Small sacrifices is another Ann Rule masterpiece, that tells the story of small town, Oregon resident, Diane Downs and how it is that she got to the point of no return. Diane Downs took her three children to a rural, back road, pointed a pistol through the car window and she shot to kill.
After performing this cold blooded act, Diane then proceeded to drive her children to the hospital. The first female child to be carried into the hospital was dead upon arrival. Two other children were rushed through the doors one after another. The second and third child, a young boy and girl, barely clung to life. The hospital staff worked feverishly to stabilize the surviving children as their mother acted indifferent.
Upon being questioned by Lane County detectives, Diane Downs told the story of meeting a stranger on the back road, who stopped her car, initiated an argument with her and as she struggled with him, he proceeded to shoot her children, right before her eyes.
Over the following months Mrs. Downs changed the story of what happened and her suspicions so many times that she made herself the prime suspect.
As prosecutor Fred Hugi got more familiar with the case and met the surviving children he vowed to continue investigating the case until it was solved, once and for all.
No one is entirely sure why Diane Downs wanted to dispose of her children, It is suspected that the motivation may have resulted from her obsession with Lew Lewiston, who was a casual fling and fellow employee she met at the Chandler post office. Mr. Lewiston refused to leave his wife for Diane and did not want to raise another man’s children.
Whatever her reasoning, the murder weapon was eventually traced to a man who had reported it stolen, potentially by Steve Downs, who is identified as the children’s father, therefore giving Diane Downs access to it.
The surviving children, Christie and Danny eventually remembered what happened and with the evidence and their testimonies, their own mother, Diane Downs was convicted and sentenced to the Valley State prison for women located in Chowchilla, California where she continues to be a model prisoner and protests her innocence.
During the length of the case Detective Hugi found himself becoming closer and closer to the Downs children. Christie and Danny Downs are happy, well taken care of and currently reside with Detective Freg Hugi and his wife Joanne.