Catching Krajcir: A bloody footnote in Southern Illinois history

Timothy W. Krajcir 1979

Timothy W. Krajcir 1979

By Kallie Cox, Staff Reporter

Grover Thompson died 23 years ago in prison. He was found to be wrongfully convicted for the 1981 assault and stabbing of Ida White. White survived the attack, but the real attacker was  uncovered to be Timothy Wayne Krajcir. Thompson became the first person to be granted clemency by the University of Illinois Innocence Project posthumously.

Krajcir is credited with the murder of nine women in Missouri, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Kentucky and was dubbed as the “boogeyman in the blue bandana” alluding to the criminal wearing a blue bandana over his face as he would rape and rob seemingly random women.

After Krajcir assaulted and stabbed 72 year-old White in her Milwaukee, Illinois apartment, he fled the scene and police arrested Thompson, an African-American man who was sleeping at a post office across the street.

Krajcir would travel to several towns that he had no connection to, stalk victims and then break into their homes waiting for them to arrive.


In 1977, Krajcir broke into a Carbondale home and stole a .38 caliber handgun. He would use this gun to murder Mary and Brenda Parsh.

Mary was 58 years old when she was murdered in her Carbondale home. Krajcir stalked her, broke into the home on Koch Street in Cape Girardeau, sexually assaulted her 27 year old daughter Brenda, and shot both in the head. In the same year Krajcir molested an 11 year old girl and would continue to do this for two years.

In 1977, Krajcir was then released from prison after serving time for rape when he enrolled at Southern Illinois University as a condition of his parole. He later graduated in 1981 with a degree in Administration of Justice and a minor in psychology.

He would later use knowledge of how investigations and police worked to evade law enforcement.

Krajcir developed an unhealthy emotional and sexual obsession with his mother at the age of 10 and started engaging in acts of exhibition and voyeurism at the age of 13, according to a research by the Department of Psychology at Radford University,

In 1963, Krajcir raped a woman in Waukegan, Illinois and stabbed her with a pair of scissors. The woman survived and Krajcir raped a second woman in Chicago.

Krajcir was convicted of rape and attempted murder and sentenced to 25-50 years in a Joliet prison.


While in prison, he earned his associate’s degree from Shawnee Community College and worked as an EMT.

Krajcir varied his murders. He strangled some victims and shot others with a handgun. He was elusive and irregular – and because DNA technology had not been fully developed – he got away with his crimes for years.

Krajcir was arrested for child molestation in 1979. He was sentenced to only two years and was released early in 1980 on recommendation from his psychiatrist.

According to a probable cause statement filed by Detective J. L. Smith in 2007, Krajcir broke into a woman’s house wearing a blue bandanna over his face and raped a 34-year-old woman with her 10 year-old daughter in 1982.

Krajcir strangled 57-year-old Margie Call to death in Cape Girardeau, according to the same statement. This time he left behind strands of his hair at the scene.

Krajcir became increasingly reckless. He shot, sexually assaulted and strangled Mildred Wallace, age 65, in her Cape Girardeau home.

This time he left behind blood, a bootlace he used as a garotte and a palm print behind and bits of his skin were found underneath the victim’s fingernails.

In the same year, Krajcir murdered 23-year-old SIU student Deborah Sheppard. During this he made a crucial mistake would lead to his first murder conviction and eventually unravel his other murders: he left semen on her shirt.

DNA technology had yet to be completely developed and was not commonly used in criminal investigations. This made Krajcir’s crimes harder to connect across jurisdictions and state lines.

When he was finally arrested again, Krajcir remained silent about his crimes. He was convicted in Allentown, Pennsylvania when he was found in a parking lot with a gun.

According to Radford research, after being arrested he attempted to escape from prison but broke his leg and failed.

He remained in prison for years, completely silent about his crimes. In 2007, authorities analyzed DNA he had left at a crime scene.

According to the probable cause document was filed with the courts in 2007, Detective Jimmy Smith of Cape Girardeau contacted Carbondale’s Lieutenant Paul Echols.

In his book “In Cold Pursuit,” where Echols wrote about the Krajcir investigation, he said he was a rookie police officer when Deborah was murdered, and throughout his career he would frequently revisit her case file in the hopes of someday catching her killer.

Echols knew DNA technology was being developed, and in 2007 he called for a review of the DNA in Deborah’s murder.

Krajcir had recently been moved to the Big Muddy Correctional Center and was placed in the Illinois DNA registry. The sample was a match.

According to the book Echols drove to the prison to interview Krajcir and he originally denied any involvement in Deborah’s murder. The next day, however, Krajcir called and made his confession to her murder.

After investigating further they were able to link Krajcir to the murders and went to interview him. Initially he refused to confess but when offered a deal would allow him to escape the death penalty, he confessed and pled guilty to nine murders.

Krajcir is currently serving 13 consecutive life sentences in Pontiac Correctional Center for the murders of  Virginia Lee Witte, Mary Parsh, Brenda Parsh, Sheila Cole, Margie Call, Mildred Wallace, Deborah Sheppard, Joyce Tharp and Myrtle Rupp.

Staff reporter Kallie Cox can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @KallieECox.

To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.