It’s the summer of 1963, and two teenagers, Shari Smoyer and John King, head to the Starlight Theater in a 1955 Chevy.
“Jack goes and picks up Shari and they go on a date to Olympic park, they were seen by several people at the bowling alley drinking coke, then they went to a drive in theater,” said investigator Michael Shannon with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Shannon hadn’t even been born at the time, but he says reports show that the two teenagers drove to a lonely lover’s lane in Bushnell’s Basin.
“It was a place frequented by high school kids after hours and they did things teenage kids do,” said Shannon.
They never made it home after their date.
“Some point between 12:55a.m. when the movie got out and 10a.m., they ended up over in Russo’s gravel pit,” said Shannon.
A passerby found them there the next morning.
“He ends up walking by the car and thinks they’re sunbathing at 10a.m., he turns around and notices, ‘oh my gosh, these kids are both dead,'” said Shannon.
Shari Smoyer and John King were both shot multiple times, Shari was also bludgeoned in the back of the head.
“There’s been a lot of speculation it could have been an ex or some religious person who found them, some papers referred to a psycho going around to different parks,” said Shannon.
It rocked the community, and the families of both victims.
“The Smoyer family didn’t talk about it much after it happened, everyone was in so much pain it wasn’t spoken about,” said Shannon.
For years, the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office put all the resources they could into the case, and looked to the community for help, encouraging all residents with firearms to bring them in for ballistics testing.
“If someone was found in any park in Monroe County they were questioned, if someone threw rocks at cars they were questioned, if someone was arrested for burglary they were questioned,” said Shannon.
Shannon says the sheriff’s office ran ammo from hundreds of weapons, and continued to, all the way through the 1980’s, but no luck. 55 years later and potential witnesses are dead, some of the investigators who’ve worked this case are dead or retired, and the world is a different place. Investigator Shannon’s hope remains though, that someone can help deliver justice, or at the very least, answers for their families, for whom time has done little to heal their wounds.
“I still talk to family from both sides and I want to find peace for them, some kind of resolution for them,” said Shannon.