Thought Catalog: First of all thank you for speaking with us today, Cynthia. I understand this must be terribly difficult for you, mentally and emotionally.
Cynthia Rutheford: It’s only been four months, but it still feels fresh. I guess spending several months in jail makes it a little hard to find peace… But I figured it will help me some to speak outside of the courtroom to someone about what happened.
TC: None of the Texas news stations have picked your story up. Not even the newspapers will publish it. So for those who are interested, can you please give a little background to fill them in?
CR: Well, I am 23-years-old. My husband, Clark, was 25 and our daughter… our daughter, Isabelle… I’m sorry. It’s still a little hard. Our daughter, Isabelle, was two years old. Clark had been working for an oil plant, Baytown Refinery, since graduating from Texas Tech. We met in college and got married as soon as I finished up too. He had a good paying job, but it wasn’t so good that I could afford to be a stay-at-home mother for long. As soon as Isabelle was old enough for us to feel secure, I got a job waitressing and we vetted a nanny to watch her for two days each week.
TC: In the court proceedings they said the nanny’s name was Madeline. How did you know her?
CR: It was really coincidental… Well… now, after everything that’s happened, I don’t feel that I can quite call it coincidence anymore. Madeline knocked on our door and said she heard a rumor that we were looking for a nanny. She seemed intelligent and soft-spoken enough, so we never second guessed it. But I did have different concerns from the beginning. Clark seemed to really enjoy looking at her cut-off shorts.
TC: Forgive me if this is too difficult to talk about now, but you two got married pretty young by today’s standards. Was there anything prior to make you worry about infidelity?
CR: Yes, there have been a couple times that Clark would leave his e-mails open before going to work. He liked talking to random girls on forums. They would flirt, and I confronted him about it a few times but he said he was just “sowing his wild oats in the virtual world.” He had a tendency to get mad very fast… I didn’t push the subject further than that. It was difficult, but I put my trust in him with the nanny. For the most part. On Tuesdays he would be home two hours before me. It was those days that I worried about. But as it turned out that was why… that was why I survived.
TC: So were the hidden nanny-cams more for Tuesdays, or for the nanny herself? You said she gave you no qualms in terms of her character, correct?
CR: Yes. It was mostly because I was worried about Clark cheating, and that’s why I didn’t tell anyone. It was not even until my court hearings that I was able to see the footage of what had really happened first hand. That night I had come home to the… I saw the aftermath. The blood. The flesh. The fingernails stuck in… stuck in the drywall. And Isabelle’s body…. I’m sorry. That’s the hardest for me. Clark had some recurring issues with his liver in the past. I had to grapple with the threat of losing him more than a couple times. But Isabelle. You don’t ever imagine that. You can’t.
TC: Can you tell us what you saw on the nanny-cams from that night they were murdered? Who was the murderer?
CR: Are you serious?
TC: I’m sorry, would you prefer to skip this question?
CR: No. I should say it out loud. It’s just… what a question to ask someone. You could take a lesson in sensitivity. [She clears her throat, as if bracingly] Okay. I had two cameras in the house. One was in the living room and the other in our bedroom. Madeline always had a strange looking top kind of toy- like a spindle. She would spin it on a table and Isabelle would be mesmerized by it, like a fly drawn to candy.
On that night, Isabelle was staring at the spindle in the living room when Clark came home. Madeline and Clark exchanged words before he ventured into the bedroom. Maddy followed. She got close to him and seemed to be whispering something into his ear. They were oddly close. It looked like she was sniffing his neck or something. Suddenly, she was driving something unseen into his stomach. None of the forensics from the case has been able to identify if it was a knife or a small spear or what, but… it gashed his abdomen open…
She dragged him out into the hallway where neither cameras could see. That was where we found fingernails and the scratches in the walls. His body… when I came home… okay. So, then she went after Izzy in the livingroom. She took her by the neck. The spindle was still spinning. She raised Izzy up… she broke her… like a little baby bird, like the way you snap a twig in the forest… and then she took my baby’s body… she shook her out. She… cut open her neck and took her little body and squeezed her out like a rag… like a blood-soaked rag, all down her face. She smeared it in her hair. She took her clothes off and painted her body in it. And then she was gone.
That’s enough. It’s not helping. This is not helping. I can’t say anymore.
TC: It’s okay, Cynthia. You don’t have to say anymore about that. But, do you want to continue the interview?
CR: You want to ask me more questions?
TC: Just a couple. I’m just curious, are you scared that Madeline is going to come back for you if you have another baby? You are still quite young enough.
CR: Why would you ask me that?
TC: Okay, I’m sorry. Not that then. Now that you are out of prison, do you ever get paranoid that she is watching?
Cynthia did not answer the last question. She got up and left the room in tears. Cynthia, if you are reading this, I am sorry. That was inappropriate, and I got caught up in the moment. I hope you find security and safety now. I wish you all of the luck in the world finding a way to go on living after this.