Created on Monday, 18 March 2013 Written by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOGAN, Ohio (AP) — The parents of a slain southeast Ohio woman, whose body was dumped in a septic tank and whose estranged husband and in-laws were convicted in her murder, say they try to answer her children's questions while coping with their own grief.
Summer Inman was abducted in Logan in Hocking County in 2011, strangled with a zip tie and dumped in an underground septic tank behind a church. Her mother-in-law, Sandra Inman, was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison in the slaying, while Summer Inman's estranged husband and father-in-law — William Inman II, 28, and William Inman, 49 — are serving sentences of life in prison without parole. Both denied killing the woman, and the younger Inman is seeking a new trial.
Summer Inman's parents, Debra and Michael Cook, of Logan, are raising the children — a 7-year-old boy and girls, ages 5 and 3. They say they consult a counselor while trying to answer the children's questions truthfully and carefully, The Columbus Dispatch reported in Monday's edition.
The 25-year-old woman was abducted outside the bank she had been cleaning, forced into a car and strangled on March 22, 2011. Her body was found a week later in the septic tank of a church in Athens County.
The Cooks said they didn't tell the children anything for the first several months, but knew they would have to say more when their grandson entered school. They say they have told the children their parents were getting a divorce and their father was angry about it, so he choked her and now he and his parents are in jail.
Sandra Inman, 48, told authorities the abduction was her idea, so she could talk to her daughter-in-law about getting more time with the grandchildren, and that her son strangled his estranged wife accidentally. Both men pleaded not guilty to aggravated murder and other charges and were convicted in separate trials where they could have received the death penalty.
David Winkelmann, the attorney representing William Inman II in his appeal, declined to comment Monday. Messages left for the attorneys representing the parents of William Inman II were not immediately returned Monday.
Debra Cook said she her son-in-law — also known as Willy Inman — seemed to become a different person after marrying her daughter in 2004. The couple met at the church near Nelsonville where Summer Inman's body was found.
Willy Inman had told his wife her duties included sex when he wanted it, perfectly prepared meals and spotless housekeeping, and she was rarely allowed to go out alone, the newspaper reported. He also told her he wanted 12 children and would like to take a second wife, downloading to his cellphone photos of young women he found on polygamy websites, Summer Inman wrote in a statement that was to be part of her divorce filing. Cook said her daughter told her that he said he would kill her if she left.
She and her children moved in with her parents in 2010, and she filed for divorce.
The Cooks say they are satisfied with the sentences, but have thought about changing the children's last name to Cook and wonder if they should move from the town of about 7,000 people.
"We don't want them to be remembered for their dad killing their mom," Debra Cook said. "But people are more compassionate to them because of who they are."