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A Woman Murdered For Her Child

On September 27, in the small town of Ravenna, Ohio, a young woman named Theresa Andrews was going about her day. Her life was beginning to unfold in so many beautiful ways. She and her husband, Jon Andrews, lived in a quaint, well kept community, perfect for starting a family, in a little house on Riddle Avenue. At just 23 years old, she was expecting her first child in just a few short days. Jon had gone off to work at a factory in Cleveland, and she would stay home that day, running errands and waiting excitedly for her new son's arrival, whom she had already named Oscar. At about 9 am, she received a phone call from a woman, interested in buying a black Jeep the couple had put up for sale. Theresa called Jon at work with the news, telling him she was going to show the lady the Jeep and then go run some errands. That afternoon, at 4:30 pm, Jon arrived home from work and was surprised to find the front door unlocked, and the Jeep missing. When he went inside, his wife was nowhere to be found. Her purse had been left behind. Jon immediately sensed something was very wrong and called the police. Twenty-four hours after Theresa was reported missing, on September 28, police began their investigation. They reqested phone records from Ameritech to try and trace the call from the mysterious woman who asked about the Jeep. The Jeep was found abandoned in a parking lot near the Andrews' house, the doors unlocked and the keys missing. No sign of a struggle could be found. Family and friends had already begun their own search, hanging posters and passing out flyers to businesses across the region, including my own. They questioned everyone they could find and prayed fervently. Finally, on October 2, Theresa's due date, the Ravenna police got their big break. The phone records showed the call had come from a cell phone owned by Thomas Bica, who lived on Mill Road with his wife Michelle, just four blocks from the Andrews' home.

A Truth Too Horrible To Bear

On the morning of October 2, Ravenna police went to the Bica home and spoke with Michelle Bica, 39. She answered questions concerning the Jeep she had looked at with Theresa, but claimed she had no idea where she was. She also mentioned that she had just had a baby boy a few days earlier. Police left the Bica house after the questioning. But some of the answers didn't add up. Police returned to the house around 9 pm that evening. As they got out of their vehicles, they heard a gunshot from within the home, and Tom Bica screaming his wife's name. Michelle Bica had put a gun in her mouth and committed suicide in an upstairs room. The infant lay sleeping in the nursery, unharmed, and police immediately began a search of the Bica home. In the early morning hours of October 3, around 3:30 am, the body of Theresa Andrews was discovered buried in a shallow grave in the detatched garage. She had a gunshot wound to the back, and her son had been cut out of her womb. Thomas Bica was taken into custody, and the infant was taken to Robinson Memorial Hospital to await DNA testing. Ten hours later Thomas Bica was released after questioning and passing a polygraph test. He said, along with the rest of the family and neighbors, that Michelle must have pretended to be pregnant, and that she claimed she gave birth quickly in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. As if to tie up the investigation into a neat little bow, a further search of the house revealed, inside Michelle Bica's purse, the missing keys to the Andrews' black Jeep.

Photo: Christine McCartney, a friend of Theresa's mother. Photo by Lew Stamp.

A Husband Without A Wife, A Son Without A Mother

On the morning of October 5, Oscar Gavin Andrews was released from Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna to Jon Andrews, following positive DNA results and a clean bill of health. The little one and his dad will begin a new life together, a life supported by a strong faith in God and a memory of the woman they lost. Jon has found joy through all of the sadness in this perfect little boy, a lasting legacy of Theresa. How will they fare as life goes on? Someday Oscar will know what happened to his mother. I pray that God will help Jon find peace with his life, will cope as the years march by without his wife. I pray he will find the right words to tell Oscar the truth when he is ready, and I pray Oscar's heart will receive God's love and understanding. And I pray that Theresa, safe in the arms of the Lord, has found peace watching her husband emerge from the hospital, their new son cradled in his arms.

Photo: Jon Andrews kisses his son, Oscar Gavin. Photo by Chuck Crow.

You Can Help

Please take this ribbon I have made in honor of the Andrews family, and link back to this page, if you wish. Help keep the prayers going for as long as possible for this family. A benevolent fund has been set up by the friends of Theresa Andrews at FirstMerit Bank. Although no amount of money will make this family whole again, the reality is that Jon Andrews, now a widower, has a new son to take care of as a single parent. He needs all of the relief he can possibly get right now. Although I normally do not ask people to give money, in this case I felt a mention of where donations could be given is important. I do ask that all people, of all faiths, lift up a prayer for the Andrews family that life will somehow return to a level of normalcy again...and to hold the ones that they love as tightly as they can.