No One Saw A Thing (2019) s01e06 Episode Script

Small Town Requiem

1 was more like the Old West.
There was a culture of violence in the area.
(Kirby Goslee) That's the history of our country.
You get enough people riled up and they're gonna go do vigilante stuff.
People were afraid of Ken Rex.
(Steve Booher) There's an old saying: "He needed killin'.
" When he got killed, and they got away with it, at that point, they felt protected.
(man) The people who were involved in this, and the people who covered it up, they didn't realize that their children are gonna be negatively effected by this.
It perpetuates itself.
(Toni Goben) They still think that it's okay what took place.
The mentality is still there.
It's exactly the same.
(Mark Reinig) Since Ken's death, we've had a lot of tragedies in the town that is unusual for a rural American town.
(Diane Fanning) Wendy Gillenwater, who was brutally murdered, Branson Perry disappeared and is presumed dead? (Booher) And then you have the most horrific case-- Bobbie Jo Stinnett.
(female reporter 1) A bizarre case of murder and fetal abduction.
(Ben Espey) Nobody here could ever perceive this ever taking place.
(female reporter 2) Multiple tips led investigators to suspected murderer Lisa Montgomery.
(Fanning) Everything was closing in.
This child is in danger.
() (Booher) If you believe in karma, you believe that some of Skidmore's struggles are a legacy from the murder of Ken Rex McElroy.
What's done can't be undone, and there is a price to pay for it.
Is Skidmore guilty of murdering Ken Rex McElroy? Absolutely, they are.
They've stayed silent now for decades.
But silence has a cost.
Sometimes, that cost is that other horrific things happen in your town.
(Fanning) Lisa Montgomery desperately wanted another child.
Well, she pretended to be pregnant.
And she found Bobbie Jo, another breeder of rat terriers.
She drove from her home in Melvern, Kansas out to Skidmore, Missouri not a short drive pulled up in front of the little bungalow where Bobbie Jo Stinnett lived, and knocked on the front door.
Bobbie Jo let her in, brought her into the room where she kept all her puppies and dogs and Lisa throttled that poor woman to unconsciousness knelt beside her and cut her stomach open pulled out that little child, who was eight months in the womb, wrapped that baby up, took it out and got into her little red car and sped off down the road.
(female reporter) Less than a day after Bobbie Jo Stinnett was found strangled, her unborn baby kidnapped, law enforcement had a suspect-- Lisa Montgomery of Melvern, Kansas.
(male reporter) Here's what we have learned.
Lots of little bits of information from this latest press conference.
We're told it will be the last press conference from the sheriff department-- they're turning things over -to the feds right now.
-We anticipate, in a short time, that we'll have some information that may be related to charges being filed in the case.
If we can have your indulgence until those charges are filed, then you might have a lot more information at that point in time.
(reporters clamoring) (Booher) They had Lisa Montgomery identified within a day.
There was an urgency to this.
(Espey) That's when I sent Randy Strong and Don Fritz-- two of my people, investigators-- to Melvern, Kansas to try to find Lisa Montgomery, in hope that the baby would survive.
It's the first time I had ever heard of a baby being cut out of her mother for someone to steal a baby.
I mean, wouldn't it have been a lot easier to go to a hospital or to go to someone's house and steal a baby that was two or three days old.
(Fanning) Lisa Montgomery, she had this obsession.
She wanted that baby to look at her and for her face to be the first one that baby ever saw.
The fact that the mother would probably die in the process did not trouble Lisa at all.
(Randy Strong) It's usually women that murder a pregnant woman and steal the child.
Sometimes the child lives, but sometimes the child does not live.
(Fanning) Detective Strong turned down that highway in Kansas.
The road started out paved and then it turned to dirt.
And they're going down there, raising a cloud of dust as they turn into this farmhouse.
(Espey) Don and I are walking up to the driveway of Lisa Montgomery's house.
I look down and I had rat terrier dogs running around my feet.
Yeah, I knew that was the place.
We were at the monster's house, and it just sent chills down my spine.
(knocking on door) (Fanning) They knock on the door, and when the door opens, they see the TV is tuned to a story about this abducted baby.
(clock ticking) (Espey) I quickly did a scan around the room.
To my right, sat a sofa, and Lisa Montgomery is sitting there holding a newborn baby.
It didn't look right.
Does she possess a firearm? Am I gonna have to take a shot at her? (police siren blaring in distance) (Fanning) Detective Strong lifts that baby from Lisa's arms and he walks outside of the Montgomery home.
() (Espey) I get a phone call and says, "We have a little female baby in our hands.
" There was probably 17 investigators that had been working through the night on this case.
There wasn't a dry eye in there and it was dead silence.
I want to thank the people that helped me on this.
I mean, this department couldn't have done it alone.
The major case squad, these people are very well trained and they were very good.
They helped us out at the crime scene over in Skidmore.
And so with that, we're very happy the fact that we're gonna be able to get this baby back to the family.
(male reporter) Her mother had her name before she was born.
Little Victoria Jo.
And it was victory from God that helped us find that little baby.
(female reporter) Lisa Montgomery faces federal charges of kidnapping resulting in death.
(Rick Stanton) And that gal was just plum deranged.
I don't know that she acted like she was pregnant, and told everybody she was, and then come up here.
I don't know that she had any help or whether she acted alone, but (male reporter) They had met before, they had even gone to the same dog shows, according to some new witnesses.
Handcuffed and dressed in a prison jumpsuit, Lisa Montgomery testified in federal court in connection with the brutal murder of mother-to-be Bobbie Jo Stinnett.
(man) This is a case where its going to be almost impossible to try to come up with any defense, other than some form of mental disease -(female host) Right.
-some species of insanity.
People do not want to believe that another human being is capable of this kind of violence.
(male reporter) There are questions about why Montgomery's husband accepted her story, that she had suddenly given birth last Thursday and was ready to be picked up with the baby not at a hospital, but outside a restaurant.
(Fanning) How did Kevin Montgomery believe that his wife was pregnant and that that possibly could be his child? She took that baby and showed him off at the local diner, the preacher's house.
Everybody believed it.
(female reporter) Pastor Wheatley says for months Lisa had everyone, including her own husband, convinced she was pregnant.
She was pretty small, and I commented to her about it.
I asked her if if she was due, when she was due, and she said she was due in December.
And I said, "Well, you're kind of small to be having a baby that soon," and she said, "I always had small babies.
" And so I just let it go at that.
But the fact of the matter is, it was all a scam for her to get what she wanted.
She is a sociopath, not an insane person.
(female news anchor) Good evening, everyone.
Montgomery will die for killing a pregnant woman and kidnapping her baby.
(female reporter) Lisa Montgomery becomes just the third woman scheduled for execution in the federal system.
(Booher) This case is closed.
The case was solved by a couple of things, which didn't happen in Ken Rex and Branson Perry's case: Quick, decisive action by law enforcement, information from townspeople, and in this case, there wasn't a conspiracy of silence in the town.
This was different in its nature.
Unfortunately, it's not different in its effects, because it was still Skidmore, it was still horrific, and it added another chapter to that town's legacy.
for Bobbie Jo Stinnett, the pregnant woman who was strangled in her Skidmore home before her unborn infant was kidnapped.
(female reporter) The people of Skidmore poured into this tiny funeral home, many still struggling to come to terms with their friend's sudden and brutal death.
(man) I've known her since she was a little baby.
She grew into a beautiful swan and She didn't deserve this.
Yeah, it's just unbelievable.
(Becky Harper) This case has finally come to a close, but we will never stop missing Bobbie Jo.
She was a sweet (camera shutters clicking) and loving wife, daughter and sister and would have been a wonderful mother.
(female reporter) Bobbie Jo Stinnett was buried in the same town she grew up in, the same town where she will always be remembered.
(Espey) When you have one bad thing happen, and another year or two, something else really bad happens, that town develops a reputation.
(Fanning) It is very, very bizarre that in a town of three hundred and some people, within five years, there's three brutal murders.
It just can't be coincidence.
To me, there's a higher power than any of us, and I wouldn't be sittin' here tellin' you, if I didn't know it was the truth.
Did it all connect or something? I don't know, but I've thought about that.
I have thought about that.
'Cause this town was so full of sin.
(Booher) At some point in time, they were a thriving little community, full of pride.
And then Ken Rex McElroy was shot.
(Espey) The last murder there was a freak deal.
That had nothing to do with Ken Rex McElroy.
That had nothing to do with any of the Skidmore people.
That was just-- Bobbie Jo Stinnett was on a website that somebody in Kansas saw.
(thunder rumbling) I know a lot of people in Skidmore, and they're not at all proud of the fact that this got blown up so big.
And it keeps makin' stories.
(Goslee) All these things are little black marks because it happened in our community.
Our community didn't cause it.
I don't believe all that (bleep).
The things that happen to the people in Skidmore I won't use the word coincidence.
I'm just gonna say they happened because they happened.
() Since we've had these violent situations in Skidmore, you don't see many people on the street.
You don't see a lot of cars on the street.
There's very little activity.
The older people started dyin' off, and the younger people started moving away.
There's nothing to keep people in Skidmore, unless you just love it here like I do.
(Fanning) Skidmore is slowly but surely dying.
When that happens, all the resources in a town start disappearing.
And that's when the town collapses on itself.
Someday, we'll just be a spot on the map.
(Booher) It's already tough enough to be a small town in the middle of the country where there's nothing noteworthy in-- your town doesn't have a lot going for it.
That's tough to have these things happen, and to be tagged with that legacy, that makes it even tougher.
Some might say, impossible.
(Cathy Palmer) Life hasn't been fair to the town of Skidmore.
I mean, there's just been so many negative things happen in that area.
How much can a town take, heh, you know? Can they ever get past their history? There used to be an X chiseled in this sidewalk right here where McElroy's pick-up was sittin'.
I don't know why people latch onto something.
I don't know why they keep onto it.
Right through here.
There used to be an X carved in there, I guess that's 40 years ago.
I don't do much on websites, 'cause I'm-- well, I just don't know how to run a computer, for the most part.
But I do know when something, and you punch up "Skidmore," the first thing that comes up about Skidmore is the McElroy thing, Bobby Jo Stinnett, and then the Brandon Perry.
People are still comin'.
People are still askin' questions.
Everybody wants to know why it happened? But in another 10 years, you know, the McElroy thing will be 50 years old, there will be nobody living that can actually say, "I was there.
" We'll be hearing people say, "Well, you know, my grandpa talked about that, or maybe my dad.
" But there will be nobody left alive that can say, "I was there.
" () (Goslee) There's one truth in what happened, and only the people that were there know what it was.
Some of the people were really glad he got shot.
Some of the people didn't process it for weeks or months or years later.
But all of 'em kept quiet.
I think a lot of the people in town want to come clean on who did it, who done it.
To come clean, clean the town, clean the memory, clean your hearts, make peace with the Lord That would be a wonderful thing for this community, that we knew the actual truth.
But it's not gonna happen.
And people that are still living today that know what happened, they probably made peace with their god, and that's all they need.
And every day, every week, every month, we lose more of those people.
If you want to see the history of Skidmore, all you go to do is go though the cemetery, south of town, 'cause that's pretty much where everybody is.
The Bowenkamps, he died.
Roman Henry, he died.
Benny Estes, he's dead too, you know.
Trina moved somewhere down south and she passed away four of five years ago.
I guarantee you, the men who did the shooting-- there's more than one-- they're all dead.
(Marty Small) It is a great testament to the strength of the community to protect the identity of those men until their death.
And they're all dead.
I've been tellin' ya-- dead, dead, dead, dead.
They've got their revenge.
Del Clement after the shooting, he drank himself to death.
He was a mess after that.
I never talked to him about it.
I talked to him-- I never talked to him about it.
I didn't care to know.
(Charlie Young) Maybe that's God's way of allowing things to happen because of what they did, I don't know.
I know it is a spiritual battle.
I know that.
I don't know how Ken's murder affected everything.
I can't see into that realm.
(Stanton) Bobbie Jo's husband, they moved up to a small town here south of town.
Him and the little girls, probably, 10, 12 years old, out doin' good.
And to this day, Lisa Montgomery is not dead.
She's still in prison.
(James Klino) We hope that answers will come up with Branson Perry's case.
I hope and pray to God that they come up soon, so we can see justice for Branson and the family, so we can put 'em to rest the right way, next to his mother.
This has gone on too long.
It's been 18 years.
(Goben) That town will never grow into absolutely anything, till someday There's nothing there but empty buildings, if they haven't all been burnt down.
I think the town is kind of cursed, so in its own way, they're punishing themselves.
The ones who pulled the triggers, killed my dad.
Whether they go to prison or not, at this point in time, it really doesn't matter.
It's just closure to the case.
And in a way, maybe free that town from the curse that its under.
(Goslee) Murder's wrong, vigilantism is most cases, wrong.
Not always, but most cases.
Hopefully, we won't be put in any of those situations again.
But should it happen, people are gonna make a decision, it's gonna be a split decision, and it's gonna be an instant decision: I'm gonna grab a gun and shoot or I'm gonna run.
() (Small) As a society, we've gotten soft.
There's several countries where, you know, everybody is trained, everybody spends their time in the military, and everybody is expected to defend their home and their country.
And ending McElroy's life was one of those things.
The men that took it upon themselves to protect their town did their job.
And in turn, the town did its job by protecting those men.
Nobody saw a thing.
In the old days, that's just how it was.
And as Americans, if we don't have people that are willing to do that, well, who's gonna defend their community? You have to have those people.
It took courage to shoot at all.
I'd have done it.
You can call it violence if you want to.
What are you gonna do? You gonna walk away? Give me a break.
Do we need violence? You bet your sweet ass we do.
that wasn't the first incident of violence in this community.
All these little communities, all these little towns, have had killings and shootings from when they were first founded.
There was no law out past a certain point in this country, at one time in our history.
Everybody had to be vigilantes to make society function without being destroyed.
(Reinig) We live on the edge of the prairie which has so much romanticism of the wagon trains and cowboys and Indians, and train robberies.
And we're in the heart of Jesse James area.
(Gary Chilcote) This is the house where Jesse James was killed on April 3rd, 1882, by Bob Ford and Charlie Ford.
Since 1882, the house has been on display, and I don't understand why people, quite frankly, want to pay $4 to come and see Jesse James, where he died.
We have the jail exhibit with a lot of different murder weapons that were used over the last century to kill people.
I don't know why people like those kinds of things.
(Booher) Keep in mind that in northwest Missouri, outlaws are they're kind of admired.
Jesse James was an outlaw, but he was kind of a hero.
Every farmer, every rancher in about four states let Jesse James and his gang sleep in their barns.
He was a regular cowboy killer.
He was good to my grandparents-- great-great-great, I think it would be.
It's down the line.
That's how they got the first money to buy a little farm.
They handed 'em out and he left money in there underneath the mattress for 'em.
Jesse James gave money to poor farmers in northern Missouri, central Missouri.
But on the other hand, Jesse James also rode around terrorizing people.
(man over speaker) In the next room, you'll learn about the 1995 exhumation of Jesse James.
(Booher) So we in this area, we kind of have a legacy of admiring outlaws and outlaw actions.
(Small) What is one of our biggest superheroes in this country? Batman, right? Batman.
What's he do? What's his superpower? He's rich, right? But what does he do? He goes out and crushes criminals and does what law enforcement can't do.
Well, that's what vigilantism is.
Well, look at all of our movies.
Ah, the bad guy gets it in the end from the good guy.
But it's not through the legal system.
It's through a street brawl.
But that's the history of our country.
(Devon Linder) I was in school.
It was eighth grade history class.
We were having a discussion over Jesse James and the vigilantes, and things like that, and my teacher, he had brought up Skidmore, Missouri, and then he said Ken Rex McElroy, and wait a minute, I was like, "You're talking about my grandpa.
" You know, that's my family.
They didn't know that that was one of his grandkids that was sitting in there.
As part of their curriculum, they was gonna use the movie that was made about my dad gettin' killed.
He had to sit there and watch it.
(screaming) He didn't know if he should say something, or You know, it kind of put him in a bad spot.
(Linder) It was-- It hurts, 'cause, I mean, I don't look at my grandpa like that.
It's something that bothers me that people say that had to be done, and not have anything said or done about it afterwards.
(man) Burn in hell! (Fanning) Vigilantism has been idealized in this country, and people make heroes out of those who do that, and that really perpetuates the vicious cycle of violence.
that's been out there, and one day, I looked at myself in the mirror and I was thinkin', "Wow, I look just like him.
" My name's Tony Surritte.
My father was Ken McElroy.
I didn't get harassed as maybe my, my siblings, you know, did.
Because they carried the McElroy name, and I didn't-- my mother hid me from that.
And I think that was due to the fact she didn't want me to have to have that stigma of a McElroy.
(McElroy Jr.
) Carrying the McElroy name, whether it be, you know, your teachers, or law enforcement, whatever it was, anything you got into, or we got into as kids, that's the first thing that they brought up, was our name.
(Goben) My brothers got it worse than me.
you know, they got told, "You're no different than him," they started fighting, and someone saying something to get them riled up, and then fighting.
So there was quite a few different violent altercations that caused a lot of problems in their life later.
Do you ever think about revenging your father's death? -Yes.
-I've thought about it a lot of times.
(Oprah) Mm-hmm.
(Juarez McElroy) You feel that hurt and pain and understand, at that point, that that it's over, it's-- it's-- he's dead.
There's nothing you're ever gonna do that's gonna bring him back.
And at that point, there's that sense of just overwhelming loss.
You're just, you're lost.
That was my introduction to violence.
If I'd have never, ever experienced it, I would've never, ever known what that type of violence was like.
So I got caught up in it.
And the next thing you know, you fall on that roll again.
And I went from using to selling, to you name it, I was doing it.
Eventually, something gives.
Back in '89, a friend of mine was in the Hickory Tavern, and he got in a fight in there with somebody and I went to get the guy off of him It was a pretty brutal fight.
The guy ended up gettin' stabbed in there.
They arrested me, took me to jail.
(Goben) The boys didn't have their dad anymore, and the family kind of got ripped apart.
I mean, I've been in my share of violence-- you know, violent stuff, you know, getting caught in different situations, and then life just, you know, got out of control.
The boys, a good chunk of their life was struggle.
And a lot of that had to do with the stigma from Dad's death.
(Juarez McElroy) My philosophy to how I coped with it was, you know, I kinda viewed going to prison as goin' in the military, and I'm gonna have to experience things that I probably never wanted to experience, but I got to learn how to deal with those.
And during that process, I chose, at that time, for me to refocus what is it I'm doing with my life.
-Good morning.
How you doing? -All right.
Yourself? -Ah, not bad.
-Morning, Pastor John.
-(John) Hey, how's it going? (Juarez chuckles) (Pastor John) Over half of our congregation are ex-convicts-- from our ministry, to the prisons.
That's how Juarez came in.
I said, "I've got 13 years in the penitentiary, I've got tattoos all over me," and I said, "I probably won't be the most likely guy to be in your church," and you just looked at me and laughed, you said, "You might be surprised.
" I was like, "All right then!" I said, "Don't be surprised if I don't show up.
" Two weeks later, I show up, now three years later, I'm still here.
Early on, I carried so much anger and so much hate.
I wanted my father's death to be vindicated.
Today, I put that past behind me.
I don't carry that burden no more.
(children laughing) -All right, little ones -(woman) That's good.
-Grandpa's leavin'.
-(girl giggles) When I was younger, I used to think about revenge.
Yeah, I did.
Now I don't, I don't think about it so much no more.
When I look at my own kids now, that's my life now.
I try to be forgiving.
As far as us, I mean, are our lives perfect? No.
I mean, we're not rich or anything like that, but we're okay.
It didn't break us, you know, which is exactly what the town wanted it to do.
But that didn't happen.
We're still here.
And we're okay.
Struggle, yes.
The town, I don't think it'll ever be okay, because of the secrets that they keep keeping.
I just don't see how 60, 70 people can sit around and watch a person get shot and killed and nobody says nothing? Everybody kept that a secret.
And there's a lot of things my dad probably got accused of he didn't even do, I'm imagining.
And there's stories of things that he did that, you know, he did.
But you know, you're People are not gonna want to talk about the good things when you're talking about somebody being shot and killed in the middle of town of a hundred people, watching.
They just swept it under the rug because they didn't want to face it no more.
It's over now.
The town ain't got to deal with him no more, the courts ain't got to deal with him no more, the law's not got to deal with him no more.
He's gone, so now let's just forget about it.
() (Reinig) When I think about Skidmore, I think of home.
That's where I learned how to record.
We had a barn.
I would put microphones up, we would hear the sound of the wind, and it would get this sound of a (making wind howling sound) (wind howling) The panes of tin that would just start to rattle a little bit, give this little shaking sound.
I probably recorded four hours.
Whenever Festival would play, we'd take a long trip, we would stay in one big room and at night, we would turn that tape on It would take us back to Skidmore.
It didn't matter where we were, it would take us back to the times before Ken's murder affected everything, being in a small town where you don't have to worry about your door being locked, you didn't have to worry about someone stealing you car, you didn't have to worry about any of that.
We've gone through a lot of things.
People still work hard, people still struggle, people are still people, just like any other town.
There's just 280 of us, instead of 280,000, or 2.
8 million.
(Hayes) I hope and pray that they can work things out here in town, because I'd hate to see something like that again.
It's the curse of our town.
And I have told you folks that gospel truth of everything that I know.
(Fanning) Small towns embody the American dream.
Nice little clabbered houses and picket fences, where nothing horrible would ever, ever happen.
Skidmore started out as a kind of typical small town, but when the McElroy thing came down, that is when they got infected.
They had cut themselves off from the rest of the world.
-(crew chattering) -(sensor beeps) Aren't you afraid of vigilante law? One person decided to take the law into his own hands once, someone else could again.
Aren't you concerned that someone, perhaps one of your friends, has taken the law into his own hands and killed a man? -No.
(Safer) Reverend, you got a very bitter and almost angry look on your face when I mentioned the word vigilante.
Um, in the past, the people had to protect people, and now we're at that point again.
As a Christian, and as an American, I say, "Who so ever sheddeth man's blood by man, so shall his blood be shed.
" Look, McElroy cast a cloud over this town, there's no question.
There was fear here.
(gun cocks; gunfire) But aren't you now concerned that you've taken the law into your own hands here? Aren't you afraid of a kind of vigilante law? If it happens once, it can happen again.
(Marty Small) As a town, as a community, they've paid every day since.
They paid.
They're still payin', okay, and depending on your religious background, they might pay later too.
(Juarez McElroy) Sorry to hear that it destroyed their town, or this and that and the other, but you know what, I mean, you made a choice.
You know, you're supposedly supposed to be these self-righteous goody-two-shoe people, now you've got to go all throughout your life knowing that you took the father away from, you know, 13 children.
But I don't believe that you got off on it Scot free.
You carry that with you all of your life.
(Goslee) This incident has cast a dark shadow for many, many years over the community.
You murder a guy in broad daylight, gotta weigh heavy on your heart and your soul to keep that information in, and not tell somebody about it.
That's the one big story within this story.
Now, it's a sad deal.
I know people who are still bothered by it, they think about it every day.
A man was murdered in Skidmore, and there were young people and children and relatives and loved ones on both sides of the murder.
There were long term effects.
A lot of innocent people were hurt.
We've had our share, over our share of tragedies.
It could've went another way.
But it didn't happen that way.
Murder was a horrible thing, but it was necessary at the time.
But knowing what we know now, I just don't know.
In a situation like that what would you do? (wind howling) (thunder crashes)