Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Kenneth Stanton

Real Name: Kenneth Robert Stanton
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Rape, Child Molestation, Burglary
Missing Since: December 1989


Details: Fifty-two-year-old Kenneth Robert Stanton is a serial child molester recently added to the FBI's 10 Most Wanted List. He was first convicted of child molestation in 1964. He was committed to a state mental hospital in Ionia, Michigan. While there, he was diagnosed as a "criminal sexual psychopath" by psychiatrists. A few years later, he was declared fit to re-enter society, and was freed.
In 1989, Stanton was identified by a young girl in Jackson, Mississippi. The events she described matched the modus operandi of numerous molestations attributed to him. According to investigators, he frequently scouts upper middle class white neighborhoods and carefully selects a house where the victim is quite often home alone. His victims are usually young white females between the ages of seven and twelve. His job as a travelling salesman allows him time to watch these neighborhoods and find potential victims. He is careful to approach the house so as not to disturb anybody. He usually wears a conservative suit and appears nice looking and well dressed.
In most cases, Stanton comes to the front door of the house, presents himself as a person of authority, and shows a badge as if he was a policeman dressed in plain clothes. He asks the victim if their parents are home. He then says that he's either a police officer or a food safety inspector. He often has a clipboard and indicates to the child that he's taking a survey or that he's looking for contaminated milk and that he's there to test the milk in the refrigerator.
If a child would resist entry, Stanton would display a bag of marijuana to them, claiming that he had found it on the front porch. He would then claim that he is entitled to search the house to look for evidence. Once he is inside and has determined that the child is alone, he blindfolds them. He also uses eyedrops and a thermometer as a distraction. At that point, he assaults the child.
In the summer of 1989, Stanton attempted to assault a girl in a home in Jackson, Mississippi. However, she screamed and scared him away. When he ran out of the house, a neighbor boy saw him jump into a car and correctly wrote down his license tag number. Police were able to use that number to identify the car as belonging to Stanton. The victim in the case also identified him from a photo lineup.
After the assault in Jackson, Stanton travelled east through Alabama into Georgia. He committed several crimes there before he was identified in Houston County, Georgia. There were also identifications of him in Columbus, Mississippi; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and Leesburg, Douglasville, and Warner Robbins, Georgia. He is suspected of at least eleven child molestations in those areas. After reviewing the cases and looking at his history back to the 1960s, investigators were able to conclude that he was a "lifelong child molestor" and a "serial child molestor".
In December of 1989, Stanton's car was found abandoned in Perrysburg, Ohio. He has not been seen since.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 24, 1990 episode.

Stanton after his 1990 arrest

Results: Captured. Within minutes of the broadcast, several viewers called to report that Stanton was living at a trailer park in Moraine, Ohio, with his wife; they had married just a few weeks earlier. Local police and FBI agents quickly arrived at his trailer, only to discover that he had fled after he saw himself on the broadcast.
Five days later, Stanton was identified in Rock Hill, South Carolina after he allegedly attempted to molest a nine-year-old girl. Based on information from the broadcast and the police report from the attempted molestation, investigators were certain that he was somewhere in the Rock Hill area. Under the assumption that he was staying at a local motel, the FBI put the motel parking lot under surveillance.
Two days later on October 31, Stanton's car was spotted in the motel parking lot. After identifying the car, FBI agents established surveillance of the motel. Incredibly, a check with the motel office revealed that Stanton had registered under his own name. He indicated to the clerk that he wanted to stay an additional week and wanted to move to the main building. At the FBI's direction, the clerk called his room and told him that the new room was ready. When Stanton emerged from his room, he was arrested.
In July of 1991, Stanton pleaded guilty to the molestation charges and was sentenced to sixty years in prison. He died there on August 20, 2011.
Interestingly, Stanton was considered a possible suspect in the murder of Amy Mihaljevic. He bore a strong resemblance to a composite of the suspect in the case. His car was also found in Ohio, which is where Amy was killed. However, investigators later announced that they did not believe he was involved in the murder.