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Such Good Boys: The True Story of a Mother, Two Sons and a Horrifying Murder Mass Market Paperback – October 4, 2005


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; 1 edition (October 4, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312995288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312995287
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tina Dirmann is a reporter for US Weekly Magazine and has worked also for The Los Angeles Times.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1
Peter Martinez was bored, as usual. But after serving twenty-five years in the Marine Corps, including two tours of duty in Vietnam, the retired sergeant major enjoyed the quiet he found as a security guard charged with keeping an eye on the eighty or so multimillion-dollar homes that lined the sandy shore in the private community of Saint Malo Beach in Oceanside, California. He particularly enjoyed working the uneventful graveyard post and had grown accustomed to the simple sounds of the ocean as it roared in the not-too-far distance from his guard shack.
Despite its beauty, Oceanside was a place most visitors zooming down the 5 Freeway simply passed on their way to the more popular destination point of San Diego, just twenty minutes away and home not only to beaches, but to the very popular Sea World tourist attraction. In fact, the Oceanside beaches weren’t even visible from the freeway, so tourists, and the troublemaking their revelry can sometimes bring, were scant.
Martinez was armed. As a career military man, he’d had a pistol strapped to his side since he was 18 years old. But in the eight years he’d worked as a Saint Malo Beach security guard, he’d never pulled that firearm from his hip.
Still, he stiffened when he saw car headlights break the black night sky just before 2 a.m. on January 14, 2003.
The 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue stopped several houses away from his shack, but he could still make out two figures as they lifted a bag out of their trunk. He watched as the pair struggled to heave their heavy load over their heads and into the roughly seven-foot-tall Dumpster in front of the neatly kept white two-story home at 2041 South Pacific Street. “Someone’s trying to dump a load of garbage,” Martinez thought. But this was private property, so he walked toward the car to give them a friendly but stern reminder.
On approach, Martinez saw a tall man, easily over 6 feet, and a smaller man, maybe even a teenager, still gripping their oversized parcel.
“What do you have there?” Martinez asked.
Who knows why Jason Bautista froze in that moment? Maybe it was because he was only 20 years old and still used to listening to adults. Maybe because he was scared out of his mind and wasn’t sure what to do.
But he dropped the bag onto the ground and froze. Matthew Montejo, his 15-year-old half-brother, mimicked his every move. Both men looked up at Martinez, who saw what looked like fear on the face of the smaller guy, the one he considered the sidekick.
“We’re just dumping some trash,” Jason said.
“Well, you can’t dump trash here,” Martinez said. “You have to pick it back up and leave.”
“Sorry,” Jason said, before turning to Matthew. “Pick it up, let’s get it back in the car.”
As he spoke, the old security guard looked down at the bag. He would later tell investigators it looked like a body bag, the kind he’d seen too many times during his years of service in the Marines. In actuality, it was a dark brown sleeping bag and he couldn’t see what was inside. But there was something in there. The bag drooped in the middle as the boys heaved on the ends.
Matthew obeyed his older brother’s instructions, lifting the bag again. Martinez watched as the folds of the sleeping bag shifted, pulling back just far enough to reveal a human foot.
Martinez felt shock rip through him. His mind reeled as he stared at the dangling foot. He hoped for a moment that he was looking at a doll or part of a mannequin. But the tightness in his gut told him otherwise.
“Hey!” he called out. “Stop! Put the bag down! I want to see what’s in there.”
Jason didn’t listen.
“No,” he told the old man as he stuffed the bag back in the trunk and slammed it shut, “I’m not going to let you.”
On instinct, Martinez reached for the .357 pistol at his side and pointed it at the men. “I said freeze!” Martinez repeated.
“Fuck you!” Jason spat back. “You’re just a security guard! You can’t do anything.” He slammed the trunk shut before climbing back into the driver’s seat.
Martinez stood still, his grip on the gun. But he never fired. There had already been enough violence this night. Instead, as the car sped away, he took note of the license plate number. Returning to his guard shack, Martinez, shaken by what he’d just seen, called the Oceanside Police Department. And suddenly, the calming sounds of the ocean were drowned out by a police dispatcher’s voice.
It was about 8:30 a.m. on the morning of January 14 when Orange County Sheriff’s Homicide Investigator Andre Spencer peered down the steep ravine off the Ortega Highway. Earlier that morning, a passenger in a car driving east on the 5 Freeway had spotted what looked like human remains lying in the fields near Mile Marker 79. Spencer was the next one up for an assignment, so it had fallen to him to lead the investigation. After thirteen years as a sworn officer, he was used to dealing with death. But as his eyes strained through a pair of binoculars, scanning the extreme hilly fields down the freeway, he was still startled at the sight, some 170 feet below him, of the headless, handless torso of a white female, clad only in her panties. The remains were ghostly pale because someone had taken the trouble to drain the corpse of most of its blood.
Spencer knew how tough this one would be. “If she had a head or hands,” he thought, “we’d run fingerprints, dental records.” They’d have to swab the body instead and hope for a DNA match. His mind churned for ideas, determined to find out who this woman was and how she’d met such a gruesome end.
It would be seven days before that license plate number scribbled down by security guard Peter Martinez would hit Spencer’s desk—the tip leading investigators to discover that the torso at the bottom of the ravine was 41-year-old Jane Bautista. Bautista, through the course of her life, had become obsessed by the idea that nameless, faceless strangers were out to kill her, but, in the end, her killers would be the only people she ever allowed to be close to her—her sons Jason and Matthew.

Customer Reviews

One can only hope.
Anne Salazar
I enjoyed this book as I like to read true crime.
Carol Pyne
This book was very hard to read at times.
Suzanne R. Oxford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

134 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Anne Salazar on February 11, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is one of the saddest books I have ever read. There is something very, very wrong with our social services system in the United States, and particularly California, that allowed two boys, from birth, to suffer the whims of violence and neglect that these two boys suffered. That they eventually killed their abusive mother is not surprising. What is surprising, is that they suffered her abuse for so long with NO adult intervention on their behalf. Tina Dirmann did an excellent job in telling their story in this book. (It's hard to believe it's her first, and hopefully she will continue writing books.)

All of the adults mentioned in this book should be taken to task for their ho-hum attitudes towards this never-ending abuse, if not criminally charged with allowing it to go on. The boys' mother suffered severe psychiatric illnesses, undoubtedly paranoid schizophrenia. However, it should never be expected that minor children, who lived with the sequelae of severe mental illness, would know enough (or be brave enough) to turn to authorities to save themselves. The mother is the only parental figure they ever knew; that she treated them so criminally day after day, year after year, was not for them to judge, or to know enough to do anything about. It is really unbelievable that nothing was EVER done for these boys to save them from their mother.

I am so sad for Jason and Matthew. I hope that Matthew has found some peace and has made a good life for himself, and that he continues to see and support his brother. Is it too much to hope that Jason will get treatment and will be able to continue his education in prison, and will someday come under the scrutiny of a caring judge who will give him a chance to live a normal, productive life? One can only hope.
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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Susan on November 30, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book immediately drew me in with its gripping storyline and hard-hitting facts, which are presented without speculation throughout. The reader is left to determine what's real, who's telling the truth, if the murder was justified and, ultimately, could the sons have gotten away with their horrific crime if it wasn't for that one mistake...? The cadence of the book is brisk and to-the-point; evidence is presented matter-of-factly. Dirmann masterfully approaches character development by illustrating how the main characters dealt with events in their lives and through the impressions left on others. I read the book in three hours and then passed it along to two of my friends who also read it in 1-2 sittings. Highly recommended.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Veronica T. on February 11, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
It's a fast read. The book focuses on the life of the sons (who killed their mother). I remember when this story made headlines. The sons were villains in the media. I don't remember any of the information in this book being in the media. Shows how people can be convicted in the media when the public doesn't know the whole story. The mother was mentally ill and her sons had a tragic and abusive childhood being raised by her. Not an "excuse" to kill someone, but I can understand what drove them after reading this book. Tragic all the way around.

Not one of those books I couldn't put down.. Not one of the most well-written books I've read, but I appreciate the other side of the story being told.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful By M. Norton on March 13, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This woman obviously needed help and so did those kids. The second husband had no right leaving his son and the other child knowing what he knew was happening, if anything he or her parents should be the ones tried for that murder. With out giving too much of the story away, this was a very sad situation from her adolescence through adulthood and the fact that everyone turned away and ignore her is (I would like to say shocking but this being America where everyone turns their back on others) irresponsible. There were enough people who could have gotten involved and freed those children and the mother before letting that murder happen. As much as she moved around there were plenty of people knowing what was going on. It was so preventable. But unfortunately this is a country where from the teachers to the Child Protective Services no one pushes it far enough even though few neighbors tried and ended up paying for it.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By BJG on January 2, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Tina Dirmann did a fantastic job writing about this difficult case, which encompasses motherhood, mental illness, child abuse, and matricide. Dirmann does not interject her own biases or agenda into her writing, rather she presents the many different angles of this story in a compassionate fashion. That, in and of itself is impressive, because many writers of true crime tend to lean one side or the other,get caught up in emotion, and appear unable to really present all sides of the story. Lessons can be learned from this book regarding mental illness and society's responsibility to help families who are in need of intervention. It is so sad that the extended families of these boys failed not only them, but also tragically failed their mother.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Hard Review on November 14, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a tight book, which really puts you at the scene. No BS. No speculation, the hard hitting sad, scary, intense facts of a horrific murder. You won't be disappointed.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Shanna McQueen on March 10, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I agree with most other reviewers. While this may not have been the most exciting or well written true crime book, it may certainly qualify as the most tragic. It was a fast read and was interesting.

Shame on all those who saw what was happening to those poor suffering boys and refused to report it. Shame on all those who knew this mother was schizophrenic and did nothing to assist her. In particular, I am perplexed and angry that this woman's own family did nothing to gain treatment for their seriously mentally ill daughter! They had options and chose instead to do nothing.

Even more tragic, her family allowed those two boys to suffer for years and years! Where is the justice in punishing Jason? While murder is wrong and I am not condoning the actions of her older son, one can hardly blame him. Yes, he was of legal age, employed, and could have left his mother... but children raised in abusive homes often do not feel secure enough to leave or to even see leaving as a viable option. Jason has served some time in prison. He is certainly not a continued threat to society, nor was he ever. Perhaps a sympathetic judge will someday commute the sentence for this young man and allow him to have some chance at life... a normal life. This woman's parents should have been on trial for doing NOTHING!
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