Historical museum provides information for new documentary Skidmore

“No One Saw A Thing” will air Thursday, August 1 on the Sundance Channel.

A new documentary on Ken Rex McElroy, known as the Town of Skidmore Bully who was killed in 1981, will air on television starting Thursday, August 1.

The six-part film was produced by a California company that used resources from the Nodaway County Historical Museum.

The museum has been providing them with material from the research center for nearly three years, including the 1882 county-wide directory.

Tom Carneal and Cathy Palmer, along with other museum volunteers, were interviewed at several intervals over the three years.

“They wanted me to wear the same shirt every time,” Carneal laughed. “Most of the time, the volunteers answered questions about historic events or buildings or about family members who lived in our area. “

Carneal noted that the show, “No One Saw A Thing,” will air starting at 10 p.m. Thursday, August 1 on the Sundance channel, which is 512 on Suddenlink cable, 126 on Dish and 557 on DirecTV. The show will continue for six one-hour nightly performances.

The title and summary of the weekly show provided include the following:

August 1: The murder of Ken Rex McElroy. Known as the tyrant of the city, Ken Rex McElroy has terrorized tiny Skidmore for decades. Then, on July 10, 1981, the city had had enough. More than 60 people surrounded his van and shot him down on Main Street, but no one claimed to have seen anything. Residents can finally sleep at night, but with the whole city falling silent to protect their own, local investigators have a tough case on their hands.

August 8: Conspiracy of silence. McElroy’s widow Trena shows up with eyewitness testimony and fights to put her husband’s killers behind bars, but investigators seem to derail her every moment. McElroy’s troubled track record and controversial relationships come to light. Skidmore continues to remain silent as an ongoing federal investigation into McElroy’s death threatens the small town’s secrecy.

August 15: Don’t mess with Skidmore. McElroy’s murder was not the first act of public violence in Nodaway County. They admit their history of prejudice against those who do not fit in. As the FBI arrives, the investigation turns to the sheriff’s role in the crime. As Trena seeks justice, it looks like this crime may go unpunished, though the town soon begins to pay a different price.

August 22: Cycle of violence. Skidmore may be free from McElroy, but the violence didn’t end with his death. In 2000, Wendy Gillenwater was brutally murdered by her boyfriend. In 2001, Branson Perry disappeared from his home in broad daylight. Rumors of drug involvement are circulating in both cases. Law enforcement believes those responsible for Perry’s disappearance are from Skidmore, but as usual, no one seems to know anything.

August 29: A pound of flesh. New clues bring hope for closure. Sheriff Espey is now convinced Perry was a victim of homicide due to links to the drug world, but will his evidence be enough to press charges? Tragedy visits Skidmore again when Bobbie Jo Stinnett is murdered at eight months pregnant, her baby stolen in her womb. With a baby’s life on the line, Skidmore finally takes action to help with the case.

September 5: Small Town Requiem. Stinnett’s baby is saved; his assassin captured and sentenced to death. A murder of Skidmore is finally closed. Residents hope to overcome the McElroy curse, but the cycle of violence cannot be denied. McElroy’s family accept that they may never learn the truth – the city that pays for their sins is enough for them. Skidmore struggles to move on, but it’s clear they’ll never break their silence.


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Patrick F. Williams

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