When Ruie Ann Park – a pillar of the Van Buren, Arkansas, community – was found beaten to death and lying in a pool of blood in her home, the police and local residents assumed her son was the murderer. But the years would uncover a more sinister story. Up till that night, the Park family seemed to have it all.
For 50 years, they owned and published The Press Argus newspaper. Hugh was well-connected politically and his wife, Ruie Ann, was the local historian, journalist, and teacher. They had a brilliant son and a shy adopted daughter. They built a beautiful home on top of Logtown Hill with a vista overlooking the Arkansas River, but their idyllic life ended with divorce. Ruie Ann stayed in the home, becoming bitterer and more demanding of the daughter who couldn’t match up to her beloved son. The son, Sam Hugh, had a promising legal career but his fondness for young boys, alcohol, and drugs doomed what should have been a successful law practice in his hometown. The daughter, Linda, graduated from college, married an attorney, and moved away to a small town near Little Rock. The police were baffled. Who was smart enough to hide all evidence and pass the lie-detector test? And who would want to bludgeon this mother to death?