A spokesperson from the Gatlinburg Police Department is unavailable, but we are privileged to have with us Annie Murphy Malone. Annie owns the Tin Roof Café in downtown Gatlinburg, TN. She was instrumental in solving this case.
Annie, you are not with the local police department. How and why did you get involved in this case?
The governor of Tennessee sent out a directive that all law enforcement agencies should take a second look at their backlog of cold cases. My dear friend, Chief of Police Max Lamont, asked me to take a look at the files on this one particular case from ten years ago regarding the disappearance of five little girls from St. Rita’s Catholic School. These girls disappeared without a trace. No bodies and no suspects were ever located.
Tell us about this case and what made it so special.
The children, of course. The girls were ages nine through eleven, all were close friends and all were in the same grade at St. Rita’s.
What made the case hard to solve?
The fact that many of the people associated with this case died under odd circumstances. The head nun was asphyxiated by carbon monoxide, three were killed in auto accidents, one of the parents committed suicide and the former janitor at the school was brutally attacked and murdered with a baseball bat. That’s a grand total of eleven victims.
Did anyone help you with your investigation?
Yes, I had a great deal of help from JACK, my Doberman Pinscher. He’s had extensive training in several aspects of police work and has earned the title of K-9 Officer. His instincts have proven invaluable.
Thank you, Annie, for taking the time to talk with us, and thanks for your help with this case.
SHARLEEN JOHNSON RHINOCK has published novels in three different genres, including historical, cozy mystery and romantic suspense. Smoky Mountain Mayhem, the sequel to Smoky Mountain Murder, will be released in mid-April. For information on purchasing this book or any of Sharleen’s other books, please visit her website at www.sharleenjohnson.com.