Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

Just the Facts

Posted January 24, 2007

A good friend of mine who is a retired police detective once told me that people generally "died the way they lived."  And for the most part I've found that this had held true over the years.  If you live in a world of drugs and violence there's a good chance you're going to meet your maker earlier rather than later.

But it's the crimes where this does not hold true that makes me, and I'm sure most of you, recoil in horror that someone could suffer without ever having done anything at all to contribute in any way to their fate.

Michelle Young is an example of such a person.   When I read her autopsy report Monday it was a set of medical facts that add up to one conclusion,  a pregnant woman suffered greatly at the hands of her killer.  She was beaten repeatedly throughout her body.   She was strangled.  Her skull was fractured, he jaw broken, her teeth knocked out.  What would have been a healthy male fetus also died in her womb when a final blow took away her life.  This all occurred with her two-year-old daughter in the home.  Its fourteen pages of  very  difficult reading.

There is only one thing about the report that tells me about how Michelle Young lived- she had defensive wounds on her hands, she fought back.  Everything that I have learned about her tells me  Michelle Young was a fighter in life, and in death.  She  would have done anything to protect her unborn child and her  toddler sleeping across the hall .

Journalists are supposed to report "just the facts."  But we are also human beings who must interpret those facts.  The facts of this case are gruesome and they point to one conclusion- no one deserves to die this way.

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  • pinkcarribeanbuffalo Feb 1, 2007

    I don't recall reading in Amanda's article any mention of the husband's guilt. How did you draw that conclusion from this article? What I'd want to know is are authorities positive that the child was asleep throughout this horrific event? And if so, how could a crime such as this take place without making enough noise to wake a child? Where doors closed? Was the child's room a considerable distance from the parent's room? There was a dog in the house as well...did the dog not bark? What kind of dog is it? I doubt seriously anyone would get past the door with my dog, unless of course it was someone my dog was familiar with. Just curious.....

  • shguzzo Jan 30, 2007

    Where are the FACTS that say the husband wasn't anywhere near the house @ the time of the murder?

  • me7541 Jan 30, 2007

    Aren't you forgetting about our judicial system and the fact that someone is innocent until proven guilty? You honestly have no idea who killed this woman, yet you're ready to hang the husband! Yes, it's a very tragic loss, but let's not make this child suffer twice by condenming her father. FACTS (since that's what you seem to love) say he wasn't anywhere near the house at the time of the murder!!!

  • Topsail Girl Jan 25, 2007


    You are so right - no one deserves to die the way that Michelle did. At the same time her murderer doesn't deserve to be walking around a free man right now and spending time with little Cassidy. Keep up your tremendous efforts in this case. I follow it closely and you have been one of the most reliable, fair minded reporters assigned to date. I hope you will continue to report on this case all the way to the death penalty phase if there is one.

About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.