Smooth Talker Comes to Town for Murder — True Crime

Smooth Talker Comes to Town for Murder — True Crime

A man with a shady past got a young girl to go along with his plans of armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder.

Image for postPhoto by Zakaria Zayane on Unsplash

In 1986, Missy Munday was a fifteen-year-old member of the Future Homemakers of America living in Hancock, Maryland, with her family. She lived a pretty typical life for the times, going to church and sporting events.

But, everything seemed to change when a man named Jerry Strickland came into the area. He arrived under the guise of looking for a property that he could turn into an orphanage. Strickland made contact with the Mundays to inquire about a house nearby.

From the beginning, Phyllis, Missy?s mother, didn?t like the newcomer. She commented that he seemed like a ?smooth talker.? But, her daughter Missy seemed smitten at first sight.

Missy?s friends noticed that their friend was enjoying the extra attention Jerry was giving her. They said she didn?t receive much at home, so Jerry filled a void in her life. Her friends helped her keep the relationship a secret by pretending Missy was with them when she was really meeting her boyfriend.

Late at night after everyone went to sleep, Missy would sneak out and go over to spend the night with Jerry. During a late-night talk, he confided that his wife and child had both died in a car accident.

Then on the morning of April 17, 1986, Missy left home to catch the bus for school, or so everyone assumed. In reality, she met up with Jerry, and they left the state. They eventually settled in Springfield, Michigan, and had a son together.

Image for postMissy Munday | via WikiFandom

During this time, she spoke to some of her friends, but no one was to let her family know where she was. Missy only regretted leaving behind her older brother and grandfather, citing trouble with the rest of her family. When pressed, Missy reluctantly said that the biggest reason she ran away with Jerry was that he was the first opportunity she had to getaway.

The one thing that seemed to bother her friends was the lack of affection between the two lovebirds. They found it odd that they never kissed or even held hands. Missy told her friends it was because Jerry just wasn?t an overly affectionate person.

While living in Michigan, Missy got a job as an assistant manager at a local gas station. She quickly became friends with the courier for the oil company, Elmer DeBoer, who picked up the cash receipts at the nearby gas stations.

Image for postJerry Strickland | via WikiFandom

On the morning of May 11, 1987, Elmer came into the station to get the receipts, as usual, which meant he was near the end of his route for the day. He was never seen alive again.

Around 11 am, the gas station was found empty, but with the front door locked. Elmer?s car was still sitting in the parking lot, but there was no sign of anyone around. Inside the safe was hanging wide open emptied of the $10,000 that had been inside.

The next day Elmer?s body would be found over twenty miles from the gas station. He had been shot twice in the back of the head. His body also showed signs of one of his wrist had been in a pair of handcuffs.

Police suspected Missy and her boyfriend Jerry since they were both missing from town. They thought that Jerry had surprised Elmer, and handcuffed him to Missy before taking them out into the woods. Elmer would have gone along without a fight if he was worried about the safety of Missy, not realizing it was her boyfriend holding the gun.

The day after the murder, Jerry and Missy were in Pontiac, Michigan, purchasing a truck. They paid in cash, using only small bills.

When the investigators spoke with the car salesman, they learned something that shed new light on Missy. While they were waiting for the purchase to go through, Missy was alone for over two hours with the salesman, and never asked for help. Police determined she was a willing partner, not a hostage.

Those who knew Missy was shocked. They couldn?t believe that she would ever be involved in anything like this. But they also were shocked to learn about the real Jerry Strickland, because everything he told about himself back in Hancock, was a lie.

Before arriving in Hancock, Maryland, Jerry had been in prison. He had attacked his sister-in-law, raping her, and nearly stabbed her to death. He was convicted of malicious assault. While in Hancock, Jerry had been writing bad checks and was wanted when he skipped town with Missy.

The case made the news, and crime shows picked it up and aired the details hoping someone would spot the wanted couple. Jerry was wanted for armed robbery, kidnapping, and murder. Missy was only wanted for questioning at the time.

Soon after the broadcast, over twenty callers contacted the police saying that Missy and Jerry were living in Moses Lake, Washington.

The couple had watched the news crime network coverage and was waiting for the police to arrive. Jerry and Missy are taken in without incident. While they had been on the run, they had another child.

Image for postCurrent photo of Jerry Strickland | via Michigan Department of Corrections

At first, both Missy and Jerry claimed they were innocent and had nothing to do with the robbery, kidnapping, or murder of Elmer DeBoer. But before they could go to trial, Missy confessed and cut a deal with the prosecutors.

During Jerry?s trial, Missy testified that she didn?t witness Elmer being killed, but that Jerry told her that he had shot him.

Missy?s deal meant that she wasn?t tried for murder and kidnapping, and only served seven months in a juvenile home for armed robbery and was released when she turned 19. She eventually moved back home and lived with her parents.

Jerry was convicted of murder, kidnapping, and armed robbery and was given two life sentences without the possibility of parole.

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