"I believe that most humans have within them the capacity to commit murder."
It was the 22nd of March 2011. A Tuesday. Summer worked as a janitor at the Century National Bank. The 25 year old worked at night and cleaned the bank when everyone had left for the day. She wanted to work at night to support her three children. She had two girls and one boy and they were all very young. They were 5 years old , 3 years old and one was about to turn 2 years old.
Summer lived with her parents and three children in Logan, Ohio, United States. That night, the 22nd of March, she was due to finish work at 11.20pm. Her routine was always the same. She left all the trash at the back door until she was finished and when she clocked out, she brought it to the dumpster in the car before before driving home. While she was at work, she was texting her boyfriend Adam Peters but her texts stopped and when she didn't arrive home, he went to the bank to see if she was still there. Adam found Summer's iPod, car keys and her cell phone battery beside the dumpster. He rang her parents, Debbie and Michael Cook, and they both reported her missing.
Police didn't just receive calls from Summer's parents, they also received calls from worried witnesses who believed they saw an abduction take place outside the bank that night. A man saw two men wearing ski masks tasing a woman and putting her into the back of a car. Two other women saw two men putting a woman in the back of a car also and heard harrowing screams. They told police the car was a white Ford Crown Victoria.
Police began looking for clues as to what may have happened to Summer. They looked through her cell phone records and diary. They discovered that Summer divorced her husband William in June 2011 and a bitter custody battle followed for the three children.
William and Summer
William and Summer met through Church when they were both teenagers. William was 17 years old and Summer was just 15. They were still teenagers when they married and had three children together. William and Summer lived next door to William's parents, Bill and Sandy. Bill and Sandy loved having grandchildren. They had also met at a young age through Church and had William shortly after so they wanted William and Summer to have the same relationship as they had.
As William and Summer were young, they enjoyed going out and having fun so Bill and Sandy had the grandchildren nearly every weekend. They adored them. But that arrangement was about to come to an end. Summer had fallen out of love with William.
Bill and Sandy
Summer's diaries revealed that William and Summer viewed marriage differently. He wanted a polygamous marriage and seemed to already be on the lookout for potential new wives. As soon as they married, he became possessive, violent and controlling. William expected his dinner on the table when he came home and Summer could only go to bed when he gave permission.
William and Summer
Summer couldn't take it anymore. She wanted more from life. She saw excitement and hope in a man called Adam Peters. Adam was a drifter and Bill hired him to do odd jobs around the two houses. Bill was a minister and wanted to open a halfway house one day. Summer was instantly attracted to Adam and before the divorce was finalised, she began dating him. Summer left her marital home and moved in with her parents. She took the three children with her.
William, Bill and Sandy did not take the news well. Bill threatened and assaulted Adam. Summer posted a picture online of Adam with the children which caused even further rage. William tried to get full custody of the three children but the Judge refused just one month before Summer was abducted.
When Summer left, William moved in with his parents. The police called to their house to speak with them and found a white Ford Crown Victoria on their driveway. They told police they were in Cleveland the night Summer went missing. Police got a search warrant and took possession of the car. The GPS system revealed they were not in Cleveland that night. They were in Logan. The GPS also revealed a location they were in the next morning. Police discovered they went to a car wash at 7.30 am the morning after Summer was abducted. Surveillance footage showed William, Bill and Sandy getting out of the car at the car wash. There was no sign of Summer. After they washed the car, they bought new car tyres for it. Police took the three of them in for questioning. Summer had now been missing for eight days.
William and Bill did not answer any of the questions the police asked. But Sandy did not stay silent. Almost immediately she told police that Summer was dead. It was the news everyone feared but hoped would not be true. Sandy said that they didn't mean to kill Summer. They had taken her because they wanted to scare her so that she would be reasonable and allow them to see the children.
Sandy claimed that she thought she would be able to talk to her and reason with her . According to Sandy, it was her idea to take Summer. When they had Summer in the car, William tied three zip ties around her wrists and tied a fourth zip tie around her neck. The zip tie around her neck was too tight and Summer began to suffocate. Sandy claimed they wanted to cut it off but they didn't have a knife and as a result Summer died in the car.
Sandy accepted a plea deal. She would serve 15 years in prison and Prosecutors would not pursue the death penalty for William and Bill if she revealed the location of Summer's body. She agreed.
Police found the body in a septic tank behind Faith Tabernacle Church in Nelsonville, Ohio. It was over 20 miles from where Summer was last seen alive.
William and Bill were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
It is clear the Inmans were a controlling family and Summer was not someone who was about to spend her life being controlled. They were willing to get what they wanted by doing anything they believed was necessary which included killing Summer. The harrowing part of this crime is that if an amicable custody arrangement could have been reached, the outcome may have been very different.
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
"The effects of abuse are devastating and far reaching. Domestic violence speaks many languages, has many colors and lives in many different communities."
- Sandra Pupatello