(This is the third and final article in the series on the 1967 homicide case that was never solved.)
As we reported earlier, the bodies of two Canadian college students, Bertram Kidd and Marjorie Sharp, were found Nov. 26, 1967, on a farm south of Buffalo owned by Orvid Spoering.
Several months later the homicide — and the unsolved case — was featured in national detective magazine in an article titled, “Happiness to Horror.”
Since the young couple was found not wearing any clothes, Cpl. Andrew Esther of the Missouri State Highway Patrol theorized that a sex motive was involved. Dallas County Sheriff Noble Gower speculated that considering the neat stacking of the clothing, the killer probably forced the couple — at gunpoint — to remove their clothes. But if it was to prevent identification, why were the clothes left there?
The two lawmen acknowledged that, due to the condition of the female corpse, it would be impossible to determine whether she had been raped. Corporal Esther found 93 cents on the male victim, but no wallet, and there was no money in the woman’s purse. It was determined that they both had been carrying traveler’s checks, but had not cashed any of them since leaving Mexico.
When returning to the sheriff’s headquarters, Coroner Jerry Cantlon told the officers that a pathologist had completed an examination of the bodies and had determined both victims died from gunshot wounds. It was determined that the young man had been shot at least three times in the chest, with each of them going completely through his body. The woman was shot once in the back of the head.
Dallas County Sheriff’s Deputy Ernest Bennett said, “I’d say that the shootings occurred in the soybean field. I doubt that anyone would have brought the two bodies there after killing them at some other place.”
In the slain man’s shirt pocket was found a business card of “William Black, Dealer in Antiques, Tulsa, Oklahoma.”
Noel Shull, superintendent of Buffalo’s water plant, was called upon to use his metal detector to see if he could locate the bullets. It took him 10 minutes to locate three bullets.
The officers also found a pair of horn-rimmed glasses, which they thought might belong to the killer. But in fact, they turned out to have belonged to Bertram Kidd.
William Black, the antique dealer, was located by Oklahoma authorities. Black phoned Dallas County law officers and said that about two months ago he had picked up a young man and woman who were from Canada, and the girl said her father was a retired banker in Montreal.
Black said he had picked up the couple hitchhiking on the northern outskirts of Dallas, Tex., and they left him at the border of Oklahoma. At that time they left him because he had to drive east for business reasons. As a friendly gesture he had given Kidd a business card.
Dallas County officials also got word that Kidd’s father was flying to Missouri to identify whether the victim was indeed his son. He arrived the next day, along with his personal physician, who positively identified the bodies of both Kidd and Marjorie Sharp.
“Our one hope to solve the double killing is to find someone who might have seen a car parked out near the soybean field on the night the youngsters were killed,” Sheriff Gower said. “Too, the doomed hitchhikers could have been seen with someone while they traveled toward our city.”
As previously reported, a gas station attendant near Springfield called Sheriff Gower with the information that the young Canadians had been in his place on Sept. 20, 1967, shortly before nightfall. The employee declared that he had talked with Marjorie Sharp about Canada. He, himself, had a relative living in that country.
The witness went on to say that he had furnished the co-ed with a large piece of cardboard on which she had written the word, “Chicago.” The girl had explained that she and her companion were going to that city.
The sheriff wondered why they were going to Chicago, which was not the shortest route to Montreal. Could they have been confused about what route they should follow?
No evidence was ever found that connected any person with the brutal murder. One possible clue was the couple’s traveler’s checks, but they were never found nor was it ever discovered whether and where they might have been cashed.
As mentioned earlier, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Office has reopened this 1967 homicide case.