“THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY” a shocking true story
The residents of Rolling Hills, an economically ruined bedroom community of the Appalachian region of southeastern Ohio, were horrified when the dismembered bodies of missing teenage sweethearts, Shane Shoemaker and Babette Lloyd, were pulled from the murky and meandering local river. Multiply suspects surfaced, including relatives, ex-lovers, Satanists, and the Devil’s Disciple’s motorcycle gang, but only one was railroaded, Babette’s stepfather, Richard Allan Lloyd, a known nudist and hothead. The rumors of his and Babette’s incestuous relationship only electrified the townsfolk and local authorities’ hatred against him.
What really happened on that cool autumn evening of 1982? What began as an evening stroll turned into what found only in horror films, and dubbed ‘the crime of the century’. 18 year old Babette, a voluptuous beauty contestant, horsewoman, and aspiring computer programmer, and her 19 year old boyfriend Shane Shoemaker, a jealous and possessive unemployed printer, were last seen walking toward the C&O Railroad tracks, crossing a trestle bridge that overlooked the river, near an infamous 52-acrea cornfield. Twelve days later, a search party found their mutilated torsos. After another two days their heads and limbs were unearthed, suggesting satanic cult activity.
Richard Lloyd was the main suspect from the beginning. It took nearly a year, but in an investigation smeared with contradicting statements, and a botched crime scene, investigators built a flimsy case against him. A financially motivated local mistakenly fingered Richard, accusing him of forcing the teens into a car at gun point. The police alleged Richard then killed the victims at his mobile home seven miles from Rolling Hills, with his wife and other step-daughter as witnesses. They accused him of dismembering the victims before transporting them to the Rolling Hills cornfield for burial. The state insisted a ancestral relationship between Richard and Babette existed, and the reason for the jealousy killings, and Richard’s immense hatred for Shane Shoemaker. Richard’s multiply lies, his lust and jealousy for Babette, weapons availability, the hypnotized “eyewitness” and a disputed footprint expert bolstered the states misguided case against the now dubbed “evil stepfather.” Most of what was presented at the three-week trial was based on police corruption and ineptitude, melodramatic fiction, and forensic mishandling.
As a resident of Rolling Hills, Ohio, I, JoAnne Myers contrived “The Crime of the Century,” through case documents, newspaper clippings, signed affidavits, witness testimony, interviews, police reports, theories and rumors.
This heinous crime not only shattered the sense of security for Rolling Hills, but destroyed two families, marriages, careers, friendships, and forever scarred the town. This story is a detailed account of finding justice for Babette and Shane, of human injustice at the highest level, of one man’s perseverance to prove his innocence to gain his freedom from death row, and righting a wrong.
At 5:45 pm., Chief White used his walkie-talkie, to radio Lt. Phillipes, who stayed at the command post with Richard and Nancy. Only a few short words were needed.
“We found something, but we don’t know what it is,” said the chief.
What searchers found . . . was unthinkable.
Just 150 yards north of the railroad trestle spanning the Bottle Neck River, Sheriff Reynolds and one of his deputies reported “something entangled in debris,” near their small boat.
The officers initially said they believed the object was an animal carcass. Once it was dislodged and floated down
stream, they realized it was human.
The officers then followed the remains and discovered 30 yards south of the first torso, the second torso was located. Both torsos were reportedly snagged against brush along the riverbank just west of The Regency Supply Company.
Both torsos were reportedly nude and so badly decomposed, officers said they were unable to determine their sex.
Upon the discovery, Jack Jones broke down and was seen “running and screaming” from the area. The remains were pulled to shore and coroner Rausch was summoned to the riverbank.
Law enforcement personnel cleared the immediate area of non-official personnel. Afterward, they stationed themselves around the perimeter of the area while the bodies were examined.
Many searchers, upon leaving the crime scene, were overheard by reporters asking one another “Are the authorities looking for one killer or two?”
After his initial examination of the bodies, the coroner said he was unable to rule on the cause of death or what sex the torsos were. What he did say, was that if one man committed both murders, it was “during a great rage” and by someone with something “very personal” against one, or both, of the victims.