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  • November 18, 1978, an employee at Burger Chef swings by the restaurant to say hi to his

  • workmates as they finish their evening shift.

  • He opens the door to find the restaurant is empty.

  • The lights are on and things don't look that out of the ordinary for just after closing

  • time.

  • But, he doesn't see any of the four staff that should be working.

  • Those are three teenagers and the 20-year old assistant manager.

  • It's eerily quiet, so he shouts out, “Hey guys, what's up.”

  • No answer.

  • He shouts again, now becoming just a little bit nervous as he peers at burger cartons

  • that should have been cleaned up.

  • HEY, guys, stop messing around.”

  • There's still no answer.

  • They aren't in the back, either, nor are they in the office or the bathroom.

  • They've gone.

  • Just vanished.

  • The guy calls the cops, even though he's sure they'll turn up nearby or something.

  • They will turn up, and what ensues will haunt that young man for the rest of his days.

  • This case will become one of the most confounding crime mysteries the USA has ever seen, a story

  • with so many twists and turns it'll make you dizzy trying to guess what happened that

  • night.

  • It wouldn't be out of place in a season of Breaking Bad.

  • In fact, as you'll see close to the end, Breaking Bad could easily have partly been

  • based on the murders.

  • Not long after the discovery of the empty restaurant, Indiana State Trooper Jim Cramer

  • got a call on his radio.

  • This night will become his worst nightmare, something he'll take with him well past

  • retirement.

  • The town of Speedway, Indianapolis, population 12,500, will soon become one of the most talked-about

  • places in the USA.

  • Dispatch informs Cramer that a bunch of kids have just gone missing from the Burger Chef

  • restaurant.

  • They are: Assistant manager Jayne Friedt, 20, and workers, Ruth Shelton, 17; Danny Davis,

  • 16; Mark Flemmonds, 16.

  • Cramer might not have worked on too many big cases, but one thing he is used to are bored

  • local kids messing around.

  • Still, when he gets to the restaurant he is met with the scene of a crime.

  • The safe is open and money bags are strewn around.

  • Lying near the safe is some adhesive tape that's been used up.

  • Ok, he thinks, there's been a robbery.

  • That's not so unusual, but what is unusual is the fact the four staff are missing.

  • With hold-ups, people might get hurt from time to time, but they'll almost always

  • be found on the property.

  • Cramer thinks that in all likelihood they might have been forced out of the restaurant

  • and taken someplace.

  • They'll turn up sooner or later, he imagines.

  • More cops arrive at the scene, as does the Burger Chef manager.

  • He informs the police that only US$581 has been stolen, not a lot of cash even back in

  • 1978.

  • It seems obvious, say the cops.

  • The kids took the money and have gone on a spending spree.

  • Maybe they took the loot and hit the road, probably after having a beef with the manager.

  • But then one cop starts shaking his head.

  • He's seen enough TV to know something is amiss.

  • If that's the case,” he says, “Why are there bags and purses here.

  • Surely they would have taken them with them?”

  • The older cops laugh in a derisive manner.

  • One of them says, “Ok Columbo, maybe it was the butler that did it with the ice-cream

  • scoop in the toilet.”

  • They're pretty well sure it's a case of dumb kids who didn't exactly think through

  • their crime.

  • They're so sure that's the case, they don't even tell the restaurant to not open

  • the next day.

  • The next morning staff will clean up what is actually a major crime scene.

  • As you'll see, this will have profound ramifications.

  • That young cop was right.

  • The kids don't turn up at all.

  • They don't call their parents or friends.

  • They haven't been seen anywhere.

  • Two days later, a couple is out hiking in a quiet lane alongside some woods.

  • They see tire tracks, except it looks as if someone was in a hurry and skidded off the

  • lane.

  • They follow the tracks and head off into the woods.

  • This spot is about half an hour's drive from the Burger Chef restaurant.

  • First, they find the bodies of Ruth and Danny.

  • They are face down and have been shot execution-style in the back of the head multiple times.

  • They've also been beaten around the face.

  • The woman puts her hand to her mouth in shock.

  • The man looks around, wondering if the killer might still be in the woods.

  • It's then he sees something that he'll never forget.

  • He says nothing to his wife and just walks towards another body.

  • It's the assistant manager, Jayne.

  • She's been stabbed twice through the heart.

  • Whoever did it used so much force the blade broke off in her chest.

  • The third victim, Mark, is a bit farther away near a creek.

  • He's been beaten so badly he barely looks human.

  • His face is a bloody pulp.

  • It will turn out that the cause of death was him choking on his own blood.

  • What he was hit with is still a mystery, although a large chain will become the suspected weapon.

  • This is not only an astonishingly brutal crime, one that is unusual even in a country well-known

  • for its regularity of violent crimes, but it seems like a needless crime.

  • Why on Earth would someone have done that?

  • They already had the cash.

  • Ok, so they might have been seen, but even so, a quadruple murder?!

  • Also, given the fact that the murders were all so violent, one might assume the killer

  • had known the youngsters.

  • This looked like a revenge crime.

  • It just didn't make sense, though.

  • The victims didn't all have the same friends and they didn't have any known enemies.

  • They were still kids, not arch criminals.

  • At one of the girl's funerals, the minister, close to tears himself, looked over at the

  • grieving family.

  • Gritting his teeth he said, “Somewhere in this city, this state, this country, there

  • is a man or men who are the executioners of these four precious lives.

  • Sooner or later they will be caught and judged.”

  • Why, oh why, would anyone have done that to them?

  • Watch on, because this story is going to get wild.

  • The cops came under a lot of scrutiny of course.

  • This was the biggest story of the year.

  • People had just gotten used to the fact Ted Bundy was no longer prowling the streets,

  • and now they looked at their TVs and heard how four innocent, young kids had been viciously

  • killed.

  • Maybe it was a serial killer?

  • It was the 70s, the so-called golden age of serial killing.

  • Still, this crime didn't have the same MO as a serial killer crime.

  • The place was robbed, which is not usually in the bag of tricks that deranged serial

  • killers take to the scene of their crimes.

  • Not only that, none of the victims has been messed with sexually.

  • Plus, they'd been killed in different ways, so the murders had separate signatures.

  • Ok, so let's have a look at what could have happened.

  • Firstly, there were two teenagers that said they saw something strange that night.

  • They said they had spotted two men looking rather suspicious parked outside the Burger

  • Chef sometime before midnight.

  • It was closed, so they did wonder why someone would wait outside.

  • They went over to the car to investigate, whereupon the guys got out.

  • They demanded to see the kids' IDs, acting like they were cops.

  • Once they'd seen those IDs, the men said get away from here, there's been a lot of

  • vandalism in the area and they might get picked up.

  • The kids said both guys were white and in their 30s.

  • One of them had a beard and the other guy was pale in complexion and had light-colored

  • hair.

  • The cops even had the kids hypnotized, thinking an expert might help better jog their memories.

  • With that information surely something would happen.

  • Given the extreme nature of the crime, you'd think the perpetrators would have had a history

  • of violence, so, just go through the data and look at local men, or at least men in

  • the state, who fit that profile.

  • Well, the police did that.

  • They actually brought a guy in for questioning.

  • He'd had a beard for at least five years, but guess what, he shaved it off the night

  • before he was brought into the station to stand in a lineup.

  • The kid who'd seen the men didn't pick him out.

  • This guy had been brought to the attention of the cops because of another man.

  • He'd been in a bar one night and had a few too many drinks.

  • Whilst playing pool the suspect turned around to a bunch of other guys and said he committed

  • the murders.

  • The next day, someone got in touch with the cops.

  • He was brought in for questioning and had to take a polygraph.

  • He passed it, and after a lengthy interrogation, he was no longer a suspect.

  • The thing was, though, let's just say this guy wasn't exactly an angel.

  • He had a bunch of dodgy acquaintances and he told the cops who he thought might have

  • committed the crime.

  • As well as the guy with the shaved-off beard, he also told them about a fair-haired guy

  • who was likely the other killer.

  • But guess what, when cops looked for him they discovered he was in prison when the murders

  • happened.

  • The police had nothing, but this story is just getting started.

  • We looked at Indianapolis Star news clippings from a few years after the crime and it seems

  • the cops thought they had their man in the mid-80s.

  • You see, one day they got a call from an inmate serving time at Pendleton Correctional Facility.

  • The man's name was Donald Forrester.

  • He told the cops right out that he'd committed the murders.

  • Sometime later, he went with the police to where the bodies were buried.

  • He told them where he'd dumped each one and he told them about the broken knifesomething

  • he shouldn't have known because it wasn't made public.

  • This guy had been in and out of prison most of his adult life.

  • He was serving a 95-year sentence for abduction and rape when he got in touch with the police.

  • He'd also abducted a woman prior to being sentenced.

  • She escaped from him, jumping out of his moving vehicle.

  • She told the police she was so sure he was going to kill her.

  • This was a very bad man, perhaps capable of killing four innocent people.

  • This is how Forrester described the night of the crime.

  • He said the brother of the assistant manager owed him and two others money from a drug

  • deal.

  • They went to the restaurant to get the cash from his sister, but she refused to give them

  • anything.

  • A fight broke out when one of the male staff tried to protect her.

  • In the melee, one of the teens fell and hit his head.

  • Forrester said they thought he was dead, and that's why they executed everyone.

  • They'd driven out to the woods, taking Demerol for some courage, while all the time the four

  • victims were begging for their lives.

  • It sounds like something from a movie, and we hate to say it, but it's possible the

  • guy was making all this up.

  • 95 years is a long time.

  • Maybe he wanted to mess with the investigation, or maybe he thought he could get some years

  • off his sentence.

  • Still, when the cops spoke to the man's wife, she told them he'd driven out to near

  • where those killings happened to collect firearm shell casings.

  • She said later he flushed them down a toilet, so the cops went to the house and looked at

  • the septic tank there.

  • Guess what they found?

  • Shell casings.

  • Cops interrogated Forrester numerous times, but then one day he refused to talk, saying

  • only that he'd lied to them and he hadn't committed the murders.

  • He said he could help them, though.

  • He then asked for immunity from the crime in return for that help.

  • He got it, but still, no arrests were made after all the supposed help the police received.

  • The last newspaper clipping we could find read.

  • The immunity granted by Marion county prosecutor may be voided if it is shown he did participate

  • in the killings.”

  • Why couldn't the police charge this guy?

  • Well, they just didn't have enough evidence.

  • Even with modern DNA technology they couldn't make anything stick, plus the knife handle

  • was missing, the gun was missing, and the restaurant had had a good rubdown by those

  • hardworking employees.

  • Police did test DNA many times, and nothing led back to Forrester.

  • Still, how did he know things that the cops had never made public?

  • What about those bullet casings?

  • And you should also know that his cousin, who was his accomplice in the abduction crime,

  • lived directly opposite that Burger Chef.

  • It totally looked like he did it, but watch on, because you might soon change your mind.

  • For many more years, investigators looked high and low.

  • If they'd been looking for a needle in a haystack, they'd have put every last piece

  • of straw under a microscope.

  • Some locals forgot about the killings, but others, amateur sleuths themselves, never

  • forgot.

  • Word on the street said the cops knew exactly who'd done it.

  • Years later, Cramer, now retired, bald, wearing a white beard, said he was obsessed with that

  • crime.

  • Even now he has a lot of names in his head, a lot of questions that need to be answered.

  • One thing he is sure of is that the investigation was botched from the start.

  • He said it's known that because the cops didn't take photos of the restaurant on

  • the night of the murders, they staged the scene the day after.

  • They were so sure that night the kids were ok, they just didn't do anything.

  • Cramer knows this case better than anyone, and he says while a lot of names have been

  • thrown aroundthe beard-shaver, the pool player, the woman abductorit's more

  • complicated than it seems.

  • It's too easy to name people that look or looked guilty, he said.

  • In a recent interview, he also said, “I was in the dark, I'm still in the dark.”

  • Still, there are more twists to this tale.

  • As we said at the start, there's a Breaking Bad element to this story.

  • We will now ask you to recall a fictional fast-food restaurant called, “Los Pollos

  • Hermanos.”

  • This is the place the characterGusmanages at the same time as running a mega-meth

  • lab.

  • Well, police in this real case actually had evidence that a large drug ring was being

  • managed out of that Burger Chef.

  • It was investigated, but apparently, just before the murders, that ring stopped operating

  • there.

  • It gets even stranger when you hear