The Rachel Wade Case

I have attempted to create this blog a few times but it has been difficult. I think the difficulty comes from the age of the participants as well as my age now.  I often try to ensure that I do not become a victim blamer.  In fact, the only other case that I can think of that I have placed some blame on the victim is the Betty Broderick case.  But, then again, the participants in that case were old, and as we say, should have known better.  We can say that too about this case.  However, the participants were eighteen and nineteen years old.  The older I get the more I realize how irrational I was at that age but yet, at the time I did not see that.  I was recently reminded by some people of a time in which I was probably in my early twenties and was at a party.  No-one recalls what the person said to me but apparently I was none too happy and chased this person down the street.  I am now over 40 and cannot fathom what this person could have said to me that would have mattered to me.  This was not someone that was ever significant in my life so to me, today, whatever their opinion is or was of me, does not matter.  However, apparently at the time it did.  I believe this is why this case has been so difficult for me to blog about. I am left feeling that in this case if the victim, Sarah Ludemann, would not have sought out Rachel Wade she would still be alive.  And then of course, as a more mature woman now, the idea of fighting over a "playboy" of a boyfriend just simply seems silly to me.  To the participants involved though, nothing about it seemed silly to them, at least at the time. So I apologize now if I tend to come off harsh in some areas, but then again, in tradition of this blog, I express my feelings on the crimes I report and they are not always the popular one.


On April 14, 2009, the lives of many people in Pinellas Park Florida were affected.  It was on this night that nineteen year old Rachel Wade stabbed eighteen year old high school senior, Sarah Ludemann and killed her. In reality it as all over twenty-one year old Joshua Camacho.  In the end, Rachel was convicted of 2nd degree murder and sentenced to 27 years. But, let us go back to the beginning.

Rachel was the first to date Joshua Camacho.  After they broke up Joshua started dating Sarah. Rachel did not like this, but that is nothing unusual, that often happens.  During the first six months of Joshua and Sarah's relationship the police talked to Sarah six different times on different things regarding their relationship and public confrontations.  Once was an incident in which Joshua had allegedly hit Sarah in the face. She did not press charges.  Another incident involved a confrontation between Sarah and Erin Slothower, the mother of Joshua's child.  Throughout his relationship with Sarah, Joshua continued to talk to, speak to and have a relationship with Rachel.  Joshua denied this at Rachel's trial but cell phone records and witnesses all but proved differently. All that this did was infuriate both of the girls.  Neither of the girls seemed to have blamed Joshua for this but blamed each other. Over a period of several months both Rachel and Sarah engaged in stalking and harassing each other. In a day of cell phones and social media that can make matters worse, real fast.  Both of the girls taunted the other through social media by posting picturing and posting that the other could see. They also traded voice mails and text messages.  Sarah would go to where Rachel worked as a waitress to taunt her there.  This probably seems silly to most people but we have all heard the saying "What is this high school?" and we have to remember that at least Sarah was actually still in high school.  So when we start placing blame and stupidity their ages really do come into play.  

The exact events that led up to, as well as exactly what happened on April 14th are in some places shady as there were different stories by different witnesses.  Piecing together things it appears that Joshua had told Rachel that he would be coming over to her house at some point. According to Rachel, Joshua often did come over, especially late at night.  He could get away with this because Sarah had a curfew so once she could no longer be out he would head over to Rachel's house and often spend the night.  Again though, at trial Joshua denied having a relationship at that point with Rachel but few believed him. At some point Sarah ended up at his house where he lived with his sister and they were playing games.  Rachel continued to text him and call but he was not responding. Rachel claims that sometime either before Sarah went to Joshua's or maybe after, Sarah had driven by her apartment, and while Rachel was walking her dog had threatened her.  She claims she got a knife from her kitchen and put it in her purse.  She then called another ex boyfriend, Javier Laboy, and went to his house. Laboy stated that he believed they, along with his friend Daniel Grimes, were going to go out to eat and hang out but that after Rachel arrived at his home that she spent much of her time outside by her car arguing with Joshua on the phone. He claimed to not be able to hear what she was saying but that it was apparent she was upset.  Records show that there were calls as well as text messages being sent mainly between Joshua and Rachel.  Well, at least that is what the records say, however there was no proof that Joshua was the one who was actually doing the texting from his phone since he was in the company of Sarah as well as his sister Janet, who also did not like Rachel.

Javier Laboy's home was only a few blocks from the Camancho home and there were reports from a friend of Janet Camacho's that she was outside the home at some point that evening and spotted what she described to others as likely being Rachel's car near the home.  Rachel did apparently drive by the home, apparently before going to Javier's,  and at that time could see Sarah was there. She texted Joshua again, this time angry and stated she knew Sarah was there and that was why he was not contacting her. The texts back from Joshua were very hostile, but again, no-one knows for sure that Joshua actually wrote those things.  Then again, he was cornered... Sarah was probably right there seeing what was being said or she at least had the ability to so he may have said those things just in attempts to make his current moment easier.  Both of these girls had forgiven him and believed him over and over.  It is possible in his mind that if he yelled at Rachel while Sarah was there she would believe he was done with Rachel and he could smooth things over with Rachel later.  The fact that they all knew Rachel had driven by the home was used as a reason for Sarah to stay out past her curfew.  When she was planning to go back to her home, that also was not but a few blocks away, supposedly the plan was that Janet Camacho and her friend would ride with Sarah to her home to make sure she arrived safely and then they would walk back home.  When they got into Sarah's vehicle they claim that Sarah had received a voicemail from Rachel that stated she was going to kill her "and your Mexican boyfriend."  The other girls then claim that instead of heading directly to Sarah's home they had asked her to stop by a McDonalds for food beforehand and so they were headed there. 

Around this same time, Rachel, Javier and Daniel Grimes claim that a car had come down their road and that the driver indicated that they were going to hit Rachel and/or her car as she was standing there.  They later described this car and it appeared to match the description of the car that Ashley Lovelady, a long time close friend of Sarah's, was driving at the time. In the mean time witnesses with Sarah claim as they were headed to get food they saw Ashley and that Sarah and Ashley had a conversation.  There is a dispute as to what was said.  In fact one witness says that the drivers were side by side talking in a low tone while another claims they were on opposite sides, meaning others in the car would not have an issue hearing what was said. Ashley initially denied both,  driving by Javier's house and telling Sarah where Rachel was, but apparently it became to big of a lie to keep so she admitted to at least the parts that she had to based on witness testimony.  Many feel, and they could be right, that Ashley denied these things because she knew if she had not told Sarah where Rachel was things would have likely turned out differently.  At trial while the defense was questioning Ashley, they indicated that Ashley knew by telling Sarah where Rachel was that she would go over there to fight Rachel.  Despite all of the evidence that was presented about the issues Sarah and Rachel had, not just through social media and texting but also in in person confrontations, Ashley claims that she simply thought that they would end the feud and not that they would fight.  The defense indicated that they found this to be false.   

At any rate what we do know for a fact is that instead of going to McDonald's or her home, Sarah then headed over to Javier's home.  Most of the witnesses agree that Rachel, Javier and Daniel Grimes were outside when the van Sarah was driving abruptly stopped in the middle of the road just behind Rachel's car in which she was standing by.  Then it gets a bit shady.  Some say that by the time Sarah got out of the van Rachel was right there, while others say they were both headed towards each other.  In my opinion, it does not matter, but in the legal system and the trial it did.  By this time Rachel had the knife she had taken from her home.  When it was all over Sarah laid in the street dying with two stab wounds.  Right after she attacked Sarah, Janet Camacho then started beating up on Rachel.  Rachel then got up, got away and tossed the knife over into the neighbors yard.  In the mean time Janet's friend and Javier were both calling 911 and aiding with Sarah.  Joshua was also called who ran to Sarah's house and informed her parents.  Joshua and Sarah's dad then went to the scene.  Sarah later died at the hospital.

There was never a dispute how Sarah was killed, who did it or the weapon.  The two main disputes were whether Rachel approached Sarah first, and whether she intended to kill her. Prosecutors claim that Rachel went after Sarah and it was her intent to kill her as she had stated it in voicemails a few times over the previous 7 months, including that night.  Sarah had saved all of those messages, and while Rachel claimed that much of the same was said to her and records showed that Sarah also texted and called Rachel, Rachel had not kept any messages to prove what was said.  In the end it was those messages that Sarah kept that ultimately convicted Rachel of second degree murder despite even the testimony of police officers who stated that Rachel was surprised and upset when informed of Sarah's death. They had the option of manslaughter to consider but decided on second degree murder. The trial had last three days and the jury took less than three hours to convict. Rachel was ultimately sentenced to 27 years. She has lost appeals and the Ludemann family has filed a civil suit against her. Oh...and Joshua Camacho?  Yeah, he walked away without a scratch.

In the end,this case just so saddens me.  I want to go back in time and shake some sense into Sarah and Rachel both.  Rachel should have never attacked Sarah, but Sarah should have never gone to confront Rachel.  Neither of those girls were going to back down, nor were they going to place the blame where it deserved to be.  They were both being played and in the end they both in essence lost their lives over a guy who obviously enjoyed what he was doing to those two girls, or at least did not care!  The fact that Sarah not only drove over to that house, but ultimately stopped and at least intended to get out and confront Rachel is why I have had such an issue with writing about this case.  I do not like being a "victim basher" but I am also the type of person that believes when there is blame to be dished out, it needs to go to the appropriate people.  So many times when people die they made out to be better than they really were.  Old sins and actions are excused because we do not want to talk ill about the dead.  I have often said "Bad people do not die."  We see this every day in the media. That is not to say that people who make wrong and bad choices deserve to die.  Sarah obviously did not deserve to die.  But, in the same respect, she put herself in that position.  She made choices that ultimately led to her death and for those choices she should be blamed. 





Comments

  1. I know exactly what you mean. I am just learning about this case and I too find it weird how there is no clear cut answer as to who walked up to who. There were apparently many people outside to witness everything and yet there is no 100% answer if Rachel walked up to the van and stabbed Sarah, or if Sarah got out and walked up to Rachel. I agree with you, that it doesn't matter. Sarah had no business showing up to Javier's. It was past her curfew so she should have been home anyway. She didn't obey the curfew AND she didn't even go to McDonald's like she was supposed to be doing. She got wind of Rachel's exact location and went over there instead. Rachel should have never had a knife. You don't bring a knife to a fist fight. However, according to her she was jumped by 3 girls. Sarah, Janet and 1 other. That to me says self defense. But the police say that Rachel just walked up to the van and stabbed Sarah, without her ever even leaving the vehicle. That, says murder. I forgot the percentage but apparently "eye witnesses" pretty much never end up being a reliable source of information. And those threatening voicemails ultimately sealed Rachel's fate.

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  2. Ya said Broderick was old. Mmmm 40 is old.

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  3. I wish I could agree with you but after reading everything I could get my hands on Rachel was the aggressor the majority of the time. The TV shows that Rachel has done is her version of the story and does NOT match the facts. Rachel was the "bad" girl type and had been threatening to harm her for months. And its a little too easy to tell her version of events when she has murdered the other part!!!

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