WHO IS THE WABASH WHACKER?
If you've been following our humble little comic strip for the past few months, you just might be wondering exactly that! To help ya along, here's some of the information Joe's compiled over the course of his investigation:
Confirmed Attack 1: November 13, 1964
Victims: Anthony Rivera (killed) & Alex Keith (survived)
Confirmed Attack 2: February 14, 1965
Victims: Bruce Ronson (killed) & Jeanette Foster (killed)
Confirmed Attack 3: May 15, 1965
Victims: David Underwood (killed) & Sandra Wagner (killed)
"Confirmed" Attack 4: October 3, 1965
Victims: Marion Rose (killed) & Jenny Clements (killed)
Note: Chief Inspector Gordon Grover believes this attack was NOT committed by The Wabash Whacker
Confirmed Attack 5: August 16, 1966
Victims: William Billsby (killed) & Meredith Brewster (survived)
Robert Mitchell, cab driver. The first two victims of The Wabash Whacker were picked up by Robert Mitchell's cab on the evening of November 16, 1964 between 6PM and 6:15PM. Robert Mitchell claimed to have been playing cards with friends at the time of the attack and had reported the vehicle stolen at 7:55PM that evening. Two fellow cab drivers, Raymond Targos and Joseph Peters, confirm Mitchell's alibi. Mitchell was under police surveillance at the time of the second attack. Mitchell was officially dropped from the suspect list on February 17, 1965.
Earl Richards, drifter. Earl Richards confessed to being The Wabash Whacker even before his fingerprint turned up at the site of the second attack. In fact, Earl Richards had been confessing to every open murder case since he was released from prison in 1962 (he had been serving a brief sentence for accidental poisoning and had served an even briefer sentence in 1960 for public vagrancy.) Mr. Richards was held in custody for nearly four months before a third attack brought his confession into dispute. Mr. Richards was eventually released and removed from the suspects list on September 7th, 1965.
Jason Kipfield, short order cook. Marion Rose and Jenny Clements were hiking through the Wabash River Valley when they made camp near what is now the Kekionga Trail. Near Midnight on October 3rd, 1965, they were brutally beaten and left tied to a tree. They were discovered two days later. Marion Rose had died, but Jenny Clements lived long enough to describe their attacker as between 35 & 45 years of age, 6 feet tall, weighing between 200 - 220 pounds, bearded, and having heavy eyebrows. A tipoff from an anonymous caller brought Jason Kipfield to the authorities' attention on October 21, 1965. Kipfield denied any involvement in these killings and denied any involvement in the previous Wabash Whacker attacks. A search of Kipfield's home produced a scrapbook containing newspaper clippings on The Wabash Whacker and a pair of sneakers which were still wet from being hosed down. Mud residue from the sneakers matched samples taken from the attack site. Kipfield died on January 22nd, 1966 of cardiac arrest, nearly six months before The Wabash Whacker struck again. Although Kipfield could not have been The Whacker, Chief Inspector Glover believes Kipfield was the killer of Marion Rose and Jenny Clements.
Herman Hout, actor. Herman Hout was born on March 17th, 1924 and was stage acting by the age of 17. In 1956 he won the role of Captain Timber Ton on the weekly television series THE STICKY SEA MEN and also won the hearts of the American audience. The show lasted until 1963, after which Hout began acting in films. He never achieved the leading roles in his films and was instead relegated to sidekick or mentor roles. His reputation as a character actor increased over the course of the next three years but his acting career came to a screeching halt when he was questioned in connection to The Wabash Whacker murders. Herman Hout, it transpired, had visited the Wabash Valley to shoot films five times between 1964 and 1966, and each of those five visits was punctuated by a brutal Wabash Whacker attack. Although no charges were ever pressed due to a complete lack of evidence tying him to the killings, Hout's fame and the media circus surrounding him led to many believing he was, indeed, The Wabash Whacker. Hout made two failed attempts to revive his career and had a cameo role in 1986's feature film adaptation of THE STICKY SEA MEN. By 1999, however, dementia began to seep in and these days it is difficult to tell when Hout believes himself to be Captain Timber Ton and when he doesn't. He currently resides in Sherman Oaks, California.
Stay tuned to PIRATE COVE, folks!