An investigation of a murder in 1934 in Indianapolis was fairly open-and-shut, since the police had plenty of information to go on. The hit man was offered an entire ten dollars, the majority of which he spent on a gun. That, however, was one of the more mundane details of this bizarre case.
At the center of our story is Gaylord V. Saunders, the pastor of a Methodist Episcopal church in Wabash, Indiana. As he entered his mid-thirties, Saunders, like so many people, had something of a mid-life crisis. His life felt empty. He needed a sense of meaning to his existence. He longed for excitement, emotional fulfillment, new challenges, a fresh road to travel. So, naturally, he moved to Indianapolis and enrolled in an embalming school. Unaccountably, his wife Neoma failed to heed the siren song of organ preservation and creating a remarkably lifelike appearance, so she and their children stayed behind in Wabash.
Saunders was found dead in his car, shot in the back of the head. Police talked to people who knew the clergyman, and quickly centered their attention on Theodore Mathers, one of Saunders' classmates. And then on Saunders' wife. And a few other people. In fact, folks seemed to be falling all over each other to confess everything they knew about the murder. While the investigation was strange in its simplicity, it was the murder trials that followed that went totally off the rails. Read the entire story of Gaylord Saunders' murder at Strange Company.