by Chris Bunton
The Serial Killer, Timothy Krajcir who is known to have killed during the late 70’s and early 80’s, was born in Pennsylvania on November 28, 1944. He was born Timothy Wayne Mcbride, but his name was changed when his mom remarried. He had several run ins with the law for theft in Pennsylvania, when he was young.
He joined the Navy as a cook and was stationed in Chicago serving the Great Lakes region. In 1963 he was dishonorably discharged for sexual assault. This seems to be the beginning of his career as a rapist, which finally led to murder.
It was during this time that he raped and stabbed a woman in Waukegan, Illinois, and served years in prison.
It seems that upon his release he was ordered to attend college and get a job as part of his release program. So, he enrolled at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and got a job with the Jackson County Ambulance Service as an EMT. He had served as an EMT in prison at Vienna Correctional Center.
He made friends with everyone he worked with, even though they discovered his past. He told them that he was charged with rape for being with an underage girl. They believed and accepted him.
But, during his employment and apparent normal life, he was molesting his 13 year old neighbor. He was also going to Cape Girardeau to rape and murder women.
I traveled down to Cape Girardeau for a weekend getaway. While there I did some research on this serial killer. I traveled the same roads and neighborhoods where he did his deeds.
The distance from Carbondale, Illinois where the killer lived, to Cape Girardeau, Missouri, where he committed several of his crimes is about an hours’ drive. It runs down somewhat secluded highways, and through small towns.
I went down Illinois Route 3 which is The Great River Road, toward Cape Girardeau. The road goes through the tiny town of McClure. It was here that one of Timothy’s victims was found.
He had met Sheila Cole in Cape and took her to his trailer on Springer Street, in Carbondale. Then, it is believed that he raped her, and was bringing her back to her car in Cape. But, he killed her and dumped her body in a toilet, at a rest area in McClure.
There is currently a rest area in McClure, at this time. But, according to news articles, the rest area where the body was found was tore down, and became a grove of trees, which you can see as you drive through town.
We crossed the bridge over the Mississippi into Cape. Where we discovered that the hotel I was staying in is located next to Middle Street where Krajcir raped a victim who survived. The neighborhood is a rundown area full of historic French Colonial Houses, on the verge of gentrification next to the historic district.
The next morning we drove over to Koch Avenue where Krajcir’s first victims, Mary and Brenda Parsh were found. The neighborhood is a typical middle class area with a few churches along the road.
Both of these locations are within a short distance of the river front historic district and The University of South East Missouri campus. (SEMO)
People at the time were terrified of this serial killer and serial rapist who operated in middle class neighborhoods, and was dubbed the Blue Bandana Rapist, because he wore a blue bandana while raping women.
These rapes and murders happened at a time before DNA was an established tool for crime fighting. It wasn’t until Deborah Sheppard which was one of Timothy’s last victims, that DNA was used to catch and convict him of murder years later.
In 1979, Timothy Krajcir was arrested for molesting his 13 year old neighbor on Springer Street, Angela Ambrose, who was his youngest rape victim. She spoke of it to the news years later, describing her ordeal. Krajcir had molested her for 2 years.
When he was arrested for it, his friends at the ambulance service bailed him out. While on bail he killed Joyce Tharpe of Paducah, and Myrtle Rupp of Pennsylvania. He also committed rape at the Carter residence on Middle Street in Cape Girardeau. His EMT friends have expressed extreme guilt for the part they played in his crimes.
When his day in court came the state charged him as a Sexually Dangerous Person (SDP). Which means that he is civilly committed, not actually convicted. Therefore, a doctor must approve his release. Yet, Krajcir was paroled anyway, when doctors at Menard Correctional Center deemed him fit for release. They said there was no way to tell if he was safe, unless he was released to see how he reacted.
Now, you must remember that no one at this time was aware that Krajcir was killing people. They only knew he was a rapist. The time line between his rapes and his killing makes things confusing.
At some point he transferred his parole to Pennsylvania where he was convicted of another rape. After he served his time in Pennsylvania, he was transferred back to Illinois where he remained locked up as an SDP, and convicted killer.
Timothy Krajcir raped and killed his victims between the years 1977 and 1982 he acknowledged killing 9 women across 3 states, while sexually assaulting many more. He was sentenced to 13 life sentences in Missouri. He was also sentenced to 40 years in prison in Illinois for the murder of Deborah Sheppard an SIU student, and then a year later he was sentenced to another 40 years, for the murder of Virginia Lee Witte of Marion, Illinois.
He is still alive serving time at Pontiac Prison, which is a prison that the Illinois Department of Corrections uses for inmates who need extra security or cannot behave in the prison system.
His known murder victims are:
Mary Parsh—Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Brenda Parsh–Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Marjorie Call— Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Mildred Wallace— Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Sheila Cole—Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Deborah Sheppard— Carbondale, Illinois
Virginia Witte—-Marion, Illinois.
Myrtle Rupp—South Temple, Pennsylvania
Joyce Tharpe—-Paducah, Kentucky
For Further Study:
(Bio: Chris Bunton is a Writer, Blogger, and Poet from Southern Illinois. He has published in Written Takes and The Yard: Crime Blog.)