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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Man's death determined a homicide
The 29-year-old was found burned Jan. 18. His ex-wife is on a mission to find who did it.
By MOLLY MOORHEAD, Times Staff Writer
Published January 29, 2008
Jesse Lohr was released from prison in September. He was the father of three boys.
SPRING HILL - Long after the end of their turbulent marriage, Lorraine Lohr finds herself entangled with her ex-husband.
Her purpose now: to find the people who killed him.
Authorities on Monday confirmed that Jesse Lohr, 29, died by homicidal violence sometime before Jan. 18, when his badly burned body was found in the back of a pickup in a rural pocket of Moon Lake.
Sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin would not release more about Lohr's cause of death, citing an open investigation. No arrests have been made.
But Lorraine Lohr has been chasing down her ex-husband's friends to find out what they know and passing the information on to detectives.
"I'm just on a mission to get these people," she said Monday at her small mobile home in Spring Hill, just over the Hernando County line.
She has pieced together a chain of events she hopes will help detectives. She said that after Lohr disappeared on New Year's Eve, he began living with a woman known to be a drug runner. Late one night, the woman asked him to do one of her runs - but didn't join him.
He took her truck, then turned up dead in the back of it.
"I know Jesse didn't go out without a fight," Lorraine said. "He knows I'm going to find them. Lorraine always does. I'm the nasty ex-wife."
During their turbulent years together - children, divorce, reconciliation and a final split, all overshadowed by Jesse's stints in jail - Lorraine found solace in someone else.
Jesse's older brother, Lester, is her husband now. They have a 2-year-old son.
She knows it's crazy, like an episode of The Jerry Springer Show. It angered Jesse and soured the relationship between the brothers.
"There was a conflict, yes," she said. "But it wasn't intentional. I love them both."
She still had hope for Jesse.
He was released from prison in September after serving three years on various theft charges. Since then, his ex-wife said, he had mostly followed a straight path. He moved in down the street, picked up his boys from school every day and worked to rebuild a bond with them.
He met his youngest for the first time. Joseph Lohr, now 3, was born while Jesse was in prison.
Only the 8-year-old, J.D., understands death. He has seemed quiet and lost since Lorraine broke the news. Tristan, 4, drew a picture of angel wings for his dad.
"My boys need closure," Lorraine said. "They Jesse's killers don't realize what they took away from my children. How do you make up for that?"