Last week, ABC TV launched a new true crime series titled Final Witness with the story of the Caffey family murders. The program was very well done, but there’s only so much of the story that they could fit into an hour-long program. The full story is told in the book, Terror by Night, which I co-authored with Terry Caffey.
Here’s a brief summary of Terry’s story:
On March 8, 2008, two young men entered the Caffey home in the middle of the night, shot Terry five times at point blank range, murdered his wife and two sons, and then set fire to the house. Terry managed to escape his burning home and crawl 400 yards to a neighbors for help.
In the emergency room, Terry learned that his sixteen-year-old daughter Erin had also survived the attack. However, it wasn’t long before tragedy struck a second time. Terry’s sister told him that Erin had been implicated in the murders and was now under arrest. In a few short hours, Terry had lost everything.
Although devastated by the loss of his family, Terry ultimately forgave Erin. He also forgave the two men who had killed his wife and sons and burned down his house.
Terry was devastated and in the ensuing months struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts. However, an amazing turn of events gave Terry renewed hope and strength.
About six weeks after the murders, he went back to his burned out house to look for things that survived the fire. He clung to anything that would help him remember his family. On past visits he’d found a frying pan, a belt buckle his children had given him for Christmas, a marble, and a Hot Wheels® car that had belonged to his youngest son.
On this day, Terry was crying out to God and saying, “Why did you take my family? Why didn’t you at least let me die with them. As he stood on the ashes of his house crying out to God, Terry saw a blackened, burned piece of paper leaning up against a tree trunk. He picked it up and began to read.
The page was from a novel titled Blind Sight. The novel told the story of a man who lost a wife and two children and whowas struggling with God’s goodness in the face of his loss.
What’s so amazing about that?
If Terry had merely found a page from my novel, it wouldn’t be any more remarkable than finding a frying pan, belt buckle, or marble. But it wasn’t just any page.
The page that Terry found was the very page where my character came to grips with God’s sovereignty in the midst of his loss.
The first words that Terry saw were: “I couldn’t understand why you [God] would take my family and leave me to struggle along without them, but I do believe you’re sovereign. You’re in control.”
When Terry saw those words, he fell to his knees and began to weep. It was as if God had sent him a direct message: “Terry, I’m not going to explain what happened. But I’m here, and if you trust me, I’ll bring you through this.”
The finding of the “burned page” turned Terry’s life around and enabled him to go forward, even forgiving the people who brutally murdered his family and tried to kill him.
And now, as the late Paul Harvey used to say, you know the rest of the story.
We’re giving away a copy of Terror by Night! Please leave a comment below for your chance to win!
On July 13 at noon (EST), we’ll pick a name in a random drawing from all eligible entries received and send you an email notification if you are the winner!