Remembering Pan Am Flight 103: Kathryn Turman

Kathryn Turman, assistant director of the FBI's Victim Services Division, talks about her role assisting victims' families and the trial of two suspects in the bombing of Flight 103.

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Lockerbie was such a watershed case, I think, for the FBI, and certainly for victim services, and in particular for the FBI. I also think that this case isn't over. There's still—the FBI remembers. We have a long memory, and we keep cases open for many, many years and decades. So there's still, as long as there's a possibility of ever bringing someone else to justice or getting more information that could help fill in the story for families, I think we need to keep doing that. I've watched as younger generations of the Pan Am 103 families have stepped up to take leadership positions and become more involved. And I think most of all, I’ve always—there's a saying that the dead are still with us as long as someone speaks their name. So I think that's one of the things that we do in the FBI, and we do well, is we speak their names. We continue to do that.

You can't do this work and not be affected by it. And I know at times, I think at the beginning of the trial, I had a lot of dreams about it, and one I dreamed that I was in the boarding gate at Heathrow as the Pan Am passengers were getting ready to board. I had heard the boarding gate agent for Pan Am talk about the atmosphere there—people were going home for the holidays, college students were playing guitars, everybody had gifts—a very happy atmosphere. And I remember in my dream trying to warn them not to get on the plane. So, you know, but I found ways to deal with it, and I think the families themselves were so warm and open and caring with each other and with all of us who were working on the case and the trial. And being able to do something positive to help them to make the whole process of the trial easier certainly is something that I find helpful. It helps me cope with what I’m learning about a crime.

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