March Madness 

On Aug. 15, 1996, the first chapter in one of this city’s more tragic sagas was written. That evening, Janet and Perry March had an argument in their newly constructed hilltop home on West Blackberry Road just outside of Belle Meade. As the original police theory went, Janet had recently stumbled upon evidence that her husband had made sexual overtures to another woman, and had paid the woman to settle matters. In the ensuing argument, police believed, March—who held a second-degree black belt in karate—took a swipe at his wife and killed her. According to March, who acknowledged that there was, in fact, an argument, his wife announced she was going to take a vacation. She packed her passport, $4,000 to $5,000 in cash, and took off in her 1996 Volvo. She was never seen again.

Since that time, theories have spun far and wide. And the plot has only thickened, turning what passes for real life into something approximating fiction. Sadly, it’s not.

Police have never been able to make a case against Perry March, and no charges have been filed against him. But he has clearly been a man on the run since the disappearance—or death—of his wife. He originally took his two children with him to Chicago to escape the flurry of attention—and lawsuits—brought against him. Two of his more aggressive antagonists have been the parents of his former wife, Lawrence and Carolyn Levine, who have pursued March in countless courtrooms over money, his guilt in the alleged killing, and, in what has been the most tragic situation of all, the custody of the March’s two children. After living in Chicago for a period of time, March fled the country. Today, he lives in Mexico.

Last year, the Levines conducted a bold raid to Mexico, apprehending their grandchildren and bringing them back to this country with the apparent cooperation of federal agents. However, a federal court decision went horribly against the Levines last week. The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the Levines to return their grandchildren to March immediately. And on Saturday, the Levines allowed the children to board a plane and fly away.

In many ways, the March story appears to have ended. Many acknowledge that no more legal avenues remain open to the Levines. The children have been sent back to their father. And police have been hard-pressed to find any new evidence in the case.

But stories such as these never end. They only pause, sometimes for long periods. For nearly five years now, Nashville has skipped a few heartbeats following the travails of the Levines, the paths pursued by police, and the exit strategies embarked upon by Perry March. One day, our hearts will probably jump again. Meanwhile, we pray for the two March children and their well-being.

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