Crime Jonestown Cult Victim's Daughter Was Haunted Until Her Death: 'I Wish that Bullet that Got Mom Had Killed Me' The daughter of a woman killed trying to escape from Jonestown — shortly before 900 followers of Jim Jones committed suicide — was haunted by the tragedy until her death By Johnny Dodd Johnny Dodd Instagram Twitter Senior Staff Writer, PEOPLEJohnny Dodd is a senior writer at PEOPLE, who primarily focuses on human interest, crime and sports stories. For more than two decades he has covered some of pop culture's biggest, most-tragic and most-talked-about stories—and interviewed a staggering assortment of A-list celebrities, extraordinary everyday people, thugs and even the occasional heroic family pet. Johnny has appeared on "The Today Show," "CNN," "Extra!" and numerous episodes of Investigation Discovery's "PEOPLE Magazine Investigates." He has also written three non-fiction books that have been translated into numerous foreign languages. Johnny's work over the years has earned over a dozen regional and national journalism awards, including a Hearst Fellowship. People Editorial Guidelines Published on June 7, 2018 10:13 AM Share Tweet Pin Email Tracy Parks and her older sister Brenda hid in a sweltering jungle in Guyana while cult leader Jim Jones and over 900 of his followers committed suicide by drinking cyanide-laced grape punch in 1978. But unlike Tracy, then 12, Brenda, who was 18 at the time, could never fully escape the horror of that day. The two girls, along with their parents, brother and grandmother, were attempting to flee Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple cult, known as Jonestown, when they were ambushed by several of Jones’ gun-toting henchman on a primitive airport tarmac. Before their planes could leave, their mother, Patricia, 44, was shot and killed, along with four others. David Hume Kennerly/Getty “Even years later, Brenda would tell me, ‘I wish that bullet that got mom had killed me,'” recalls Tracy, 51, in the new series People Magazine Investigates: Cults, airing June 11 at 9 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery. “She was the sweetest soul, but she hated this life and all the cruelty she saw in Jonestown. It just tore her apart and really ruined her.” Brenda died in 2013 at age 52 from a pancreatic illness after decades of ill health. • For more on how Tracy Parks escaped Jonestown, subscribe now to PEOPLE or pick up this week’s issue, on newsstands Friday. Kayt Jones “We were both fortunate to live through what happened, but it hasn’t been easy,” Tracy tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue. “It’s been an uphill battle nearly every day and there have been times I’ve wanted to give up. But I push through.” Jonathan Sprague/Redux The tragedy at Jonestown remains the largest mass suicide in modern history. Among the dead were 304 children, including ones whose parents forced cyanide-filled syringes into the mouths of those too young to sip from cups. Now 51, Tracy, who runs a day care in Ukiah, California, has also spent much of her life struggling to make sense of the traumatic events nearly 40 years ago. Jonathan Sprague/Redux It was the scandal that rocked America’s most storied political family and changed the course of presidential history. PEOPLE‘s first-ever podcast, Cover-Up, dives into the Chappaquiddick scandal and attempts to piece together what happened in the hours after Ted Kennedy’s car went over a narrow wooden bridge, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne. Subscribe now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or wherever podcasts are available. In addition to psychological scars, she has physical ones in the form of recurring skin cancers — which her dermatologist believes stem from sunburns suffered while laboring in Jonestown’s agricultural fields for seven months. Tracy says that despite the awful memories, she has endured. But her sister had a harder time. “I’ve always been a fighter,” says Tracy, who lost five family members in the tragedy. “Knock me down, and I always get back up. But Brenda just couldn’t do that.” People Magazine Investigates: Cults airs Monday (9 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.