Sanding The Wood BookWrite a Review
The Sosua killings of August of 2013 and November of 2014 are two of the most hideous, savage murders in the history of the Dominican Republic, made seemingly worse by the beautiful location at which they took place. Due to the location of these murders and the lack of international media attention, these crimes have gone mostly unnoticed. If these stories had taken place in the U.S., they would have undoubtedly been two of the biggest stories of this time period and they would have gotten airplay on all of the networks. But the lack of international media attention surrounding these cases doesn’t make these crimes any less tragic. These crimes were of unimaginable circumstance and truly heartless actions of deranged individuals.
These crimes are in no way connected. Each crime was perpetrated by different sets of criminals on separate occasions. The only links between these crimes are the geographical location. The victims were neighbors. However, the circumstances surrounding the sudden and bizarre murders of Rolf Erich Kobesch Manfred aka Rasputin and Brent Renault Lewis share similar sinister overtones. Both crimes carried an underlying theme of criminals seeking revenge for what they believed to be acts of disrespect. The brutality of these crimes is not common. The fact that both murders happened because of a need for money does not tie these crimes together. It can be said that the killer of Rasputin had valid reasoning for his crime. He worked for his money and Rasputin failed to compensate him. The murder of Brent Renault Lewis does not share this quality. His murder was out of sheer greed along with racial overtones.
The Dominican Republic is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Its sandy white beaches, beautiful mountainous regions, hidden reservoirs, secret waterfalls, and all other natural marvels God created is an adventure traveler's paradise. If stuff to do is what you're after, please move the DR to the top of your bucket list. It won't disappoint. You may find yourself loving it here.
Sosua is a town that has a lot of the above and more. By day, the beautiful, stunning beaches in Sosua, Dominican Republic are hot spots for sun seekers, swimmers and those looking to frolic by the sea. The glittering ocean is contained within the magnificent Sosua Bay, wide soft sandy beach sneaks slowly towards the gift shops and restaurants located on the beach’s edge. The scattered sounds of Caribbean music can be heard as Dominican couples dance the Merengue and Bachata by their favorite groups.
Sosua Bay is a spectacular Bay with pristine clear water and a natural reef about two hundred meters off the coast. It’s the perfect place to take a dip or go snorkeling. Playa Alicia is another beach which is located in Sosua. You can lay out and sun or take a dip from time to time. Tour companies offer packages where you can rent a boat and go out deep sea fishing. Most trips return with Mahi Mahi or a nice sized Dorado. Sosua is located in between Puerto Plata and Cabarete and offers both private or public transportation, which can take you to the neighboring towns if you are looking to explore. Sosua has several restaurants with fine cuisine from all over the world. There are hotels and other types of accommodations plus home or land investment opportunities.
As wonderful as Sosua is during the day, at night it changes. The dark brings out a bustling nightlife replete with nefarious activities. One should come to expect anything to happen in a town where everything goes unnoticed. Sosua has all the pleasures of Thailand a short two-hour flight from the shores of America and everyday planes fly into Gregorio Luperon International airport filled with tourist looking to have a little fun.
The murders of Sosua were not committed by or against tourists. These were heinous acts carried out by people who lived in the community and knew each other. In the case of Rasputin, it was a Haitian day worker who he employed. In the case of Brent it was his personal assistant, Maria Geraldine de la Rosa Batista, who confessed to the crime implicating her boyfriend, the American Frank Sorichetti, and their Dominican lawyer, Eduardo Arturo Heinsen Quiroz in the murder and dismemberment of Brent Renault Lewis, in a conspiracy steal his properties in the Dominican Republic and the island of St. Martin.
The author gives readers a first-hand perspective of both murders and the steps that the community took to try and resolve these heinous crimes. He is able to give you such an inside view because he was there, on the ground in Sosua as everything played out. He worked at the hotel in the months leading up to the discovery of Rasputin’s rooting remains, which pulled from his apartment building. In the case of the of Brent Renault Lewis, he was the first person who was alerted to Brent’s disappearance and was at the forefront of finding answers to this complicated and bizarre puzzle. The author lets you step inside of his mind and allows you to see it from his point of view as he tries to lead a normal life in the midst of bitter turmoil. He gives the readers a chance to be in the middle of the action and form their own opinion of the entire situation, and the players involved, as it plays out on the pages before you. Feel the emotion of the situation as you turn from chapter to chapter trying to find out what happens next.
“My sole purpose in writing this book was to try to heal myself from the mental anguish that these murders caused me. It made me look at life differently and question some of the values I stood for in the past. Life in the Dominican Republic for a young black man is a peaceful life. If you are working and handling your business you can have a very peaceful existence here. After living in Los Angeles for many years I found that living peacefully in the Dominican Republic beats the life I had in LA by leaps and bounds. So much so that I found no problem walking away from a lucrative career in Hollywood and settling in the DR, to the dismay of all of my friends.
The solidarity I found with Dominicans made me embrace their community. I find myself working together with locals in an effort to make life better for everyone. These are values I learned from my family, but the entire Dominican Republic has come to feel like family. The fact I learned Spanish and treat everyone with respect has helped me traverse this island from end to end. Yes, on occasion my Spanish is not the best, but I accept my deficiency and use courteous and patience when resolving issues. This inspires me to want to bridge the gap between what people say about the Dominican Republic what is the reality.
I am happy that the things in my book did not cause my love for the Dominican Republic to waver. I still love this island like the first day I laid eyes upon it. This story is not about the Dominican Republic. It could have happened anywhere. This story is about people and the choices that they made. I made choices. Brent made choices. Rastupin, the Haitian guy, Maria Geraldine, Frank, and Eduardo all made choices. Those choices lead everyone to the fate each of us is now experiencing. It has caused great pain and heartache to a lot of people. I would not wish my feelings on my worst enemy. My only solace is that I knew my decisions were right. I was standing for right. Right for everyone. No matter who the person is, good or bad, everyone has the RIGHT to live. No person can take away that right. No man is God.”
For more background on the story please visit sandingthewood.com the book is also available on Kindle and paperback on Amazon. You can also visit the thread here on DR1.com related to part of the book.