Mary Franklin missing 18 years today
King has a theory.
It goes like this:
She believes the man who confessed told the truth.
She believes that on Saturday night, July 26, someone knocked on the door. Franklin would never let anyone she didn’t know into her house at night.
A voice accompanied the knock. It was the sound of a man who had been there many times. Someone she trusted. He had bought groceries for her, cut the grass, visited for hours. Seeing his pickup in front of her house wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. To Franklin, his voice was one of safety.
Franklin got up and made her way to the door. She opened it and welcomed the man inside. As she turned her back, three other people, two men and a woman, followed the first man inside. They pounced.
They forced her to the floor and knocked off her wig. They covered her head and demanded to know where she kept her money.
Franklin said she didn’t have any. The four became enraged at that answer. Somewhere inside the house that didn’t even have a television was money. It didn’t matter what she said. They had heard she had money. It was in the house somewhere.
They searched through the house. They went through the icebox, the trunk, under the mattress. Nothing.
At some point, rage overcame the four. They beat Franklin upon her insistence that there wasn’t any money in the house. She died.
In his confession, the man said after searching the house the group wrapped Franklin in a sheet and carried her out to their pickup. The four took Franklin to a dump on Halls Ferry and used a backhoe to bury her.
But before they rolled her into the hole, Franklin moaned. One of the men hit her in the head. They put her in the hole and began filling the hole, covering it with trash.
In 1991, Dennis Henry DePue of Michigan, profiled that night on TV’s “America’s Most Wanted,” ended a yearlong flee from police near the front of the house by taking his own life after getting into a shootout with Barrett and other officers.
In October 1994, the bodies of three Hinds Community College students were discovered in the home. They had been shot to death with their hands tied behind their backs.
That case was solved. Franklin’s has not been.
For now, the case remains open. Warren County Deputy Jay McKenzie said they still ponder information and review clues, old and new.
King, who voluntarily took a polygraph to defuse rumors and clear her own name, said several people have inquired about purchasing the property. But her half brother in Milwaukee, who owns the property, said he has no plans to sell it. He continues to pay taxes on the land, content to hold on to it.
“Her husband bought that land and she was going to stay there until she died,” King said. “It’s her property. She didn’t leave a will. It’s still there.”
One of the men King believes was involved in the murder of her grandmother has died, and another is in jail for a separate matter. But she still runs into the third man and the woman.
She said whenever they see her, they turn and go in the opposite direction, never saying a word to King.
Even though no one has been charged, King said she does not harbor any ill feelings toward the sheriff’s office and still has hope for an end to the saga.
“I really truly believe they did everything they could,” she said.