The Evil Among Us: the Texas Mormon Missionary Murders

The Evil Among Us: the Texas Mormon Missionary Murders In 1974, missionaries Gary Darley and Mark Fischer vanished outside Austin, Texas, after dinner with disaffected recent convert Bob Kleasen. No bodies were found. Biological materials associated with both were recovered from a taxidermist’s bandsaw Kleasen had access to. In 1975 Kleasen was sentenced to death for their murders but three years later won a reversal based on an illegal search. Kleasen remained in prison or on parole on other crimes until 1990 when he disappeared. Last fall at age 67, he turned up in Britain as a criminal defendant in new weapons charges with assured deportation back to the United States. The Travis County District Attorney in Austin has also reopened the case, and it is considering reprosecuting him for the murders. My paper will briefly present the story of the murders and subsequent legal action, Kleasen’s life both before and after them, and what I have learned about him through the date of the Sunstone Symposium.

Ken Driggs