When answers don’t come

Published 8:17 pm Thursday, May 2, 2019

On the front page of today’s edition, the lead story attempts to summarize the findings of a two-and-a-half month investigation into the tragic death of Brenda Hamilton, and the results of that investigation leave many questions. No one can say with certainty what animal was responsible for her death.

What is certain, however, is the profound impact that she had in life. A long-time teacher at Pungo Christian Academy, Hamilton was beloved by not only friends and family, but by generations of students who called her teacher. She was a person who touched thousands of lives in her 51 years of service to PCA.

From those who knew her, she was a kind, caring and well-respected woman who put Jesus Christ at the center of her life. She was the type of person who exemplified Christian love, and it is clear that she made the world a better place.

We wish peace and healing for her family, her friends and all those who respected and loved her.

The investigation that followed Hamilton’s death fell well outside of typical law enforcement work. An attack such as the one that befell her is such a rare occurrence no one could anticipate such circumstances. The ones tasked with providing answers had no guidebook prescribing a particular course of action.

No criminal justice classes could prepare someone to investigate such a killing.

Both locally and statewide, however, one thing this investigation has revealed is that there is no established protocol for investigating this kind of incident. In terms of state law, statutes governing dangerous dogs are the closest things to any kind of guidance for this type of situation.

Whether there should be a protocol in place for this type of attack is a question for another day, but one that begs to be asked.

As to the answers of what killed Brenda Hamilton, for now, we simply don’t know. We wish we had better answers to give.