The “Martinsville Monster” Killings

  By Chef CoasterKid93

Dennis Christie heard it first. Or maybe it was Allison Christie.

None of the newspapers ever came to an agreement on that. Even today, more than forty years after the Spring of 1974 and the search for the “Martinsville Monster,” all the investigators and reporters that descended upon Martinsville, Indiana have refused to reach consensus on this. But what is absolutely certain, and has never been ignored, is that all of the events surrounding the Christie siblings started with that noise.

The noise varies in description depending on who you get a second-hand account from. A few sources argue that it all began with scratches in the wall. Some investigators maintain that it started with their closet door opening on its own in the middle of the night. One or two fringed reports paint an entirely different picture: Dennis and Allison made regular sightings of the “Martinsville Monster” in their room at night. The real truth is that it was all of these things. And the real truth is that their parents ignored all of their cries for help in the weeks preceding their disappearance.

Of course, Mr. and Mrs. Christie took real attention when their children were nowhere to be found on the morning of April 19th, 1974.

Dennis and Allison’s beds were made, but empty. Mr. and Mrs. Christie searched their property, called neighbors, and drove around town looking for their children, all to no avail. Dennis and Allison were gone. Mr. Christie called the Martinsville Police Department at 8:30 that morning, and within twelve hours, a statewide investigation was underway. Within twenty-four hours, it was already making national news.

The best coverage came from the local papers, with good coverage coming from the surrounding states. On April 27th, 1974, The Martinsville Gazette was the first to report that “the national investigation into the disappearances of Dennis (8) and Allison (6) Christie [had] so far established no suspects, and no positive identification of either sibling.” One day later, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch wrote, “The parents of Dennis and Allison Christie remain hopeful on the eve of their children’s birthdays, and extend their gratitude to the hard-working men and women of law enforcement around the country.” On April 29th, The New York Times wrote, “With Dennis Christie’s 9th birthday tomorrow and Allison’s birthday on May 1st, their parents are asking for as many volunteers as possible in search efforts.”

On April 30th, 1974, Mr. and Mrs. Christie received their first real clue.

It came in the form of an unmarked package, encased in gift wrap and topped with a bow. The police instructed Mr. and Mrs. Christie not to open it. An officer from the Martinsville Police Department – who to this day remains unnamed – opened it. Inside, atop a mound of gift tissue paper, was a card. It read:

“Happy 9th Birthday, Dennis!”

They removed the paper.

The unnamed officer immediately vomited. The officers around him gagged, and a few others turned away. Mrs. Christie screamed. Dennis’ right arm was in the box.

On May 1st, 1974, they received Allison’s left leg. This continued for five more years. The search efforts immediately ceased, and the FBI became involved in what the Kansas City Tribune called “A Massacre in the Heartland.”

In 1975, they received Dennis’ torso and Allison’s head.

In 1976, they received Dennis’ left arm and Allison’s right leg.

In 1977, they received Dennis’ left leg and Allison’s torso.

In 1978, they received Dennis’ right leg and Allison’s left arm.

In 1979, they received Dennis’ head and Allison’s right arm.

Each limb came with its own package and its own birthday card. Their limbs were so badly decomposed that it took federal law enforcement investigators up to three weeks at a time to properly identify the remains.

In the Spring of 1979, no suspects or leads had been identified, and the Christie siblings were assumed long dead. But in the Spring of 1980, on the date of Dennis’ 15th birthday, they received their final clue.

A package once again appeared on the Christie’s doorstep, with all the usual flair. As usual, an officer opened the box. As usual, there was a card inside. But according to testimony, there was nothing beneath the gifting paper. Upon opening the envelope, numerous photographs fell to the floor. There was another card in the envelope:

“Onto the next family!”

The photos only confirmed everyone’s worst fears. It was a sequence of point-of-view photographs showing the systematic mutilation of the Christie sibling’s decomposing bodies. While Mrs. Christie refused to view them, law enforcement insisted that Mr. Christie view the photographs to possibly identify the locations in the photographs. The second Mr. Christie saw one picture, he dropped it to the floor and screamed.

He knew exactly where they were taken.

The Christie’s basement is unusually large, boasting a number of unused storage rooms with small windows facing the surrounding woods. The Christie’s never had much in the way of belongings, and as such, the basement was rarely used. Still, Mr. Christie led the officers downstairs.

The room at the far back of the basement had been blocked off with old furniture that Mr. Christie didn’t own. Officers removed the furniture, and kicked down the door.

Dried blood and matter caked the room. Officers gagged at the stench. The floor was adorned with puncture marks. The window to the woods was ajar. The doorway and window sill were coated in baking soda. The siblings, and their killer, had been down there for six years.

Even after further investigations, no suspects or leads were established. The “Martinsville Monster” had gotten away. But his crimes continued.

Identical cases continued across the United States until the Summer of 1989, but no local national media outlets dared cover the stories. Not after the revelation of the Christie siblings. The nation had dealt with six years of tragedy, and no one wanted to go through it again. Case files still exist in FBI headquarters, and within local police departments across the country in fifteen different states. However, the “Martinsville Monster” is nowhere to be found.

But now that I’ve found a new home and I’m ready to get back to work, maybe I’ll get the coverage I deserve once more. I’m really starting to like that name.

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