It was 7:10 am and Nathaniel (my grandson) missed the bus, so we jumped into my truck to head to Crandall High. I arrived home about 7:35 am & poured another cup of coffee and sat down in front of my computer in my office. The events that would unfold in the next minutes would forever impact and change my life.
Minutes later, I hear the banging of the door and jump up to find 4 Kaufman county sheriff department police officers standing in my living room with guns drawn. As I rushed in they shouted 'get out', there's been a report of a stabbing here. "You must be at the wrong house", I shouted, as they ushered me out into the morning chill. "Are you Lonnie Barnard?" "Yes", "It's your wife (Vicky Lynn Barnard) she's been stabbed."
I turned and for the first time noticed her brother's car gone. I crawled back into my truck starting the engine and turning on the heater. Moments later a policeman brought me my jacket as I asked, "Is she ok"? "We don't know yet, we're waiting on the paramedics." As more and more squad cars arrived and then finally an ambulance I stepped out as now my daughter from Seagoville, Amie arrived. At this point I am in a daze and just remember a detective informing me that my bride didn't make it.
By now Leslie (my other daughter) and Pastor Todd had arrived. They informed us that we would not be able to go back in the house and crime scene tape wrapped around the yard. At some point my son showed and who else I'm not sure. Slowly, the police began to leave and the detective informed me that I would need to go to the Kaufman Sheriff's office to be interviewed. Finally, around 2 o'clock the interview was completed and my daughter from Bandera had arrived. We all met at Amie's and by now knew that Ray (the brother to Vicky) had turned himself in and was in the Kaufman county jail.
Now that's the story but really it begins two years earlier when after Ray's first suicide attempt we built a room for him and moved him here from Palm Springs, California. The stints in mental facilities, the trips to local judges, the failing of the entire Mental Health system had become very apparent as those trips in total maybe had no more than 30 minutes in front of a psychiatrist or psychologist. Time after time he had been released without any kind of diagnosis or plan of care. Many, many times Vicky and I had sat talking with him about the brokenness of his soul and his need for the healing power that only Jesus could provide. Over 40 years of a lifestyle that was deeply entrenched in his own depravity though and sharing the Gospel message was often met with an almost demonic rejection, as we watched as the word Jesus would cause him to flinch.
For myself having long worked as a minister in addiction, homelessness and prison release it did not come as a shock but the outcome was surprising even to me since he had never shown violence toward us.
This foundation is a response to an enormously broken system of mental health in all it's failures with a full knowledge that true healing is sent down from Heaven by God himself. Thankfully we have, even before this event, been quite aware and have developed relationships with men and a Savior who have real answers. Our goals are to take these real answers, which come from God's word and aggressively develop opportunities to train and retrain a generation of mental health care professionals who have real answers.
Thank you in advance to each of you in your willingness to help. We are highly motivated to do this well! To God be the Glory. Amen.
Written by Lonnie Barnard