Mackenzie Dawson, June 14 2013
Rockbridge County’s Nightmare
A decade ago Rockbridge county experienced one of it’s most gruesome and disturbing crimes in memory. The Kershaws, made up of Ike and Victoria along with their teenage children Elizabeth and Isiah, were found murdered in their home along Kerr’s Creek. Neighbors and friends were stunned at the brutality of the crime, and wondered who could do such a thing. Unfortunately, those with questions would be left waiting. As we approach the 10 year anniversary of our county’s bloodiest modern crime, the mystery behind the Kershaw Family Massacre remains.
Kershaw Family Massacre
On the afternoon of June 28, 2003, young Martha Kaufmann would walk down the street to the house where her friend Lizzy Kerhsaw lived. The two had made plans to spend the day at Martha’s pool the night before. The next morning though, Martha would try texting, messaging, and then finally calling the Kershaw home when Lizzy didn’t show up. She was met with silence. Curious, she told her family where she was going and walked the half mile down the road to the Kershaw house. Martha saw both Ike and Victoria’s vehicles in the driveway, and assumed they were home. However just as with her earlier attempts, knocking on the door was met only with silence. Martha walked back to the driveway to peek into the Kershaw’s backyard, but saw and heard no one. Martha would later say she started to feel uneasy and nervous at this point, it didn’t make sense. Going back to the front door, Martha knocked once more, and then decided to look into the window beside the door to see if anyone was coming.
Martha would see something that still disturbs her to this day.
Trails of blood could be seen dripping down the stairs. Splatters on the wall. Martha screamed and ran down the driveway and into the street, not stopping until she was back home and safe. Between heavy breaths and sobs, Martha told her parents what she saw.
Police and investigators would be just as confused as Martha over the next few weeks. Nothing made sense. Everything was a question. Who did this? Who could do this? What were their reasons? Few pieces of evidence were found in the home. No murder weapon could be located. There were signs of struggles, but no signs that the place had been sacked or vandalized. If this wasn’t a robbery, does that mean it must be personal? Was one of the Kershaws the main target, or was it the whole family? Was this planned, or a random attack by a crazed psychopath?
Unfortunately the answer to all these questions remains unknown. The Kershaw Family Massacre remains one of the most disturbing cold cases in the Valley Region. There is a $50,000 reward to anyone who has relevant information to this case. Between the cash reward and improved forensics, local law enforcement hopes that at some point there will be a breakthrough, and whoever was behind these awful attacks will be brought to justice.
Until then, we are all still left waiting for answers.