Man probes link in deaths of city woman, his
by Donald Woutat, Minneapolis Star Staff Writer
The Minneapolis Star
Tuesday, February 19, 1974
For Matthew Murphy, the news that a woman
hitchhiker from Minneapolis had been murdered precipitated a
Sunday drive to the scene of the killing in western Wisconsin.
The purpose: to learn whether there might
be a link between the death Friday and the murder 18 months ago
of his niece, Joll Truelson, 16, in Minneapolis.
Murphy found that there are some similarities,
including descriptions of the cars driven by the killers in each
"It's just an outside chance," said
Murphy, a teacher at Sibley High School in West St. Paul.
"The color of the car is what caught my attention."
A man driving a gold or orange compact car was
seen pushing the body of Mary K. Schlais, 25, 1921 Irving Av.
S., from the vehicle onto a township road about 13 miles east of
Menomonie, Wis., Friday afternoon.
In July 1972,
Joll Truelson's body was found in Minnehaha Creek after she had
hitched a ride with a man driving a small, late-model gold car
near Lake Calhoun.
Neither victim was undressed
or had been sexually attacked, but both were brutally
killed. Miss Schlais had several stab wounds and a broken
nose, and Miss Truelson's skull had been caved in by blows to
the back of her head.
In addition, there is
reason to think Miss Schlais was picked up someone in the
Minneapolis area. She was to have left for Chicago about
10:30 a.m. Friday, and her body was found about three hours
later, too short a time for there to have been much delay in her
Descriptions of the suspects--one by a
friend of Joli's who saw her get into the car, the other by a
man who drove by when Miss Schlais' body was pushed out of the
car--are inconclusive in terms of matching the two.
are thin threads, agree Murphy, Minneapolis police homicide Lt.
John Searles and Paul Diedrich, undersheriff in Dunn County,
"It's a long shot," Searles
said. "But (the Truelson case) is the first thing we
thought of when we heard of the murder in Wisconsin. We
haven't ruled out the possibility of a connection."
Schlais case at least holds out the possibility that the killer,
if arrested, can be identified by the man who drove by, Searles
said. The witness was unable to give deputies a license
number of the car, they said.
For Murphy and Mr.
and Mrs. Raymond Truelson, 4851 E. Lake Harriet Blvd., Joli's
parents, the Schlais case is not the first time that hopes have
Searles says police have followed up
on "at least 100 cases so far" of hitchhiker-molesting
and similar incidents. Meanwhile, Miss Truelson's family
has conducted its own active investigation.
$5,000 reward still is available for information on the case,
and Murphy says he has questioned countless young people in the
Lake Calhoun area. He says he saturated south Minneapolis
neighborhoods with pamphlets describing the case and asking for
"Nothing really turned up,"
Murphy said, "except a couple of crank calls.
a family kind of thing," he said of the fruitless