Murder Sheet

You Never Can Forget: The Night

November 17, 2020 Mystery Sheet Season 1 Episode 1
Murder Sheet
You Never Can Forget: The Night
Chapters
0:00
Visiting the Burger Chef
3:26
About "You Never Can Forget"
6:01
Myths
8:30
The Victims
12:27
November 17, 1978
20:51
Missing
25:20
"Senseless"
30:36
Next Week
30:57
Special Thanks
31:11
Follow Us on Social Media
31:50
Already Gone
Murder Sheet
You Never Can Forget: The Night
Nov 17, 2020 Season 1 Episode 1
Mystery Sheet

On November 17, 1978, four young employees vanished from the Burger Chef restaurant in Speedway, Indiana. 42 years later, the Burger Chef murders — as they came to be known — remain one of the Midwest's most notorious cold cases.

Join the Murder Sheet's Áine Cain and Kevin Greenlee in the first episode of "You Never Can Forget: Investigating the Burger Chef Murders." This episode will delve into the events of November 1978, with never-before-heard insights from witnesses, investigators, and  the victims' loved ones.

"You Never Can Forget: The Night" will provide a solid foundation to support upcoming episodes that will dive into different theories around who perpetrated these heinous murders.

Follow the Murder Sheet on social media for the latest on the Burger Chef murders and future episodes: 

And send tips to [email protected] 


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

On November 17, 1978, four young employees vanished from the Burger Chef restaurant in Speedway, Indiana. 42 years later, the Burger Chef murders — as they came to be known — remain one of the Midwest's most notorious cold cases.

Join the Murder Sheet's Áine Cain and Kevin Greenlee in the first episode of "You Never Can Forget: Investigating the Burger Chef Murders." This episode will delve into the events of November 1978, with never-before-heard insights from witnesses, investigators, and  the victims' loved ones.

"You Never Can Forget: The Night" will provide a solid foundation to support upcoming episodes that will dive into different theories around who perpetrated these heinous murders.

Follow the Murder Sheet on social media for the latest on the Burger Chef murders and future episodes: 

And send tips to [email protected] 


Áine Cain: It’s a rainy night in Speedway, Indiana, and we are standing outside the shell of the old Burger Chef restaurant. The town around us is lit up. Next door is a tobacco shop, which sees a steady stream of customers. Across the street, there is a busy shopping mall, full even at this hour with people buying clothes and groceries. 

But the Burger Chef building is silent. Dark. Abandoned. 

It is a squat one story building with green trim, white walls streaked with splotches of dirt. The sign on the front has been blacked out. If you peer through the front windows, you can see that the inside has been gutted. Wires and fiberglass installation hang limply from the ceiling. 

Kevin Greenlee: In 1978, when Burger Chef employees Jayne Friedt, Ruth Shelton, Danny Davis, and Mark Flemmonds spent the last night of their lives here, things would’ve looked very different. After closing, the glowing Burger Chef sign would’ve illuminated the parking lot. Against the lights inside, the four would have wiped down tables and mopped floors as they prepared the restaurant to reopen the next morning. There would have been activity over at the shopping center across the street as well. A bomb exploded there on September 1, but that didn’t keep people away for long. A popular teenage nightclub thrummed with disco songs even as the night grew later and later. 

Some time after the Burger Chef closed on the night of November 17, 1978, the four employees vanished, leaving the building standing as empty as it does now. They found their bodies a couple of days later, dead in the woods. Two had been shot. One stabbed in the heart. And the fourth beaten to death, left to choke on his own blood. 

Áine Cain: It’s one of the Midwest’s most infamous crimes, and no one has been held to account for it, despite some promising leads. Like the redheaded witness who stood in the parking lot at the time the employees went missing. Or the homeowner a short distance away from the Burger Chef who found a loaded gun in his yard the next morning. Or the violent rapist who twice confessed to the crime. Or the robbery gang who targeted fast food restaurants. We’re going to cover all those leads and a lot more on the Murder Sheet. 

*Eerie music plays*

Áine Cain: This is “You Never Can Forget,” an investigation into the Burger Chef murders and a miniseries by the Murder Sheet. 

Kevin Greenlee: I’m Kevin Greenlee, a lawyer who represents the sister of victim Ruth Shelton. I’ve spent years researching this case and doing legwork to flush out information and leads.

Áine Cain: And I’m Áine Cain. I wrote a feature story on this case for Business Insider earlier this year, and never stopped investigating this case and looking for answers. 

On the Murder Sheet, we’ll be taking a six-part look into this crime. After giving you a full overview of the events of 1978, we’ll be presenting you with a new theory about what happened each week. 

On a weekly basis, you’re going to hear from figures you’ve never heard from before. You’re going to hear about facts that you’ve never heard before. And hopefully, you’ll walk away with a better understanding of the sheer complexity of this awful crime.

We don’t just rely on what we’ve been told or what we’ve read. We have worked this case ourselves. 

Together we’ve walked along sand-choked creeks, inside dark and decrepit hideaways, knocked on the doors of people who may have been involved in the crime and talked with brokenhearted loved ones. 

We decided to do this podcast so we can tell you what we’ve learned and even clear up a few misconceptions. In this miniseries, “You Never Can Forget,” we will give you the top theories about the crime. After we’re finished covering the Burger Chef case, the Murder Sheet will continue to investigate different restaurant related homicides for the rest of season one. 

Kevin Greenlee: We’re the Murder Sheet, and this is “You Never Can Forget: The Night.”

*Eerie music based on the Burger Chef jingle plays* 

Kevin Greenlee: The Burger Chef murders often sound a bit like a fast food ghost story. And like any long-ago cold case, it’s been the subject of a number of local myths. Let’s start with one of the biggest falsehoods about the case. This is something we heard from a lot of people, including Jayne’s friend Charlie.

Charlie: I THINK THE POLICE KNOW WHO DID IT BUT CAN’T MAYBE PUT THE GOODS ON HIM.

Áine Cain: Many law enforcement officials do believe they know who committed the murders. The problem there is the “who.” If you ask different detectives, they’ll often name completely different suspects.  Here’s Jim Cramer, who worked the case for the Indiana State Police.

Jim Cramer: IF YOU GO BACK, YOU ASKED ABOUT ALL THESE LEADS, IF YOU GO BACK AND YOU SAY — WELL, THE MARION COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT THINKS THESE PEOPLE DID IT. IF YOU GO TO THE JOHNSON COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT YOU CAN FIND SOMEONE WHO SAYS, “WE THINK THESE PEOPLE DID IT.” IF YOU GO TO THE STATE POLICE YOU MIGHT FIND TWO OR THREE LEADS THAT WE THINK THESE PEOPLE DID IT. OR THE INDIANAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT MIGHT THINK THESE PEOPLE DID IT.

Áine Cain: Not only is the claim that the police “know” who did it simply not true — it is actually harmful. 

Jim Cramer: I THINK IT’S A DISSERVICE TO THE VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES. AND I THINK IT’S A DISSERVICE TO THE PUBLIC FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OR THE MEDIA TO KIND OF GIVE PEOPLE FALSE HOPE THIS THING HAS BEEN SOLVED BECAUSE POTENTIAL WITNESSES ARE OUT THERE WHO MAY HAVE, FOR YEARS, THOUGHT OR HAD A STRONG SUSPICION THAT THEIR NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR DID IT AND WHEN THE NEWS REPORT COMES OUT THAT DONALD FORRESTER DID IT THEY THINK I’M PROBABLY WRONG AND I’M NOT GOING TO SAY ANYTHING. IT’S UNFAIR TO THE PUBLIC. IT’S UNFAIR TO THE INVESTIGATORS WHO ARE WORKING THIS. IT’S DEFINITELY UNFAIR TO THE VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES. CONDUCT LIKE THAT ONLY EMBOLDENS THE CULPRITS WHO DID THIS CRIME OR OTHER CRIMES LIKE IT. WHEN THEY SIT THERE AND THE MEDIA IS TELLING THEM DONALD FORRESTER DID THIS THEN THE GUY OR GAL WHO DID IT OR IS INVOLVED IN IT IS SITTING BACK AND SAYS “SEE? THEY DON’T KNOW ANYTHING.” IT EMBOLDENS THEM, MAKES THEM COMFORTABLE.

Kevin Greenlee: With that in mind, let’s start by telling you what we DO know-- and let’s begin by telling you a bit about the victims.

Danny Davis was a quiet 16-year-old who started working at the Burger Chef shortly before the murders. He loved photography — he even had his own darkroom at home- and planned to join the Air Force.

Áine Cain: Jayne Friedt was the 20-year-old assistant manager of the restaurant. Here’s her friend Charlie.

Charlie: JAYNE SHE — SHE WAS ALWAYS LAUGHING. ALWAYS HAD A GOOD ATTITUDE. I JUST REMEMBER HER BRACES WHEN I FIRST MET HER. THEY JUST SPARKLED BECAUSE SHE SMILED SO BIG. JAYNE WAS KIND OF A TOMBOY. BUT YET VERY FEMININE. VERY HARD TO COME BY. SHE WAS BEAUTIFUL AND SHE LOVED A LOT OF PEOPLE AND THEY LOVED HER. I HAVE NOT ONE BAD WORD FOR JAYNE. SHE WAS ONE OF A KIND. I LOVED HER. 

Áine Cain: Mark Flemmonds was 16.  Here is Ginger Anderson, who went to high school with mark and worked with him at Burger Chef.

Ginger Anderson: I THOUGHT HE WAS VERY NICE AND FUNNY AND JOKING AROUND, HE WAS ALWAYS SMILING. NOT SURE BUT HE WAS IN ONE OF MY CLASSES AND THAT’S WHEN I FIRST MET HIM, WHEN HE FIRST CAME TO SCHOOL AND I THOUGHT BOY HE’S OUTNUMBERED AS FAR AS HIS RACE WENT AND BACK THEN PEOPLE WERE STILL PRETTY VOCAL ABOUT WHETHER THEY LIKED BLACK PEOPLE OR NOT. FOR THE MOST PART SPEEDWAY WAS ALL WHITE, SO I JUST WONDERED IF HE WAS GOING TO HAVE A TOUGH GO OF IT. PLUS HE’S THE NEW KID ANYWAY AND THEY ALWAYS HAVE A HARD TIME STARTING SCHOOL BECAUSE I THINK IT WAS THE MIDDLE OF SCHOOL, IT WASN’T LIKE THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL. SO I WAS NICE TO HIM AND TRIED TO TALK TO HIM JUST IN CLASS, JUST FRIENDLY, “HI, HOW ARE YOU DOING?” HOPING HE WOULD BE AT EASE AND NOT TO — NOT THAT HE WAS   NERVOUS BUT JUST TRYING TO MAKE HIM COMFORTABLE.  SO THAT’S HOW I FIRST STARTED TALKING WITH HIM AND I GOT TO KNOW HIM BETTER WHEN HE STARTED WORKING AT BURGER CHEF.

Kevin Greenlee: Ruth Shelton was 17. Here’s her sister, Theresa Jefferies.

Theresa Jefferies: IT WAS ALWAYS NEAT TO ME BECAUSE IT SEEMED LIKE WHATEVER SHE DECIDED TO DO, THAT’S WHAT SHE DID. THERE WAS A CITY EMPLOYEE OUT THERE WORKING ON THE TELEPHONE LINE AND IT WAS IN THE ALLEY BEHIND OUR HOUSE AND SHE JUST WENT UP TO HIM AND ASKED HIM FOR SOME WIRE AND HE JUST CLIPPED HER OFF SOME AND GAVE IT TO HER. IT HAD ALL THE DIFFERENT COLORS IN IT AND THEN SHE WOULD TAKE THEM AND TWIST THEM UP AND TURN THEM INTO RINGS YOU KNOW. USE SEVERAL DIFFERENT STRANDS TOGETHER SO YOU’D HAVE LIKE LITTLE FLOWERS AND DIFFERENT THINGS. I REMEMBER I WAS IN TOTAL AMAZEMENT BECAUSE FIRST OF ALL I HADN’T EVEN THOUGHT OF DOING SOMETHING LIKE THAT AND SECOND OF ALL I WOULD NEVER HAVE GONE UP TO A STRANGER AND ASKED WOULD YOU GIVE ME SOMETHING? BUT RUTH DIDN’T HESITATE FROM THAT AT ALL... MAYBE IT WAS BECAUSE SHE WAS FIVE YEARS OLDER THAN ME BUT IT WAS LIKE SHE JUST KNEW HOW TO DO SO MANY MORE THINGS. 

Áine Cain: On November 17, 1978 — the last afternoon of her life — Jayne Friedt, the assistant manager of the Speedway Burger Chef went to visit her friend Charlie.

Charlie: SHE CAME OVER IN THE EARLY AFTERNOON. SHE JUST WANTED TO SIT ON THE COUCH AND HUG AND TALK A LITTLE BIT. I ASKED HER WHAT WAS GOING ON, IS SOMETHING BOTHERING YOU AND SHE SAID, “NO. I’M OK.” OF COURSE JAYNE WAS THAT WAY. SHE WOULDN’T WANT ANY HELP FROM ANYBODY. AND AFTER IT HAPPENED I WONDERED IF SHE’D COME OVER TO BORROW MONEY FROM ME.

Áine Cain: Ginger had to deal with a bit of unexpected stress that afternoon. She usually worked at Burger Chef on Friday nights but she wanted to go out on a date that night with a coworker named Brian so she arranged for Mark Flemmonds to take her shift. 

Ginger Anderson: IT’S 4:30. SO IT’S AFTER SCHOOL AND ITS BEFORE MY DATE WITH BRIAN — HE WAS GOING TO PICK ME UP AROUND 6 O’CLOCK. AND MARK CALLED ME AND SAID SOMETHING HAD COME UP AND HE COULD NO LONGER COVER MY SHIFT. SO I WAS MAD BUT HE SAID, “MY GRANDMA IS COMING OVER AND THERE’S A BIG FAMILY THING AND I REALLY NEED TO BE HERE.” I SAID LET ME CALL BRIAN AND I’LL CALL YOU BACK. SO I CALLED BRIAN AND TOLD HIM THE STORY AND SAID, “WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?” AND HE SAID, “IT’S UP TO YOU BUT IF YOU DECIDE TO GO IN AND WORK THEN I’LL COME IN AFTER CLOSE AND HELP CLOSE THE RESTAURANT DOWN SO WE CAN GET OUT EARLIER AND GO DO SOMETHING.” WELL NO. I’M STILL 16 AND I HAVE A CURFEW AND THERE’S NO WAY MY DAD IS GOING TO LET ME GO OUT ON A DATE STARTING AT 11 OR 11:30 AT NIGHT. THAT’S JUST NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. OF COURSE I REALLY WANTED TO GO OUT WITH HIM. SO I SAID, “NO, MARK SAID HE WAS GOING TO WORK FOR ME AND HE’S GOING TO WORK FOR ME.” THAT’S JUST THE WAY IT IS. SO I CALLED MARK AND TOLD HIM THAT AND HE WENT IN TO WORK.

Kevin Greenlee: Things were also a bit hectic at the Shelton household.

Theresa Jefferies: I WAS ALREADY HOME FROM SCHOOL AND MOM HAD GONE AND PICKED UP RUTH FROM SCHOOL BROUGHT HER HOME. SHE RUSHED THROUGH FROM THE GARAGE BACK TO OUR BEDROOM AND SHE JUST SAID, “HI.” AND SHE CHANGED HER CLOTHES TO HER UNIFORM AND SAID, “BYE.”

Kevin Greenlee: Jayne’s brother Jimmy took his young son Dutch to the Burger Chef early that evening. Dutch doesn’t remember seeing Jayne but he did see another one of the employees. Mark was practicing karate moves. 

Dutch Friedt: I JUST REMEMBER HIM FLAILING HIS ARMS AROUND BY THE FRYERS.  

Áine Cain: Still worried about Jayne, Charlie gave her a call during the middle of her shift. 

Charlie: I TALKED TO HER ABOUT 8 THAT EVENING. PROBABLY AT LUNCH AND I ASKED HER HOW IT WAS GOING AND I HATE TO USE THESE WORDS BUT SHE SAID IT WAS, “DEAD AROUND HERE.” THAT’S THE LAST I HEARD FROM HER.

Áine Cain: About this time, in the middle of their date, Ginger and Brian stopped by the restaurant and saw Mark there.

Ginger Anderson: BRIAN AND I HAD STOPPED BY THE RESTAURANT AND I AM GOING TO SAY IT WAS AROUND 7:30 OR 8. HE WAS AT THE FRONT COUNTER. HE WOULDN’T TALK TO ME. HE WAS ACTING REAL MAD. HE HAD A LITTLE SMILE ON HIS FACE BUT HE WAS ACTING ALL I’M NOT GOING TO TALK WITH YOU. I THOUGHT OK THAT’S FINE. I WASN’T CONCERNED ABOUT IT. I DON’T REMEMBER THINKING OH MY GOSH HE’S SO MAD AT ME. I THOUGHT HE’LL BE FINE, HE’LL GET OVER IT. BECAUSE HE HAD A LITTLE SMILE ON HIS FACE. BUT AGAIN HE WASN’T TALKING TO ME SO I KNOW HE WAS PUNISHING ME FOR MAKING HIM GO TO WORK IS WHAT I THOUGHT. 

Áine Cain: At 11 P.M., the Burger Chef closed. The restaurant shared a parking lot with a Dunkin’ Donuts and a member of the Burger Chef crew went there to get some snacks. It’s possible that Jayne got pizza for her crew to munch on as well — and there are reports that a receipt for a pizza was later found on her body. This sort of thing wasn’t unusual for Jayne.

Ginger Anderson: THERE WERE TIMES WE’VE READ WHERE SHE LET US GET PIZZA OR GO NEXT DOOR TO GET DONUTS AT DUNKIN DONUTS AFTER CLOSING.

Kevin Greenlee: At 11:15 or so, George Nichols, then a teenager, went to the Dunkin’ Donuts to hang out with his girlfriend. 

George Nichols: THAT NIGHT MY GIRLFRIEND WAS WORKING AT DUNKIN’ DONUTS. I USED TO GO UP THERE.  SHE WENT ON A BREAK THAT NIGHT. UP THERE BEHIND THE DUNKIN’ DONUTS, BETWEEN THERE AND THE BURGER CHEF THERE WAS A DUMPSTER AREA. WE WENT BACK TO SMOKE AND DRINK A LITTLE. WE DIDN’T HAVE A LIGHT SO I WALKED UP TO THE BURGER CHEF AND I WENT IN. WASN’T NOBODY IN THERE, WASN’T ANYBODY. SO I WENT UP THERE TO THE FRONT AND I ASKED FOR A PACK OF MATCHES. THE PERSON WENT BACK AND GOT ME A PACK OF MATCHES AND I WALKED OUT. I ASSUME THEY WERE CLEANING UP OR SOMETHING, BUT THAT WAS THE ONLY PERSON I SEEN. AND RIGHT BEFORE I WENT IN TO GET THE MATCHES, I SEEN THAT SOMEONE WAS STILL THERE BECAUSE THE BACKDOOR WAS STILL OPEN. YOU COULD SEE THE LIGHT ON. I CAME BACK OUT, AND WE WERE SMOKING AND DRINKING. THESE TWO GUYS WALKED DOWN THE RAILROAD TRACKS. THERE WERE RAILROAD TRACKS ALONG THERE THEN, THEY WERE WALKING ALONG THE TRACKS TOWARD US. WE PUT OUR DRINKS DOWN AND OUR SMOKES. AND THEY WALKED RIGHT UP ON US. ONE LOOKED DOWN AND SAID, “YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEAVE HERE.” HE SAID, “THERE’S BEEN A LOT OF VANDALISM AROUND HERE.” SO WE GOT UP AND WALKED BACK OVER TO HER JOB. SHE WENT BACK TO WORK AND I TOOK OFF.

Kevin Greenlee: The descriptions that George and his girlfriend gave police of the men that they saw that night became the basis for the widely-circulated sketches of the suspects in this case.

Áine Cain: When Brian drove Ginger home from their date, they passed the Burger Chef. 

Ginger Anderson: IT WAS ABOUT A QUARTER TO 12. I NOTICED THAT JAYNE’S CAR WAS GONE. BUT THE LIGHTS WERE STILL ON. INSIDE THE BURGER CHEF. AND I COULDN’T SEE SOMEONE SWEEPING IN THE RESTAURANT AREA. SO I THOUGHT THAT’S KIND OF ODD. BRIAN SAID, “WELL DO YOU WANT TO STOP AND SEE WHAT IS GOING ON.” AND I SAID, “I REALLY CAN’T BECAUSE IF I’M NOT HOME FROM MIDNIGHT I’LL BE KILLED.” POOR CHOICE OF WORDS THERE. BUT ANYWAY SO HE TOOK ME HOME. AND HE LEFT FROM MY HOUSE AND WENT STRAIGHT BACK TO BURGER CHEF. AND THAT’S WHEN HE SAW THE BACK DOOR WAS OPEN.

Áine Cain: Brian walked in the open back door of the Burger Chef. The restaurant was empty — there were coins from the cash registers on the floor. Jayne and Ruth’s purses were still there. Brian called a Burger Chef manager. At around 12:15 a.m., he rang the Speedway police.

We talked with former members of the Speedway Police Department and other agencies, and they spoke of sloppy Speedway detectives and in-fighting between the officers and Police Chief Robert Copeland that predated the murders. We paid a visit to former chief Bill Burgan, who succeeded Copeland after he was booted. 

Standing on his front step, on a day so cold that his wife brought him a sweater as he spoke to us, he revealed the attitude that many Speedway law enforcement officers seemed to take on the case: they didn’t feel up to tackling the horror of what had happened in their own community. 

Bill Burgan: I WAS IN THE DARK, I’M STILL IN THE DARK, AND I’M NOT SEARCHING FOR LIGHT.

Jim Cramer: I THINK IT’S PRETTY WELL KNOWN AMONG LAW ENFORCEMENT AND THE PUBLIC THAT THE SPEEDWAY POLICE THEY DIDN’T DO THE VICTIMS ANY FAVORS, THEY DIDN’T DO THE PUBLIC ANY FAVORS. THEY DIDN’T DO ANYTHING. THEY MISHANDLED THIS FROM THE BEGINNING. THEY TOOK IT LIGHTLY. THEY DIDN’T FOLLOW WHAT WOULD BE ROUTINE INVESTIGATIVE PRACTICE. THEY CAME UP WITH THE THEORY THAT THESE FOUR KIDS JUST TOOK THE MONEY FROM THE RESTAURANT AND WERE OUT PARTYING. THEY DIDN’T DO CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION. THEY DIDN’T TAKE PRINTS. THEY DIDN’T TAKE PICTURES. SO ANY EVIDENCE THAT WAS THERE WAS LOST.

Áine Cain: Charlie got the news of what happened in a 3 A.M. call from Jayne’s district manager. Around 4 A.M., police found Jayne’s missing car sitting on a street just outside a town park. It was within sight of the police station. 

Jim Cramer heard an early report about the disappearances over his police radio. And Theresa woke up to a nightmare.

Theresa Jefferies: THE NEXT MORNING I GOT WOKE UP BY MY BROTHER WHO TOLD ME TO WAKE UP — THAT RUTH HAD BEEN KIDNAPPED. I REALLY DIDN'T BELIEVE HIM. HE WAS TWO AND A HALF YEARS OLDER THAN ME. HE WAS ALWAYS PICKING AND DOING THINGS TO ANNOY ME. SO I JUST BELIEVED THAT WAS ONE OF THOSE THINGS. UNTIL I WALKED INTO THE FAMILY ROOM AND IT WAS JUST AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT KIND OF DAY. THE PHONE WAS RINGING AND MOM AND DAD WERE BOTH RUNNING TO ANSWER THE PHONE. AT THAT TIME YOU DIDN’T HAVE CALL WAITING OR TWO PHONE LINES SO YOU COULDN’T STAY ON THE PHONE WITH ANYONE IF YOU HAD ANOTHER CALL YOU WERE EXPECTING. SO IT WAS JUST DIFFERENT. AND THEN IT WASN’T LONG BEFORE FAMILY MEMBERS STARTED COMING OVER AS WELL.

Kevin Greenlee: Jim Cramer spent that Saturday trying to help.

Jim Cramer: I WORKED IN THE ADJOINING COUNTY TO THE WEST OF THE BURGER CHEF, JUST THREE MILES TO THE COUNTY WHERE I WAS ASSIGNED. I SPENT MY SPARE TIME THROUGH THAT SHIFT HITTING THE BACK ROADS AND THE ABANDONED BARNS AREAS WHERE PEOPLE GATHERED TO PARTY KIDS STUFF LIKE THAT. I’M NOT QUITE SURE WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR I JUST THOUGHT WELL ARE THESE KIDS TIED UP OUT HERE SOMEWHERE?  DID SOMEONE DO SOMETHING WITH THEM LIKE THAT?

 Kevin Greenlee: The most interesting discovery that day might have come when a homeowner a few blocks from the Burger Chef discovered a loaded .38 in his front yard. We’ll have more to say about that in the weeks ahead. 

Jim Cramer: AND THEN ON SUNDAY WHEN I WENT TO WORK I DROVE TO THE STATE POLICE POST IN PUTNAMVILLE TO DROP OFF SOME PAPERWORK AND WHEN I WENT IN IT WAS 7 OR 8 IN THE EVENING. THE POST COMMANDER JUST MENTIONED HE SAID “DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THOSE KIDS AT THE BURGER CHEF?” WHICH I HADN’T. AND I SAID, “NO, WHERE DID THEY FIND THEM?” AND HE SAID, “WELL THEY KILLED THEM ALL AND THEY FOUND THEM DOWN IN JOHNSON COUNTY.” AND I ALWAYS SAID YOU COULD HIT ME WITH A BRICK. I WAS SO SHOCKED. I MEAN IT WAS SENSELESS.

Áine Cain: The four were found in a wooded area of Johnson County about 20 miles south of the Speedway Burger Chef. Ruth and Danny were lying next to each other and  had been shot to death. Jayne had been stabbed in the heart with such force that the blade broke off inside of her. Mark had been beaten, knocked unconscious. He choked to death on his own blood. 

Kevin Greenlee: Now it was time for law enforcement officials to deliver the awful news to the four families.

Theresa Jefferies: AND I REMEMBER SUNDAY — JUST THE SAME THING WE’RE WATCHING THE NEWS AND WATCHING THE NEWS. MY PARENTS TOOK US TO CHURCH. EVERYONE WAS PRAYING FOR THEM. WHEN WE GOT HOME FROM EVENING WORSHIP — IT WAS LATER THAT THEY GOT THE CALL FROM THE POLICE ASKING THEM TO GO TO THE STATION. MY PARENTS LEFT ME AND MY BROTHER BACK AT THE HOUSE. AND THEY WENT.  I KNEW WHEN THEY LEFT THAT SHE WAS GONE. EVEN AS AN ELEVEN YEAR OLD CHILD, YOU’VE GOT SOME COMMON SENSE. IF SHE HAD BEEN ALIVE, EVEN IF SHE HAD BEEN IN A COMA THEY WOULD HAVE CALLED AND SAID, “WE HAVE FOUND YOUR DAUGHTER AND SHE IS ALIVE. AND THIS IS HER CONDITION.” THEY WOULD NOT HAVE JUST SAID, “WE NEED YOU TO COME.” AND SO I ALREADY KNEW WHAT TO EXPECT. BUT WHEN THEY CAME BACK HOME AND TOLD US ... THEN THERE WAS NO MORE HOPE. 

Áine Cain: Not everyone was sympathetic. Already rumors were beginning to spread that the four victims somehow brought their fate on themselves.

Ginger Anderson: AND THEN THERE WAS A GIRL IN ONE OF MY CLASSES — YOU KNOW WHO EVERYWHERE I WENT IN EVERY CLASS PEOPLE WERE TALKING ABOUT IT. THE TEACHERS ALLOWED THE KIDS JUST TO SAY WHAT THEY WANTED TO SAY AND I DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING — BUT THE TEACHERS KNEW WHO I WAS AND KNOWING I HAD WORKED THERE AND ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF. THERE WAS THIS ONE GIRL WHO MADE A COMMENT THAT HER MOTHER SAID, “THEY ALL DESERVED TO DIE THEY WERE DOING DRUGS AND THAT KIND OF STUFF AND THEY GOT WHAT THEY DESERVED.” 

Áine Cain: Charlie went to the service for Jayne and saw her one last time.

Charlie: I’M SURE SHE PUT UP A FIGHT. AT THE FUNERAL I SAW HER LIP WHERE IT WAS BUSTED UP AND I’M SURE SHE PUT UP A FIGHT. HER YOUNGER BROTHER LOOKED AT ME AND SAID, “THIS WOULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED IF YOU HAD MARRIED HER.”

Kevin Greenlee: Theresa will never forget her sister’s funeral.

Theresa Jefferies: IT WAS OBVIOUSLY TWO OF THE HARDEST DAYS OF OUR LIVES. THEY MOST ABSOLUTE HEART WRENCHING MOMENT WAS AFTER EVERYONE HAD LEFT, WHEN THEY CLOSED THAT CASKET AND I WATCHED MY MOTHER DRAPE HER BODY OVER THAT CASKET, AND JUST BAWL. THAT IMAGE STUCK WITH ME FOREVER. COULD NOT IMAGINE. NO ONE IS EVER SUPPOSED TO BURY THEIR CHILD. 

Áine Cain: Next week on “You Never Can Forget," the investigation begins.

Jim Cramer: LIKE I SAID WE STARTED OFF IN A HOLE BECAUSE WE DIDN’T HAVE ANY EVIDENCE FROM THE RESTAURANT.

Áine Cain: And the police uncover a witness who claimed he saw the whole thing, knew exactly who did it — and his life was in danger because of it 

Kevin: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Murder Sheet Presents: "You Never Can Forget." Special thanks to Kevin Tyler Greenlee, who composed the music for the Murder Sheet, and who you can find on the web at kevintg.com.

Áine: To keep up with the latest on the Murder Sheet, make sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter @murdersheet and on Facebook @msheetpodcast or by searching Murder Sheet. To access exclusive content like bonus episodes and case documents, become a patron for the Murder Sheet on Patreon. Please send tips, ideas, and feedback at [email protected]

And please stay tuned for word from our friend Nina at the podcast Already Gone — a great podcast you should be listening to. She actually introduced me to the Burger Chef case with her 2016 episode on the crime. 

*Melancholy music plays*

Nina Innsted from “Already Gone”: Murder, missing persons, unsolved mysteries — ”Already Gone” explores lesser-known cases from Michigan and the Great Lakes region. I’m Nina Innsted, the voice behind the “Already Gone” podcast. Join me for a look at stories that will have you looking over your shoulder and locking the doors at night. Listen to “Already Gone” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or your favorite podcatcher.  

Visiting the Burger Chef
About "You Never Can Forget"
Myths
The Victims
November 17, 1978
Missing
"Senseless"
Next Week
Special Thanks
Follow Us on Social Media
Already Gone