Burger Chef murders
Suspected robbery and homicides
Just after 11:00 PM on November 17, 1978, four young employees of a Burger Chef restaurant in Speedway, Indiana, located at 5725 Crawfordsville Road, disappeared. They were kidnapped during what was believed to be a botched robbery. Originally, police did not consider this a serious case, as management reported the loss of less than $500 along with the disappearances of the employees, which was chalked up to a case of petty embezzlement, and the pilfered cash was probably used to go partying. However, the case took a more serious tack when the murdered bodies of Jayne Friedt, 20, Daniel Davis, 16, Mark Flemmonds, 16, and Ruth Ellen Shelton, 18, were found that Sunday afternoon over 20 mi (32 km) away in the rural woods of Johnson County. Both Davis and Shelton had been shot execution-style numerous times. Friedt had been stabbed twice in the chest. The handle of the knife had broken off and was missing; the blade was later recovered during an autopsy. Flemmonds had suffered a blunt-force head injury, which coroners had believed he had fled his captors, only to have the misfortune of colliding with a heavy object, possibly a tree trunk, which thwarted his flight. Flemmonds was later determined to have been bludgeoned prior to his death.
According to a 16-year-old eyewitness, two suspicious men were in a car outside the Burger Chef just before closing on the night of the murders. Both were white and in their thirties. One man had a beard, and the other was clean-shaven with light-colored hair.
Despite thousands of hours of police investigation, as well as Burger Chef offering a reward of $25,000 to anyone who could capture the murderers or provide information about their whereabouts, the attackers were never identified, and the case remains officially unsolved.
- National Organization for Victim Education, Legislation, and Justice.
- David J. Bodenhamer; Robert Graham Barrows, David Gordon Vanderstel Contributor David J. Bodenhamer, Robert Graham Barrows, David Gordon Vanderstel (1994). The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. Indiana University Press. ISBN 978-0-253-31222-8.
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