It’s every parent and grandparent’s worst nightmare, hearing that your children or grandkids are in danger or pain. This scenario is always frightening but it’s doubly so if one can hear the evidence of such terror on the other end of a phone.
Glen and Wanda were the proud grandparents of two wonderful grandchildren. The Texas neighborhood they shared with their daughter Amanda had always been safe. But one early Spring morning, they learned that safety was merely an illusion…
It was in the wee hours of the morning that Wanda Prewett and her husband awoke to a very early phone call from her 11-year-old granddaughter, Guinevere. But this wasn’t their granddaughter just calling to say hi, especially not at 5 in the morning, Guinevere was calling them for help.
Call the Police
Guinevere was screaming on the other side of the phone, she was frantic, crying, almost incoherent. Grandma Wanda heard noises in the background, shouts of, “Mommy, mommy,” and then, the line went dead. The Prewetts called the police and sped down the road to the home of their 34-year-old daughter, Amanda Doss…
Hearts on Fire
The Prewetts didn’t live far from their daughter Amanda and two grandchildren, Guinevere and Texas. They arrived shortly before 5 a.m. to a house completely engulfed in flames. The elderly couple didn’t hesitate to leap from the car and run inside to find their babies.
Through the smoke and flames, the Prewetts discovered little Guinevere on the floor by the phone. Coughing and sputtering, they grabbed her unconscious body and dragged her out to the lawn, sustaining burns in the process. Unfortunately, by the time they had pulled her out of the house, she was already dead…
Helpless to Help
Amanda and Texas were still inside but the fire raged out of control. The two grieving grandparents could do nothing but sit next to the fallen body of their sweet little grandchild as they helplessly watched her daughter’s home burn to cinders right before their very eyes. The firemen arrived, but even they couldn’t have saved Amanda and Texas.
It was only after the firemen had put out the blaze and retrieved the bodies that the truth finally came to light. An autopsy on all three of the deceased revealed that it wasn’t fire which killed them: Amanda, Guinevere, and Texas had been viciously stabbed before the house caught fire. And the fire itself was no accident either…
Find Their Killers
No one in Redwater, Texas could understand why it had happened. After all, who would want to murder a mother and three children? The town demanded justice but weeks passed and still authorities were no closer to finding out who had done such a heinous thing. Soon the police began interviews.
Dozens of Leads
Despite following up on dozens of leads and speaking to all of Amanda’s family, friends, ex-boyfriends, and ex-husbands, the months-long investigation eventually ground to a halt. One by one, the Texas Rangers eliminated all suspects. Then, on August 12, 2011, Sheriff James Prince received a very interesting tip…
A Shocking Tip
The tip had come from a woman named Renee Pettigrew, a neighbor of sorts who herself had had very little contact with Amanda’s family or the children. According to Renee, the killer was her own daughter, 16-year-old Rachel Pittman. Rachel was a friend of the Doss family and was also Guinevere and Texas’ babysitter.
A True Friend
This admission strained credulity. Everyone who had seen Rachel and Amanda together knew that they were very close. Amanda trusted Rachel and had even offered her a place to stay when she ran away from home. She’d even been over for Thanksgiving dinner. Sure, Rachel was a little misunderstood and hung out with the wrong crowd, but she couldn’t possibly have been a killer…
A Normal Girl
A funny girl who was always up for a conversation, Rachel had a rough home life but didn’t let that get her down. Despite her generally positive attitude though, Rachel remained a loner, she seemed to gravitate towards solitude. Because of this, many people eventually reconsidered the idea that she might have been the killer.
It had happened at about 3 a.m. on May 11, 2011. Amanda Doss was woken up by a frantic knock at the door. It was Rachel, looking strung out and seeking a place to crash for a while. This wasn’t unheard of, so Amanda invited her in. Little did she know she had just made the biggest mistake of her life…
Pittman walked inside, a five-inch, wooden-handled kitchen knife tucked into the waistband of her shorts. Amanda had no idea, she trusted Rachel and had no reason to believe that she would ever do anything to harm her or her children. As the two sat and talked, Pittman’s mind began to wander to the deed at hand and to the two liter soda bottle filled with gasoline she’d hidden just outside.
One False Move
Pittman and Amanda talked for a time before suddenly, Pittman got to her feet and began to move to the door, as if she was going to leave. Instead, she turned around and stabbed Amanda before heading to the children’s’ rooms to viciously stab both Guinevere and Texas as well. Then she went to get the gasoline…
Burn it Down
Rachel Pittman retrieved the plastic, gasoline-filled bottle she’d left outside and poured gasoline on the bodies of her three victims. She used her cigarette lighter to light them on fire and ran through the back door, jumping the fence just as Glen and Wanda Prewett were pulling up. Apparently Guinevere had just enough strength left to call them before she passed.
After that, Pittman went home and washed up. Then, she incinerated her clothing and shoes in a burn pile behind her mother’s house. A day later, she broke the blade she’d used to murder Amanda and the children into about 20 pieces before scattering the bits of knife into the woods behind the house. It seemed like the perfect crime…
Clean it Up
Pittman even returned to the house a week after the murders. Under cover of darkness, she cleaned the fence rail she had jumped over with soap and water. Apparently she’d cut herself during the attack and didn’t want them to discover blood or skin on the fence rail. She’d accounted for just about every possible scenario.
What she hadn’t counted on was the guilt that would weigh upon her in the weeks that followed. Rachel, unable to truly account for what she had done, confessed to her mother, saying “I killed Amanda.” Her mother contacted the sheriff right away and by then, Pittman had lost all will to fight what she had coming. She described in detail the events of that fateful night…
The police had got a full and fair confession and forensic tests of Pittman’s bathroom and the fence all proved that she was indeed telling the truth. In 2013, Rachel took a plea deal. She pleaded guilty to first degree murder and was charged with life imprisonment, with the possibility of parole after 30 years.
Today, the motivation behind Rachel Pittman’s senseless murder remains unknown to the public. A gag order was put into place soon after the confession and because of it, we may never truly know what went through her mind that night. The only thing we know for sure is that she acted alone: sadly, just as she always had.