It Got Better
(“Treading Not So Lightly,” Forensic Files)
Last week’s post discussed the circumstances surrounding the 1980 hit-and-run accident in Big Spring, Texas, that left Vicky Lyons, at age 4, with severe head and eye injuries.
Vicky was around 25 by the time she appeared in “Treading Not So Lightly,” the 2001 Forensic Files episode about the case, and she spoke of the way her neurological impairments made her feel self-conscious in public.
The closing credits noted she died in 2011 at the age of 34.
That got me curious about what happend to Vicky in the intervening years. Although I wasn’t able to learn the cause of her death, I did come across some information about the later years of her life.
Mat mates. An internet search turned up a video of two semi-costumed women — one of whom was introduced as Vicky Lyons — participating in a wrestling match.
There weren’t any closeups, so it was impossible to tell if the wrestler was the same Vicky Lyons, until I found an online obituary that made it clear the wrestler was in fact almost certainly the Vicky Lyons of Forensic Files fame.
It referred to her as a “professional woman’s wrestling Diva for the past six years working for the Highspots Wrestling School of Charlotte, N.C.”
Michael Bochicchio, owner of the school, also confirmed in an email that it was indeed the same Vicky Lyons, and that she was fondly remembered by many people there.
With her identity assured, I went back and watched the entire wrestling video.
I must say, Vicky kicked ass.
Hard-grapple life. She bounced back after opponent Daffney Unger picked her up and threw her to the mat and put her in a Boston crab hold (you can bet I had to Google that term).
Vicky won the match.
I don’t know too much about wrestling, but it looked more like the Hulk Hogan variety than the kind that leads to varsity letters and the Olympics.
“We have found nearly every student initially comes in here with a character already in mind,” states the website of the school, now known as Rings Pro Wrestling Training School. “However once they make it past training and begin their careers they almost always find their way into a new character that works better for them.”
Whatever the case, Vicky was obviously having a good time and looking strong.
Dedicated to the art. She clearly had come a long way in her physical rehabilitation since 2001. The match took place around 2005 when Vicky would have been about 28 years old.
“She was a sweet person,” wrestler Caleb Konley told me during a phone interview on Aug. 17. “I learned pretty early on what happened [with the car accident]. It was an incredible story.”
Vicky was already a student at the school when Konley moved to Charlotte to train there.
At the time of her match with Daffney Unger, Vicky had a few years of training under her belt, Konley noted.
“She showed up for every practice,” he said. “She lived for it.”
Social media gal. Vicky’s obituary mentioned she was also studying mass media at the Arts Intitute of Charlotte.
I came across Vicky’s Facebook page, with pictures of her and her friends and posts about current events and fun things like her favorite lip gloss.
Her last update was posted on April 17, 2011. She died on June 9 of that year.
Both Vicky’s parents survived her, according to the obituary. Her father, William Lyons, died three years later, however, at the age of 61.
“Everyone got along with Vicky,” Konley recalled. “She was tough as nails. If you got out of line with her, she’d let you know.”
Vicky Lyons may have started her childhood as a victim of circumstance but, as an adult, she learned how to write her own script.—RR
True Crime Truant will be on vacation on August 25, back with a new post on September 1.