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Vaughn: 'I can't see myself coming back' Murder suspect fantasized about : News : Oswego Ledger-Sentinel : Hometown Newspaper for Oswego and Montgomery, Illinois
Vaughn: 'I can't see myself coming back' Murder suspect fantasized about
Murder suspect fantasized about living in the wilderness

by Tony Scott


The trial of former Oswego resident Christopher Vaughn, accused of murdering his family, entered its third week on Tuesday morning at the Will County Courthouse in Joliet.

For much of last week, the jury saw videotaped interrogations of Vaughn shortly after prosecutors said he shot and killed his wife and three young children in the family SUV off a frontage road near Interstate 55 in Channahon Township in June of 2007.

Vaughn's defense team contends that his wife, Kimberly Vaughn, shot herself and wounded him after killing their children.

The jury also heard from Stephen Willott, a Canadian citizen who communicated with Vaughn via email and met him on a social networking website called "43 Things."

The two men talked about living in the Canadian wilderness, with Willott using the name "Flea" and Vaughn going by the name "Flint."

Willott read emails to the jury that were sent to him by Vaughn in the winter of 2006 and spring of 2007, detailing the fantasy that Vaughn had to eventually get away from his family and move up to the Canadian wilderness.

At one point, in May, Vaughn told Willott about a trip he took to the Yukon, the territory in far northwestern Canada bordering Alaska.

Also in the emails, Vaughn discussed his appreciation for wilderness survival television hosts such as Bear Grylls of "Man versus Wild" and Les Stroud of "Survivorman." At one point, he suggests that he and Willott film their own television show or write a book on wilderness survival and their experiences living in the wilderness.

In one email dated April of 2007, Vaughn discusses a recent camping trip he took and how he knew "how easy it is to just toss it up and just leave," and, regarding his trip to Canada, "Once I get up there, I can't see myself coming back."

Willott said he and Vaughn emailed each other through the end of May 2007, but that Vaughn all of a sudden stopped replying.

"I sent him a couple emails and didn't hear anything back," Willott said.

Vaughn also posted messages as "Flint" on the 43 Things site, discussing his idea of living in the wilderness, according to various media reports.

In a reply to another member of the website about living outdoors, dated May 15, 2007, Flint wrote that he was "wrapping up a few last things."

"I hear you about not fitting into society, I am the same way," he wrote. "I'd rather follow a set of tracks through a river in the rain than have spend time on a paved road or under a roof. I am working on wrapping up a few last things and then I am headed out for the long walk. I've been taking continually longer and more remote trips figuring that when the time comes I'll be ready. The location has been the biggest consideration seeing as I am looking for something extremely remote but also moderately survivable (no Artic circle etc.) I have been talking with someone else who is as into getting lost in the wilderness as I am, which I didn't think I would ever meet. Drop me an email, I'd like to hear what you are thinking."

Also, in a chilling entry from May 7, 2007, Vaughn as Flint quotes author Henry David Thoreau about living in the wilderness.

"Here is the quote from Thoreau that describes how I view my plans for a walk in the wilderness: 'If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friends, and never see them again - if you have paid your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man, then you are ready for a walk.'"

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