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The Value of a Smile by Dick Cress

The Value of a Smile

by Dick Cress

205 pages
A book by victims, about victims, and for victims.

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Category: Self Help:Stress
About the Book
The Value of a Smile began in 1993 as a catharsis and a promise to be kept and grew into 'Victimization 101' by 2000.

On April 30, 1983 this family frantically searched for their missing thirteen-year-old son Patrick who failed to meet them as planned. By 6:30 PM that evening, worry turned to terror and they reported him missing. After the report was filled out and the officer left, it was obvious to these frantic parents that the missing child was assumed to be a runaway and there was no intention by police officers to assist this devastated family in any way. In the future, this lack of activity would haunt Dick and his family.

This family's search began two days later when they began first, by posting crudely assembled posters and later, thousands of typewritten flyers with pictures of the missing youth were widely distributed in the Pacific Northwest but generated little more than a few rumors that they had to check out. However, very early in their search a terrifying rumor began circulating at the Junior High School that the children attended.

With a haunting knock on the door the evening of May 18th they learned that the junior high rumor was brutally accurate . . . their son's remains were found exactly as the story had told, and this family joined the group that no one wants to join.

A shrouding fog protected the family as events started and ended. Friends shouldered much of the burden that allowed the memorial services to be planned and executed. After scattering his ashes in the beautiful Cascade Mountains . . . the last of the Memorial tributes, the devastating damage of a brutal lesson that none of Dick's family would ever recover from had begun. Unfortunately, this was a lesson that would take many years of heartache and painful reminders to learn.

Statistics reveal that in cases such as this one a family member is generally considered a suspect until cleared. Two weeks after recovering Patrick, Dick was given a polygraph examination and cleared from the list of suspects. During the drive home, the detective in charge of the case advised him that their investigation was unable to turn up any new leads and that his family and the police would have to wait until his killer(s) came forth and confessed to the murder. Dick, his family, and the police are still waiting for the confession that will most likely never come. With the lack of activity by the police from April 30 until his remains were found, precious time and valuable evidence was lost to time and weather.

Four years after Katie's death in 1993 from breast cancer complications, Dick accepted a call for research papers from the 9th International Symposium on Victimology into stress disorders and their classifications. This resulted in two papers submitted for him to the Symposium. Along with these papers, Dick shares the painful lessons that can be learned in no other way.


From my first reading of this book, a phrase used by the author has haunted me: "Institutionalized Disinterest." What an apt, however unfortunate, grasp of how the system functions: a system so compartmentalized, so territorial in its separate interests, and so mutually exclusive that in the end it too often fails the very people it is designed to protect. I don't know if, in writing this book, the author intended more to empower other victims, or to enlighten victim-service providers, or to encourage the system to take a long-overdue look at itself. Indeed it is a book, which does all three.
- Kathy Copley, Victim Advocate; Kentucky Victims Coalition V
The Value of A Smile offers insight into the world of violent crime victims, the loved ones, and friends they leave behind. The emotions this tragedy brings forth are often misunderstood, leaving the victims at the mercy of every negative emotion. Without negating the horror of losing a friend or loved one at the hand of the criminal, Value Of A Smile offers hope for victims and survivors.
- Lisa Angelina Author of Nothing Hidden



About the Author
Dick Cress After the murder of his thirteen-year-old son, Dick began working with crime victims. This forced a focus on the perilous, often deadly journey that violent crime victims must endure. For nearly two decades, Dick's writings have inspired and helped victims become survivors and clear the many hurdles they must face.



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