Love on the Rocks

They lived -- and some of them died -- in small towns on the plains of Colorado, Texas and Kansas. They had one woman in common.

(Ronald Foster, Kiowa County district attorney, refused to discuss the Colorado case or to release photos of Phillips, even though making mug shots available to the media is standard practice in most counties in the state.)

Following Toby's death last spring, some of Cynthia's relatives traveled from Kansas to Texas to support her. While they were there, Mathews's grandmother, Billie Walthrop, tried to meet with them--despite her own suspicions.

"I was trying to do what Toby wanted," she says. "He loved her, he said. So I wanted to make sure and see if I could forgive her. That's what the Lord would want. But I sure would like to know what kind of hold she had over Toby."

Chris Reiling, one of Cynthia's sisters, still lives in Kinsley. She says that while she's heard all the bloody stories coming out of Texas, Colorado and Kansas about her sister, they do not pertain to Cynthia. "It's not my sister," she says. "She's never wanted to hurt anybody. I know her."

Instead, Reiling adds, with all the death that has followed her, it is Cynthia who deserves some compassion. "My sister has had an unfortunate life," she says.

October 1998--Greensburg, Kansas
The town lies 25 miles south of Kinsley, along State Route 183, in the bull's-eye center of Kansas's Kiowa County. It is where Harold and Karen Schinstock have resided nearly all their lives. Their tragic personal history, like that of Cynthia Phillips, shatters the myth of a peaceful, idyllic existence protected from big-city violence by endless fields and wide-open spaces.

Several years ago, one of the Schinstocks' sons was discovered trying to have his wife killed. Although the woman was beaten severely, she survived.

That was the second of the family's misfortunes. In January 1982, another of the Schinstock boys, Anthony, took his own life, drifting into death as his car idled in the family's garage. He was sixteen years old.

The suicide seemed as uncharacteristic as it was tragic. The only reason the family could think of that Anthony would kill himself was that he and his girlfriend had recently split up.

Today Harold says he would prefer not to discuss such ancient and painful history. But even seventeen years later, he suspects there is more to the story, details that will never be told about his son's death. There were tantalizing clues that seemed to promise answers but then always dissolved. Clues like the letter from Anthony's ex-girlfriend, Cynthia Nau, that the Schinstocks had found in their son's room after his death.

"Cynthia had wrote him a letter," Harold recalls. "In the letter, she wanted my son to kill her stepdad. She laid it all out in that letter. We gave it to the sheriff. But nothing ever come of it.

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Toby dated my mother back in 1993 when I was in the 5th grade. He was nice to me & my brother. He took us to karate to see if we would like it. His dad & step mom took all of us to six flags when we first met them. Toby didn't deserve to die that way. He was a GREAT MAN & he will be sorely missed!!


After almost 16 years, its feels almost like a bad dream, rather than reality. I'm not exactly sure what tripped my memory wire about this. Just been thinking about it lately. I remember when Toby was killed, and the boys in our family immediately dropped everything to rush to Corsicana in support of our cousin Toby.

As we pulled up to the funeral home, the scene was almost surreal. As we left the funeral services, a a smug, seemingly put-out smallish framed man waited impatiently in a older model Camaro. That man was Richard Boyd. As Cynthia Phillips was entering the passenger side, music blaring, with smoke billowing out of the car. My brothers and I barely had time to get out of the way in the gravel parking lot before Boyd slammed on the gas pedal, sending gravel flying in every direction.

When we finally arrived at Toby's home, my brothers, father, grandfather and I immediately looked at each other. Hardly a word was spoken. We just knew. I hadn't seen Toby's dad, my Uncle Orie in years. Immediately we all hugged as he just looked hollow, disgusted in anger.

As we made our way inside, there was Cynthia. She was crying, sobbing, jittering about uncontrollably. At the time, I thought: "My God! What a scene she is making. Quite the spectacle of herself".. After reading this story, and her apparent penchant for the theatrical, I guess it was to her character.

It was a almost a full four years later that Phillips was sentenced: 60 years for murder. And that was 12 years ago. I have no idea if she is still serving, or if her sentence was shortened. I'm afraid to look. It will make me visibly ill to know the truth.

What I do know is that without the help of the other murdrers, and and attempted others, she probably would have never been caught. Save for one extremely weak Richard Boyd, she may have been still wreaking her brand of promiscuous havoc upon our great State. Or someone else's.

It's funny, the things you remember in life. I don't remember my college graduation. My first day of school. Heck, I don't even remember what I had for breakfast yesterday.

But I will never, ever forget the look on that monster's face in the parking lot of the funeral home in Corsicana that day in April, 16 years ago.

The look of smug, defiant guilt. On both of their ignorant, hillbilly faces.