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Meet ‘Gitchie Girl,’ Find Inspiration at Brandon Library

Sandra Cheskey & Patty Dee
Patty Dee

Our world can be a difficult place to live. The planet seems to be in a particularly tumultuous state – again. All of us need a dose of inspiration from time-to-time.

I was lucky enough to meet a living, breathing inspiration, truly, by the grace of God. Sandra Cheskey is the lone survivor of an event, which has become the stuff of legends and late night scary ghost story-telling sessions.

November 17, 1973 was the night when a pretty, 13-year-old girl accompanied her handsome boyfriend and his three best buddies out to the beautiful Gitchie Manitou State Preserve for a night of fun around a campfire.

That night turned into nightmare, as the group’s solitude was irretrievably shattered by three brothers who ultimately murdered the four boys, kidnapped and raped Sandra, who the next day was returned home.

The Fryer brothers were eventually convicted and sentenced to life without possibility of parole and continue serving their sentences at the Iowa State prison in Fort Madison, Iowa.

Sandra’s life after the horrific events of that night was a tangled web of sorrow, anger, guilt, shame, abandonment, and self-recrimination. She never received counseling of any kind and admittedly made some bad choices in trying to keep her demons at bay.

The Sandra you meet 44 years later is a somewhat reserved mother, grandmother, aunt and friend with beautiful dark eyes and an easy smile. She has somehow found a way to make peace with her past despite having unanswered questions, (Why did this happen?Why did she survive? Why did they let her go?). And Sandra inspires those around her to also find their inner strength and move beyond tragedy and limitations.

This Thursday, June 8, 2016 you will have an opportunity to meet Sandra Cheskey and also Phil and Sandy Hamman, who co-authored the book Gitchie Girl, at the Brandon Library. The presentation will begin at 6:30, followed by a question & answer session and book signing. The books will be available for sale at the library.

For more information call Siouxland Libraries at 605-367-8700 or visit

Source: Gitchie Girl

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