Yet More Tragedy Has Indirectly Crossed My Path

I am in the Media Center at the Main Library downtown, in a room where the air conditioning seems to have conked out.  It almost makes me nostalgic for the days at Medco Health, where they always thought that a room was too warm if you couldn’t hang meat in it.

Susie is with her mother and some of her friends at The Sanctuary Tea Room in Grove City, the grand finale to her birthday weekend.  It’s a very genteel affair, and I think that it’s supposed to be an afternoon with “the girls,” so I’m here at the library.

Susie and I had a good day at the library yesterday.  We both read 1.5 hours ($12) off our fines, which means I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.  Then we turned on the 6 o’clock news on Channel 4, and I had a jolt.  The newscaster was describing a home invasion that ended in murder.  I hate to say it, but I was only half paying attention, since this is hardly news anymore.  I sat bolt upright in the chair when they showed the face of the victim.

She was Angie Farthing, who worked at the Industrial Commission, just like I do.  She was on a different floor than I was, and I doubt we exchanged more than a dozen words in the two years I’ve been there.  I mostly saw her in the morning, if I took the Sullivant Avenue bus to work.  I wondered why she was so chatty with the drivers, and I see that her father is a retired COTA driver.

Here is the story from today’s Columbus Dispatch:

Soldier’s wife found dead; infant son safe
Sunday, October 08, 2006

Harold Bell was dropping off milk for his 21-month-old grandson yesterday morning.

When he didn’t see his daughter’s truck in the driveway, Bell figured she wasn’t home.

Then he pushed open the front door of the Franklin Township home on Vanderberg Avenue and discovered his daughter’s body.

“She was my only child,” said Bell, a retired Central Ohio Transit Authority driver who turns 67 today.

Bell raced through the home and found his grandson, Jarreth Farthing, unharmed.

Franklin County deputy sheriffs are investigating the homicide of Angela Farthing, 34. Investigators would not say how Farthing died or reveal details of her death. But they said they have a man in custody. “We have a guy who took her truck,” Chief Deputy Steve Martin said. Martin said the man, whom he would not identify, would be charged with stealing the vehicle, which was crashed in Licking County.

Farthing’s husband, William, is an Army staff sergeant serving in Iraq. He was notified of his wife’s death last night, Bell said.

“He is in Baghdad and they are flying him home,” Bell said.

Bell says the man in custody rented a room in a house across the street.

“I met him twice,” Bell said. “He wanted to be friends with my daughter. I told her to beware of him.”

Bell said he had visited his daughter and grandson Friday night.

Helen Black, a neighbor, said Farthing had lived next door for more than a year.

“She had a little one and we would see her in the yard,” Black said. “She was very friendly.”

Mrs. Black and her husband, William, said they did not see or hear anything happen to Farthing. But Bell knocked on their door yesterday asking for help.

“He said ‘Please call 911 my daughter has been murdered,’ ” Mrs. Black said. 

Even though I didn’t know Angie, it comes as quite a blow to me.  Tomorrow is one of those government-only holidays, and I’m sure that Tuesday morning will be a grim one at work.

Channel 4 said that her husband, who is in Iraq, was notified by E-mail.  I know that soldiers probably have little, if any access to phones, but that still strikes me as callous.  I’ve heard another report that the Red Cross was notified first, and they would let him know.


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