One year later: mother still seeks answers to son’s death

Pamela Andrews’ son, Michael Bippes, was stabbed to death on July 7, 2015, on the Interurban Trail in Auburn

It’s been a year since Pamela Andrews’ son was found stabbed to death on the Interurban Trail in Auburn.

The grieving mother continues her determined drive to find answers to the inexplicable crime that took away her son, Michael Bippes, on July 7, three weeks shy of his 51st birthday.

“His family and friends live in the area, and not a day passes that someone isn’t pained, wanting justice,” Andrews said. “Michael was silenced forever.”

To honor her late son and people lost to violent crime, Andrews has organized a community candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. Saturday at 800 Main Street and the Interurban Trail. Family and friends of victims are welcome to attend.

“We are the surviving victims of violent crime,” Andrews said. “Our lives have changed. We are not the people we once were. We are devastated, empty, and the sense of safety we had is ruined.”

Bippes, a second-generation ironworker and the divorced father of four sons, all of whom live in the Auburn area, was found dead of multiple stab wounds around 5 a.m. July 8, 2015, on the Interurban Trail, south of West Main Street.

Auburn Police have determined that Bippes was attacked sometime around midnight.

The investigation continues. And Andrews is thankful for their persistent efforts.

Andrews, a retired U.S. Postal Service worker from Covington, and her friends have continued a campaign to turn up any bit of information, however small, that could lead to the capture and conviction of whoever is responsible. They urge anyone with information about Bippes’ death to call Auburn Police (253-931-3080).

“I want justice,” said Andrews, 72, her voice resolute. “How can someone do something like this? I don’t know. … I just hope that person is found.”

Andrews is all too familiar with sorrow.

Her other, younger son died in a one-vehicle accident in 1988, leaving “a hole in (Michael’s) soul.”

And now the Auburn mother has been left to cope with the loss of two sons – buried side-by-side.

“I just saw him on Monday (before his death),” Andrews recalled. “We had a good visit, then he got up and said, ‘OK, see ya, and that was it.”

To help soothe the grief, Andrews has found support through Victory Fellowship Church and Victim Support Services.

“They’ve just become my family. I’ve been blessed with such strong friends,” she said. “It’s very painful and very healing. It has enabled me to make decisions finally, have the burial of (Michael) and to put together the vigil.

“We haven’t found closure,” she said. “You’re forever changed. … You go on. You pull yourself up by your bootstraps and keep on keeping on.”