- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 13, 2003

When Linda Franklin discovered that she had breast cancer several years ago, she faced her mortality head-on, just as she had with every other challenge in her life.

And as before, she survived. The 47-year-old mother of two underwent a double mastectomy and overcame the brutal rehabilitation that followed, all with the attitude of a fighter and the spirit of a person who adored the people in her life.

Mrs. Franklin was fearless, friends and family say. She raised two children on her own while putting herself through college. She fought to gain a job with the Department of Defense after moving to Guatemala with her young family to work in the middle of a war zone.

But her mettle was no match for the bullet that struck her outside a Home Depot store in Northern Virginia last October, tearing away the right side of her face. She and her husband, Ted, were loading a shelf, tools and other items for their new home into the back of their car when she was gunned down, becoming the ninth victim of the Washington-area sniper.

Lee Boyd Malvo, 18, is on trial in Chesapeake, Va., in Mrs. Franklin’s slaying. Prosecutors say he shot Mrs. Franklin through a hole in the trunk of a car parked nearby, while his accused accomplice, John Allen Muhammad, waited behind the wheel.

Mr. Muhammad is on trial in Virginia Beach in the slaying of Dean Harold Meyers, 53, at a gas station in the Manassas area. Along with the 13 shootings in Maryland, Virginia, and the District, the two are suspected in or charged with shootings in Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Arizona and Washington state.

Mrs. Franklin, who lived in Arlington, studied terror threats as an analyst at the FBI’s National Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) in the Disrict. It was a job she loved, friends say, and one at which she excelled.

Katrina Hannum, Mrs. Franklin’s 24-year-old daughter, described her mother as “good at everything that she did.”

“She was an amazing, amazing woman who touched everyone that she came into contact with,” a tearful Mrs. Hannum testified at Mr. Muhammad’s trial. She did not respond to requests for an interview.

Growing up in Gainesville, Fla., Mrs. Franklin always was curious, asking about everything from religion to how to dress, said her father, Charles Moore.

“Every summer she would come home for vacation and bring a list of questions,” Mr. Moore told mourners at Mrs. Franklin’s funeral in the Gainesville church where she was married. “She confounded me, frustrated me, tormented me. But I loved her.”

Mrs. Franklin earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Florida, a task made more difficult by the fact that she was raising a son and daughter practically on her own. Mrs. Franklin divorced her first husband eight months after Katrina was born.

Mrs. Hannum remembered her mother’s determination to work overseas, first for the Guatemalan government when the country was embroiled in civil war, then as a teacher for the Defense Department.

At first, Mrs. Hannum said, the department was hesitant to take a chance on Mrs. Franklin because she was a single mother, and “they didn’t think that she could handle it.” She said her mother proved herself by moving to Guatemala on her own.

Once, when a man with a machete jumped in her Jeep and demanded her car, Mrs. Franklin refused, but volunteered to drive the man where he needed to go.

Mrs. Franklin traveled the world teaching, spending time in Germany before moving to Okinawa, Japan, for six years, where, Mrs. Hannum said, “She met a handsome Marine that turned out to be the love of her life.”

Ted and Linda Franklin were married in Hawaii in 1995, then moved to Europe again where Mrs. Franklin continued to teach.

The Franklins eventually settled in Northern Virginia. Mrs. Franklin, gregarious and fun-loving, quickly made friends.

“I felt really welcomed by her,” said Peggy Hulseberg, whose husband worked with Mrs. Franklin in the FBI’s counterterrorism unit. “She did that with everyone. She had a unique way of making everyone feel included. That was one of the really neat things about her.”

Mrs. Hulseberg said the two bonded when Mrs. Franklin found out she had breast cancer. They found solace talking to each other about their mothers, both of whom had battled the disease.

“When she was trying to decide what to do, I talked to her and her husband about it,” Mrs. Hulseberg said in an interview. “She wanted to meet it head-on. She wasn’t fearful at all. Ted was more fearful than she was. He was very supportive after we talked a few times, and she was so strong about it. She had the best attitude.”

When one of Mrs. Franklin’s cats contracted cancer, she did everything she could to save him, too. Rocky underwent a biopsy and chemotherapy, but died of the disease.

“She just wanted to save him so bad,” Mrs. Hulseberg said. “We called him ‘Chemo-Kitty.’”

At the FBI, Mrs. Franklin played a major role in establishing the NIPC’s biggest success, the InfraGard program in which the government shares tips and warnings with private companies and organizations that promise not to divulge the information publicly.

An analyst training center at the FBI training academy at Quantico has been named after Mrs. Franklin. Her husband and daughter attended the ceremony last month, FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said.

Mrs. Hannum was 51/2 months pregnant when her mother was killed.

“I remember screaming and throwing myself on the bed, and all I could do was scream,” she testified.

Mrs. Hannum has since given birth to a son, Connor. Mrs. Hulseberg said Mrs. Franklin couldn’t wait for the birth of her first grandchild.

Mrs. Franklin’s death was one of three her family has dealt with in the past year and a half. Her niece was killed in a car accident months before the sniper attack, and Mrs. Franklin’s mother succumbed to cancer in February.

“I worry about [Mrs. Franklins] dad,” Mrs. Hulseberg said. “Three important women in his life died so close together. It’s just been pretty hard.”

Mrs. Hulseberg misses her friend greatly, too. She often recalls their outings on Fridays to a cinema drafthouse where they’d watch a movie and have a beer.

“I wish I’d told her how much she meant to me,” she said.


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