Jeff Jardine

Jeff Jardine: Will billboard heat up cold case?

Amy Lynn Freeseha, 25, of Copperopolis was killed by a vehicle while jogging on Langworth Road east of Riverbank in July 2010. Freeseha is seen with son Johnathan and daughter Adeline in late 2009.
Amy Lynn Freeseha, 25, of Copperopolis was killed by a vehicle while jogging on Langworth Road east of Riverbank in July 2010. Freeseha is seen with son Johnathan and daughter Adeline in late 2009. Courtesy of Freeseha family

From the emails and voice mails:

COLD CASE – Last spring, California Highway Patrol investigators tried to step up their probe into the death of a 25-year-old woman killed by a car while jogging along Langworth Road east of Riverbank in 2010. Amy Lynn Freeseha, and her 10-year-old niece, went for a run shortly after 8 p.m. that night, just minutes after she posted as such on her Facebook page.

Both Freeseha and the girl were struck by a vehicle believed to ba a white, late-1990s model Chevrolet or GMC and possibly a Suburban. Freeseha died. The niece suffered minor physical injuries.

Still, no breakthroughs in the case. Now, a billboard publicizes the case with hopes someone will either remember something that could help find Freeseha’s hit-and-run killer, or that the driver will get a conscience after living in guilt for the past four years. The former is more likely than the latter.

The billboard is situated long Highway 108 at the east entrance to Riverbank.

Investigators ask anyone with information on the case to call the CHP at (209) 545-7445.

ON THE JOB – In August, The Bee’s Erin Tracy profiled the impact Salida Middle School teacher Matt Shaw has had on the life of former student Kwa’Wayne Defils.

Defils grew up as the stepson of an emotionally and physically abusive convicted felon in an Oakland housing project before moving to the valley. His neighborhood was one where drug dealing, prostitution, robberies assaults and domestic violence were everyday occurrences.

Defils experienced a life-changing move to Salida as a sixth-grader in 2001 – life-changing because there he met Shaw, who became a father figure who changed his life. His grades improved, as did his demeanor. The family returned to Oakland before moving back to the valley and Stockton.

In August, Defils graduated from the law enforcement academy at San Joaquin Delta College and applied with several police departments including Modesto’s and Livermore’s before hiring on at Lodi force, sworn in last week. A great success story, indeed.

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! – The book signing for Stanislaus County’s first community novel, “Ashes in a Teardrop,” will be Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the McHenry Museum. The book represents the efforts of 15 local authors, the majority of whom will be there to sign copies. The cost, discounted for the signing session, is $11 per copy.

They collaborated to created a mystery set along the Tuolumne River in which the primary characters, a young couple, find an abandoned trailer that emerged from the water due to the drought. Inside, they find several items including an urn and a diary, and set about sleuthing the items and their meanings, using various local landmarks throughout the book.

Each author was part of the storyline planning process while writing a chapter of the book. Call (209) 558-7801 for more information.

And, a new book has a Modesto connection. Modesto native Rick Lewis took the cover photos and many others inside of “Wonderments of the East Bay,” by Sylvia Linsteadt & Malcolm Margolin. It’s available at

STATE OF THE SCREEN – A couple of movies coming to the State Theatre worth consideration: “Alive Inside,” is a 2014 Sundance Film Festival audience award winner for best documentary. The movie demonstrates how music can help Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Christina Mize of Modesto’s Stratford at Beyer Park assisted living approached the film’s producers and worked to bring it here. Proceeds benefit the Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support Center of Modesto. Call Stratford at Beyer Park at (209) 236-1900 for tickets ($5 each or $4 for seniors 60 and older) for more information. Starts at 2 p.m., after a reception at 1 p.m.

And Nov. 6, “The Lives of Others” is set in East Germany in the 1980s, the story of a successful playwright and the East German Stasi (secret police) officer who spies on him because he and his girlfriend stray from the party line, according to reviewers. Tickets available at the door, $5 each and free to Modesto Junior College students with a student body card. The The show begins at 7 p.m.

Bee columnist Jeff Jardine can be reached at or (209) 578-2383. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJardine57.