The Vigilantemurder of Ken Rex McElroy still remains a mystery today. McElroy was a resident of Skidmore, Missouri. Trena McElroy remarried and had a fairly normal life, refusing interviews after she left Skidmore. June 12th, 1973: After continuing his involvement with Trena McCloud, Ken McElroy burns down Trena's parents' house. No one was surprised. CHAPTER ONE. Someone warned her, Youre about to meet Ken Rex McElroy, Monte said. One night after he pulled a speeding pickup truck over, Boyer came face to face with McElroy. McElroy was spinning so hard out of control, I have no doubt he would have tried to kill my dad again, given the chance. Lessons from History is a platform for writers who share ideas and inspirational stories from world history. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. 1, it is murder. He was punctual, always said he didnt do it, paid in cash and kept coming back.. He had a legendary status, and it all got to be bigger than he was. Within hours, Mr. Baird heard that there had been a shooting downtown. [1] McElroy successfully appealed the conviction and was released on bond, after which he engaged in an ongoing harassment campaign against Bowenkamp and others who were sympathetic to Bowenkamp, including the town's Church of Christ minister. . He begins to rant about how he is going to ruin Bo Bowenkamp. Gene McFadin, McElroys nickel-slick lawyer from Kansas City could get Ken off every time, Kirby Goslee, a 71-year-old Skidmore farmer who still works the land his family homesteaded six generations ago, told Patch. He was charged with wading through the sensational details and moral ambiguities of the case to ensure that, in his words, justice was served. A reported crowd of up to 60 men had largely dispersed, but some onlookers remained, staring at the pickup. The morning of July 10, 1981, a group of frustrated and angry men gathered at the Legion Hall in Skidmore, MacLean writes. It wasn't the kind of murder which goes unsolved for decades and eventually someone comes forward with the tip that breaks the case open. He made no deathbed confession, but someone wrote in a memorial tribute that he . I dont believe youre coming nowafter we needed your help all this time.. After McElroy finished his drinks, he purchased a six pack of beer, left the bar, and entered his pickup truck. McElroy was known to pay local kids for information about who was where in town at what time, so the Bowenkamps developed their own network of informants. Ken Rex McElroy sat in his truck for over an hour before the law was called. Anticipating McElroys typical moves, Stratton waited on a back road near the Kansas border. He then returned to Trena's parents' home when they were away and, once again, shot the family dog and burned the house down. McElory was struck by two different firearms and died behind the wheel of his truck. His father was a tenant farmer, his mother a housewife swamped with feeding and caring for the sprawling family. A deer slug in one chamber tore through Bowenkamps neck, coming within 3 inches of his head. Ken Rex McElroy was a 6-foot, 270 pounds, dark-complexioned, blue-eyed man who lived in Skidmore, Missouri. McElroy mounted a daily vigil outside Bowenkamps house, his daughter Cheryl Brown recounts in In Broad Daylight: The town emptied out every time he came to town. If you liked reading this story on Ken McElroy, the bully who was killed by his town, check out the story of Budford Pussers cold-blooded revenge. 1. The person(s) responsible for firing the shots that killed McElroy remains unsolved. The town has seen more than its share of tragedy. He dropped out of school at age 15 in the eighth grade and quickly established a local reputation as a cattle rustler, small-time thief, and womanizer. Perversely, the towns share of tragedy has grown. Just to be aware, he explained. McElroys rear window was shot out and the front window as well. There was a kind of silent charity on the part of my parents, and they never prosecuted. Once freed, McElroy didnt just quietly celebrate his victory. No. Immediately after being released at a post-trial hearing, McElroy went to the D&G Tavern, a local bar, with an M1 Garand rifle with a bayonet attached, and made graphic threats about what he would do to Bo Bowenkamp. Bullet casings from two guns were found. After dropping out of school in the eighth grade, it didn't take long for Ken McElroy to fall into a life of delinquency. Even with these raw wounds, the memory of the nightmare surrounding Mr. McElroy during his years of troublemaking and after a killing that many here feel was forced by an impotent criminal-justice system continues to loom large. Sixteen days after Trena gave birth, both she and Alice fled to Trena's mother's and stepfather's house. Still, the panel didnt return an indictment, giving rise to conspiracy theories about a law enforcement coverup, also a theme in No One Saw a Thing.. The rumor was that he had drowned her father in a bathtub when he had objected to what he was doing to his daughter. Five or six of us were standing in front of the Skidmore Caf, waiting and passing the time. The Cold Case Murders That Keep Retired Detectives Up at Night, Citizen Detectives Uncover Crime Clues on Websleuths Online Forum. A bond hearing was ordered. Over the course of his life, McElroy was accused of dozens of felonies, including assault, child molestation, statutory rape, arson, hog and cattle rustling, and burglary. No one has been indicted for the murder of McElroy. Im never going to answer that question. Instead of playing out in court, the details emerged in newspaper and magazine accounts, as well as a best-selling book, In Broad Daylight: A Murder in Skidmore, Missouri, which was later made into a television movie. We were so bitter and so angry at the law letting us down that it came to somebody taking matters in their own hands, said Bowenkamps daughter, Cheryl Huston. On April 25, 1980 at Ernest "Bo" Bowenkamp's general store, a clerk asked McElroy's 8-year-old daughter to return a piece of candy she had not paid for. It was Richard McFadin, the man who kept Ken McElroy out of jail 21 times, who said it best: The town got away with murder.. He left town just as Ken and Trena McElroy were driving in, likely passing McElroys Chevrolet Silverado pickup in his cruiser on the road. Allegedly, even the mayor was in on it. Once there, he threatened Bo, and shot him in the neck at close range with a shotgun. Retaliation would be severe. McFadin, McElroys lawyer, got the hearing postponed. Ken Rex McElroy was shot dead in Skidmore, Missouri on July 10, 1981. BuzzFeed McElroy allegedly stole livestock, grain, gasoline,. For example, one of the owners of the D&G tavern would send her young children to the grocery store for paper towels, keeping the children innocently unaware they were telegraphing an urgent message for the Bowenkamps to call the police. And despite there being dozens of witnesses, no one has ever been arrested or charged in connection with McElroys murder. Author Harry MacLean wrote a book McElroys story called In Broad Daylight. About Press Copyright Contact us Creators Advertise Developers Terms Privacy Policy & Safety How YouTube works Test new features NFL Sunday Ticket Press Copyright . Over the course of his life, McElroy was accused of dozens of felonies, including assault, child molestation, statutory rape, arson, hog and cattle rustling, and burglary. Shortly after being released, McElroy was at D&G Tavern making threats about murdering Bowenkamp. Never miss a story by signing up for the newsletter now. [8] At the trial, two raccoon hunters testified they were with McElroy the day of the shooting away from Henry's property. You know what he was like. There's a long list of crimes said to have been committed by McElroy, including shooting multiple people. In the end, fear is what killed him, Goslee said. They settle in Skidmore. McElroy divorced Alice and married Trena in order to escape charges of statutory rape, to which she was the only witness. SKIDMORE, Mo. 2023 by Catlyn Brady, Jennifer Partridge, & Kara Severson. That was the last failure of criminal justice.. Dozens of them gathered at Skidmores American Legion hall on the morning of July 10, 1981. Ken Rex McElroy was shot dead inside his pick-up truck on the 10th of July, 1981, via a storm of bullets. Everyone claimed they didnt see who fired the shots. 1998 - 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved. He showed up to the towns local bar, armed with a rifle and bayonet, threatening to kill the elderly grocer. We might not see him for three or four days, and then wed see him every day for weeks, Monte said. All That's Interesting is a Brooklyn-based digital publisher that seeks out stories that illuminate the past, present, and future. He told the foster family that he would trade "girl for girl" to get his child back, since he knew where the foster family's biological daughter went to school and what bus route she rode. See also Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites View agent, publicist, legal and company contact details on IMDbPro Ken Rex McElroy Jr. What happened in Skidmore that day wasnt much different than the completely predictable result from shaking a carbonated beverage until the top finally blows. Shortly after, McElroy was arrested and charged with attempted murder. And he has already asked the sheriffs office to re-examine some of the unsolved cases. As his long tenure comes to an end questions about the lack of resolution in the murder case perhaps the most infamous in the area since Jesse James was shot nearby a century earlier continue to follow Mr. Baird. Just months after Mr. Baird became county prosecutor a post he was encouraged to take because nothing exciting ever happens in Nodaway County he found himself in a courtroom for the first time with Mr. McElroy, who had shot an elderly Skidmore grocer in the neck with a shotgun. The larger-than-life bully who menaced the farming community of Skidmore died in seconds. He went back home and was shot within a couple of days, explains Conger, editor of the Bethany Republican-Clipper. Refusing to argue, he and Lois went home. He showed back up in front of their house that night, and he and Trena sat there and watched them, Monte said. He was known as the town bully, but they may be putting it mildly. Its probably accurate that few outside of McElroys family shed tears over his death, but many Skidmore residents still struggle with the spectacle of a man violently and publicly killed. Ken Rex McElroy (June 1, 1934 - July 10, 1981) was an American criminal and convicted attempted murderer who resided in Skidmore, Missouri, United States. Mr. McElroy has been dead for almost three decades now, a round number that has residents here bracing for the next round of visits by reporters. Was justice served? He was nonplussed. The couple then moved to Colorado. The murder of Ken Rex McElroy took place in plain view of dozens of residents of this small farm town, under the glare of the morning sun. But not that one. Few were criticized as mightily as Baird over the lack of prosecution in McElroys murder. April 10th, 1972: After Alice runs away with their son, Ken McElroy gets into an altercation with Alice's stepfather and shoots him. Mable was born on February 28 1897, in Dover, Shawnee County, KS, USA. Not only that, they recommended he spend no more than two years in prison. Many buildings are closed and falling apart. 1948: Approximately the time when Ken begins his small thefts as a young teenager. The bar that provided the backdrop for the shooting is closed and for sale for $20,000. Within a few years, she had had four children by him. Missouri-based journalist Steve Booher described the attitude of some townspeople as, "He needed killing. As Ken McElroy sat in his truck, he was shot at several times. In 1980, McElroy shot the 70-year-old town grocer in the neck following a months-old dispute over an accusation about a piece of stolen candy. Ken was 18 and Oleta was 16. Of the potential 40 or so witnesses, with the exception of Trena, none could name a shooter. As Trena told the story to reporters, a group of men followed them as they left the D&G. McElroy began stalking the Bowenkamp family, and eventually threatened Bo Bowenkamp in the back of his store with a shotgun in hand. They slept in shifts, with some friend or family member keeping an eye on the street. Luckily, Bowenkamp survived, and McElroy was charged with attempted murder. If those responsible for killing McElroy are vigilantes, its because the justice system made them that way, Monte said. Ken Rex McElroy was an illiterate hog farmer who lived on the outskirts of a small town in Northwest Missouri. It really is that it was never spoken of they had an instinctive reaction to close up. When Estes and state troopers arrived back in town, the streets were empty and quiet, save the rumbling, smoking engine of McElroys truck. Of the most serious, McElroy was accused of child molestation and statutory rape. McElroys wife was not injured and escaped the vehicle. He spent the night in jail before posting bond, then sauntered menacingly back into the D&G tavern and pool hall and took his usual spot. Weighing in at approximately 270 pounds with bushy black sideburns, McElroy held the entire . As a result, he was arrested, but quickly released. When the news that Ken and Trena went to the local bar that evening, everyone got up and made their way over. That became the pattern. Investigators dug and dug, but Skidmore residents maintained their silence. This led to several patrons deciding to see what they could legally do to prevent McElroy from harming anyone else. [10] No one called for an ambulance. Trena claimed to have seen someone pull a rifle from the back of the truck, take aim at McElroy, and fire shots that shattered the truck's windows. Women had a harder time with it than the men. McElroy was furious when he learned of the incident. He put those skills to work rustling hogs and cattle, MacLean recounts. Tensions in Skidmore soared as McElroys trial neared. It was a matter of self-preservation. They settle in Skidmore. McElroy was born in 1934, the fifteenth of sixteen children born to a poor . We went to the police. Anthony was born on August 27 1890, in Shelton, Knox County, MO, USA. Trena jumped from the truck and a man helped her to safety. The death of Ken Rex McElroy is a perplexing case that has hung heavy over the town of Skidmore, Missouri for decades.
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