Special thanks to the INGenWeb group for letting me house my webliography on their site. Hoping it is helpful to many researching these chilling tales from Montgomery County, Indiana's history.



Montgomery Murder & Massacre

Men & Women of Montgomery County, Indiana, who were murdered or served as the murderer

An Annotated Webliography Created by:

Suzie Zach Baldwin

To learn more about each murder, click on the highlighted name.

BAIRD, Arthur II

Not only murdering his pregnant wife, but parents as well, this chilling massacre took place near Darlington, Indiana in 1985.

BYRD, Chad

One of the newer murders of the county, Chad Byrd, with his brother and parents, was enjoying a family cookout on a warm November day in 2009. This was on their property not far from New Richmond, Indiana. Then, Chad brought out his shot gun and his brother was dead.


Convicted of the murders of Jim & Mattie McMullen, most believed he was innocent. Coffey was the first of two men who went to the scaffolds at the Crawfordsville Jail (now the Old Jail Museum). 1885

JUDD, Winnie Ruth

A beautiful, intelligent lady sent two trunks from Phoenix to Los Angeles in 1931, When she went to retrieve the trunks, baggage inspector George Brooker suspicioned something. She got away but when Brooker opened the first trunk a set of eyes glared at him. In the other, a young woman with three bullet wounds and a severed body was found. Not long afterwards, Winnie Ruth Judd, a minister's daughter from Darlington, Indiana became known as the Trunk Murderess.


January 2015 -- It has been three years since Sam Kessler, a local farmer, born and raised in Montgomery County was murdered in his home near Ladoga, Indiana. To my knowledge there is no indication of who murdered Sam. God knows!



This story hits close to home, not only because Fred is a cousin, but because it took place in my hometown. Information from the family indicates Fred did the deed you will read about; however, it was on a bet and he had planned on taking the goods back to the store. Mr. Spencer said to leave him alone he'd discuss it with Mr. Morgan but vigilantes in town shot him, killed him, and ruined the lives of many. Above all, like many murders and massacres, it was an nuncalled for, unwitted act.

OWENS, Jonathan

Jonathan S. Owen(s), farmer, lived in the Southwest part of Montgomery County, Indiana in the mid-1800s. Mixing his children and his second (or was she his third?) wife, Kizzie's children made for a tense situation. Upon the birth of Kizzie's sixth child, she became extremely distraught. Poisoned, whether by her choice or her husband's was the question at his trial in July of 1859.

Walker, Otto Earl

Otto Walker and his wife, Laura Voris Walker had separated. He was continually begging her to go back together but to no avail. Her answer was no - she was tired of being beaten at his every whim. She and their two small children had left the home and were living in a boarding house. When he received the divorce papers, he hid out, watched the home, found her on the porch, drag her away and slit her throat. After a feeble attempt at trying to do the same on his own body, he was arrested, and spent the next couple of decades in the federal prison at Michigan City, Indiana.



The purpose for this Webliography is to present a collection of materials to be found in regards to some of the major murders in Montgomery County, Indiana.

Sources Used:

You will find a variety of materials: web sites; newspaper articles; nonfiction books; fiction works; a poem; and other reference materials in regards to the various murders. The local newspapers were the most current data available covering the incidents. Indiana Court and trial records are also noted in order to accentuate authenticity.


Anyone who enjoys history will want to peruse this site. The murders of Montgomery County, Indiana have often been a topic of historical and genealogical research. Therefore, research away!!


I, Sara Suzette (Suzie) Baldwin, prompted by my mother, Karen Bazzani Zach, became interested in the many murders of our county. I decided to create this Webliography for my mother's Indiana GenWeb site and will likely link it to the Crawfordsville District Public Library site, as well. Currently, I'm employed at the CDPL in the circulation department. My English degree was obtained from St. Mary-of-the-Woods-College, near Terre Haute. At this time, I am working on my masters in Library Science at IUPUI. Married to Steve Baldwin, I am the happy, and very busy mother of three children, AJ, Dane and Reilley. I am extremely active in Rock Point Church, Crawfordsville, Montgomery County, Indiana. My heart goes out to all those on this page, but, as you will read, especially Erika and Fred.

DEDICATION: This page is dedicated to a beautiful young woman I knew, and will never forget, Erika Elaine Norman. Erika was murdered by Brian Jones, when she was a student at Vincennes University in 1999. She was born and grew-up in Montgomery County on a farm near the little town of Waveland, Indiana. Having been raised by good, religious parents, it was Erika's first step into the world, a step that turned the wrong direction one night when she let Brian Jones, a boy she knew from class, walk her home.

A scholarship is given at the University in Erika's name as well as South Montgomery HS where she graduated. Like her signature, her life had great flare until the flame was put out. Love you, Erika

Photo from findagrave.com

"Held Captive." https://www.ourworldinpoetry.com/NATIONAL_NEWS_POETRY.php. Held Captive is a poem about Brian Jones and how he held the city of Vincennes captive for several years as beautiful VU students disappeared.

"Positive ID Made of Found Body." Chicago Tribune News Service. 23 July 1999. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1999-07-23/news/9907230046_1_dental-records-norman-case-vincennes-university. A brief overview of an article that states the body found in a southwestern Illinois cornfield was positively IDd by dental records as Erika "Elizabeth" Norman - note she was named for her mother, Elaine - Erika Elaine Norman.

"Vincennes University Slaying." http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1N1-108486C352D1614F.html. Article in a local newspaper at the time of Erika's death begins to link Erika's murder and the two-year-old murder of Brook Baker, another VU student.

"Letters." http://www.journalreview.com/opinion/article_e3766ba2-9930-11e0-b3bd-001cc4c03286.html. Two of several letters prompted by the disappearance of an IU student this summer (2011) mentioning Erika's disappearance, as well.

By typing in Erika Elaine Norman onto the internet, a researcher can read for hours about this horrific event. The Crawfordsville District Public Library also has the index to the C'ville newspapers regarding Erika's plight at this site http://history.cdpl.lib.in.us/currentevents.html. Type in Erika Norman. God Keep you, EEN! You're finally safe from all harm.



© Copyright 2013 Suzie Zach Baldwin

Last Updated: 17 February 2013

ROSS, Phillip

Almost nothing is known about this man. A descendant gave the information to Karen Zach who basically created the fictionalized account in her Montgomery Murder Mysteries. It is with great thought I add this one thinking at first it was not webliography-worthy; however, without this site no one would know and even the facts are sad.

RUSH, (Mrs.) Moses

Newspaper descriptions told the details of the nasty event but only referred to the murderess as "Mrs. Moses Rush." Pushed to the point of total degregation, Mrs. Moses Rush finally took up the same ax Moses threatened her with and dropped it right in the middle of his skull.Even though she freely admitted to the deed, the trial result had a surprise ending! 1836

SHULAR, William Edgar (Bill)

Having grown-up in a religious home, William Shular (Bill) was a gentle, good son and man until he began drinking whiskey on his 21st birthday. Add his mad passion for the game of pulling to that and Bill was known to do about anything, including chase women and eventually killing a man. 1885


Rob Shute, needed drug money, thus, knocked on the door of a gal who had been his landlady. Brenda Stuckey let him in, and he demanded money. Most said she'd have given it to him ... if he'd asked. Instead, her refusal cost her dearly, forfeiting her life.

WELLS, Alfred

Alfred Wells had been seeing a psychiatrist but evidently to no avail as he stuffed his four sons down an old drinking well near Darlington, Indiana. The first day in June of 1899, Alfred told his sons they were going to pick strawberries. Not long after, his wife, Mary, heard her children screaming. By the time she and a couple of neighbors got to them, it was too late for two of her four sons.


Frederick Wineland was murdered by his son, Milton. At work (in a cornfield next to their house) with his wife's nephew, Ben VanCleave, Frederick had been abused by Milton twice before. This time, it went beyond abuse as Milton rode into the field, shot Frederick, then Ben and rode off to oblivion. His own mother posted a $1,000 reward, an unheard of amount for the times, for her son's justice, which came in the call of Colonel Curtis, a bounty hunter.

I hope each and every one of these folks are NOW, Resting In Peace !!


thanks to clipartoday.com