Missing: Sharon Kinne

30-year-old American woman Sharon Kinne was reported missing in Mexico on December 7, 1969. A large search was launched in Mexico City, including transport hubs. Police looked everywhere for Sharon, but by the end of the month they had given up. They had thought that perhaps she had travelled to Guatemala, as she was fluent in Spanish. The authorities admitted that they had run out of leads. Now, almost fifty years later, she is still missing. But that’s not the whole story…

Sharon Kinne was a beautiful blond who grew up in Independence, Missouri. In 1956 at age 16, Sharon met her future husband James Kinne at a church function. The two began an intense relationship before James returned to school to study. They corresponded by mail and Sharon told James that she was pregnant (though she would later miscarry) to coax him back to Missouri.

James Kinne, husband of Sharon; Sharon Kinne

Sharon lived in Jackson County, Missouri in 1960, when she was 20. By this age, she was an attractive housewife with two children, Danna and Troy. Sharon and her husband James, six years her senior, frequently argued. The family lived a modest lifestyle, but Sharon wanted a new car and a vacation. She had got together with James when she was 16 and he was a 22-year-old college student. She thought that her life would be glamourous, but it wasn’t.

Sharon began an affair with her high-school friend John Boldizs. Her husband James was suspicious. Sharon had wanted a divorce and said she would leave if James gave her $1000, the house, and custody of the children. James refused. Though he now knew about the affair he was convinced by family not to get a divorce, and he was also reluctant due to his religion. Eventually he’d had enough. On March 19, 1960, James told Sharon he would file for divorce later that week. He knew he had enough dirt on Sharon that he could get a divorce without having to give her everything she wanted.

On March 19, 1960, James lay down for a nap. While he slept he was shot in the head, and died. Sharon told authorities that their 2-year-old daughter Danna had accidently shot James while playing with the gun. According to Sharon, her daughter said to James “How does this thing work, Daddy, how does it work?” Sharon then heard the gun go off and rushed to find James shot in the head with his daughter standing nearby.

Police believed Sharon’s account. James’ family confirmed that he was a gun lover who often left his guns around where the children could reach them. Danna was found to be able to handle a gun and when given the gun by police, she played around with the safety. The believe thought it was plausible that the little girl could have shot her father. There were no fingerprints on the gun as it was heavily-oiled, and police did not test either Sharon or Danna for gunshot residue.

Now that James was dead, Sharon collected $25,000 in life insurance money and got the new car she wanted, a Thunderbird. In April 1960, a month after James’ death, she upgraded her car at the urging of salesman Walter Jones. She took a liking to Jones and began an affair with him. A month later, she was pregnant.

She demanded that Walter marry her now that she was pregnant. There was one hitch, Walter was married, and he did not want to leave his wife for Sharon. As Sharon’s luck would have it, Walter’s 23-year-old wife Patricia when missing two days later.

Walter Jones, the car salesman who had an affair with Sharon

The last person to see Patricia alive was Sharon. She said she met with Patricia to tell her that Walter was having an affair with Sharon’s sister (who did not exist), then she dropped Patricia at home. Walter did not believe a word of this story and held Sharon at knife-point, demanding she tell him where Patricia was.

Sharon, being the kind soul she was, helped in the search for Patricia. In fact, she, along with her lover John Boldizs were the ones who found Patricia’s body. Patricia’s clothes had been torn, making her death look like a sexual assault gone wrong. She had been shot four times, at least one of the gunshots was at close range. She was shot once in the stomach, twice in the shoulder, and once in the head.

Patricia Jones, 23, the murdered wife of Walter Jones

Patricia’s body was found on May 27, 1960 and four days later, Sharon Kinne was charged with her murder.

Sharon arrested at her home for the murder of Patricia Jones; Sharon’s mugshot for her murder arrest.

The trial was delayed until after Sharon gave birth to Walter Jones’ (well, allegedly) daughter. In 1961, the trial was underway. Witnesses testified that they had seen Patricia Jones get into a car with Sharon, and Patricia was never seen alive again. Unfortunately, the murder weapon was never found. Police found an empty box for a Hi-Standard pistol in Sharon’s house, but the gun was gone. A co-worker of Sharon’s testified that he purchased a gun for her. Police tracked down the original owner. The original owner of the gun told police he test-fired it in Kansas and police retrieved the bullets. In a shock twist, they did not match the bullets that killed Patricia Jones. Sharon was found not guilty; the jury said there were ‘just too many loopholes’ in the state’s case.

According to Walter Jones’ sister Joyce Wagers, Walter never recovered from his wife’s murder. When he visited Joyce, she would hear him waking up in the middle of the night screaming.

Sharon in court; A juror asks Sharon for her autograph after she is cleared of murder charges in the death of Patricia Jones

The police were not ready to give up on putting Sharon away and they charged her with her husband’s murder after she escaped justice in the Patricia Jones trial. In January 1962, the prosecutor won the case and Sharon was sentenced to life in prison for James Kinne’s shooting death.

But Sharon’s story is far from over. In March 1963, her murder conviction was overturned on the basis that Sharon’s defence was denied adequate peremptory challenges during jury selection. Sharon won the appeal a new trial was ordered. In July 1963, Sharon was allowed out of prison on bail.

In March 1964, Sharon went on trial again for her husband’s murder, but the trial ended in a mistrial after only a few days when it was discovered that one of the jurors had been represented by a previous law partner of the prosecutor.

In the summer of 1964, the third trial began. Sharon’s former lover John Boldizs testified that Sharon offered him $1,000 to kill James Kinne. His story was flimsy and he later said Sharon may have been joking when she said this. Sharon’s prison lover Margaret Hopkins testified that Sharon had confessed to the murders of James and Patricia to her. Sharon took the stand for the first time. She said they were both liars.

Sharon’s lover John Boldizs, a friend from high school

Sharon again blamed James’ death on 2-year-old Danna. She said:

“Danna came into the bathroom trying to get me to play with her. She made several trips to the bedroom trying to get attention from James. She brought in several toys and asked him questions. Then I heard Danna in the bedroom. She was saying ‘Show me this, Daddy. Show me this.’ just as she had done several times before with her toys. And I heard a shot, I guess it was a shot. I went into the bedroom and Danna was standing there and James was lying there and I saw the blood and I thought he was dead. I picked up Danna and put her on the couch and called James’s father.”

The jury deadlocked seven-to-five in favour of acquittal. As the jurors could not agree on a verdict, another new trial was set for October 1964.

Sharon was free for now. She spent much of her time hanging around a bad part of town where the Mafia was in charge. She eventually shacked up with a small-time thief and con artist named Samuel Pugliese. The two decided to run away to Mexico (with a bag full of guns) in September 1964, a month before Sharon’s fourth trial for her husband’s murder. Sharon pretended she was Pugliese’s wife and used the name Jeanette Pugliese.

On September 18, 1964 Sharon went to a bar alone and she picked up Francisco Parades Ordonoz, a 45-year-old Mexican-American visiting Mexico. His regular employment was working in a warehouse in Chicago. The pair spoke over drinks and then checked into a motel as a married couple. A few hours later she shot him twice in the heart, killing him in what she would claim was self defence. As she attempted to flee the motel, she shot Enrique Rueda, an employee barring her way. Enrique managed to disarm Sharon and locked her in her motel room with the body of Francisco while he called police.

Sharon’s mugshot for her murder arrest in Mexico

Sharon was arrested at sat in Mexican jail awaiting trial. American authorities came to Mexico as well, and found her pistol. It turned out to be the same weapon that killed Patricia, but Sharon could not ever be retried for this crime due to double jeopardy.

In summer 1965, Sharon was sentenced to 10 years in Mexican prison for Francisco’s murder. Police believe she planned the murder, with robbery being the motive. She would later appeal the ruling but this ended in an additional three years tacked on to her prison sentence. Sharon was known to rule over the prison, and was known as La Pistolera (‘the gunfighter’) inside. She had her own store in prison and took pride in the fact that her fellow inmates were afraid of her.

On December 7, 1969, there was a power outage at the women’s prison where Sharon was incarcerated, and she escaped. Guards noticed that she was missing at 9pm that night, but did not alert senior prison authorities until 2am. Police arrived at the prison perimeter and noticed footprints and a fire escape ladder near the 8-foot-high fence. A massive manhunt was arranged. Sharon has never been seen since and by the end of December, Mexican authorities gave up looking for her.

Theories on her disappearance are that she made a friend in prison, possibly even a guard, and escaped over the eight-foot wall into freedom. Sharon’s mother had telephoned her that day, and some think she was involved in the escape. Another rumour is that the family of her victim Francisco Parades Ordonoz helped her escape and then killed her. Some believe she escaped over the Guatamalan border.

Sharon Kinne has the longest current outstanding arrest warrant for murder in the history of Kansas City, Missouri, and one of the longest outstanding felony warrants in American history.

What do you guys make of this case? Do you think Sharon escaped successfully? Is this cold-blooded serial killer still walking the streets? I would think a pretty blond American would attract a lot of attention in Guatemala in the 1960s, though perhaps she was able to get back to the United States with the help of her mother.

Additional Photos

Sharon Kinne

Sharon Kinne Mexican mugshot

 

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