40 Year Anniversary of 1970 Unsolved Mount Magazine Murder

AY Magazine is reporting on the incident went a headless torso was found on Mount Magazine on April 15, 1970. Somebody looking for poke in the freshly burned fields on the mountain noticed:

Sitting upright, on a tree stump, was part of a human body. The head was missing, as were the arms and the upper portion of the torso. The body had been severed just above the navel. The legs had been cut off just above the knees and were also missing…The day after the initial gruesome discovery, the search party found five bloody plastic bags on the mountain. One held human hair, another contained intestines and the other bags had been torn and emptied by animals. The bags were black trash bags with a trademark imprint of a green leaf on them.

The body has never been identified and the crime has never been solved.


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Monument Erected to One of Victims of 1971 Mount Magazine Rampage

A monument has been erected by Lake Swim Beach at Blue Mountain Lake in honor of David Small, who was left for dead in the trunk of a car, following a murder rampage by two Oklahoma State Prison escapees around Mount Magazine. Small continued to be a ranger at the park and taught school before retiring in 2008. He died in 2009.

Earl Van Denton and Paul Ruiz were executed with another unrelated murderer January 9, 1997, in a rate triple execution for the murder.

Opal James, a 58-year-old park ranger, at Blue Lake and Mount Magazine Ranger Marvin Ritchie were killed on June 29, 1977 in the rampage. Ritchie was answering a call about two men rolling a tire down a road. He was overpowered and bound in the car and his patrol car was used to block a road. When two Blue Lake rangers approach (James and Small) they shot them both with James dying and Small surviving.

The killers were the first to be sentenced to die in Arkansas in modern times although the execution was delayed by appeals.


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