous? What did you do?
Images via MySpace