In the morning of November 1978, inhabitants in Speedway, Indiana, woke up to the shocking report of four fast food restaurant workers being brutally murdered. In the intervening time, the case has been the subject of national media attention, with different theories about what might have transpired. Investigation Discovery’s “Murders at The Burger Joint’ follows the events that led to the quadruple murder and the subsequent investigation. Let’s learn what transpired then, will we?
How Did Jayne Friedt, Ruth Shelton, Daniel Davis, and Mark Flemmonds Die?
Jayne Friedt was a 20-year-old working as an Assistant Manager of the Burger Chef restaurant in Speedway. Alongside her during the time that the accident occurred were teenagers Ruth Shelton, 16-year-old Daniel Davis along with 16-year-old Mark Flemmonds. They were all considered to be responsible employees, which makes what transpired on the night of the 17th of November, 1978, quite shocking.
At midnight the employee who was there to say hello after seeing the lights in the restaurant. The door to the back was open, and he quickly discovered that something was not right because the restaurant was not occupied, while the secure was opened but the cash was not in it. The next day four employees were discovered in a wooded, hilly area of Johnson County, Indiana, just a 35-40-minute distance from the dining establishment.
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Daniel and Ruth were discovered lying together, side by side, with their faces down. Both were shot several times on the neck, head, and shoulders by the .38-caliber firearm. Jayne was discovered just a few yards away. She was twice stabbed in her heart, and the knife that was broken off was still inside the body. For Mark, it was discovered that he was suffering from the result of a blunt force injury and died due to the blood he absorbed from himself. He may have been beaten, and then the tree he was in a hit at some point.
Who Killed Jayne Friedt, Ruth Shelton, Daniel Davis, and Mark Flemmonds?
Initially, authorities initially believed that they had left with money to go out for a night. However, it appeared odd. Additionally, Ruth and Jayne’s jackets, as well as purses, were in the restaurant. The robbery was a thought motive. However, there was a large amount of cash in changes left over, and the two victims carried cash and other valuables with their person. Additionally, the various ways of killing frightened the police.
The investigation also had to deal with various problems because the restaurant was permitted to be cleaned following the disappearance. This could mean that any evidence had been destroyed. The investigation also stated that vehicles passed through the region where the bodies were discovered and tampered with the crime scene. Following the time the bodies were found, police had descriptions of two males who were found in the restaurant. In the end, drawings along with clay busts of the victims were crafted.
There were numerous theories about what happened, but the lack of evidence and no leads that led to the investigation were deemed to be dead. In 1981, authorities learned about Alan Pruitt, who claimed to have details about the murder. He recalled having two people, Jeff Reed and Tim Willoughby, who took the four employees from their vehicle and Jayne’s. Then, Alan stated that Jeff struck Mark’s head against the van.
The following day, after Tim’s disappearance, Alan was seen hanging out with Tim and Jeff, along with Tim’s girlfriend, Mary Ann Higginbotham. The four of them drove about in the car, and Alan said that Mary talked about Tim and Jeff murdering each other. Burger Chef employees. They also inquired with Alan regarding what he had seen the night before. The group ended up in a remote area and walked out of the vehicle.
Alan said that Mary wanted him to go as she claimed they’d murder her and him. When Alan ran off after the incident, he told of hearing shots. Seven months later, Mary was discovered dead in the barrel following an incident at the Burger Chef incident. But Alan’s version of events kept changing throughout the years, but with no definitive evidence to link Jeff or Tim with the crime, the investigation remained unsolved.
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Then, in 1989 Donald Forrester, a convicted criminal who was serving time for rape, confessed that he was responsible for his involvement in the Burger Chef murders. He said that the murders were caused by an unpaid drug debt Jayne was owed. Donald said that he had several accomplices, and the police believed several kidnappers were involved at the time. At first, he had certain information that was not made public, and it led police to the remote scene of the crime. However, according to the program, Donald talked about the victim being bound to a prisoner, which was not true.
Authorities also discovered shell casings inside the septic tank in the home where Donald used to reside. While the weapon used to kill was .38-caliber, the casings found were .22-caliber. The police concluded that Donald wanted to reduce his sentence and did not find any evidence linking him to the crime. The investigation remains in the dark, but authorities have stated that information has continued to surface. In 2018, they published images of the knife used to kill Jayne. The knife’s handle, as well as the gun, have not been found.