THE CRATER LAKE MURDERSListen Now
When two General Motors executives drove into Crater Lake National Park in July 1952, no one could predict they would be dead within an hour—not even their killers. It was a crime of opportunity, a botched robbery during the middle of summer in a crowded national park. When Albert Jones and Charles Culhane were found shot to death two days later, the story became a national obsession. The FBI used every resource and available agent but, as time wore on, the investigation ran out of steam. A lack of evidence worked to the killer’s advantage. He had committed a perfect crime.
The FBI tried hard to solve the case. Their 2,000+ page report details a staggeringly complex, multi-agency effort: 200 ballistic tests, 1000 interviews, 466 license plate identifications. The man hours were beyond calculation, and yielded valuable information— buried within the individual reports of the FBI, Oregon State Police and local agencies are many clues to the nature and identity of the perpetrator.
The FBI file has rarely been seen by anyone outside the Bureau until December 2015 when the author received it on two discs, satisfying a Freedom of Information Act request submitted three years before. This book summarizes all the information: the FBI file, Oregon State Police reports, fresh research and interviews, county records, rare first hand accounts, reaction from one victim’s family and an obscure college thesis that first named the killer. Add to this, the personal account of a man to whom the killer confessed. Before the confessor died, he swore his wife to secrecy, reminding her about “the things that nobody talks about.”
The Crater Lake Murders tells the true narrative: four men with nothing in common until the day they met and, after that, the Fate all Men share. THE CRATER LAKE MURDERS: The story of the 1952 murders of two General Motors executives and the search for a killer in plain sight-Monty Orrick