Welcome back to part four of the case of the missing cheerleader and the end of this road for me. The Osage County Sheriff’s department never gives up on a case. I’ve spent hours researching several cold cases in their offices and this week’s column just shows their determination.
On June 24, 1976 Pawhuska had two city newspapers and the disappearance of Cindy Kinney the day before was front page news on both of them. The street where the laundromat was located was a busy thoroughfare and a new bank was being built right across the road. Behind the laundromat was a steep hill and at the top was the Osage Indian Headquarters and there were always people coming and going. How could Cindy vanish in broad daylight and no one saw anything? I found out that there was one other person in the laundromat during this early morning mystery but at the time of the initial investigation that hadn’t attracted much attention.
A youth minister’s wife, this lady might have known Cindy well, both from church activities and from the laundry but Sheriff Wyman had other more promising leads than a man of God and his wife. A group of people from the Unification Church led by Sun Myung Moon had established a foothold in the area and it was rumored that these people were dangerous. It did seem strange to law enforcement that the preacher and his wife left town shortly after Cindy’s disappearance but during the 1970s criminals from Tulsa often dropped dead bodies in Osage County and the caseload in the Sheriff’s office was enormous.
Over the years many people have confessed to the kidnapping but none of them were credible. However, I have learned that the preacher’s name keeps coming up. There may have been a domestic dispute call to his home before he left town and it also came to light that he may have tried to abduct another girl in another town. It was also possible that he had been committed to a psychiatric hospital at one point. I know there’s a lot of maybes to this story but this information, which the Sheriff’s office already had, has the current Sheriff, Eddie Virden hot on the trail trying to solve this 43-year-old mystery.
After being asked not to reveal a few details about the case I’ll have to leave you in suspense but I will tell you that a few months ago a cadaver dog got a hit around some concrete at the preacher’s former church in Pawhuska. The Sheriff’s office spent three days sawing up a section of that slab and I think the results of their efforts will soon be told. I am hoping Sheriff Virden will come to Bartlesville to speak about this investigation as well as the murders discussed in the bestselling book Killers of the Flower Moon at Arvest’s Friday Forum.
“If you see something say something” is a phrase often used by police and friends they need the help of the citizens of this great county in solving this case and other cold cases like it.
As for me, it’s time to move on and this week I’m off to Enid. The town was founded during the opening of the Cherokee Outlet during the land run of 1893. It is the birthplace of many notable people including Pulitzer Prize winning author Marquis James and I am looking forward to my visit.
Till next time I’ll see ya down the road….