It was a chilly Friday evening, November 17, 1978 a little before eleven and night. The kids working the local Burger Chef on Crawfordsville Road in Speedway, Indiana were about a half an hour away from closing the shop and ready to lock up and do what kids do on a Friday night. One sixteen year old eyewitness would later tell police that two Caucasian men in their thirties were suspiciously hanging out in the parking lot.
There were four employees on duty, Jayne Friedt, Daniel Davis, Mark Flemmonds, and Ruth Ellen Shelton. The very next morning, an employee discovered the back door of the restaurant wide open and about $600 missing from the register.
Police believe that a robbery took place right as the hamburger joint was closing for the night. Whatever happened, the four employees were kidnapped and taken from Speedway. A massive search by police and volunteers ensued.
Two days later, on a Sunday afternoon, the four murdered bodies were found in the woods twenty miles away. One boy was beaten and the autopsy revealed he died of blunt force trauma to the head. One of the girls had been stabbed twice in the chest with a hunting knife. The other two were shot execution style with a .38 caliber gun.
Burger Chef offered a $25,000 reward to anyone who could give police information that would lead to the arrest of the muderer(s).
Today Indiana State Police maintain an open file on the case. But it still goes on as a Murder Unsolved!
Ed Gallagher is a researcher, speaker and the author of Murder Unsolved [http://www.murderunsolved.com], a blog that deals with famous and not so famous Unsolved Murders.
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