Thursday, February 5, 2015


A brief summary of

How a Grandfather Survived Agonizing Losses
and Began a New Life as a Single Parent

by Don Hatfield
with D. Patrick Miller

A few years ago, 64-year-old Don Hatfield of Napa, California was looking forward to a natural slowdown in life with his beloved wife Janey while he continued a successful art career as a modern American Impressionist painter. But Janey passed away from cancer in January of 2012. One month after her funeral, Don received the agonizing news that his beautiful daughter Rachel, the mother of three young children, had been brutally slain by her husband, Todd Winkler.

Within another week, he found himself taking sole custody of Rachel’s kids.

The tragic and sensational story of Rachel’s killing led to eight stories in the Sacramento Bee ( and a Pulitzer-nominated photo essay portraying Don and his new family by Bee photographer Renee C. Byer. This story has already had a one-hour treatment from CBS’ 48 Hours ( , and in the spring and summer of 2015 will also be reported by NBC’s Dateline and ABC’s 20/20. While it’s not unusual for sensational crime stories to receive some network coverage, it’s rare when all three major networks feature the same story.

And that’s because there is far more to this story than a brutal killing. It also provides a glimpse into a new generational phenomenon of elder parenting –
and it revolves around the unique character and courage of Don Hatfield.

NPR recently reported that up to ten percent of American children now live in the same household as their grandparents. In many cases, the seniors are the primary caretakers. A plain-spoken, born-again Christian who graduated from Fuller Theological Seminary, Don Hatfield is the first to proclaim that “I’m not a saint.” But many people would wonder how anyone but a saint could rise to the challenge of parenting three youngsters after staggering losses while “grieving on the fly,” as Don puts it.

In Faith in the Face of Murder, Don will tell the whole story of his stunning late-stage change of life, beginning with a portrayal of his relationship to his daughter Rachel, her killing and the subsequent trial leading to her husband’s conviction, and an intimate portrait of how he manages life as a single parent while also trying to keep his art career going. Don will also offer what many victims of crime cannot: a thoughtful religious perspective on how the key spiritual values of faith and forgiveness can enable anyone to surmount the seemingly impossible challenges that life may present to anyone at any moment.

Don Hatfield’s story will be skillfully organized and presented by veteran author and editor
D. Patrick Miller, author of two books on popular spirituality currently available from Random House and Tarcher-Penguin. Miller is also the founder of his own press, Fearless Books, and
has previously ghostwritten, collaborated, and edited scores of books for both major and independent houses. His resume is available on request to any interested publisher.  

Don Hatfield’s website:                 BookCampaign:                                              



  1. What a trooper! Look at those beautiful babies!!!!

    God Bless You, Don!
    Kim Benedict

  2. If Rachel's children can't have her they are very blessed to have you.