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How Did Gary McCullough Die?

July 2, 2020
3 min read

‘Missing Witness’ on Netflix’s ‘Unsolved Mysteries‘ astounded the viewers because of the shrewd and heinous acts that were committed by the people who were involved. It comprised two cases which were supposedly interlinked with each other, and yet, pointed towards one woman, Sandy Klemp (now Wink) – the disappearances of her third husband, Gary McCullough, in 1999, and her daughter, Lena Chapin, in 2006.

Lena had gone missing a few years after she had alleged in a taped conversation that her mother was responsible for Gary’s vanishing. She later recanted the confession, but at that point, it was an important piece of evidence because Gary’s family was looking to file a civil rights lawsuit against Sandy and her then-husband, Kris Klemp.

What Happened to Gary McCullough?

Gary McCullough was last seen in Cassville, Missouri on May 11, 1999. He reportedly left in his pickup truck en route to Diamond, Missouri, to buy a fighting rooster, however, on May 14, it was found abandoned on a dead-end road in Pulaskifield, and Gary was never heard from again. He was married to Sandra/Sandy at that time, and they were reportedly having serious marital issues, so much so, that he was even secretly moving his stuff out of the house.

Gary told a friend that she was cheating on him with Kris Klemp and was forging bad checks under his name, because of which he was even arrested. On April 30, 1999, she had allegedly also tried to shoot Gary in the stomach, but he was saved because it was a bad bullet. Two weeks later, he was gone for good. Sandy, however, hadn’t reported him missing for two days, and she only did it after the sheriff’s deputies arrived at their ranch for another matter.

Is Gary McCullough Dead?

In 2005, as per the request of his family members, Gary McCullough was legally declared dead. Before that had happened, though, Sandy’s second daughter, Liehnia “Lena” Chapin, who was thirteen at the time of Gary’s disappearance, went to visit her ex-stepfather and uncle, Albert McCullough. There, she told him that Sandy had shot Gary twice or thrice in the head while he was eating on the couch and had knowingly murdered him.

She also said that Sandy had made her help in cleaning up all the blood and mess before asking her to look after the body for a while. Albert, who was taping this whole conversation, even got in on record that Gary’s body would never be found because he was burned and his ashes were thrown around everywhere. But, when he took the tape to law enforcement, Sandy lawyered up and Lena took back her confession.

Years later, when Gary’s two daughters from a previous relationship did file a suit for his wrongful death, Lena was summoned to testify at court, however, because she herself had also vanished, she couldn’t do so. Her recorded confession couldn’t be played either, but, two of her sisters did back her up and testified against their mother. They also said that they had seen Gary’s truck at home on the evening of May 11, 1999.

With that, Sandy and Kris Klemp – who had moved in a week after Gary had disappeared and had gotten married soon after – were held liable for knowingly murdering Gary McCullough and were ordered to pay $7 million to his family. A sum which they still have not begun to pay. (Featured Image Credit: Netflix / Unsolved Mysteries)

Read More: Lena Chapin’s Disappearance

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