The Real Story of ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’
Director and writer Martin McDonagh was travelling across America on a Greyhound bus when he saw the hand-painted signs on the side of the I-10 in Vidor, Texas. The signs had been written by James Fulton, whose daughter was murdered in May 1991, after frustration that her killer was never charged.
The signs have changed over the years, but the message remains the same; his daughter was sexually assaulted and murdered, and the police have done little to solve the case.
34-year-old Kathy Page had recently split up from her husband, Steve, and their daughters were living with Kathy in the family home. On the night of her death, Kathy was heading out for some drinks and needed a babysitter. She called her estranged husband to ask if he could look after them while she went out with a girlfriend. In reality, she was going on a date and meeting the man at his hotel in Beaumont, a few miles away.
Steve agreed and headed over to the house, where Kathy was getting ready. She left around 11 pm in her car and headed to the hotel.
The next morning at 5 am, Kathy’s black Mercury Tracer was found in a ditch 100 yards from her home. Kathy was dead in the driver’s seat and the crash appeared to be an accident. However, when the police arrived, they agreed that something was very wrong with the crime scene.
“Kathy Page was not killed in her vehicle. She was killed at another location, cleaned up, redressed, and placed back in her vehicle and after the vehicle had been rolled into the ditch.” — Detective Ray Mosely.
The car was at an angle, nose-first in the trench, yet Kathy was sat bolt upright in the seat with her head back against the headrest, despite not being strapped in by a seatbelt. The contents of her purse hadn’t spilt, nor had the can of open soda, and the exterior of the car wasn’t damaged. There was also grass on her clothing, despite Kathy being found fully inside of the car.