Skidmore has been a magnet for trouble By SCOTT CANON and RICK MONTGOMERY The Kansas City Star (Reg. Req., but excerpts follow)

SKIDMORE, Mo. –– How, wonder the people still left in this small town getting smaller, could such horrible things happen in a place they treasure for its friendly rural charms?

First came the notorious “Skidmore bully,” Ken Rex McElroy, whose death made national headlines. He had so terrorized the town that when somebody gunned him down in broad daylight in 1981, nobody would admit to seeing a thing.

Then on Oct. 16, 2000, pretty Wendy Gillenwater was stomped to death by her boyfriend. Locals take comfort in knowing the killer is serving life in prison.

The next year, a 20-year-old resident vanished. Many think he was murdered.

And now the police cars and media crews are back. Somebody on Thursday killed 23-year-old Bobbie Jo Stinnett, butchering her body to pull out the little girl due next month to be Stinnett's firstborn.

“Why do they all come to Skidmore to do this?” decadelong resident Pauline Dragoo asked on Friday, her 91st birthday. “I'm going to move out of this town.

When I lived in Kansas City in the 80's and 90's, the Ken McElroy incident was widely discussed, especially in light of the book In Broad Daylight by Harry MacLean. The consensus at that time was that Skidmore's residents were essentially complicit in a massive conspiracy of silence about the murder of McElroy.

Some of these small midwestern towns are truly miserable places. Skidmore appears to be no exception. Reading the opening quote about what a great place it is to live feels akin to reading a quote from someone about how the guy next door who just went postal was really quiet, and always kept to himself. It's never "all he could talk a bout was killing Buckwheat."

Seriously, though, is there a citizen in American that won't tell a reporter how great it is where he lives?

Posted by DOC

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