Leigh Ann's Story - A Brief Biography by Ken Davison

   Leigh Ann Cox CARING
Leigh Ann was mildly retarded from not enough oxygen during birth and was only 4' 11" tall. Though she did have some difficulties such as making change, using a checkbook, and getting cranky machinery to behave, anyone meeting her for the first time would not know that she was retarded. Leigh Ann sang in the choir at her church and enjoyed this very much. She kept herself very clean and her house spotless. She finished high school and had been a Certified Nursing Assistant and a child care worker. She had a driver's license and her own car, which she kept routinely maintained at Jiffy Lube. She lived by herself in an apartment for many years, but the cost of living was getting too high in Atlanta for her to afford it, so recently she had come out here to learn to be a caretaker on our little farm.

We have a honda 3 wheeler (it has not been used since the attack) and Leigh Ann liked driving it around the place. She loved the animals here, including the dogs, of course, and liked to share popcorn with them as she watched TV. She many times remarked about how gently they would take the popcorn out of her hand. Sometimes one or more of our dogs would go to her camper and spend the night with Leigh Ann.

She made friends with all the goats, and they would come up to her to be petted. She thought that our "country ways," as she called them, were funny. She laughed at our "House Chicken." It did not really live in the house, but it would come in if we left the door open. One of the dogs that I shot found that little white rooster in a rain storm, soaked to the bone, and brought it into the house. We were in bed and woke to the worst screeching sounds we had ever heard. It was our dog "tummy rub" trying to bring the chicken through the doggie door. We got the rooster dried off and let it stay by the heater for that night. It has stayed around the house ever since.

She was afraid of the mice in our chicken coop, until one day in the garden I found a mouse nest. I picked up the mother, and Leigh Ann was surprised that it did not bite me. I let her pet it, and from then on she was not afraid of the mice. She was very careful not to disturb the mouse nest when she was working in the garden. I caught a Garter snake and let Leigh Ann pet it, but explained about the poisonous snakes that we have out here.

Leigh Ann loved cats and wanted to get a kitten. When we were going through her things, we found a T-shirt with a wolf and a cougar sniffing noses on it. Of course, this could only happen in the Disney world and not in real life, which she may not have fully realized. It is possible if she saw the cougar that she might not have been afraid, until the moment it attacked.

She wrote in a letter to a friend that she was the most happy that she had even been out here and mentioned all the animals. She was killed before she could mail it. We found it, sealed and with a stamp, in her camper. She would have mailed it on the following Monday.

Yes, we need to move on with our lives, but your updates do not bother us. We have the memories of May 03, 2003, still in our minds. At least for me the nightmares have stopped. The poor dogs still have bad dreams where they are trying to get away from something. If we surprise them, they yelp and try to leap away. Once they see it was us, they are fine. All in all, things are better. I do not "see" the body each time I look at our yard. I don't "see" my two dogs laying on the bedroom floor every time I go in now. If I think about it, the images are clear, but I try not to think about much these days.

I saw some photos of myself about a month after the attack, and I looked awful. The effects of the stress were plain. My eyes had a very tired, beat down look to them and what has been described as a "thousand yard stare." I feel like this took several years off my life, but I am a survivor. My wife before Barb, died in my arms at home, because she did not wish to die in the hospital. She knew that she was dying and was very brave, but as she was lapsing into a coma, she begged me in a little girl's voice to "Please, please save me" and I could not. I survived that, and I am surviving this. I could write a book, but I am not that good of a writer and nobody would believe me anyway.

Ken Davison - March 6, 2004

  My Favorite Memories of Leigh Ann Cox - by Barbara Davison  

  There is so much I remember about a life too short.

When Leigh Ann was a little girl, she organized everybody's shoes in their closets.

Leigh Ann had a spirited sense of humor. Even as a child, she would do unexpected things that made you crack up. As a preschooler she had an almost nightly ritual. She would take something from my brother or me, tear through the house, and then flush it down the toilet--just 2 steps ahead of the "victim." She would grab something, it didn't much matter what, a doll, a record, a watch, whatever, and the chase began. It was usually too large to go down, but the funny part was that she would let you know she had it, and you knew where she was going with it. It really was hilarious fun for us kids, chasing through the house, trying to beat her to the bathroom.

When she was about 6, Mother was getting onto her about something--playing with her food, I think. Leigh Ann hung her head, looking very remorseful and pitiful while Mother ran on and on. Suddenly, Leigh Ann looked back up--with a french fry on each top canine tooth! She raised her arms over her head and roared like a bear (or maybe a cougar). Of course, Mother's ire cooled with everyone laughing so hard.

Though she could make you laugh, she also knew how to laugh with others. Ken made her laugh...a lot. She thought he was the funniest man she had ever met, he was good for her.

Leigh Ann had lived with us previously for several years, after our mother died. I was single at the time with 2 kids, and I was working wierd shifts at the hospital. She helped me around the house and did a fair amount of baby sitting even though she also worked full time at a day care center. She loved kids. One day my son Michael, who was about 5 at the time, told me he and Leigh Ann had taken a tour of the neighborhood--under the streets in the sewer system! I wasn't happy about it, but they loved it!

At first, Leigh Ann was not sure she wanted to leave her routine, her friends, and her work in Atlanta to live with us. Though undoubtedly homesick, after arriving, she would gently kid us about our "country ways" such as saving everything, not knowing when it might be needed somewhere, somehow. It took her a bit to get the hang of our habits, but one day she came to me with an empty Pringles potato chip can and asked if we could use it for anything. I knew she was feeling like a part of our lives. And it hadn't taken her long at all to name the goats, which she loved to feed or to enjoy watching the chickens. It is sad to think how much she was also looking forward to her cucumbers growing in the garden.

Leigh Ann loved to take pictures. She had photographs of everyone she ever knew. One day many months after she died, I found about 10 albums of family photos I had never seen before. Many were of myself and my children as they were growing up, others of friends and relatives, and many of my mother. I sat for hours and cried as I flipped through the photos of days gone by, never to be retrieved.

At Leigh Ann's funeral, my daughter Liz spoke. She spoke of how Leigh Ann was the aunt who never treated them like pesky little kids. They shared music, stuffed animals, stories and confidences.

My tears are over for the night, and I will go to sleep in peace.

Barb Davison - March 16, 2004

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