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Diary: Crystal Taylor

Crystal Taylor's diary was found among her belongings in the baggage recovered March 4 from Hurricane Creek near the Highway 7 bridge in Oxford.

The diary is 6" X 8" and has a powder blue cover with a flower motif. There is a lock with a latch on the diary. The key was attached to the diary with a 5" length of string.

The diary was handwritten in ballpoint ink, with the first entry dated Jan. 1, 1998. Some entries were not dated. The handwriting matches that of Crystal Taylor.

The text of the diary has been entered into computer format for easier access by detectives and for distribution on this site.


Jan. 1

Happy New Year!! Here's my list of resolutions.

(1) Love my family & don't judge them.

(2) Decide about skating.

(3) Do more weight training.

(4) Get a boyfriend.



Jan. 2

Hello again. Tonight I'm at home, getting ready to go to Philadelphia. I'm really, really not looking forward to it but I can't tell anyone that. Mom is making her special dinner plans and Dad is all excited. He's giving us pep talks and making us do visualization all the way back from Memphis. He says we're going to win and keep on winning.

I tried to talk to Dale, but as usual he didn't want to hear it. I'm not saying I depend on him for support, I can't judge him for that, but it's like he doesn't want to hear anything I have to say. I feel like he's just using me to get what he wants. He's only in it for money. I can't judge him for that, I know that's not right, but sometimes I just don't understand.

I used to like to practice, but not any more. I tried to tell him during break today, while we were eating. You just can't keep doing it if you're heart's not in it. I told him that and he just said I'd better put my heart back in it.

But then right after that we went out and he was messing up all over the place. He was wobbling coming off his turns. I wanted to yell at him, "You're the one who needs to put your heart in it!!" I practiced for years to nail my turns perfectly and did all those stupid drills and he hasn't bothered. I'm trying to just accept him as who he is, but it's hard because he puts so much pressure on me. I love him and everything, but it's hard.

And now Mom and Dad and everyone is coming to Philadelphia. I just know it's going to be a disaster. I'm praying for all of us that it turns out OK.




Well, we're here in Philadelphia and I think it's going to be fine. Maybe it'll even be great. I'm feeling really good about our program. It just feels really strong and sometimes I even feel like we're being artistic, like it was before last year. Mike and John took us out to lunch and said they were real happy and they think this is the best we've ever been. Maybe they were just trying to cheer me up but maybe they're right, too.

Dale seems happier. I think he really needs this to work out, otherwise I just think he'll go nuts. I'm just going to keep praying and hope everything works out for the best.


Mom and Dad just left. We all went out to dinner and now they've left and gone to their room. I was wearing my new dress from Neilson's and Dad commented on it. He said, "You're turning into quite a pretty young lady," and Mom agreed, and everyone was looking at me and smiling. I hate that. I hate all of that. I try not to be mad at him, I love him, I don't want to hate anyone, but I just felt so uncomfortable.

I'm going to take a shower now.



Jan. 11

I don't believe it. We came in seventh. Dale tripped a couple of times. He didn't really fall, but it was pretty obvious. And then I didn't want to do the final lift. I gave him the signal, and we just skipped it. I thought it was going really well, at first, but then he just wasn't keeping it together. I guess I should have trusted him to try the lift, but I didn't want to fall again.

Afterwards it was so awful. Mike and John and Dad didn't really say much. Mom gave me a hug and squeezed me really tight, but she didn't really say anything either. Dale and I had a big fight. He was yelling at me about not wanting to do the lift. He kept saying I should trust him. (He's right, I should.) But I was mad about him tripping. I told him that and he said it wasn't any of my business, I just should have finished the routine like we planned.

I was just so mad. I know I'm not supposed to get mad like that, but I couldn't help it. I told him I didn't want to skate with him anymore, and I said I want to skate on my own. I guess I really didn't even know what I was saying, because I also said I wanted to quit skating. He got really mad and said there was no way I could quit skating. He said he would kill me if I ever left him. He said we're going to be a big success.

That just made me madder. I didn't say anything else, because I was scared too. But now I'm still mad. I don't want to be, but it just seems unfair. I've been working so hard, and he isn't working as hard as I am. Then he blames me when it all goes wrong. All the pressure's on me and I can't stand it. Sometimes I think I'll go crazy, and I definitely don't love it any more. I swear, he and Dad have totally ruined my life.

I know it's awful for me to write these things down but I can't help it. I'm always praying that God will take away these feelings.



Jan. 13

We're going back to Oxford. Dad announced this when he dropped us off at the apartment with Mom. He said he thought we should all just come home and think about our mistakes. I really, really don't want to, but I hate him.

I definitely want to get out. I want to go back to school and just be free. I could be a doctor like I've always wanted. Sports medicine, because I know so much about it already. That would be the advantage - I would know what it's like from the athlete's perspective.

I haven't told anyone yet, but that's my plan. I won't let Dale psych me out. I love him and everything, but if he wants to be famous he can do it without me.

I can't sleep. It's like 1:30 a.m. and every sound from the street keeps me awake. I know Mom is right here in the next room and no one is going to hurt me, but I'm scared. It wasn't like this before we went, I guess I was training really hard and went right to sleep. But now I'm right back where I've always been. I hate being scared like this. I don't know why it happened to me. I'm always asking God that.



Jan. 15

We just had a big fight. We were through with lunch and we all sat in the living room. We were having a big talk about what was going to happen next, and I told everyone my plan. I said I wanted to go to school to be a veterinarian or a doctor. Mom didn't really say anything. She just got up and poured herself another glass of wine. (She drinks wine at lunch and dinner now, not just dinner.)

Dale and Dad were both really mad. They both started yelling at once. They wanted to know how I could do this to them, after all these years. Dad said he and Mom had sacrificed so much and all that. I told him I just felt like my heart wasn't in it any more. I told Dad I felt like I was just living out his dream. He got really mad. He asked why I didn't want to do what was best for the family. He tried to make it sound like I was being the selfish one. I hate to admit it, but I pretty much lost it. I don't even remember everything I said. I began yelling at everyone about how Dale wasn't working hard enough, and why should I have to put up with that since he's the one who wants all the money. He's the one who wants all the endorsements and TV shows. I said I had worked really hard for nothing. Then Mom said maybe we should all just think about it for a while. She said it might be healthy to take a break. Dad was really mad about that - it was like she was taking my side. He just looked at me and said, "You've always been stubborn, haven't you? You always want to fight." I hate it when he says stuff like that - when he brings up the past. I want to put the past behind me, but he won't let me when he says stuff like that. It just reminds me that he's ruined my life. No one will ever touch me again, because of him.

After that Mom just went rushing into the kitchen. Dale and Dad got up and left the room. I guess they probably went out to the garage to talk about how they're going to force me into doing what they want. I just went up to my room and locked the door. I wish Shane was around. He went out with some music friends. I want to talk with him about what it's like. I just want to have a normal life like him.

I don't want to blame anyone for the way I am.


I'm totally ashamed of the way I behaved. After I finished writing I went over to church and stuffed some envelopes for a while, and everyone there was so happy to see me. They didn't really mind about us being in seventh place. They were just glad to see me, and they were all hoping I would keep skating. When I told them about placing seventh, they just shrugged and said, "Oh well, maybe next time." I feel like everyone wants me to succeed, but in a nice way. Maybe I shouldn't be so judgmental of my parents. They only want what's best for me.



Jan. 17

I just talked with Shane. I hadn't seen him since last night so I told him about the Colorado thing. He said he already knew about it. He said he was kind of disappointed about the money, but not really. He said he'd just have to find another way. I hugged him real hard. Sometimes when he looks at me he looks like he feels sorry for me. I don't know why. I'm really lucky to have this chance.



Jan. 18

I can't sleep again. I'm just so terrified that something is going to happen. Friday night when he came into my room to talk I just tensed up. I was on the bed and I almost rolled into a ball like one of those pill bugs. I tucked my knees way up and hugged them to my chest. He didn't touch me, we just talked, but after he left I was really mad, for no real reason. I don't want to judge him for what he's done! I just want to put the past behind me. I want us all to love each other. But I end up being so mad, sometimes I can hardly even think. I keep thinking of the past and how I don't like to be touched any more. I'm mad and scared right now. I don't want him to come back into my room, ever.

I want to run away and go to California. I think I'd like to be a dance teacher there. I have a really good sense of rhythm, that's what John and Mike always say.



Jan. 22

My left knee is hurting again. This week has been really hard. We've just stayed in Memphis pretty much the whole time. That's the way Dale wants it - he really wants to train hard before Colorado. I do too, but I'm getting pretty tired.

I'm glad we're not in Oxford, though. Dale never goes out at all. He just hangs out with Dad in the garage, looking at old scrapbooks, or else he just sits around reading magazines and being restless. I've been trying to stay out of his way. I mean, I love him, and we get along great most of the time. I just think he wanted to be alone. Maybe he'll start working harder now. Maybe that's what he's been thinking about. This week he's been great.

I keep dreaming of just running through a field full of yellow flowers. I'm all by myself and it's a beautiful day, and no one is chasing me or holding me down. I'm just completely free. It's sunny and bright. I love that dream! Sometimes when we're practicing I think about that dream. I try to think about it a lot, I think it has a positive influence. I feel more artistic with the dream in my head.



Jan. 23

I'm going to see Maggie tomorrow. I've talked to her on the phone lots, but we haven't seen each other since Christmas. I'm excited! I want to get out and just have a life, for once. We're going to see "Good Will Hunting."

Dale is just sitting around. I guess he talks to Christian sometimes, but I'm kind of worried. I asked if he wanted to come to the movie and he said no. He's been giving me these weird looks. I don't think he's mad at me, but sometimes it's like he's disappointed or something. Then last night at dinner, he criticized me for spilling the wine. Mom didn't say anything. I just got up and got a sponge to clean it up, I couldn't see what the big deal was. Dad didn't say anything either, but he gave me this look, like he was making fun of me. That kind of joke-y look. I hate that look.

I want to love them, I do love them, really I do. But sometimes I just feel so mad! I don't want to think badly of them, but sometimes I do. I just feel so negative. I know I should stop. I'm trying so hard!



Jan. 24

Maggie is really great. She and I talked for a long time after the movie. We went to Denny's and she had some fries. She's doing really well and I'm really glad for her. She put things in perspective. I was complaining about our costumes and she said, "If that's all you have to complain about, you're really lucky." We laughed about it, it wasn't like a serious lecture or anything. She's right, I'm really lucky to have this chance. I guess maybe I'm kind of spoiled, now. I get all these clothes and stuff. It's just ridiculous! And now I'm going to Colorado.

I think it's going to work out really well. I think we'll really be able to pull it together this year.




Maggie and I are going out again. She'll be here in a few minutes. I think it will be our last chance to see each other before next Monday. I can't believe the time has gone by so fast.

Dale and I had a fight on the way back from Memphis. I don't know why he's so mad at me -- it's like every little mistake is my fault. I told him I just couldn't deal with the pressure, with everything being my fault. I said we really needed to work as a team. Then he said that as far as he was concerned he couldn't work with me as a team because I was always trying to take control. Like I'm trying to lead, or something. I guess maybe I do do that sometimes, I just can't help it, when the music is on, I just feel the rhythm better than he does, and I end up cueing him. I know he hates that, but if I'm better, shouldn't I be in control? Anyway, he was trying to psych me out, saying he ought to give me a lesson if I kept messing up. I don't understand when he gets like that, he's never been like that before. We've had arguments before, but he's never been so, like, macho. I was scared, but I didn't let him psych me out. I just told him to shut up. We just ended up not saying anything for the rest of the ride. Dad didn't say anything during the whole argument, he was just driving.

When we got home I went right up to my room and locked the door. Dad came up a few minutes later and knocked. I didn't let him in, so he began pounding on the door. I was scared it would break and then he would come in and pin me down like he used to. There was no one else home but Dale and I knew Dale wouldn't care. But he didn't. After a while he just began swearing and walked off. I heard him go downstairs. I was so scared. I've been in here ever since. I never want to see him again, but I know I will. As soon as Maggie gets here I'll go down, and he'll probably be all cheery and he'll say something about what a pretty young lady I am. Ugh.



 Jan. 29

It's like two in the morning. I think I heard him outside in the hall - I wasn't asleep anyway. I have my door locked too. He didn't even try to come in. I think he must have seen that the light was on, maybe the light coming under the door, and he just went back. It makes total sense that he would be up tonight, because Mom had three glasses of wine at dinner.

I've decided I want to escape this whole situation. I know it would really hurt Mom, but I never want to see my family again. I think I'll go to California and go to college there. It's a really hateful idea, and I know I shouldn't hate anyone. I'm trying to love them. But I think maybe if I went away that would help me love them more, and then maybe I could come back and we could all just learn to accept the past and move on.

Maybe this doesn't make any sense. I don't know. I keep praying for answers.



Feb. 1

We're getting all packed and ready to go. I'm looking forward to seeing Colorado. I'm not really excited about skating. I mean, I love Dale, and I want to support him and everything, but I just don't know how it's going to work out. I really do want to work hard. Maybe if I start to work harder I'll be able to get back into it. I'm sure I'll really be inspired. I just wish Dale would be nicer to me. He's been really harsh this past week, always criticizing me. It doesn't help. We need to be a team.

I guess I feel sorry for Shane. Mom and Dad just don't really notice him. They never have big farewell parties for him. But I guess he doesn't really go away like we do.

Everyone has been really cheery this evening, though. We all talked to Nanna and now we're going to have dinner. I really feel like we can all get along when it's like this. I really feel like we can all love each other and not hurt each other. This is the way it's supposed to be.

Additional diary excerpts were released. View them here.

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