Lifetime’s official synopsis for ‘A Murder to Remember’ reads: “Inspired by Ann Rule’s true crime collection Empty Promises. Javier (Kevin Rodriguez) and Robin Rivera (Maddie Nichols) are celebrating their one-year anniversary on a camping trip. But when Javier ends up dead, Robin finds herself alone in the rough wilderness. She accepts help from another camper, a mysterious stranger named Sam (TC Matherne) and slowly places her life in his hands. But is Sam there to protect Robin? Or does she need protecting from him?” The movie and the book have both used different pseudonyms for the real-life couple on whom the story has been based on- Julio and Candra Torres. So, here are all the true details of Julio’s murder.
Julio Torres’ Murder
In mid-1976, a local couple – Julio, 21, and Candra Torres, 16 – had driven to Mount Hood, Oregon, to celebrate their first wedding anniversary. While they were trying to find a good fishing location, a stranger named Thomas Brown led them astray with promises of the perfect catch. He lured the couple to an isolated location, where he ended up shooting Julio and the couple’s dog Rusty. This left Candra stuck in the wilderness, alone with the man who murdered her husband.
The pair had stayed deep into the forest for three days before returning to civilization, where it took Candra a while to fully piece together what really happened. Initially, she and Thomas both gave the police the same traumatic story. The three of them had set up camp in the woods after their drive when it became dark. The next morning, they decided to go on a deer hunt, where Julio was accidentally shot and killed when the two men botched a rifle hand-off. Since Rusty was with them and got alarmed at the noise, he attacked Thomas, who then proceeded to shoot the canine in self-defense.
Both Candra and Thomas passed the polygraph test, and thus, after a brief investigation, the police declared Julio’s death to be completely accidental. However, after a few days, the memories of what truly transpired hit Candra like a truck, and she went to the authorities, but this time, with a different version. She revealed that she hadn’t seen her husband get shot. She was near the campsite preparing for breakfast when she heard the first gunshot. But, later on, she did see Thomas shoot their dog.
“I looked at him and said, ‘You shot my dog,’” Candra recalls on the Lifetime special ‘Elizabeth Smart: Finding Justice.’ “He got a big smile on his face, and he said, ‘I shot your husband too.’” Thomas kidnapped her, and for the next three days, kept her in the woods, repeatedly raping her and brainwashing her into believing that she needed him in the aftermath of her husband’s passing. Therefore, when she came back out, she had trouble comprehending the trauma she had gone through. She was a victim of Stockholm Syndrome.
Fortunately, after she told her truth, the police began investigating again and found out that Thomas did, in fact, shoot Julio and Rusty in cold blood. When they arrested him, he even confessed to his crimes to a cellmate. Thomas had murdered Julio to take advantage of his teenage wife and to, hopefully, keep her all for himself. In Ann Rule’s book, “The Stockholm Syndrome” is the part where she recounts the events of this story, and within it, she has even mentioned that Thomas had “lit up” when he first saw the young teenager.
A chance encounter and a person’s psychopathic ways led to the death of an innocent man – a man who just wanted to spend some time alone with his new wife. Julio passed away on July 24, 1976, four days after his 21st birthday and two days after his wedding anniversary with Candra. (Featured Image Credit: Lifetime)
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