You see, my old post of seven months ago is suddenly very relevant to the news-of-the-day. In the last week, I have been contacted by several reporters because of my seven-month-old blog post. I was an acquaintance and co-worker of Linda Mayfield back in the 1980’s. She and her husband suddenly disappeared in 1985. Then, ten years later, Linda’s husband’s bones turn up having been buried in their yard. This old mystery is suddenly in the news again:
I only met Linda’s husband, John Sohus, once or twice. I NEVER met this "Christopher Chichester" (Clark Rockefeller) character. Nor did I ever hear of him (as Chichester) until I saw the "Unsolved Mysteries" TV show on the story, ten or fifteen years ago.
By way of thanks to panlives, I am reprinting here, whole, the story that he had to cut into two parts to fit into the comment section of my seven-month-old blog post.
What brought me here was your posting about Cody back in January. I have always wondered what happened to her. I was talking with her every few days before she dropped out of sight. I bought one of her pieces that she had at Worldcon (LACon) '84. I met her as she was doing teardown at the art show. We talked about her technique (using soft pencil to get a painted look) and that I would like to get a commission piece going. That, and I was also associated with a centaur-art zine called the Centaur's Gatherum Newsletter, which I thought would be a great place to feature her work.
She said that she was going to be busy until after thanksgiving (LosCon), but after that she'd be open to doing a commission or two.
In mid-December I called and we started working on things. She sent me a bunch of B/W preliminary drawings for some centaurs that were being done for another person (who I also knew). We used them as starting points - like one from column A, two from column B to help her compile a new character and pick a background. The process went along fine, stretching out to late January - me calling and after a short time she sending a copy of a sketch via US Mail. Through a few iterations. We were almost ready to go on it when, around the end of January, she got hard to reach. I called, waited, called. Called over to Dangerous Visions to see if she was there. She had been there the day before. She had mentioned that DV wasn't really what she wanted to be doing, but it was work.
So I called again and this time got her. She sounded frazzled and told me that her husband was in NY and that he had been offered a job doing some classified work. I said "Cool! What?" and she said that it had something to do with satellites but she wasn't sure. She said that it was exciting but that she wasn't happy having to drop everything and move on such short notice. She promised me that, as soon as they got settled in at the other end, she would call and we could pick back up on the commission.
I thought "that was weird", but thought that they'll make a lot of money in the short term doing tech stuff for the government...
A month goes by. I figured that "Hey, moving's a bitch" and that it was probably more chaotic than they thought. Then another month. Now I am starting to get a little nervous. After all the time talking about artwork and other stuff, I felt like she was sort-of a friend and I wondered if everything was ok.
A little later and I started calling south again. First to Dangerous Visions - nothing. Then I looked up the only Sohus in that area which turned out to be John's mother. I called, expecting to be embarrassed about being such a worrier (which I am, pretty much all of the time). She, Ruth, answered. I told her who I was and that I was wondering if everything was ok. She immediately broke down in tears and said that she didn't know where he was or what was going on. It got a little incoherent and France came up. I said "France? I thought they were working in NY?" She just kept crying. I told her that I would do what I could to find out what I could. I did searches on the internet (such as it was at the time). I had a friend, who had access to AP and UPI archives, run a search for Cody and Sohus. Nothing applicable came up. I contacted all of the SF art editors that I knew back east and they hadn't heard of her.
So, being 500+ miles away. I gave up. Ever since then people would send me updates, like when the excavation happened. I thought "that's not good" but at the time I hadn't heard that it was confirmed as human bones.
So last night I click on a Yahoo News piece about some German guy - and it turns out to be about Linda and John! I have no idea why I even clicked on it because, as you know, most news is newsertainment and not worth the sectors they use.
Anyway. That started the whole thing up for me again. I called the LA County Sheriffs office and emailed over some notes and handwriting references. Told them what little I knew. Both of us wished that PacBell kept electronic call records after all this time. (I still have their phone numbers on file)
I was wondering, with your connection to Dangerous Visions, did you hear that she had quit or just stopped showing up for work? I know that it doesn't really make much difference, but I just thought that I would ask. By the way, in all the times that Linda and I had talked, and non-art topics came up, I never heard one word about the German guy. So I doubt that they were all "pals".
Well, that's it for me. I am crappy about posting things to LJ. I do have a myspace page (big deal :-) which also doesn't get updated much. I just have a hard time thinking that day-to-day stuff is interesting for other people. I may just not have the "knack" :-)
By way of answer to the question that PanLives poses in the penultimate paragraph above, I responded in my email to him: I was no longer working at DV when Linda went missing. My understanding is that Lydia Marano got no advance warning that Linda was going to leave. PanLives may have gotten more advance information than Lydia Marano got.
That Linda Mayfield was an artist (under the name Cody) is one of the most under-reported pieces of information regarding Linda Mayfield. I do not possess any of her art, but some of her art can be seen here.
Thank you, PanLives!
--Pip R. Lagenta