Terry Yeakey, Always a Hero

Sept, 5, 2010 There was a great interview that Tonia (Terry’s wife) did years ago but it was in a format that I couldn’t figure out how to use.  I found the interview on You Tube.  I Highly recommended that anyone who wants to know more about what happened to Terry Yeakey, listen to this lady.
There is a reason we use the phrase “the ring of truth”.  It is because when you hear it,  it rings throughout you like a bell.  You will hear the truth ring in this lady’s voice.

Kaye

This is a reply from Ramona, sister-in-law to Terrance Yeakey, to an article I posted about his death which reeks of foul play. The original article written by Wendy Painting, is below.

I am the sister of Tonia Yeakey. SGT Terrence E. Yeakey was a brother to me and will always remain a hero in my heart and mind. The sad missing part to the story is how my sister and her two daughters have lived through this horrid true story. I have spent a few hours today looking on the internet to see if it was true that my sisters’ life story could be read at the click of a mouse. I could not believe what I began to read. The stories are almost a word for word account of my sister’s terror and nightmare online for the world to view and no one really cares that it is the truth. Blog after blog I see the truth tellers whoever they are God bless their souls for not letting go being shot down as psychos and nut jobs. My poor sister along with her in-laws have been called crazy since day one!

Anyone who knew Terry would know he loved life too much to just give it up. This man was one of the greatest people I have known in my life. Terrence E. Yeakey, the peace officer, the solider, the veteran, the son, the father, the friend, the hero, the lover of his country deserved more from his country!

I will pray that these warriors continue their crusade….they have given us something to believe again themselves!

Dear Ramona,

Thank you so much for giving me your thoughts. I want you to know that we did ask Tonia to join us and  would have loved to have had her share her account regarding Terry’s heroism in the aftermath of the OKC bombing and the trials she and her family have suffered ever since that terrible day.   She declined the invitation and I don’t fault her at all for that, she has been through hell and has been heroic herself in continuing to tell her story in spite of disturbing repercussions.  That said, if Tonia should ever be inclined to speak out once again, the door is always, very respectfully open to her.

Terry’s story has grabbed my heart and won’t let go.  Even at a glance it is painfully apparent that at the very least, this case was not handled with even a modicum of proper investigation. Upon looking more closely at the actions that followed his death and the events preceding it, I wonder how anyone could avoid developing a strong suspicion that something here is terribly, terribly wrong.

The only way for his loved ones to ever have any peace about the loss of this admirable officer would be to have an unbiased review of the circumstances that culminated in the death of Terry Yeakey by the proper authorities.  I admit that I despair of such a thing ever happening as every submission of his case results in a predictable scramble of avoidance by the professionals that prior to receiving the details seemed perfectly willing to investigate. There must be someone out there with the credentials and courage to give this case the attention that it deserves. We pray that such a person be found.

I snapped the above picture of the Medal of Valor that was belatedly bestowed to Terry Yeakey on the day of his burial.  Although the medal is breathtaking, the treatment of this man by the authorities we entrust to protect and defend us, have made a mockery of what that medal is supposed to symbolize and that is moral fortitude and courage.

There are many people, some that I am honored to count as friends, that have been trying to help this family get justice for Terry for years.  They are an inspiration to me as well.  You can be assured that although we have little power and limited resources, we will do what we can to make sure that this story does not go unvoiced or be forgotten.

It is terrible to realize that there is no guarantee of justice on this earth but I do believe with all my heart, that eventually justice will be done.

God Bless you and all who loved Terry Yeakey.

Kaye

Here is the article that she responded to;

Unanswered Questions Haunt Family of Oklahoma City Bombing First Responder.

By: Wendy S. Painting – October 28, 2009

On May 11, 1996, the New York Times ran a story with the headline – ‘A Policeman Who Rescued 4 in Bombing Kills Himself.’ Sergeant Terrance Yeakey, Oklahoma City Police Department, [OCPD] was 30 years old and was about to receive the police department’s Medal of Valor for his heroic rescue efforts the day of the Oklahoma City bombing, which occurred on April 19, 1995. Instead, his mother – Loudella – was given the Medal of Valor at Sgt. Yeakey’s graveside burial ceremony just hours before the official awards ceremony would take place in Northeast Oklahoma City at the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Complex.

IMG_1327

Yeakey was the first to arrive on the scene that terrible day and saved the lives of (8) – eight people from the rubble of the building and the horrific effects of the explosion. The article says Yeakey committed suicide because he was living emotional pain because he could not do more to help the people injured in the bombing, and that he was suffering from intense survivor guilt which he was unable to manage.

But others in Oklahoma City, including the family of Terrance Yeakey, claim that his death was not a suicide at all, but a brutal murder, and indicate that local law enforcement were complicit in covering up this murder.

On September 26, 2009 the Yeakey family spoke out for the first time on video for an interview with journalists from the talk radio show – Radio Free Oklahoma [www.radiofreeoklahoma.net] and an American Studies PhD student from the University of Buffalo who is writing her dissertation on the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

What these researchers found was that
the facts surrounding Yeakey’s death are quite disturbing, and that the treatment of the Yeakey family in the aftermath of the death was beyond appalling.


[Terry Yeakey and family – awards ceremony / reception – 1995]

It is important to note how, exactly, how Yeakey is supposed to have killed himself. He was said to have slit his wrists and neck, causing him to nearly bleed to death in his car, and then miraculously climbed over a barbed wire fence. He then was purported to have walked over 1-1/4 miles distance, through a nearby field, eventually shooting himself in the side of the head at an unusual angle.

Startlingly, no weapon was found at the scene of the body, no investigation was conducted, no fingerprints taken, and no interviews with family members or friends were conducted to try and determine why Yeakey would have been suicidal, or if he had, in fact, been suicidal at all. Instead, the conclusion that Yeakey’s death was a suicide was reached immediately, without an autopsy.

Yeakey had witnessed things during his response to the bombing which did not agree with the ‘official version’ of events touted by the national media and law enforcement at that time. Yeakey was in the process of collecting evidence which supported and documented the inconsistencies he witnessed the morning of the bombing at the scene itself.

Far from being suicidal, Yeakey was in the process of achieving some major life goals. He was scheduled to be interviewed a final time with the FBI in Irving, TX. He and was planning on working for the FBI in Dallas and moving there with his sister and brother in law. Yeakey, a Gulf War – I veteran who had served as an M.P. for two years in Saudi Arabia, was also a seven year veteran of the OCPD and had just been promoted to Sergeant [November of 1995]

Several weeks before his death he had been awarded the Key to the City of El Reno, OK for his heroism during the aftermath of the OKC bombing. [See photo above taken after that awards ceremony.] Additionally, Yeakey and had reconciled with ex-wife and plans were set to remarry her shortly after his move to Dallas, TX.

Despite all of this, Yeakey was living under constant scrutiny for his refusal to go along with official versions of events during and after the OKC bombing; and because of his refusal to change his story about what he saw that fateful day, he was the target of horrific persecution from his brothers in law enforcement – up to and including OCPD Chief Sam Gonzales, his C.O. – Lt. Joann Randall and alleged ‘good friend’ David Ramsey and several others on the force at that time.

Although he was looking forward to his new job with the FBI, Yeakey was described by his family as a man who was also living in great fear at this time, and who was preoccupied with the harassment he was being subjected to on a daily basis. When Yeakey showed up to his oldest sister’s home the evening before his alleged suicide; he was physically ill. When she attempted to take him to the emergency room, Yeakey would not allow this because, he told her, “they can find me there.” Yeakey never told her who “they” were in an attempt to protect her. Yeakey left his sister’s house that evening, and was found dead the next day in a remote field in El Reno, Oklahoma less than two miles from the front gate of the El Reno Federal Penitentiary; thirty-two miles due west of the OKC bombing site in downtown Oklahoma City.

Immediately after his family was notified of Terrance Yeakey’s death they insisted that they did not believe Yeakey had killed himself. Their conclusion was based on the manner of death, Yeakey’s personality, his recent statements about the future, and the lack of investigation and autopsy. At first they tried to get answers. Why wasn’t there a proper investigation? Where was the weapon he shot himself with? Why wasn’t an autopsy conducted? As they asked questions in the following days, they would sometimes be approached by others in the police department, who told them in no uncertain terms, but off the record, that Yeakey had been murdered. As a result of their inquiries they were harassed and followed by Oklahoma City police and others. Unmarked cars sat in front of their homes for hours and this stalking was caught on video by the family. Shortly after his death, Yeakey’s ex-wife had her home broken into and a balloon was left in her house. Written on the balloon in black marker were the words, “we know where you are.” This harassment and surveillance had a chilling effect on the surviving Yeakey family and on their inquiries into Terrance’s death, which were in effect shut down… until now, fourteen years after the fact.


[The Yeakey Family, September 2009]

Yeakey’s 91 year old grandmother, Mary Kuykendahl – [at far right] says that it is important that she knows who killed her grandson and implores anyone who can help her: “From my heart I want something to happen to show he had no right to be killed. His life was taken away for nothing.”

His oldest sister, Vikki Yeakey – [at far left],
speaking out again after all of these years, states that she knew as soon as she was told by the OCPD that Yeakey had committed suicide that it untrue, “I screamed out ‘He didn’t take his life. Someone murdered him.”

Yet detectives told her that she was crazy and that she watched too much television. “I had just seen him the night before. He was mentally fine…I wanted answers that night.” But, she says, they rushed her through the paperwork all the while telling her she was “crazy.” She asks, “Who was he running from? Who was he trying to protect?…I am doing this interview to reach out to the world, to anyone that can help.”

Another sister, Lashawn Hargrove [second from left] says, “He was an awesome older brother. He was always all about his work. He was serious about being a cop.” When she received news of his death she says she dropped the phone and “began to sob.” She felt nauseous. She needed to get to her family. Later OKCPD would approach her and say “sorry for your loss,” but soon after, she says, the family was told that they needed to “keep our mouths shut,” and were continuously told that the death was a suicide. She feels that her brother’s death deserves answers and an investigation that were never provided, “I want justice for his life. He needs to have his story told. I wish I had him back.”

When Yeakey’s mother, received a call notifying her of the death she was told by the OKCPD not to drive anywhere and that a car would come to pick her up. This was around 10 PM, but by 1 AM the promised transportation had not arrived. In fact, they never showed up for Yeakey’s grieving mother, “No one ever came.” Yeakey’s mother says that for the last fourteen years she has been “going over and over something I don’t believe to be true. I believe it to be murder. I don’t know who did it. [That’s] why we need answers…you need to put your child to rest and without knowing what happened [we can’t]…I vowed I will never give up. I need answers. If there’s ANYONE who could help I would appreciate it.”

The family says that the death of Yeakey is a taboo subject in Oklahoma City. There is a saying: “if you don’t want the Terry Yeakey done to you…keep your mouth shut.”

Yeakey is not the only suspicious death which has occurred do to the attempt to find answers about the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and it is not the only one to be called a suicide; the strange and grisly torture/murder of Kenneth Trentadue being another. The suspicious death of Kenneth Trentadue at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Center in August 1995 would be ruled a suicide despite the opinion of the Dr. Frederick Jordan – the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner. [see: http://kennethtrentadue.com/ ]. After examining the body of this brother, it became clear to attorney Jesse Trentadue that his brother had been tortured and murdered. Jesse had received chilling information from Timothy McVeigh (convicted and executed for his role in the 1995 bombing) that his brother’s murder was related to the bombing and its subsequent (mis)investigation. Subsequently, Jesse began a quest to determine why exactly his brother had died, leading him to file many Freedom of Information Act Requests about the bombing and related matters. After filing a wrongful death lawsuit the Trentadue family was rewarded $1.1 million dollars for emotional distress caused by the authorities mishandling of the death. On September 28, 2009, attorney Jesse Trentadue made national news when portions of surveillance tapes of the bombing were begrudgingly released by the FBI under the orders a federal judge.

Like Jesse Trentadue and those who lost family members in the Oklahoma City bombing, the surviving family of Terrance Yeakey also seek answers which they feel will help them achieve closure, justice and peace of mind.

Help this Family of a true Oklahoma hero. Please consider donating to the Terrance Yeakey Truth Legal Fund. Go to http://www.tytruth.com

11 responses to “Terry Yeakey, Always a Hero

  1. Never forget that Terry died for the truth, something that the posturing authorities care not a whit for.

  2. Hello Kaye,

    Fantastic work with responding to Tonya’s sisters comments above. It’s an absolute honor to have you on board and helping us and the family find out as much of the ENTIRE truth about Terry’s brutal torture, murder and what really happened during the hours and minutes leading up to his death on May 8, 1996. I consider it an honor to work on this case and to have you helping our large group and the family makes it that much more honorable.

    C.

  3. Robert Knight

    I was in 5th grade at Mustang Trails Elementary, and officer Yeakey was my D.A.R.E. officer. We watched Gruff McGruff movies while he and my teacher would joke around. He was the nicest man I have ever met in my life, to this day. Was the Patriot Act really worth it?
    The American Government has.. well, in a word, betrayed us.

  4. I was in the 4th grade at Santa Fe Elementary in Moore (I believe) and he was our D.A.R.E. Officer as well. I remember him being THE BEST role model & THE BEST motivator I met in my times in school. He was always truely happy and reminded us to never give up and to stand for what we believe. My brother is trying to get into law inforcement now & Officer Yeakey is one of the main reasons he was intigued. For something this aweful to happen to such a strong & good man is tragic & wrong. I truely believe in my heart he was murdered, he would have NEVER “given up” on life they way they are stating he did. That would have completely contradited what he was teaching all of us. I pray they reopen this case and bring justice to the creeps that did those horrible acts of cruelity to him & taking him from his family!

  5. Thank you Kara, for sharing your recollections about Officer Yeakey. By all accounts, he was someone very special and the fact that his life continues to inspire others has to be the very highest honor anyone could be given.

    The people that knew and loved Terry along with a host of justice seekers will never stop trying to bring his case into the light.

    Thank you!
    AxXiom

  6. I just wanted to say thank you Kaye, for your acknowledgements, to the entire family, of Officer Yeakey. I would like to also thank you Tonia, for being a great role model to me and for bringing Terry into our lives. Although his time with us felt cut short he left a deep impression, on everyone he met and beautiful children, to last us a lifetime. Thank you Robert and Kara, for sharing your life stories related to your interactions, with Office Yeakey. Robert and Kara you have warmed my heart, and have brought tears of joy to my eyes. I am truly grateful that the two of you would feel moved enough, about this issue, to take time out of your busy lives, to share your life events and investigate Officer Yeakey’s untimely death further. Both of you are GREAT AMERICANS! Being a D.A.R.E. Officer was one part of Officer Yeakey’s job that wasn’t work to him. In Officer Yeakey’s opinion, “There is no such thing as a bad child”, he would say, “Just bad role models.” Officer Yeakey often spent his free time in local schools, parks, and gyms, teaching and mentoring youth and young adults, about making safe and smart choices, in various cities of Oklahoma. The great state of Oklahoma owes Officer Yeakey a fair shake. This country, on which we stand, to whom Officer Yeakey pledged his allegiance to owes Officer Yeakey a fair shake, as well. However, Officer Yeakey is no longer here, to accept the fair shake due to him. Again, my thanks to you Kaye, for your time and efforts, in helping bring forth truth, while so many others continue, to ignore what is as plain as the nose, on their faces.

  7. Thank you for hanging in there Ramona.
    I know there are many who were touched by Officer Yeakey. He did good work in his short time.

    God Bless You and all who loved him.
    Kaye

  8. I BECAME FRIENDS WITH TERRY IN THE 7TH GRADE(1978). HE WAS THE NICEST MOST FRIENDLY PERSON I HAVE EVER KNOWN. IN 1982 WE BOTH WORKED PARTIME JOBS AT KFC IN EL RENO AND TERRY WOULD SAVE HIS DINNER FOR HIS MOM(JAUNITA) ALMOST EVERY NITE AND TAKE IT HOME TO HER. IN 1994 TERRY WORKED AT THE CENTER OF FAMILY LOVE IN OKARCHE WITH MY MOM AND THEY WOULD RIDE TO WORK TOGETHER.SHE ALWAYS TALKED ABOUT TERRY AND HOW MUCH SHE LOVED HIM. TERRY LOVED LIFE AND THE LAST TIME I SAW HIM HE WAS THE SAME OLE TERRY I HAD KNOWN FOR YEARS. THERE IN NO WAY TERRY WOULD HAVE KILLED HIMSELF OR BEEN SELFISH IN ANY WAY. FOR MANY YEARS HIS DEATH HAS BOTHERED ME NOW I KNOW WHY. I WISH I COULD HELP HIS FAMILY AND THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA KNOW THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT REALLY HAPPENED! WE LOVE YOU TERRY AND YOU HAVE OUR RESPECT!!!!!!!!!!! GAYLYN(BLEIGH) REEVES

  9. Dear Gaylyn,
    Thank you for adding your thoughts here. Everyone that knew him seemed to think the world of him and none that I have met believes he took his own life.
    I pray that the truth comes out.
    Thank you,
    Kaye

  10. I have not spoken publicly about Terry since the interview from 1997 that Kaye referred to on this site. I cried though, when I read Gaylyn’s post today. Terry truly loved his adopted mother Juanita just as much as Gaylyn talks about Juanita loving him. Everything that was good and selfless in him came from her. I spent six months living with Juanita while Terry served in Desert Storm in 1991 – just to keep her company and both of our minds off Terry being gone. We became very close and some of my fondest memories in my life are from that time. Thank you for the funny and touching memories of both him and her. They were both one of a kind. “Snooks” (Terry’s nickname for his mom) is missed as much as her son.

  11. It is apparent to anyone whith good common sense this man was murdered and an investigation should be launched to find out who did it. God demands justice and that we fight evil. I plan on doing what I can to find out more , and uncover the truth. He deserves nothing less. God bless his family. What a good man he was!

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