BUCKHORN, CA—Telling the visibly fearful man that his emotions were both valid and entirely understandable, local 32-year-old Kevin Stewart reportedly observed that it was a crazy time and okay to be scared as he spoke Tuesday to the bound and gagged prisoner he was burying alive in the remote wilderness. “Listen, I can tell you’re dealing with some pretty difficult anxiety, and I just want to let you know that’s totally normal under the circumstances,” Stewart said as he pushed his victim into a hastily dug trench at the bottom of a ravine and began shoveling dirt over the bloody, incapacitated, but still very much conscious man below. “Give yourself a little credit: Right now, all you can do is focus on surviving, and you’re doing the best you can. Neither you nor anyone you know has lived through something like this before, and that uncertainty is bound to translate into feelings of despair. Believe me, I’m a little stressed out by this whole situation, too.” At press time, with the layers of dirt beginning to accumulate atop the man’s head, Stewart told his prisoner that if he just took a few deep breaths, then it would only be a matter of time before his panic subsided completely.