St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on May 17, 1992 · Page 6
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 6

St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 17, 1992
Page 6
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. SUNDAY, MAY 17, 1992 'v THE INTERSTATE KILLINGS ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH k PMurders From page one sleeping in his clothes." Inside the shoe store, Robin Fuldauer, a petite brunette who commuted here from her North Indianapolis apartment, was working alone. Sajutatorian of Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis and a 1988 graduate of Indiana University, she hoped to marry and raise a family, saidber father, Elliott Fuldauer, but her work had left little time for a social life. "He was sitting there talking to himself, giggling," Meyrose said of the stranger. "I'm telling you, he was either on some kind of drugs or he had mental problems." Shbrtly before 2 p.m., Meyrose said, he looked out the side door of the paint shop and the man had disappeared. A few minutes later, he said, he saw the same man trying to hitch a ride just off the northbound lanes of the interstate. He didn't seem to be in any hurry, non was he nervous, Meyrose said. Moments after Meyrose saw the man on the interstate, he heard the sirens, Lucretia Gullett, an employee of the Speedway gas station next door, had called police when she went to the shoe store and saw that the drawer of the cash register was open. She did not see the body. Police found Robin Fuldauer's body lying'on the floor. She had been shot twice in the head. "She had a heart of gold," said an acquaintance at the complex where Fuldauer had lived less than a year. "I used to see her out playing tennis with her family," said Debbie Fratrik, a friend and neighbor. "She would talk about going sailing. She seemed so content. Every time I saw her, she had a smije on her face." Police say as many as four or five people have reported seeing the stranger in the area near the shoe store shortly before Fuldauer was killed. Although the descriptions vary, police believe he was Robin Fuldauer's killer. A man who lives behind thfrstore told police he ran a man off hisproperty about the time of the shooting. About $90 in cash was missing from the store. "Here was a person who was just beginning to blossom," said Rabbi Jonathan Stein, rabbi of the Indianap-ol&congregation where Fuldauer had been active since nursery school. "It's just a terrible thing." WICHITA, Kan. " Saturday, April 11,6 p.m. Patricia "Trish" Magers had just . .closed her bridal shop for the evening, tlthsjiring wedding season was in full jjswjng, and she and her assistant, Patricia $n)ith, were happy the hectic day tasarly over. jjj Jheyere expecting one last cus-f4omerrwho had called ahead to ask Ithemtowaitforhim. ""As'pojice later reconstructed what happened, a few minutes after Magers closed her store, an unkempt man with a stubble beard wearing a short brown jacket entered. He was armed with what was described as IMagers an "Uzi-style" automatic weapon. It was actually a .22-caliber pistol. Magers, 32, and Smith, 23, a part-Me Student at Wichita State University, were marched to a room at the wear of the shop, where they were ordered to lie down. Both women lwere shot in the head, v , Magers, shot twice, died instantly. 5mi"th lived for an hour. Minutes after the shooting, the customer arrived and was confronted by ;!"tlie man police believe killed both wornen. Angry words were ex-cftanged. The customer managed to ijback out of the store and escape. - In one of several bizarre delays that Would mar the investigation, the witness didn't call police for nearly an Jhour. Frightened and confused, the witness said he had seen a man with a :gun. Jr About 7:30 p.m., a squad car arrived 'M the shop, La Bride d'Elegance. It is located in a small, L-shaped strip Chopping mall on busy Kellogg Boule-; $afd, less than two miles from Inter- wtate 35. The officers noticed that the ' Jf, 'X"J' ' 'v " ' '. CHARLES: , The Boot Village in Bogey Hills Plaza where Clancy Kitzmiller was shot and killed. front door was open. The key was in the lock. When police found the bodies, there was so much blood they thought the women had been stabbed. Some money had been taken, not much. Smith's husband arrived shortly after police. Worried about his wife, who hadn't come home on time, he was quickly taken to St. Joseph Medical Center, where Pat Smith was already dead. The couple had been married for nine months. Dr. William G. Eckart, the Wichita deputy coroner, was among the first to arrive. "Doc" Eckart was shocked to discover that one of the victims was Trish Magers, whom he had known since childhood. A close friend of the family, he had given her away as a bride. Later, Eckart performed an autopsy on Magers. "She was bright, happily married, she liked to laugh what more can I say," Eckart said. The two women had not been sexually assaulted. "That's typical of serial killers," Eckart said. "They'd rather just kill. They usually don't get into sex." It wasn't Eckart's first encounter with a multiple killer. In the late 1970s, he worked on a case, still unsolved, that involved a maniac known as "B.T.K." short for "Bind, Torture and Kill." At least seven persons, including two children, were brutally murdered, Eckart said. Later, as the killings continued, Wichita police did not think the bridal shop murders were related to the other shootings along Interstate 70. In fact, they didn't even know about them until, at a dead end in their investigation, they began making blind calls to other police departments, said Lt. Don Deckert. Eventually, they called Indianapolis and learned about the death of Robin Fuldauer. It wasn't until nearly a month after the double homicide that they realized the two women were shot with the same gun used in the other killings. Again, as in the Indianapolis case, the suspect was described as a white male with a thin build. Mannequins in pink and blue wedding gowns still grace the display windows of the bridal shop. Inside, full length mirrors reflect white veils and display cases of sequined shoes. A sign in front says "temporarily closed." TERRE HAUTE, Ind. Monday, April 27, 3:30 p.m. The traffic along Third Street, one of the busiest thoroughfares in this western Indiana community of 73,000, was extremely heavy as Bob Lambert returned to his antique shop. He had been out looking at some dining room furniture and when he got back, he was met by a couple who had been longtime customers. He said he talked to them briefly and they left. He said he never heard or saw anything out of the ordinary. Two doors south of Lambert's shop, 40-year-old Michael "Mick" McCown, apparently was reaching for a small, white ceramic house on a lower shelf of his ceramic shop. Police said that someone apparently stepped up behind him, held a .22 caliber gun within four inches of the back of his head and pulled the trigger one time. When a customer found his body about an hour later, police said, the ceramic house was just inches from his body on the floor. It was not even chipped. About $50 was still in the shop cash register; about $15 was in McCown's pocket. His wallet remains missing. Of the six peo ple killed, McCown is the only man. Friends and family members say he had a long, braided ponytail and authorities McCown say there is a possibility that his assailant may have mistaken him for a woman. "It seems reasonable to believe that robbery was not the primary motive," said Assistant Police Chief Joe Newport. "But hell, I don't know." Unlike in several of the other shootings, nobody along Third Street reported seeing anything suspicious on the afternoon that McCown was killed. Had somebody been walking by Sylvia's Ceramics Shop at the moment that McCown was killed, they almost surely would have been able to look through the shop's large picture win- Rnntt DinfiPost-DisDatch dow and into the face of his killer. John Steward, manager of an auto leasing company immediately south of McCown's shop, said he was at the business "all day long." He said it's not unusual that he would not have heard the shot. "With all the traffic, it'd have to be a pretty good sized gun for us to notice it," he said. Twenty years ago, McCown's father had operated a barber shop in the building. Several years ago, McCown's mother started a small ceramics business in the back of the barbershop. The ceramics business grew, and the barbershop was closed. A sign was hung outside the shop. "Sylvia's," it said, McCown's mother's name. About five years ago, McCown took over the shop. "His first love was music," said his mother, who lives just outside Terre Haute. She said he played bass guitar and sang in several bands in the mid-1 980s and managed a nightclub in Louisville for a year before finally returning to Terre Haute about five years ago. Authorities said he was single and led an active social life. His mother said he loved harmonicas. He often came into Lambert's antique shop to buy old radios from the 1 940s and 1950s. "He had got to be kind of a homebody," his mother said. "He got to where he didn't like living on the road." Newport and Detective Bob Abbin-ett with the. Terre Haute police department said that until McCown's death was tied to the other killings, police were at a dead end. "We talked to hundreds of people," Abbinett said, "and we had got absolutely nowhere." "It makes so little sense," said his mother. "I just hope they catch him. It seems unreal that one person could cause so much pain." ST. CHARLES Sunday, May 3, 2:30 p.m. It was "just a fluke," says Nancy Kitzmiller's mother, that her daughter was alone at the Boot Village store where she worked as manager. The store is tucked in a corner of the busy Bogey Hills Plaza off Zum-behl Road, between a beauty salon and a veterinary clinic. The day was beautiful; lots of people were milling about outside. Boot Village's showroom is lined with Western boots the red ones stand out. Black Western hats are on the walls; plaid Western shirts on the racks. A radio plays the hot country music of KIX radio. Kitzmiller opened up at noon. Two and a half hours later, customers found her body in an office at the rear of the store. The 24-year-old woman had been shot in the head. Money was missing from the cash register. Nancy was rarely alone at the store, said her mother, Carol Kitzmiller of St. Peters. "So it was just a fluke. . . . You never worry about your kids being alone in broad daylight." A woman who had passed Boot Village saw the suspect and provided police with information that led to a composite drawing. The question Donald and Carol Kitzmiller have been asking themselves over and over again is, why? "We talked to our minister, and there's just no answer," said Carol Kitzmiller. "No answers at all. "Everybody just loved her. One of her Kitzmiller friends said that when you met Nancy, you had no choice. You either became her friend in five minutes or else." Nancy Kitzmiller lived in Oklahoma until she was 10, when she moved to St. Peters with her parents and younger sister, Laura. Nancy went to South Middle School and Fort Zumwalt North High School. She won a varsity soccer letter. Nancy, who always said she wanted to go back to Oklahoma, enrolled at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater and continued to play soccer. She loved things Western horseback riding, the two-step, a little blue Chevy S-10 that she had only a few days. "She was always trying to get my dad's boots away from him," her mother said. "She was the only one in the family with the same size shoe as my dad. . . . She'd try to get his belt buckle from him, too. "She wore jeans and boots and Western shirts and silver jewelry almost all the time." After some soul searching, the family decided to bury Nancy with her boots on. "We wrestled with that quite a little bit. But I kept saying to myself, T have to put this kid in her jeans and boots and her Western shirt,' and that's what I did I thought she would be happy." Nancy Kitzmiller majored in geography and hoped to work at the Defense Mapping Agency in St. Louis. She loved reading, cooking and Betty Grable movies. "She was really good," Carol Kitzmiller said. "I never had to tell her clean house or do laundry or anything. She was that kind of person. Nobody in this world could have had a better kid. "I've been saying prayers for all those other families because I can Imagine how they feel." RAYTOWN, Mo. Thursday, May 7, 6:30 p.m. A busy clerk at the Video Attic shop glanced up from the counter and saw a man wearing a gray sports coat and dark slacks slowly approaching across the the parking lot. The clerk couldn't help but notice the man as if caught in a camera's viewfinder, he was perfectly framed between two movie posters taped to the front window. The same man white, mid-to-late 30s, medium height had been seen earlier that afternoon hanging around , 5 1 it''' I. X Killings Along Interstate Highways lot, .mmmmwtmmi P7 J-! .surders RSSSSS? W' ii I m mdJullu,a,lCMdl& , -ULT yj o ms """s, , ly 'R - Patricia Smith & Patricia Magers I . (io6) - A f VJ Clerks at La Bride d'Elegance bridal , 11" Ik shop shot during robbery VtII I V I f ILLINOIS trA TERianJ ' : Pl- FTvr "rTstLouis M f ' Sarah Lynn Blessing Al n.Tflfffluffln J fo fcVT7lrffnTTJT?r;iF'fl SJI Clerk at Store of Many f f 1 f J ' ") in TI " Colors shot during a. U Michael McCown apparent robbery Owner of Sylvia's rer It V Ceramics Shop I -Hfcjv 5(y J shot during robbery if I ' I J Nancy Kitzmiller Q 7SLr 7 jII yy Clerk at Boot Village ff JffiW "1 --Jl f Sh0t dUr'n r0bbery $50 " ' vuy i i infill! L 1 1 Mf - '-- j" "i HLk 'X. . lit" , s ' TERRE HAUTE, Ind.: Traffic til 1 "f WICHITA, Kan.: La Bride d'Elegance where Patricia Magers and 6A .u J - tP 1 -i V'-: j jms. . -. rnriTf 1 1 vL 11 mmmmk-imm 1 ' " MflKVIOftf INDIANAPOLIS: The Payless the shopping center, witnesses later told police. He appeared to be mumbling to himself. "I didn't think anything of it," said the clerk, who asked that his name not be used. "He could see me through the window. I glanced at him. He glanced at me." In the shop next door, Sarah Blessing was just finishing one of her first days as a Blessing clerk in the newly opened Store of Many Colors. Located in the Woodson Village shopping center in this Kansas City suburb, the small store sold health foods, jewelry and New Age literature. I f$ 11 Key to detail maps Site of murders Interstates and major highways Major local arterials liiI -- -- JR - fci- D " mmmmmmsmmmmm Ifill if' " ' passing Sylvia's Ceramics Shop where Michael McCown was killed. 4Si Scott DinePost-Dispatcti ShoeSource store where Robin Fuldauer died after being shot twice Blessing, 37, was a reflexologist she manipulated feet to relieve tension. She was alone. Next door in the video shop, the clerk heard a loud pop. Thinking it might be a gunshot, but unwilling to believe it, he opened the front door just as the man he had seen earlier came out of the Store of Many Colors. The man turned a corner and was out of sight. "He looked cool and calm, like he didn't have a care," said the clerk. Moments later, the clerk entered the store. He stopped as soon as he saw Blessing, who was lying face down on the floor in a widening pool of blood. Blessing had been shot once in the head with the .22 caliber pistol used in all of the other slaylngs. Some money had been taken again, not much. Blessing and her husband, Sonny, a machinist for Trans World, Robin Fuldauer Manager at Payless Shoe Source shot during robbery Post-Dispatch Map by James Conk t4 Scott DinePost-Dispatch 0r At Randy TobiasWichita Eagl Patricia Smith were killed. jTlWl.. . : lived near Raytown. Sonny had two""" children from a previous marriage..n They had been married for seven or eight years, said Hazel Huckabee, a friend of the family. "Sarah was named properly," said ,1 Huckabee. "She was a blessing. Now that she's gone, there's going to be a big hole in a lot of lives." Raytown, a bedroom community, has some 30,000 residents. The streets are tree lined and quiet. The shopping mall where Blessing died is several miles from 1-70, on the edge of a ; neighborhood with $200,000 homes. "People here aren't ready for any- thing like this," said Mayor Willard H., Ross. "They can't understand why anyone would come this far off the interstate to kill someone." Blessing was buried last week in Topeka, Kan. At her funeral, family . -members released white doves. Ik : - .. - J ' , ' i . ' fx ff I il 'W . n v.::. L

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