Today, November 15th, 2009, marks the 50th anniversary of the much-loved and wealthy citizens, the Herb Klutter family, who was brutally murdered in their home just to the south of Holcomb, Kansas. Since then, Truman Capote wrote his novel IN COLD BLOOD which detailed that violent day in American history. He started out by describing how the eventual murderers found each other and made their way to Holcomb so that they could put their plot of becoming wealthy themselves to work at the expense of the Klutters. The author also detailed the happenings of the following days that lead to the hangings of the two men who carried out the killings. Since then, two movies have been produced.
My mother was engaged to my father at that time. She rented a bedroom from a widow lady in Leoti. She still speaks of the horror that people lived through as the news of the needless tragedy spread throughout the country. A major manhunt was underway throughout the United States to find the 2 murderers and to bring them to justice. Needless to say, much fear was unleashed in the areas surrounding the Holcomb area. Even after the men were put to their deaths, the fear never fully disentegrated. Much innocence was forever lost.
There were people who lived in this area who dispiced the book and the movie because of the fact that Mr. Capote had added some drama in his writings that really had not happened. Later friends of his said that he had to do this in areas where the actual happenings at that time were unknown to anyone other than the people who were involved. Others were angered because books and movies were done which capitalized on the sufferings of these people, their friends and family that ultimately made alot of money for the author and other people who worked to bring the book and movies to reality.
A few months ago, a statue was unveiled in a Holcomb park to honor the Klutter Family. Nothing is mentioned about their horrific deaths. Instead, information about their tremendous offerings that they made to Finney County and Holcomb was shared with whomever takes the time to stop by the park.
Some area schools just recently studied the gruesome ordeal which happened right here.
If you are interested in learning more about these very sad events, you can google Holcomb's Herb Klutter Family or the novel, IN COLD BLOOD. Many public libraries throughout the U.S. have IN COLD BLOOD available for anyone who wants to read it.