I am excited to let you all know that I have decided to publish Footprints in the Dew independently and will be launching a Kickstarter campaign in late December to fund the project. I will be posting all the details here so stay tuned.
Since this story appeared in the Examiner Enterprise I have had many inquiries from readers both locally and from around the country.
Welcome back. Over the past ten years I have included many biographies in this column, some of famous people that many of you may have heard of and just as many about people I have known personally and think have special stories. This is about a person who falls into the second category and who recently passed away.
I first met Paul Kelly in the summer of 2006. At just over 6 feet tall and about 180 pounds he was in excellent shape. Easy going and frequently smiling, Paul had a disposition that reminded me of Andy Taylor from Mayberry in the old Andy Griffith TV show and from the beginning I found him extremely likeable. Paul had grown up in the small Osage County town of Grainola, Oklahoma which is northeast of Ponca City on the Kansas border. When he was a kid his mother worked as a cook on Boots Adams’ Foraker ranch which later became the Oklahoma Land and Cattle Company.
In 1969 Paul was 26 years old and had earned a degree in Animal Science from Oklahoma State University. In addition, growing up on a farm had given him plenty of practical experience in farming and livestock management. He had worked for several years at the Coddington Livestock Research Station before taking a position as a County Agent in Emporia and Chace counties in Kansas. This is where he was working when E.C. Mullendore III contacted him about running the farming operation on his massive Cross Bell Ranch. According to Paul “It was a good job and the Mullendores were good people to work for but it only lasted a year and a half.”
I knew from prior research that Paul had managed thousands of acres of farm land on the Cross Bell and had been responsible for all the men and machines required to make it productive. Over the course of several taped interviews Paul confirmed the details of his work on the ranch and what he thought was his small role in the dramatic events that took place there in 1970.
As an employee of the ranch he had been questioned in the initial investigation but heard nothing from law enforcement until 2010 when Osage County investigators asked him to come into the Sheriff’s office. Paul told me that during this meeting he was questioned for over an hour regarding the murder of E.C. Mullendore. At the time the investigators told him that the case was solved and arrest warrants had been written which were awaiting a judge’s signature.
Paul had a good memory and gave me a thorough account of this meeting with investigators which was confirmed during my subsequent visit the next day to the sheriff’s office.
It was after that when I told Paul that I had been subpoenaed by the Attorney General to appear before a multi county Grand Jury looking into the murder. I had also received an unauthorized visit from one of the grand jury members who told me that they had never received any of the documents or tape recording that I had been ordered to release to them. This gentleman wanted to review my information hoping that the case could be finally closed and justice done. This contact between a jury member and a witness was way out of bounds but soon after Paul and I discussed it, he discovered he had cancer. Although we stayed in touch his health became far more important than the unsolved murder from decades before.
All of this makes interesting reading but this small piece of history about a good man’s departure from life certainly does not tell the whole story of Paul Kelly, a man who I wish I’d more time with.
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road………
I have been contacted by a number of people regarding an episode about the Mullendore murder which recently aired on Behind Mansion Walls on the Investigative Discovery channel. The producers contacted me about this project last year and I declined to be interviewed. Based on my review of other episodes I believed that their treatment of events would be lurid and I think I was right. In addition they did not attempt to contact the family and therefore did not get the facts.
My project is much broader in scope and deals with much more than this one tragic event. Thank you for your support, Dale Lewis.
I recently came across this article which ran in September 2010 shortly before Chub’s death and I found it very interesting to look back in time from my current perspective. There were two photos that accompanied the article, one of me shaking hands with Chub which is on this website (Chub Anderson Photo Galleries) and one of the bullet holes in the sliding glass doors at E.C.’s Mullendore’s house which is on file at the Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise.
Today (Sept. 26, 2010) marks the 40th anniversary of the night that prominent rancher E.C. Mullendore III was murdered at his home northwest of Copan. As yet, the killing is unsolved, but renewed interest in the case this year may lead to an arrest or arrests.
In January, a multi-county grand jury in Oklahoma City convened and is investigating the 40-year-old murder. In addition, the Osage County Sheriff’s department launched their own investigation this year.
While many people speculate on the circumstances of that fateful night, a lot of fingers point to Damon “Chub” Anderson, who was with Mullendore that evening. Anderson, who is still alive but gravely ill in a Kansas nursing home, worked at the Mullendore ranch and also was Mullendore’s bodyguard. Since the murder, Anderson has maintained that two unknown assailants killed Mullendore and shot Anderson in the back. According to news reports, Anderson said he shot at the men as they fled through glass doors. No evidence of the two men has been reported. After an investigation following the Sept. 26, 1970 beating and shooting, no arrests were made.
Just over four years ago, local Examiner-Enterprise columnist Dale Lewis contacted Anderson for a story about his run from the law on an unrelated case. Anderson and Lewis became fast friends and Anderson agreed to tell Lewis the story of his life, including the events of the Mullendore case. Lewis said he has video and audio documentation of pertinent facts that occurred that night, along with many other facets of Anderson’s storied life. Lewis was subpoenaed to testify before the multi-county grand jury earlier this year and is still under a gag order.
Lewis spent the last few years researching the information Anderson told him, talking with law enforcement and others that were involved in the Mullendore investigation. Lewis even visited Montana where Anderson spent 17 years as a fugitive, part of the time working for Ted Turner building bison pens on his ranch. Lewis compiled all his research into a manuscript called, Footprints in the Dew, which is as yet unpublished. To help publicize his impending book, Lewis created a website, www.originalbuffalodale.com.
“I started the website because Chub wants his story told “said Lewis. “His life has been so colorful and he has done so many things and its been such a big story in this part of the country.””It got my interest when I went up to see him when he was captured four years ago. I visited him every week for three months while he was in Lansing Prison. He said he wanted me to do this and he would cooperate with me for a book.” The title of the book refers to the footprints that could be seen in the dew the morning after the murder. The only footprints found were Chub’s showing his path to Dale Kuhrt’s house for help.
Kuhrt worked as ranch manager for two years for the Mullendores. On the night of the murder, Kuhrt, who now is retired and living in Arkansas, said in a phone interview that he opened the door and Anderson was holding onto his bleeding right arm while sobbing. He said E.C. had been shot and needed help.
Kuhrt, reluctant to leave his wife and new baby alone with a shooter on the loose, handed his wife a gun and told her to shoot anyone who came to the door. They ran back to E.C.’s house, and Kuhrt said he was shocked at the amount of blood at the grisly scene. Mullendore had been bludgeoned on top of his head and shot between the eyes. He said Anderson wanted to take Mullendore to the hospital, but Kuhrt convinced him not to move the body.
The phone had been pulled out of the wall so Kuhrt left to find a working phone and Anderson headed to the hospital to get patched up. “The county sheriff really screwed that up,”said Kuhrt. “They took E.C. to the hospital and cleaned him up. That just ruined the whole case right away. The body shouldn’t have been moved that night.”
According to Kuhrt there had been a lot of moneyfinders around the ranch in the months leading up to the murder. “A bunch of scum is what they were” he said. Kuhrt said he never thought Anderson did it. He attributed the murderer(s) to those involved with a $15 million insurance policy that E.C. carried.
Another ranch employee at that time was Paul Kelly, who now lives outside of Pawhuska, running cattle. In September 1970, Kelly worked as farm manager for the Mullendores in charge of the crop farming on the different ranches in Fairfax, Pawhuska, Hulah, Caney and near Copan.
He said during a phone interview last week that he was playing cards the night of the murder and got a call about midnight or 1 a.m. saying Mullendore had been killed. They came home but he said he didn’t go near the house till the next morning. The police were there and escorted he and others to Pawhuska to go through an affidavit process.
“There was a lot of things going on about money and a lot of questionable people dealing with E.C.” said Kelly.” To this day I think they are the culprits that had him killed. Everyone thinks something different. A lot of people think Chub did it. I run around with Chub and E.C. too many hours to think something like that happened. In spite of everything, Chub is a pretty good kind of a fellow.” However, he thinks Anderson could identify who did commit the murder. Kelly also said the police work was the most unprofessional handling of any murder case in the world. He said a couple months ago, he spoke to the Osage County Sheriff’s Department who were reinvestigating the case. “And I indicated my opinions,” said Kelly. “They said they were going to solve it and I said, “You weren’t even born then. It will never be solved completely. Too many people are dead. When Chub dies, it will be over,” said Kelly.
Lewis said he will periodically update his website with more tidbits from his book, although he’d really like to see a movie made of the story. He recently attended the Telluride film festival in Colorado to rub elbows with those in the business.
Lewis isn’t the first one to write a book about the murder. Wall Street Journal reporter Jonathan Kwitny also penned the story in 1974, detailing the lifestyle of Mullendore and his whole family in The Mullendore Murder Case. Osage County District Attorney Larry Stuart and Osage County Sheriff Ty Koch did not return calls by press time.
I think all of you who have been following this case will be interested in this article, particularly if you didn’t see the piece in Oklahoma Magazine. Things may finally about to break in the next few months. Stay tuned.
Welcome back. The October issue of Oklahoma Magazine featured an article about unsolved murders in Oklahoma and in it private investigator Gary Glanz is quoted regarding the tragic beating and shooting death of E.C. Mullendore on September 26, 1970:
“We have got the answer. There was another man with Chub on the night of murder who helped cover it up. I am working with the D.A. in Osage County to resolve it.”
The article stated that an indictment could be pending.
Did Glanz get a death bed confession from Chub Anderson as he states in the article?
Did he and Anderson have the type of relationship that would lead Anderson to reveal his 40 year old secret to Glanz? And if he did, why didn’t the cops make an arrest if there was a co-conspirator in the murder as he stated. Well, this information and more may all come out in a new documentary that is scheduled to begin filming in the area next week. The film crew is from Australia and they produce a show with over 77 million viewers around the world which will be shining a light on this famous unsolved crime.
After I was subpoenaed by the Attorney General to appear before a multi county Grand Jury my own attorneys have recommended that I not comment on what I know or reveal my role in the story. What I can do is give you a little history on just who Gary Glanz is and how he came to be involved in this case.
Glanz started his career on the Tulsa Police force in the 1960s where he built a reputation for having a sixth sense about crime. Before long he decided that his true calling was in the P.I. business and with not much more than his instincts he went into business for himself in the late ‘60s. He received a call from E.C. Mullendore’s widow’s attorney just four hours after the murder and the three of them drove out to the ranch together early the following morning. This was the start of Glanz’s investigation of the murder, a crime he has said many times in print should have been solved within the first 72 hours.
“This was never a contract hit” he has stated, adding that he knew who killed E.C. and for $100,000 could prove that Mullendore had not committed suicide or arranged to have himself killed in order for his heirs to collect his life insurance. At the time his death benefit was thought to be the largest ever paid in the history of the insurance business. Although the murder investigation continued for the next three years, Glanz went on solving other cases and in 1973 the Wall Street Journal published a front page profile of him calling him a “Super Sleuth” and the best P.I. in the southwest.
As you might expect from a man who thrives on getting the job done no matter what the cost, Dirty Harry is his favorite movie and the weapon he carries is a Browning 9MM 15 shot automatic customized with an inch and a half cut off the barrel and Smith& Wesson sights. He has said that he also packs a Walther 9MM 7 shot automatic and that neither gun has a safety. “If you’re going to pull a gun you have two choices, use it or eat it.” Now 72 years old, Glanz has traveled around the world working on everything from high profile cases to simple thefts and divorces usually solving his cases and solving the Mullendore murder would put the lid on his most famous case!
With all that said, I couldn’t leave you this week without mentioning the three day celebration in Claremore of the man who in my opinion was the greatest Oklahoman who ever lived. Will Roger’s birthday was this past weekend and the occasion was marked with parades, children’s theater, dinners with his relatives and much more. I think it would have made him happy to see how his memory and his influence have lived on. My friends Coke Meyers and Jennifer Rogers whom I met in August at the Rogers Ranch in Santa Monica were both there along with thousands of Will’s admirers of which I am one.
“They may call me a rube and a hick but I’d a lot rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the man who sold it.” Will Rogers.
Me too Will. Till next week I’ll see ya down the road…..
As the one year anniversary of Chub’s death approaches the interest in his life and his role in the murder of E.C. Mullendore III has not diminished. A recent article about famous unsolved murders in Oklahoma includes the murder and some possible new information about the case. In addition I have just been contacted by an international film company interested in filming a documentary about the case here. Myths and rumors continue to swirl around this forty-one crime, making me more convinced than ever that the truth needs to be told. In the meantime if you are curious check out www.okmag.com (October 2011 Cold Case Oklahoma and look for an upcoming article in the Bigheart Times www.barnsdalltimes.com .
Ironically, having just returned from two film festivals now I have been contacted by a film company with an interest in my project. They hope to come to town to interview the remaining key players and shoot some footage on location. Will this solve the mystery or just add to it? Stay tuned…..
Thirty-nine year old Dale Kuhrt came from four generations of farmers and ranchers and his great-grandfather had homesteaded the land Dale was born on. Kuhrt was a respected stockman in the American Hereford Association and a long time 4-H judge. He had been moving up the ladder, managing one large ranch after another, each one bigger than the one before. Kuhrt had also worked at several big spreads outside of Oklahoma including the Milky Way Hereford Ranch in Phoenix, the Lucky ranch in Loyalton, California and the Baca Grant Ranch in Moffat, Colorado. He was managing the Codding Cattle Research Station near Foraker, Oklahoma when E.C. contacted him about the job in August 1969.
View my interview with Dale:
For new visitors to the site, we have put together the complete 9-part series of video clips from a meeting that took place in Chub’s apartment in Caney, Kansas, in February 2009. It was only the second time in over forty years that Chub Anderson and Sheriff George Wayman were face to face.
Here is Part 1 of that interview:
This article was written for my weekly column in 2006 just two weeks before Chub’s and my first visit while he was in Lansing Prison. The true story of his life was still unknown to me at the time this piece went to press.
Welcome back to Part Three of “Buffalo Dale Behind The Walls…”.
Before I get to the scoop I want to lay out the time frame I will be referring to for those of you who haven’t read In Cold Blood or seen the movie. On November 15, 1959 Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Clutter, along with their son Kenyon and their daughter Nancy were found bound, gagged and shot in the head in Gardner City, KS. Robbery appeared to be the motive although only a little over $40 was missing. A massive manhunt began but with few clues it quickly proved fruitless. Then on Friday, December 30,1959 31 year old Perry Smith and 28-year-old Richard Hickock were arrested in Las Vegas for passing bad checks. After their arrest they were implicated in the robbery and murder of the Clutter family by a cellmate of Hickock’s. The gun and knife used in the murders was found at Hickock’s parents’ home and the pair was sent back to Kansas. Truman Capote was already a well-known author when he learned about this story and it captured his imagination. It had all the elements of a great whodunit: innocent victims, hard working lawmen, colorful townspeople and two bad guys. Capote turned this story into the most famous non-fiction book of the 1960s and some would say permanently changed the style of non-fiction reporting . A stick to the facts movie starring Robert Blake quickly followed and in 2005 the Oscar winning Capote was released which focuses on Truman Capote’s experiences while writing the book . I could go on and on but space is limited so here are a few things that aren’t in any movie that Warden McKune passed along to me from the Kansas City Star. According to The Star quote “Capote and Perry Smith became lovers in the penitentiary. I can’t prove it but they spent a lot of time up there in the cell and Capote spent a considerable amount of money bribing the guard to go around the corner. They were both homosexual and that is what happened.” KBI Agent Harold Nye as told to George Plimpston in his 1997 book Truman Capote.
Capote himself said that as the rope was slipped over his head Smith’s last words were directed to him: “Good-bye, I love you and I always have”. You won’t see this in the movies but that’s the scoop.
I may have more reports from Lansing,KS. As I pursue my visits with Chub Anderson I find it is a fascinating little corner of the world. But let’s get back to some closer soil north of Dewey where I had the chance to visit the site of Chub’s 1980s garden.
On Friday I toured the area where the largest cultivated marijuana field in Oklahoma (at the time) was discovered. The crop was estimated at 2 tons and it was growing in a field as big as a football field that is watered by a tributary of Coon Creek. In the mid 1970s I worked on this ranch myself along with a good friend, horse trainer Steve Milligan. As young boys we fed cattle and horses, fixed fence and did all the other things that need done very day on a large ranch. Chub was living there at the time and I was always told to keep my distance from his house , which I did.
Chub was a good welder and the pipe corrals and out buildings he built are still standing along with the electric pole that powered the mobile room where he lived with his family: his second wife and his son from his first marriage. Chub and his second wife were married from 1972 to 1981. I’ve visited with her on two occasions and found her quite charming. She was a local girl who fell in love with the handsome and charismatic cowboy and wanted to make a family. When I mentioned that my adventures were taking me out to her old home her first thought was her old fruit trees and the garden she had kept. She was wondering if any of it still survived. As the granddaughter of US Marshall Charles Johnson from Indian Territory days I could tell she is embarrassed by her involvement with this notorious case. She had never been in any trouble before this and has led a model life afterwards.
I’ve heard the field was discovered by a young man fishing along the creek who filled his pockets with his “catch” only to get busted a few days later. He told law enforcement officials the location of the field. This boy may have been a friend of Chub’s son but whatever the case on August 6, 1980 Chub was arrested and his troubles with the law continued with another bust in Sedan in the 1980s at which time he decided to run.
Today the land has been returned to Bermuda grass and there is not a pot plant in sight. It is hard to imagine that day in 1980 with news crews and photographers buzzing around- I wonder how many went home with full pockets themselves.
Next week: a few little known facts about Chub including my friend Mike Proctor’s connection to the investigation. Till then I’ll see ya down the road…