Real Name: Melissa K. Munday
Nicknames: Missy, Melissa Strickland
Location: Hancock, Maryland; Pontiac, Michigan
Date: April 17, 1986; May 11, 1987
Date of Birth: June 1970
Weight: 135 pounds
Marital Status: Married
Characteristics: Caucasian female. Brown hair.
Details: Fifteen-year-old Missy Munday was an honors student and a member of the Future Homemakers of America. She lived in Hancock, Maryland with her family. According to her mother, Phyllis, she only left home to go to church and ball games. In 1986, a man named Jerry Strickland arrived in the area. He claimed that he was looking for property that he wanted to convert into an orphanage. He contacted the Mundays, asking about the ownership of a nearby house.
Phyllis felt that Jerry was a "smooth talker" and did not care for him. However, Missy was intrigued by him. They began seeing each other. Each time he visited her he brought her a gift. According to her friends, he gave her the attention that she wasn't receiving at home. She went out with him after school and lied to Phyllis, claiming that she was with friends. She regularly snuck out of the house at night to see him. He told her that he had a tragic past and that his first wife and child had died in a terrible car accident.
On the morning of April 17, 1986, Missy left home to catch the school bus. However, instead of doing so, she was picked up by Jerry and they left the state. She had no idea that everything that he had told her was a lie. His wife and child were still alive. He was passing bad checks around Hancock. Also, he had a serious prison record: he had been convicted of malicious assault. During this attack, he had raped and nearly stabbed his sister-in-law to death.
Missy and Jerry settled in Springfield, Michigan, and had a son named Jamie together. She still kept in contact with some of her friends in Maryland, but did not tell her family where she was. She told her friends that she didn't care about any of her family except for her older brother and grandfather. She claimed that she went with Jerry because he took her away from her family. Her friend, Sheri, noticed that they never kissed or held hands. She claimed that he wasn't very affectionate. To make ends meet, she got a job as an assistant manager at a nearby gas station. She became friends with thirty-eight-year-old Elmer DeBoer, the courier for the oil company. He picked up the cash receipts from the local gas stations.
On the morning of May 11, 1987, Elmer came to pick up the money from the station. He was near the end of his route. He was never seen alive again. An hour later at 11am, the station was discovered deserted and the front door locked. His car was still in the parking lot. Inside, the safe was found opened and over $10,000 was missing. Authorities believe that Missy and Jerry robbed Elmer when he entered the station and opened the safe. They believe Jerry handcuffed Missy and Elmer together, to make him believe that she was also a victim. They then took him to a wooded area a few miles away. There, Jerry unlocked the handcuff from Missy's wrist to show that he wasn't going to hurt her. He then shot Elmer twice in the back of the head. His body was found there the next day, twenty miles from the station.
The morning after the murder, Jerry and Missy were seen in Pontiac, Michigan, where they bought a truck using small bills. For two hours, she sat with an auto salesman alone but did not tell him about the murder. This led authorities to believe that she was willingly involved in it. Her family and friends are shocked that she could be involved in such a crime. Jerry is wanted for armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder, while Missy is currently wanted for questioning in the case.
Suspects: Jerry Strickland
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the Special #5, February 5, 1988 episode and updated on the Special #6, May 6, 1988 episode.
Results: Solved. Within minutes of the broadcast, twenty viewers called the police to report that Missy and Jerry were living in Moses Lake, Washington. Seven hours later, they were arrested at a friend's house. Incredibly, they had watched the broadcast and were waiting for the police to arrive.
During the time on the run, Missy and Jerry had another child. On February 12, they were extradited back to Michigan to stand trial for armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder. Jerry was interviewed by Unsolved Mysteries and insisted that they were innocent. However, Missy later turned state's evidence against him. At his trial, she stated that although she didn't witness the murder, he confessed to the crime to her. In exchange for her testimony, the murder and kidnapping charges were dropped. She served seven months in a juvenile home for armed robbery and was released when she turned nineteen. She then moved back in with her parents and children. Jerry was convicted of murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery and is serving two consecutive life sentences without parole.
- TV Show Takes the Mystery Out of Unsolved Murder
- TV crime show leads to arrests in murder case
- Fugitive Couple Nabbed After Airing of 'Unsolved Mysteries'
- Pair arrested after TV crime show
- TV show leads to capture of fugitive killer
- Suspect puzzles school officials
- Testimony disputed
- Lover says Strickland confessed to murder
- Lover says Strickland admits '87 Waterford Twp. shooting
- Strickland Convicted in May 1987 Robbery-Slaying
- Teen returns from youth home
- Multiple articles on case from SitcomsOnline