Tasty Café Murder, Abducted in Plain Sight Review

Today’s two topics are the Tasty Cafe Murder, which involves the 6th Amendment to the Constitution, and a review of the Netflix documentary Abducted In Plain Sight.  Find out more by listening to our podcast or reading the full show notes at http://www.MichiganandotherMayhem.com

Click Here to Listen to Episode 23

 

Continuing the Conversation Texas Roadhouse Stabbing and Aluminium Blanking Company Shooting

Continuing the conversation: This week we talked about the Texas Roadhouse employee who stabbed their co-worker and the previous employee of an Aluminium Blanking Company who shot and killed two in a planned killing spree in Taylor Michigan.

Click on Detroit Channel 4 News report: Texas Roadhouse employee stabs co-worker Taylor Michigan

News article on Man who went on killing spree in Taylor Michigan: Two Dead in Killing Spree

Show Notes Psychic on Unsolved Mysteries, Taylor Coworker Murders

This show, “Michigan and other Mayhem”, is a sort of factual, slightly comical, always earnest podcast about interesting stuff in Michigan and around the world. It is done by two sisters-in-law (Ali and Jenn) that like to talk about random interesting stories.  Expect cults, mysteries, murder, fast-talking, and a couple of mental palate cleansers… and cuss words.  Those happen on this show, a lot.

Episode 22: Psychic on Unsolved Mysteries, Taylor Coworker Murders

Click Here to Listen to Episode 22

Alerts:

  • Pretend podcast music because Jenn likes it.
  • Ali has a weird laugh. It is often loud.

Ali immediately mispronounces a word causing Jenn to laugh. Ali asks if Jenn has now become Poppy.

Unsolved Mysteries is coming back to Netflix.  Ali is so happy. Jenn has confused America’s Most Wanted and Unsolved Mysteries.

Jenn is going after Taylor, MI.  That is where a Burlington Coat Factory employee shot another employee to death.  Now, the other day, there was another coworker violence case as someone was stabbed at a Texas Roadhouse. Then Jenn read a third case of coworker violence that prompted her story today.

Psychics and Unsolved Mysteries

There was an episode of Unsolved Mysteries that aired after the murder was solved.  It involves a psychic and an unlikely killer.

John and Nancy Bosco were murdered in their home in Ferndale, Montana, on August 12, 1993. Ferndale is a small community located just outside of Big Fork. John, 41, and his wife Nancy, 32, had bought their home in the community less than a year earlier, having lived in Boulder, Colorado, previously.  It was a neighbor who realized something was wrong at the Bosco house when she noticed all the windows were open and the doors were locked.

Ali: I thought she must be a nosy neighbor.  Is it weird to open windows in August?  I don’t think so.  She told the cops the doors were locked, that means she had to turn the knobs on all of their outer doors.  That’s a lot of effort.  To be open, the neighbor isn’t guilty, just overly curious.

The neighbor said that she knew John, the husband, was scheduled to be in court for a felony charge sometime in August.  So, armed with an unhealthy dose of curiosity and probably a permanent case of tattle-tale, she called the police.

It was the police who found the couple dead in their bed.  John Bosco had been shot in the head.  His wife, Nancy, had been shot once in the head and once in her back. They were both nude and Nancy had a pillow set over her face.

A few small items had been missing from the home, but robbery was not believed to be the motive behind the murders. A pistol was found to be missing from the home, but it was not the one used in the commission of the crime. The telephone line had been cut to the house and the power had been shut off.

There were few leads in the case, besides the officers finding a point of entry into the home, through a window in the basement bathroom.  It went cold and for two months there wasn’t any new information for detectives to use.

Then Dannion Brinkley, stepped in.  John Bosco’s parents were looking for information regarding the death of their son. Dannion claimed to have psychic abilities after being struck by lightning while talking on the phone in 1975.  Dannion was brought to the hospital after the lightning strike, where he was declared dead.  After 28 minutes with no pulse, Dannion recalls having to leave the spirit realm and return to the living. Afterwards, he suffered from several physical ailments as well as visions from the future.

Dannion made the following predictions about the Bosco’s killer: The killer was a young man with a slight build. He was an acquaintance of the Boscos.  The killer was familiar with the layout of the house.  The killer was also a student who went to school in the west side of the country.  Dannion also claimed that the killer would be arrested in December 1993.

Cut to 19-year-old Joseph Shadow Clark. He fits every one of Dannion Brinkley’s descriptions.  Joseph Shadow Clark was 19 years old.  He had a slight build.  The Bosco’s had bought their home and property, recently, from Joseph’s parents. Joseph was familiar with the layout of the house.  He had recently left Montana to go to a small Christian school in Oregon, which is to the west.  Joseph was arrested in December 1993.

Joseph had told friends about committing the murders in his former home, and it was his friends that reported it to campus authorities in Oregon. The campus security chief contacted a Flathead, OR police station with the information.  A detective with Flathead, Michael Sward, connected the information to the open Bosco murders.

People who had known Joseph claimed he was the last person they would have picked out to be a murderer.  He was active in church, a bright student at Big Fork High School and George Fox College, and a Royal Ranger. He had no criminal record.

Joseph Shadow Clark told police that he gave the murder weapon, a 9mm Smith and Wesson, to a friend in a different city.  The friend, who was not implicated in the crime, surrendered the gun to police without incident on December 8, 1993.  Joseph had bought the gun earlier in the summer. The ballistics of the surrendered gun matched those left at the scene of the crime.

Joseph Clark claims to not remember shutting off the power or cutting the phone line.  He said it was probable that he did do that. He also said he didn’t remember going up to the second floor but did recall standing in the doorway of the Bosco’s bedroom.

John Bosco was killed first by Joseph, shooting him in the forehead.  Then Joseph heard a noise from Nancy’s side of the bed, and he assumed she was cocking a gun.  In reality, Nancy was putting her glasses on and had knocked the phone off of the nightstand. Joseph heard her scream.  Joseph then said he shot three times in her direction.

One of the two bullets that hit Nancy went into her back, hitting her ribs, lung and shoulder blade, coming to a rest in her left shoulder. The second went into her jaw before ricocheting out of Nancy’s eye, breaking her glasses lens.  It was determined this happened while she was crouched, as if in the fetal position.  Nancy also had fresh bruises on her right calf and left thigh.

Since both people were naked, and Nancy had bruises, sexual abuse was suspected.  DNA samples were taken from both bodies. It was determined that semen samples taken from Nancy did not match Joseph Shadow Clark. The Boscos were trying to have children, the semen was believed to be John’s.

The Clarks and Boscos both tried to guess over the motivation for the killing. There was some tension between the two families as the Boscos had bought both a house and a business property from the Clarks. Bosco then found that the business property had been denied its commercial license. Bosco also claimed to have spent thousands of dollars on the business’s physical structure due to damage and neglect.

Joseph told investigators that he had recurring nightmares for almost a month, in which he kept breaking into the Bosco home.  The nightmare came to him every night before Joseph murdered the couple. After the murder, Joseph claimed he wasn’t sure if he had actually murdered the couple, or if it was just a continuance of his dream.

No motive was ever given by Joseph Shadow Clark, which his attorneys believe lead to him having a heavy sentence.  Joseph repeatedly said he had no grudge against the couple, and he didn’t know why he did it. He downplayed the seriousness of his charges calling them a “little thing”, a mistake he shouldn’t be condemned for.

Joseph Clark was sentenced to 220 years, which was later reduced to 150 years in jail.  He went to jail at age 19 and isn’t available for parole until he turns 60 years old.

Intrigued by the use of an accurate psychic, Unsolved Mysteries aired an episode that included the murders in October of 1994.

http://unsolvedmysteries.wikia.com/wiki/John_and_Nancy_Bosco

After I had written this article, I was listening to a podcast called ‘My Favorite Murder’.  They do hometown murders, in which people e-mail them. A girl who was at school with Joseph Shadow Clark after he murdered the couple.  He used to visit her and her roommate and was there when the FBI came to get him.

Taylor, MI Coworker Murder

On February 1st, 2019 (Ali’s birthday), at 6:45p.m. on Pardee Road, at the Texas Roadhouse, an employee stabbed their coworker.  The two had begun arguing in the kitchen.  They both suffered non-life-threatening injuries.  Their names weren’t released at the time we were recording.

Another man, Vernest Griffin, also killed coworkers in Taylor and Pontiac, Michigan.  It was considered a planned killing spree. Vernest was a former employee of BSD Linehaul Company, in Taylor.  On the first of the month, he went to the business and killed employee Keith Kitchen.

Vernest then went to a semi-driver at the business and forced him out of the truck. Vernest then drove off with the semi. He drove to Aluminum Blanking Company and shot Eriberto Perez multiple times through an open window.

Vernest then got back into the truck and drove to another trucking company.  He then asked for an employee, name unknown, who was not at work.  Vernest then drove away.  He continued to drive, stopping to engage police in a shootout, before getting back to driving.

Vernest is then involved in a crash on Dixie Highway, injuring two young girls. He gets out of the semi and again engages in gunfire with the police. He was struck by gunfire, taken to the hospital, and arrested. He had gone into a short coma.

The Oakland County Police called this a planned spree as Vernest knew where he was going, with an AK-47 and multiple magazines. They found out Vernest had gone to the company in November of 2018 with a gun threatening to shoot employees. No shots fired at that time.

Vernest had recently been released on bond after being arrested for assault with a deadly weapon in July 2017.

Jenn could not find him on the OTIS (offender tracking information system) website.

Ali needs to look up what is a speedy trial. Then she made a mistake about a man in jail for 38 years.  Stay tuned for the real information in the next episode.

 

 

 

Psychic on Unsolved Mysteries, Taylor Michigan Coworker Murders

Today’s two topics are a psychic accurately predicts information on a murder showcased on Unsolved Mysteries and Taylor, MI coworker murders. Find out more by listening to our podcast or reading the full show notes at http://www.MichiganandotherMayhem.com

Click Here to Listen to Episode 22

Continuing the Conversation The Burning Bed

Continuing the conversation: This week we talked about the Burning Bed crime story that was a made-for-TV movie about an abusive drunk that terrorized his family until his wife was forced to defender her life by killing him in his sleep.

 

Continuing the Conversation Tara Lynn Grant Murder Macomb County Michigan

Continuing the conversation: This week we talked about the Tara Lynn Grant Murder in Michigan.

The full crime documentary of the murder of Tara Lynn Grant on Valeri Bussell’s Youtube channel

 

News Article from Detroit Channel 4 – A look back at the Steven Grant Murder case of Tara Grant after 10 years

 

Article regarding Steven Grants appeal Steven Grant murder and mutilation Macomb county judge david lawson

Show Notes Tara Grant Michigan Murder And A Burning Bed

This show, “Michigan and other Mayhem”, is a sort of factual, slightly comical, always earnest podcast about interesting stuff in Michigan and around the world. It is done by two sisters-in-law (Ali and Jenn) that like to talk about random interesting stories.  Expect cults, mysteries, murder, fast-talking, and a couple of mental palate cleansers… and cuss words.  Those happen on this show, a lot.

Episode 21: Tara Grant Murder, Burning Bed

Click Here to Listen to Episode 21

Alerts:

  • Pretend podcast music because Jenn likes it.
  • Ali has a weird laugh. It is often loud.

Ali listens to a podcast where the two presenters keep count of who starts the podcast.  Ali and Jenn just free flow.  It would take another list for me to figure out who goes when, and I am listed out.

Tara Grant Murder

Valentine’s Day, 2007, Macomb County, Michigan, imagine Steven Grant, Tara’s husband, going to the police to report her missing. (Immediately, Ali says, oh, so he killed her.) Steve tells the police that she went missing after an argument.

Tara works in Puerto Rico every week and flies back home to Michigan on the weekends.  Steve said they argued after she said she was leaving days early for work. Steve said Tara packed a small bag and left in a vehicle on February 9th.

Both Jenn and Ali think it is telling that his wife left on the 9th, had no contact with her family, which was unusual, but he didn’t report her missing until the 14th of February. Steven did contact her parents and boss during the time, but not the authorities. No one had heard from her.

The detectives talked to her family and to her family’s au pair which watched her children while she was out of the state. (Jenn needed to look up what an au pair was… a young nanny, usually from other countries, which works for room and board in the house.)  Their au pair is 19-years-old.

The police found that it was usual for Tara to leave and not contact her children. They found that she had never moved her plane ticket to an earlier date or used the one she had. The police began to focus on the dark colored vehicle that he said she left in.

Steven Grant, once he retained a family attorney, stopped cooperating with the police. This makes the police suspicious. Steve is insisting she is alive but there is no activity with her money accounts or cards. The only activity happens to be the messages on her phone from her husband.

The police are looking at the car even harder.  They called all taxi services and car rentals for the airport. No one had recorded picking up Tara. Jenn says they spent days looking.  Ali thinks it was to check all of the boxes, to say they looked everywhere. Now the cops are suspicious of Steve.

Macomb County Police are holding press conferences to get support from local citizens.  At the same time, Steve Grant is holding his own press conferences.  He isn’t talking to the police, but he is trying to get his story out to the public. Steve’s press conferences assisted the police, as they were able to watch them and discern his demeanour.

They believed that he seemed generally distraught that his wife was missing but that he still had something to do with it. The police begin surveillance of him. Daily, Steve is going to the store and buying all three local papers to find what information police might have on the case.

A former girlfriend helps police by providing them with emails from Steven to her just prior to Tara’s disappearance. The emails were sexual in nature.  Steve implies that his wife is having an affair. Now the police are asking if he was in a sexual relationship with the au pair.

What else looks suspicious? The au pair’s company called her back from the Grant home and she was now back in her native country.

The police started going to locations frequented by the Grant family. One location was Stoney Creek Park, which is near the Grant home. They were trying to find something so they could get a search warrant on the house.

(Side note: Ali had been to Stoney Creek Park in the 1990s to smoke pot.)

The case goes cold.

They caught a break when someone walking in a nearby park came across a plastic bag containing latex gloves, plastic, and blood.  The bag was right by the Grant home, by Stoney Creek.  Close enough for the police to get a warrant for the home.

On March 2nd, the police enter the Grant home and his place of business that he shares with his father. They search the home and inside a garbage bag, inside a bin in the garage, they find the dismembered torso of Tara Grant.

When the case first started and Steven was cooperating, the police had gone through his house. This time they noticed a new trash bin and looked inside.

Steven Grant was found up north at a local park, two days after they found her body. Steve admitted that they had been in a fight and he had pushed her into a wall.  He claimed that she said she was divorcing him, and he would never see the kids again.  He knocked her down and strangled her.

After she died, he wrapped a belt around her neck and drug her body to the car. He admitted he had a sexual relationship with the au pair. A day later, he cut her body up at the machine shop he shares with his dad. He then put her body parts in black bags and put the bags in the park by their home.

When he heard the police were searching the park, he worried he didn’t hide the torso well enough.  He went back to retrieve it.  He brought the torso back to the shop he co-owned and hid it in the ceiling above his office. Steve knew it couldn’t stay there, so he brought it back to the house with the intention of hiding it again in the park the next day.  Fortunately, the cops came that night and found it.

Steven Grant was charged with murder and mutilation of a dead body. He didn’t believe he should be charged with first-degree murder as he says it was a crime of passion. The prosecutor disagreed because he could have stopped choking her at any time.

He was given 50 years in jail.

Ali and Jenn talk about how it takes three minutes to choke someone to death.  That’s enough time to realize what you are doing.

At this point in the podcast, Jenn sees a bug that she promptly murders.  Then she almost falls.  You can hear her lose her balance.

Burning Bed

The following real-life case was made into a non-fiction book called ‘The Burning Bed’ that was then adapted into a TV-movie in 1984. It starred Farrah Fawcett in the lead role.  I watched it in 1984 and I remember the abuse scenes in it affected me. I was terrified for her, even though I knew the events had already passed.

Francine Hughes was born August 17, 1947, in Stockbridge, Michigan.  Her mother was a homemaker and her father was a farmer.  He was also an abusive alcoholic.  Francine was only 16-years-old when she met boyfriend James ‘Mickey’ Hughes.  Mickey was 18-years-old at the time.

Shortly after Francine left high school to become his wife, on November 4, 1963. Just a couple weeks after they married Francine came home wearing new clothes.  Something about it triggered Mickey and he flew into a rage, tearing them off of her.  She apologized for making a mistake.

They moved to Dansville, Michigan and went on to have four children together. Christy, Jimmy, Dana and Nicole were born into poverty and a house of anger, alcohol, and abuse. To give you an idea of the age range of the kids, Christy, the oldest is 10 years older than Nicole, the youngest.

Francine tried leaving Mickey several times. Like her father, Mickey was an alcoholic who would fly into a rage, terrorizing his family. She moved out of the home she shared with Mickey when their divorce was finalized in April 1971.  Mickey was known to break into her house and refuse to leave, often battering her while he was there.

That summer, Mickey was involved in a serious car crash and severely injured, falling into a short-term coma.  Francine, although reluctant, allowed Mickey to move back in with her after being released from the hospital.

After the accident, Mickey refused to look for a job. Mickey recovered from the accident and the abuse began again, with escalation. Mickey killed a kitten that belonged to one of his daughters. His drinking became worse as the beatings and humiliation of her became more savage. There were times Francine would call the police for help, and sometimes she would try to escape to her parent’s house. Francine feared that if she tried to leave Mickey again, or have him removed from the house, he would kill her.

During all this turmoil, Francine was working to obtain her GED.  In 1976, she enrolled in a secretarial course, working to find independence.

March 9, 1977 things in the Hughes’ house came to a head. Francine came home from her classes to find an angry and drunk Mickey. Mickey screamed in anger, punched her, pulled her hair, and broke dishes as he raged at her.  Their children hadn’t eaten all day, Mickey hadn’t fed them, so Francine quickly made them TV dinners.  This triggered Mickey.  He called her a slut and reminded Francine that he had forbidden her from making frozen dinners. He threw the food on the floor and bent her arm behind her back to force her to the ground to clean it up.  As soon as she was done, he threw the food on the floor again.  He also rubbed it into her hair, continuing with threats of more abuse as he did it.

Mickey forced Francine to burn her school books and threatened to take a sledgehammer to her car if she didn’t agree to quit school. Police came to the scene at one point during the altercation but refused to arrest Mickey as he did not beat her in front of them.  They did, however, hear Mickey threaten her with additional violence before they left.

Before passing out in their bed, he demanded sex from her, raping her.

As he slept, she gathered up the three children she had at home, as Dana was visiting with a friend, and she had them get into their winter coats and bundled them into the car. Francine said she heard a little voice tell her to “Do it.” She headed back into the house and poured gasoline around her marriage bed, where Mickey was sleeping off his drunken stupor, then tossed a match on it.  Turning around, she walked back out of the house and got into the car with her kids.

Francine: “I was calm as though I was doing an ordinary thing. I felt very light, clear-headed, free. This was the easiest thing I had ever done.”

Francine immediately drove to the Mason, Michigan police station and told them what she had done in the house.  She was charged with first-degree murder. During the trial, she was found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity.  It was one of the first successful uses of the Battered Woman Syndrome defense used in court.  This syndrome is said to often resemble PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

The TV-movie ‘The Burning Bed’ was a critical success and well received by the public. It brought domestic abuse to the spotlight. When the movie came out on TV in 1984, Mickey Hughes’ mother, Flossy Hughes, refused to watch it. She claimed that Francine wasn’t telling the story as it had truly happened.  Even if the movie portrayed the events exactly, Flossy said she would not watch it. She believed it would only upset her.

Ali believes she was in denial about how horrible her son was when he was alive.

Small article and pictures of the burned home: http://99wfmk.com/burningbed41/

Tara Grant Michigan Murder And A Burning Bed

Today’s two topics are the murder and Tara Grant, as well as a woman finding freedom after setting a bed on fire. Find out more by listening to our podcast or reading the full show notes at http://www.MichiganandotherMayhem.com

Click Here to Listen to Episode 21

Continuing the Conversation Pike County Massacre, Pike County Ohio

Continuing the conversation: This week we talked about the ongoing murder case of the Rhoden family in Pike County, Ohio.

Nightly News Channel Youtube video of the Pike County murders 911 calls from family members to report the murders.

Fox News Channel Youtube video of the Pike County press conference announcing the arrests of the people accused of murdering the Rhoden family.

 

CBS This Morning YouTube video of the people who are accused of murdering the Rhoden family.

Show Notes Rhoden Family Slaughter and The Vandling Murder

This show, “Michigan and other Mayhem”, is a sort of factual, slightly comical, always earnest podcast about interesting stuff in Michigan and around the world. It is done by two sisters-in-law (Ali and Jenn) that like to talk about random interesting stories.  Expect cults, mysteries, murder, fast-talking, and a couple of mental palate cleansers… and cuss words.  Those happen on this show, a lot.

Episode 20: Rhoden Family Slaughter, Vandling Murder

Click Here to Listen to Episode 20

Alerts:

  • Pretend podcast music (because we couldn’t find any we liked enough for a theme song).
  • Ali has a weird laugh. It is often loud.

Rhoden Family Slaughter

Pike county massacre, where eight members of the Rhoden family were killed execution style, shot in the head, in 2018.  The victims live in four separate homes in the same village, a rural area in Ohio.

They were all killed by being shot in the head.  Some of the family members were sleeping in their beds when it happened.  Some people were shot multiple times, including one person being shot nine times. The murderers left three children in the homes unharmed.  They were ages 4 years and younger.

People murdered:  Mom and Dad Rhoden, their children, one of their children’s fiancé, and a cousin.  Dana Rhoden, Christopher Rhoden Sr., Christopher Rhoden Jr., Kenneth Rhoden, Hanna May Rhoden, Frankie Rhoden, Hannah Giley, Gary Rhoden.

In 2018, a family of four, parents George III, Angela, and their children George IV, and Jake Wagner, were arrested. They were charged with the aggravated murder of the Rhoden family.

Jake Wagner was an ex-boyfriend of Hanna Rhoden, and they had a 3-year-old daughter together.

The Wagners spent months planning the murder, watching the family’s habits and studying layouts of the homes and properties. It was believed that child custody was one of the reasons for the murders.

Two other arrests were made in the case, with the mother of George III being brought in for tampering with evidence, and the mother of Angela Wagner for the same reason. Angela Wagner has asked for her case to be in a different courthouse because of extensive publicity.  Angela has also asked for the death penalty to be removed as it is unconstitutional in Ohio.

(Michigan was the first English-speaking government to ban the death penalty for all cases but treason. Come to Michigan if you don’t want to be executed.)

Jenn thought it was crazy that one whole family was involved in executing another whole family.

Vandling Murder

Most of my information comes from Little Girl Lost, The True Story of the Vandling Murder by Tammy Mal.

A young girl named Mae Barrett was murdered on January 2, 1945, tail end of World War 2, in a small town in Pennsylvania.

Mae had moved to Vandling, Pennsylvania to live with her maternal grandparents, with her little sister Nan. Her mother had died of ovarian cancer at a young age, and her father had two elderly aunts to care for. While Mae spent summers with her father, she was being raised by her grandparents.

Mae was nine years old on the night she was murdered. She was described as gutsy and spirited. Mae was known for being smart and tenacious, unafraid of challenges. She enjoyed church and being with other people. Mae was very independent.

Mae was killed by Myron Semunchick, a 13-year-old teenager. Myron had been described as a good-looking boy, well mannered. His mother was a bit of a smother, a smothering mother, named Anna. There is some mom-blaming that goes on in the book, not necessarily by the author, but by people in the community at the time.  When it comes to sociopathy, I think sometimes it is nature, sometimes it is nurture, and sometimes it is a crapshoot of both.

Myron had been very sick as a baby and his mother, Anna, who was already caring for her invalid mother, responded by becoming overprotective and somewhat manipulative over her only child. She would tether him to her until he was older than five when they were out of the house.  (Baby leashes were a thing for a longer time than I knew. This is the early 1930’s.)

He wasn’t often let out to play with other children, not even in his own yard. He could be seen crying at the yard’s gate and sometimes in frustration he would throw rocks and sticks at the other children passing by on the sidewalk. During family Sunday dinners all the children would come dressed to play, but Anna would dress Myron up in his best clothes and then tell him he couldn’t play because his good clothes would be ruined. He’d be stuck inside listening to adults talk, instead of being outside with the other kids, playing.  He already had a hard time getting along with other kids.

Myron was recognized as having above average intelligence by age of seven. After Anna’s mother, Myron’s grandmother, passed away their family moved to a home on Main Street in Vandling.

In 1939, when Myron was 8 years old, he came down with chicken pox, then mumps, then whooping cough, almost dying. He had all the diseases. This could be where his brain was fried, I don’t know, I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV. After that, he started having seizures and he had uncontrolled twitching in one arm. They thought he had a terminal disease but after extensive testing, a small tumor was removed from his right arm and he made a complete recovery.

Myron’s mom kicked her overprotective behavior up to an unnecessary notch. He was coddled and spoiled with material goods, but all within the confines of the house. Eventually, Metro, Myron’s dad –cool name—put his foot down and Myron was able to venture outside and play with other kids.

Parents and teachers thought that Myron was a great kid, good looking and well behaved, and athletically inclined. He was considered the “golden boy” of Vandling by adults. Other kids thought he was just alright.

Myron had a weird fascination with knives and often carried one.  He even made up a weird stabby knife game he likes to play. He liked to play with a set of brass knuckles that he had. His playmates were usually younger than him.

Myron was shy around girls, but he was interested in them. Some girls liked him, others felt uncomfortable around Myron.  It is a tossup whether or not he gave off creepy vibes.

There was as time in which Myron had argued with his grandfather and pulled a hatchet on him, saying he would kill him. His grandpa ran off, and the next time he came around Myron, everyone acted as if nothing had happened. Myron had other weird, slightly dangerous games he liked to play but nothing too alarming to the times.  The country was at war and it was considered to influence the way children played.

January 2, 1945, Mae and a friend went to a church social together in the evening. Afterward, Mae decided not to ride the bus that came at 8:45 p.m. and instead was going to walk the mile home. This wasn’t uncommon for Mae or other children to do at the time. Small town life.

There was heavy snow that night, but she was bundled in full gear, including snow pants. Mae stopped at a local store bought herself, her sister, and her cousin ice cream cones with the money she saved on bus fare. As Mae was walking in the store, Myron and a friend named Louie were walking out. The boys started walking to Vandling, just ahead of Mae by about 200 feet.

The boys made it to the edge of Vandling and Louie headed home.  His mother had been very cross that he had wanted to out that night during a storm and she demanded he come home by 9 p.m. Myron told Louie he might go to the poolhall to buy a soda, and the two parted ways.

Myron did not go to the pool hall but continued up the Main street. At one point he had stopped to pick up a heavy piece of wood.  He had been having fantasies about “doing something”, and in the quiet of the dark and snow, with an unattended little girl, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to him.

Myron went around the side of an auto garage called Fries’ Garage and waited for Mae. Mae’s house is less than 100 yards from the garage. As Myron waited, he kicked around in the snow at a pile of discarded parts and found a metal shock absorber that weighed between 8 and 10 pounds. He decided it was a better weapon, so he tossed aside the wood piece he had and continued waiting.

At this point, Mae’s family is starting to worry a little. When she didn’t arrive at 9:15pm, they thought that she might have stopped by the movie theatre to speak with her aunt who worked at the ticket counter. Elizabeth, Mae’s grandma, did call with a few homes of Mae’s playmates and everyone agreed they had seen her in town. Her grandma was worried about the cold and snow and thought that maybe after Mae chatted with her aunt, she then took the 10 p.m. bus.

Unfortunately, Myron Semunchick, was there to stop Mae’s journey three houses down from her own. As Mae passed the garage, Myron grabbed the hood of her coat and pulled her back, causing her to scream and almost lose her balance. Mae wheeled around and tried to break the grip on her coat.

When she saw the person holding her, she called out Myron’s name. This alarmed Myron.  He didn’t know that she knew his name and he was terrified someone had heard her call out. He was also startled by how strong she was as she fought to be free of him. Myron slammed the shock absorber into her left temple

The blow dazed her, and she started to bleed from her temple. Mae’s knees buckled, and Myron held on to her. She moaned, and let out little small cries, which again scared him, and he began to panic. The two of them were close to occupied homes and he wanted her quiet. He struck her with the shock absorber again, as hard as he could. Mae went limp this time.

Myron grabbed her under her arms and dragged/carried her to a house he knew was unoccupied. Mae’s head wound left a trail of blood. As Myron drug Mae to a shed, she regained consciousness and started struggling with Myron again. Myron’s gloves were slick with blood and he lost his grip on Mae. She fell to the ground outside the shed of the abandoned house.

Myron hadn’t dragged the shock absorber with him, and he decided needed a new weapon. Inside the shed he found a piece of lumber that was about 2 feet long and 6 inches in diameter. Returning to Mae, Myron began to strike her around her head and face, fracturing her skull and causing major cranial damage. Now heavily bleeding, she finally stilled. However, Myron knew she wasn’t dead because he could hear her breathing in low, gurgling rasps.

Myron then grabs Mae’s legs and pulls her into the shed. Once in the shed he pulls off her snow pants and pulled down her underwear. Myron wanted to see her genitals, but it was too dark in the shed. Myron pulled down his own pants and laid down on top of her, to rape her but he couldn’t/didn’t know how to perform the actual sex act. Now furious, he picked up the piece of lumber again and struck her several more times.

The whole attack, so far, was less than 5 minutes but Myron said he felt exhausted. He rested for a minute, appalled that Mae was still struggling to breathe. He was scared that Mae hadn’t died yet.  None of this was going to plan.

Myron said knew he had to make sure Mae was dead because she had called out his name, she knew who had attacked her. He was sure she would tell on him. Myron picked the lumber up for the third time and started beating her in the face. He shattered her eye sockets, smashed her nose and knocked out several teeth. Still, Mae had not died but continued with her labored breathing.

According to Myron’s confession, at this point, he is starting to wonder “Oh no, what did I do?” (a little too late for that). He began to freak out and blame Mae for the attack.  Blaming her for calling out and saying his name.  Bending down to her body and hissing to her that she was a stupid bitch.

Myron then began to focus on hiding the body since there were no witnesses. There was a nearby old outhouse that Myron thought he could stuff her down. He thought that even though she wasn’t dead now, she would soon freeze to death. Using all his strength, he lifted her up and tried to cram her body in but no matter what he did, she did not fit. He gave up, looking a new way to dispose of Mae.

Myron dragged Mae through the snow again into the abandoned house. He pulled her down to the basement.

Mae was still alive and struggling to breathe.  Myron said he wanted to weep with frustration at his inability to quiet her. He would whisper to her, “Please, Mae, just die.” Myron found a broken window pane and remembered from class that a jugular vein cut could kill someone. He slashed Mae’s throat twice with the broken glass and finally, she stilled. Myron pulled her dead body into the root cellar and closed the door.

Myron started for home again and part way there realized that at some point he had lost his right glove. He checked the shed and outhouse but couldn’t bring himself to check the abandoned house. Myron walked down a few streets before burying his left glove in a snow bank.

When Myron returned home just before 10pm his mother, Anna, noticed the blood on his coat and pants. Myron told her that he had helped a drunk man that had a bloody nose. Anna was relieved Myron wasn’t hurt and proud her son had stopped to help someone during a snowstorm. Anna washed the blood out of his clothes and Myron went up to bed.

By this time, Mae’s grandparents had already called the police, and by the next morning, Vandling was crawling with police. Vandling was a small town and a missing child was big news.

Anna, Myron’s mom, told her son that “something must have happened last night” due to the police activity. Myron dressed quickly in the same clothes he had on the night before, those he was wearing when he killed Mae, and headed outside.

Suspiciously enough, that day at school Myron asked Louie for a favor and told Louie that if anyone asks about it, Myron lost his gloves while helping a drunk guy the night before. The school was dismissed early, and the children went home.

The local paper, the Scranton Tribune, ran the story of a little-lost girl on the front page that morning. Police were talking to residents, trying to create a timeline for Mae’s whereabouts.

That evening the town gossip let everyone know Mae’s body had been found up the street.

Lorretta Armstrong had gone outside to dump coal ashes, as temperatures had risen enough that day to melt the snow enough to leave a thin ice trail. She was spreading the ashes on to the ice when she noticed what looked like fresh blood dotting the snow. Loretta followed the blood trail until she spotted what looked like a pair of bloody mittens half frozen in the snow. She ran to the first group of searchers that she found and told them about the find.

The blood trail from Fries’ Garage was easy to follow through all the different places Myron had dragged Mae, ending at the root cellar. They found the ice cream cones in a bag outside the shed.

Responding officers said that she had not been missing, no one would have known who the body was, as her face had been battered beyond recognition.  It was a mass of bloody flesh. Her snow pants were missing, and her underwear was down around her ankles.

Myron did have a lot of suspicious behavior, like inserting himself into different aspects of the investigation, asking a lot of questions about what information the police had, offering to walk young girls’ home so they don’t have to be alone, but nothing so massive that it brought attention from the police. The police were looking for a grown man, not a 14-year-old boy.

They let Myron go after questioning him originally, however he did mention seeing a girl walking behind him and Louie while they had walked home that night. He said she was wearing a red coat with a hood and she was by herself.

The police did find a man’s blood-stained glove nearby in the snow. It was finally made by an expensive manufacturer.

Vandling and surrounding towns go into high alert.  Everyone is worried about a child sex fiend that had brutalized a girl to death. People considered loners, odd, those with criminal records, or mentally ill, were scrutinized by the police. Police were worried that if they didn’t catch the killer soon, tensions would boil over and someone else might be hurt or killed. Everyone was looking at their neighbors sideways and children were being kept close to home.

The found glove had been sent to a crime lab where a technician noticed the wearer had a defect in their right pinky finger. Local police found the manufacturer sold the gloves exclusively to one store. The store owner remembered selling the gloves to Myron and his mother.  Myron has a malformed right pinky finger.

The police were floored that it was a young person, and they picked up both Myron and Louie, who had been together that night. Louie explains that there was a girl walking behind them that night, but it was dark and snowing too hard to give any details as he couldn’t see her plainly. The officers checked, and Myron did not go to the pool hall like he had told Louie.

Myron’s story changes a few times before he gives a full confession after being confronted by the officers holding his blood-soaked glove. Myron was giving the police the creeps.  He was telling funny stories on the ride to the garage so Myron to go over what happened when he killed Mae. He pointed out places he thought were significant, like where he slipped, where he found the weapons. He told them he was shocked when she said his name as he thought she didn’t know him. Myron is not having appropriate reactions to what he had done.  He was off emotionally. His confession was 20 pages, typed.

In Pennsylvania at the time, there was a precedent that said, “A male child between the ages of 7 and 14 is presumed incapable of committing a crime.”  Myron was 13/14. To rectify the issue, the officer in charge omitted Myron’s age on the arrest warrant. The crime was considered so heinous, the officer knew Myron had to face justice for it. Myron became the youngest person ever charged with 1st-degree murder in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

His parents were emotionally traumatized, both equally—they both pass out at the courthouse at one point. The people of Vandling were rocked over the information that it was Myron.

Myron’s attorneys were worried about Myron receiving the death penalty. People were really stirred up over the little girl’s very brutal death, the public was calling for blood. They had him plead guilty in the hopes that he would do time in a mental institution and then be sent to a minimum-security prison. Myron’s parents stayed dedicated to him although Myron was aloof towards them.

January 18, 1945, just 16 days after the murder, a grand jury indicted Myron on a charge of first-degree murder, setting the trial date for February 5th. Myron’s lawyers had him examined by an “alienist”, which is what they used to call psychologists/psychiatrists (psychiatrists are MDs, psychologists have PhDs).

The psychiatrist found Myron to be intellectually brilliant for his age, but also said that he was “immature, emotionally blunted, and should be considered pre-schizophrenic”. Myron had complained to the psych doc of violent headaches and dizziness.

Here’s the mom blaming- the psychiatrist suggested that maybe Myron’s issues stem from the fact that his mom, Anna, made Myron sit and listen to adult conversations and it gave him unusual knowledge of currents events for his age. The doctor then proclaimed Myron to be mentally ill and in need of treatment at a psychiatric hospital.

The first week of May 1945, Myron is found guilty of 1st-degree murder. They have the glove, the fact that he asked Louie to lie, and his confession. He was to be sent to a psychiatric hospital until the age of 15. After that, he was to be sent to a boy’s camp until age 21, then spend the remainder of his life in Eastern State Penitentiary.

At Allentown Psychiatric Hospital, Myron falls for a 15-year-old girl named Mabel. She is a regular teenager who was put in the hospital by her parents for being a jackass.

In October, 5 months after getting there, he finds out he is to be transferred. The new hospital meant that he wouldn’t be able to see his parents. He wasn’t too into his parents, but they were taking him off campus to eat and shop and stuff—a convicted killer out in town with his parents—that’s nuts. It also meant it was over with Mabel…so the two of them ran away. Mabel had run away a few times, no big deal, but now a child killer was on the loose.

Once again, rumors are flying about where Myron is going, what he’s doing with Mabel, what he could possibly do to other children. Local radio broadcasters broke through programs to give bulletins on the missing teens. People in Vandling found out about Myron’s excursions through town and the luxuries he was allowed at the hospital and the public was enraged.

Despite the fervor, three days later the two of them were found sleeping in a car outside of a restaurant, within 25 miles of the hospital. They had wandered in the cold for a day and night, stole a little food to eat, hitchhiked some and ran into Mark Peters.

Mark was married twice and had three kids and at first seemed like a nice guy when he picked the two up, hitchhiking. Then he starts using vulgar language and staring at Mabel. Mark Peters, then drives them to a deserted, wooded area and has Myron get out of the car and tells and Mabel get in the back.

Myron stood outside as Mark raped Mabel. Myron said he was too afraid to interfere because he thought Mark was going to kill them when he was done. After the rape, Mark Peters starts driving again, as if nothing happened and drives to the store where he worked. Mark’s boss sees Mabel and Myron in the car and tells Mark that they are fugitives. Mark then drives them to the restaurant, buys them some much needed food, and tells them they can sleep in the car. That’s how the police find them.

Mark Peters was charged with raping Mabel. He lawyers tried to object, claiming Mabel was not a reliable witness, they said she was insane. A doctor at the hospital was called to confirm that Mabel was not insane, just slightly troubled. Both Mark and Myron changed their stories a few times, but a jury did find him guilty of rape… and they also recommended leniency. Mark Peters was sentenced to 1.5 to 3 years in prison.

The hospital was investigated after the escape of a confessed killer. More people heard about the lax conditions that Myron was being held under. The judge ordered Myron to be sent to Eastern State Penitentiary right away, despite his age.  People believed he needed to be punished, not coddled.

Eastern State Penitentiary was considered the world’s first “true” prison. It had solitary confinement and was constructed so you can’t see your neighbors. You never saw other prisoners during exercise time and complete silence was enforced. When Myron arrived, some of the rules were loosened but it was still a bad place to be.

In 1953, Myron petitioned the State Board of Pardons asking for his life sentence to be commuted. When he answered the question “How have you conducted yourself while in prison?” Myron commented on his good behavior and ended with “I have so behaved to earn the good will of the prison officials”. They felt that he was only acting right in order to get out, but he hadn’t changed so they kept him in prison.

Over and over Myron petitions the State to be let out and Mae’s dad is there at the proceedings to remind officials of the brutality of Myron’s crime against his daughter. Myron never really acknowledges the severity of his crime.

By 1965, general public are starting to change their feelings toward Myron.  The public is starting to feel like he paid for the crime he had committed 20 years earlier. Unfortunately, Jim Barrett, Mae’s father died in a car crash that year. Without him at the appeal hearings to remind everyone of the crime and its toll, Myron is released on parole that year by the governor.

Myron married a woman who was older than him and started a family.  He was in his mid-30s’s. His parents passed away almost 20 years after his release. He lived a crime free life and died at age 60 in 2005.

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