Local author writes memoir on sister’s life and unsolved homicide

Contributed Photo/Courtesy Misty Thompson: Misty Thompson's book "By Your Side: A Journey of Two Sisters Through Love and Sacrifice" depicts the life of Stephanie Proffitt, as well as the events leading up to and following her murder. Pictured are, from left, Stephanie Proffitt and Misty Thompson. The book is currently available for pre-order.

By Brooke Curley


THATCHER – Some say writing can be cathartic. Through the pain of her sister’s death, local author Misty Thompson wrote her book to find her inner peace and heal.

Available for pre-order through her website, mistymthompson.com/products, Thompson’s book By Your Side: A Journey of Two Sisters Through Love and Sacrifice is a non-fiction memoir of her sister’s life and death. Thompson, of Thatcher, is a mother, grandmother and business owner of the spiritually-based Mystified Enlightenment.

Thompson’s sister, Stephanie Proffitt, disappeared in the late summer of 1993 and was found murdered two months later in the desert outside Safford. Proffitt’s homicide remains unsolved 24 years later and has become one of the local stories that people remember with apprehension. Proffitt’s fate is a reminder that terrible things can happen in the otherwise seemingly peaceful Gila Valley.

Thompson told Gila Valley Central that at the time of her sister’s death, she was raising three small children and working. She said she had to suppress her own emotions of grief throughout the ordeal.

“I did not realize how much negative emotion I had stuffed down inside of me until I started writing this book,” Thompson said. “I realized that when my sister came up missing in August, 1993, I felt as though I needed to be strong for my mom, so I stuffed my emotions down. In addition, I had three young children at the time, and I needed to be attentive to them.  By the time she had been found, 55 days had passed (and) my mom and granny were still trying to find justice.  I continued to keep pushing down my feelings.”

Thompson said she hopes her book will help others who may have gone through a similar tragedy deal with their grief.

“My hopes for this book is to let anyone who has had any type of tragedy in their family to know that they are not alone,” Thompson said. “It is OK to show your pain, and it is extremely important not to stuff your pain. You do not have to be strong for anyone. Also, it is important not to feel any guilt that maybe you could have or should have been able to stop or change the tragedy. Please trust and believe that God has a plan for all of the pain we feel.”

Although the murder occurred 24 years ago, Thompson said writing the book was a very painful experience. However, she also said is was also a rewarding experience.

“The most challenging is having those layers upon layers of emotion come up to the surface after being buried for over 20 years,” Thompson said. “The most rewarding aspect of writing this book is honoring my sister and that she went through.”

Thompson said she is grateful for her support system who helped her write the book.

“I know my sister is proud of me,” she said.

Thompson’s book will be released by the end of March and is available for pre-order through her website, mistymthompson.com/products/.