3:30 PM

Gary McCullough and Lena Chapin are both missing

Last week we reviewed the case of Gary McCullough who went missing in May of 1999.

McCullough's wife, Sandy, and her current husband, Kristopher Klemp have long been the primary suspects in the 34 year-old man's disappearance.

In 2006, McCullough's daughter's filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Sandy McCullough Klemp, Kristopher Klemp, McCullough-Klemp's daughter Liehnia "Lena" Chapin and Kristopher Klemp's former wife, Jennifer Brattin after McCullough was declared deceased in 2005.

Albert McCullough says he feels somewhat responsible for his brother's presumed homicide.  It was he who was first married to Sandy Petersen Chapin.

Albert McCullough met Sandy when she and her daughter's moved across the road from his dairy farm in Stone County. They were married in November 1992 and for four years they were seemingly happy, says Albert. 

Albert McCullough says it was Sandy's children who told him that his wife was having an affair with his brother.  But it wasn't Sandra McCullough who reported her husband, Gary, 34, missing on May 13, 1999, it was co-workers of the man at George's processing who first alerted authorities.

Barry County Sheriff Mick Epperly says when investigator's went out to the McCullough farm on May 13th to investigate a cattle call Sandy said, "We probably need to report Gary missing." Sandra McCullough told detectives that her husband had left the farm in his truck about 6:30 p.m. on May 11th and was headed to Diamond to buy a white fighting rooster.
It appears from court records that Gary McCullough was concerned about his well being as early as April of 1999.  A former supervisor of the missing man says that "he was moving out from his residence and not to give his paycheck to his wife, even if she presented a signed note because if she did so, the note would be forged." 

Sandy Petersen-Chapin-McCullough-McCullough-Klemp

That same month he allegedly told friends that Sandy had forged his name to checks on a closed account and he had been arrested for it.  He had been moving belongings from the farmhouse he and Sandy owned and was preparing to file for divorce, according to friends.

The marriage of Gary and Sandy may not have been valid because they obtained a marriage license in Arkansas but were married in Missouri, according to documents.  That being said, a divorce was granted to Sandy in April of 2000 when Gary failed to appear in court.

Friends of Sandy say she has always "manipulated" her daughter's for her benefit and one, who wishes to remain anonymous says, "Lena was her partner in crime."

"She used them girls and made them lie for her," said Albert McCullough.

Liehnia May Chapin always tried to please her mother, according to friend's of the girl and Sandy.  "She just always wanted to be her favorite."

In an alleged recording of Lena made by Albert McCullough which is the basis of the wrongful death lawsuit; Lena, who would have been 13 year-old at the time of Gary McCullough's disappearance, says when she and her sister's returned home from school on May 11, 1999, they were met at the door by Sandy.  Sandy sent all the other girl's but Lena to the barn to do chores.

Sandy then led Lena to a bedroom where Gary McCullough allegedly lay dead, his body wrapped in plastic.  "Sandra was spazzed out...crying...all she wanted to say was I can't believe this happened, I can't believe this happened."

Sandy told her daughter that Gary had been sitting on the couch eating scrambled eggs and that she came out of a bedroom on the opposite end of the couch and shot him three times in the head.

Lena Chapin

Over the course of the next two days Lena helped her mother clean up the crime scene, according to court records.  "Floors were bleached and rugs thrown away.  The body was burned in a brush pile all night; she helped Sandra dig through ashes looking for bone fragments, fragments found were put in buckets and scattered all over.  There was nothing left....nothing."  Another theory laid out in court document's is that Gary McCullough's remains were fed to hogs at the farm.

School records verify that Lena was kept out of school on May 12th and checked out early on the 13th. After being checked out of school, Lena and Sandy went back to the burn pile at the farm where they allegedly dug out several inches of dirt because Sandy said, "they could find stuff in the ground."  The pair then planted grass seed at the site.

On May 12th Robin Chapin allegedly told a friend on the school bus, "Gary is gone," and on May 14th told another friend that "her family burned Gary's clothes and that her mother told her to tell anyone who asked "that Gary had gone to buy a chicken from a Mexican."

A former friend of Sandy's says that Gary's truck had been moved to different places on the 80 acre property but when Sandy learned that deputies were going to use a helicopter to fly over the property "she either moved the truck or had someone move it for her."

Kristopher Klemp (mug shot BCSO)

On May 14th Kristopher Klemp was interviewed at the Barry County Sheriff's Office. During that interview Klemp told investigator's that he and Sandy "were just friends...there was no sexual or romantic relationship." Within days of her husband's disappearance, Kristopher Klemp was living with Sandy McCullough at the farm.

When authorities went to the McCullough's farm on May 15th Sandy wasn't there but arrived shortly thereafter and was "upset" they were there and refused to let them search the property.  She told investigator's that she and her husband were not having any problems and she had contacted family member's of the missing man to see if they had heard from him.  Family members say that is a lie, Sandy McCullough never contacted any of them.

That same day Jennifer Klemp-Brattin told detectives that Sandy had called her and told her she was pregnant with Klemp's baby.  When she confronted her husband, Kristopher Klemp, allegedly told Jennifer he "had no time to deal with her because he had to deal with killing a man."

In the early morning hours of May 16th Jennifer Klemp-Brattin told investigator's that she had dropped Kris off at the McCullough's property and returned about 3:30 a.m. to pick him up.  "Kristopher came running out of the ditch and jumped in the car.  He had a .22 rifle and said no one would be able to find the body."

Gary's abandoned distinctive flat-bed truck was found abandoned on a dead end road near Pulaskfield on May 16th. When Sandy viewed the inside of the vehicle she remarked, "Gary would never have beer cans in the truck because he didn't drink." She also noted, "those cans weren't in the truck yesterday....I mean last week."

Sheriff Epperly at entrance to McCullough's farm (note the concrete slab where the house once stood)

Jennifer Brattin-Klemp told detectives that she overheard a phone call on May 8th in which her husband allegedly told Sandy, "I'll be the one going to jail - you'll never have to worry about getting beaten again."

At one point during the investigation into her husband's disappearance Sandy McCullough told Sheriff Epperly, "You find a body and I'll take a polygraph."

An acquaintance of Klemp's, Steven Turner, told deputies that Klemp attempted to hire him to, "kill Sandy's husband," according to court documents.  Klemp allegedly told Turner that Sandy had been putting Drano into food and beverages that Gary McCullough had consumed. 

During a search of the McCullough property on May 15th, detectives found a half used box of Drano and a checkbook belonging to Kristopher Klemp.  Court documents reveal that within 24 hours of McCullough's presumed homicide Kristopher Klemp purchased an $18,000 truck for Turner.

An acquaintance of Sandy's, David Symons, lent her a steam cleaner in May which was never returned. When Syemons went to the farm to pick it up he was ordered off the property by Sandy. Symons then went to the sheriff's office and made a complaint. Sandy replaced the steam cleaner with a smaller one, according to court records
After the search of the property Klemp returned to the Barry County Sheriff's office and told deputies he had lied about his relationship with Sandy McCullough.

In June of 1999 the then prosecutor of Barry County, Stephen Hemphill, filed conspiracy to commit murder charges against Kristopher Klemp. 

Hemphill dismissed the charges against Klemp in August of 1999 before the case was heard at a preliminary hearing. During a preliminary hearing the state must present enough evidence in court that shows a judge that they have enough evidence to proceed to trial. In this case, Hemphill anticipated that attorney's for Klemp would not waive the case (meaning that it would have automatically bound the case over for trial,) and he would have to lay out his case. 

Instead of tipping his hand and showing defense attorney's the evidence that was compiled against their client, he dropped the charges as not to compromise an ongoing murder investigation.

"Sandy wasn't gonna settle for half of what they had, she wanted it all.  I wake up everyday and think that it could have been me instead of my brother," said Albert McCullough

While it is hard to imagine having one family member vanishing, Sandy McCullough-Klemp now has two. 

Her daughter and alleged co-conspirator, Lena, was reported missing in November of 2008...but not by her mother who had been caring for her missing daughter's son, Colter, since early 2006.

When Sandy Klemp refused to file a missing person's report on her daughter in Dent County, Sheriff Epperly, who had been made aware of the development by family members, took it upon himself to contact Lena's father to make the report.

Sandy told authorities that her daughter ran off to Florida with a new boyfriend, Jason Bryant.  However, Epperly says there has been no activity for her social security number or phone and she has made no attempt to contact her son, whom Sandy and Kris have now adopted.

Lena and her son Colter

In late January human remains were found behind Wal-Mart in Salem, which is in Dent County.  Authorities are awaiting final reports on the remains, but believe they belong to a male transient.

"There's still a little bit of hope out there," Sheriff Epperly said. "Knowin' that we could find her... or she comes forward.  Tell me what's going on here, Liehnia."

Sheriff Epperly says he wants to re-interview several people involved in the case, including Lena.  "It's a story you think...wow, it couldn't go down this way."

Epperly says that blood collected from a bedroom, that appeared to be in a human form was tested, "but it was at the beginning of DNA - we will be resubmitting evidence to the crime lab to see if we can get a DNA match this time."

Is it just a coincidence to have two family members vanish under very similar circumstances....or is it double murder. "I need to talk to Lena," said Epperly.

When contacted for a comment on the disappearances of her husband and daughter, Sandy McCullough hung up.  Kris Klemp referred this reporter to his attorney, John Lewright, who said, "with the lawsuit this close to trial, "it would be inappropriate for me to comment."

A grand jury has not been convened in Barry County in almost a century.  Former Senator Emory Melton says the last one seated was in 1923.

When asked to comment on the case, sitting prosecutor Johnnie Cox said, "Nothing has really changed in the last couple of years that I'm aware of.  It's an open and ongoing investigation and until there is some sort of physical evidence proving that Mr. McCullough is deceased we're at a standstill.  A grand jury can indict, but I would have to take it to trial and prove that the people charged killed Mr. McCullough.  I would get one shot with a jury and I want to preserve that opportunity."

Attorney's for both sides must have their final motion's filed by May 25th, according to online court records.  The wrongful death jury trial is scheduled to begin on exactly one month later, "They better bring extra seats, my whole family is gonna be there," said Albert McCullough.


Anonymous said...

my sister Liehnia was ingaged to Jason Bryant , when she went missing Sandy told Jason that Liehnia ran off with another man to florida , Jason informed me that it was Valentines Day of 2006 that Liehnia went missing between 6am and 3pm that day , and may i also add that Liehnia made the recording with Albert in 02 or 03 liehnia didnt go missing till 2006

Kathee Baird said...

I only reported what was in the missing person's report on Liehnia.

It says, "new boyfriend."

We have to take into consideration the source that it came from....Sandy.


Anonymous said...

This stuff sounds like something that you would see on a movie, or read in some crazy book. That poor man and poor girl, wonder what happened to them. It sounds like the man was killed by the boyfriend. Maybe the girl knew too much and someone was afraid she could send someone to prison for life. I am so sorry for the missing girls child, what a damn shame this is. Sounds like Sandy is "plain white trash"

Anonymous said...

I heard this was in connection to something bigger.. I read an online blog the other day that was very interesting by Amanda Stubblefield & this mans name was mentioned. May want to look into it.

Kathee Baird said...

I have read the email that is circulating about the alleged involvement in this case and every other big case in the Ozarks.

Authorities in several counties, in addition to federal authorities, are in possession of the email


Anonymous said...

Ahh,the infamous blog!written by Amanda stubblefield, wife of Matt stubblefield convicted meth head,sister in law of Mike stubblefield, Eagle Rock Postmaster who has been charged with federal crimes and is still under investigation for more federal crimes!A blog that is lies, slander,and liabel against many Officers at the county, state, and federal level!The Sheriffs Dept is still actively persuing Sandy, even this past week.This blog is so outrageous only thugs and people in the political arena with agendas would jump on it!Truth be known Matt Stubblefield is probably involved with his brother in the crimes he is accused of!!Yes the Feds have the blog, it was faxed to them the first day Amanda sent it out by the local authorities, because they have NOTHING to hide!!These people are doping Criminals who have fabricated a blog with hopes of casting them in a better light!Sorry thugs, the Feds aren't buying it Either!!

Anonymous said...

I see. It's still a scary thought that it could be true. I'm from she'll knob & have much respect for Mick Epperly.

Anonymous said...

I know the family personally especially Sandy. I used to be friends with her and we Hung out all the time. I have to say that she is mentally unstable, a pathological liar who actually believes her own lies, and a murderer in my opinion. I think she killed lena because of what she knew. Lena told me numerous times her mom killed Gary and so did Robin. Sandy one time slipped up and mentioned Gary and how noone ever found the body and they never will. I feel so sorry for colter because he has to live with sandy who tells him that she is his real mother. There are no pictures of lena anywhere. She has her three youngest either brainwashed or scared to death of being killed like lena because they will defend sandy no matter what and they all do what she says.

Anonymous said...

Sadly people use a tragedy like this to take heat off their own crimes an paranoia or for a political gain! Printing lies of authority figures an pointless accusations are not the way to have justice for anyones families that are involved, pray that our law enforcement officials continue the search for justice an those spreading this outlandish blog or those uneducated enough to believe it stop interfereing with criminal investigations.. maybe they need to worry about their own charges... Mike Stubbelfield who is the reason all of this blog nonsense was started was brought on federal charges, not county so why start rumors of local law enforcement? His Times coming, sadly they've taken this tragedy of the McCullough family and made it another part of their own paranoid web of lies...

Anonymous said...

Some of the above comments are obviously written by Barry Co law enforcement or directly from the sheriff himself. Makes me wonder why this person is so quick to point fingers and call the fine members of this community "thugs". If there were nothing to it, I believe the sheriff himself would have made a public statement instead of just leaving it for people to wonder. There is way more details than what was in the email. Just to mention one, there was a man from Purdy, by the name of JD Pennington (head of Missouri Search and Rescue, and involved in the missing girls search) who mysteriously commits suicide after some involvement with the sheriff. Coincidence? We may never know. There are many more strangely conveniant cases like this. the people involved are very good and I believe they will get away with it. The members of this community just pray they get theirs. If the feds don't believe these accusations, they sure re-opened the cases and brought in 22 new investigators. I think they have kinda had this in the back of their mind already. You know who I am talking to when I say, getting nervous? Mike may have put out an email, but it was on something we already knew. Making mike look bad won't make it go away. Justice may not exist in that count but I'm sure the people are ready for these cases to be laid to rest and pray it happens soon.

Beverly Joe Vaughn said...

I've known the McCullough and Stubblefield families for years. I've heard over the years since Gary went missing all the stories of what happened to him and what his family believes happened to him. I know what I believe.
I also know Mike Stubblefield well enough to know that he wouldn't just make up something as idiotic as what he's being accused of. Again, I know what I believe.
I TRULY believe if you have something to say on here or any public forum....
sign your name, don't hide behind 'anonymous'.
If you don't know much about a subject then you should probably only talk about what you DO know.
... that would leave a lot of people with very little to say...

Anonymous said...

So now the Sheriffs being blamed for JD Penningtons death?!HE was the Head of Barry County Search and Rescue. The missing women case happened in 1992, the current Sheriif took office in 1997,so who exactly are you talking about now? And no, Im not a member of the Sheriffs Dept or related to any member of the Sheriffs Dept!!Do you think they are the only people that are tired of all the lies being spread?I guess all of the citizens who support the Current Sheriffs Dept ALL must be related or on the payroll in some way, hmm wonder how he keeps getting re-elected!!Just stop with all your nonsense and let the evidence come out!!

Anonymous said...

Why are you so sure they are lies? JD didn't allegedly commit suicide until 07 at which time he was in office. Maybe he learned where the bodies were before you guys moved them. Guess we won't know. Most left handed people don't shoot themselves in the right side of the head with a gun that doesn't belong to them. That's just one among many.

Anonymous said...

Wait... I thought there were no bodies because they were ground up an their skulls saved for trophies? Atleast that's the sick story Amanda Stubbelfield is sharing...Wish people could keep their b.s. straight! I'm not on the payroll nor a relative of one, why isn't this being investigated by higher powers than local authorities if its not in fact lies? If all these people know all these things to be true are they not hindering investigations? Seems to me if this was a big deal to anyone other than family of someone running against the current sheriff or those of someone who's already had a run in, the FBI an highway patrol would be all over this as well as conducting interviews... It will all come out an it won't be anything like the lies being spread

Kathee Baird said...

Several different law enforcement agencies are looking into the "blog," which is really an email.


Anonymous said...

Your obviously not a very bright individual.

Anonymous said...

He was head of Barry County's search an Rescue... There was a panel in Virginia with 25 investigators to advise current investigators how to proceed.. please get your information correct..n.

Anonymous said...

ReallyWhich agencies? Why haven't we heard or seen anything about all this? Is a chosen few all that have the email? Hearing the talk but never seen it

Anonymous said...

Everyone has the email. It's been all over the news. 22 NEW agents on the case. Wake up dude. For having your nose so far in this you really don't know a damn thing. What exactly is your goal of running your mouth on here?

Anonymous said...

Im a member of the McCullough family but I live out of state. Would like to Read the Infamous Blog. Where might I find this blog???

Kathee Baird said...

You might contact Sheriff Epperly and ask him about it.


Anonymous said...

Dudley, the "blog" they are discussing is bs, I would not worry about it.

DieterVonKunth said...

Hi i know this is a really old thread but is there any way you could provide a link to the blog or a page containing that email? I've searched everywhere trying to find it with no luck and it sounds fascinating regardless of whether it is a factual account or not- thank you.