A Father's Quest - Part 2

By: Jalah Gray
By: Jalah Gray

BELLS, TX-- A Bells man, whose daughter disappeared from Oklahoma City in 1981, has never stopped searching.
Jalah Gray shows us the man last seen with Charlotte Kinsey, and takes us back in time to the courtroom, where a young attorney tried one of the first "bodiless" murder trials in Oklahoma history.

On September 26, 1981 Royal Russel Long drove Charlotte Kinsey, Cinda Pallett and their two boyfriends to this truck stop just off I-40. When they got here and there was no truck waiting, Long asked the boys to get out and wait while he went to check the next stop.

The boys later told investigators they watched as the car drove away and the two girls waved out the back window. That was the last time Charlotte Kinsey and Cinda Pallett would ever be seen.

"After the 3rd or 4th day of the initial investigation after the girls disappeared, Royal Russel Long was removed as a person of interest," prosecutor, Ray Elliot, said.

The focus of that investigation would come back to Long about three years later.

By the time he again became the main suspect in the Kinsey and Pallett case, he was already serving a life sentence in a Wyoming prison for kidnapping and raping two young hitchhikers.

One girl escaped, but Long took off with 12-year-old, Sharon Baldeagle, who was never seen again.

Ray Elliott had just begun his career as Assistant District Attorney in Oklahoma City, when Cinda and Charlotte disappeared.

Little did he know, that case would consume his life.

"I literally lived, ate, breathed and slept that case, Mr. Macy took me off of every other assignment, and I had no other assignment," he said.

It was the second bodiless murder trial in Oklahoma history, and captured the attention of people nationwide.

Mike Gassaway defended Long in the 1985 trial.

"There's a lot of tension because it appeared to me that the district attorney's office was taking this case personally as opposed to professionally," Gassaway, said.

"You can take a case both personally and professionally, as DA of this county I take it personally any time a character like Royal Russell Long comes into this county and kidnaps 2 of our young girls and murders them."

The prosecution built a case with overwhelming evidence against Long, including the testimony of the two boys who identified him as the man who drove away with the girls, and the rental car with a trunk mat that had been painted.

"So we luminoled this mat and there came a perfect silhouette of two small bodies laying back to back on that mat outlined in blood, with a boot print on the lower right hand corner," Elliot, said.

A long blonde hair was found stuck in the paint in the corner of that mat and a large chunk of blonde hair was also found in Long's home in Wyoming.

A forensic expert testified that those hairs were a match to Charlotte Kinsey.

Investigators found that Long had been trained as a meat cutter when serving time years earlier in California.

They even had a confession Long made to a fellow inmate in Wyoming.

"He says to the inmate sitting next to him, "If you cut the bodies up small enough and put them in a rat hole, they'll never find them," Elliot, said.

Judge Charles Owens would not allow the inmate to testify.

In fact, Judge Owens threw out several vital pieces to the prosecution's case.

Including the testimony of Long's own daughter who said he had molested her many times.

"She had witnessed him on numerous occassions try to entice young girls into the cab of his truck, either by the use of a live puppy, or most often with stuffed animals, which again was clearly his MO in our case," Elliot, said.

Judge Owens ruled there was not enough evidence to send Long to trial.

"If Royal Russell Long is in fact guilty as charged in this case, it would appear that law enforcement officials in the State of Oklahoma, quote "Picked him before he was ripe."

"At that point I realized that the case was over."

Elliott says Long would taunt the family when he walked by, saying things like he was the only one who would ever know the real story.

"In my opinion he was referring to the FBI, and that somehow he felt in his mind that the big boys, being the FBI, owed him a favor, for his informant activity, and he was going to call in that favor," Elliot, said.

"As much as we've hurt and gone through trying to find our daughters, it's pretty inhumane of anybody to sit back and say I can prove your daughter's alive and yet not provide any of it," Pearla Peterson, said.

"When Long walked out they said, he done it, I mean you could tell that that was the end of it," Otis Kinsey, said.


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