A Runner Went Missing, Then 'Tantalizing Coincidences'

Part II of the Oregonian/OregonLive's series on John Ackroyd
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 6, 2018 11:42 AM CST
She Went for a Christmas Eve Run, and Never Came Back
   (Getty Images)

Oregon's Highway 20 was John Ackroyd's professional stomping grounds: The state highway mechanic spent his days along the often remote road. He was there on Dec. 24, 1978, the morning Kaye Turner went missing while on an 8-mile run. She and her husband were on a holiday vacation with friends in Camp Sherman, and she set out around 8:15am. When she didn't return by 10am, her panicked husband called police. "Ackroyd's name emerged early on," writes Noelle Crombie in Part II of the Oregonian/OregonLive's five-part series "Ghosts of Highway 20." Another state highway worker had seen Ackroyd in the area, and he had been accused of raping a woman in the area a year earlier. Ackroyd, 29, told police he had seen Turner running, but they focused instead on her extramarital affairs. Then came the "tantalizing coincidences."

Eight months after she vanished, a flustered Ackroyd entered the Camp Sherman Store and told the owner he had found Turner's remains while rabbit hunting. He directed police to a location about a half-mile from her running route. "How odd, they thought," writes Crombie. "A hunter would likely overlook the bits of cloth and bone as nothing more than trash and animal carcasses." How did Ackroyd know those bits belonged to Turner? Ackroyd subsequently made an odd admission: that he actually came across Turner's remains just two months after she went missing and touched her hair and arm. But no physical evidence tied him to the crime, and "Ackroyd returned to the periphery" .. and went back to his routine along Highway 20. He married a woman with two kids—then one of them, a 13-year-old girl, vanished. Read Part II, which touches on Ackroyd's history of animal abuse, in full here (or catch up on Part I).

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