My connection to a serial killer

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If you're like me, you sometimes enter your name into a search engine just to see what, if anything, comes up.

I did this back in 2008, and my name popped up in a list of credits for a true-crime novel written a few years ago. After a few more clicks, I found a few details about the book — Into the Water, by Diane Fanning — and the name of the serial killer, Richard Marc Evonitz.

None of this rang a bell at first, but the credit line included my job title, editor of Hydraulics & Pneumatics. So I went to our website and entered Evonitz's name into our search menu. This produced a single hit, an article titled "Compressed air: it's what's for dinner."

The article was originally published in December 2001, but I remembered it right away because I don't do many articles on food processing. I pulled out a copy of the issue and and began reading the article, which I had edited. Then more came back to me. I remembered talking with this guy on the phone quite a bit. Potential authors of technical articles often leave out basic, but important details in their manuscripts. That was the case here, so I talked with Mr. Evonitz several times on the phone to obtain the info I felt was needed. I can still remember his voice -- deep and authoritative. He seemed to know the subject matter very well.

Of course, I had to pick up a copy of the book. I read through it, and then I realized why I was listed as a credit. I remembered getting a call some time after Evonitz's article had been published. This would've been back in 2002, when many people still used the phone as their first line of communication instead of e-mail. Anyway, I remember a lady asking me questions about an author I had worked with. I suppose I had assumed she was writing a technical book. Most of the people I deal with are interested in some form of technology, so I didn't think much of it.

I also remembered that a couple years later, I tried to reach Mr. Evontiz. Again, I don't often write about food processing, so because I had found a good source, I intended to go back to that source for some another article.

I remember this next part because it was so odd. I called the phone number I had for Evonitz, and I ended up talking to the receptionist. When I told her I wanted to speak with Marc Evonitz, she quickly replied, "He's dead!" and hung up. Again, this was highly unusual.

Now it made sense. The receptionist must've been so short with me because the company kept getting prank calls because they had employed a serial killer. I was surprised that Ms. Fanning listed me in her bibliography. We had only had one phone conversation, but I must've confirmed that Evonitz carried himself in a professional manner, which she mentions throughout the book.
By the way, I enjoyed reading the book. However, the author opens by telling some of the events that happen at the conclusion of the story. I thought the book would've been much more enjoyable if she hadn't tipped her hand.

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Alan Hitchcox

Alan joined Hydraulics & Pneumatics in 1987 with experience as a technical magazine editor and in industrial sales. He graduated with a BS in engineering technology from Franklin University and...
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