Saturday, September 14, 2013

something dark

Just a few miles down the road from here, there is a trail called the Loop.  It's short and steep, and climbs for almost four miles to Granite Park Chalet in Glacier Park.

The chalet
Jordan Graham and her husband of 8 days, Cody Johnson, went for a hike on this trail on the evening of July 7, 2013.  

Only one of them came back.

Supposedly, Jordan hiked out the way they had come.  Maybe she looked down and saw the footprints they had made in the trail dust a few minutes earlier.  She got out her keys and drove home.  It must have taken her at least an hour; lots of time to think about what had happened.

One of Cody's co-workers reported him missing the next day.  Of course the police came to their house; she must have known that they would, that it was the first place they would go.  She told them that Cody had gotten into a car with people she didn't know that night.  The car was dark colored, she said.

A few days later Jordan drove back there, to where it all went down.  She parked in the lot for the Loop Trail and started walking.  She reported to the rangers that she had found a dead body.  The man was lying at the base of a steep cliff.  It was her husband.

When asked about the apparent coincidence of finding him, she said that Cody had always wanted to see that area before he died. 

Eventually she crumbled.  They had had an argument, she said.  He put his hand on her arm.  She removed it, but instead of walking away, she had been so angry that she had pushed him, put both hands on his back and shoved him off the cliff.

Jordan is 22 years old.

Friends came forward.  Jordan had second thoughts about the marriage, they said.  She had been planning to talk to him about it that night.  One of Cody's groomsmen chimed in.  He had warned him not to marry Jordan, he claimed.  He thought it was strange that she did not look her groom in the eye as she recited her vows.

But beyond all that, regardless of motive, or how it actually happened, what I want to know is this:  what was she feeling as she walked back down the trail, one returning when two had gone out?  Was she scared, or numb, or just relieved?  Why didn't she go screaming to the rangers, saying he had tripped, or that he was hitting her and she fought back?  What did it take, or did it take anything, for her to drive away down that winding road out of the park, and return to a dark house?

And why did she go back?  Did she want to see if, in the light of day, what she remembered had actually happened? Or did she feel sad that he was lying out there alone in the rocks where he might never be found?  Did she want some reflected glory or sympathy for being the one to find him?

Jordan and Cody
It makes me wonder now, when I see people coming down the trail.  Is it a happy couple, celebrating their new life together, looking perfectly ordinary?  Or is there something underneath what we see, something dark and hidden and unknown?  Is everyone capable of some crazy, wild act, given the right circumstances? I can hear some of you saying no, absolutely not.  But think about it.  How do you know?

Jordan Graham


  1. Shiver...what a dark happening on the Loop trail through such a beautiful place.

  2. I looked up the case after reading this and saw she has been released to house arrest. After admitting to killing him, I don't understand her being out of jail at all, but I guess they are going to go the mental health route. How sad she ended his life over an argument.

  3. I remember reading about that in the news recently and it was chilling. All I can think of, if I were in Jordan's shoes (which I do not think I EVER would be) is "I wish life had an Undo button."

    I wonder if she felt pressured into the marriage or felt like she had no other option than to get married. Just another case for not marrying young.


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