Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Charles Schmid: The Pied Piper

The Kill

Smitty picked up a rock with a pointed edge and handed it to John. He gave it back, unable to go through with the plan. Smitty insisted that he return to the car and get Mary. Mary refused to go anywhere, so John went back to find Smitty. There he saw Alleen lying on her back on the ground, her face and head covered in blood. Smitty's hands were bloody as well, and blood covered the front of his shirt. He wanted to know where Mary was and when John told him, he went to the car and told her, "We killed her." He also added, "I love you very much." Mary recalled later that he seemed to be very excited.

Then he got the shovel, told Mary that John was the one who had struck Alleen with the rock, and got her to accompany him back to the murder site. She saw Alleen and could not detect any signs that the girl was still alive. Smitty gave John the shovel and used his hands to start digging a grave. Mary joined in. Smitty then took Alleen's hands and instructed Mary to lift her by the feet while they lowered her into the shallow pit they had opened.

They dumped her dress into the grave, covered the body with sand, and tossed sand over the hair curlers. Smitty then took off his shirt and buried it in the sand along with the shovel. After they felt they had secured the scene and covered all the evidence, they went back to the car to wipe it clean of prints. They invented a story that Alleen had agreed to go out with John that evening, but when they drove by to pick her up, she had not been home. Then they dropped Mary off and went their way.

The next day, Norma Rowe, Alleen's mother, made every effort to locate her and finally contacted the police. She worked as a night nurse, she said, and when she had left, Alleen had been in her bed. The next morning, she was gone, without taking her purse or any clothing except the bathing suit she had been wearing, and a yellow shift. Norma told them about a sex club at the high school that her daughter had described to her in which young people were involved with drugs, perversions, and organized prostitution. The officer in charge said that this was one of the most far-fetched tales he'd ever heard and did not take it seriously. An investigation failed to disclose any sign of such activities. Mary French was questioned, along with Smitty and John. Smitty took the other two out and made them repeat the story they had concocted, to be sure that no one gave them away by some slip-up.

A week later, Alleen's father called Norma to tell her that he had dreamed that their daughter had been murdered and left in the desert. Norma felt there was truth in the dream and she dogged the police, who insisted on better evidence before they went looking in such a vast area. By March, when nothing had turned up, Norma Rowe went to Arizona's Attorney General and the FBI. She also called in reporters and would not give up, despite official sentiment that Alleen was just another teenage runaway. Norma even consulted a psychic, but nothing came of it, and the case of Alleen Rowe was soon buried by the police under other, more pressing concerns.


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