Creepy February 26, 2018
In 1958, A Killing Spree That Shocked The Nation Ended In This Little Wyoming Town
People often look at the past with longing for a simpler time, but yesteryear wasn’t all sweetness, innocence, and light.
In 1958, a pair of teens went on a killing spree that left 10 people dead. They cut a bloody trail across two states before finally being apprehended in a little town in eastern Wyoming. For a nation full of people that allowed their children to play in the street unsupervised and still left their doors unlocked at night, it was a shocking incident that horrified everyone.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
Crime touches every town in some way, even seemingly safe small towns like Douglas, Wyoming. It was there that a gruesome string of slayings ended in 1958.
But they started back in Nebraska, at the hands of two teens.
Caril Ann Fugate was only 13 when she began dating Charles Starkweather.
Charlie was 5 years older than Caril. He was a high school dropout who admitted to being dissatisfied with life, and who claimed to want to be a criminal.
One afternoon, when Starkweather dropped by to see Caril, her parents told him that she wasn't at home and that they didn't want him coming around again. His response was to shoot them both and strangle Caril's 2-year-old sister before hiding the bodies.
Fugate always maintained that she had broken up with Charlie before that fateful day. When she returned home later that evening, he told her that her family was being held hostage and that they would be killed if she didn't cooperate with him.
The pair stayed at Caril's home for nearly a week until Caril's grandmother became suspicious that the family hadn't been seen in 6 days and threatened to call the police.
The teens took the family car and drove west ultimately heading for Charlie's brother's house in Washington, but first stopping at a friend's house about 15 miles away.
Starkweather's friend was a 70-year-old farmer, whom they asked for help in getting their car unstuck from a mud bog. The old man was obliging, but before he knew what was happening, Charlie killed him with a shotgun.
Apparently, the farmer didn't have a vehicle the teens could steal, as they continued on foot. Another teen couple made the mistake of stopping to offer them a ride.
Charlie killed them, as well, and hid their bodies in a storm cellar before stealing their car and heading for Lincoln, Nebraska. There, he killed again. This time, it was a well-known businessman, his wife, and their housekeeper. Starkweather and Fugate filled the man's Packard with valuables from the house before taking it and continuing west.
Just over the Wyoming border, Charlie became paranoid that the expensive car with Nebraska plates would be spotted and started looking for another car. Just outside of Douglas, they found just what they'd been looking for: a car parked along the highway.
A shoe salesman from Montana had pulled over to rest by the Ayres Natural Bridge turnoff, providing Charlie with a less conspicuous vehicle. Starkweather shot the salesman, but before he and Caril successfully switched cars, another motorist stopped to see if help was needed.
When the man glanced into the front seat and saw a dead body, he turned just in time to see Charlie pulling a shotgun on him. Knowing he would die if he didn't get the gun away from Starkweather, the man tried to wrestle it away. Soon, a Natrona County Deputy Sheriff arrived on the scene. Charlie tried to flee in the Packard but gave up after the sheriff fired a shot through the windshield.
The shot hadn't hit Charlie, and he wasn't seriously injured, but flying glass from the windshield had cut his ear. When he saw his own blood flowing, he thought he had been hit and surrendered.
The next day, news crews and curious crowds crammed themselves into the Converse County Courthouse and congregated outside, wanting to catch a glimpse of the young couple who had orchestrated the shocking rampage.
Charlie immediately confessed to all of the murders and even confessed to an additional killing he'd committed before taking Caril on the murderous spree.
Starkweather received the death penalty and was electrocuted in Nebraska the following year.
Caril Ann Fugate's involvement proved to be more of a gray area. Although Charlie implicated her in more than one of the killings before his death, she maintained that he was only doing it to take her down with him.
Fugate had appeared at times to be cooperating and fully involved in Starkweather's scheme, but she told authorities that she was afraid of Charlie and everything she'd done had been out of self-preservation.
Not counting the man Starkweather killed before the murders started with Fugate's family, the bloody orgy cost 10 people their lives.
Have you heard or read accounts of Charlie Starkweather and Caril Fugate? What other shocking crime sprees in Wyoming do you know of?
Though these two teenagers brought their murderous rampage from another state, Wyoming isn’t without its own deranged killers. In fact, the
first serial killer in Wyoming’s history began her bloody reign almost 100 years before Starkweather and Fugate.