News & Politics » Year In Review

Twinnetka Peaks

Who needs David Lynch? We've got the North Shore.



It's creepy, weird, and wonderfully deviant--a dark vision of small-town life.

Twin Peaks? No, Winnetka.

In May of 1988, Laurie Dann, who's been a little obsessed with her ex-husband and has a bad habit of making sick phone calls, enters a Winnetka elementary-school classroom and opens fire, killing one boy and injuring five other kids. She runs into a nearby house and shoots a seventh person before finally committing suicide.

Winnetka police chief Herbert Timm considers arming his force with Uzis. Level-headed village leaders decline his request.

It's revealed that one of Dann's psychologists helped her get an illegal, experimental drug for her emotional problems.

In April 1990, the bodies of Richard and Nancy Langert, both employed at Gloria Jean's coffee warehouse, are found in their Winnetka townhome. Richard has been tied up and shot in the head. A pregnant Nancy is shot in the stomach. Her dying act is to print a message in her own blood.

After the formation of a 15-member special task force that includes FBI agents and officers from neighboring communities, Timm, who has never before handled a murder investigation, is accused of grandstanding when he informs the media about it.

Timm's boys leak to the media the possibility that the Irish Republican Army is somehow responsible for the Langert killings. It seems that Nancy's sister, Jeanne Bishop, is a human-rights lawyer who has done work in Northern Ireland, and that the message left by Nancy resembled the initials "IRA." In reality, it was I Love U--a good-bye to her husband.

Frustrated by a lack of leads, Timm leaks another theory--maybe cocaine was being smuggled into Gloria Jean's and the Langerts, after stumbling onto information about the operation, had to be silenced.

During the course of the Langert investigation, Timm is asked to comment on a bizarre rumor that he is the long-lost love child of actor Rock Hudson. He denies it.

Another rumor spreads around Winnetka--maybe the Moonies, who supposedly have it in for the IRA, killed the Langerts.

Students at New Trier High School hear one of their classmates, David Biro, claim he shot the Langerts. He's so strange they don't take him seriously, but one of the students finally contacts the police.

Biro, shoeless, is taken into custody and charged with the Langert murders. It's alleged that he stole the gun from his lawyer's office.

In an unrelated development, we hope, Safet and Ingeborg Sarich withdraw their daughter Sanya from the Carleton W. Washburne School after it complies with a new Illinois law requiring public schools to teach about the Holocaust. Seems the Sariches believe death-camp statistics are vastly exaggerated.

Sales of coffee and cherry pie increase at the Pretty Good Cafe in downtown Winnetka, and a strange little dwarf is seen dancing nearby, snapping his fingers.

Just kidding about the cafe and the dwarf.

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