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Horse Whisperer

A Lost Childhood

A Retrospective by

Lynda Williams

Lynda Williams

How it All Started...

I grew up in a home with notorious, careeer criminals, my father, RC Tison and three brothers, Gary,  Joe, and Larry. I was subject to abuse on every level. My book details their criminal activity and what I had to do to survive it and the tremendous humiliation I suffered growing up, even into adulthood  due to their actions. I remain in the community where most of their criminal activities occurred.   Often the humiliation continues even after all these years, and their deaths, despite what I have done with my life, and the success I have achieved.

Two books and movies were made about my family: A Killer in The Family and The Last Rampageabout the criminal activity of my father and three brothers. I decided it was time to tell my story, the story of what it was like for a young girl to grow up in such a dysfunctional environment. My story is of the horrific lifestyle of being unfortunate to have been born into such a family, to include physical, emotional, and sexual abuse within our home, generally daily. I learned the true meaning of “Fight or Flight” at an early age. 


My book details the events of living in a home with criminals, the abuse and my attempt to survive it and become a productive member of society, and to live a normal life. Unfortunately, at a young age, I married a man (my first husband) who was just what I thought I wanted to be away from. He was an abuser and I suffered many years of mental and physical abuse at his hands ... until I said "enough is enough".

Shame, which is something I experienced often growing up in such a dysfunctional family, and shame, as I learned, can be one of the most destructive of our human emotions. To heal, it was important for me to understand … that it was not my fault. That I was a child, in an abusive situation. 

I am thankful for the gift of love and determination that survived in my heart and my desire for the truth. I regret not one detail of my past, as incredibly embarrassing and painful as it was, my past has brought me to the person I have become, miraculously. I live in gratitude for the life I have.

God’s plan for me from the beginning was beyond my wildest dreams and imagination

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God’s plan for her from the beginning was beyond her wildest dreams and imagination

In Lynda Williams' first-ever public discussion of her early life and growing up with career criminals, the worst of it all came in 1978. Her brother, Gary Tison, escaped from Arizona State Prison, and her family had to endure the largest manhunt ever in the southwestern United States. She recounts the fear she faced during those 11 days, an event that spawned two books and a pair of movies. Lynda tells about the abuse she suffered growing up in a family where her father and brothers were routinely in and out of prisons, and how her family name, rather than her character, led to many shunning and ridiculing her.

Lynda also offers a stirring message of hope for survivors like her: That one can overcome adversity by learning to love yourself and faith in God.

Sunset over Poppy Field

Loving ourselves through the process of owning our story is the Bravest thing we'll ever do 
- Brene Brown

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