Investigation Discovery’s ‘A Crime to Remember: Coffin for Christmas’ follows the horrifying story of heiress Barbara Mackle who got kidnapped in December 1968. After being left for three and a half days, she was finally rescued by FBI agents. Investigators were able to capture the criminals involved in the crime within three months. This episode explains how the crime occurred, the investigation, and the people involved. If you are interested to know the identity and the current whereabouts of the perpetrator, we’ve your back. Let’s begin then, shall we?
How Did Barbara Mackle Get Kidnapped?
Barbara Jane Mackle was born to Robert Mackle, a millionaire entrepreneur, and Jane Mackle from Florida. In 1968, she was Emory University’s junior. The Emory University student body was suffering from the Hong Kong flu. This happened during the fall semester finals. Jane drove from Georgia to care for her daughter, Barbara, who was also suffering from the flu.
With the school’s infirmary choked up with patients, Barbara and Jane rented a room at the Rodeway Inn in Decatur, near campus. She planned to stay until her daughter was fully healed. Two visitors knocked at their door in the early hours on December 17, 1968. They identified themselves as local police officers. They claimed that Barbara’s boyfriend, as per the show, Stewart Hunt Woodward, had been involved in a vehicular accident. After the safety chain was removed the fake officers forced their way into the room and brandished weapons. Jane was then neutralized with chloroform.
Jane was able to regain consciousness after discovering that she had been gagged and tied up. She managed to walk to the parking garage, where she was untied and assisted by motel staff to contact law enforcement. Robert, her husband was also informed as he was close to Richard Nixon. J. Edgar Hoover, then the FBI Director, was given instructions to handle the investigation personally. Robert immediately flew to Atlanta, asking trusted employees to be alert in case of kidnappers.
Who kidnapped Barbara Mackle
Ruth EisemannSchier and Gary Stephen Krist (or Steven) Krist, had taken Barbara to a remote spot in Gwinnett County in Georgia. It is located 25 miles northeast from Atlanta. A 7x3x3x3/5 feet wooden box was already theirs. It was lined with fiberglass cloth and placed in a hole in ground. It contained basic amenities such as a blanket and some food items. There was also a pump to help keep the water out. Two hoses were attached to channel the airflow.
The kidnappers placed Barbara in the box, clicked a picture of her holding a sign that read “Kidnapped,” closed the lid, and buried her alive about 2 feet below the ground. They also sent a ransom note to Barbara’s family demanding $500,000 in $20 notes and asking them to place an ad in a local newspaper if they were satisfied with the terms. The Mackles followed the instructions but the first pickup went wrong when a suspicious neighbor called the police. The kidnappers fled without taking the ransom.
However, the investigators were able to get their hands on the vehicle used by the kidnappers — a Volvo registered in the name of George Deacon. They quickly found that Gary was using the vehicle as an alias and obtained photos and IDs for Ruth and Gary. The Mackles also placed an advertisement in the newspaper to convince kidnappers they were not involved in the mixup. They were quickly contacted by kidnappers via local priests.
Another pick-up was set up with the kidnappers promising that they would reveal Barbara’s exact location once they had paid the ransom. As the ransom was paid, the kidnappers were not able to make any mistakes. But, the FBI was aware that their identities were known by the time they secured the dropoff. The kidnappers escaped with ransom on December 19, 1968.
Gary Krist, Where are you now?
Gary Krist called the FBI headquarters in December 1968 to inform them about the burial site of Barbara. The FBI set up a temporary command centre in Lawrenceville and agents began to search for Barbara. They were able quickly to find her, dug up her, and then rescued her. She survived despite being in her grave for three days. Hoover phoned the Mackle family to inform them that their daughter was rescued.
Gary tried to hide in South Florida by purchasing a boat, and then speeding west towards Mexico Gulf. After he received all the $20 notes, Gary became suspicious and informed authorities. A helicopter was used for the search. Nearly 200 officers followed him. Gary tried to escape on foot after he got off at Hog Island. He was soon captured on March 5, 1969. In 1969, he was convicted of kidnapping and sentenced to life imprisonment.
But, on May 14, 1979, the convict was released on parole. Gary was granted a pardon which allowed him to enter medical school. According to reports, he was highly intelligent and earned a medical degree. Alabama refused to grant him a license. He was granted one however by the Indiana Medical Licensing Board, December 2001.
Gary was a general practitioner in Chrisney in Indiana. However, his license was revoked in 2003 for concealing the discipline he received as a resident physician. His stepson and he were found with 38 pounds of cocaine onboard a sailboat off the Alabama coast. Georgia police discovered a hidden cocaine lab on Gary’s property. Gary was sentenced to a more than 5-year term after pleading guilty for smuggling drugs.
Gary was in Marianna Federal Correctional Institute Florida and was released shortly before Thanksgiving 2011. At 65, Gary was incarcerated at the Marianna Federal Prisonal Institute in Florida. He was released on parole just before Thanksgiving 2011. According to last records, Gary was in his late 70s and lived in Auburn, Georgia in 2016. He may still be living in the Peach state today.
Is Ruth Eisemann Schier Still Alive or Dead?
Ruth Eisemann-Schier had the dubious distinction of being the first woman to have her name on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List. On March 5, 1969 in Norman, Oklahoma, approximately 79 days after her kidnapping, she was arrested. She pleaded guilty, and was sentenced for 7 years. After four years of imprisonment, she was paroled and sent back to Honduras. Ruth was an American citizen, according to her social networking profile. Tegucigalpa (Honduras) in 2016. Ruth was born in 1942.
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