The local press broke a story over the weekend of the suspicious death of a woman who worked as an “exotic dancer” at one of the area’s pits of despair. The facts of the case known at this time are these: she was separated from her husband for three years; she has a child whose father is not her husband; she was abusing meth and other drugs; she was a stripper; and she was depressed. No wonder. Yet she earned her GED and enjoyed writing poetry.

I don’t know why, but this story led me to reflect with sadness just how many people fall prey to the evil of the world. Why did this woman go down this path? How many men share responsibility for her state of wretchedness?

The Church’s teachings on sexuality are often rejected and derided as restrictive, but I bet this poor woman would have found them liberating. How many people are denied the hope of the Gospel by false friends who “affirm” their lives of serious sin, instead of presenting the truth in charity?

Sorry to ramble, but this story affected me. Please pray for the soul of this woman whom Christ died to save, and for those who have used her for their own selfish ends.

Autopsy is planned on woman found dead in home
By Patrick M. O’Connell

BELLEVILLE — The St. Louis Major Case Squad is investigating the death of a 31-year-old woman who was found dead Saturday night inside her apartment in Belleville.

The woman, Terry Jodette Learn, was discovered by Belleville police after they forced in the door of her second-floor apartment in the 700 block of Royal Heights Road, said Lt. David Hayes, deputy commander of the major case squad.

Learn’s body was badly decomposed, Hayes said, and she had probably been dead for about a week. An autopsy will be performed today. The major case squad was called in because the circumstances were suspicious, Hayes said. He said there were no indications of a break-in.


Learn, who sometimes went by the name Cheyenne, was last seen on April 21 at an aquaintance’s apartment in Fairview Heights, Hayes said. She lived alone. Neighbors did not report hearing or seeing anything suspicious, Hayes said.


Learn’s husband, Michael Learn, said she had worked as an exotic dancer and had frequently abused drugs, especially methamphetamine. Michael Learn, who lives in the Peoria, Ill., area, said he and his wife had been separated for about three years.

He said he last talked to his wife, whom he calls Jo, about one month ago. She was depressed and crying, he said.

“Taking advantage of Jo was the simplest thing in the world, if you just had some drugs,” Michael Learn said. “That pretty much dominated her life for the last three or four years.”

She was the mother of a young child, Michael Learn said, but he said he was not the father.

Terry Learn enjoyed reading, watching movies and was a prolific writer of poetry who had earned her GED, Michael Learn said. Terry Learn, whose maiden name was Rader, grew up in Tennessee but had lived in the St. Louis area since she was about 14.

“She had a very hard life,” Michael Learn said. “I’m devastated. … It’s basically still sinking in at this point.”