Dlana Hall Bodmer’s The Miraculous Journey is unlike any book you have read before. It’s a blend of true crime and spirituality that will have you cringing, angry, outraged, and then overcome with amazement and a new faith in God. Few books have been so cathartic for me to read.
The story begins with the real-life murder of the author’s sister, Gina Renee Hall, in 1980. Dlana recounts her eighteen-year-old sister’s last words to her as she left for a night of dancing at the local Marriott Inn in Blacksburg, Virginia. Hours later, Dlana received a strange phone call from her sister in which she asked Gina, “Where are you?” Her short answer, “I’m at the lake.” Dlana then asked, “What are you doing out at the lake?” Gina’s odd response, ” I’m looking at it.” Dlana, confused by her answers and curious who Gina would have gone to the lake with, asked, “Well, who are you looking at it with?” Gina answered with one word “Steve,” and then click. Gina had told her sister exactly what she needed to convey so the clues would be known. That was the last time Dlana spoke to her sister. When Gina did not come home that night, the search began-a search that led to Stephen Epperly, who had a history of violence toward women. Although Gina’s body was never found, all evidence pointed to Epperly’s guilt and he was convicted by a jury for Gina’s murder.
Since then, Dlana has had to deal with the anger she felt toward Epperly, anger that has been exasperated by his being up for parole every year or two and her efforts to ensure he is not released. Dlana’s family was devastated by Gina’s loss, and that pain has never completely gone away. The family and authorities searched for months for Gina’s body without success, and Dlana and Gina’s father went to his grave never knowing what had become of his daughter.
Then in 2016, Dlana began having strange experiences that inspired her to resume the search-and so the miracles began. I won’t go into detail about the miracles or the search, but to summarize, Dlana began to have strange dreams, and in the morning she would wake up to find she had scribbled down messages in her sleep. Many of these messages didn’t seem to make much sense, but they all contained clues to where Gina might be laid to rest and the truth of the last moments of her life. Dlana also started to hear songs repeat on the radio or hear words to songs that seemed to be clues. She had experiences she could not explain other than that they had to be caused through some otherworldly intervention.
Dlana was determined to find Gina’s body, and the messages she received led her various places in her search. She met with law enforcement personnel. Her path crossed with psychics and paranormal investigators interested and involved in Gina’s case. She enlisted the help of family and friends. She dug up riverbeds and did not leave a single stone unturned that might lead her to the location of her sister’s body. Through the process, she also discovered evidence and facts that had been repressed or was not available in the months following her sister’s murder-evidence that confirmed not only that Epperly, but possibly others, were involved in the terror at the lake house-facts she would have never known had it not been for the mysterious journey of 2016.
And through it all, Dlana wondered what was the overall purpose of all the messages she was receiving. She had always felt great anger and hatred toward Epperly. She had always struggled with her grief, but now she felt these messages were trying to do more than just lead her to her sister’s body. Could it be that she had to forgive her sister’s murderer? Could it be that she had to learn something for herself?
I can’t begin to explain the miracles that happened for Dlana. I can’t say whether the miraculous journey she details happened or not, but I believe it did happen-and Dlana provides plenty of evidence, including numerous photographs, to document her journey. I believe there are forces unseen by us-forces of good and evil-and I believe the angels have our backs in ways we may not expect. Dlana reveals in these pages the amazing revelations she had during this journey that gave her a revived faith in God and allowed her to have a new understanding of her relationship not only with her sister but with the Universe at large.
If you don’t believe miracles can happen, you need to read this book. What qualifies as a miracle in these pages may actually not be what you expect, but regardless, Dlana knows there is no other explanation than that some supernatural force was trying to communicate with her. When we listen to the whispers-when we are open to their communication-miracles can happen in our lives.
A companion book, A Web of Lies: A Day Made in Hell, is in the works, which will provide more details about the evidence and investigation of Gina Hall’s murder. Meanwhile, read The Miraculous Journey and discover that peace and healing are always available and that forgiveness is possible even for the most heinous crimes.