2011 marked the end of an era: St. Louis is no longer the Most Dangerous City in America. Not only did our city lose the coveted number-one spot, now held by Flint, Michigan, it slipped to number four! And it looks as though the city's murder rate will decline by 30 percent from 2010. What's going on here?
Nonetheless, there were still some pretty grisly crimes in St. Louis this year. Here, then, is a look at ten of the most heinous crimes (ranked from bad to worse) occurring in and around St. Louis within the past 12 months.
10. Trapped in the Closet
And not in the R. Kelly sense. Last February, during a compliance check of Kim McGee and Keith Rucker's home in Cahokia, U.S. marshals discovered two five-year-olds, a boy and a girl, locked inside a three-by-four foot closet. The door was secured with a nail.
Turns out McGee and Rucker had been punishing the kids this way for at least five months, locking them up for as long as four hours at a time. It was unclear whether any of the other three kids living in the house got locked up, too, but the Department of Children and Family Services took all five into custody. McGee and Rucker were arrested on six counts of child endangerment and held in the St. Clair County jail.
9. Three Good Samaritans and One Not-So-Good
After the first big snow of the year, Cornell Hampton happened across a woman at the corner of Newstead and Lindell in the Central West End who was attempting to dig her car out of a snowbank. Hampton helped her out, and then demanded a ride. When she refused, he allegedly jumped in the car, put her in a choke hold, and demanded she drive him to an empty building on Delmar Boulevard.
Three workers nearby overheard the woman screaming as Hampton forced her out of the car and called the police. The cops arrived and apprehended Hampton in the act of raping the woman.
In July, the three Good Samaritans, Darrell Wallace, Terry Kennedy and Timothy Peterson, received an award from the St. Louis Grand Jury Association for their good citizenship. And just two weeks later, Hampton was arrested again for attempting another kidnapping, also in the Central West End.
8. Case of the Missing Wife
On June 1, Jacque Sue Waller, a 39-year-old mother of triplets, visited her estranged husband, Clay, at his residence in Jackson, Missouri, a small town just north of Cape Girardeau. She'd been on her way down to Cape Girardeau to file divorce papers. She never got the chance. Jacque disappeared later that day. Her car was discovered about five miles away, just off I-55. Neighbors told police Clay Waller had hooked up his boat to his pickup truck that afternoon and headed out somewhere.
The fact that Clay was the last person to see Jacque, plus the fact that he'd taken off in his boat, plus the fact that, according to Jacque's sister, Jacque was scared of him and thought he was "not stable," plus the fact that he later pleaded guilty to threatening to kill that same sister, add up to Clay Waller being the chief suspect. Clay is being held on charges of making the murder threats, but so far no arrests have been made for Jacque's disappearance. The five-year-old triplets, meanwhile, remain in the custody of their aunt.
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