Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ken McElroy

The Last Word

Lois Bowenkamp called a deputy sheriff she knew.

"Don't worry about it," the deputy said. "He won't do nothin'."

A few days later, McElroy offered to give Lois Bowenkamp $100 if she would challenge Trena to a "street fight" to settle their dispute. She told him it was an absurd idea.

Yet there they were, McElroy and Trena, standing outside the Bowenkamp home the next day, as though waiting for Mrs. Bowenkamp to come out and fight. She called police, and McElroy, who had a police scanner in his truck, pulled away just before a state trooper and deputy sheriff arrived.

Nodaway County Sheriff's Office patch
Nodaway County Sheriff's
Office patch

She asked about filing a complaint, and the lawmen explained, once again, that McElroy was within his legal rights and that there was nothing they could do. Ken McElroy had never left a conflict unfinished—whether with family, friends or foes. He would have the last word.

Understanding this, Lois and Bo Bowenkamp feared the anger would fester in McElroy. They waited on tenterhooks, the hairs on their neck bristling up each time the doorbell at the store jangled, each time they heard rubber tires crunching the gravel outside their home.

They knew that, at some point, McElroy would erupt. And so it would be.

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