Real Name: Trudy Jean Blecher Darby
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Macks Creek, Missouri
Date: January 19, 1991
Details: Forty-two-year-old Trudy Darby was a clerk at the K&D convenience store in Macks Creek, Missouri. At 10pm on the night of January 19, 1991, she called her son from the store, telling him about two suspicious men outside. When he arrived ten minutes later, she was gone; however, her car, coat, and purse were left behind. The register was open with $200 missing. Police and her family feared that she had been kidnapped.
Two days later, blood and hair belonging to Trudy was found on a gravel road near the Little Niangua River. Shell casings were found nearby. Later that day, her body was discovered along the banks of the river; she had been raped and shot twice in the head.
Suspects: The two men that Trudy told her son were lurking outside of her store were the prime suspects in her murder. Authorities also believed that her murder might be connected to the disappearances of two other Missouri women, Angela Hammond and Cheryl Kenney.
Local sex offenders and convicted criminals were questioned by police. However, no suspects were identified. Due to the remoteness of the location of the dump site, it was believed that the killer(s) lived in the area.
- This case first aired on the February 5, 1992 episode, which focused primarily on Angela's abduction.
- It was also featured on the show Welcome to Murdertown after its resolution.
Results: Solved. In May 1995, half-brothers Jessie Rush, twenty, and Marvin Chaney, thirty-four, were arrested and charged with Trudy's murder. The two had lived in Macks Creek at the time of the murder. They had actually been stopped for speeding near the store on the night of her abduction. Rush confessed to at least three different friends that he and Chaney were responsible for her murder.
In September 1993, one of the friends contacted police about the confession. She told police that Rush threatened to kill her if she went to the police. Recording devices were placed in the friend's room. The friend was able to get Rush to confess on tape to committing the murder. After he was arrested, he confessed to detectives. While in jail, he also confessed to three inmates. Finally, he wrote several letters to another inmate, confessing to the murder.
According to Rush's multiple confessions, he and Chaney went to the store with the intention of robbing and abducting Trudy. After entering the store and taking the money from the cash register, they dragged her out and forced her into the trunk of their car. They drove her to a nearby barn, raped her, and shot her in the head. They then took her to the river and discovered that she was still alive. They shot her again and then dumped her body in the river.
Chaney denied being involved and claimed that he was home with his wife at the time of the abduction. Initially, his wife supported his alibi. However, she later changed her story, stating that she lied because she was afraid of him. In March 1996, Rush was convicted of kidnapping and first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. In April 1997, Chaney pleaded guilty to kidnapping and first-degree murder. He was also sentenced to life in prison.
Police believe that Chaney was involved in other murders. One of the cases he has been suspected of is the disappearance of Diana Braungardt. However, Chaney died in prison in 2017 and was never charged in any other cases. Police believe that Chaney and Rush were responsible for Angela and Cheryl's disappearances. In his letters to another inmate, Rush mentioned dumping the bodies of two other women in remote locations. However, their bodies have never been found.
- Missing Macks Creek woman found dead - January 22, 1991
- Officials hunt clues in death of Macks Creek woman - January 23, 1991
- Woman murdered in east part of county - January 24, 1991
- Residents describe suspect in slaying of store's clerk - January 26, 1991
- Search continues for leads in murder - January 31, 1991
- Composite of murder suspect released in Darby slaying - January 31, 1991
- Clothing of murder victim found in Little Niangua River - February 28, 1991
- Three vanishings baffle FBI - April 8, 1991
- Arrests made in Camden County murder case - May 4, 1995
- Half-brothers confessed, inmate says - June 10, 1995
- Darby murder trial involves AG - October 19, 1995
- Court Actions: Camdenton, Mo. - March 28, 1996
- Guilty verdict in Darby murder - March 28, 1996
- Darby verdict brings closure - March 28, 1996
- Jury finds man guilty of murder - March 28, 1996
- Second Darby murder suspect pleads guilty - April 17, 1997
- State v. Rush - July 9, 1997
- Man convicted of 1991 killing of Missouri convenience store clerk dies in prison - September 5, 2017
- Jess Rush Inmate Information
- Trudy Darby at Find a Grave