Collateral Damage

Based on an episode of Stalked: Someone’s Watching

Her marriage went down the drain. When she meets another man, she finds happiness again. Until her estranged husband finds out. That’s when her life takes a turn for the worse. The true story of Rachel Wilson.

She got phone calls. A screaming voice on the other end of the line.
“You stupid bitch.”
“Fuck you.”
“I love you so much, I don’t want to fucking live. I hate you.”
Some of the words she had to listen to.


Back in time
In 2001, Rachel, a 21 year-old woman from Iowa, goes to work at the US Air Force. She joins because of September 11 and she wants to be in the military. She gets stationed at Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma City.
By 2004, she’s a divorced single mother and she juggles between the care of her child and her job.
One day she meets Darrell Wilson, 28, a mechanic, and they immediately hit if off. He has a child as well. Together they have a family of four and they also get a child of their own. For a while everything goes great.
Then Darrell starts to act unreasonably jealous and doesn’t treat her well anymore. Rachel gets suspicious. She checks his phone while he’s sleeping and discovers something shocking to her. Darrell’s the one who’s untrustworthy. His phone’s overloaded with messages between him and other women, even prostitutes. That’s it for Rachel and Darrell has to leave.

It’s not the end. They get back together, because Rachel is pregnant again. She feels she has to forgive Darrell and make her family work. After their second child is born, Darrell is anything but fun to be around. Everything seems to irritate and annoy him. He becomes verbally abusive with Rachel and the kids.

They reach december 2010 together, but Rachel’s done with this abusive marriage and she separates from him. Darrell isn’t happy, but he does accept. The co-parenting plan functions fine.

Meeting someone new
Rachel wants it to stay this way. The marriage between her and Darrell is over, as far she’s concerned.
A new man comes along, in february 2011. She meets him during a night out. Bill Simon is 23, tall and very cute looking. Rachel’s taken by his humor and his intelligence. Bill wants to make something of his life and he’s well on his way. And now he has a girlfriend too, because he and Rachel enjoy each other’s company greatly. She keeps this dating, turned into a relationship, a secret for Darrell for over a year.
He finds out in the summer of 2012 and he isn’t a happy camper.

He doesn’t accept her moving on. It was perfectly acceptable for him to cheat on her during their marriage, while they still were together. But when they separated and she found someone else later, that wasn’t acceptable to him. Then he realised, she wouldn’t take him back again. Ever. He no longer had control over her and he couldn’t let that happen.
He starts a stalking campaign.

The stalking
He overflows Rachel with calls and text messages. One morning she had a total of 72 missed calls and dozens of text messages.
“Rachel, you don’t give two ***** about me. You’re all that matters to me, do you not understand?” He almost screams with a high-pitched voice.
She was beginning to, but he didn’t understand some things as well. That she factly had every right to move on, to start a new relationship.
In Darrell’s mind it never had been over. He always had in mind, they would get back together. Now she has a new man, he knows she won’t come back to him. Thus he feels rejected, abandoned and without control. A character like him can’t handle those feelings. He’s spinning out of control more and more.

He not only stalks Rachel, he starts to do the same thing to Bill. A couple of confrontations take place between the two of them. On October 28, 2012 Darrell even busts down the door at Rachel’s house, where she and Bill are celebrating Rachel’s birthday with the kids. Darrell had called shortly before, drunk, and got told definitely not to come over. Of course he didn’t listen and arrived in a blind rage. He made a big scene, threatening to kill himself with pills, screaming and wrestling with Bill he couldn’t overpower. Rachel calls 911.

It ends in the arrest of Darrell on DUI charges. After, he ends up in a mental hospital for 72 hours. He even goes that far to try to get his five-year old daughter to say Bill has sexual abused her, but that fails. Bill was outraged the seeds of this idea were being planted into the mind of a five-year old. He becomes very worried. How far is Darrell willing to go?

On december 4, it’s finally time for legal action. Despite the order of protection that Rachel gets granted to keep Darrell away, he ignores it at least eight times in the following weeks. They also had wanted one for Bill, but because he didn’t have relations with Darrell before, it doesn’t happen.
Although Rachel calls the police every time Darrell violates the emergency order, the police can’t find him to make an arrest.

The showdown
December 21, Rachel and her boyfriend are sleeping.
They wake up in the early hours of the morning because someone is in their bedroom, screaming at them.

‘Wake up, fuck heads!’
Startled they sit up in their bed and see Darrell standing there, with a gun. Before they can get out of bed and get themselves to safety, Darrell fires the gun and shoots Bill. Then he pulls Rachel off the bed by her hair. They struggle for the gun and Rachel gets shot in the hand. Darrell makes sure Rachel can’t get away or do anything to prevent him firing at Bill again. He shoots him twice in the head.

Rachel hears Bill making loud breathing noises, he’s still alive. Thank god!
The next moment she gets dragged downstairs and out of the house, still threatened by the gun. Darrell forces her in his car and rapes her with the gun to her temple.

When he’s done with her, he posts a message on Facebook stating he just has raped his wife, killed her boyfriend and now is going to kill himself. Someone who sees that message calls 911. When the police arrives, they flash their lights. Darrell gets distracted and Rachel is able to flee. Before the police can get to Darrell, he has jumped in his car and taken off. During the wild chase, near the Oklahoma River, Darrell shoots himself and he crashes the car into a bridge, with a 120 miles per hour speed. He’s dead.

Unfortunately, so is Bill. The police finds him dead in the bedroom.
Rachel is devastated. His dead weighs heavily on her.
“Bill wouldn’t have been dead if he didn’t know me. Bill’s dead because of me and that’s an enormous burden.”
Of course it isn’t her fault. It’s all Darrell’s.
From her point of view, it’s her feeling and she can’t help but feel guilt.
No one, no word, can ease that for her.

One year later
Rachel tries to move on, she has her children to take care for, but it’s a struggle.
After what she’s been through, that’s really tough.
She moved away from Oklahoma and went to live closer to her family.
Her strength and her children will probably help her go on, but she never can completely recover from the psychological scars.

The pictures in the above image are stills from the program and belong to the rightful owners.
The image itself is ‘a Mirjam Penning’ creation.
NOTE: I haven’t added a picture of Bill, but he surely was a victim in this tragedy.

10 comments on “Collateral Damage
  1. Wow! It’s a very frightening and compelling account — especially since it is a true story. Hopefully, writing about this will help other victims of domestic abuse and violence before something tragic happens.

  2. Thanks for commenting on the subject and for reading the article, Peggi.
    Domestic violence is a major issue in every country on the planet, unfortunately.
    And stalking can turn deadly as well in several cases. In this case both were going on.
    When I saw this segment of the program, I had to write about it.
    Not long before I had written a general piece about Domestic Violence:

  3. If only people would watch the signs, and listen to their inner voice. Domestic violence is no joke, people think its easy to walk away. First, one definitely needs a plan. Great story!

    • You’re definitely right about the underestimation a lot of people have in this issue world wide.
      It’s not easy or safe to stay, but it certainly is even more unsafe to leave. As soon as an abusive controlling partner looses control over the partner, which automatically happens when someone leaves and tries to build a new life, you’re in dangerous territory for a certain amount of time. If the efforts to regain control are not working out as the abusive partner wants it to work out repercussions usually take place. How severe depends on the character of the ex (abusive) partner.
      In some cases I came across, even a plan or cautious behaviour could not prevent something disastrous happening to the partner that left. You see it coming as an onlooker, but in no way the expected coming event(s) seem possible to turn around.
      Some men or even women are not willing to let go a previous partner until they’re dead. It’s sad and it happens way too often.

  4. Reasonably Certain says:

    Ms. Mirjam,

    I just came across this article. Thank you for writing it. It’s clear that you truly “get” domestic violence. I was very close to this situation, and knew most of the parties involved.

    Obviously, a 22-minute television program, on which you based your writing, cannot convey the full story, but this one was at least halfway close. One thing that is omitted, and is upsetting as it makes them look like hapless fools, are the details of and the degree to which Bill & Rachel took their safety planning:

    – Changed locks twice at Rachel’s house
    – Revamped home alarm system to include motion sensors and glass-break detector (and ergo the reason Darrell duct taped the basement window – this prevented the system from detecting the audial frequency of breaking glass)
    – Obtained pepper spray and military-grade CS gas
    – Obtained high-powered stun gun
    – Obtained two handguns, with which they both trained and then rather ingeniously hid in Rachel’s bedroom
    – Safety planned with us friends, family, neighbors, the childrens’ school, and extracurricular activities (Boy Scouts, etc.)

    Another point of irritation for all of us is that the show stated that the couple “finally” felt it necessary to involve police in December 2012. This untrue, and frankly ridiculous. Most people view calling the police, especially for domestic matters, as a last resort, Bill & Rachel included. We learned in the aftermath that they called police 26 times during the stalking phase, 26 LAST RESORTS, including a wild police chase in November 2012, during which Darrell theatened to kill himself, reaching speeds of over 100 mph, and brandished weapons at police (a detailed account of this and many other incidents were included in their protective order narratives). This was the incident that resulted in Darrell being involuntarily committed (for a mere five days!).

    It also omitted how heavily Darrell’s family was involved in the incidents he caused, including a plot to drug Rachel and kidnap all of the children, and (worst of all) leaving him all alone at Christmas, something that he told everyone in the weeks leading up to that night, anyone who would listen, would be very upsetting to him . . . in a house full of guns.

    Darrell even hardwired a GPS tracking device into Rachel’s vehicle. Bill found it sometime after the protective order, and did some research: The device costs $39.99 and included three months of free online monitoring. Things like this, and the relative ease of obtaining them, tip the scale heavily in favor of the stalker.

    Finally, one of THE most irksome things that was reported incorrectly: The police were not “looking for” Darrell. Even after reporting all the protective order violations, up to and including the day he broke in (and some were electronic, and thus easily proved), they were flatly told that the police had more important things to do; Darrell was considered “non-violent” (what a joke), and thus shunted off as a low priority. A warrant for his arrest had not even been issued; it was “in the works”. So many “if onlys” . . .

    It is easy to look at the situation from start to finish, with all the “red flags” and say, “Um, duh. It’s so obvious that this was going to happen, inevitable really. They should have known better, should have been more careful.” But, I feel I knew Darrell fairly well, and I feel that I can speak for most people who knew him when I say that I (still) cannot believe that he did this. Even WITH all the “warning signs” . . . that was not the Darrell that ANYONE knew, so completely out of character. In all his life, including his previous marriage in which his ex-wife left him for another man, he never even remotely displayed behavior such as this. Not ever. Not even during previous separations with Rachel (of which there were many).

    The bottom line is that you just never know. No one wants to, or can, believe that a former life partner, especially the mother/father of one’s children, is capable of extreme violence. Even with caution and careful planning, a smart and determined stalker will find a way, unless something big prevents s/he from doing so (a gun, an arrest with accompanying stay at the local jail, etc.). When mental illness is added to the mix, it’s even more of a crapshoot. Unfortunately, the only thing one can is prepare as best as possible, and hope for the best.

    • Thank you for adding to the story I wrote in an effort to make it more complete and accurate. I appreciate it.
      It might be that the former break-ups didn’t seem so definite to him than this one, with a new serious boyfriend in the picture as well.
      One would think, though, that stalking and domestic violence behaviors would be higher on the police priority list in the time frame this happened.
      If it had been the ’90’s or even the first half of 2000 it would not surprise me that the police ‘had better things to do’. Still a lot of work to do to give this big society issue the priority it needs.

      • lcm123 says:

        Just remember there are 3 sides to the story.Hers,his,and the truth.Darryl is not here to tell his side of the story. She is not an innocent victim here.I knew Darrell for 30 years. He was one of the nicest people I had ever met. Just remember you are only hearing her side of the story.

      • Icm123, thank you for your reply. I appreciate it. I get what you mean with hers, his and the truth. Although I prefer to see it like this: her subjective, his subjective and the bare facts. No, he isn’t here to tell his side, but he chose to not be here for his own reasons. I respectfully disagree that she’s not an innocent victim. Of course, I based my story on a television segment that was more her point of view. She basically was the only one left to tell the story. And media can have their facts wrong and/or stray from the truth to make a dramatized or more sensational piece. I understand that. And because I depend on that media to write a blog article, mistakes or strayings will or can happen in my stories as well. That’s not because I don’t care about the facts aka the truth and just am after sensation. On top of that, I’m not a journalist or reporter. I won’t show up at people’s doorsteps with a camera and a microphone to get a statement from the (surviving) witnesses. That already has been done by others before I came in. I mostly have written about cases that happened in the US and..I don’t live there. That’s why I couldn’t interview people easily myself. To get back to her not being an innocent victim and disagreeing to that is because there were enough facts in my opinion that I say she is one. Sure, one can argue what exactly innocent is. To me it certainly seemed Darryl was the agressor here. No, I never knew him. Certain behaviour of him I do know about and I had my general opinion about that. I think I was fair in my blog article.

  5. James Caldarone says:

    I personally knew both of them and this article is a load of bullshit, I do not want to down anyone but you should get the real facts not some made up bullshit story, all three of them are at fault. You want the real facts talk to Gabbi she lived in that dirty ass house.

    • I appreciate your effort to leave a comment.
      However, obviously, I can’t do much with ‘this is a load of bullshit’. I would expect that someone then would point out what ‘points’ are incorrect. You’re still welcome to do that.
      Even Gabbi, if she would want to.
      If it can be done in a civilized manner, though. I’m not too fond of passive/agressive talk like ‘load of bullshit’, ‘bullshit story’, ‘dirty ass house’ kind of talk.

      On a side note. You do realise this was only based on a 20 minute tv program I watched, right? Of course I missed info and for sure since I’m depended on online sources, I’ll have details here and there that aren’t completely correct. That’s basically unavoidable, unfortunately.

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