Our card this week is Anne Klein, the aid of hearts from Indiana.
Anne was a loving wife and devoted teacher who was well on her way to earning a master’s
degree, when one winter afternoon in 1973, she was viciously attacked outside her classroom.
This episode is a special one because I’ve wanted to tell Anne’s story ever since I
first heard about it years ago, long before we ever started this show.
I just didn’t have enough information.
That is, until now, when the detectives working her case agreed to speak with us.
And they say that they might be closer than they’ve ever been to finding her killer.
I’m Ashley Flowers, and this is The Deck.
On January 18th, 1973, college student Dennis Klem had just wrapped up his last class of
the day at Lockyer College of Business in downtown Evansville, Indiana.
The business college was temporarily holding classes in the basement of the old courthouse
downtown due to a fire at the actual college campus a week before.
Now, Dennis also worked as a custodian in the old courthouse, so in order to report
for work when he got out of class, all he had to do was go up a few flights of stairs
and he was able to punch in his time card.
On that particular day, his shift didn’t start until three.
Dennis had wrapped up his last class of the day a few minutes before that, like around
So to kill some time, he decided to go back downstairs to the basement where he’d just
been for a class and ask one of his accounting teachers, Mrs. Anne Klein, what grade he’d
gotten on an accounting test.
When Dennis got to the basement, he found Mrs. Klein exactly where he’d expected her
to be, behind her desk in her temporary classroom.
Unfortunately for Dennis, Anne told him she was still in the process of grading the test,
so he’d have to wait a little bit longer to find out what his score was.
At about ten to three, Dennis heads back upstairs to report for his work shift, and
when he arrived, he bumped into one of his coworkers who was also a business school student.
At three on the dot, the two men headed to a room on the second level to start their
cleaning duties for the day.
But just as they were arriving to that room, they heard screaming.
The shrieks weren’t coming from a room over, or even on the same level, they sounded distant,
but maybe they were coming from downstairs in the building’s basement.
Dennis and his coworker kind of froze and looked at each other, but then the screaming
stopped, so they shrugged it off as maybe just some kids playing.
Which might sound weird at a courthouse slash college, but you see, Lockyer was a two-year
business college, so students were a little older than your typical college-age students,
and many people who attended classes were parents of young children.
It wasn’t unusual for students to bring their kids to class sometimes.
Right after the faint screaming stopped, they heard a man’s voice that said something along
the lines of, get out here, or get out of here.
Dennis and his coworker just couldn’t tell for sure.
The voice was much more pronounced than the screams, and sounded urgent, so Dennis and
his coworker hightailed it downstairs to see what was going on.
The old Vanderburgh County Courthouse, where this is all happening, is this massive, ornate
government building that was built in the late 1890s.
Up until 1969, it still functioned as a courthouse, but then all government services moved to
a civic center in another part of downtown.
Today county commissioners lease out rooms to various businesses, and it’s still known
as the old courthouse.
It’s a beautiful old building with massive corridors for hallways, really tall ceilings,
a grand rotunda, and a bell tower.
The basement, though, has creepier vibes.
Here’s Evansville Police Detective Sergeant Peter DeYoung.
Very secluded, there are no windows, there are just the two doors, it’s pretty dark.
When Dennis and his coworker got down there, they couldn’t believe what they saw.
Their accounting teacher, Ann Kline, was on the floor of the hallway, covered in blood.
She had several stab wounds all over her chest, and even one on her face.
They could tell right away she was already dead.
So shocked and horrified, they ran back upstairs to the closest telephone, which was in the
administrator’s office on the second floor.
Two more of their coworkers joined them, and within a matter of minutes, the Evansville
Police Department were on their way.
When officers walked into the basement hallway, they saw what Dennis and his coworkers had
seen, which was Ann laying on her back in the big hallway with her long, black hair
soaked in a pool of her own blood that was spread out wide around her body.
Ann was pronounced dead right then and there in the hallway of the old courthouse.
And police officers took statements from Dennis and his coworkers right there in the building’s
Evansville Police Detective Sergeant Kyle Thierry is working the case today, alongside
You’ll hear from both of them throughout this episode.
They say that the gruesome nature of Ann’s murder caused many people who worked at the
school and attended classes to pull away from Lockyer entirely.
It did get a lot of attention and it scared a lot of people.
In fact, we’ve spoken to several former students that it kind of rattled them a bit.
We’ve seen report cards where kids, like, immediately unenrolled from the college and
Police worked to preserve the crime scene by clearing everyone out of the basement.
They ushered building staff and people like Dennis away from Ann’s body to keep them
from gawking at the bloody scene, but they didn’t let them go home without providing
All of this was unfolding just after 3 p.m., in the middle of the day, so police felt confident
that someone who worked in the building had to have seen the murderer, or at least might
know what direction the killer went to get out of the school.
Given how many stab wounds Ann had, they knew the perpetrator wouldn’t have walked away
from the crime without being covered in blood.
Not only that, but police had arrived so fast that unless the killer had a car, like, waiting
right outside, they had to be nearby.
So detectives started talking to everyone they could as the coroner arrived and the
scene was being processed, but everyone was so shocked in those first few moments they
were no help to investigators.
Detectives briefly considered the idea that maybe whoever attacked Ann wanted to rob her,
but that just didn’t add up.
She still had her wedding rings on, her purse was found in her classroom.
So I mean, that would be something we obviously look for on every major scene like this, is
would there be any signs of foul play?
Obviously with her having multiple stab wounds in her, that would be a foul play.
But as far as a robbery goes, like as far as a motive, I believe it doesn’t look like
it would be a robbery.
If someone was stabbed 16, 19, almost 20 times, there’s some sort of intimacy there, you know,
some sort of anger, some sort of, in my opinion, I wouldn’t say that would be a random thing.
So detectives immediately considered the theory that maybe Ann’s husband, Robert, was involved.
They needed to find out if he was accounted for from 2.30 p.m. until 3.30 p.m.
But police found Robert Kline, Ann’s longtime partner, at work in Newburgh, Indiana, 20
minutes from the crime scene.
Newburgh is a whole town over from Evansville.
Alcoa Operations is a global aluminum production and supply company where Robert was an engineer,
and it was 16 miles east of where Ann was killed.
He was in meetings at the time of when this happened, and there were several other people
that verified that.
So he was quickly ruled out.
Just to cover their tracks, detectives snapped some photos of him.
He had no blood on him and no injuries.
And he was displaying all the signs of a shocked and distraught husband who had just found
out that his wife had been brutally killed.
And by all accounts, Robert and Ann had had a great marriage.
They were high school sweethearts who were both from rural Pennsylvania and got their
degrees at Penn State before marrying and moving to Newburgh in 1968 for jobs at Alcoa.
Robert in engineering and Ann in accounting.
But by 1970, Ann had left Alcoa for her teaching job at Lockyer.
In 1971, to further their educations even more, the couple enrolled in night classes
at the University of Evansville.
As busy and nonstop as they were, Robert and Ann’s friends told police that the two had
a happy marriage and seemed very much in love.
No one knew of any drama in their life.
So police were perplexed.
The crime, by its very nature, appeared to be intimate, and Ann seemed to be the target
of someone’s personal rage against her.
The Vanderburgh County Coroner’s office took Ann’s body for an autopsy.
During the exam, the deputy coroner determined that she’d been stabbed 19 times, mostly
to her upper left chest area.
There was also a slashed wound to one of her arms and one to her face.
But the wound that ultimately killed her was straight to her heart.
The coroner also made note that there were no signs that Ann had been sexually assaulted.
So Ann’s clothing and other evidence were given to investigators for processing.
There were some hair fibers that were collected at the scene on her hand.
There were some scrapings taken from her fingernails.
The deputy coroner estimated Ann’s time of death to be around 3.15 p.m., so literally
minutes after Dennis Klem had last seen her alive grading papers in her classroom.
With each hour that passed after the crime, the cops knew that if the killer was a stranger
who’d come to Lockyer with no other reason than to kill Ann, whoever they were, they
were getting further and further away.
But police had to consider the real possibility that the murderer was someone who worked in
the old courthouse building or attended classes at Lockyer.
It had to be someone that has access to her that, I mean this was in a daytime, in a public
place with people around.
So we would think it would be someone newer that has some sort of access to her.
So I would say yes, students could be persons of interest.
I mean, anybody could be a person of interest at this point, but I would say, yeah, I mean
students could be a person of interest.
Any extramarital stuff, if we ever come aware of it, could be persons of interest.
It’s probably only so many things that somebody would want to harm her for.
After investigators ruled out Robert, detectives decided to press Dennis and his co-workers
harder for information.
During their interviews, each of the men reiterated their stories of hearing the screams
in the building around three, immediately followed by the sound of what they thought
was a man’s voice saying something like, get out here or get out of here.
None of these witnesses caved under pressure and all of them seemed to be genuinely disturbed
by the crime.
There was also the fact that none of them were bloody or unaccounted for at the time
of the murder.
Police realized that if Ann was last seen grading papers at 250, then witnesses heard
her screaming at three, and then she was dead by 315, that left a very narrow window
of time for the killer to enter the courthouse, locate Ann, end up in the hallway, stab her
multiple times, and then leave completely undetected.
Based on that, detectives determined one way the killer could have entered and left unnoticed
was by using a door in an alcove that led from the sidewalk of Fifth Street straight
into the basement hallway.
Those doors were the only way someone could have gotten access to Ann, committed the crime,
and left within 15 minutes.
If they’d gone any other way in the building, they would have had to take several flights
of stairs and more than likely would have run into people.
That made investigators even more convinced that their likely suspect knew Ann and likely
knew exactly where to find her.
Because, I mean, even think about what I said earlier, this isn’t where she had been teaching
for like years and years.
She was teaching out of a temporary classroom off campus just as of like a week before.
When our team went to Evansville to interview detectives Theory and DeYoung, our reporters
stopped by the old courthouse and actually took some photos.
If you go to thedeckpodcast.com, you can get a better visual of what that hallway and entrance
of the old courthouse looked like.
A few hours into their investigation, police started canvassing the neighborhoods and buildings
around the old courthouse.
They were looking for blood trails, but they didn’t find a single drop.
The lack of blood or murder weapon at the scene was puzzling for police.
From the beginning, this case was defying the norm.
If Ann’s murder wasn’t domestic and it wasn’t robbery, why had someone killed her in such
a vicious way?
Everyone investigators had spoken with shared story after story of how nice Ann was and
how her humble upbringing affected the way she cared for people around her.
I know she had a neighbor, several people commented on her being a country girl from
Pennsylvania and that she loved animals.
I think she had a neighbor that said something about she rescued some kittens once and a
couple people said she was a tough teacher, but she was fair.
Despite their best efforts and dozens of cops canvassing the old courthouse building and
grounds, detectives never found a murder weapon.
They assumed that they should be looking for a knife considering the size and shape of
Ann’s wounds, but they couldn’t even be a hundred percent sure because for all they
knew the killer could have used another sharp object to kill Ann.
Either way, it wasn’t like a bloody knife or shard of something had shown up in the
After exhausting their efforts searching Lockyer, police spread out their search area and actually
checked a nearby YMCA, which was a place that they knew transient men and women were known
to hang out.
But no one there had seen anything suspicious on the day Ann was killed.
As word of the murder spread, people in Evansville were on edge.
In the 70s, the small city was made up of barely 100,000 people, but it still felt like
a small town and residents there were spooked.
When headlines about the brutal stabbing hit newspapers the day after the crime, Leeds
started flooding into the police department.
They were getting lots of tips, but there were some interesting ones.
There was a witness that saw somebody run into the north and somebody run into the east
at around that time because they were driving by.
This report of someone running away from the business school right around the time of the
murder piqued investigators’ interest.
But it never really led anywhere because it was raining the afternoon Ann was killed,
so there were lots of people running to and from buildings in the afternoon.
Police didn’t have a good way of following this lead and it wasn’t like they could question,
much less even track down every single person who might or might not have been leaving buildings
in the rain that afternoon.
The day after Ann’s murder, right when the investigation felt like it was about to stall,
an important call came in.
A janitor in a nearby building had found blood.
I guess they’ve come in and saw some blood on the water fountain in the basement there.
They think it was obviously connected.
We don’t know for sure if it was or not, but kind of coincidental that there would be a
murder just, what, two blocks away where a lot of blood was and then you get what looks
like possibly some cleanup or something in the basement of that 312 building.
What detective theory refers to as the 312 building was a building with some business
offices just a few blocks away from the old courthouse.
Now there wasn’t a lot of blood, but there was a smear a few inches wide on a water fountain
downstairs in the building.
Luckily, the custodian who found the smear of blood did not clean it off.
He left it untouched so crime scene techs could respond and take scrapings of it as
With the technology they had at the time, authorities tested the dried blood to see
if it was a match for Ann.
But they were unable to come to a definitive conclusion because it tested positive for
two types of different blood.
Knowing the blood type, it will narrow down some suspects.
We can eliminate 94% of people, but look at a city of 100,000 people, that’s still a
lot of people that could be a suspect.
The blood smear felt like a huge clue in the case.
But with no science to be able to link it directly to the crime, police couldn’t say
for sure that the water fountain blood was even connected to the murder.
But like detective theory said, it would be a wild coincidence if it wasn’t.
Detectives interviewed people who worked in the 312 building to see if anyone had seen
a bloody person maybe going into the basement on the day Ann died, but those efforts turned
Like a lot of cases that have forensic evidence that predated DNA testing, the water fountain
blood scrapings were preserved with the hope that someday they would provide more information
Detectives continued to work the case and fielded more tips via phone calls, and their
diligence paid off.
A significant report from an Evansville pharmacist came in just days after the murder.
They claimed that someone covered in blood went into the Columbia Pharmacy.
The Columbia Pharmacy on Columbia Avenue was not far from downtown Evansville where the
murder took place.
There were two women that worked at Columbia Pharmacy and they said between 320 and 340,
which our crime happened around 3315, they said that and they gave a description of a
white male and he was around 30 years old that had blood on him and she knew what blood
looked like because she worked on a pig farm and then he was in the store and I don’t remember
what he did in there but then he got in a blue car and left.
The employees told police that the man they’d seen had bushy brown hair.
Detective DeYoung said that he couldn’t tell from the case file whether or not the
women ever mentioned the strange man buying anything from the pharmacy.
The pharmacist said that the reason she hadn’t reported the bloody man when he first walked
into her store was because she didn’t want to assume the worst about him, but then she
heard about the murder so she felt like she needed to call and report the strange sighting.
The timeline of when the pharmacy workers had seen the man and described how he looked
made him highly suspicious to authorities, so police announced that they might be looking
for a white man in his 30s with bushy brown hair who was driving a blue car.
At the same time, detectives got to work digging through recent call logs to see if they’d
responded to any incidents involving knives in the downtown area in recent weeks.
They found a report from days prior from a woman who said that she had encountered a
man downtown with a knife before Ann was killed, but she hadn’t provided police with any
description of the guy, and the rest of her story didn’t include a lot of detail.
A few weeks after Ann’s murder, the dean of Lockyer Business College announced that
the school was offering up a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Ann’s
He told the Evansville Courier that Ann was a well-liked teacher.
She had even been recognized in an annual awards program honoring teachers’ achievements
called Outstanding Educators of America.
Her students and co-workers loved her, and she received the recognition she deserved.
A few months before she was murdered, a newspaper in town ran a story about the award, which
showed a photo of Ann smiling above the article.
In another article that ran in the Evansville Courier on January 28th, the vice president
of Lockyer Business College said he hoped local businesses would pitch in and increase
the $1,000 reward for information.
The call to action worked, and the pot of money grew to $8,600 thanks to donations.
The college’s VP told the Evansville Courier, quote,
“‘It seems strange to me that this could happen in the middle of the afternoon and
someone who has committed a brutal killing such as this could walk or run out of the
building without anyone noticing something unusual,’ end quote.
That feeling was shared by most of the people who were living in Evansville at the time.
By the start of 1974, the one-year anniversary of the murder loomed, and police were no closer
to narrowing in on Ann’s killer.
The one saving grace that they hoped would send them in a new and productive direction
was getting the initial test results back from the hair and fingernail clippings that
the coroner had retrieved from Ann’s body during her autopsy.
But when those test results came in, they showed that most of the hair found in Ann’s
palms was hers, but one strand was not.
The problem was, police didn’t know who this single strand belonged to.
They suspected it more than likely belonged to Ann’s killer, but it wasn’t like authorities
back in 1974 had the capability to extract DNA or any kind of pertinent information from
that piece of hair.
At the time, investigators weren’t even able to determine if it belonged to a man
or a woman.
So after that, the investigation stalled for the rest of 1974, and the only information
coming into police was a random call here and there with very vague information.
There was a tip from an off-duty officer in Nashville, Tennessee, that said some guy was
bragging about murders and that he committed like three or four that he kind of overheard
and somehow this one came up.
Yeah, I know there was one tip from, it was like a soldier at Fort Campbell that had stabbed
a woman and whatever, military police called and gave us his information and then they
checked and he was actually locked up for something else at the time of Klein’s murder.
1975 rolled around and the investigation had lost steam almost entirely.
But that’s when another bizarre lead came in that sort of changed the trajectory of
Authorities learned from a woman who’d called in that her ex-boyfriend, a man named Darrell,
had robbed a pharmacy in Evansville, not the Columbia Pharmacy, but another one, in late
She described Darrell as having bushy brown hair and during the early 70s, he had a history
of drug use and robbing stores and buildings in the Evansville area.
She told police that Darrell had been killed during the pharmacy robbery in 1974, but she
thought that they should look into him for Ann Klein’s murder.
This information about Darrell, the pharmacy robbery, and him being shot during it was
not something police were familiar with.
They checked their records and sure enough, they found the report and realized that up
till that point, they had never put two and two together about Darrell.
Interestingly, he was killed on New Year’s Eve of 74 when he was trying to rob a pharmacy
and the pharmacy worker, the pharmacist had a gun, I can’t remember what kind of gun it
was, but he had a gun and shot and killed this guy trying to rob him.
And then we didn’t even find out any of this stuff about him until 1975.
That leads us to, okay, now we’ve got to sort through all this paperwork.
Is this guy been eliminated?
You know, what’s his blood type at least?
Can we say, you know, someone with his blood type was at the scene?
Detectives started looking for physical evidence to tie Darrell to Ann’s murder, but he died
a year before they even learned about him, so there wasn’t much to get from him to compare
to the case.
So instead, they interviewed some of his friends who told detectives, oh yeah, Darrell might
have said something about killing that teacher and you know what?
I might have the murder weapon.
And there was another man who said that he had bragged to him and that’s how we ended
up with the knife, that he had killed Ann Klein with that knife that we found.
And that was Darrell’s knife?
That he supposedly gave to this guy because this guy was looking for a weapon and he said,
here, take this one.
It’s a good killing knife.
Police took the knife from Darrell’s friend as evidence and it remains with Evansville
Even though Darrell had an extensive felony record when he was alive, his DNA was never
entered into any kind of database.
Back in the 70s, that wasn’t required.
So technically, Darrell is still a suspect in Ann’s murder, and until authorities can
get a DNA sample from him or one of his close relatives, detectives can’t compare his genetic
profile to the evidence in Ann’s case, like that single strand of hair or the flakes of
blood from the water fountain.
They would need a willing relative to give a DNA sample or a court order to exhume his
body, which they don’t feel like they have enough probable cause for.
So for now, it’s a waiting game.
Honestly, their best bet is for one of Darrell’s relatives to come forward and help them out.
For years, police leaned really hard toward Darrell as being a likely suspect, but without
that concrete proof, they had to keep an open mind about the case.
Almost a decade later, in 1982, detectives took a report from a woman who had a story
completely unrelated to the Darrell theory.
This woman told police that right after Ann’s murder, one of her tenants in an apartment
building that she managed in Evansville had paid his rent and then skipped town abruptly.
She felt at the time it was super odd, but she’d never come forward to tell police about
When investigators asked the woman what the guy’s name was, she told them.
Now, we’ve changed his name for this episode because the man is still alive today.
We’ll call him Nicholas.
She said that Nicholas had been a student of Ann’s at Lockyer College.
Police immediately tried to follow up on this tip and track down Nicholas, but they
I guess too much time had passed and they couldn’t retrieve the school’s old records
or this woman who was his landlord didn’t have any further identifying information for
But either way, the Nicholas lead fizzled pretty quickly, and it stayed dormant until
December 23rd, 2000, 18 years later.
That’s when the name Nicholas popped up on investigators’ radar for a second time.
A clerk working in the Evansville Police Department records room picked up a phone
call and a man was on the other end of the line.
He introduced himself as Nicholas, a former student of Ann Klein’s.
When Evansville police talked to Nicholas, they learned a lot from him that made them
scratch their heads.
He said he experienced blackouts and thinks he could have committed the murder.
Detectives wasted no time in following up on the man’s statement, and they got on the
next flight to St. Petersburg, Florida, where he said he lived, to interview him.
Basically, everybody told the detective that he stabbed her 16 times and thought that she
was killed in the basement.
Nicholas was given a polygraph test to vet the story that he was giving to police, but
the results came back inconclusive.
The more pointed detectives got in their questioning, the more they began to realize that Nicholas
might be lying, or perhaps struggling with mental health issues.
He could not give really any specific details on it.
It was clear that it was pretty much fabricated, and he was claiming that he blacked out on
and off and doesn’t really remember, but then, you know, would try and give other details
that were pretty much common knowledge.
There wasn’t really any kind of clear motive, and then at one point he changed the story
and said he didn’t kill anybody, and, you know, gets into this whole thing about blackouts,
and he just doesn’t remember.
Investigators took DNA samples from Nicholas and strands of his hair and his fingerprints,
but after running those against the case evidence, nothing matched.
To everyone’s disappointment, the case stalled again.
Then five years after Nicholas’s out-of-the-blue half-confession, a woman from Texas called
and said she knew who killed Anne Klein.
For perspective, it’s 2005 by this point.
It’s been over 30 years since Anne was murdered, so tips and, honestly, people who were even
alive when the crime occurred are few and far between.
The woman on the phone claimed to have gone to church with another woman who used to live
This woman claimed that she and B had been friends and that they attended the church,
the Mormon church together in Texas, and that B had disclosed to her that she killed Anne
Klein because she wasn’t going to let Anne Klein have the man that she liked.
Detectives hopped on the next flight to Texas to find the woman, but when they got there
and interviewed her, she denied ever saying those things to her church friend, and she
willingly gave her DNA to be ruled out as a suspect.
The woman confirmed that back in 1973, she had been a student of Anne’s, but she also
denied holding a jealous grudge against her former teacher.
I know if we have DNA that when we get new stuff or we get new things that could contain
DNA, it would automatically be compared against the known that we do know of.
And so I don’t think we were ever able to obtain any hard evidence against the charger.
The theory of whether or not Anne had been having an affair, and whether it was the reason
behind her death, was definitely something police, even back in 1973, had considered
as a possibility.
And even though it would explain a lot about the brutal and personal nature of the murder,
they never found any evidence to support it.
But throw in rumors like the supposed confession at a church in Texas, and you can see why
police have always felt like they can’t let a theory like that go.
According to investigators, that phone call was the only time they ever heard anyone suggest
an affair as a possible motive.
The next lead came in the form of a phone call in 2020, literally just two years ago.
A young woman called the Evansville Police Department and said that her boyfriend’s
mother killed Anne Klein, and that her boyfriend was just a small boy at the time, but he and
one of his friends were there when the crime happened.
The tipster reported that her boyfriend’s mother had been a student of Anne’s in 1973
and had it out for her, though she didn’t know why.
We got some more report cards and some enrollment forms, and I think we were able to confirm
that that woman was a student in one of Anne’s classes.
Today, this tip remains a viable lead for investigators.
And as of this recording, Detective Theory and DeYoung are working to corroborate the
tip through interviews and evidence.
When technology changes, it’s going to catch up to them, at least we hope so.
And that murders, I mean, they never go, just go away.
But you know, to me, this stuff matters because to somebody, this was their world.
This Anne Klein, she meant something to these people.
That was somebody’s daughter, that was Robert’s wife, I’m sure she had best friends and really
Just because I didn’t know her, but to somebody, she was their everything.
It’s been 50 years.
Anne Klein deserves justice.
Her family deserves to know why she was killed and who her killer is.
Police might have a new suspect in mind, but that doesn’t mean they don’t still need
the public’s help.
If you or someone you know has information about the murder of Anne Klein, please call
That’s the main line to the Evansville Police Detective Unit, and it’s staffed 24-7.
Maybe you have the missing piece of information that could finally close Anne’s case forever.
The Deck is an AudioChuck production with theme music by Ryan Lewis.
To learn more about The Deck and our advocacy work, visit thedeckpodcast.com.
So what do you think, Chuck?
Do you approve?