Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Charles Starkweather & Caril Fugate

Cover up

Caril's reaction to and role in this slaughter was never satisfactorily determined. Since the only two living witnesses were Charlie and Caril, the real truth may never be known. Caril claimed that she had broken up with Charlie before these tragic events and was terrorized while he attacked her family.

What happened after the murder of her family defies belief.

Velda's body was dragged to the old outhouse and shoved down the toilet opening. Caril's baby half-sister was put in a box that had been used for garbage and taken out to the outhouse as well. Marion Bartlett was dumped on the floor of the chicken coop.

Once that was done, Caril and Charlie cleaned up the blood and mess inside and spent the rest of the evening drinking Pepsi and eating potato chips. They stayed there in the house, just a few yards away from the rotting corpses of Caril's family, for almost a week, buying milk and bread on credit from the milkman every day. Charlie would go down to the grocery store to buy a few other essentials.

In the days after the murders, a number of visitors came by the house. Caril turned most of them away with a sign on the front door saying, "Stay a way Every Body is sick with the Flue."

One day, Marion Bartlett's boss came to the door to see just how sick he was, but Caril came out and told him that her father was still very sick and bed ridden. Then Caril's sister Barbara Von Busch and her husband came to visit, but Caril discouraged them both with the story about the flu.

They were both suspicious and later Bob Von Busch came back with his brother to investigate. This time, the story had changed. In tears, Caril told them they had to leave. "Please don't try to get in. Mom's life will be in your hands if you do!" The Von Busch brothers went to the police.

Later, the police showed up and were told by Caril that the family had the flu. When the police asked why her brother-in-law would call the police, Caril told them that Bob Von Busch did get along well with her family. Since Caril seemed sincere and credible and not in any danger, they left. Later the Von Busches were told that there was no reason for alarm.

Bob and Barbara sent over one of Caril's close friends who heard a third story. Caril told her friend in a low whisper, "Some guy is back there with Chuck. He has a Tommy gun. I think they're going to rob a bank." The friend didn't tell the Von Busches, but did tell her father who called the police the next day.

We're Following
Slender Man stabbing, Waukesha, Wisconsin
Gilberto Valle 'Cannibal Cop'