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Sheriff’s Office investigates the 1985 murder of a man from the La Rue area

The family of William J. “Bill” Allen is hoping that detectives from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office can uncover the evidence needed to finally solve a nearly 38-year-old murder case.

Allen’s cousin, Steve Allen, 66, and his second cousin, Ron Allen, 53, have taken up the mantle of the family, cooperating with investigators and following up on information. They told the Marion Star that their uncle was a World War II veteran, a fur buyer and farmer who worked on the “generational farm” on Allen Road southwest of La Rue that his family owned for decades. He lived there with his mother.

Captain Ken Rittenour of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office searches a box of evidence related to the murder of William J. “Bill” Allen, who was killed on December 4, 1985, outside his home on Allen Road near La Rue. The case is still under investigation.

“He was a hard-working man. I worked for him growing up,” said Steve Allen. ‘He had a tough appearance, but a very kind heart. We would like to see this matter closed.”

Ron Allen got emotional when he thought about his relationship with his great-uncle.

“He was my idol back then. That’s what I wanted to do: become a fur seller,” he said, holding back his tears. “I should have been there that night (when Bill Allen was killed), but my dad wouldn’t take me. I was fifteen at the time. I was out there making quite a bit of fur. Me and he would do that.” take the dogs and go hunting. (Bill Allen’s death) set me back. It still does. ‘

Facts of the case

According to records provided by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Allen, 65 at the time of his death, was last seen alive around 11:00 p.m. on December 4, 1985, in the fur trade he operated on his family’s estate near the Marion border . and Hardin counties. Sadly, his mother, Hazel Retterer Allen, was the one who discovered his body at 9:00 AM on December 5, 1985, outside the shed that housed his business.

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In the wake of Allen’s death, former Marion County Coroner Dr. Robert Gray to the Marion Star that Allen “died of a blow to the head”. Gray said, “The blow couldn’t have been accidental,” according to a report in the Star.

Former sheriff John Butterworth told the Star at the time that “the evidence points to robbery as the motive behind the murder.”

Witnesses in Marion and Hardin counties observed a dark-colored vehicle with two round, orange or yellow lights on the roof near Allen’s residence the night of the murder, but the vehicle was never located, according to investigators.

William J., resident of Marion County "account" Allen fell victim to a murder on December 4, 1985, a case that remains unsolved.  The investigation lay dormant for more than 30 years until the Marion County Sheriff's Office restarted it in 2021 under Captain Ken Rittenour.

Marion County resident William J. “Bill” Allen fell victim to a murder on December 4, 1985, a case that remains unsolved. The investigation lay dormant for more than 30 years until the Marion County Sheriff’s Office restarted it in 2021 under Captain Ken Rittenour.

Crime Stoppers Anonymous offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case. However, while many people of interest were identified during the original investigation, no one was ever arrested, said Captain Ken Rittenour, who took over the investigation from the Marion County Sheriff’s Office about two years ago.

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“Bill bought furs from hunters and was known to carry large sums of cash with him because the (local fur trade) was a money trade, as I was told,” Rittenour said. β€œIt was normal for Bill to work late in his fur shop during hunting season. His normal routine was to work late, lock the shop, spit his chewing tobacco into the well, wash his mouth, and then go to the well. home for the night. He was found between his shop and the well.’

Research has been dormant for over 30 years

Before Rittenour took charge of the investigation in 2021, nothing had been done with the case since the early 1990s, he said. Like Sheriff Butterworth, Rittenour said, based on the evidence gathered in 1985, investigators still believe robbery was the main motive for the attack on Allen.

“There were a lot of people who were interested simply because Bill knew a lot of people,” Rittenour explained. “He did business with a lot of people (through his fur trade) and he was well known in the La Rue area because he was also a farmer. So a lot of people knew the businesses he was involved in and, as I said, they knew he was a large sum of cash.”

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Rittenour noted that investigators have identified “people of interest” in the case over the past two years, but he declined to disclose further information because it is an open investigation. However, no one has yet been identified as a suspect in the case.

Steve Allen and Ron Allen, left and second from left, the nephew and second cousin of William J., the 1985 murder victim. "account" Allen have been working with Captain Ken Rittenour and Sheriff Matt Bayles since their uncle's murder investigation was rekindled in 2021.

Steve Allen and Ron Allen, left and second from left, the nephew and second cousin of William J. “Bill” Allen, the 1985 murder victim, have been working with Captain Ken Rittenour and Sheriff Matt Bayles since their uncle’s murder investigation was revived in 2021.

Sheriff hopes to solve the case and bring peace to the family

“I think this is solvable,” Sheriff Matt Bayles said. β€œI would like to bring some peace to the family. Even if the suspect is now deceased, if the family knows what happened and who was responsible, it could bring peace. That’s why we offer a reward. Someone knows something. They didn’t keep this to themselves for 38 years; they told someone. We have people interested in this case, we just need something, some information, to tie this all together.”

Bayles said a $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest in the case. He said the MARMET Drug Task Force is funding the reward.

Anyone with information regarding the murder of William J. “Bill” Allen is asked to contact the Marion County Sheriff’s Office tip line at 740-375-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be sent to the Sheriff’s Office online at mariontips.org.

Email: [email protected]

This article originally appeared on Marion Star: Allen family seeks closure in 1985 murder of uncle in La Rue area

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