Classic SIDS Case
On August 22, 10 days after Wilson bought their son a teddy bear at the beach, Missy awakened just before dawn. The baby was crying. Her husband also woke up.
Garrett said, Ill feed the baby. I was shocked, his wife recalled. He said, Ill do it. I have to take the baby to day care. Youre going back to work. I knew he had to learn, so I was excited about the whole thing.
I had never heard that sound before. My hair stood on end. I got up out of bed and went down to feed the cats. They had been climbing up on me in bed, bothering me. I came back up the stairs and went into the nursery. The baby didnt feel right. He was limp.
Missy freaked. She ran out of the nursery and back into the bedroom, screaming: Garrett, what did you do to him?
Wilson came out of the bathroom looking pale. Missy dialed 911 and told the police. They said help was on the way. Missy ran downstairs to wait for the ambulance. Garrett said he stayed upstairs and gave their child CPR.
Their son was pronounced dead at the hospital. Missy immediately suspected that her husband was responsible. They went to her mothers house nearby and she huddled with her sister-in-law, Susan Anastasi.
Garrett did this for the insurance money, she told her. She told a friend, Mary Ann Finnegan, the same thing.
Missy spent that night at her mothers. She did not want to go home. And, despite everything she had said about her husband, it was hard for her to believe the unthinkablethat her husband had killed his namesake.
Again the state medical examiners office examined an infants body and again the verdict came back as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. A distraught Missy Anastasi Wilson went to a conference on the subject at the University of Maryland. A SIDS support person assured her that it was a classic SIDS case. A baby had mysteriously stopped breathing. It happened to between 6,000 and 9,000 babies a year in the U.S. they told herone out of every 2,000 births.
Wilson collected the $150,000 insurance windfall and paid off Elizabeth Dodge and Julie Stinger. According to Julie Stinger, the money wasnt that important. She thought he was going to run off with her and bring the baby along. Hearing about Garrett Michaels death was a cruel blow.
I was shocked, Stinger said. I was going to be the childs stepmother. He showed up with a check for the money and showed me a receipt for more than $100,000. I guess it was the insurance money. I didnt care. The baby was dead. The child who was going to have been mine was dead.
Wilson repeated the free-spending binge that he had gone on with Debbie Oliverthis time with Missy Anastasibuying the two of them a tract mansion, new cars, jewelry, and meals at fancy restaurants. Within two years, despite Wilson continuing to sell pianos at the music store, they were dead broke. Garrett and Missy tried to make a fresh start together, first in Houston, Texas, and then on the west coast of Florida. Wilson no longer liked hustling musical instruments from the front of a store and when an opportunity presented itself to go on the road and sell piano keyboards for the Japanese manufacturer, Casio, he leaped at the opportunity.
Missy, he thought, was still moping over the loss of their child and he welcomed the chance to be away from her.
He met Vicky Wampler, a woman who would always believe in him, just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, in May of 1992, while demonstrating a piano. Ever the ladies man, he launched into a medley of romantic songs from Phantom of the Opera the minute he saw her, beginning with All I Ask of You. But it was Vicky who made the first move.
When do you get off, she asked. That day, it was lunch, but the next evening there was dinner and wine and before long Wilson began to call her the love of his life.
Both had baggage. Vicky was coming off a bitter divorce from a much-older man while Garrett considered himself separated, though Missy seemed not to have gotten the message. The two seemed to have been made for one another. Vicky played piano, too, and like Wilson, had played at the Baptist Church in her hometown of Frostburg, Maryland. If anything, her mezzo soprano voice was superior, good enough to have sung The Star Spangled Banner at a major league baseball game.
Wilson filed for divorce from Missy in 1992, but when she protested in writing he told her that it was a mistake, just paperwork, and that he would rectify it. Despite his being in love with Vicky, he inexplicably continued to steal away for weekends of lovemaking with Missy.
His years of womanizing were about to catch up with him. Vicky had become pregnant and in July 1993, the two would have a daughter, Marysa. They would marry in January 1994. Meanwhile, Missy knew nothing of his new wife or a baby and continued to see him, believing a remarriage was a formality that would happen when they found time.