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Pam Lychner

Pamela Sue Rogers "Pam" Lychner, born Pamela Sue Rogers[1][2] (1959 in Aurora, Illinois -July 17, 1996 (July 18 UTC)) was a Spring Valley Village, Texas, United States (near Houston) real estate agent [3] who promoted the "Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act of 1996" bill. Lychner died in the crash of Trans World Airlines Flight 800.

History

Pam Lychner, a former flight attendant for Trans World Airlines (TWA), bought a vacant house to sell in 1990.[3] When she and her husband, Joseph "Joe" Lychner[4], visited the house to meet who they believed was a prospective buyer,[5] a workman from a cleaning company named William David Kelley appeared and told the couple that he forgot to clean under the sink. Later Kelley tried to tear Pam's clothes off her body; Joe held Kelley as Pam called for help. Kelley, a convicted rapist and child molester, carried a knife and duct tape on his person and a blanket in his pickup truck. Kelley plea bargained and received a sentence of 20 years for "aggravated kidnapping with intent to commit sex assault." [6]

After the Texas Department of Criminal Justice sent a letter to the Lychner residence, notifying the household that the state nominated Kelley as a candidate for early release, Pam decided to become a "victim's rights" advocate, founding the group "Justice For All." She, as president of the group, lobbied for repealing mandatory release laws, registration of sex offenders, and the construction of more prisons. Lisa Gray of the Houston Press said that Lychner was "articulate, emotional and sure of herself, she was the blond embodiment of suburban fear of crime."[6]

Pam promoted and, according to U.S. Senators Phil Gramm and Joe Biden, crafted the language of a bill, later called the "Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act of 1996," that established a federal database for United States sex offenders.[7] In addition the bill required sex offenders who move to new locations are required to contact authorities; if they fail to do so they face fines and prison time.[6][8]

Life

At the time of her death in 1996, Pam was married to her husband Joe, and had two daughters, Shannon and Katie.[9] The family lived in Spring Valley Village, Texas. They also had a dog, a Maltese named Abbey.[10]

Death

File:TWA800reconstruction.jpg

Lychner and her daughters died on N93119, the Boeing 747-131 used for TWA Flight 800. This is a reconstruction of the wreckage at the Calverton Executive Airpark.

Shannon Evian Lychner, Pam's 10-year-old elder daughter, had copied Claude Monet's paintings, and Pam wanted to introduce her to the Giverny, Monet's former garden, located near Paris. The family created a plan for a three-day Paris trip.[11]

37 year-old Pam and her daughters, Shannon and 8-year-old Katherine Elizabeth "Katie" Lychner,[12] boarded TWA Flight 800 at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, bound for Charles de Gaulle International Airport near Paris, on July 17, 1996. N93119, the Boeing 747-131 used for Flight 800, exploded off the coast of Long Island, killing all of the passengers, including the three Lychners, and all of the crew. Joe Lychner advocated for an investigation of Flight 800.[11] According to Joe, the bodies of Pam and her daughter, Katie, were recovered during the first night of rescue efforts. On July 22, five days after the crash, the Suffolk County, New York coroners had identified Pam and Joe was summoned to confirm the identification. Days later Katie's body was positively identified,[13] and on July 28 Shannon's body was recovered. The three crash victims received burial in a family plot near Chicago, Illinois.[14]

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that a flammable mixture of air and aviation fuel vapors in the center wing fuel tank exploded, destroying the aircraft.[15]

Post-mortem recognition and legacy

File:PamLychnerdaughtersStatue.JPG

"Love's Embrace," a statue of Lychner and her daughters in Spring Valley Village, Texas, United States

After Pam and her daughters died, the United States Congress passed the "Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act of 1996."[7]

The City of Spring Valley Village posted a bronze statue of Pam and her daughters, called "Love's Embrace," at the city hall. Lisa Gray of the Houston Press described it as "shamelessly emotional, a monument to a secular saint and her daughters."[16]

Pam Lychner Unit, a state jail for men operated by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Atascocita, unincorporated Harris County, east of Humble, was named after her. A duplicate of the statue in Spring Valley Village exists near the state jail.[17][18] In July 1995,[19] the jail opened as Atascocita State Jail. After Lychner's death, the TDCJ board unanimously voted to rename the facility to Pam Lychner State Jail.[20] As of 2008 the unit is the Pam Lychner Unit.

See also


References

  1. "HC00081F." Legislature of Texas. Accessed October 30, 2008.
  2. "Photos: 10th Anniversary of Flight 800 Crash." Newsday. Accessed October 30, 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gray, Lisa. "After the Crash." Houston Press. October 23, 1997. 1.
  4. Olmeda, Rafael A. "LOCAL REV COMFORTS TWA DAD." New York Daily News. July 31, 1996.
  5. "Background Information on the Act and Its Amendments." Bureau of Justice Assistance. Retrieved on July 4, 2010.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Gray, Lisa. "After the Crash." Houston Press. October 23, 1997. 2.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Background Information on the Act and Its Amendments." Bureau of Justice Assistance of the United States Department of Justice. Accessed October 30, 2008.
  8. DeLisi, Matt and Peter Conis. Violent Offenders. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. 2008. 275.
  9. Gray, Lisa. "After the Crash." Houston Press. 1. Retrieved on July 4, 2010.
  10. Gray, Lisa. "After the Crash." Houston Press. Thursday October 23, 1997. 5. Retrieved on July 4, 2010.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Gray, Lisa. "After the Crash." Houston Press. October 23, 1997. 3.
  12. Zimmermann, Stephanie. "Aurora family copes with double disaster." Chicago Sun-Times. July 21, 1996.
  13. Gray, Lisa. "After the Crash." Houston Press. October 23, 1997. 4.
  14. Gray, Lisa. "After the Crash." Houston Press. October 23, 1997. 5.
  15. National Transportation Safety Board. "Aircraft Accident Report: In-flight Breakup Over the Atlantic Ocean Trans World Airlines Flight 800 (abstract)". NTSB Aircraft Accident Report. http://www.ntsb.gov/Publictn/2000/aar0003.htm. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  16. Gray, Lisa. "After the Crash." Houston Press. Thursday October 23, 1997. 6. Retrieved on July 4, 2010.
  17. "Saluting Employees January/February 2003." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Accessed September 12, 2008.
  18. "Lychner (AJ)." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Accessed September 12, 2008.
  19. "State Jail Evaluation Summary Report Lychner State Jail." Texas Department of Criminal Justice. October 2000. Retrieved on July 2, 2010.
  20. Texas Dept of Criminal Justice. Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Turner Publishing Company. 2004. 96.

External links

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