The killing of Wendy Hile in the Bethany area in the Northeast part of Lincoln, Nebraska in 1974 was an event that marred and scarred everyone in that tiny, tight-night, neighborhood. Tenth grader Wendy Hile — and her high school Junior murderer, Mark A. Goldsberry — lived within a few blocks of each other and the rest of us.
Decades later, the killing of Wendy Hile still stings within each of us, especially as we regress back into our childhood terrors wondering about the why of what happened so long ago — for three, long, days we only knew Wendy was missing — and we all tried to remove the rising horror within us that Wendy might never be brought back home to her family or to the neighborhood that yearned for her return.
Every so often over the years since Wendy’s death, I would do a web search for “Wendy Hile” — searching for shared remembrances of her awful death and for updated details on the status of her family and her murderer. My searches always came up empty and the memory of Wendy Hile continued to haunt me.
Then, over the weekend, I searched again for Wendy and found this thread on Topix — and all the gory details and searing pain and unending healing were returned to me with the same spite and hatred we all held for her killer so many years ago.
Wendy’s killer was her neighbor, and ours, Mark A. Goldsberry.
Mark, it seems, served 14 years in prison for raping and murdering Wendy and dumping her dead body in a field near Table Rock, Nebraska.
Mark spent less time in prison than Wendy was alive and he now has a family of his own and a good job allegedly working for the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Did Wendy Hile get justice for her rape and murder? Is 14 years enough of a punishment for Mark A. Goldsberry’s crimes?
If Mark raped and killed Wendy today — would he ever see the free light of day again? Or would the electrocutioner’s hand have found his head?
A crime like Mark’s can never be abided in a small town neighborhood — and so, back then, the search was on to pin a reason on Mark’s rape and murder — because if a reason couldn’t be found, then that meant Mark’s upbringing, his environment, his parents, his family, his neighborhood, and all of us, were all were factors in the evil that formed Mark… and that would never be acceptable to the community.
So… it was determined somehow… that Mark A. Goldsberry’s rape and murder of Wendy Hile was somehow influenced by some sort of head injury he had suffered… and while that reason could never bring Wendy back to us…. it was enough of an excuse to lift the neighborhood — the rest of us — from the hook of blame for her killing. Mark was sick. Mark was injured. Mark didn’t know what he was doing…
…hushing up was always better than showing down…
… so we tried to come to terms with the excuse that Mark didn’t mean to rape and kill Wendy and dump her body in a field and keep it all a secret for three days… Mark was really not like us… even though he was among us… maybe Mark had no memory of his actions… Mark couldn’t be blamed for a premeditated murder and the rape of Wendy… all after he invited her into his car on a rainy day for a ride to school.
We all still hate Mark A. Goldsberry and there’s no way any of us who knew Wendy could ever believe that her life was worth 14 years in prison — and so we all continue to suffer in silence — but bound by our shared experience of the living terror that we learned can lurk in our neighbors and bind us to our darkest disappointments.
Mark A. Goldsberry not only raped and killed Wendy Hile — he stole the childhood innocence and the assumed security of an entire neighborhood — and for that, he will be eternally damned and there is no escape from all of us who remember Wendy Hile because we will never forget who killed Wendy.
Mark A. Goldsberry killed Wendy Hile.
Wendy Hile will one day live again at WendyHile.com.
Here’s my David Boles: Human Meme podcast — Does Disappeared Mean Murdered — that also addresses the killing of Wendy Hile.
What a story, David. We really don’t know how many “Mark Goldsberry” has escaped “punishment” in the name of being sick. Sad.
That is the absolute truth, Katha, and those of us who experienced Mark Goldsberry in our childhoods have made him the monster under the bed for all of eternity. “Remember Wendy Hile” was always our sacred rallying cry when hoping to guarantee the safe return of a beloved.
We must honor Wendy by never forgetting her — or the one who killed her.
Quite a scary story, David. I’m with Katha on this — it’s sad when you think that so many people just get away with cold blooded murder forever.
I didn’t really realize until the weekend, Gordon, how Wendy’s killing horribly influenced a whole generation of neighborhood kids in what was supposed to be “small town, Nebraska” where the corn is always tall and the children are forever golden.
Those of us who remember Wendy are always reminded that the want to rape and the need to murder lurks everywhere and nowhere is safe today or at any other time in history.
Only parochial minds and conservative values try to tempt us into thinking we are above the reach of the killer and beyond the means of the rapist.
David, I also grew up in Bethany and knew Mark well. I didn’t know Wendy, but was shocked by the news of her murder and Mark’s involvement. Your memories of that time in Lincoln are different than mine — I don’t remember a “small town Nebraska”, but a city even then approaching 200,000. The only “tall corn” I remember anywhere near Bethany was on the research plots at the University East (Ag) Campus.
I also remember growing up with the infamous legend of Charles Starkweather and his murder spree through the Lincoln area. I was a baby at that time, but the surrounding memory of that terror pretty much ruled out the idyllic naivete you describe.
I don’t dispute the trauma you experienced in this event, only your characterization of mid-70’s Bethany and Lincoln. I also hope you can eventually find relief from your desire for vengeance and embrace the power of redemption.
I had to respond. If David is the one that I am thinking of (he is one year older than I am-mother was teacher). I agree with him. We were young children, probably too young to know everything regarding Wendy’s death. However, it did strike the Bethany neighborhood. I lived on 60th & Colby. This is only blocks away from both mark and Wendy. My mother was a “safe house” that back then, we had signs posted in houses where if children needed police, help, etc they were instructed to look for these houses. My mother knew the hile’s and she knew knew the next door neighbor. My elder sister hung around all these girls. My mother stated that I was never to speak with anyone or get into cars, etc because of Wendy. Those days when Wendy was lost I remember going just to 70th street where there was corn fields trying to locate her. Yes, I do believe that we had the idealic neighborhood. I would go to our empty lot and numerous boys from 5 blocks down would all meet and play football, baseball, etc. I was a tomboy through grade school till high school. It seemed back then, everyone knew everyone and would watch out for each other. Teachers that taught at the schools seemed to live close to their schools and students knew their houses either for safety precaution or just to talk. At least, I did. We could walk miles with no concern. Go to the library, both Anderson and Bethany, Hinky Dinky, Tastees, grab the bus to go downtown, just have fun. Yet, we knew each other.
You brought up Starkweather. My mother attended the same classes/schools where he went. I think he dropped out of high school. This was a more upscale terror that the whole town had. Charlie would show up anywhere. And from what I know, he would kill even his friends. I have asked about Charlie over the years and each time I hear that my mother was scared to death because she had to walk from Lincoln high school to Capitol beach each day. She stated that she considered him only an acquaintance but he would have killed her. My mothers uncle is the one that brought Charlie and carol fugate back to Lincoln, ne. From what I know carol was brought over to their house to bathe and clean clothes because she smelt and had “semen” all over her. As my mother describes they stated she smelt like sex. Now, I do not know this. But it was just stated among family. Anyway, Starkweather “closed” down Lincoln during his crime spree.
Wendy Hile’s death did not do this because it one only one murder, not numerous. I do believe that the children was affected so because we knew her or knew someone who knew her. We all looked for her. It did affect us children because in those days, we never heard of murders. We knew our neighbors. It was a small town in a big city.
I guess I just wanted to agree with David. If you remember too, Mahoney park was at the city line. Corn fields were all around. Even at Adams. Maybe you just didn’t get out much and you were not affected so much regarding Wendy because you did not have children in school. I think parents that did have children were freaked because of they lived through Charlie and now Wendy disappearing was just happening all over again. Didn’t know if others would show up dead or what was happening.
Thank you for your excellent comment. You confirm precisely the merits of my argument and my reason for the strong defense of Wendy in death.
There were other, more nefarious elements here, who certainly appear to be defending the murderer by trying, and failing, to discredit me and my memory.
Your support and insight and history — and standing up for Wendy in her grave! — are appreciated.
Dear “Archangel Stein” —
What a curious username to employ in defense of a rapist and murderer! I’m surprised you are standing with Mark instead of Wendy today.
What is your real name? We do not allow anonymous comments on the blog unless we can publicly identify precisely who we are speaking to in total — so if you want to continue this conversation, you will have to verifiably reveal who you are to our readers. Your IP address is with Charter.com and it appears you are coming to us via Scottsbluff, NE. If that isn’t the right town, then our next best guesses are Kearney or Grand Island. Which town are you from and what year did you leave Lincoln?
Having this sort of public discussion about Mark’s rape and murder of Wendy is important and we thank you for contributing for the discussion. Everything helps remember her and condemn him. Perhaps the local media in Lincoln will wake up and write a follow-up article about Wendy and Mark after all these years. I hope at least one person a day for the rest of Mark’s life will ask him, “Why did you rape and murder Wendy Hile and will your rape and murder again?” Let him publicly own his crimes and address them every day he breathes.
The Nebraska media are currently going crazy writing about Jerry Ewing — who was recently pardoned after spending 44 years in prison for first degree murder when he didn’t kill anybody! The man who actually pulled the trigger was released 20 years ago. I believe that story pales in comparison with Wendy Hile’s rape and murder.
I also find it wildly fantastic that Bill Ayers was dis-invited from speaking at UNL because of his political connection to President Obama while Mark Goldsberry allegedly stands in the UNO registrar’s office signing student transcripts as a university employee. That, to me, is the definition of disconnected madness.
Should people like like Mark Goldsberry be required today to register with the State Patrol as a sex offender?
I wonder if there’s any trepidation in the notion that Mark Goldsberry is propagating his DNA into the future while Wendy Hile moulders in her grave. In 1881, Henrik Ibsen wrote, “The sins of the father are visited upon the children” — and so one must be concerned for the sowing of past wrath into our now and our overlong tomorrows while also wondering what sort of woman would open herself to giving life to a rapist and murderer’s seed.
Starkweather didn’t live in my neighborhood, so my visceral connection to him isn’t the same as Mark Goldsberry’s rape and killing of Wendy Hile.
In 1970, Lincoln’s population was 149,518 not 200,000 — but a child’s world isn’t the city — a child’s world is a subset of the neighborhood.
There were certainly pockets of cornfields. Perhaps you weren’t looking in the right places. I understand you’re trying to attack my memory to press away the intention of my article that I know Mark Goldsberry killed Wendy Hile — and while I understand the effort, I don’t respect the intention.
In what way has Mark Goldsberry redeemed his rape and murder? Has he done work with rape victims and the families of murdered children? Or has he only spent his life reconstituting his personal wants and wishes? Imprisonment of 14 years can never be enough of a human punishment for the magnitude of his crimes. He may have “paid his debt” to society under the law, but he owes so much more on the human scale of compassion and understanding ruled by a grander, social, notion of what is right and wrong.
I have no interest in the redemption of Mark Goldsberry.
I only want to remember Wendy Hile.
Bravo, David! Standing ovation here. Don’t let the snide people stop you. Keep up the good work here as you have everywhere you go with your blogs. Thanks to you, I now know Wendy Hile and, I too, can remember her and remember who did what to her. Speaking of a wider audience, do you think the cable TV crime shows might show some interest?
It was my honor to introduce you to Wendy Hile, Anne. You make an excellent point that Wendy’s rape and murder would fit perfectly in a cable channels niche like — Discovery/TRUtv/History — and their series of True Crime stories. What a wonderment it would be if they rediscovered Wendy’s story and then updated it with a “Where are they now?” update intercut shots of Wendy’s grave? People would be sickened and outraged by the facts of the case.
I knew neither Wendy or Mark but was growing up in Table Rock at the time this horrible crime occurred. All I knew as a young boy was that something awful had happened and was very frightened seeing my father on the TV news helping in the search for remains. It was at this time that my parents starting locking the doors at night with the fear that was rooted in this act. I recently went back and read the old local newspaper from the time period as I wasn’t totally educated on the crime at the time. I often wondered to myself what happened to Mark or what his sentence was. Thanks for that info. I often wish that my children could have a childhood like I did but I know that crimes such as this one and dozens of others have brought us to where we are today
Thank you for your genuine and heartfelt comment.
I appreciate the fear and terror you describe — wondering about Wendy and what happened to her was foreign and uncertain and it obviously marked those of us who lived through the murder and the lies. The Midwestern innocence was lost.
We must remember Wendy. I hope you will tell your children about her — and precisely what Mark did to her — and then your children must pass down that known wickedness to their children and grandchildren and so on forever so we will always have a common touchstone of a warning against just how low some of us can go as a being… but never as a human one.
I went to the same high school and graduated in ’73 although I was still living in the neighborhood when this happened in ’74. It was a long ordeal that dredges up a lot of memories reading about it again
Thanks for sharing your memory, Marc. I was about ten years behind you and I remember the terror today as if it were yesterday. What was it like living it all in real time with it all happening around you every day?
I also went to the same high school and graduated in ’73 and my sister knew both Wendy and Mark. We were just sitting here remembering how sad we felt when it all took place.
I recently saw a documentary about a woman whose husband was murdered. She shared the story of her hatred of the man who killed her husband and how she could never forgive him for what he had done.She had been robbed of the man she loved. Her children had been robbed of their father. She spent years letting her life waste away with hatred. She talked about all the reasons she had and her “right” to hate the way she did. And she did!!
She shared her journey of going to meet the mother of the man who killed her husband. She was prepared to hate her for raising such a foul man. She found instead a sad and broken woman grieving for what her son had done. She then went to the prison to face the man who had murdered her husband. She asked him Why? She let him talk. Nothing he could say would ever really satisfy her grieving heart. She told him how much she hated him for what he had taken from her. And she cried. She told him she couldn’t forgive him yet, but that she would. And later she did. And she began to rebuild her life.
Her story left an impression on my heart…….
I knew Wendy very well. I did fun teen stuff with her & all us girls were always together. Lincoln was a cold place to grow up so we created our own fun. The same night on the day Wendy’s life was taken her Mom came to where I was babysitting to ask my girlfriend & me if we had seen her in school that day. We both said “no”. No one knew at that time why she wasn’t in school. We thought it was weird because she was a good girl & close to her parents. And we were of course concerned. It was surreal when her Mom tore away from the apartments not knowing where her daughter was. It was all so sad. Yes and her parents after this did not socialize with the neighbors as they were in the habit of doing before. I don’t think it does any good to stir up all the fears & all the curious on lookers that didn’t even go to her school. Don’t worry, the people who loved her wont ever forget her. She was fun & very sweet. I would hate to see a creepy murder drama written about her David. It’s an age old story, people getting away with murder. This happened 40 years ago. We live in a fallen world with evil people everywhere. And now there’s a murderer employed to administrate at UNL. News flash, I think Universities hire some of the most corrupt liars there are. So Mark if you ever read this I would have you know that I have never healed from what you did. And Lincoln could really improve in the investigative arena too. Regina Rap Boss has never been found & has been missing after her music gig 10 years ago. She was a friend of mine also. Just leaves a person numb.
There’s an old saying — “You die twice in a lifetime. Once, when your body dies and the second when the last person who remembers you dies.” — and that’s why I wrote this article. I want people who never knew Wendy Hile to remember her, and to never forgot what happened to her. I never want Wendy to die a second time.
David I don’t want to judge you. As I said earlier. My sister knew both Mark and Wendy. I graduated in ’73. I can still tell you the songs that played on the radio during that time because when something horrible and tragic happens, especially when you are young, you don’t forget. Wendy should be remembered and loved by her family and friends for who she was. Do you really think it is fair that you decide how she needs to be remembered? Forty years later people must not be reliving rape and murder of Wendy but moving on with their lives or die in their bitterness and hatred. How are you using your giftedness with words to help people be restored to life? Do you make money doing this???
Nope, sorry, no money made here or in any of the 14 blogs I publish. Would you like to try again? I have no angle or corner I’m working. No hidden agenda. 100% transparency. I’m just doing the right thing and the truth cannot be purchased.
Since it appears you prefer to not understand my position, or purpose, for remembering Wendy in my own way, and in my own time, and on my own dime, there’s no reason to continue this conversation with you. Substitute “Auschwitz” for “Wendy Hile” and you’ll see just how strange your comment is in the context of history and suffering and mourning.
No bitterness or hatred here — I’m just doing my share in doing my part of keeping Wendy’s memory alive as to what actually happened to her, and I will not abide the whitewash of those with an unspoken, but vested, interest in shushing up history — as ugly and as awful as it was and is.
Sometimes, the truth must never be buried. Sometimes, some things must never heal and you are, curiously, actually helping make that happen with your comments and my replies. Wendy Hile was a loving person who was loved and she was horribly raped and murdered by someone she knew and clearly trusted.
We must never forget. We must name the names of our shared history. We must warn our children and our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren against precisely what happened to Wendy, so their fate will not be hers — and to continue to cry and wonder why.
Today, I registered WendyHile.com and it currently re-directs to this blog article.
I will create a website for WendyHile.com that will explore her life, celebrate her legacy, and confirm the ascension of her killer’s life.