In December of 1978—just three days after Christmas—Bob Young and his girlfriend Elizabeth Andes were moving out of the apartment they had surreptitiously shared with another young couple, Sue Parmelee and her boyfriend John. As far as the girls’ fathers were concerned, the two young ladies were sharing the apartment to keep costs down. Their straight-laced fathers didn’t know that they were also sharing it with their beaus.
That evening, December 28, Bob Young returned to the apartment with a bag of clothes and a vacuum cleaner, to help his girlfriend clean up so as to ensure that they got back their deposit when they moved out. When he pulled up in the parking lot, however, the windows of their apartment were dark.
Expecting to find a note explaining Beth’s absence, he instead found something much more horrific. A bedroom spattered with blood, a toppled dresser, and his girlfriend’s dead body, where she had been strangled and stabbed.
Elizabeth’s boyfriend finds her dead in their apartment
The apartment had no phone, so he had to run out into the cold December night to find someone who could call the police. Oxford, Ohio, where the two had attended Miami University, was a small college town that hadn’t seen a murder in decades—and certainly not one as grisly as this.
When police arrived, they found Elizabeth Andes on the floor of her bedroom. Her feet and hands had been tied and a piece of cloth had been shoved into her mouth, possibly to stifle her screams. A fashion student, Andes had been stabbed with a pair of her own sewing shears, which police found wrapped in a sweater on the floor.
Andes was nude save for one knee-high blue sock, and Young had covered her body with a sheet by the time the police arrived. A robe sash had been tied around her neck, one of her earrings had been torn from her ear, and there was blood everywhere from the stab wounds in her torso.
Is Bob Young to blame?
Within 15 hours of the discovery of the body, police were sure they had their man. Young was a soft-spoken football player who had been dating Andes for three years. According to most of her friends, the two had been an enviable couple. Yet, it didn’t take long for authorities to zero in on him as their only suspect and, before long, Young had been spirited to another town for a polygraph test—which he was told he failed—and pressured into signing a confession, which he would immediately recant.
It wasn’t just Young changing his tune that suggested that the story may not be as cut and dry as the authorities were making it out to be. Young’s attorney noticed that the details of the confession didn’t match the actual facts of the crime scene. “This just doesn’t add up,” he later told the Cincinnati Enquirer. “There were four or five of them, those inconsistencies. You started thinking, ‘Well, what? He lied about things that were physical evidence? Or was he told that and then he put it in his statement?’”
Despite the holes in the case, police were certain they had their killer, and Young was arrested and taken to trial—where he was acquitted. With authorities assuring them that Young was the culprit and the case treated as closed, Beth’s family sought justice the only way they knew how; by filing a wrongful death suit in civil court against Young. In a civil trial, the threshold of certainty for a jury is much lower than in a criminal case, and yet, once again, the jury sided with Young.
Countless potential suspects
Decades later, reporters Amber Hunt and Amanda Rossman made the case the focus of the first season of their hit podcast Accused, and what they kept coming back to was how the police’s fixation on Young prevented the case from being properly investigated. Without a conviction, they had nothing else to go on.
Not only had they focused all of their energies on Young, neglecting other potential leads, but they had also logged the case as closed, meaning that it wasn’t entered into unsolved murder databases, and the details of the crime were never compared to other slayings with similar M.O.s. Perhaps even worse, evidence was misplaced after Young’s trial, making the odds of finding the real killer almost impossible—assuming that the jury was right, and Young didn’t do it.
According to their reporting, the single-minded focus of the police wasn’t due to a lack of other potential suspects. Beth’s boss, Robert “Buzz” Caul, called police shortly after the murder and said, “You might want to talk to me.” He claimed that Andes had invited him over to her apartment the night before she died, a thing that had never happened previously. He claimed that the two smoked weed, drank wine, and watched a movie on TV.
Beth’s friends had their doubts. According to them, Caul had a “terrific crush” on his employee, one that Andes neither reciprocated nor appreciated. One of her coworkers identified Caul as a “creepy” guy and said that she and Beth always walked home together on the nights that he was there.
Nor was Caul the only one. There had been a conflict with the maintenance man at the apartment, who Andes claimed had left her door unlocked, an incident which angered her so much that she reported it to the apartment complex on the day of her murder. There was an old flame from high school, who also had a crush on the slain girl. And then there was Boyd Glascock.
Did unrequited love lead to homicide?
Days after Young’s arrest, while he was out on bail, Glascock stopped by his house, something he had never done before. The two men had worked as house painters during the summer but, according to Young, hardly knew each other. That day, however, Glascock admitted that he had loved Young for years—and claimed that he knew that Young loved him, too. That Beth had been in the way. And when Young asked him to leave, he shoved a wrapped gift into his hands: a pincushion drizzled in some red substance that could have been blood.
Unfortunately, none of these leads—or any others—were pursued at the time, due to the focus the police had placed on Young. Though he still maintains his innocence, even today, Young blames himself for the lack of closure in the death of the young woman he loved. If he hadn’t been pressured into signing that confession, he reasons, the authorities would have been forced to pursue other leads, and maybe catch the real killer.
As it is, we may never know the answer to the question that Elizabeth Andes’ father reportedly blurted out when Young’s acquittal was announced in court, “Then who killed my daughter?”