1. Keeping Children and Adults Safe
    Click Here for more information!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. What do you do if you have a loved one missing?
    In this section, you will find tips on what to do and not do.
    Easily find organizations that you can contact for help.
    Click here for more information
    Dismiss Notice
  3. “We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.”
    Our mission: Working together to help locate the missing, name the unidentified
    and discuss true crime cases within an intellectual, safe and respectful Internet community.
    *~*~*~*Don't forget, we are on Facebook! www.facebook.com/CrimeWatchersNet*~*~*~*~*
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Welcome to Crimewatchers.net! We are happy to have you with us.
Please let any staff member know if you need assistance. We're here to help! (If you aren't a member, please join us today. We'd love to meet you!)
Dismiss Notice
Crimewatchers.net opened on April 26, 2015 with the purpose of making a difference in getting the word out for the missing, unidentified, and justice for victims. Let us know if you have a case you'd like us to feature here, on Twitter &/or Facebook. Contact email: CrimewatchersCW@gmail.com

BURGER CHEF MURDERS: 4 Indiana employees abducted & murdered - 1978

Discussion in 'Cold Cases' started by Imamazed, Jan 17, 2016.

  1. Imamazed

    Imamazed Lead Administrator Staff Member


    Jayne Friedt 11/17/1978

    Case Number 44-14915


    Ruth Shelton 11/17/1978

    Case Number 44-14915


    Mark Flemmonds 11/17/1978

    Case Number 44-14915


    Daniel Davis 11/17/1978

    Case Number 44-14915

    On November 17, 1978, the Burger Chef restaurant in Speedway, Indiana was robbed by unknown suspects. Four employees were abducted from the restaurant and taken to a wooded field in Johnson county and murdered. Their bodies were discovered on November 19, 1978. The Indiana State Police have focused this investigation on a group of individuals that were committing restaurant robberies at the time.

    Anyone having information concerning this case, please contact:

    Indiana State Police
    District Investigative Commander
    8620 E. 21st Street
    Indianapolis, IN 46219
    1-317-899-8577 or 1-800-582-8440

    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  2. Imamazed

    Imamazed Lead Administrator Staff Member


    Burger Chef murders, a 25-year-old mystery

    Who did it? Who robbed the Burger Chef restaurant? Who murdered four employees?

    "That ended up, as of today, the only unsolved major case in my career." Ken York, former detective with the Indiana State Police, is one of the original investigators on the Burger Chef murder case.

    He's retired now, a private investigator.

    The case may be unsolved, but York thinks he knows who did it. "Unless someone proves differently or someone confesses between now and then, I'll go to my death bed believing I know who killed those kids."

    It happened in November 1978 at the Speedway Burger Chef. A Friday night. Four employees on duty disappear; 16-year-old Daniel Davis, 16-year-old Mark Flemmonds, 20-year-old Jayne Friedt and 17-year-old Ruth Shelton.
  3. Imamazed

    Imamazed Lead Administrator Staff Member



    At 11 p.m. on Nov. 17, 1978, four young people were closing up a Burger Chef restaurant at 5725 Crawfordsville Road in Speedway.

    Jayne Friedt, 20, was the assistant manager on duty that night. The other employees were Ruth Shelton, 17, Daniel Davis, 16, and Mark Flemmonds, 16. They were scheduled to stay a couple hours past closing to clean up and get things ready for the morning shift.

    Burger Chef restaurant at 5725 Crawfordsville Road. Four young employees, Jayne Friedt, 20, Ruth Shelton, 17, Daniel Davis, 16 and Mark Flemmonds, 16 were cleaning up the restaurant after closing. One of them opened the back door to take out the garbage, What happened next still remains a mystery, but one thing is for certain, none of them made it home that night.

    Indiana Unsolved: The Burger Chef murders in 1978
    About 10:15 p.m. on Nov. 17, 1978 — a Friday — a deliveryman arrived at the Burger Chef restaurant at 5725 Crawfordsville Road, Speedway, to find the doors unlocked but no one inside.

    There was no sign of the four employees who should have been there — a 20-year-old assistant manager and three teenage workers.
  4. Glace Entertainment PR

    Glace Entertainment PR Glace Entertainment Public Relations

  5. Paradise

    Paradise Media Mod

  6. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member


    I remember this case from long ago and have always been baffled as to how it could have remained unsolved!
  7. Imamazed

    Imamazed Lead Administrator Staff Member

  8. Uno2Much

    Uno2Much Bronze Member

    I remember hearing/reading about this case. I was a sophomore in college not far from Speedway.
    I certainly hope the murders are solved so that the remaining of those involved (who are still living) can be brought to justice and there can be answers for the families of the victims.
  9. Glace Entertainment PR

    Glace Entertainment PR Glace Entertainment Public Relations

    Thank you! We are all looking forward to this and are quite excited about Toni's research and investigation. We hope people from the forums here will contribute their stories and info. We want everyone to feel apart of what we are doing for this still cold case.
  10. Glace Entertainment PR

    Glace Entertainment PR Glace Entertainment Public Relations

    The timeline we worked up for Toni as she begins this investigation by reviewing case profile and background. She is so curious about this case and that curiosity had never steered her wrong. - Glace PR Social Media Team

    Attached Files:

  11. Glace Entertainment PR

    Glace Entertainment PR Glace Entertainment Public Relations

    Thank you! We are looking forward to it as well and mainly the input and outreach we have received ! - GlacePR Social Media Team
    Uno2Much, Kimster and Paradise like this.
  12. Glace Entertainment PR

    Glace Entertainment PR Glace Entertainment Public Relations

    Thank you and we look forward to sharing our research with everyone here. We would also like to send more people to this thread so we will link to it often. We are hoping to create a great on-goibg dialogue about this case. - GlacePR Social Media Team
  13. Imamazed

    Imamazed Lead Administrator Staff Member

    This case has always been so disturbing to me. I still remember the day they were found :vigil:
  14. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    I know we've seen cases where four people have been manipulated to their death by one, but it's rare. How many of you believe this could have been done by one person?
  15. Imamazed

    Imamazed Lead Administrator Staff Member

    I think it was more than one person. What I don't understand is why take them? why kill them? Four young people gone, and for what? :(
  16. Uno2Much

    Uno2Much Bronze Member

    I agree. If it was a robbery, it would make no sense for the robbers to take them to a 2nd location to kill them. I think this was personal. Possibly a former coworker/former coworkers? If one coworker, I think he had help.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2018
  17. Imamazed

    Imamazed Lead Administrator Staff Member

    It seemed more personal to me too.
    Uno2Much and Kimster like this.
  18. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    A teen boy went missing when I was in high school. Later he was found in a shallow grave. Come to find out, two other teens made him dig that grave, then killed him with the shovel and buried him in there. Why? They thought he was a "narc". He wasn't.

    There's so many motives for this crime - it boggles the mind. But, I have to think that at least one of those kids was being targeted for something.
  19. Imamazed

    Imamazed Lead Administrator Staff Member

    I just found this article from last November.

    There's still a detective assigned to 'Burger Chef murders' — 39 years later
    Even if you did not know that the two life-size human heads fashioned from clay were likenesses of cold-blooded murderers, you could suspect as much.

    They exude violence. They stare straight ahead wide-eyed. They purse their lips.

    They are the property of Indiana State Police Post 52 on East 21st Street: They are artist's renderings of two men seen outside a west-side fast-food restaurant the night of Nov. 17, 1978.

    Mostly, law enforcement agencies' artist renderings are just drawings. But the still unsolved "Burger Chef murders" were so shocking that someone from Purdue University's art department was hired to make 3-D versions.

    In the first weeks, more than three dozen detectives from five agencies, including the FBI, swarmed the case. At the urging of the mayor of Indianapolis, hundreds of citizens contacted investigators with information they thought could be helpful.

    Almost four decades later, the case is still being debated. It has a Facebook page with 1,300 followers. And it's still open. There's a detective on the Indiana State Police force who's still on the case, if only in his spare time. He still gets tips.

    Burger Chef was a nationwide burger chain headquartered in Indianapolis, and in the 1970s, their restaurants were about as ubiquitous as McDonald's. Hardee's bought Burger Chef in the 1980s. The last store in the chain closed in 1996.
    Thirty-nine years ago, four young employees, three still in high school, were going through the closing routine at the Burger Chef at 5724 Crawfordsville Road. It was about 11 p.m., police think, when the perpetrators slipped in through the back door.

    They took the paper
    money from the cash drawer: $581. They hauled the four young workers to a remote, wooded area in Johnson County, about 40 minutes away, and killed them.

    busts that have been made based on the artist's renderings of two suspects from the unsolved 1978 Burger Chef murders.
    Kimster and Uno2Much like this.
  20. Imamazed

    Imamazed Lead Administrator Staff Member

    This article was just updated in July of this year 2018
    Unsolved: Burger Chef murders

    A Sister's Pain

    It's been 35 years but Theresa Jeffries can't forget losing her older sister, Ruth Shelton.

    "When fall hits and the weather starts getting cold. The day after she was buried was Thanksgiving," said Theresa Jeffries. "That's the last family picture of us together," said Rachel Shelton, Ruth's mother.

    (Eyewitness News talked with Rachel Shelton about her daughter's murder several weeks ago. Sadly, Rachel passed away before our story aired – never knowing who killed her daughter.)

    The women saved the dress Ruth wore in the last family photo and Ruth's high school ring.

    "She was my only sister," said Jeffries, "I idolized her. I wanted to be as happy and go-lucky as she was."

    Jeffries told Eyewitness News she still has nightmares thinking about how her sister and the three other Burger Chef employees were brutally murdered.

    "I honestly believe it will never be solved," she said.

    The Investigation and a New Theory

    "I think we are getting closer and closer," said Sergeant Bill Vann. Sgt. Vann, with Indiana State Police, is the lead detective on the case. Over the years police have questioned a number of people.

    "These two pictures here are two people of interest seen near closing time at the Burger Chef in Speedway," said Sgt. Vann, holding sketches of two suspects in his hands. The sketches were made from witness recollections.

    Clay busts of the men were later made to show the public those suspects, labeled by police as the clean-shaven man and the bearded man. The clay busts are still at State Police Headquarters – a reminder of the unsolved crime. Sgt. Vann believes the two men were part of a group of robbers targeting Burger Chef restaurants. In fact, some of the same people questioned were convicted of robbing a Burger Chef on the near east side after the murders.

    The detective believes at least three people in that group were involved in the murders.

    "I believe one of them did know the kids." Now, after years of investigating this cold case, Sgt. Vann is working off a new theory- a twist to why the crime was committed.

    "I believe one of the victims recognized one of the robbers and possibly instead of getting caught and going to prison that group of robbers was not willing to do that so they had to eliminate the witnesses," explained Sgt. Vann. The new theory focuses on another Burger Chef restaurant, just a few miles down the road in Plainfield. A Hardees is now located at the site.

    Sgt. Vann believes the bearded man recognized Jayne Friedt. Friedt worked at the Plainfield Burger Chef in the past and Sgt. Vann believes the suspect frequented the restaurant as a customer. Vann does not believe the suspect knew Friedt had moved locations to the Speedway Burger Chef.

    "That's when the crime escalated from robbery to murder. It would be nice to confirm that recognition," said Vann.

    The bearded man, who was a suspect in the murders, has passed away, according to the detective. Vann now wants anyone who used to frequent or work at the Burger Chef in Plainfield in the mid-1970s call State Police.

    "It doesn't mean it will solve the case, but it means another piece in the puzzle, one step closer," said Vann.

    Ruth Shelton's family says with each passing fall season, their hope for closure fades but their memories do not.

    "She was a good person. She was well liked. If you know anything, let them know. I want whoever did this not be available to do this to others," said Ruth's sister.

Share This Page