Warning: Spoilers ahead.
How can someone get away with two murders? That’s the question I had on my mind watching the sixth and final episode of the revamped Netflix version of Unsolved Mysteries, “Missing Witness.” Of course, it’s not that surprising: Almost 40 percent of murders go unsolved in the United States each year, although it’s hard to know how many of those 40 percent are multiple homicides committed by the same person.
Still. Watching this episode and seeing it unfold, I came away thinking, how did she get away with it? But let’s rewind.
Sandy has six children, and apparently, a lot of boyfriends and husbands. She moves from place to place with each new boyfriend and/or husband, often after cheating on the old one with the new one. But that gambit takes a dark turn in the late 1990s when she leaves her third husband, Gary McCullough (who was the brother of a previous husband).
Gary ends up disappearing. Sandy’s story to the police is that Gary went off to “buy fighting roosters and never came home.” One of her daughters, Lena, who was 13-years-old, tells Albert, the brother, that her mom killed Gary. Lena said Sandy shot Gary in the head three times while he was eating scrambled eggs, and dragged his body to the bedroom. Then Sandy and Kris Klemp (her new boyfriend) burned the body and any evidence. Albert was recording Lena’s confession.
Lena tells Brandi, the oldest sister, this story, too, and apparently the mom has Kris put a gun to Brandi’s head to threaten her back into silence. Sandy eventually gets Lena to walk back the confession, too.
Life goes on. Lena eventually has a son of her own, and by the accounts of a reporter and her sisters, was on the verge of finally getting financially independent of her mother. If she did that, then Sandy would be in legal jeopardy again for Gary’s death.
So, Lena goes missing in 2006. Sandy tells police she went to Florida with a new boyfriend, leaving behind most of her possessions and her kid.
Brandi and her sister Robin’s theory is that Sandy killed her to protect herself, and more twisted, to raise the son Lena had because Sandy never got to have a boy. To this day, Sandy’s the legal guardian raising the son.
Lena’s body has never been recovered.
In 2013, Gary’s family won a wrongful death civil suit for $13 million, which the family hasn’t seen a dime of it yet.
One of the questions I have: I believe we have four daughters accounted for in this episode: Lena, who gets killed. Brandi and Robin who are actively searching for Lena, and I believe one other sister also appeared on camera. What do the other two sisters think? Those two were apparently paid $5 by the mom to take down missing posters for Lena, presumably when they were still quite young. But it’s 14 years later, so what do they think about all of this?
Also, I’m not sure how the law works on this (famous words of a layman), but how can someone be allowed legal custody of a child when they were the defendant (and lost) in wrongful death suit? I’m aware that the burden of proof is much lower in a civil trial than a criminal trial (and for good reason), but that still would influence the outcome of a custody situation, I would think.
Going back to the scene with Sandy, Brandi and Kris pointing the gun at her. That might be the most chilling scene depicted in the entire series for me. The image of a girl standing in front of the truck with this dude pointing a long rifle at her head, and sitting in the passenger seat is her mother, unflinching, and uncaring. It really painted Sandy as a psychopath. And if she killed Gary and then her own daughter, it sure seems like she is.
What was the motive for killing Gary, though? She didn’t seem to have an issue jumping from boyfriend/husband to boyfriend/husband. He was her third husband, after all. Why was he different enough to kill? There was a moment where Gary seemed to become aware that she was passing bad checks in his name. Was that enough to kill him to keep that from coming to light?
And what about Kris? I believe they divorced a few years ago, and she’s again, with a new husband. I’m sure he’s thinking in his head that he’ll remain quiet about all of this so as not to implicate himself, but I’m sure if he flipped on her, he could get immunity or at least a lessened sentence. Do the right thing, Kris!
This is much like the second episode where the perpetrator seems obvious, but we still are left with unanswered questions, and even worse in this case, we don’t have any bodies to show for it.