Rest in peace, Cookie

Today, in 1986, a friend of mine named Betty Jean “Cookie” Hollis was found dead at a pavilion in a local park. Her clothes were on inside out, she showed signs of rape and was strangled. The night before, my mother’s boyfriend’s cousin showed up at our door at 12:45 AM in a state of panic, his clothes were inside out, and he asked to talk to my mom’s boyfriend. Of course, he was sleeping on the sofa recovering from a party that night that involved grain alcohol, PCP, marijuana and cocaine that took place in my mother’s home where I lived. I told him that my mother’s boyfriend was sleeping. He asked me to tell him once he got up in the morning that he had been to visit. When Cookie was found, I knew that the visit was somehow involved. Against my mother’s advice not to be “a snitch” or a “narc”, I went to the police station and told them what had happened that night when he showed up at the door.

Two weeks later he was arrested for murder and rape, but he got out on bail. For the next two months, until he was convicted in September of 1987, he constantly threatened to kill me and often banged on windows and the air conditioner asking me to open the door and talk to him. I called the police every single time it happened. I testified in court about what time he came to the door, what he was wearing, and answered a stupid question from the defense lawyer. After he was convicted and sentenced to 25-45 years in prison, he called me through my mother’s boyfriend and told me that he was going to kill me at soon as he got out. I have never forgotten that. All my life I made sure to have private unlisted phone numbers.

Now that we have technology and for a price anyone, I MEAN ANYONE, can get my address, phone number, credit report, background check, and other personal information on the internet. On this day, every year, I take a moment to remember Cookie and to remain vigilant that one day I may get a very unpleasant knock on my door. There is nothing I can do to keep my address and personal information out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have it. Think about that the next time privacy laws get shelved or are not voted on by your representative in the House and Senate. I do every single day. Rest in peace, Cookie, you are not forgotten.

By Michele Kalis


  1. Thank you, Pattie! 🙂

  2. Very powerful post.

  3. Nakisha debooth says:

    First off I know angelo was wrong for dealing with a minor… But none of u know wat really happen u wasnt there… Angelo is my father I know was wrong but ppl make mistakes but u learn n move on… I understand u miss ur friend wat happen was a terrible but think of his family… Im sorry for ur loss but its been 26 years…

    • You know, I did think of his family and I certainly did think of him. I thought of him enough to think about writing him. I have had a lot support with Cookie’s death over the years and time DOES NOT heal wounds at all. Those wounds remain when one thinks about where Cookie might have been 26 years later, with children, a family of her own, and a college degree perhaps. That will never happen because she was stolen from us too soon. As for your father, I am sure that time has brought him some change, but the chances of a violent offender rehabilitating is very, very low and the chances of the violence rearing it’s ugly head is very good. I do not believe, and maintain strong opinions, that prison or incarceration doesn’t help people learn from their mistakes but is more likely to create more criminal behavior. I believe that Sonny would have better been served with anger management and intensive therapy to get to the point of his violence and how to do actions instead of reactions, because that’s what violence is.

      The word on the street at the time, when Sonny was banging on my air conditioners to talk to him, was that he wanted to eliminate me as a witness because I went against “family” as Ike was living with my mother. Whether what happened in Schlegel’s Park was rape or he accidentally choked her with his penis, murder is murder. As I have also said, I do not believe incarceration helps anyone, even murderers like Sonny, rehabilitate. I don’t believe rehabilitation can be completely possible for him, but I hope that in 2032 he does not make good on his threat to kill me at that time as I do have a means in which to protect myself if it should happen. I also don’t feel by any strong means of emotion, that you should ever stop loving and supporting him Nakisha. I hope that you continue to strongly direct him once he is released, to get the help he desperately needs to stop his cycle of violence.

      My deepest most heartfelt condolences to you family for their suffering during these 26 years. I wish you all to be blessed. May God bless you and those you love, and those that love you.

  4. Joseph ferrante says:

    I remember this crime it was at the park right after you cross the bridge. Nobody should ever live in fear. You did an honorable thing. God will watch over you.🙏🙏

  5. All they have to do is look up my name in the transcript of the trial or in newspaper articles, find a site that helps you find people for the price one is willing to pay and they can have your background check, known address, known phone number, and various other sundry details. If you’re not concerned about it there is a way to get your information too no matter if your moniker is ABCDE or something equally as silly. ISP addresses can be traced, identified and easily tracked to find out who you are and where you live. When it happens to you one day, then you’ll be the first crowing about how terrible privacy laws are. And if you aren’t concerned now, you will be when it happens to you. A person can download a malware program onto your computer and steal your identity. There are a multitude of ways your life can be ruined by the failure of privacy laws governing the internet and internet services.

  6. Tell ’em Michele! Some people are just ignorant and rude. ~P.


  1. […] who is really concerned about her personal information getting out wouldn’t have their real name and other information posted on the internet where anyone can […]

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