Laura Jean Ackerson (1984 – 2011) was last seen alive on July 13, 2011. Her dismembered remains were discovered 11 days later in a creek about 60 miles south of Houston, Texas. She was 27 years old and had two young sons.
Grant Ruffin Hayes and his wife, Amanda Perry Hayes, were each charged with first-degree murder on July 25, 2011, for Laura’s death. Grant Hayes plead not guilty. He was found guilty of first-degree murder on September 16, 2013. Amanda Hayes was convicted of second-degree murder Feb. 19, 2014. Crime Author Diane Fanning writes about this heartbreaking case in her new book Bitter Remains.
I had the privilege of meeting Diane at the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference at Hollins University, VA. We spoke about the hidden pain in writing as each case tucks at your heart. Each true crime case leaves marks and it was good to talk to someone who understands.
Laura’s case caught Diane’s attention because of the unlikely cast of characters: an actress, a musician and an artist. Learning more about the victim, Diane plunged into this story with passion. Laura was the young mother of two who was rebuilding her future after surviving a dysfunctional past and a controlling relationship. Determined to create a better life for her boys, she was finding success as a professional and as an individual. It seemed as if everything was finally going her way—until that tragic night her life was stolen from her. Her case is a nearly unbelievable story of depravity and callous disregard for human life. For her readers, Diane has made the first chapter available free on her website.
If you have read any of Diane’s book about Laura Jean Ackerson, let me know your thoughts.
Diane is the Edgar-nominated writer is the author of fourteen true crime books and ten crime novels.
If she isn’t at home in the Bedford, Virginia area, you just might want to turn on the television. She has appeared on the Today Show, 48 Hours, 20/20, Forensic Files, Snapped, the Biography Channel, Investigation Discovery, E! and the BBC as well as many cable network news shows and radio stations across the States and Canada.