'Messy,' Murderous Story of John Ackroyd Comes to an End

The conclusion of the Oregonian/OregonLive's five-part series
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 11, 2018 2:04 PM CST
'Messy,' Murderous Story of John Ackroyd Comes to an End
John Ackroyd ended up dying in prison in 2016.   (Getty Images)

If you've been following the five-part story of John Ackroyd, its conclusion might leave you hanging. Noelle Crombie knows that. "This is a messy story with loose ends and unanswered questions," she writes for the Oregonian/OregonLive. Part V opens with Ackroyd in 1993 going to trial for the 1978 murder of Kaye Turner, who was killed while out on a Christmas Eve run near Highway 20 in Camp Sherman, Oregon. While there was no physical evidence linking the state highway mechanic to her death, the trial featured some compelling testimony, though not from Ackroyd. Jane Morris took the stand to recount how, as a 24-year-old, she was bicycling home from a waitressing shift when she saw Ackroyd beside his truck in Camp Sherman, with a gun pointed at her.

He ordered her to stop; she pedaled faster. Turner would die months later; forensic tests determined she had been shot and stabbed. Ackroyd was found guilty, but he never came clean on exactly what transpired in Turner's final hours. Ditto for his 13-year-old stepdaughter Rachanda, who went missing in 1990 and whose remains have never been found, and Melissa Sanders and Sheila Swanson, whom authorities believe Ackroyd killed just a month before he was arrested in connection with Turner's death. "I have never killed anybody in my life," Ackroyd maintained in a 2012 prison conversation with an investigator. "I thought about it, but I never done it." He died behind bars in 2016, leaving behind no confessional note to those crimes or any others (Crombie recounts some other unsolved cases from the area). Read the conclusion in full here. (Or catch up on the rest of the story here.)

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