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About the Book
This story is about the most famous unsolved murder in the southwest and the life of the man who held the key to that murder. On September 26, 1970, E.C. Mullendore III, the heir to the three hundred thousand acre Cross Bell Ranch Empire in Oklahoma was murdered in his own home. The only other person with him was ranch employee Damon ‘Chub’ Anderson who was also shot. At the time of his death Mr. Mullendore held the largest life insurance policy in the United States. As a result of mistakes made during the investigation no one has ever been charged in the murder despite the involvement of numerous law enforcement officials, lawyers, investigators and TV personalities.
At the time murder articles appeared in the Wall Street Journal, The Atlanta Journal and The Atlanta Constitution, The Daily Oklahoman, The Tulsa World and The Tulsa Tribune as well as in all the local papers. Television stations across the region also sent investigative reporters to the area, with little result. Through the years the story has continued to fascinate the public and both the national and the regional media have covered possible new leads in great detail. Most recently the murder has become the topic of several internet blogs with people from across the country logging on and offering their theories of the crime.
Chub Anderson’s life in the years following the murder became a legend of its own. In 1980 he was arrested for growing the largest marijuana crop in Oklahoma history and this arrest was followed by a string of indictments involving other crimes. Then in 1990 when he was arrested for cultivation in Kansas, Anderson became a fugitive from justice and eluded capture for 16 years. He was on the Ten Most Wanted list in the State of Kansas and was also frequently mentioned as a prime suspect in the Mullendore murder although no charges were ever filed. In June 2006 a sick and penniless Anderson was apprehended in Helena, Montana where he had been living under the name of Jack Evert, a deceased World War II veteran.
For the past eight years I have been writing a weekly column for a local newspaper about my travels and local history, “Down the Road with The Original Buffalo Dale.” When Anderson was arrested it was front page news across the state and I decided to follow the case. After a fluke introduction in the judge’s chambers during his sentencing I began visiting him on a weekly basis in Lansing State Prison forming a bond that strengthened even more after his release in early 2007. Still wanted by the law in Oklahoma, he returned to the Caney, Kansas area. Up until his death in November 2010 I continued to meet with Chub regularly and had been working on this project with his assistance, researching every aspect of this powerful story. The book focuses both on his experiences and the pivotal unsolved murder of E.C. Mullendore – an event that had shaped his life for the next 41 years.
This story includes the history of this area of the country and the many people-both famous and infamous- who crossed paths with Chub. The wide open cattle ranges of Kansas and Oklahoma and the mountains of Montana provide the setting for a real life drama which also involves famous people, big money, beautiful women and a hint of the Mafia.