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"Most of her problems were related to sexual trauma," she says. "She had to be tough, and she really wasn't a tough person. Eventually she lost her nerve. She started going to counseling, and they put her on some psychotropic medication that made her incapable of working."

Shortly after Franklin lost her job, her mother moved back to Colorado, apparently to help take care of her. The two were exceptionally close; even though Sandy had lived in Virginia for the past seven years, "they'd talk every day on the phone for hours," Dilka says. Sandy and Franklin's stepfather purchased a house in Bailey, and Franklin moved in with them. She rarely came down from the mountains; communication with many of her Denver friends dwindled to a trickle of exchanges on Facebook.

Early last year, Franklin's mother was diagnosed with cancer. Franklin and her stepfather became her caretakers in a long, heroic but lonely fight that lasted until last April. Franklin was devastated by her death. "They were each other's world, basically," says Flowers.

Kimmyan Franklin didn't like to talk about the past -- but her writings hinted at painful secrets. See also: In Memory of Kimmyan Franklin
Gerald Bivens
Kimmyan Franklin didn't like to talk about the past -- but her writings hinted at painful secrets. See also: In Memory of Kimmyan Franklin
"They were each other's world": Franklin and her mother, Sandy Dilka, in the late 1970s. Dilka died of cancer last April. See also: In Memory of Kimmyan Franklin
"They were each other's world": Franklin and her mother, Sandy Dilka, in the late 1970s. Dilka died of cancer last April. See also: In Memory of Kimmyan Franklin

Franklin had clashed with her stepfather during Sandy's illness and moved out shortly after her mother's death. She stayed for a few weeks with her father, but that relationship, too, was strained. Knake wanted his daughter to be sober and productive, but she was sunk in grief and her own regimen of self-medication.

"She really missed her mom a lot," Knake says. "She was having a hard time with it. I wanted to get her into volunteer work, to get her back into the workforce. And there were certain rules we had to follow — no drugs, no alcohol in the house. It wasn't until she moved out that I found out she'd been drinking a whole lot when she was staying with me. I didn't detect that at all, but after she left, I found lots of bottles."

Despite her recent reclusiveness, Franklin still had many friends in Denver and Chicago who would have offered a couch or a basement, a place to mourn and heal. But it was her mother's family, her aunt Diane and cousin Christa, she most wanted to see; they invited her to Eckley, to stay with them and get to know Christa's children better. That seemed to trump all the bitter memories and bad dreams about Yuma County. Then she could move on, maybe to Chicago.

"I was thrilled to hear that she was planning to go to Chicago," Flowers recalls. "I kept telling her to get out of these small towns. The stimulation of a city would have done so much to get her out of her depression. I think it would have been a life-changing move."

Knake remembers talking to his daughter about returning to Eckley, the scene of so many past traumas. "We both agreed that it was a bad place," he says. "But she thought she would be safe there with her family."

******

After losing touch with her years earlier, Rick Layton tracked down Franklin last year, while she was still caring for her mother. The two began exchanging e-mails and eventually renewed a romance that had never quite died.

"It took me a while to find her," Layton says. "But she's the only person I ever thought of constantly. She was always in my head."

Layton was a rarity among Franklin's boyfriends, many of whom were short-term, bad-boy types. ("She would walk past three really cool guys to go for the bad one," one friend says.) When Franklin went to stay with her cousin last June, Layton made the 150-mile drive to Eckley several times to see her. They began talking about a possible future together.

"She said if I ever asked her to marry her, she would definitely say yes," Layton explains. "I had been married before, and I wasn't a big fan of the actual term. But I told her I would give her a respectful lifetime commitment, which is almost the same thing."

Her stay in Eckley was supposed to be for a couple of weeks, but Franklin stayed on. She enjoyed spending time with her nieces; at the same time, she told Layton, she was quickly getting bored. "I'd never been in a small-town environment like that," Layton says. "There was so much family. Everybody was somebody's cousin. We'd be at the store, and everybody knew each other. She said she didn't like being back there."

Eckley's social center is its lone bar and grill, the Silver Spur. That's where Franklin went when she was bored, and where she met up with Pete Newton, a 47-year-old alfalfa farmer and a member of one of the area's more prominent farm families. Newton says he hadn't seen Franklin since she was in high school, but the two were soon spending time together at least a couple times a week, squeezing in time between Newton's farm and family duties — he has a six-year-old girl and three older offspring from previous relationships — and Franklin taking care of her cousin's daughters.

"I would pick her up, and we'd go check my sprinklers," Newton says. "She liked to take pictures of the sunset and the crops. We'd take walks. Go horseback riding. We were getting real close. She talked about maybe staying here."

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49 comments
sinklike
sinklike

Drove up to see her last summer. She bought a new dress. Thai food over in Pine, Hitchcock reruns and a bottle of cheap wine. I'll cherish the memory...and I guess I'm keeping that book I borrowed. Bye Kimmy

hurt
hurt

Yuma county has not changed much even with a new sheriff my cows were stolen as i watched the person doing it called 911 it took five hours for them to respond. we never got them back.we had records of one of there stool pigeon/drug dealers who had worked for the newtons in the past stealing fuel from us nothing was done. we had our shop broken into they we told where are welder was and did nothing  was done.there was also another suicide in the newton family also of a wife this is the good ole boy system out here they let a large organic fertilizer company haul drugs all the time. lets see if you want to be rich become a part of yuma county's  club where drugs and crime are overlooked. if you can run with the big dogs. this also goes for the police departments out here also. how do i say this there is so many things wrong out here but we never get help. It will never change until we stand up for justice

m_lonearrow
m_lonearrow

I knew Kimmyan from playing open mic nights at the lions lair. She was a sweet, kind, and beautiful woman. A lovely person, inside and out. I'm so heart broken over this tragedy. My love and condolences to all her close friends and family. Rest in peace, my tiny red goddess.

lisaaflowers
lisaaflowers

A supporter of Newton's, masquerading (not very hermetically, but what else could you expect from the Stockholm Syndrome of having lived your life in a bell jar) as one Wade Johnson from Lakewood has seen fit to weigh in on this article.  His/her gentle condescension to complex human tragedy is the usual hybrid of psychobabble and religious zealotry that wouldn't be worth responding to if one came across it in its natural habitat of thrusting out pamphlets on street corners; but because we're dealing with a blatant travesty of justice in the only way we can (ie, through investigative journalism), it might be worth responding to at the below link. Some tips on persona writing, Wade: the devil, as they say, is in the details. All this nonsense (bizarrely specific and unsubstantiated) about 'child sexual abuse', etc, is just a little bit too pointed to be the neutral observation of a well-meaning messenger of love and mercy. To paraphrase Tori Amos, get off your [not Christ's] cross...we need the wood.

http://www.westword.com/2013-01-17/news/kimmyan-franklin-feature-love-comment/

frankenchrist8
frankenchrist8

Kimmyan was a dear, lovely soul. I tended bar with her at the Lair (and, sorry, Mr. Prendergast, it's not the filth-and-squalor shithole  described in this article).

Kimmyan turned me on to lots of groovy stuff I never would have encountered had I not met her.


You think you know about music, huh?


Well, let me tell you

about a girl I knew

because she knew a hell of a lot more than you


She had soft red hair

her lipstick always perfect

Big eyes and a smile that shined


She was the crankiest bartender on Colfax

but the kindest soul in the bar


She always had a book or two with her

and she ate them up 

like a 3 a.m. drunk 

wolfing down the prose

as if it were a plate of bacon and eggs


Yes, she was sweet

but had no reservations for assholes


As the cliche goes,

“She left us far too early”

but Earth, and now Heaven

has someone sweet, but surly


justice4kimmyan
justice4kimmyan

wow...seems 2 get more interesting here..weve recently had jailers n the SHERIFFS dept fired 4 assaulting inmates ..its truly anazing what REALLY happens 'behind closed doors'

zack_kopp
zack_kopp

Indigenous ancestors have long known of a psychic curse called Wetiko equating essentially to the tolerance of evil out of inertia. Everybody does it. It's happening all the time everywhere, and you surrender or you resist.  I've shared this story more than once. Don't let her go unsung.

lisaaflowers
lisaaflowers

I see that HuffPost Crime has already retweeted this story; that's a great start.

lisaaflowers
lisaaflowers

Also, @anon: "There is a precedent in plenty of cases of people at the VERY LEAST being charged with involuntary manslaughter for not calling 911 soon enough."...you would think this would be an inescapable point, even for Day. Yet all he concedes is that"there's no doubt" it should have been done, then ascribes the near-textbook summary of the crime itself to "terrible decision" making...and senselessly/blatantly sets it free against its own definition.

lisaaflowers
lisaaflowers

Wonderfully said, anon. This is only the beginning. The whole "what happens in such-and-such stays in such-and-such" event horizon is about to break out of itself.

anon
anon

The state Attorney General and Colorado Bureau of Investigations offices need to be flooded with emails and letters about this.  The behavior of Chad Day regarding this case is disgusting and possibly illegal ( he is passively aggressively aiding in a cover up the way I see it).  Who is the forensic pathologist in charge of the autopsy?  To look at the evidence linking meth overdoses with strokes and say there is no connection here is ludicrous. To say the two are linked is an understatement even, if you overdose you either have a stroke or a heart attack, that's exactly what happens.  And it's impossible to come up with a "textbook" exact dosage of meth that would usually cause an overdose because there's such a variety of meth and each persons sensitivity to it is different - so whether there was only a little bit or a lot in Kimmyan's system we can go ahead and say it caused the stroke.  And to say there's not enough evidence to constitute a crime?!?!?! There is precedent in plenty of cases of people at the VERY LEAST being charged with involuntary manslaughter for not calling 911 soon enough.  Although it is crystal clear that's not all Pete Newton is guilty of. I can't even get started on that piece of shit.  This case has got to gain national attention so that the cowards in charge of Yuma County have nowhere to hide - how many other mothers, daughters, sisters and friends have to be abused, sexually assaulted or die because people turn their heads?  This makes me sick to my stomach. Please, everyone forward this story to the CBI, state Attorney General and any other media outlet you can think of.   

Denverboy
Denverboy

Even
though Kimmyan had her dark and shadowy side in my opinion it was just a
small part of who she was..She had a way of making you forget your
problems when you ran into her with some witty comment or jab about
bukowski or a debate about rock and roll or literature.. More often than
not she was the flashlight that penetrates the shadows.. I hope for her
that she will be remembered for her wit, wisdom, and diverse
intelligence ..
... She gave me money for the jukebox ..

justice4kimmyan
justice4kimmyan

we liv in a unjust society that let young children/babies die becuz soc services r 2 lazy 2 follow up n where young women r brutilized/raped/murdered becuz law enforcement dont want 2 'deplete their dept funds on an "empty" investigation' .... thats y ppl hav sadly n unfortunetly takin law into their iwn hands n sum cases

lisaaflowers
lisaaflowers

It's also worth noting (if Facebook is any indication) that, to many of the locals (particularly those who know Newton well) behavior like this is anything but revelatory or shocking. "We all know what goes on in that [Newton's] house...that's why we don't go there," wrote one woman who grew up in the area.The point is that a comprehensive picture is already available here; there are more than enough people who have already (on record...whether they know it or not) attested to Newton's character. But these are statements/details that will never be followed up on inside-the-box. The information needs to be passed on to the public, and to those who would seek to follow up on this case.

lisaaflowers
lisaaflowers

I'll be posting a link to the full police report (which I'm scanning/PDFing) here soon. 

boomer1949
boomer1949

the 'law' enforcement agencies of north east colorado are rife with corruption and put the evils acts of southern shit kicker sheriffs to shame.....been that way for DECADES.

justice4kimmyan
justice4kimmyan

i think it is truly devestating that so many ppl r left 2 morn the loss of such a beautiful creative person n that nobody in the proffessional field is willining2 get 2 the truth of the matter yet allow the 1 responsible 4 providing the meth -ADMITTED @ THAT-walk around with access 2 his children when kims loved 1s walk around mourning with access 2 nothing but unjust lies and unaswered ?'s ....I know what this man is capable of and i refuse 2 be 1 if those who will defend him simply becuz of that ...i believe ppl need 2 know he has hurt women in the past and reguards NO ONES safety or well being including his own-hence his continued drug use. He s allowed 2 walk around in selfpity while kims loved 1s r supposed 2 'accept things and move on'...well pardon me but she was a life WORTH DEFENDING AND ITS JUST BEGINNING

justice4kimmyan
justice4kimmyan

well said zack...n had it of been her making these statements n him being the 1 dead n defenseless...we'd b visiting her behind bars...he put himself out there n this article NOBODY forced him 2 talk..ans HES the 1 that mentioned his drug use n his kids n the article it wasnt anybody else...but its the rest of us lookjng 4 justice beong condemned

zack_kopp
zack_kopp

Kimmyan Dylana Franklin was a natural poet whose untimely death has been improperly investigated by the sexist cronies assigned that task. The above article makes mention of several suspicious facts which would seem to bear further investigation, all of which were dismissed by the police with outrageous statements about her obviously staged overdose like, "Even if he did put the pills in her mouth, we're still short of a crime here." How far can this fantasy go? Love to her ::

jgarland49
jgarland49

Justice for Kimmyan.

Rest in Peace.

justice4kimmyan
justice4kimmyan

theyve actually been calked n turned things away as well...its alk extremely sick n disturbing...n i liv n the community that thus sheriff resides over

DarioRosa
DarioRosa

This is disturbing. If the Sheriff won't do his job and is protecting some good ole boy, then perhaps the CO Bureau of Investigation would be able to do something.

lisaaflowers
lisaaflowers

The official police report…signed, sealed, and delivered, yet still, apparently “not enough to make a case”, according to Sheriff Chad Day…is even more disturbing and incriminating than what’s been disclosed.
From the article: “They then interviewed a woman who’d been tending bar at the Silver Spur when Loudin talked to Newton and had overheard part of the conversation; the woman said Newton had admitted to her, too, that he’d helped Franklin shoot up”.
Here, from said report, is the rest of said woman’s/bartender’s statement(s). I've omitted her name from these excerpts/this post out of consideration for her, and because AP didn't use it in the piece, but it’s on public record in the report. The following interviews took place on August 14, 2012 (weeks after Kimmyan's passing).

From the account of Sergeant Steve Gallagher:

“[The bartender] said she did have a conversation with Newton after Loudin had left the Silver Spur. [She] said Newton described lewd and graphic details of the sexual encounter him and Franklin had had on the night Franklin suffered her stroke. [She] stated that Newton had told her that he had to help Franklin ‘shoot up’. [She] said she did not want to hear any more about the incident so she excused herself and went into the kitchen. When asked, [she] said it was normal for Newton to try talking to her about his sexual adventures, but during past conversations she had asked him not to discuss those things with her”

And from the account of Deputy Ben Muir:
‘[The bartender] stated that after Miss Loudin left she talked with Pete Newton. She said that Mr. Newton started to describe lewd and graphic details of a sexual nature about the night that he was with Miss Franklin…[the bartender] stated that she had become ill from what Mr. Newton told her and that she excused herself to go to the kitchen.”
So much for Pete Newton and his supporters trying to paint this as a tragic accident Newton feels “terrible” about. So much for Newton's "remorse." So much for this being “one of the worst things that’s probably ever happened” to him. So much for him and Kimmyan having gotten “real close.” Newton is a monster who is being protected by “law enforcement” who don't have the courage or the integrity to prosecute this as a crime, even if their consciences compel them to—because they live in a small town where their connections are seemingly inextricable— “thicker than water”, etc—and the fallout from doing the right thing would be too much for them to deal with.
Please, don’t take my word for it. The police report is a public record and I would be happy to photocopy it and send it to anyone who wants to see it (I’m getting ready to send sizable chunks of it out to the Yuma Pioneer, et al, anyway, though I doubt they'll make it into print, or into existence, period). Just let me know. And thank you more than I can say to Alan for his time and commitment, and for writing a powerful and unforgettable story, and a beautiful tribute to Kimmyan, and to justice.

justice4kimmyan
justice4kimmyan

one does wonder whats pockets r being padded by the farmers $ ...esp when this man has had MANY issues w/domestic violence/meth use...n now his contribution has lead 2 the death of a beautiful woman who had fought demons all if het life..only 2 encounter the'demon' that let her die rather than call 911 like any other CARING SENSIBLE human being wld hav done...if its a crime 2 leave the scene of an accident how us it NOT a crime 2 leave sumbody n OBVIOUS distress n NOT call.911

DarioRosa
DarioRosa

Thank you, Alan, for writing this very thoughtful piece on a very special person. Even though we will most likely never know the full story of what happened, I feel that you have brought us closer to the truth. I hope that the truth does come out someday; either through a breakthrough in the investigation or a confession by some guilty party. Kimmyan was a beautiful person and a one of a kind. She is missed.

darylthered
darylthered

Wonderful article Alan. One thing only alluded to with the mention of Che Guevara is that Kimmyan had a keen sense of social injustice. She read the International Socialist Review every month and was well aware of the plight of impoverished and oppressed peoples the world over. Her heart was so huge she held a place for South African miners, Bolivian coca farmers, far-flung communities of peoples struggling not just for survival but for freedom. In a way it was her own struggle too.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

I recall her from the Lair', but can't claim to have been friends . When I sought out a shitty little dive bar w/ live music, it was usually the 'Cricket on the Hill' .

It should come as no surprise, police don't care about an alleged victim where drugs were involved . It's too easy to lay fault on the substances and can have the entire report wrapped up in minutes . Investigators HATE investigating and only do so when forced !

DoReyNo
DoReyNo

It looks like Pete Newton has recieved some pretty heavy subsidies over the years. Makes you wonder about the relationship between farmers/ranchers in that area and the local law enforcement.

And isn't it great that your tax dollars might be going to buy meth?

lizzylou32
lizzylou32

Throughout history we've seen so many romantic and talented people who spent their lives battling demons; even with depressants, stimulants, hallucinogens, etc. Often times, I think that these people were so esoteric that their dreams and emotions far outweighed what reality had to offer them. This seemed to be the case with Kimmyan. I had a friend who affected me in a similar way who's gone now. She haunts me to this day, and I love her for it.

WEGibson
WEGibson

Very moving Alan, thank you

rockymissouri1
rockymissouri1

Thank you... That was a respectful article.... She sounds like she was beloved by many people....

SxPxDxCx
SxPxDxCx

I'll never forget the time I spent hanging out at the Lair, and elsewhere, with Kimmyan.  She was one of a kind and will be greatly missed.

patricia.calhoun
patricia.calhoun moderator topcommentereditor

if you would like to submit a message for our Letters to the editor section in the print edition, you can send it to editorial@westword.com. Whenever possible, we try to use letters that are signed with the author's full name.

jgarland49
jgarland49

There are way too many deaths of this sort in the Denver metro area.

Thank you , Kimmyan , for the love you shared with this world.

Now how about a part 2 article on all the great things people have to say about her.

justice4kimmyan
justice4kimmyan

she was a beautiful person..inside n out..thank u tammy :-) ...shes a memory from school ill always cherish <3

tammyjoadlesperger
tammyjoadlesperger

We went to High School together and she was a good friend and a good person!  I will always remember you Kim with your bright red hair and red lipstick!  Love to you Kim and may you Rest In Peace.

lisaaflowers
lisaaflowers

Your comment is out of context, DonkeyHotay (though I suspect you're more a troll than a discerning reader, anyway). Nowhere in the piece is anything sensationalized, if that's what you're getting at. Unless your aim was to simply make a cruel remark. In any case, the upshot of it is that your lack of insight--or perhaps merely of a heart--stands out like a sore thumb (down).

justice4kimmyan
justice4kimmyan

ppl shld REALLY KNO what they r sayin B4 openin their idiot faces n hav sum consideration 4 ppl who r STILL grieving....she was a soul NO ONE can EVER compare 2 or replace

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Drug abuse sure is Romantic ... ain't it?


archito2002
archito2002

I remember her gentle spirit pouring drinks at the chaotic Lion's Lair Bar. She was special... RIP Kimmyan ...

justice4kimmyan
justice4kimmyan

@lisaaflowers thank u lisa...ppl need 2 KNOW what an unjust sick community we hav n exactly what extent ppl will go thru 2 try n do whats rite still 2 no avail ...im horrified n appaulled that theres been NO charges

DoReyNo
DoReyNo

@krehmeyerpati It also looks like there's some other stuff going on behind the scenes. If you check out the Sheriff's facebook page, he's friends with some local Newtons. Don't you love small-town law enforcement corruption?

jgarland49
jgarland49

@DoReyNo I was wondering the same thing. Like is it normal to go out and bale hay while someone might be dying in your own house?? Sheesh.

 
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