'It Just Goes on and On': For the Families and Survivors, the FBI Prolongs the Pain

Newsweek, May 21, 2001 | Go to article overview

'It Just Goes on and On': For the Families and Survivors, the FBI Prolongs the Pain


Kathleen Treanor had been bracing herself for weeks. Six years after Timothy McVeigh's devastating bomb killed her in-laws and 4-year-old daughter, she wanted to watch him draw his last breath. Wednesday morning, the day McVeigh was scheduled to die, Treanor planned to rise at 2 and make the hourlong drive from her home in rural Guthrie, Okla., to the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City. There she'd view the early-morning execution on closed-circuit television, along with some 300 other survivors and relatives of victims of the Murrah-building blast.

It's not that she expected the execution to bring an end to her grief, something she says won't happen until "they throw dirt on my grave." But she figured McVeigh's death would at least bring justice. "We've all been waiting for this man to be silenced," she told NEWSWEEK. "That won't happen now."

At least not as soon as the victims' families thought. The decision to delay McVeigh's execution stunned the country, but no group of Americans took the news harder than the survivors and the families of the 168 dead. For months they'd prepared for the execution, and for the blizzard of publicity that would accompany it. Many found the constant media exposure overwhelming, and they awaited the day reporters would stop calling and McVeigh would disappear from their television screens. "It's very upsetting, because it means the whole thing just goes on and on," says Amy Petty, who was trapped under rubble for six hours after the explosion. "Every night I go home and dodge the news channels because I'm sick to death of him."

Some of the families are openly angry at the FBI, bewildered that thousands of documents in one of the bureau's most extensive investigations could simply be lost. …

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