Dardeen Family

Ina Illinois, a village, crime rates had been high, we are talking around 15 homicides in the past 2 years…. In 1990, so a few years later the population was 489.

Home of The Dardeen Family, Russell Keith (29), Ruby Elaine(30), and Peter (3). Plus they were expecting a baby girl they were planning on naming Casey. Both parents went by their middle names, Keith and Elaine.

They were friendly, were in a musical group at church, but do to the areas increasing crime rates, they were cautious never to trust strangers or let anybody in or near. Due to fear they actually decided to put their trailer up for sale to move back to Keith’s hometown, Mount Carmel.

November 18 1987 Keith never showed up for work, which was unlike him and made people suspicious. After several calls to different people, the sheriff ended up going to check on them and walked into a horrible scene! Elaine, and Peter had both been beaten to death with a baseball bat that had been a birthday present for Peter on his last birthday. (Who gives a 3 year old a baseball bat). Even worse, stress of the beating had cause Elaine to go into labor, and the newborn had also been beaten to death. All three of them were tucked into bed and the crime scene cleaned up. Nothing stolen, and no forced entry.

Police instantly jump to their first suspect being Keith, and the search is on for him. However, when he is found though it is by hunters, and he himself is found to be an additional victim not a suspect. He had been shot three times, and his genitals mutated.

His car was parked by a police station, blood splatter indicated that is where Keith had been murdered.

Suspects/theories: Freight train killer, though not enough similarities

Tommy Lee Sells, a serial killer who confessed but was never convicted… his stories would suddenly change, stories of their meeting, and such were always changing. Plus, he confessed to more than 70… and was actually thought to commit maybe 22 of them. He drank a lot, used drugs and was constantly through his life a thief in and out of jail.

Mistaken identities?

Multiple killers, why was Keith so far away and such different murders?

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