Investigation Discovery show examining painful aftermath of Marilyn McIntyre murder case

When a “48 Hours” program about the murder of Marilyn McIntyre aired in 2011, it suggested that life could finally go on for her family and friends. An Investigation Discovery program set to air on Jan. 12 shows that life has not gone on as many had hoped. The aftermath is still raw, and people seem stuck in the past — a past scarred by Marilyn’s murder, and haunted by things that might have been but never were.

Lane McIntyre still clings to the memory of his young bride, his infant son, and all the promise that life held up to the fateful morning of March 11, 1980. At 7:15 a.m. that day he returned home from work to find Marilyn’s body on the living room floor. An autopsy report said she was bludgeoned, strangled and stabbed in the apartment while her 3-month-old son Christopher, lay quietly and unhurt in his crib.

Fingers were pointed and suspicion ran high in Columbus where the couple was surrounded by friends and family — one of them being Curtis Forbes, who left the community shortly after the murder occurred.

Investigation faltered and there seemed to be no progress until the case was reopened in 2009. Despite having long gone cold, Columbia County investigators blazed forward and Forbes was charged. On Nov. 15, 2010, he was given a life sentence.

Pivotal in the conviction was testimony that Forbes was wearing a bloody shirt on March 11, which Forbes’ girlfriend (later wife) Debra Attleson may or may not have seen and her parents may or may not have washed. A phone call from Forbes to his fiancée indicated there was a bloody shirt, although she denied any knowledge of it. Blood evidence was also found in a sink that inconclusively linked Forbes to the crime.

When Forbes’ guilt was pronounced, many in the courtroom gasped. After 30 years the crime had finally been solved.

“All of that pain — that baggage — I could finally let go,” Lane McIntryre said in a recent interview with the Daily Citizen. “There are so many people that loved Marilyn — still do — always will. She would have wanted us to have closure.”

After the murder Lane McIntyre married Cindy Dowdell, a cousin to Debra Attleson. The marriage lasted seven years. Lane now has a long-term girlfriend tolerant enough to let him hang a photo of his first love on their bedroom wall.

Lane is estranged from his son, Christopher, who now has a daughter. Lane has no contact information, but knows he lives in Janesville.

Lane’s pain persists, not only for his lost family, but for the betrayal of friends and family who did nothing to show either support during his presumed guilt or absolution after his proven innocence.

“I don’t speak to my family and I don’t speak to my son,” McIntyre said. “Curt Forbes is in prison and people understand I didn’t do it. But even after that no one approached me and said, ‘Gee Lane, we judged you kind of harshly.’ By not saying they’re sorry it doesn’t give me a chance to forgive them, which would have been healing for us both.”

“They also keep me separated from my son. Nobody approached me and said ‘I’m sorry.’ All I got from people was cold indifference. I need them to help me fix things with my son,” Lane said.

He continued, “My son is living in a world of lies. We haven’t moved on. Curt Forbes took Marilyn away from me, but she would have wanted her husband to love her son. That’s what everyone else is forgetting.”

The Investigation Discovery television network will examine the case and its aftermath Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.

Wisconsin State Journal