Thursday, February 01, 2001

Local families follow verdict

They lost children in Pan Am crash

By Susan Vela
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Wednesday's verdict provided closure to a Lebanon couple who lost their son, Doug, and daughter-in-law, Wendy, in the December 1988 Pan Am Flight 103 explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland.

        The high school sweethearts had married months after their 1984 graduation from Lebanon High School. They were living in Germany and returning to the United States for Christmas when the explosion happened.

        Christmas, the Malicotes said, will never be the same.

        “The trial's over, I guess,” said Donald Malicote, 60. “It's been 12 years. I'm glad they at least found one of them guilty. I thought they were guilty as all get out, but you never know when it comes to proving it.

Doug and Wendy Malicote
        “(Life) has never returned to what it was. Just part of it's gone. Nothing can ever change what happened. I don't think you ever get over it. I just think you learn to live with it.”

        The ruling Scottish court convicted one Libyan intelligence officer of murder and acquitted another of charges stemming from the 1988 explosion.

        Mrs. Malicote, 57, and her daughter, Terri, still mourn the loss, too, and are equally upset that one of the accused was told that he was free to go after the trial's conclusion.

Updates on Pan Am bombing trial
        “They changed our lives. We think that theirs should be changed,” Mrs. Malicote said. “You think you have the right people, and then they acquit one of them.

        “They took a piece of our hearts. (But) this is something we have to live with the rest of our lives. You can't hide from it.”

        The Malicotes said their son was destined to become a career military man. He enlisted in the Army after graduation. He and his wife wanted to have children.

        Terri Malicote, now living in West Virginia, misses talking to her older brother. They became close after he joined the Army.

        “I could just talk to him about things,” she said.

        For her, even now she has no closure. Not without a body to bury, she said.

        Both Libyans “should have been found guilty,” she said. “They both were involved.”

        Larry and Marlene Forsythe, the parents of Wendy Malicote, could not be reached Wednesday. They had not returned from Washington, D.C., where they had gone to see the trial on satellite TV.

        Mr. Malicote, though, talked to them about two weeks ago.

        “We all were hoping that they'd be found guilty,” he said.

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