This is a pretty messed up serial killing that just so happened to take place mostly in Nebraska but ended in Wyoming.
It started just outside of Lincoln, Nebraska in December of 1957. A gas station attendant, Robert Colvert, was found shot multiple times on the side of the road. While a few people were questioned, there was ultimately no leads and no clear reason anyone would want to hurt him. The only thing missing was about $10 in coins.
Over a month later outside Lincoln, 2 men approached the house of the Bartlett’s. After approaching, they noticed a note on the door saying the whole family was sick and they should stay away. However, the men then went to inspect the backyard where they found the dead body of a young girl. They called the police. The police come to find the bodies of 2 year old, Betty Jean Bartlett, and her parents, Marion and Velda Bartlett. They had all been dead for about 6 days. However, Caril Ann, Velda’s 14 year old daughter, is no where to be found. While looking for Caril Ann, the police discover her 19 year old boyfriend, Charles Starkweather, is also missing. Because Caril’s family disapproved of their relationship, they now believe Charlie had something to do with the murders.
The police then look for Charlie’s car and find it outside Bennet, Nebraska stuck in the mud. They then surround a nearby farmhouse. They find the dead body of the farmer, August Meyer. After they learn there are 2 missing teenagers in a nearby town, they inspect further. In a nearby cellar, they find the bodies of 17 year old Robert Jensen and his 16 year old girlfriend Carol King. Carol King had been sexually assaulted with a knife and shot. Robert had been shot.
In a high class neighborhood in Lincoln, the bodies of C. Lauer Ward, his wife Clara, and their maid Lillian Fencil were found dead. The wife and the maid had been tied up and stabbed while the man had been shot. This lead the police to believe Caril Ann was working with Charlie because tying up the women would have been hard for just one person to do.
By this point, most of Nebraska was nervous. They didn’t know who the next victim was going to be. What they didn’t know was Charlie and Caril were heading to Washington to be with his brother. In Wyoming, Charlie decided to switch vehicles. He was trying to steal one and shot the owner. A man approached and asked Charlie if he needed help. The man then saw the victim, Merle Collison, in the front seat. The 2 men struggle for the gun when a deputy pulled up. Caril Ann ran up to the deputy saying she saw Charlie kill 10 people. Charlie drove the car away and there was a high speed chase that ended with Charlie having a minor gun shot wound and taken into custody. Caril Ann was later taken in as well and they were both taken back to Lincoln.
Charlie was questioned and stated his girlfriend was just a hostage and didn’t have anything to do with the killings. But things didn’t add up. He didn’t know the woman and the maid had been stabbed. He said he left them alive. He also knew nothing about Carol King being stabbed. He admitted to all the other killings though. Charlie was later sentenced to death for his crimes.
However, before he was executed, he changed his story. He admitted Caril Ann had much more to do with the murders than originally thought. He said she was the one who did the stabbings.
Caril Ann Fugate was convicted and spent almost 18 years in prison. She was released in 1976 and soon moved to Michigan and got married. Charles Starkweather was executed on June 25, 1959. Caril Ann still maintains her innocence.