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Andrea remembered

December 27, 2001|By DORA DEPAOLI, Staff Writer
  • Press Staff Photographer Cuauhtemoc Beltran captured the Hines family  Skip and Vickie Hines (seated) and their son Jason Hines, a 17-year-old senior at Holtville High.
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Andrea Hines, 14, was a popular, fun-loving freshman at Holtville High School at the time of her death.

As a new member of the Holtville High band, she wore her uniform to a football game for the first time the night she was killed.

Andrea was murdered Sept., 17, 1994, at her home on a quiet, friendly street where neighborhood children were in and out of each others' homes all the time.

Nothing will ever be the same for her parents, Skip and Vickie Hines. They suffer from daily flashbacks of finding Andrea, their only daughter, brutally stabbed to death seven years ago.

Now an independent film producer is planning a movie about Andrea. The producer and an assistant have visited the area and met with the family on several occasions. They spent time at the house where she was killed, interviewed friends, attended a football game and visited various sites in the city and around the county.

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The story is being written now, with writing expected to be completed in February.

"My purpose and Skip's are a little different," Vickie said. "My purpose isn't to point the finger at him (the killer), but to make people aware of what creates those types of monsters and get them help when there are warning signs. My purpose is to educate people."

Skip said he hopes the boy stays in jail for the rest of his life.

"I am afraid he will come out and kill again," he said. "I am in fear. I couldn't stop it the first time and I couldn't stop it the second time. … My motive for doing this film is to show the danger of what lies behind closed doors of people that you think you know. … We found out the boy was killing cats and chickens."

Vickie said most serial killers are into "torturing animals and are frequently bullies in their teen years. They don't start killing until early adulthood."

The night of the murder Skip and Vickie and a friend of the family went to a neighborhood pub for an hour or so after the football game. The friend's teen-age son stayed at the house with Andrea, her 10-year-old brother, Jason, and some friends. Their oldest son, 16-year-old Justin, was spending the night with a friend.

Upon finding the kids gone when they returned from the pub, they checked with friends and then sat down to wait for them to come home. Soon Jason returned home from a friend's house in the neighborhood.

"I told my friend we should just stay put," Vickie said. "We thought the kids might have ‘freshmen-itis' and think they were big and needed to go to a party. We eventually fell asleep on the couch."

At 2:45 a.m., a woman called and asked if Andrea was in.

"I checked Andrea's room and she wasn't there," Vickie said. "I went back to the phone and yelled at her (the caller). She hung up and called back a few minutes later and asked to speak to the boy's mother."

The woman on the phone, calling from El Centro, said the boy had come to El Centro, told her he had stabbed his girlfriend in Holtville and left her in a pool of blood.

Vickie said her daughter didn't consider the boy who killed her a boyfriend or even a friend. "She thought he was weird."

"I felt sorry for him," Skip said. "I tried to help him learn to do things boys normally learn. He was very attentive."

The family friend started screaming after hearing the report about Andrea from the woman on the phone. Skip went looking for his daughter in the back yard and spotted her on the grass under the couple's bedroom window.

"I picked her up and just remember crying, ‘Not Andrea.' She had been stabbed 74 times. I said, ‘Why God?' The evil of the act was so intense," Skip said. "My dogs were in the corner whimpering."

Skip said he was glad it was him that found Andrea. He felt the rest of the family couldn't have survived the shock.

"I took the blunt trauma," he said.

Vickie said she has had a "real difficult" time thinking about how Andrea must have felt when she knew she was about to die. She had a lot of personal guilt. She blamed herself for not understanding the boy's "twisted" ways.

It is thought the boy tried to strangle Andrea as she lay asleep on her bed. He apparently then dragged her outside and killed her in a "psychotic rage."

"When I carried her into the house everybody screamed," Skip said. "I remember Jason and his friend running out of the house. … I carried her to the couch and cradled her in a comforter. The comforter was pulled back when the police arrived and they freaked out. I laid her down and covered her up and then the cops and paramedics took over. One of the paramedics was on disability for six months after he saw her."

Shortly after Andrea's body was discovered the whole street was awake. Local ministers came to pray with the family. There was a huge outpouring of help from the community. The family received cards from strangers. The local postmaster said no one had ever received as much mail.

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