ROARING SPRING, Ky. — Standing in her kitchen, Tammy Ford can see the window she and her husband pulled 17-year-old Kayla Williams from after she’d been fatally stabbed.
The charred remains of the Frensley house still stand, a year later, scattered with burnt memories. Bradford pear seedlings grow from the blackened rubble.
The house sitting at the end of Military Road in Roaring Spring, a small Trigg County community at the edge of Fort Campbell, has been there for the past year, next to an untouched garage.
It was where three siblings — 17-year-old Kayla Williams, 14-year-old Kortney McBurney-Frensley and 5-year-old Ethan Frensley — were stabbed to death and left in a burning home. Their mother, Kristy, was also left for dead with several stab wounds. She was later found alive in the swimming pool and taken to the hospital.
Three days after the Oct. 15, 2008, slayings, police arrested Kevin Dunlap, 37, of Cox Mill Road in Hopkinsville and charged him with the crimes.
Four years earlier, Dunlap lived only six houses down from the one that now stands charred.
Neighbors remember not only Frensley and her children, but Dunlap.
Jamie Hancock, who lives four doors down from the house where the children were killed a year ago, said she remembers often seeing Dunlap walk down the road wearing a backpack and carrying a fishing pole. He lived only two doors down from her. That house, she said, is now vacant along with several others on the road.
“For sale” signs are staked in three of eight homes on Military Road. “No trespassing” and “keep out” signs hang from the others.
Hancock said the home next to the Frensley house, along with hers and another near where Dunlap used to live, have gone up for sale within the last few months.
The memories of a year ago aren’t the only reason Hancock and her husband want to move, but it has certainly hurried the decision, she said.
“We want to get back up (to Christian County), but at the same time we want to move from here because of everything that happened,” Hancock said. “That’s another part of it. Because you come home and you don’t feel safe. Well, at least I don’t.”
Hancock wasn’t home that night. She was at the hospital with her 2-month-old son. Her husband was at work. They couldn’t immediately return home because the road was roped off with caution tape.
“We could have come home later that night I believe, but we decided not to,” she said. “You know, we didn’t know who he was, where he was, what had happened exactly, so we didn’t come home. We stayed at family’s house … We came home the next day.”
In the days after the children were found dead, Hancock said she felt safer than most would have expected. There was a state trooper parked in her driveway, she said.
But as time passed, she was left there with her husband and their baby.
“During the day, we’re fine, but whenever it comes to night time it really doesn’t (feel safe),” she said.
Immediately following the slayings, Hancock said she and several others installed security lights.
One neighbor didn’t return for nearly a month, Hancock said.
Ford said in the past year she’s installed new locks, bought her two adolescent boys cell phones and is more strict about how far from the house they are allowed to wander.
“As far as the kids playing, used to they’d ride their bikes down to the stop sign and all that,” Ford said. “(We) don’t let them do that anymore. The only time they ride their bike outside of the yard if we’re sitting out here, and the only reason they can go that way is because I can see past the fence here.”