Rainbow Family Murders
In the summer of 1980, nineteen-year-old Nancy Santomero, and two friends, twenty-six-year-old Vicki Durian and nineteen-year-old Liz Johndrow, left Durian’s parents’ home in Iowa to hitchhike to West Virginia to attend a gathering of the Rainbow Family. Five days later, Santomero and Durian’s bodies were discovered in the woods in West Virginia, shot to death just hours before being found, and Johndrow was nowhere to be seen.
More than a decade after their bodies were discovered, police in West Virginia had identified several suspects and eventually charged thirty-four-year-old farmer Jacob Beard, who was convicted in 1993 and sentenced to life in prison. Upon appeal, however, it was revealed that the investigation into Beard was rife with dubious circumstantial evidence, police misconduct, and perjury, which led to a new trial and Beard was exonerated.
Thank you to the lovely Dave White for research assistance
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