by her mother Diana Resnick
One could not help noticing Debbie since she was a toddler with her red curls framing her face in her snow suit. Her twinkley blue eyes full of mischief were part of her as long as she lived. Deb grew up in Los Angeles after the age of three and her baby sister was born when she was 4 and a half.
Debbie never met a stranger. She was friendly, compassionate, humorous and creative. As a young girl in school, she joined girls' clubs, loved to entertain friends with magic tricks she had learned, and built things like a small wagon from scrap wood. Her energy and good nature were boundless. Her teachers claimed that she was a natural leader.
In the early 1970's, Deb and her girl friend went to Carmel Valley in Monterey County, CA. The area was beautiful and the girls stayed on and established their lives there.
Soon after her arrival, Deb met Thom and established an 18 year relationship. At first they lived in the lower part of Carmel Valley, but within a few years, they moved on to a parcel of raw land purchased with two partners. Thom built a cabin on his 20 acres and Deb put a trailer on her adjoining 10 acres. Deb loved the land, grew vegetables, and became very spiritual.
In 1991, she moved back to Los Angeles for one year to further her studies in the art of film. Also, being in L.A. opened opportunities to meet people in the video and film business.
Thom had started a plant business and, when Deb left, he married another woman and started a family.
Within a year after school finished, Deb moved back to the property and with legal help she eventually was granted title to the cabin and the ten acres on which it stood.....
It was a hard life for a woman living alone on the property, so in time she invited a man, Joel Gilbert, whom she had met while taking classes, to move in with her. At that time, Deb was working for the local TV station and taking classes at the Monterey Institute of Touch.
On February 16, 1997 she phoned her sister in San Diego to say that she would be in L.A. the following week-end for a seminar and planned to spend the remainder of the week with us in San Diego. That was the last time we spoke to her.
When Deb didn't arrive, many frantic phone calls were made to the seminar and then to the local police in Carmel Valley and Monterey. Days later, her body was discovered in a grove near her cabin. There was a gun shot wound to the right side of the back of her head and we were told that she had been dead for approximately 5 days.
The sheriff immediately claimed suicide. She was left-handed, food was on the stove half-cooked and all indications are that she was surprised, frightened and shot while running for her life. I stated to the local paper that the possibility of suicide "is foreign to anything I think about my daughter. She was absolutely not despondent; there was no indication she would take her own life. All the people I've met refuted that idea immediately."
Eighteen months after Deborah's death, her cabin was burned to the ground, erasing the crime scene. The fire department claimed arson. It was one week after the caretaker had moved in to live for the summer. He lost many of his personal belongings in the fire.
In spite of many requests, I have never received any official report from the Sheriff’s Department or the Fire Department.
word "closure" comes up constantly, but for a grieving mother there is
no closure, only the ongoing distress of losing a daughter with no answers as to
why and by whom.