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Burger Chef murders, a 25-year-old mystery
Who did it? Who robbed the Burger Chef restaurant? Who murdered four employees?
"That ended up, as of today, the only unsolved major case in my career." Ken York, former detective with the Indiana State Police, is one of the original investigators on the Burger Chef murder case.
He's retired now, a private investigator.
The case may be unsolved, but York thinks he knows who did it. "Unless someone proves differently or someone confesses between now and then, I'll go to my death bed believing I know who killed those kids."
It happened in November 1978 at the Speedway Burger Chef. A Friday night. Four employees on duty disappear; 16-year-old Daniel Davis, 16-year-old Mark Flemmonds, 20-year-old Jayne Friedt and 17-year-old Ruth Shelton.
"I worked on it from the very first day before the bodies were even found." Reporter Paul Bird, who covered the story for the Indianapolis News, said the crime shook the town of Speedway. "It left an entire community in panic. Everybody could relate to their children being abducted from a Burger Chef."
The Sheltons' daughter was one of the victims. They remember getting the phone call 25 years ago. Rachel Shelton recalls, "John woke me up telling me that they thought our daughter had been kidnapped."
John Shelton says, "I thought we'd never see her again alive."
Rachel reads from her diary the emotions she felt that night. "I was on the verge of falling apart."
The family clung together, hoping and praying. "The main thing I remember asking him was, 'Lord, put your arms around Ruth Ellen and let her know that you are there with her," says Rachel.
Initially, police in Speedway didn't have much to go on. Since there was $500 taken from the cash register some investigators thought the employees may have taken the money and went out for the night.