Ricky Mustard's sisters feel like they have been living a nightmare since the death of their brother on Nov. 18, 1988. Bonnie Nees was 33, Nancy Hicks was 28 and Susan Young was 25 when Ricky, 32, was murdered with his stepdaughter, 16-year-old Tonya Pickett.
They said it was around midnight. A neighbor later told them she heard what sounded like gunshots then very quickly heard sirens. Police found Ricky and Tonya dead, each shot with a single deer slug above the right eye.
Ricky had been in a serious motorcycle accident July 12, 1988. An unidentified driver ran him off the road and the resulting injuries had left him nearly paralyzed on his right side.
Normally he had a sitter with him when his wife was away at work at Shenandoah in Greencastle. For some reason he was alone that night, until Tonya came home. She had gone to a basketball game with her boyfriend, John Lovett. After the game they were going to a dance. But sometime during the evening they had a quarrel and Tonya went home early.
"It's like a nightmare," Nancy said. "Going over and over."
They've had no opportunity for closure. Bonnie said they were never allowed to see Ricky's body, not even the Marine tattoo on his right arm. It was a closed casket funeral.
Brazil City Police Officer Roger Lindsay was involved in the investigation. The sisters were asked if they ever talked with Lindsay.
"He talked to me briefly," Bonnie said. "He was cocky. I didn't like his attitude."
"He was very rude to me," Nancy added. "Even at the funeral."
The women said lack of knowledge made the situation more painful.
"It hurts every time it's brought up," Susan said. "It tears us up. But it hurts more cause they don't keep us informed. I know they can't tell us everything but we have to hear it on the news or in the newspaper.
"We found out about the murders six hours after it happened," Bonnie said. "John called and told us about it. We really appreciated that."
Nancy told of how about five years after the deaths, they contacted Unsolved Mysteries, a TV show that investigates old, unsolved crimes. The program wanted to do the story but said they were refused permission to do so by the City of Brazil.
"Mother (now deceased Helen Lanham) said Mayor Pickett told her it was not a good time for them to come because it was still under investigation," Nancy said. "The ex-mayor ordered a blackout on the case."
According to the sisters there are a lot of unanswered questions.
"Everybody who knows about it ends up dead," Susan said. "People are afraid to talk about it."
The women told of John Torbert, a good friend of Ricky's who died in a car wreck. Mark Simmonson and another man named Cheesman were rumored to be involved, somehow, in the case. They both died at a relatively young age.
"They talk about Ricky and drugs," Nancy said. Ricky did not do drugs. Oh, he liked his alcohol all right, but he didn't do drugs. There was no drugs in his body at the autopsy."
When asked if they had any idea regarding a motive, the sisters said they did not. But they agreed that whoever killed their brother entered the home with the sole intent of murder.
"There was nothing missing," Bonnie said. "And some money sitting on the table was still there. They said that Ricky was very relaxed so they think the killer was someone he knew."
The sisters and Ricky's widow, Cheryl Pickett, had a strained relationship even before the deaths. They do not communicate now.
"I'm not so much angry with Cheryl anymore," Bonnie said. "I know she's suffered too. But I feel like she thinks it's our fault her daughter's dead. We feel like it's her fault our brother's dead. We need each other now. We need to stand together and be more of a family."