Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

The Devil’s Bathtub

Devil's Bathtub, Mendon Ponds Park

“RIT Professor Charged in Wife’s Homicide”

About a week ago, the above headline was splashed across the front page of the local newspaper.  It also dominated the local TV news.  While murder isn’t exactly a rare event in the Rochester area, this one caught the public’s attention.  Why?  Because it is highly unlikely for a college professor to (1) kill his wife (or anyone else, presumably) by strangulation, (2) leave the body in a local park (in their own car), and then (3) call 911 and tell the police where to find it.  They could find her, he said, near the Devil’s Bathtub in Mendon Ponds Park (just south of Rochester).  Not long after, he was arrested and charged with her murder.

One of the things that caught my attention – aside from the bizarre nature of the crime – was the fact that the victim was, among other things, a talented photographer.  An environmentalist, she loved parks that contained wetlands and marshes.  She visited them frequently and loved to take photographs.  According to the paper, she once said that she found these places “haunting”.  I know what she meant.  And Mendon Ponds Park is just such a place.

My last visit to this park was about 6 weeks prior to her murder.  The Devil’s Bathtub is a very small pond that lies in a fairly deep depression, one of the many remaining artifacts of the last glacial retreat in this part of the world.

I didn’t know her, of course.  After reading about her, I wish that I had.  I think we might have had a few common interests.  One thing is certain: the Devil’s Bathtub will never be the same.           


2 Responses to “The Devil’s Bathtub”

  1. Ken Bello

    Paul, I was also at Mendon Ponds on Nov. 2. It had always been one of my favorite places to walk and photograph, though this was the first time in about 15 years that I had the chance to go. While the discovery of the body at the park was very unfortunate, it won’t change the beauty of the park or the pleasure it gives to the people that go there to forget their problems for a little while. Nature has a way of overcoming a tragedy like this. It’s nice to know that some will remember the victim when they visit the park. And who doesn’t want to be remembered?

  2. Paul Maxim

    We didn’t miss each other by much, Ken. I was there Oct. 27th. I should have called you! With respect to the murder, I’m still waiting for the police (or DA’s office) to come up with a motive. From all the comments, these were two very gentle people who got along very well. What the heck set him off? I’m also still trying to see if any of her photographs can be found on the internet.


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