Cliff and Wanda Hammac haven’t spoken to anyone about the crime that took the lives of their Aunt Bonnie and cousins John and R. T. Smith.
Now with the arrest of Wayne Hartung they are ready to talk.
“My Aunt Bonnie was the most loving persons,” says Wanda. “Those two boys she raised them to where that if I could have raised my kids half the way that she did hers…”
“She was definitely a bright spot for me,” says Cliff, “and it’s a void that no one in the family will ever be able to fill.”
Three months ago, their world changed while watching the evening news. “Wayne didn’t even call none of the family,” says Wanda. “We all saw it on the TV.”
Words like ritualistic killings and witchcraft colored the investigation. “Too much of the narrative has been focused on Wiccan or witchcraft or whatever,” says Cliff. “I think honestly, looking at it, that has no merit to me as far as a motive.”
They believe the motive is money but don’t know if Hartung knew he had been cut out of the will, according to Cliff.
“The entire last paragraph of the will, 100 percent, was devoted to why Wayne would get nothing. Not that she didn’t love Wayne. She had helped him enough. He had his own resources and he needed to stand on his own two feet.”
The arrest was welcome news but not surprising. Even at the funeral Wanda says Hartung never showed any remorse or shed a tear. “It was devastating to us as a family and he just acted like it was no big deal.”
Wanda says if it had been a car wreck that had taken her family it would be easier. “It’s been hard on all of us and thank God that when they went, they all went holding hands into heaven.”
When asked if they agree with the prosecutors decision to pursue the death penalty, in this case, Cliff Hammac says he didn’t know of anyone who has earned it more.