Deadly Injustice: Caitlin's Car

Deadly Injustice: Caitlin's Car

Jerry Savage took 16-year-old Caitlin as she was putting her color guard flags into the back of her car at school. That vehicle was found with the back door still standing wide open. Recently, the police released Caitlin's car back to her family.

Caitlin's grandmother, Joann, is behind the wheel of her own car, driving to the spot where she will pick up Caitlin's vehicle. "The car was the last place she was at, and I just wanted the car back so bad. I'm a little bit afraid to see the car. I just need to see it and touch it and just to have a part of her." As she speaks, grief twists her words, each phrase coming out as an extended sob. "I see Caitlin so proud that she could drive — that she passed her test."

Driving separately, Caitlin's grandfather, Andy, explains, "The last two weeks have been about two years long, it seems like. It was two weeks ago today that she was kidnapped and murdered. Right before the football game."

As Joann arrives at her destination, Andy meets her. She's still half in the car, half out as he embraces her. "How could he do this to her, Andy? How could he do that to her?" She cries long and hard into his shoulder.

Together, they venture to look at the car.

"Oh God, it's got her flags and everything in there. Her purse!" Joann searches hungrily through the pailletted bag, as if Caitlin herself might be inside. Eventually she stops, puts an arm against the car, puts her head on the arm, and cries.

Moments later, Andy and Joann stand apart from the car and embrace again.

"It's so hard," Joann cries.

"I know it, Sweetheart," says Andy. "This whole thing's hard, Sweetheart."

Soon Donna arrives. She approaches the car with a mix of visible anticipation and wariness.

"I just wanted to see what she had with her on her last time she came home from school," she says as she walks around the vehicle. She looks in the open door, but doesn't dive in the way her parents did. Instead she closes it, and walks with purpose toward the house crying silent tears.


Moments later, inside the house, Donna accepts a hug from her mother.

"I'm so sorry. I wish I could change things. I'm so sorry. So, so sorry," Joann sobs.

She accepts another from her father, and he cries into her shoulder.

During their conversation, Dr. Phil asks Donna, "Why was that so difficult for you?"

"I just keep going over in my mind how scared she must have been when he took her from her car, because I know how hard it is when someone is holding a gun to your head and I know how scared she must have been," Donna tells him.

"Because you've been there," he says. "You've walked that walk that she walked."

He asks Amanda if she is still afraid, at this point. She tells him she's less afraid now than she was, despite whatever threat remains against her family.

"Because you know that there was another guy involved that's been charged, this Faye Sliger," Dr. Phil clarifies. Sliger is accused of helping Jerry kidnap Caitlin and is currently in jail awaiting trial on the charge of first degree murder. He pleaded 'not guilty.' "And you have considered that Jerry was evil enough that he may well have put things into motion in his absence to pay somebody to do something after he's gone, or whatever."



Donna says, "He told me that he had paid someone to come and kill my whole family. So, we're still looking over our shoulders."


"So he told you, 'When I'm gone, there's going to be somebody that I've paid to find you, look for you and kill you,' says Dr. Phil. Donna

confirms. "So what do you do about that? And what precautions are you taking? What things are you doing now to protect?" he asks her.

"We watch her like a hawk, she says of Amanda. "She doesn't get to go anywhere by herself. Her activities are very limited right now, and what we let her do."

"And do you get the importance of that?" he asks Amanda. She tells him she does.

Next, Dr. Phil addresses Joann. "Tell me how you're doing," he says.

"Sometimes I wonder how I am even breathing," she says. "How am I living through this? Just walking. Just surviving. I just wonder, because it just comes on you in waves. It's just awful, because our family has never experienced anything. We're just a family."

Dr. Phil points out that the family is looking for a way to find meaning in their suffering. He says, "And you folks want to see this law changed. You want to see the law changed to where somebody cannot do this and then turn around

and get out before law enforcement has the opportunity to prove — and I understand about you're innocent until you're proven guilty in this country — but if somebody takes an egregious and aggravated act like this with a firearm involved, then the idea is that they should have the burden to prove that they have the right to be back out on the street, and precautions have to be put in place at that point. Did he have any kind of tracking device on him? Did he have any kind of restriction whatsoever? Just, 'You paid your money so out you go.'"

"I had a protective order," Donna answers. "He had a piece of paper that told him to stay away from me."

"Yeah. A piece of paper," says Dr. Phil. "Yeah."