Norman Higgins was born on January 26, 1983, in Kansas City, Missouri. His mother, Maxine, became a single parent when her husband deserted her a month after their son was born.
Norman wasn't an inspired student, but he worked hard to justify his mother's faith in him and make her proud. Norman liked athletics, especially football and baseball, and he kept his grades up so he'd be eligible to play on his high school teams.
After graduation, he joined the Navy and was stationed at North Island, California. He visited his high school girlfriend, Gracie, whenever he could. One January after he'd been home on leave at Christmas, Gracie sent Norman a hysterical email that she was pregnant. Norman got an emergency leave and flew home, where they married in a small ceremony.
Their son Jason was born that September. Norman was thrilled to be a father and vowed he would always be there for his child.
When he was discharged from the Navy, Norman got a job with a friend of his mother's who owned a janitorial service. He worked mostly at night cleaning office buildings, and Gracie worked as a legal secretary during the day. Whoever wasn't working was looking after the baby. Now retired, Maxine took care of her grandson whenever they needed her.
Two years later, Gracie was pregnant again. She and Norman wanted to raise their children in a small town, and Norman had liked Oxford when he visited a Navy buddy there. He and Gracie moved after the birth of their second son, Justin.
Norman's new business, the Higgins Janitorial Service Company, thrived, but he always spent time with his boys, wanting them to have the time and attention he'd never had from a father.
Jason began playing organized baseball when he was eight. Pete, the assistant coach, was a young bachelor who adored kids and volunteered his time to coach. Since he lived a block away from the Higgins family, he offered to give Jason a ride to games and practices. This was such a help to Gracie and Norman they accepted without a second thought.
After a few weeks, Jason started refusing to go to practice, having terrible nightmares, and even begging to stay home from school. His parents took him to his pediatrician, who examined Jason and gently talked to him privately. Jason reluctantly admitted the assistant coach had fondled him while driving to and from practice.
When Norman reported the incident to the police, they found that Pete had been convicted of sexual offenses in another state and failed to register when he came to Mississippi.
Norman was livid and demanded to know how the man got away with not registering and how he was allowed to coach kids. The police promised to investigate but couldn't give him any immediate answers. Norman vowed to keep track of registered sex offenders in Oxford himself since it seemed that no one else was.
After the trial, Gracie couldn't stand living in Oxford anymore, so she took the boys and moved back to Kansas City. She eventually divorced him and didn't want the boys visiting him in Oxford, so he rarely got to spend time with them. He phoned and went to see them, but it just wasn't the same.
Norman was devastated, and he swore that no other family would have to endure what his family had. He vigilantly monitored registered sex offenders and informed Yokanapatawpha County residents of the dangers in their midst to the extent the law would allow.
He occasionally worked with Concerned Oxford Parents (COP), but he felt they spent too much of their energy on insignificant causes compared to protecting their children.
Norman considered Andrea Stover a danger to the community because he believed her ideas could stimulate sex offenders to commit further crimes against innocent children.