Grant Keltner

The Wayne/Chapman Murders

The Wayne/Chapman Murders

The following story is based on a true set of murders that took place in Portland, Oregon years ago.  Not many people remember the crimes, I suppose it’s a mystery in a way in who committed the murders, nobody knows for sure what happened that terrible night, they were shocking crimes, some said it was the end of innocence in Portland, a double homicide, it took place back in the early 1960’s.

Through the years, I had heard of the murders when I was a young kid while growing up in N.W. Portland.  I was told spooky, scary tales with the grim details, they frightened me, people who lived in the neighborhood down through the years, bits and pieces of facts, stories that would scare anybody I suppose, especially a young kid, nobody ever truly knowing in what happened that fateful night.

People started locking their doors; things had changed in the neighborhood.  The murders involved a young couple, a few kids were held in jail and charged in committing the crimes, the authorities could not prove they were guilty and let them go a few years later.  The names; well the names have been changed in order to protect the innocent.  I hope you enjoy the following tale, it’s pretty gruesome, a story of a horrific set of murders that happened a long, long time ago, up in Forest Park, near Inspiration Point, they happened on a cold, wet fall night back in 1962.

It was early October in the year of 2014, I was restless that night, I told myself I had to get out of the house, I had been working hard that day and I needed to have a beer and I wanted to take in a football game.  I had not been out in a while; I needed to stretch my legs I told myself.  The colors of fall had set in, the leaves were in full color, and the nights were getting cooler as foggy white misty clouds rolled through the Douglas firs and Maple trees that covered the rolling deep dark hillside of Forest Park.

I meandered here and there through N.W. Portland that night, saw some homeless old man trying to ask a passerby for some money, I just kept walking, not knowing where I was going for sure, hiking over the old gray cracked cement sidewalks that wined through the Nob Hill neighborhood.  I strolled past old homes carved out in the 1880’s and 1890’s, passing by at what at one time were grand old lumber baron and sea captain mansions, they were huge, massive old structures, they seemed to go on for blocks and blocks.  I walked down to the Nob Hill Bar and Grill on that cool crisp Monday night, I had just remembered, lucky me, it was taco night, I was glad, I decided to pop in; the Nobby always served fifty-cent tacos on Monday night.  I usually would buy six or seven tacos cover them with tomatoes, lettuce and cheese along with salsa sauce have a beer and I was a happy camper.  I decided I would find a seat and relax for a bit.

I enjoyed going to the Nob every once in a while, there were some true characters that hung out in the dark lit bar, some of the customers were drifters, others were regulars, neighborhood folk, a real cross section of people, it’s a sports bar and you could always find it crowded if there was a good game on.  Some customers were down on their luck; others worked graveyard at the ESCO steel factory or maybe worked at the Good Samaritan hospital located across the street on N.W. 23rd.

Through the years, I had gotten to know several of the customers that frequented the Nobby; I enjoyed talking to some of these folks more than others at times I suppose, some of the regular customers could get a bit grumpy, especially when they started to drink too much.  I had a few people chew me out at times through the years while conversing with a few of the local folk at the Nob, I told myself I didn’t want anybody to get starting on me that night.

I found a spot in one of the corners of the bar and started to watch a Monday Night football game that was on the big high def. television that hung down in front of me.  I was going to meet my mother that night.  She was getting off work and wanted to have dinner with me at the Nobby and watch the game.  My mother was a huge sports fan, I’d often take her to watch a game at the Nobby through the years.  A few of the bartenders knew her by her first name.  She would order a drink and get something to eat; it was one of her favorite spots in a pinch.

The bar was dark that night, I looked around and didn’t see anybody that I knew.  I watched the game and scribbled down some notes I had kept in one of my pockets, they were notes with a photo shoot that I was going to work on in the next few days.  I enjoyed photography, always had, I was making notes in making sure I had the correct address with the scheduled shoot and making detailed notes with F Stops and exposure settings, making sure I had all the correct equipment, I thought maybe I could review my notes as I sat sipping on a beer that night.

At that time in my life I was working as a photographer with one of the local newspapers based in Portland and had just finished a shoot with a story about a local politician that had helped fund a community center.  I had taken the photos that afternoon.  Soon mom walked in, she was wet from head to toe, I felt sorry for her, she was drenched, and she came in and sat down beside me.  “Man, it’s raining hard out Grant!”  She almost tripped on the way to the table I was sitting at.  She grabbed a chair, sat down and laughed.  I nodded at her, smiled, and continued to watch the game.  We looked at the menu, ordered something to eat, and chatted a bit.  We talked about the events in the day, how her work was keeping her busy, we talked about my writing and photography.

I’ve always enjoyed the local history of Portland, especially the history of N.W. Portland and occasionally I might be lucky in striking up a conversation with one of the well-known locals that frequented the Nobby and maybe have them conger up a conversation with me.  I knew of a couple older journalist’s that liked to hang out at the Nobby from time to time, maybe one of them would be around that night I thought to myself.  Through the years I had heard several stories about the history of the neighborhood while visiting the Nob, lots of the local history I know now was passed down through the customers that went to the Nob Hill, I always liked hearing them tell their tales.

Suddenly, one of the regulars that I knew walked in, he bumped into a chair, and almost fell over, he stumbled a bit and then bumped into a table and almost spilled a customer’s drink, it was Donnie Snell, everybody knew Donnie Snell, and he crept in the back door soon after mom had seated herself.  Donnie is a warm-hearted human being, a bit slow minded, uncoordinated, kind of an outcast, people poked fun at him, and at times he reminded me of Billy Bibbit, the character from One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.  Ol’ Donnie grew up in N.W. Portland, went to Chapman Grade School, and then attended Lincoln High School and from there worked at the ESCO Steel Mill for several years up until he retired a couple years back.

Donnie was a proud American, loved his country, and loved N.W. Portland immensely.  I found it fascinating when it came to him knowing the local history with the neighborhood.  Why he even knew about the old prominent families and knew of the historical buildings that were built back in the area going back years and years ago.  He knew about all the street names and knew all about the facts with the local lore.

Donnie’s about sixty-five or so, stands about five foot eight, graduated from Lincoln High School in 1964 if I remember right.  I often had talked with Donnie about some of the local news events while he was a kid growing up in the neighborhood through the years.  He saw the famous Forestry Building fire when he was a youngster, knew about the famous baseball players that grew up in the area, knew both Johnny Pesky and Mickey Lolich while going to Chapman.  He knew about the local politicians and newsmakers of the day.

Donnie was a bit slow minded at times, weren’t his fault, according to him he didn’t get much love from his folks while he was growing up, according to Donnie his dad was always hollerin’ and screamin’ at him, he just never really fit in to well with people.  The way he seed it them people made him feel inferior in a way I guess, it was a shame the way those folks were always pesterin’ him so at times when he was growing up.  He seemed to be out of sorts when he talked to people, he was a bit nervous, kind of the runt of the liter I guess.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, please don’t misunderstand me, according to him he was the youngest in his family and he always got the short end of the stick.  I guess he had some agitating health issues when he was younger and it affected him.  Mentally at times he might seem a bit slow to some folk, didn’t bother me none.  He would twitch now and then, shrug his head and shoulders, or maybe forget the conversation from time to time.  Some of the regulars made fun of him, I always felt bad for Donnie, especially when some of the meaner folks that frequented the bar started in on him.  He always would ignore the locals when they got uppity towards him, then shrug ‘em off, I know he was kind hearted and always courteous and polite.  He was usually the scapegoat for some of the folks after they had a few too many beers.

In watching Donnie through the years I pretty much thought he was a loner in away, yep a social recluse you might say.  Usually heading home alone, no significant other in his life, and a bit of a drifter at times.  I would watch Donnie weave himself through a crowded bar or sit by himself.  He would stutter from time to time, his teeth needed fixing; he usually wore worn blue jeans, a Scottish golf cap and maybe a plaid shirt, maybe some old worn brown shoes.  He was scruffy at times.

He would interrupt you if he got on a roll with a story, he would go on for a while and tell a yarn or two or maybe a recollection about folklore in the neighborhood, he enjoyed the attention of a crowd when he got on with his famous long-winded stories.  I always enjoyed his conversation.  He would go on and on, it was hard to get a word in edgewise at times.  I think when he got people listening to his stories it set him free in away, once he saw the green light he would stretch a story out for what seemed to go on for days if he was given the opportunity.

His face was weathered; he had a scar or two on his hands, burned ‘em from working in the local steel mill I figured.  He had a scruffy brown stubble beard, had big dark bags under his eyes, he had worked hard his entire life, you could see it in the way his face was carved out.

Donnie came over and took off his cap with both his hands, bowed his head, looked down and seemed to almost to be apologetic in interrupting me as I sat there at the table watching the football game with mom and eating my tacos.  My mom smiled at him and looked over at me.

“Ah, ah, hi, Gra, Gra, Gra, Grant.  Ah, hello ma’am, why you must be Mrs. Keltner, Grant’s mom!”  Donnie stuttered, mumbled, and searched for words, he seemed to blush at my mom.  He kind of shuffled his feet as he stood beside me.

“Hello Donnie, how are you tonight?  Wet out isn’t it?”  My mother looked at him, “Well hello there Donnie, ol’ Donnie Snell, glad to meet you, won’t you have a seat, blow your nose, it looks like you have a man overboard.”  She smiled at me, turned and she smiled at Donnie.  My mom was funny.

Donnie beamed at me, it had looked like he had not spoken to anybody for a few days or maybe weeks for that matter, and I think he enjoyed knowing I was there this night.  He smiled and looked around the room.  He fumbled for a chair and began to sit down.  He reminded me of a child at times.  Stuttering and drifting on with his stories.

Suddenly one of the customers sitting at the crowded bar shouted at Donnie.  “Hey Donnie you owe me for the drink I bought you the other night!”  It was big Mark Tatter, one of the regulars.  I did not like Mark Tatter that much, came across as a know it all, was big, overweight you might say and smoked too much.  I hated talking to Mark Tatter, he’d always holler about things, I glanced away and looked at mom.

“Wha, wha, what’s happening Grant?”  I looked at Donnie and looked back at mom; his hair was thinning on top, sported a nice smile, and as I said he always took time in telling me a story.  He was a good listener, and if he got lost with a story that I was telling him he would look at me, tap me on the shoulder and stare me in the eyes and say, “Now wait, wait, now let me get this straight Grant, you’re sayin’ that this and that happened?”  I always enjoyed talking with Donnie, he’d always want to hear a good story, better yet be able to tell a good story.

Mark Tatter looked over in our direction and hollered even louder than before, “Ah, Donnie, you know good for nothin’ Wimpy, I’ll gladly pay you on Tuesday freeloader!”  My mother looked at me “Who’s that Bozo?”  I shrugged my shoulders.

As far as I could tell Donnie Snell indeed was a loner or recluse, was raised by his folks who lived in the neighborhood going back to the 1940’s or so.  I do not know if Donnie ever had a girl in his life, I kind of doubt it to tell you the truth, I just think he was shy and unsure of himself, brought up to be respectful and found his adopted family usually at the Nobby or maybe one of the other bars in the neighborhood.  He told me he had a rough upbringing, I often wondered about the possible neglect he received as a kid, he reminded me of a punch drunk fighter at times, didn’t really know if he was coming or going.  People would point their fingers at him, make fun of him, and laugh.  I know it bothered Donnie at times, I watched his reaction, he let things fester up inside, then all of a sudden he seemed to shrug it off, don’t know if it bothered him, can’t say one way or the other, maybe didn’t matter know how.  Some people can take more than others, I thought to myself as he sat in front of me.

I was watching the Niner vs. Vikings game that Monday night, the Niners were having an O.K. year I suppose.  All of a sudden out of the blue Donnie Snell went on and on in telling me a story about some famous local family he knew, he went on telling me a story about a local family that he grew up with, he was going on and on and on about this damn family and their kids that he knew going back starting from the time he was in first grade.  I was not really listening to him.  I was drifting off back in time, all of a sudden he reminded me of a story I had heard when I was younger, and I started drifting back to the history of the neighborhood for some reason.  Donnie continued to talk as I kept trying to reach back in time and recollect back to a famous story that I had heard about when I was a kid, a story I could barely recall, it had happened such a long time ago.  I watched him as he sat and talked, mom yelled at the television, she was getting pretty involved with the game.  “Yay!” she screamed, it seemed like everyone in the bar turned and looked our way; Donnie was twitching a bit and rambling on and on and on.  His mouth moved and I couldn’t hear a word he was saying, his lips moved as I tried to recollect back to a famous murder that took place in the neighborhood, it happened a long time ago, back in 1962, back when I was only four years old or so.  Oh I hated it when I couldn’t remember certain things, I knew I’d remember it, what was the name of those kids that were murdered?  Mom got excited at a play and started to cheer.  She clapped her hands.  I loved my mother.

My mother had divorced my father back in 1962; I was four at the time, she moved to N.W. Portland in 1963 and I started to attend Chapman Grade School in 1964.  When I was going to school back then families I knew in the neighborhood and their kids that I use to play with told me these far out stories about these terrible murders that took place.  I heard bits and pieces with the details of the gruesome crimes, they were passed along from their relatives and family members.  It had been a long time since anybody told me about the homicides.  I figured hardly anyone knew about the murders by now, time had passed by.  As a child I remember hearing long drawn out yarns about the way certain things happened that night up in Forest Park, the famous murder stories handed down through the years in the neighborhood when I was just a kid.

These stories always frightened me when I was young.  I guess they happened to close to home I suppose, after all they occurred only a few blocks away from where I grew up.  They took place up in Forest Park, up off of N.W. 53rd road, up in the dark part of the forest, in a secluded, cold, isolated old location called Inspiration Point.

The stories frightened me, they disturbed me, sometimes I couldn’t sleep at night in just thinking about the murders, especially when the wind howled at night and it was raining outside.  I’d lay awake a cry myself to sleep.  These were forgotten tales about young kids bodies being found, stories about a young couple, stories about them being sweethearts, bits and pieces of the story circled around in my mind as Donnie sat there telling his story rambling on and on, I thought he’d never stop.  Christ all mighty I thought to myself!  Mom glanced at Donnie, listening to him go on and on, she sat and watched the game and nodded at Donnie every so often as he rattled away.  Damn!  I wanted to remember the story.

I looked at Donnie, he had finished his yarn, seemed about a year since he started his story.  I sat upright and looked him square in the face.  All of a sudden I remembered the details with what I was trying to remember with that long forgotten story.  It was like I had just woken up, a light went on in my head.  Mom looked startled.  I looked at Donnie, “Donnie, Donnie, do you, do you know about the Wayne-Chapman murders?”  I had remembered now, I had remembered the story!  I felt relieved.

Donnie, well Donnie looked at me, flinched, made a face, he looked at me, flinched, sat back, shook his head and stared at me, then looked at mom.  He looked startled and a bit surprised at me.  “Ah, well ah, I uh.” was his reply.  He seemed to withdraw from the conversation.  He sunk down in his chair.  He blinked his eyes at me, mumbled a bit.  He took a look around, almost wanting to check and see if anyone else was listening.  He scratched his head.

He leaned over at me and whispered, I could barely hear him, and his breath was bad from smoking.  “Grant, how, why, why, how, well how do you know about the Billy Wayne-Mary Beth Chapman murders?”  His mouth dropped open as he looked at me.  He drooled a bit, mom made a funny face.  “Do you need a napkin Donnie?”  He wiped his mouth.  He had a blank look on his face, he started to twitch and could not sit still in his chair, and he was revved up that was for sure.  He grabbed his cap and rolled it up in his worn hands.  My mom looked at me, kind of frazzled in a way.

“Why Donnie, you know I grew up in this neighborhood, and let me remind you that as a kid I first heard about the stories with those murders back around in 1964 or so, I was probably four or five when I heard those stories.”  I looked at him, “I knew families that told me about the tragic events, the whole neighborhood was in an uproar about those murders, lots of folks were afraid in letting their kids roam around at night.  I remember the articles and I remember how scared people were.  Mom was frightened by the murders weren’t you mom?”  Mom looked at me, “Oh my yes, the Wayne-Chapman murders, boy do I sure remember them, wow, wowwie wow wow!”

“Oh, yeah, yeah I, I, I remember now, huh,” Donnie replied, he looked at mom and then back at me shaking his head.  He flinched a bit and looked at me once again.  He seemed agitated.  He seemed to be wrestling with his thoughts, flipping through his mind, sifting through his files inside his brain checking through unturned folders in what he knew about the murders.

“My mind is a bit groggy; a bit foggy, a bit frazzled, a bit discombobulated mind you, it was a long time ago!”  He fidgeted around a bit, put his hands in his pocket and fumbled around, pulling bits of tissues from his pocket and wiping his nose.  “The Wayne-Chapman murders happened back around 1962, my mind is groggy and I’m trying to remember all the details Grant, it’s hard to recall the entire story, it was such a long time ago.  They were a young couple, went to Lincoln High, lived in the Raleigh Hills neighborhood, or somewhere near Sylvan if I remember, they were dating back in high school, they were sweethearts, Wayne was the boy, Chapman was the girl.”  He looked out the window and then looked at me, and then at mom, he started shaking a bit.  “They were gruesome murders, why geez, they were stabbed, mutilated, raped!”  I sat there and looked at him, I let him go on yappin’.  “They were out on a date, cruisin’ in his dad’s Ford, or Chevy, ah hell I can’t remember what kind of car it was, story goes they went down to S.W. Broadway and cruised like most teenagers back then.”  He looked at me, “Can, can you buy me a drink Grant, heh, huh?”  I looked at Donnie; he had a nice smile and looked at me with sympathetic eyes as almost as though he hadn’t had a drink in a few years, he reminded me of a puppy that hadn’t been fed.  I waved at the bartender and ordered Donnie a fireball, his favorite drink.  He smiled at the drink and swizzled his swizzle stick and licked the cinnamon from the edge of the glass.  He grinned at me and sang a little tune.  “Doddlie Doddlie Doodlie Doo.”  My mom laughed.

The bartender came around and looked at mom, “Can I get you something else to drink honey?”  My mom laughed, “Maybe a small draft if you don’t mind.”  Within an instant the bartender brought back mom a beer.  She started to watch her football game.  She looked at me, “I don’t think that Kapernack kid has it anymore.”  I always thought my mother should have married a football coach.  She loved her football.

Donnie went on and on in telling me what he knew the best he could recollect.  I knew that once I got Donnie Snell rolling on about a story that there was no stopping him from tellin’ a tale or two.  “Yep, they went cruisin’ on S.W. Broadway one Friday night and it seems that the Chapman girl got into yappin’ with a couple of boys in one of the cars that pulled up beside them that night.  They were screamin’ and a hollerin’, seems the boys went to Lincoln High School and knew the young couple, maybe had grown up with them?  Guess they drag raced a bit, cruisin’ in their hot cars.  Donnie paused a bit as he sipped his drink.

“Billy Wayne and Mary Beth Chapman exchanged words with those boys in the other car, got to cussin’ and a hollerin’ at each other.  One of the boys in the car that night was a kid named Jimmy Smith, and the other kid was a kid by the name of, oh what was his name, ah, Dan Carlson if I remember.”  Donnie took another sip from his drink and looked at me.  “Thanks for the drink Grant, sure tastes good.”  I nodded at him, he continued on with his recollection of what happened.

“Well, it seems as those boys racing around in the car that night told Billy Wayne and Mary Beth Chapman about a kegger party up on N.W. 53rd, off of N.W. Cornell Road.  It was a secluded spot, in the thick of the cold dark forest.”  Donnie looked around and kept telling his story, he started shaking a bit.  “Wayne and Chapman went up to the kegger that night, I think they followed those boys in their car if I recollect right, they parked up there, they were hootin’ and a hollerin’, they partied well into the night, well, matter of fact they partied into the early morning.  The kids that had gathered at the keggar that night started to leave around one or two in the morning.”  Donnie scratched his head, stuck his jaw out, trying to look tough, looked around the room, and thought a bit, there was a pause.

“Hey Donnie, don’t forget you owe me a beer!”  It was Mark Tatter hollerin’ from across the bar.  He sat there with his big belly hangin’ over his pants.  He wiped his face and snarled at Donnie.  I looked at Mark and looked at my mother, she was staring at Mark, I slightly tapped her ankle with my foot, “Don’t stare,” I whispered.

Donnie looked at me, “The next morning the authorities found the young Wayne boy in his dad’s car.  He’d been stabbed several times, his head was crushed in.  Blood was everywhere, his body was badly cut, his body was found face down on the ground, and it was hard in identifying him.”  My mother made a face and then looked at me.  He continued, “The front window was smashed and a bullet hole was found in the front window.  The cops showed up along with news reporters, cameramen, the county medical examiner and curious locals along with detectives showed up.  People that lived in the neighborhood had seen the flashing red lights and sirens of the cop cars racing up N.W. Cornell.  They made their way up to the crime scene hoping to catch a peek at what had happened.”  I cringed in hearing the story, Donnie had done a good job in refreshing my memory with remembering about the famous murders.  The famous Wayne-Chapman murders.

“My mind is a little groggy like I told you with the story Grant, I’m, I’m, and I’m trying to remember.”  He rubbed his forehead and flinched a bit.  A pained look came across his face.  He looked up at me.  He licked his lips and pulled at his right ear.  His eyes were big an’ round, “They found the Chapman girl about a month later, she had been raped, and her body was disfigured, and stabbed, left for dead off of Highway 26, found lying in the mud.”  He looked at me.  He paused for a few seconds, “It was a terrible murder, I hate talkin’ about it Grant!”  I looked outside as leaves flashed by in the wind as it began to rain.  The wind picked up as a businessman walked by and grabbed his hat before it flew off his head.  My mom giggled.

“They arrested the two boys, the two kids that told the couple about the party, the Jimmy Smith, and the Dan Carlson kid, they arrested them back in 1969 or so, they didn’t arrest them for nearly seven years after the murders if you can believe that!  They only served a small amount of time, one was in prison for about a year and the other for a few years later and then released.”  He fidgeted a bit.  “The authorities didn’t have enough evidence, they released the kids, story goes the police misplaced files and medical records, or something like that, not enough proof and couldn’t pin anything on them kids.”

I looked at him a bit, he slunk down in his chair and looked at his drink, then stared at mom.  He continued his story, “Back in 1962, matter of fact the next day after the murders they arrested a guy by the name of Charlie, Cha, Charles, what was his name?  Oh yeah, they arrested a guy by the name of Charles W. Charles for the murders.  He escaped within a day or so.  Nobody knows how he got away.  He showed up in California around 1970.  He was being tried for a murder in California when they found him, a murder similar to the Wayne-Chapman murders.  He died in the 1970’s.  I don’t think they ever really found out for sure who killed those kids.  I remember hearing stories and reading articles in the Oregonian and in the Journal newspapers.”  He looked at me, “My, my heads groggy Grant I can’t really remember all the details as I said.”

I patted Donnie on his shoulder, ‘You did fine Donnie, just fine.”

Mark Tatter got up from his chair and walked out one of the side doors to have a smoke, he past some gas as he walked by.  The big back door at the Nobby slammed shut with a loud thud.

I looked at Donnie and shook his hand, “Thanks Donnie, you helped me remember the story; I knew you probably knew about this murder.  After all it happened here in the neighborhood.  Pretty amazing that you can remember all this stuff, you’re invaluable, thanks Donnie!”  I looked at mom, she looked at me and said, “Isn’t it about time that we should be going?” she smiled and thanked Donnie.  Before we left Donnie asked my mother for her address.  I was curious as to why he’d ask for her address.  “I want to send you a Christmas gift Mrs. Keltner if that’s O.K.?  I like you and you’ve always been kind to me.  Would you mind?”  I looked at my mother as she wrote down her address on a piece of paper; it was a Radio Cab scratch pad.  She wrote her address down and handed the paper to Donnie.  “Your mother is so kind Grant; I want to send her a Whitman Sampler.”  We got up and walked out on N.W. 23rd and Lovejoy for a while and watched as the locals drifted by, the traffic rushed through the night, it was getting late in the evening, glowing orange and purple neon illuminated the night, I needed to get back home.  I thanked Donnie and waved to mom as she got in her car.  I smiled at Donnie, he looked at me and raised his voice, “Oh, oh, oh good seeing you Grant, I’m glad I could help you out!”  He crossed the street and waved again as he walked back home that night, he glanced at me a couple times as he headed north down N.W. 23rd.  It was dark and cold.

Later that night, when I got home, I did a quick Google search about the Billy Wayne-Mary Beth Chapman murders, I found several articles about the murders, many of the articles went into detail and remarkably Donnie’s recollection about what happened that eerie night was almost spot on, almost identical to what Donnie had told me.  It amazed me on how he could remember all of the details that night.

The murders were covered in all the local newspapers back then; it reminded me of a pulp fiction murder mystery in away.  A well know journalist had written a story about the murders a few years later and included it in one of his books.  I found lots of information on the internet about the murders that had been written.

According to the articles in the Oregonian and Journal newspaper it seems like the Wayne-Chapman kids were indeed young high school sweethearts, they lived in the West Hills, up near Raleigh Hills and the Garden Home area, a small community located just southwest of Forest Park, not more than three or four miles from the murder scene.  They had dated for a while and were out on a hoot that night, cruising around in the young Wayne’s fathers 1949 Ford Coupe.  They attended Lincoln High School.  According to a good friend that was interviewed, Wayne was a bit of a tough in school, a bit of a troublemaker and actually was known to carry a handgun from time to time, some kids said he kept it in the glove compartment of his dad’s car.  Nobody knew for sure.

The reports went into detail in mentioning that the Mary Beth Chapman girl was a bit of a rough neck.  Known to be loud.  I guess she was a bit of a rebel she was, seems as though she got around a bit, and it seems as though she got into a bit of a skirmish with some of the boys in that other car that was cruising along with them on that fall night.

According to the notes the police took, Jimmy Smith and Dan Carlson told the young sweethearts about a party up on N.W. 53rd, told them of a remote place called Inspiration Point, a dark secluded area that local students that attended Lincoln High School back then would frequent from time to time.  The kids usually met there on a Friday night, would build a fire, have a cold keg of beer tucked in back of one of the trunks of the their

cars, twenty, thirty maybe forty people would gather at the keggers.  They would park their cars along side of the rocky, dirty beat up road located up off of N.W. Cornell, they’d gather and party in the cold, wet, dark forest.

Hoot owls would perch in one of the firs, critters would roam around; maybe a couple of deer would appear through the site.  The kids drank, and smoked, laughed, necked, and caused mischief, maybe smash a few bottles and holler.  They’d stand around the big fire and tell stories.  Their shadows would cast long shadows out on the hillside that overlooked them.  The local cops knew about the parties, occasionally they busted the parties up and would follow the kid’s home.

Well, seems the young couple showed up at Inspiration Point that night and that indeed they drank and partied through the night.  The next morning the Wayne kid was found stabbed twenty two times, poor kid, blood was everywhere and part of his head was caved in from a harsh blow, the Chapman girl was nowhere to be found.  About a month later a few kids found her body off Highway 26, up near the Sylvan area.  She had been stabbed, raped, her dress was ripped apart, and the newspapers reported the finding.

According to reports the police opened a file with the case, the medical examiner showed up, detectives, newspaper reporters arrived along with local residences, a few hikers that were walking by the Wayne boy’s car that early fall morning stopped in to take a look as an ambulance carried off the body of the young boy.  The police started to round up kids from the party from the night before, names were taken, and they slowly sifted through evidence, questioned people.

The police reports noted a well-known tough in the neighborhood was at the crime scene early that morning, the night after the murders.  The police gathered him in, he was arrested, matter of fact he was arrested the day after the murders, seemed the local authorities arrested a man by the name of Charles W. Charles, he was thrown in the Multnomah County Jail, after being arrested for about a day or so he escaped, and disappeared.  Seems as though Charles W. Charles was linked to a couple murders going back to Wisconsin and in Montana in the late 1950’s, and according to the records the murders back east were very similar to the ones committed that night of the Wayne-Chapman murders.  He did indeed escape from the County Jail; he drifted off in the night and never was seen around Oregon again.

Years later the police finally arrested the two boys that were cruising in the car that night down on S.W. Broadway, the ones telling the couple about the party, they arrested them about seven years after the murder.  The case dragged on and on.  The Smith kid served about a year in jail, the Carlson kid served about three years.  They were finally released due to lack of evidence, back in 1970 or 1971.  The police and local authorities never knew for sure who committed the murders that night.  It’s been a mystery to this day.  Almost fifty years after the fact.

I kept reading the reports and scanning through the headlines in the Oregonian and Journal archives, trying to find anything that could help me in finding out anything else that might shed light on this mysterious murder, it seems like the police lost valuable clues during the case, that there was a smear done on the Chapman girl, they lost some of the evidence, seems as though certain things disappeared.  The boys were thrown in jail almost seven years after the murders then released, and what about Charles W. Charles and his involvement, how did he escape the very next day after being arrested?

In reading through more of the news stories, it seems that this Charles W. Charles had been know in the area; was known to drink and have a few buddies that got caught stealin’ in the neighborhood.  I guess they used Charles spot for a drop off for their loot every once in a while, according to the authorities he had indeed been a suspect to murders in Wisconsin and in Montana and had drifted west to Portland, hoping to try and find a new life in Oregon.

He was at the murder scene the next morning, witnesses noted him, he was seen up on N.W. 53rd. he was seen walking around early in the morning, staring at the dead body lying by the car, and as I had mentioned police arrested him and he was locked up in the Multnomah County Jail.  The next day he escaped, vanished in thin air, nobody could figure how he escaped, he was found ten years later, in California, and he was arrested for a murder similar to the Wayne-Chapman murders.  A local reporter questioned Charles W. Charles about the murders, he never confessed to the Wayne-Chapman murders.  He died in California’s death row.

So what actually did happen to Wayne and Chapman that night I thought to myself?  I kept going through the articles as I have mentioned, studied the evidence, and finally came up with a couple scenarios or hunches as to what may have happened the night of the Wayne-Chapman murders.  I began to write into the early morning.  I wanted to write a story about this famous local murder mystery.  I knew Donnie could help me if I ran into any issues with the story, he was a river of knowledge with the story.  How lucky I thought to myself.

I’d like to note, If you didn’t grow up in Portland, Oregon you wouldn’t have known that back in the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s S.W. Broadway was “THE” place to be if you had a car and especially if you were in high school.  It was the most popular spot to mingle if you were out of a Friday night.  It was known for its cruisin’ and drag racin’ from time to time, especially on Friday or Saturday nights.  Rows upon rows of cars would cruise Broadway, people would yell and scream, laugh and holler well into the night.

I did my research; I started to compare notes and added up information.  I scribbled on napkins, I started to compile things together, I stayed up late at night and tried to imagine and surmise as to what could have had happened that gruesome night.  I thought about the Wayne and Chapman kids and their involvement, I started to piece together a few scenarios as to what may had happened that tragic night.  I thought it was odd that Charles W. Charles had been arrested the day after the murder of Billy Wayne.  How did he escape a day later, what about the Smith, and Carlson kids, the two boys that had told the young couple about the party?  Why were they arrested almost seven years later and then released?  As far as I could tell there were a few questions that needed to be answered to this puzzling case.  I sat up nights imaging what could have had happened that horrific night.

Well, after doing my research I decided to write a few scenarios down as to what may have happened that night.  The following sketched out story has to do with the first scenario in what I believe may have happened that cold, frightful night, the following story is based on facts with the possible involvement and arrests with Jimmy Smith and Dan Carlson, the two boys that told the young couple about the party that Friday night.

Friday October 20, 1962.  Scenario #1 Jimmy Smith and Dan Carlson.

It was a cool crisp night that night, wet and damp, thick mud lined the streets, leaves were changing colors, and darkness had covered the landscape of the West Hills.  If you walked outside you were sure to get wet feet.  Billy Wayne and Mary Beth Chapman had talked at school that afternoon, met in the cafeteria at lunch, had planned on a date later that night.  They were young and in love.  They were both juniors at Lincoln High school.

Billy Wayne went home right after school, he had a few pimples on his young face, and he raced home matter of fact and got his best duds on.  He fussed with his tie, looked for a clean shirt, gobbled his dinner down in a few minutes, and franticly paced in his bedroom looking at his watch until it was close time to pick up his sweetheart.  He wasn’t that well liked in school, he had caused trouble and was known to get into a scuffle or two from time to time, so was his girlfriend.

“Hey dad I’m going to borrow the car tonight if you don’t mind!  It’s Friday and I wanted to take Mary Beth out on a date if that’s O.K.?”  The young boy grabbed a handgun he hid in his dresser drawer, loaded it with some bullets, tucked it in his coat and whisked off, slammed the front door, hopped in his dad’s car.  He rolled down the window of the driver side window and shouted to his father, “Don’t worry dad I’ll be home by midnight!”

Buddy Holly and the Crickets blared on the car radio as he sped off in the night.  He had snuck a few beers, they rolled on the floor of the car, as Billy swirled around corners leading to his high school sweetheart’s house.  Within a few minutes he pulled up to a nice older Tudor home located up off of S.W. Montgomery road, it was an upper class neighborhood, and the lawns were well manicured.  He pulled up in the Ford, combed his hair and, stumbled a few times and then rushed to ring the front door bell.

When he rang the doorbell the Chapman families Golden Labrador started to bark, a few voices from behind the door could vaguely be heard.  Mary Beth answered the door.  “Hey there Billy, watcha’ know?”  Billy laughed and gave her a kiss on her cheek.

“I know you and I have a hot date.  Let’s skedaddle out of here!”  He grabbed her hand, Mrs. Chapman waved and yelled to them as they ran to his father’s car.  “Don’t be late Mary Beth, don’t forget you have to help me in the morning!”

They piled in the car, turned up the radio as KISN radio, one of the local radio stations in Portland played a tune.  Billy looked around and pulled out a couple of the beers he had hidden underneath the front seat.  They laughed and giggled as they headed downtown.  Somebody lit a cigarette and fumbled for a lighter.

“Where do you want to go honey?”  Mary Beth smiled and rolled her window down as she guzzled on the cold beer.  “Let’s go downtown!  Let’s cruise Broadway sugar, yeah!”  She looked at Billy.  “I adore you Billy.”  They looked at each other and laughed.  Billy proceeded to head down S.W. Vista then turned to S.W. Salmon and headed east to S.W. Broadway.  Within a few minutes, they were on one of the busiest street corners in Portland.  There were hundreds of roadsters cruising the busy street that night.  Kids out on a Friday night, yelling, conversing, revving up their engines as people waved and gawked at the spectacle.  They turned right off of S.W. Salmon and headed south on S.W. Broadway.  Cars surrounded them on the one-way street, soon a shiny blue 1958 Buick with two boys in it rolled down their window and started up a conversation with the couple.  Seems they had known each other from Lincoln High School.

“Hey there freckle face strawberry Mary Beth what’s going on?”  Billy Wayne glared at them and barked back, “She’s with me turds!  Let her be!”  The boys got startled and started to laugh, revved up their engine and started to follow them along the jammed street.  At the south end of S.W. Broadway they turned left and started to go north down S.W. 7th.  They yelled back and forth, traded jabs with remarks, honked their horns, tried to act tough, but deep down a bit scared in not knowing what might happen that night.  Mary Beth looked at them and stuck her tongue out at the boys; the boys in the car were Jimmy Smith and Dan Carlson, they attended Lincoln High School, they were out looking for action that Friday night.  They knew of the Wayne and Chapman kids, knew them from going to Lincoln High.  They cruised S.W. Broadway, finally Steve Carlson looked at the young couple, “Hey you numbskulls were heading to a party tonight, were heading up to Forest Park, up off of N.W. 53rd!”  Mary Beth looked at Billy, “O.K!  Will see you there!  Will follow you!”

The boys headed north and got out of the crowded downtown streets, the young couple followed them.  They turned up S.W. Burnside, wound through N.W. Portland, headed up N.W. Lovejoy, and then up through N.W. Cornell road.  They went through the two dark tunnels along the curvy road, the dark forest made it hard to see, they sped past McLeay Park, headed west up N.W. Cornell until they got to the intersection of N.W. 53rd, they climbed the hills, followed the two boys that had told them about the party.  They followed them until they reached Inspiration Point.  There were cars parked along the road, the boys pulled their car off to an old dirt side road, they turned off the engine, and turned off their lights, Billy parked his father’s car just a few yards away.  They were a bit giddy from the beer, off in the woods you could see a fire with twenty, or so people gathered around.  You could hear the wood crackle as the fire got more intense as they walked closer to the gathering.  From where the parked cars were was a trail, leading up to the group of teenagers, it wound through the forest for about one hundred yards or so.

“Come on!” squealed Mary Beth, she grabbed her sweetheart’s hand.  They headed down the trail.

“Hey, you two made it to the party!” screamed Dan Carlson, he was standing next to the fire with a couple kids on each side of him.  Dan and his friend Jim were drinking a couple of cold beers; you could tell they had a bit too much to drink that night.  They were smoking and laughing, telling jokes and guzzling their beers.  The crowd glowed in the orange light, the fire made strange odd shadows in the night.

“Here, here have a beer!” yelled Jim.  He tossed the couple a couple of beers.  They drank well into the night.  Kids were running around, yellin’ and chasing each other.  Music from one of the cars parked close by blared music in the night.  After a while the crowd started to thin out.  Some kids screamed and raced off in their cars.  Soon there were just the four kids left at the gathering that night, the Wayne kid, the Chapman girl, and the Smith and Carlson boys.  It strangely went quiet that night, the wind blew through the trees.  They started going back to their cars at the end of the night.  It was dark and kind of creepy somehow.

They took the trail going back to the car, the two boys closely followed the young couple, they followed them up to where the couple had parked their car, and they talked amongst themselves as they got back to the cars.  They looked at each other.  “Wha, where are you two going?” asked Dan as he moved his hand inside one of his coat pockets.  They got closer to the young couples car, Jim stood by Dan’s side as the young couple started to climb in their car, once they got into the car the Smith and Carlson kids all of a sudden attacked the kids while they had their backs turned, they beat them both senselessly, it went on for a few minutes They struggled and wrestled in the mud.  They screamed but nobody heard them.  The wind continued to blow in the trees.  Mary Beth tried to run but fell, Jim Carlson jumped on top of her.  Billy Wayne reached over and opened his glove compartment as the scuffle continued, he reached for his gun, he fired a shot, was hit hard in the head with a rock Jim Smith had picked up off the ground.  He started to stab the Wayne kid, he stabbed him several times, and Billy screamed, nobody heard him, he died in the driver seat of his car.  The Chapman girl was raped and beaten, they dragged her off and took her to the car the two boys had parked close bye.  They sped off in the night, they headed up N.W. Thompson road, down into an old farm off of N.W. Skyline.  They continued to rape the young girl and then stabbed her, they took the life out of her, they stood over the poor girl, and then they took her body up off of Highway 26, dumped it in a ravine, and pretended nothing happened.  They went home that night.

Early the next morning a passerby had noticed the car that Billy Wayne had been driving and went up to look inside, they found the Wayne boy lying face down, blood was everywhere, and the front window of the car was shattered by a bullet.  The passerby ran home and called the authorities as quickly as he could.  A crowd gathered.  Soon the radios and television stations spread the news.

The police called in suspects, questioned the two boys the next morning, and actually arrested a suspect by the name of Charles W. Charles, a known drifter that lived in N.W. Portland.  Seems as though Mr. Charles lived off N.W. Vaughn and N.W. 29th, down near the Industrial area, near Guilds Lake.  He had a small beaten up apartment, had moved from back east within the last year or so, seems that he had been questioned about two murders very similar to the Wayne-Chapman murders a few years back, the police had known about him.  A day or so after he was arrested he escaped, he vanished into thin air, never was seen around Portland again.  Ten years later, back in around 1970, authorities in Northern California had arrested Charles W. Charles, arrested him for murdering a young couple.  Reporters interviewed him and asked if he had killed the Wayne-Chapman kids, denied killing the couple up until his death

So, the police’s top suspect escapes and the two boys are arrested seven year later, the Smith and Carlson boys, one is released within a year or so later the other kids is released three years later, lack of evidence the police said.  The two boys drift out of town and nobody is ever heard from again.  How odd I thought to myself.

So, with this first scenario the two boys are to blame, they’re the ones that people thought murdered the young couple, most folks that heard or knew about the case believed the boys were the ones that committed the crimes.  Since bits and pieces of evidence did not add up or were found missing, nobody knew for sure what had exactly did happen that night.  They shut the book on the case and people within time forgot about the murders.

Friday October 20th, 1962.  Scenario #2 Charles W. Charles.

With the second scenario I came up with the following side to the tale as to what could have happened that frightful night.  This second scenario points out Charles W. Charles in being the main suspect with the murders.

So the young couple drive through the west hills and get to the kegger that night, they follow the two boys who told them about the party, the Smith and Carlson kids.  They party well in the night.  Unfortunately, the young couple does not know that their being watched that night, yep they were being watched by Charles W. Charles.  Hiding in the bushes he was, hiding behind a few trees, or boulders, after all he only lived a few blocks away from the crime scene, the kids never knew that he used this spot to observe and possibly kill his next victims.  Seems that he hid through Forest Park from time to time, it seems he watched people and possibly plotted out his next murders.  He quietly waits for the party to end that night.  He was clever and hid behind large rocks and shrubs, tip toeing, slithering around, the unsuspecting kids never knew he was there.  He was carrying a knife with him that night, he was soon going to kill the Wayne and Chapman kids.

Well Charles W. Charles watches the young couple deep into the night, had actually seen the couple a few times before while walking through the neighborhood in N.W. Portland.  He didn’t like the Wayne kid too much, thought he was a punk, figured him in always being a smart mouth and never giving anybody any respect.  As for the Chapman girl, he knew of her, he just thought she was a dumb kid that should keep her mouth shut and mind her own business.

So Mr. Charles watches those kids in the dark that night and as the party starts to thin out he slowly walks to their car.  He grabs his knife that he kept in his pocket, he slowly sneaks up behind them and hits the Wayne kid in the head with a rock and proceeds to fight with him, a shot is fired, the bullet glances and hits Charles W. Charles in the arm.  He kills the boy, stabs him several times, runs after the Chapman girl and rapes her, beats her and drags her to his car.  He continues to rape her into the night, he mercilessly kills her and dumps her remains down off a gully off of Highway 26, near the Sylvan overpass.

He drives home, cleans up his car and the next morning decides to walk up to the crime scene and see what the police are doing with the dead body he left behind the night before.  He laughs to himself.  The police note his presence at the crime scene, seems as though he was one of the first at the crime scene that morning, he was found poking around and finally the police decide to arrest him right there on the spot.

One of the local officers on the crime scene goes up to Charles and talks with him, “Ah, ah hey buddy, I saw you here, ah, ah what brings you up here?”  Charles becomes agitated and looks at the cop. “I was curious, heard the news on the radio earlier this morning.”  Within a few minutes, two cops have put handcuffs on him and are reading him his rights.  A squad car pulls up and they put him in the back seat, people watch as he’s taken away.  He screams and yells at the cops as he’s hauled off.

They take him to Multnomah County Jail.  He keeps arguing with the police, argues over his involvement with the murders.  “You guys don’t have anything on me, what’s the charge?”  They take mug shots of him, while their moving him to a more secure jail cell located downstairs in the basement of the County Jail.  He notices a door left open down the hall way and he escapes into thin air.  It baffles the police, he escapes and isn’t heard of again up until his arrest in Northern California ten years later, arrested for a murder very similar to the murders that took place in Portland with the Wayne- Chapman murders.  When reporters interview Charles in California he denies his involvement with the Wayne- Chapman deaths, the case is closed.  The murders remain a mystery to this day.

So I took notes and tried to surmise as to what may have happened that night.  After a while I came up with a few scenarios with what may have unfolded that night with the murders.  I scribbled down ideas and antidotes as to what may have happened that night.  I sat down and wrote a story as to what may have happened.  I actually went up to Inspiration Point and walked around the site where the Wayne kid was found in his dad’s car.  It felt eerie in away.  The trees surrounded me, the wind blew, and it got dark quick.

So I came up with these two scenarios, seemed to make the most sense as to who may have been involved with the murders that night.  It took a lot of hard work, I spent several months researching the facts and taking my notes.  I thought I might have a good story.  After a while I had gathered quite a bit of information.  I started to write page after page with the murders.  I found old photographs with the couple, photographs from newspapers articles.  I continued to write down my notes.

It was a Saturday night and I decided to head to the Nobby and have a beer.  It was near the end of November or so, I remember it being cold and remembered how fall had set in quickly, I took some of my notes with me that night and tried to find a seat.  I was hoping Donnie Snell would be at the bar, I thought I’d go over some of my findings with him and discuss the murders, I thought he might be able to add to the story I had written, I knew he’d be interested.

I walked in the door and I was in luck, Donnie was sitting in one of the tables in the back of the bar, sitting by himself with his favorite drink, a fireball.  I noticed him as I sat down.  He got up waved and started to walk over.

“Ha, hello, Grant!” exclaimed Donnie.  “Can, can, can I sit down next to you?”  I looked at him and nodded my head yes.

“Wha, wha, what you got there Grant?”  I shuffled through my notes and glanced over at him.  “Oh Donnie these are my notes with the Wayne-Chapman murders.  Don’t you remember when we talked about the murders about a month ago?  My mom was with me that night?  You remembered quite a bit of information with the events that took place; you helped me get started in writing a story about them.”  He blinked at me and rolled up his golf cap in his hands.  He looked down at the ground and shuffled his feet.

He gave me a hard look and stared a bit.  “Don’t, Grant, well, don’t you think, well Grant don’t you think you ought to just leave what happened in the past with those murders?  The police did their work, they couldn’t catch nobody, whoever killed those kids probably left Portland a long time ago,” He stared at me as I looked at him.  The strangest feeling came over me, a feeling as though Donnie knew something much more about the murders than I had suspected.

He glared at me, looked roughly at me, cleared his throat, and looked outside at a passerby.  He tapped his fingers on the table.  “I think your pissin’ in the wind, and if I were you I might just forget about your nutty story.”  I felt uncomfortable as he talked, he looked mean and worn out, I had never seen his bad side.  I could tell he had been drinking and was upset with me.

He tried to change the subject.  “Grant I wanted to send your mother a Christmas gift, last time she was here she gave me her address.”  I looked at him and thought it strange that he mentioned this, I tried to remember my mom giving him her address, then I remembered, that’s right he asked mom for her address last time I took her to the Nobby, the night Donnie told me about the murders, I remember now.  She wrote her address down and handed it to him while we were watchin’ that Niner football game that night, that’s right.

I looked at Donnie.  “Yes Donnie, mom still lives at the address she gave you.”  He looked at me and smiled.  “I want to send her a Whitman Sampler for Christmas; she’s such a kind lady.”  I smiled at him as he calmed down a bit.  He chuckled to himself.  I was fearful for some reason, I didn’t know why, he had made me feel strangely uncomfortable that night.  “Yes Donnie I moved back to her home a few months ago to help her, she’s had a few falls, and she can’t do certain things like she use too.  I moved back to help her, I’m sure you can send her those chocolates, she’ll love them.”  He nodded at me and wrestled around in his pockets and smiled at me.

Donnie looked outside and then glanced at me quickly, “Well, Gra, Gra, Grant, I have to go!  Again Grant I’d forget your crazy goose chase with the murders, who cares, that happened over fifty years ago, leave it in the past, be a good boy and let it be, that’s what I’d do.”  He bumped into a customer on his way out and turned around and looked at me.  “I’d leave what happened that night alone if I was you,” He walked quickly and headed out the door and drifted north down N. W. 23rd.

I thought about what Donnie had said, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why he got so upset at me in writing a story about the murders.  I shuffled through my notes, stayed about a half hour and decided to walk back to my car, which I parked a few blocks away.  As I walked to my car in the dark that night I noticed footsteps, I glanced over my back three or four times as I made my way to down to my car.  At one point I swore I saw somebody run into the bushes, I thought to myself and got to my car, I unlocked the door and got in.  I sat there awhile seeing if anybody was following me.  I drove home and soon went to bed.

The next morning I woke up and went to work, in those days I was working for a local newspaper called the Northwest Examiner Newspaper, I was a photographer for the paper and wrote a few articles from time to time, covering local stories.  I had an assignment working on a new condo development taking shape off N.W. Thurman that day.  I called my editor and he paved the way for me being able to take a few photos at the construction site of the new development.  Around 4:00 P.M.  I got to the site and there were a few sharp dressed businessmen with hard hats on.  I introduced myself to them, took a few photographs of them holding shovels, walked the site, took a few more photos, jotted down some information, and then thanked them and left.

I arrived home around 6:00 P.M. Mom was standing by the door way, crying, I looked at her, she was visibly upset, I was worried, “What happened mom, what is it?”  She was beside herself, I held her as she cried.  “Oh Grant I went shopping this afternoon, wasn’t gone for more than a couple of hours, I get back and walked into the apartment and there’s a man in the dining room, he looked at me and ran out on the patio and around the bushes on the side of the house.  He dropped a knife!”  She trembled as I held her in my arms.

“Don’t be afraid mom,” I tried to reassure her.  “Did you call the police?”  She caught her breath and looked up at me, “I called them just before you got here.  I tried calling you, but you didn’t pick your phone up.”  I looked at my phone; sure enough there was a message from my mom on my phone.  Within a few minutes, the Portland Police Department showed up.  They sat down with mom and took notes.  “Will have a squad car keep a look out on your place the next couple of days,” noted the sergeant in charge.  My mother nodded her head.  “Good thing your son lives with you.  You might want to keep an eye out and give us a call if you notice anything suspicious.”  They looked around the apartment, took notes, and soon left.

I stayed up most of the night that night, watched over mom, made sure she got to sleep O.K. and went back to writing the story and checking the photos with my shoot that day.  I started to think about the intruder that stopped in on my mother that night.  Why would anybody want to break in?  He must have been watching the place whoever it was.  What did he want from my mother?  I slowly drifted off to sleep that night.

Next morning mom was in the kitchen making eggs, the television was on, “Mom, are you O.K?”  I replied.  She looked up at me, “I feel so much safer with you here.  I don’t know what he wanted, I guess I scared him off and he got startled and skedaddled.”  She laughed and went on cooking her eggs.

A week or so passed by, I turned in my photos with the condo developer story to my editor, Christmas was soon approaching, there were decorations strewn about, this told me Christmas wasn’t too far behind.  Mom decorated the house and we settled in for the holidays.

A few days before Christmas I decided to float by the 23rd Market, it’s located in the middle of the block, between N.W. Lovejoy and N.W. Marshall, located close to the Nobby.  I liked grabbing a sandwich, bag of chips and maybe a soft drink when I stopped in to the old market.  I walked up to the counter and gave my order.  I ordered a roast beef on whole wheat, cream cheese, with lettuce and tomatoes.  Nick was the store manager; he waited on me and took my order.  He was Greek and I enjoyed talking soccer with him.  “Thanks Grant here’s your sandwich, I think Barcelona will win on Saturday.”  He laughed and handed me my change.  It was around midnight, the streets were quiet, a dark rainy night, my car was parked around the block, down off of N.W. Marshall.  Christmas decorations were hung about on the old homes, bright Christmas lights twinkled bright.  As I was walking along I thought I heard somebody following me, I thought I heard footsteps, I thought to myself “Was I being followed again?”  There were a few sounds and then it went silent.  I turned to glance, nobody was around, and I got to my car and started it up.  Was my mind playing tricks on me I thought to myself?  I pulled out and drove back home that night, I felt uneasy as I headed home, I felt like I was being watched.  I soon got home, mom was up, and I told her about being followed.

“What, what’s going on Grant?  Why are we being watched?  What was that man doing around here?  I’m frightened.”  She looked out a window to check and see if anyone was around.  She went to bed and I stayed up to watch the local news.

Christmas soon rolled around and I was busy with a few photo assignments that I was working on and I continued with my notes with the Wayne-Chapman murders, they preoccupied my time.  I had just gotten off work and decided to stop in on the Nobby that night.  I felt uneasy, Donnie was there he looked at me and he quickly got up and left, not saying a word.  He ignored me, I thought it was odd, he just looked off and tried to avoid me.  I had a beer and left about a half hour later.  I thought about how strange it was in seeing Donnie act as though he didn’t know me, as if he had never met me before.  It was a Friday night and it was dark out, not many people on the streets.  I had parked my car a few blocks away, around the corner and off of N.W. Marshall as I usually did.  Donnie lived off of N.W. 23rd, at the cross section of N.W. 23rd and Quimby.

A few minutes later, as I was walking towards my car somebody popped out of the bushes a few twenty yards or so behind me, it startled me and I glanced back, I could hear footsteps, I really couldn’t make out the figure.  Soon, before I got to my car I could feel a gun barrel pressed abruptly against the middle of my back.  Whoever was holding the gun jammed it in my back as hard as they could.

“Get in the car!”  It was Donnie Larson, he shoved and pushed me in the car, and he jumped in next to me in the passenger seat.  He looked around in making sure nobody was following us.  I didn’t have time to react.  He held his gun in his hand.  “You wouldn’t leave things alone would you, you just wouldn’t leave things alone?”  He was mad and annoyed, I could tell he was drinking, I was surprised, Donnie wore a black leather jacket and some worn jeans, wore some old gloves and in his right hand was a revolver, I could see a knife tucked inside his jeans.

“Start your car up, were going to take a little drive, up to Forest Park, up to Inspiration Point.”  I started the car up and drove three or four blocks, drove up to the corner of N.W. 25th and Thurman.  I was scared; I could tell Donnie was upset.  “We want to head up towards Leif Erickson road, it’s up near the end of Thurman, keep driving dick weed.”  I looked at him, he was pointing the gun, and shaking a bit, he slurred words a few times.  Outside it was cold and the rain poured down on the windshield, the wipers moved back and forth, as car headlights casted long abstract shadows inside my car, we headed up Thurman.  I was afraid, didn’t know what to do, I kept driving, I glanced in the rear view mirror in hoping someone saw us as we got in the car.

“You just couldn’t stop with the Wayne- Chapman murders could you?  Could you!?”  I looked at Donnie, I looked surprised.  “Why, ah why Donnie I don’t know what you’re talking about.”  He leaned towards me and quickly hit me in the head, he slapped me upside the head with his gun, it knocked me to one side, and I grabbed my face and looked at him painfully.

“Donnie, wha, what’s going on, what are you talking about?”  He sat, and flinched at me and waved his gun around in my face.  He was mad, he was beside himself as I drove.

“You, you started to poke around,” he started to twitch, “Those kids deserved to die!  They use to make fun of me, they called me names, they use to think they were so frickin’ smart!  Well they aren’t too smart now are they?”  He came up close to me and started to scream, he spit on me as he yelled.  “I use to follow ‘em, I use to watch ‘em, I’d go to Forest Park and watch them from the woods when they had their fancy high falooten’ parties.  They never invited me!”  I looked at him.  It suddenly dawned on me that Donnie had killed those kids that night.  I started to panic, what was I going to do!  I started to think.

He looked at me, “I took care of them kids, and yep I took care of them good that night.  I showed them, I killed ‘em both, I stabbed them, I killed them!  I had fun with the girl!”  He looked at me.  “Those cops, ha!”  They thought the boys in the car or that Charles W. Charles character had killed ‘em, but no, it was me who done it!”  I flinched a bit.  I sat driving my car trying to find the right words to say as Donnie pointed his gun at me.

“Donnie, are you saying that you killed the Wayne-Chapman kids that night?”  He looked at me and made a strange face, “YES!  It was me that killed those kids you dumb bastard!  You never suspected me did you?”  He looked at me and tried to roll down his window.  “I was friends with Charles W. Charles!”  He looked proud while telling me his story.  “I met him one dark night while hanging out at Crackerjacks Bar, I was walking up on N.W. Thurman, he took me and showed me his place, he took me to his apartment, he’d buy me beer and play music and talk into the night, he introduced me to a couple gals he knew.  He showed me his guns and knives.  We had a fine time, he told me of how he killed a few people back east, told me how he escaped and drifted down the Columbia River to Portland, how he changed his name, that nobody knew where he was or what he did.”  Donnie looked at his gun and then looked at me.  ”You see the cops never figured that it was me that could have done a thing like that.  Guess I fooled them!  Ha!  I was sixteen when I killed them kids.”  He laughed for a few minutes, “They thought it was those boys or maybe Charles W. Charles.  Why, when those cops arrested Charles the very next day after they found the Wayne boy, why I heard they arrested Charles.  So I went down to the County Jail and I helped Charles escape the night after he was arrested.  I snuck down and I went through an old washroom and got inside the jail, why he was standing there waiting for the guards to throw him in a  more secure cell, I waved to him and he went slidin’ out a side door when he saw me, he waved and thanked me and ran off into the night.”  I looked at him, “Well I figured if Charles W. Charles escaped then there wouldn’t be anyway the cops could have figured it was me that killed those kids, ha, ha it was perfect!  Dumb bastards!  It weren’t the boys, that’s for sure!”  He started to laugh.

I sat there and looked at Donnie as I drove up towards the Thurman Bridge.  So it was Donnie that had killed the young couple that night, it had been fifty years since that terrible night.  He had gone fifty years in nobody suspecting that it was him.  “You want to keep driving up to where Thurman ends, stop at the parking area there near the drinking fountain, were going to take a walk up to Inspiration Point.”  He laughed and pulled a stocking cap over the top of his head.  “Those kids use to pick on me at school, call me names, and make fun of me.  Well they ain’t making fun of me no more are they?”  He looked at me and laughed, he went on with his mad laugh.  I sat there startled.  I didn’t know what to do, my head hurt, I had a welt on the side of my head where he had smacked me.

We crossed over the Thurman Bridge and got up to Willamette Heights, We kept driving up past N.W. Gordon and then came to the dead end on N.W. Thurman.  “Now get your sorry ass out of the car and toss me them keys to your car!”  I reached for the keys, pulled them out of the ignition, and tossed them to him.  He caught the keys and put them in his pant pocket.  He smiled at me.  He was becoming louder and more agitated.  I got out of my car, nobody was parked around the area.  We headed up toward the fountain and he stuck his gun in my back, “Now keep walking!”  We walked a ways, headed towards Cherry Trail, which would eventually take us up to Inspiration Point.

As we were walking I continued to talk to him.  “Why, why Donnie, why would you kill those kids?”  He stuck the gun in my back as we headed up Leif Erickson in the dark, the trail was only a few feet away.  “They made fun of me, in school they made fun of me all the time, they were mean, they teased me.”  He became more annoyed.  We kept walking in the dark, the wind picked up and an’ old dog started barking off in the distance.

“Stop, stop here Grant!”  I came to an abrupt halt.  We had come to the Cherry Lane Trail, eventually it would take us to Inspiration Point, we started hiking up a hill, the trail wound through the dark covered hills, off in the distance you could hear the sounds of box cars banging down in the Industrial area.  “I’m going to kill you Grant, yep I’m going to kill you you dumb bastard!  You know too much, you now know that I killed those kids!”  Suddenly I panicked, I turned quickly and grabbed for the gun that he was holding in his left hand, I raised his arm in the air and he fired off a shot.  We wrestled a bit and I knocked the gun out of his hand, it fell to the ground, I could not see where the gun fell, it was too dark.  I knocked him down and started to run down the muddy dark trail, back toward my parked car, Donnie fired a shot and I could hear the bullet wiz by my head, it bounced off of rock and I could hear it deflect and hit something else.  I ran back to the car, I had forgotten about the car keys, damn now what?

I started to run down N.W. Thurman.  I turned and watched as Donnie started up my car and started to race down Thurman after me.  I weaved in an out of cars parked along the street, I kept heading down towards the Thurman Bridge.  Donnie was quickly heading towards me, he side swiped a few cars and fired off another shot, I weaved back and forth, and I continued to run down N.W. Thurman, down toward the bridge.  It seemed like I ran forever, I remember feeling tired, and he kept chasing me.  Donnie yelled as he kept coming towards me in my car, swerving, he was mad, out of his mind, the front lights glared out brightly in the windy night, he was about a half block away from me and fired another shot as I approached the old bridge.

Just then the 6:30 P.M. Tri-Met #20 bus was heading up N.W. Thurman that night, I could see the lights as it approached the east side of the bridge, the bus was shortly going to pass over the bridge and head my way.  I had to do something as I thought to myself; I hid in some bushes and waited for the bus.  I stopped near the west end of the bridge, Donnie spotted me and started to head straight for me in my car, the bus crept closer and closer, he drove my car right towards me almost as though he was going to run over me, I could see his face through the front window, he was screaming.

Suddenly, without really thinking, I jumped in front of the bus.  The driver was startled and his passengers yelled, the driver of the bus slammed on his breaks and quickly swerved to the left and plowed right into my car.  It was a horrific impact, the bus veered to the left, the bus bumped my car, pushing my car, and Donnie up over the guard rail of the Thurman Bridge, my car flipped over the bridge, and I could hear Donnie scream as I watched in horror.

The car exploded and went flying to the ground below landing in a fiery heap.  Donnie burned inside the car, the bus came to a halt as I stood in disbelief.  People screamed and hurried about.  I ran over to the side of the bridge and looked down towards Balch Creek.  I watched as my car burned down below.  People on the bus continued to scream, the bus driver ran out and looked at me.  Soon there was a small crowd.  Donnie laid motionless as people started to gather.  The police arrived and soon I was taken down town for questioning.  I told them of Donnie, the murders, of how he confessed.  They had a hard time in believing the tail.

The police were in disbelief.  Donnie was the murderer all right, a neglected kid that was made fun of most of his life, poor kid had had enough and decided one night to kill the young couple.  He decided to help one of the suspects escape into the night, it was a perfect murder, up until I brought back old memories one night while sitting with Donnie at the Nobby.

I told the police how I had been writing a story about the murders, how Donnie helped me with facts and that since I got a little to close in finding out who had committed the murders that Donnie decided he was going to put an end to me.  The police came around to believing me finally, they went back to his apartment and found old newspaper clippings he had saved through the years, articles telling about the murders.  They found his knives and bullets, he was the one that murdered those two kids alright.  The police put an end to the case.

So Donnie had been there that night, watched those kids and followed the couple back to their car and then committed the murders, He helped Charles W. Charles escape and for nearly fifty years lived a pretty quiet life.  They took Donnie off to the morgue, he died of a crushed skull, and broken back and he burned to death in my car.  It took me a long time to get over what happened that night, poor soul.  Newspapers wrote about what happened that night, they went into detail.  Everywhere I went people wanted to ask me about the murders.  I suppose in time the stories will be forgotten.  For the most part the case was closed.  I have trouble sleeping at night at times, thinking about the murders, and thinking about Donnie.

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