Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John List


Wanda Flannery liked to buy tabloids, coming home each week with several of them to entertain herself. In February of 1987, she looked through an issue of World Weekly News and spotted an article about a man, John List, who had murdered his entire family many years earlier and had gotten away.

It struck her that the photo of this killer looked remarkably like her neighbor, Bob Clark. Even their odd habits were the same. She glanced up from the newspaper to see her neighbor out on the porch and felt at once that she was looking at the man who had committed the perfect murder. She read the article through again and wondered to herself about the possibilities. Like List, Clark usually wore a coat and tie. Both were religious men who taught Sunday school. Then she read the FBI description of the scar that List had behind his right ear from a mastoidectomy. Bob Clark had just such a scar. He was an accountant, like List, and from Michigan. Both had chronic money problems, had trouble holding jobs, and seemed to overspend. And Bob looked several years older than the age he claimedjust old enough to be John List.

She wondered if she should tell Delores about her suspicions. Surely Delores knew more about the man's background and could assure her that Clark was legitimate. She took the paper over to Delores' house when John had left for a temporary job he had managed to find, and showed it to her. She urged Delores, who was mystified, to show it to Bob and see how he reacted. Delores said she would, but then tossed the paper out. Wanda said nothing further.

Then Bob found a job in Richmond, Virginia, and he and Delores packed up and moved to the East. Wanda remained uneasy.

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