Bobby Kent and my Anxious Parenting

My son went to prom last night. I finally attempted to go to bed at 11:45, but I didn’t sleep. I got in bed and read for about fifteen minutes until I heard the front door. Then, I ran downstairs to make sure my son was OK. He was there with his girlfriend. He was just going to change and then take her home. I was disappointed because this meant he had to go back out again after he was already home safe. I ended up falling asleep, but waking constantly through the night. When I woke at seven this morning, I went to my office window to make sure my son’s car was in the driveway. And the car was there, but that didn’t give me 100% relief. Why? Because Bobby Kent’s mom saw his car in the driveway one morning back in 1993, but she didn’t know that he was already laying in a rock quarry lake after being beaten with a baseball bat and stabbed with a scuba knife.

You can Google Bobby Kent and find out what happened, but you will only get one side of the story, the side of the person who murdered him. Bobby is dead and can’t tell his side of the story. Marty, the person who planned his murder, is alive and telling everyone that he just had to get together a group of people to murder Bobby because he was a bully. Oh, and it’s all OK because Marty found God in prison and he is now a preacher. That makes it all better, right?

I first met Bobby, along with his best friend who ultimately would gut him like a fish with a scuba knife, in eighth grade. Bobby and Marty were in sixth grade at the time. Bobby was always bigger than Marty, and always protective of him. Since I was good friends with Bobby’s older sister, I saw a lot of Bobby and Marty throughout middle and high school. In fact, when I got my first car, I drove over to the Kent house to see Bobby’s sister. I ended up driving Bobby and Marty to the movies. They were truly Frick and Frack. I never thought that Marty would end up murdering Bobby. When that did happen, it warped my already fragile trust of the world.

Because Bobby was murdered by his best friend, I have always been anxious about anyone who has befriended my son. If Marty could be Bobby’s best friend for twelve years and then murder him, who is to say that my son’s best friend would not murder him? Truthfully, I have threatened two teenagers who have threatened my son.

The first time was when I watched my then eight year-old son get put in a chokehold by an older boy. My son got free and ran in the house, saying, “I couldn’t breathe!!” I ran out the door and walked over to the boy who put my son in a chokehold. I’m only five feet tall, so he and his friends were larger than me. I looked him in the eye, and told him I would have him harmed if he ever touched my son again.   He very quietly nodded and I went back to my house.

The second time, my son was at a neighbor’s house. The boy was pointing a knife at my son and asked him if he was scared. My son came home and told me. My husband was home and said he would go talk to the boy’s mom. I agreed to say nothing. That would have worked except the boy kept calling my son to torment him. So, I threatened him. Apparently this scared him so much that he told his mom on himself.

In both cases, my heart was racing and I was in a mama-lion panic mode. I was 22 when Bobby was killed. I didn’t have my son yet, but I will never forget seeing Bobby’s parents and his sister after his body was found. It stayed with me. My son has grown up seeing the newspaper clippings and hearing that your best friend can become your worst enemy. I heard him whisper to a friend once, “She’s like this because of Bobby Kent.” The friend knew what he was talking about because he had also seen the newspaper clippings.

I know I can’t control the world or keep my son safe with my fear and anxiety. He met a couple of friends at the park today, and I was worried until he got home. I will worry about him as long as I am alive. It’s not healthy, or helpful, it just is.

Thanks to my friend Judi for finding this article. Read it if you want a more well-rounded view of the crime, not just Marty’s story:

Bobby's Murderers

31 thoughts on “Bobby Kent and my Anxious Parenting

  1. I still remember when this happened. I couldn’t believe they could even say Bobby was a”Bully”.. what a load of crap. I can still remember being with them both on the school bus as a kid, Marty always was so quick to fly off in a rage, he’d fight a girl, a kid with headgear, or a disability, he was just a mean little shit. Always. HE was the Fing Bully!!! I was talking to some other parents the other day about this thing, and I think one thing we can take away is to really make sure to learn the signs of a toxic friendship, I think those two should have been separated around middle school. It was weird that Bobby was never without Marty..I’ve had crazy all encompassing friends..I think we all do at some point growing up, but we can’t just hope they’ll grow out of it. I want my son to know the signs of a friend that’s not good for you…

    1. Yes, I think we can all learn about what a healthy friendship should be from this. I have to say, after Bobby’s death, I was quicker to let go of toxic people. Before that I wasn’t. I did waste my whole senior year on a psycho. My son is also quick to see “the darkness” in others when it is there. I’m glad he can see it. It saves him a lot of grief.
      Thanks for posting!

  2. Oh god…my worst nightmare. Being a parent is really is. And I don’t blame you for threatening those kids…we all have our inner mama lion (or bear)

    1. I still have Bobby’s parents and sister in my head. It was like they just deflated from grief. Horrible. I will go on threatening as much as I have to. Roar. 🙂

      1. Lisa, I was two years old when Bobby Kent was murdered. I had only been adopted from Guatemala that past November. My parents unable to have children of their own ( my mother miscarried three times). My older brother Sean was adopted in 1989 from Connecticut. On his 3rd birthday, I was adopted into the family. I truly believe that chance and miracles brought the four of us together.

        Bobby Kent’s story hits me so hard because when I was 19, Sean was killed in a motorcycle crash, two weeks before his College graduation from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. He was studying to become an air traffic controller, and was only 21. Just a year older than Bobby was when he died.

        Sean lived in Daytona Florida for the last four years of his life. So whenever I hear anything about Florida,I think of Daytona. The Everglades where Bobby’s body was found reminds me of how my brother and three of his best friends took a four day camping trip in the Everglades.

        I am 24. I have no children. But I know firsthand what the loss of a child does to a parent. I never saw my father cry until Sean died. He is a very proud man. There are no words to have to watch your mother look at her son’s Volvo and breakdown. Meanwhile, all I could do was say, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry mom.”

        I wanted to switch places with him. Seeing Mom cry for Sean tore me up so much inside that I would’ve done anything to switch places with him if only for a moment so that she wouldn’t be sad over losing him anymore. Even though I know that if that were to happen, it would only make her cry over me.

        My brother wasn’t murdered. He was incredibly loved. His roommate from college got a tattoo across his back in Sean’s honor. But he made very poor choices. He was speeding at 150 mph with his alcohol content three times the legal limit. At 21 years old, he thought nothing would ever happen to him; after all he’d walked away from two motorcycle crashes before.

        I envy that Bobby’s sister is the older one. For though she has been outliving Bobby, her being older than him has never changed. I am now physically and chronologically older than my older brother almost three years now. I dread my birthdays because it’s just another year without Seanie. I don’t like the idea of someday being without him longer than he’s been alive.
        Whenever I get a phonecall, I panic inside wondering if someone has died.
        My parents have become more protective than ever. In college, when I was 21, I was forbidden from going to a concert in Virginia (I lived and went to school in Maryland)
        with my friend even though we had designated drivers, everyone’s numbers, were staying with her parents, and were prepared to pull over and sleep in a motel if need be.

        I still went, I don’t regret going but I do regret how upset it made my parents. I know it was because of Sean’s death that they were so adamant I not go. I remember feeling frustrated because Sean who was 14 hours away would have just done what he wanted, and would’ve given them less than half the information that I did about my plans.

        I was also upset because unlike Sean I almost never went anywhere and certainly never at night (I do not have the energy). I was always more content to read a book at home. My parents had to drag me to get me to practice driving lessons because I was so nervous.

        And the one time I wanted to go to a concert they said no….

        I am glad to finally read an article about Bobby that doesn’t automatically label him as a total jerk. I imagine he wasn’t a saint (who really is at 20?) but I don’t believe that he was this horrible bully to the extent that people have made him out to be. He had goals, and family that love him.

        He did not deserve to be so coldly butchered and left in the water to rot like garbage. It sickens me how these seven individuals so obviously planned to kill him (they showed their knives and bats to each other!) and Alice, especially to say “I didn’t know…” Pardon my language but BULL FUCKING SHIT!! She knew that she was supposed to lure Bobby and she did. She knew that the others had knives and bats and she STILL lured him out. How dare she try to shirk responsibility! How dare they all!! I hear that she herself is now a mother of four.
        I hope she never sleeps another night without worrying to death over her children’s safety the way Bobby’s parents frantically searched for him.

        When I think of Bobby crying out for his best friend to help him, pleading in the dark, getting stabbed and beaten, trying to get away, and wondering why he can’t as he loses more blood. Wondering why his best friend is gutting him. Realizing as he’s dying in that water that he’ll never get to hug his family, I break down. It reminds me of the what if scenarios I torture myself with of my brother lying in a ditch, motorcycle a twisted wreck, bleeding out, crushed ribs, trying to get up, but he can’t. Wondering why help hasn’t arrived yet and how he’s dying all alone in the dark.

        In my dreams though, Sean never understands why I keep telling he’s dead whenever I see him. He doesn’t understand why that would stop him from visiting and doing what he wants.

        He doesn’t understand why. Just like I’m sure Bobby didn’t either.

      2. Maria,
        Thank you for taking the time to comment. I am so sorry that your brother is gone. It is always tragic when someone you love dies, especially when they are young. I can imagine how weird it is that you are now older than your brother would ever be. I get that.
        Big hugs to you and your family!

  3. Some of these people are probably due to get out soon or have been released from prison. What stupid,stupid choices young people make and then pay the rest of their lives. And not just murderers but whatever. My son was in a toxic friendship saved by his many other strong friendships as our every attempt at solving the problem had failed. Kudos to Brock, Matt, Brian and many others! True friends to this day while the toxic one (though a total genius–that’s right a real, bonafide yet totally lost-in-this-world-and-corrupt genius) has crumbled into bedlam.

    1. I was mad when my mom wanted me to go away to FSU for college. In hindsight, it was the best thing ever. It forced me to get rid of a psychotic boyfriend. I think most people want to trust others. There are those special people who just can’t be trusted. I’m glad your son got away.

  4. Reading the article you sent us to rocked me to the core. As a parent, something like this is our worst nightmare. I can understand how you could feel anxious. You are right…you never know. And many of us have had toxic relationships we’ve had to step away from. Sometimes with kids or young people, they just don’t know how. It’s hard to “break up” with friends. It made me so sad to read Bobby Kent’s story and then on top of it how the media jumped on one bandwagon although there was evidence to the contrary.

    1. I think people, especially kids, want to believe that their friends are good people. Also, I don’t think people want to acknowledge that they have been fooled. I spent my entire senior year dating a compulsive liar, and I dated another liar in my late 20’s. So, I get how a person can hold on to a bad relationship. I’m glad I got out without being physically harmed.
      I have talked to my son about Bobby his whole life. Some people think that is unhealthy. I don’t think awareness is every unhealthy.
      Thanks for posting!

  5. Holy sh*t. That is my worst nightmare. I can see why it warped your view of the world and how it would impact your parenting. And now mine as well. Being a parent is as terrifying as it is joyful.

  6. The one thing I really remember about Marty is that he was THE bad kid in the neighborhood. My brother was no angel but in hindsight he was a boy being a boy. Marty was just evil – if I recall correctly Marty’s brother was the relatively good kid.

    It’s just…sad, for lack of a better word. And to only find one article doing Bobby justice is a travesty.

    1. The only thing I remember about Marty is he had mean eyes. Bobby was always nice with me. He treated me with respect. When I called the Kent house, and he was on the phone already, he would say, “Hold on, Lisa. I need to get off the other line and then I will get Lilly.” What teen gets off of the phone to give the phone to his sister? The press called Bobby “Eddie Haskel” and said “He acted differently around adults” etc. He was always nice and polite to me and I was a teen. It still brings tears to my eyes.

  7. I was not the kind of girl Bobby(or any other boy for that matter) would be “in to ” chubby and immature, bookish and always carrying a large band instrument. I can remember him pulling over in this little truck one day, I missed the bus and was attempting to walk home from south broward carrying a tenor saxophone, ( I lived near memorial hospital) He gave me a ride home and Marty complained the whole time. He spoke to me like I was a person. How old are you? are you really going to walk home with that thing? Do you know how far that is? why are you wearing a sweater and its like 90 degrees? Are you friends with any Browardettes? That is not what a Bully or an Eddie Haskel does. I have to admit when I saw Marty’s eyes, I had a moment, that maybe Im not getting out of that truck. My Dad was a homicide detective, I made sure I mentioned that, but Dad taught me a lot about the physical attributes of a person to avoid (see Manson lamps) Intense gaze, visible whites of the eyes above and below the iris.. avoid them, and how to get away from them (see how to make a detainee submit)

    1. Megan, I have always said it’s all in the eyes. My only “training” is that I used to read serial killer biographies and look at the pictures. All of them have the eyes you describe, and so does Marty. That is the Bobby I knew. Kind and helpful. He was just too loyal to Marty.
      I stopped reading serial killer bios right after Bobby was murdered. I also got really sick to my stomach for weeks. And remind me to tell you about the dreams I had sometime.

  8. Wow. I think the most shocking thing about that newspaper clip is the number of accomplices … that it wasn’t just one warped mind, but many! I can see how this would scar you for life. But have faith in this one thing: While this tragedy triggers your need to make sure your son is safe, I think all of us moms — even ones who haven’t been through what you have — share that same need. I cannot sleep until I know my daughter is safe in her bed. It’s a natural part of being a mom. You’re not alone there!

    1. Parri, I appreciate your comment because I have always had a hard time with mothering. Between Bobby’s murder and my childhood, I have a difficult time knowing if I am a good, or even a normal mother. I love hearing from other moms who maybe don’t have as many issues as I do. Thank you.

      1. We all have issues, Lisa. Just different issues. My mom got sick when I was 5 and died when I was 10. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to give my child the self-esteem I didn’t get. Rest assured, we ALL have issues! And it is completely normal to be a mother bear and want to protect your kid and to be uneasy when they are out driving or at a party where someone could slip something in their drink. I’ve prepared my daughter for college for years. I’ve drummed into her the “never leave your drink unattended” … the sisterhood (“You leave a party with the people you came with. I don’t care if you have to drag a friend out by the ear!”) … never drink and drive … you name it. They’re our babies and will be even when they’re 60 and we’re 90!

  9. Holy crap that’s DEPLORABLE! I am speechless, it’s mind boggling, so much evil.. =\ This freaks me out – I am SOO paranoid about others and this definitely doesn’t help. I can see why you’re so distrusting, I would be too – especially since this case was personal not just from an outsiders perspective. This is why I’m going to put my son in self-defense/martial arts classes once he’s 8, because he’s going to be a big kid but he’s so sweet I don’t want others to try and exert dominance. Regardless, as an anxious mom I will always worry for my son. Thanks for sharing Lisa -Take Care -Iva

    1. Iva, it was horrible. I got sick to my stomach for weeks after I found out about it. I don’t know if that was related, but it seemed to be at the time.
      Yes, get your boy in karate/judo/whatever. My son took karate when he was little. He didn’t stick with it but can still get out of certain holds and can block a slap or punch quickly. I wish he would have stayed with it.
      Thanks for posting! I’m off to check out your blog. I haven’t been there this week yet, and I always learn something.

  10. Oh Lisa, what a horrible story. I can’t even imagine. It is completely understandable that you live with worry and an extra protective instinct because you’ve seen the worst happen. There is a boy who lives near us who was beaten severely while at college and has been in a comatose state ever since. The story has broken my heart since I first heard about it…and now my oldest is going to that same college this fall. It makes me have freak out moments worrying every time I think about it and I didn’t even know the victim. I’m so sorry you have to live with such a tragic memory. 😦

    1. Angela,
      That is HORRIBLE! I would be freaking out, too. I get upset because my son goes to a career center high school for Tech Design, and some of the other kids who are there for fire fighting and welding and such call him a faggot. Why are young people so mean to each other, even if they are not psychotic?
      I’m sure your kid will be OK. Since this horrible thing just happened at that school, I’m sure everyone is extra aware of everything that goes on.

  11. Marty is vermin and should have been executed along with Lisa…the mastermind that slept with both and had Bobbys child…google all of the others…all pond scum

  12. Just watched this story tonight for the first time. It was mind blowing! I don’t know anyone who has not encountered an abusive or just wierd friend…most peeps loose them! I do not get how this pack of deranged kids clung to each other without one of them saying ” whoa, this is wrong” and getting the hell out of Dodge! Those that have been released seem to have just ” moved on”… how do they sleep at night I wonder? Well, I guess if you are of that mentality in the first place, the second faze, upon release…moving on, is a piece of cake. Hope ppl take the time and effort to train their kids on how to deal with bullys, peer pressure has never been a walk in the park…but the best defense they will have is confidence…

    1. Marianne,

      This whole situation still wakes me up at night. I first met Bobby and Marty when I was in 8th grade. I never saw Bobby act like a Bully. If anything, I saw him protect Marty, who was much smaller for most of their friendship, from bullies. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, but I never witnessed this behavior at all. As you said, there were other options other than this gruesome murder.

      Thanks for your comment!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s