Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Gary Krist: The Einstein of Crime

Hong Kong Flu

Barbara Mackle was not feeling well as Christmas approached in 1968.

The Hong Kong flu, raging across America, had arrived at Emory. She was scheduled to take semester-ending exams, then fly home to Florida on Dec. 20 to spend Christmas break with her family.

She phoned her mother in Coral Gables on Dec. 12 to say she was terribly sick with the flu but intended to stay at school to complete her exams.

Jane Mackle flew to Atlanta to remove her daughter from campus, where the infirmary was overflowing and medications were scarce.

On Dec. 13, they checked into a Rodeway Inn in Decatur, Ga., at the edge of the Emory campus. Under her mother's care, Barbara managed to study and travel to campus intermittently for exams. 

Coincidentally, Krist and Eisemann arrived in Atlanta at about the same time as Jane Mackle.

Krist had built his underground capsule in a trailer at the University of Miami. He and Eisemann had disposed of their possessions in Miami, then hauled the capsule 12 hours north in a Volvo station wagon. They located a remote spot in the piney woods outside Atlanta and spent a day digging a hole in the clay soil to install the capsule.

The Grave-like hole intended for Barbara Mackle
The Grave-like hole intended for Barbara Mackle

Locating the victim proved simple by comparison.

Krist, posing as a "scholarship investigator," learned the name of her dormitory by merely asking at the admissions office. A dorm mate told Krist that Mackle was staying with her mother at the Rodeway Inn. He identified their room No. 137 by staking out the motel.

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