The very name of Terry Jo may sound unfamiliar to many people who will be reading this article, but this braveheart is an inspiration for millions of people around the world. It was more than 50 years ago when this 11 – year old kid was left abandoned on a raft after her entire family was being brutally murdered. Terry survived for four days adrift on the sea without any food or water. She was exposed to the scorching heat of the sun and the open sea with no protection.
After she was being rescued, Terry could not properly talk about what happened to her entire family on the fateful night despite remembering everything. It was only in the year 1999 when Terry was finally able to speak about the incident after being given truth serum on the suggestion of her friend Richard Logan who was a psychologist.
Given below is an account of what happened on that fateful night when Terry Jo lost her entire family and nearly escaped her own death:
Terry’s father Dr. Arthur Duperrault along with his family went for a trip to Bahamas from Florida on November 8, 1961 in their ketch named Bluebelle. Arthur invited his friend Julian Harvey to be the captain of their ship. Julian was accompanied by his wife Mary Harvey in the trip. Dr. Duperrault’s family members included his wife Jean, daughers Terry Jo and Renee and his son Brian.
Julian Harvey happened to be a decorated Korean War and World War II pilot and has a record of five previous marriages already prior to his marriage with Mary. Mary happened to be his sixth wife who was a former airline stewardess and was supposed to be in charge of cooking in the ketch.
On the night of November 12, 1961, Terry Jo suddenly woke up from her sleep after hearing screams from the deck. She went on to find her mother Jean and brother Brian lying in a pool of blood. She the rushed to the main deck and found Harvey there who was advancing towards her. A terrified Terry asked Harvey what happened only to be slapped and chided by him to go back down below the decks.
When Terry returned to her bunk, she noticed that oil and water was leaking through the floor. It was during that time that Harvey came to the cabin with his rifle but later backed out as the water level in the cabin had risen up. Terry then went back up and found a loose dinghy out there. She jumped into the water to catch it and finally escaped. Terry was lucky enough to untie the cork raft from where she was being rescued by a Greek freighter after a period of four days.
It is said that Julian Harvey was in serious financial crisis due to which he killed his wife Mary Harvey to get her double indemnity insurance. He is said to have drowned her while they were onboard the ketch with the Duperrault family. He later on killed the entire Duperrault family as they might have witnessed him murdering his wife.
Harvey was already found three days earlier in the dinghy and he carried Renee’s dead body along with him after which he gave different accounts of the event. However, later on when he found out that Terry Jo was alive, he went to a motel and committed suicide. Harvey is said to have informed the authorities that the ship Bluebelle was hit by a squall which ruptured its gas tank leading to a fire. He also told that he found an unconscious Renee floating in the waters but could not revive her.
Terry Jo kept mum about the entire incident for many years mainly because of shock and psychological effects on her after the incident. But the braveheart should definitely be applauded for her courage and bravery who survived 84 hours in the open sea without any kind of support. Her story is an inspiration to many other boys and girls of her age who are still learning to survive in this complicated world.
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