A Man Murders His Own Family - 11/7/1983

US History |

On this day in 1983, a businessman by the name David Hendricks, who was traveling on a business trip to Wisconsin, requested police in Bloomington, Illinois to help check on his family. Hendricks reported that he was concerned because no one has been answering his phone calls all through the weekend. On getting to the family house the next day, the police and the neighbors who helped in searching the house found the dead body of his wife and their three kids that had been hacked to death with a hatchet and butcher knife.

The crime was perfectly planned and executed because there was no indication of tussle, or forced entry. This made the police believe the crime to be a little bit tricky. Although they were brutally murdered, yet the weapon used by the assailant had been cleaned and left conveniently close to the bodies. As soon as Hendricks returned thereafter, police began to ask him questions regarding the incident and later checked his clothes and car for bloodstains. However, the search became a dead end coupled with Hendricks' plausible excuse that on November 4, the night of the incident, he had left for Wisconsin before midnight.

Having no other clue or lead to identify who the killer was, police started analyzing Hendricks' story thoroughly. In his statement, he had asserted that on November 4, around 7:30 he took his family out for a pizza. Right after that, they all had fun in an amusement park and then went back home around 9:30. When the family had already settled in, he left for his business trip to Wisconsin a few hours later.

However, after examining the children's' bodies, medical analyst claimed that Hendricks's story was untrue. Normally, when food is consumed, it takes up to two hours before it moves from the stomach into the small intestine. However, in the case of the three children, there were still remains of vegetarian pizza toppings in their stomachs, which further proves the point by investigators that the death occurred around 9:30 right before Hendricks left for his business trip.

Police accused Hendricks of killing his family, yet they did not have a solid proof to back up the claim. The Hendricks family was fervently religious, and they were part of a puritan-like gathering called the Plymouth Brethren. In addition, the defense counsel argued against the only evidence brought against him claiming that physical activities or the traumatic experience they suffered may have affect the digestion rate. However, in December 21, 1988, Hendricks was found guilty of four counts charge of murder by the jury, and was sentenced to life behind bars.

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Edward Arroyo


Edward attended college at Northwestern University where he received his bachelors in journalism. After graduation he spent the next several years traveling the world writing about his experiences on his own personal blog. His hobbies include travel, photography, bicycling and hanging out with his dog Milo.