Her mother named her Freida

Sarah Jansen

Content warnings: child sexual abuse, drug use, murder

She was born in 1967 in Jacksonville, Florida and got to live until 1982. She was born into the latest generation of a family soaked through with inescapable, interwoven cycles of poverty, abuse and mental illness. 

When she was 14, her mother died of an opioid overdose. Freida and her brother Frank had never been particularly looked after. If they’d ever had it, their family had lost the knack of caring for each other well before. 

When she was 11 or 12, Freida’s violent psychopath uncle Ottis Toole crashed at their trailer home for a few weeks and introduced her to his violent psychopath boyfriend, Henry Lee Lucas. Henry immediately started sexually grooming Freida, including giving her the secret nickname Becky. 

When no one in Freida’s family gave a single shit about the middle aged felonious drifter abusing her, she started going by Becky in general. By the time Henry stabbed her to death in a roadside motel, authorities and news media referred to Freida as his common-law wife.

Isn’t this expression the epitome of teen snark?

No one seems to have noticed when the children disappeared from Jacksonville. Systems don’t tend to care about people they have designated as trash; it’s a relief when they fade away.

If you have searched online for information about a person with a common name, you know that entries in genealogy websites are often among the results. For people on record with a death date, some sites generate virtual memorials, holding out enticements like 


What’s one thing you’ll always remember when you think of them?

Freida has an entry on ancestry.com. The space beneath the question is blank. We know about her only because a famously violent man abused, kidnapped, beat, raped and murdered her.

No one knows what her favourite sandwich was or how she felt when her mother died, what her relationship with her brother was like, whether she hated her hair or liked to paint her toenails, if she ever dreamed about her future or was capable of wishing for something beyond the brutality of the life she was born into and that killed her.

From “Drifter Found Guilty of Killing Teen Bride”, Observer-Reporter, Washington, Pennsylvania, USA, Thursday, 10 November 1983, page A-3


Newspaper article about Henry’s conviction for Freida’s murder

Chronology of Henry’s activities including Freida’s

Blog post about Freida

Find a Grave dot com entry for Freida. Weird because she doesn’t have an official grave.

Blog post about Freida’s uncle Ottis Toole

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