Sometime during the fall of 1978 – the letter is undated – Jonestown attorney Eugene Chaikin wrote Mark Lane a summary of the research he was asking to be forwarded from San Francisco, as well as a short history of Jim Jones’ church and the troubles it had faced since the beginning.
The letter was sent back to the U.S. in care of Jean Brown – who had gone to Jonestown in October – and was to be hand delivered to Mark Lane by Terri Buford.
Chaikin must not have heard back from Lane, because on November 6, he wrote a second letter with copies of his earlier correspondence, and asked for some feedback.
There are a number of reasons Lane might not have yet responded. His preparations for a trip to Guyana to be there at the same time as Leo Ryan might have had a higher priority. He might also have been preoccupied with his upcoming appearance before the House Assassinations Committee, where he presented a witness that he said would exonerate his client, James Earl Ray, in the shooting of Martin Luther King. Or, he might not have received the first letter at all, since Buford might not have received it from Jean Brown or – if she had – might not have delivered it. When Chaikin wrote his second letter, Buford’s whereabouts were unknown to the Temple. No one – not Chaikin, not Jean Brown, not anyone else in the Temple – knew that Buford had left the church a week earlier. Ironically, her protector following her defection was Temple attorney Mark Lane.