This story went straight for my heart and I felt a great amount of compassion for everyone involved.
Updated: Mar 24
Last year, I had the pleasure and privilege of meeting with a woman by the name of Kay Weden. In 1993, she was a school teacher in Salisbury, North Carolina who was simply living her life, going to work and raising a teenage son, Jason, on her own. She was very close with her mother, who she regularly visited and you would think her life would be fairly straight forward. In December of 1993, her life veered off into a direction she would take decades to straighten out.
Earlier in 1993, Kay had been dating a local police officer, L.C. Underwood, who was introduced to her by a neighbor. When their relationship fell apart, he became enraged to the degree that he constantly stalked Kay and threatened her well-being. He let her know if she tried to tell anyone about it, no one would believe her because he was a cop. The level of intimidation and manipulation was hard to bear. Then, on December 9th, 1993, L.C. Underwood killed Kay's mother in cold blood. What Kay didn't realize at the time, was L.C. Underwood had also killed her current boyfriend, Viktor Gunnarson, a Swedish national who had moved to the area. It would take months to locate Viktor's body and in the meantime, L.C. Underwood engaged in a terror campaign against Kay and Jason Weden that changed their view of life permanently.
For whatever kismet there is in the world, I happened to contact Kay just after L.C. Underwood died in prison of cancer. To his dying day, he was unrelenting in his threats against Kay and Jason and unapologetic for his crimes. He even tried to engage conspiracy theorists to believe Viktor Gunnarson was responsible for the crimes. The responsibility rested firmly with L.C. Underwood and retired police chief, Paula May, knows that for a fact. She recently wrote a book about the story, First Degree Rage: https://wildbluepress.com/first-degree-rage-paula-may-true-crime/. Her amazing work and Kay and Jason's incredible resilience are a credit to the survival of the human spirit.
I had the privilege of speaking with Paula, Kay and Jason during interviews for the series Dead of Winter on Investigation Discovery: https://www.investigationdiscovery.com/tv-shows/dead-of-winter/full-episodes/cold-blue. At the time Kay and Jason were estranged - he blamed her for dating men who basically ruined their lives. It was only when L.C. Underwood was dead and the two of them could unite for the production, that each relaxed and looked at their situation with clarity. Kay was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person. If it wasn't Kay who was in L.C. Underwood's sites, some other naive and loving woman would have paid the price. If anything, this was a lesson in not ignoring red flags and listening to your gut when you know someone is behaving badly. Sadly, love can be blind for all of us in those situations.
This story went straight for my heart and I felt a great amount of compassion for everyone involved. I kept in touch with Kay and learned during last year, Jason and his wife - after almost 20 years together - decided to start a family. They now have a lovely little girl, Olivia, who is the light of their lives. Today the Wedens have some sense of peace - the peace they deserved all along.