WEST MEMPHIS, AR - The daughter of accused cop killer Jerry Kane contacted myEyewitnessNews.com on Monday, May 24, 2010, to offer her sympathy and condolences to the families of the fallen West Memphis Police officers.
The pain of losing her father and her brother, says Jessica Gutierrez, pales in comparison to the deaths of Officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans and the pain their families are feeling right now.
Gutierrez says she and Jerry were estranged and hadn't spoken in years. Choking back tears during a phone call from her home in Ohio, Gutierrez admitted that she always felt in her heart that something like this was going to happen.
"The entire situation," she tells myEyewitnessNews.com, "just makes me so angry and so sad."
She used words like "crazy" and "cultish" to describe her father's anti-government beliefs and behavior. Gutierrez says she wasn't shocked when the phone call came last Thursday telling her that her father had been involved in a terrible tragedy.
"I wasn't surprised at all," she says. "I always assumed that something tragic like that, that Jerry would be involved. I just never dreamed that my baby brother Joe would be involved in it. You know, I used to change his diapers. And now, he's famous for being a cop killer."
Gutierrez said it was hard to keep in contact with Joe over the years. She encouraged him to create a Facebook account so they could stay in touch. Gutierrez also tried to convince her father to enroll Joe in school because she didn't think it was a good idea that he was being home-schooled. Jerry, she says, refused to take her advice.
Now a mom, raising her own children, Gutierrez is heartbroken over her 16-year-old brother's death. But she says she's even more upset that Officers Paudert and Evans were killed and their children left to grow up without their fathers.
"That's a big deal," she says, "and that is where most of my grief comes from. It's senseless. There's no reason for any police officer doing his job to get caught up in this craziness and lose their lives over it."
She didn't realize the officers' funerals were taking place on the day of her phone call. Gutierrez wanted to make sure that the people of West Memphis and the families of the officers killed, and those injured, know how very sorry she is for their loss.
"I am so sorry that all of this happened," she says. "And words can't even express my grief for the loss that everyone in West Memphis, Arkansas suffered that day. I feel like their grief is much bigger than my own. I wish I had answers to give them. But I just don't. I can't make sense of it myself, so I can't imagine how much trouble they're having. My heart goes out to them."
Gutierrez also says reports that her father's girlfriend, Donna Lee Wray, is in charge of bringing the bodies back to Florida are inaccurate. She says her grandmother, Jerry's mother, is in the process of planning funerals for Jerry and Joseph in Ohio.