Emporia, KS 66801
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GPS: 38.41031, -96.191091
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Bird Bridge is located southeast of Emporia KS. I`ve been there myself, but it was during the day so I didn`t witness anything out of the ordinary. Anyway, heres the story about it, as told on http://theshadowlands.net/places/kansas.htm
"There is an old one lane bridge in the country south of Emporia that a preacher and his mistress had drugged his wife and pushed her car over the side into the water below. Late at night, if you are in that area, you can here the screams of a woman and see an apparition walking to shore down below. There just happens to have been a movie made of the murder in this area. It is an early 80`s movie called "Murder Ordained"."
Anywho, I plan on visiting this place at night sometime, maybe a little closer to Halloween, just to see what might happen.
UPDATE: 9/11/07. Found this article at http://www.daveracer.com/sandy.htm
The morning of July 17, 1983, was hot as usual in Emporia, Kansas. Most of the city`s 25,000 residents were headed to or from its 51 churches, proud of their reputation as a community of religious people.
The Sunday service at Faith Lutheran Church was full again, just as it had been since 33-year-old Reverend Thomas P. Bird became its pastor early in 1982. This Sunday, however, Pastor Bird missed church. Earlier that morning, he called Lay Minister Don Froelich and asked him to come to his house. He told Froelich that Sandy Bird, his wife, had dropped him off at church the night before and went to Emporia State University to use the school`s computer. She did not return at 11:30 as she and Tom planned. She never came home. He asked Froelich to preach the sermon that day.
Froelich saw that Bird looked tired, worried, shaken and vulnerable, not at all the confident, strong leader he came to love and respect over the past 18 months. Froelich told Tom he would be happy to preach the sermon and tell the congregation what was happening.
During worship Froelich prayed for Sandy and Tom. After service many of the church members intended to go home, change clothes and head out to search for the pastor`s wife. They loved her as they loved Tom. Her absence could not be good news for them.
About 10:20 a.m., Brian Fletcher and his fianc%E9 parked their car near the Rocky Ford Bridge, just a few miles southeast of Emporia. The old single-lane steel structure resembles a railroad trestle than a bridge built for auto traffic. It is ugly. The bridge, which has a wooden deck, spans the swift-flowing, muddy Cottonwood River. Fletcher planned to spend the day paddling his canoe down the river.
As he approached the bridge, Fletcher looked down 65 feet to the river. There he spotted a human body. It looked like a woman lying face down in an eddy formed by a small dam made of rocks and mud. He looked again, leaning forward over the bridge and saw the underbelly of a car, partially submerged in the river. She lay in front of the car, trapped by the eddy.
Fletcher knew there was nothing he could do for the woman in the water. He drove south to the mobile home of Mark Gibbons, and they called the police. Then Fletcher and Gibbons raced back to the bridge to await the police officers. Joined by Fletcher`s fianc%E9, the three studied the accident scene.
Charles Smith, a Sergeant with the Kansas Highway Patrol, was the first officer to arrive. It was 10:52 a.m. A minute later, Kansas Highway Patrolman John Rule, an accident specialist, joined Trooper Smith at the bridge.
Rule was a veteran trooper who had responded to more than 750 auto accidents. He immediately saw that this accident was different from the others. He and Smith photographed the accident scene, took measurements and recorded other observations. They knew they had to satisfy the curiosity of many interested parties-family, insurance companies, sheriffs, coroner. Despite his experience and curiosity about the accident, Rule treated it like any other.
More law enforcement and rescue officers drove up to begin their specialized duties as part of the grim task. One of the men in the water got the okay to roll the body over. He looked into the face of a pretty young woman.
A rescue worker found the woman`s purse inside the car and took out her billfold. He passed it up to Rule who read the name on the driver`s license. It was Sandra Stringer Bird.
Trooper Smith left the accident scene and followed by Emporia Police Officer Scott Cronk, drove to 1005 Henry Street, the Bird`s house. Delivering a death message was the hardest thing Smith had to do, but he had done it before. He rehearsed the right words to say.
Pastor Bird sat in his living room near the telephone, or sometimes looking out the picture window up and down the street, hoping at any minute to see Sandy`s white Peugeot station wagon turn the corner. He felt his anxiety increase with each passing moment.
He had fed the children their breakfast and, as the morning wore on, sent them to play at a neighbor`s. Since just past midnight, he had reviewed in his mind every possible scenario. Sandy got lost. Sandy fell asleep. Sandy drove to her mother`s, "no, she would never do that." He told himself. Sandy got mugged. Sandy got kidnapped. "She would have been here with me if I would have just come home with her last night." He tried to be hopeful.
Bird`s hope was shattered when he saw the officers walk up the sidewalk. One of them carried Sandy`s purse. His long night of worry ended in the worst possible way. His heart sank.
Trooper Smith told Pastor Bird that Sandy died in a single car accident at the Rocky Ford Bridge. They said she apparently lost control of her car and it went over the edge, plunging into the water below. They had few details.
Tom saw things moving in slow motion. He stood stunned, confused and crestfallen, with the officers in front of him, but trying to visualize a bridge, a river, his wife lying next to the wreck, bruised, bloody and dead. He had questions but no answers.
Tom asked them, "What was she doing out there? We never go out there." He paused. "Well, where is it?"
Dr. Thomas Butcher, the coroner declared Sandy Bird dead at the scene. Later that day, Tom identified Sandy`s body. Dr. Juan Gabriel did an autopsy on Monday. It took a few days before Tom heard the autopsy report. Gabriel reported Sandy died from a nearly severed left kidney that caused immense internal bleeding. She bled to death, probably within 15-30 minutes of sustaining the injury.
Tom and his family buried Sandy Bird`s body on Wednesday, July 20, 1983, in Alexander, in Saline County, a suburb of her hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas. Two days later, Pastor Bird, his mother Virginia and his three children flew back to Emporia. There was a church waiting and ministry to perform. Life must go on.
Tom started the difficult task of rebuilding his life and might have been successful, except for Lyon County Sheriff Dan Andrews and Kansas Highway Patrolman John Rule. The two veteran police officers, aided by a curious gawker, saw some things at the accident scene that bothered them. By the next day, they wondered if Sandy`s death had been accident.
The officer`s hunch went unheeded until November 4, 1983, when Lorna Anderson`s depraved death scheme ended in the cold-blooded, execution-style murder of her husband Martin. Officers from two counties worked the two death investigations as one scheme twisted together. They conceived it as a torrid love affair that turned violent. Journalists, judges, prosecutors and scandal-thirsty Emporia citizens shared their hunch.
In July of 1985, a Lyon County Jury tried Thomas P. Bird for the first-degree murder of Sandy Bird. Unable to prove his innocence, the jury found him guilty.
On August 7, 1985, the State of Kansas sentenced Tom to life in prison.
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