Cathy Wood and Gwendolyn Graham were drawn to each other like magnets. Cathy was a dominate personality and Gwen had mommy-issues laced with a desire to be dominated.
Cathy dominance reared it’s ugly head in a variety of ways, but mostly through manipulation. So it’s no surprise when she and Gwen found themselves working together at the Alpine Manor nursing home in Walker, Michigan, and became romantically involved, Cathy looked for a way to ensure Gwen would stay faithful to her.
Knowing Gwen do anything to please her, Cathy hatched a plan to kill patients so that there names, when recorded in the books, would spell out M-U-R-D-E-R.
The executed the first in their six-victim plan with the death of Marguerite Chambers but the “U” was a little more difficult so the plan got sidetracked. There were still more victims, six in total, possibly eight (it’s never been truly determined), chosen at random – usually by Cathy.
But as they say, “The best laid plans of mice and men…”
Before long, Gwen had tired of Cathy’s controlling manipulation and had fallen in love with another co-worker. Angry at the betrayal, Cathy confessed the crimes to ex-husband. Even if he told, Cathy was sure she could manipulate detectives into believing it was all Gwen’s idea and doing.
The ex-husband did tell and Cathy almost did convince them she was a victim of Gwen.
Author Lowell Cauffiel details the crimes of Gwen Graham and Cathy Wood in his 1992 book Forever and Five Days
From the first page, readers will find themselves hook and appalled at the callousness of these women as they snuffed out the lives of the elderly whose care they had been entrusted to provide. And their “after hours” lives are like the few seconds before a horrific accident; you know what’s going to happen but you just can’t look away.
And while more focus is given to the histories and shenanigans of the killers, Cauffiel does a spectacular job of bringing the victims to life in the minds and hearts of readers as well.
Forever and Five Days is truly a fantastic read and one I definitely recommend. I’m not sure how I missed it for long but thanks to Dan Bogaty for bringing it to my attention. It’s one I won’t forget, especially in my Golden Years – for sure!
Where Are They Now?
Having been denied parole seven times as of this writing, Cathy Wood is still chasing guys and gals from behind prison bars. Recently she found herself in trouble for soliciting penpals on Cowtowninfo.com which is against the Florida Department of Corrections policy.
Gwen Graham is currently incarcerated at the Huron Valley Women’s Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Dawn Renee Male, a friend of both Gwen and Cathy, is now a registered sex offender.