MYNORTHWEST NEWS

The Letter podcast debuts 2nd season on 1982 murders of 2 fathers

Apr 16, 2024, 12:36 PM | Updated: 12:37 pm

Image:One of the last photos taken of Jordan Rasmussen shows him enjoying Christmas morning 1981 wi...

One of the last photos taken of Jordan Rasmussen shows him enjoying Christmas morning 1981 with his three children, Lisa, 5, David, 8, and Chad, 1. (Photo provided by the Rasmussen family)

(Photo provided by the Rasmussen family)

MILLCREEK, Utah — The Letter podcast rolls out its unexpected second season Tuesday, highlighting generational questions about trauma and forgiveness stemming from the 1982 murders of two young fathers.

The producers behind The Letter never intended to make a second season of their podcast. For one reason, we thought season 1 was unique. But a couple of months after publishing the podcast, we discovered a story that connects with the first season of The Letter. It also has a lot more to say about how we rebuild our lives in the wake of tragedy, and whether or not forgiveness belongs to all of us.

For example, if trauma can be passed down through generations, what about forgiveness? Season 2 of The Letter podcast is called “Ripple Effect,” because what these families learn is that even intensely personal decisions can echo through families, through communities, and even the lives of strangers.

Image: Jordan Rasmussen, pictured on July 23, 1973, the day his first child, David, was born. Jordan was making calls to the family announcing the birth.

Jordan Rasmussen, pictured on July 23, 1973, the day his first child, David, was born. Jordan was making calls to the family announcing the birth. (Photo provided by the Rasmussen family)

The Letter podcast follows two murders in 1982

It was a phone call late in a long, stressful day that changed Jordan Rasmussen’s plans for the morning of March 5, 1982.

And that change would cost him his life.

The call was from the man who managed a popular, high-end restaurant in one of Utah’s most picturesque canyons. Rasmussen served as the accountant for that restaurant – Log Haven – a massive log cabin that had become one of the most popular spots for wedding celebrations.

That phone call late in the afternoon on March 4th was a request from the 25-year-old manager, Michael Moore, to discuss some bookkeeping issues he’d discovered.

Rasmussen agreed to the meeting, but it was not something he was looking forward to according to his wife, DeAnn Rasmussen.

“We knew that there was discord at the office, at the company that he worked for,” she said.

Book cooking rumors at the restaurant

Just a few months earlier, Jordan had pointed out a $30,000 shortfall to one of the partners.

“He was deep into their books, (and) noticed that there was some shady deals going on up at Log Haven,” she said. “(He) suspected that there was some embezzling money.”

In fact, rumors of theft and layoffs had swirled around the restaurant since the two men who owned it decided they could no longer work together. As they negotiated the end of their partnership, which included a number of financial ventures, speculation about what would happen to the staff ran rampant.

Rasmussen found himself caught in the middle.

Things had been so tense, that he made a joke before climbing into bed the night of March 4, which in retrospect, seems ominous.

He told his wife that if his car slid off the road in the canyon the next morning, it might not be an accident.

DeAnn dismissed it as a bit of dark humor. She said she never worried about him.

“(There was) nothing to worry about,” she said.

Image: Rasmussen family members gather around at the grave dedication for Jordan Rasmussen on March 9, 1982. (Photo courtesy of the Rasmussen family)

Rasmussen family members gather around at the grave dedication for Jordan Rasmussen on March 9, 1982. (Photo courtesy of the Rasmussen family)

A snowy Millcreek Canyon morning

Unworried may describe how Jordan Rasmussen felt when he turned onto Millcreek Canyon road and realized his sedan likely couldn’t make the three-mile drive up the narrow, snow-covered road to Log Haven. He pulled to the side of the road, and then noticed a familiar Jeep parked on the other side.

The driver made a U-turn and pulled off in front of Rasmussen’s car. The 32-year-old father of three turned off his vehicle and walked to the open window of the Jeep. He talked with the driver and then walked around the Jeep, opened the door, and climbed inside.

Maybe he was in a hurry and didn’t notice the bullet holes that marred the side of the Jeep – one on the hood, one just in the back of the front tire.

Where season 2 of The Letter podcast begins

Jordan Rasmussen was prepared for a tense, maybe even unpleasant, conversation once he arrived at Log Haven. After all, the business split was supposed to be finalized that very day. And after this meeting, he was heading to a Salt Lake City law office, where he’d talk with the new sole owner about taking over as the restaurant’s manager.

But as he settled into the passenger seat of that Jeep, he had no way of knowing that he was driving to his death. Nor that his murder would not be the only one that day.

And his family had no way of knowing that the devoted father and brother they’d dubbed ‘the gentle giant’ would be accused of being responsible for his own death. Because when police arrested someone for killing Jordan Rasmussen, the suspect said it was self-defense. And in doing so, he described a dishonest, devious and vicious person that none of them recognize.

Please listen and follow The Letter – Season 2: Ripple Effect wherever you find your favorite podcasts. New episodes are available every Tuesday.

You can also find episodes, pictures, and stories at theletterpodcast.com.

Read or listen to more:

Amy Donaldson is an executive producer with KSL Podcasts. You can view more of her work here.

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The Letter podcast debuts 2nd season on 1982 murders of 2 fathers