Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ken McElroy

Keep an Eye on Him

Missouri map with Skidmore locator
Missouri map with Skidmore locator

No one should have been surprised when Ken McElroy showed up in Skidmore, Mo., on that miserably hot Friday morning in July 1981.

McElroy had gotten word that he was the subject of a rump session down at the local Legion Hall. Sixty frustrated, frightened men had demanded that the local sheriff brief them on what they could do to safeguard themselves from McElroy, a notorious bully and master manipulator of the criminal justice system.

Ken McElroy
Ken McElroy

Sheriff Danny Estes suggested a sort of neighborhood watch to keep an eye on McElroy.

Someone at the meeting said, "But isn't that your job, sheriff?"

That simple question was the essence of what would happen in Skidmore that day, July 10, 1981. It was clear law enforcers had not done their job. And this compelled to action certain members of the community.

McElroy had shown up at an inopportune moment, just as some of the oppressed men of Skidmore finally decided to do something about their scourge.

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