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Father of Jimmy Ryce awaits execution of son's murderer, with a broken heart



The years have not healed Don Ryce’s pain, only prolonged it.

It was 1995 when his son, a gap-toothed 9-year-old named Jimmy, was snatched from a Redland school bus stop, raped and killed.

As Ryce counts the last few days until Wednesday’s scheduled execution of his son’s murderer, his anger burns as hot as it did more than 18 years ago. And his sorrow has only been compounded by two more deaths he traces back to that first, monstrous act of a pedophile named Juan Carlos Chavez: the heart attack that killed his wife, Claudine, in 2009 — a “broken heart,” he says — and the suicide last year of his daughter, Jimmy’s half-sister, Martha.

“In both cases, Jimmy’s memory, I can tell you, was very much weighing on them at the time of their death,” Ryce said, talking about the tragedy during a 90-minute interview in his Vero Beach home. “So forgive me if I don’t shed many tears for Juan Carlos Chavez.” Story by Amy Driscoll here.

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