In 1959, the Walker family was getting ready to spend their second Christmas together as a family of four. At around 3:30 PM on December 19, 24-year-old Christine pulled into the family farm after running a few errands. It was later discovered that she hadn’t parked in her normal spot because there had probably been a second car there, someone whom Christine knew. Not suspecting a thing, she opened the door and let him into the house. Once inside, he raped the mother of two before shooting her twice in the head.
Cliff and the two toddlers, Jimmie and Debbie, arrived at the house at about 4:35. As soon as Cliff walked in the door, he was shot in the head. The killer then shot Jimmie in the head before turning his gun on Debbie. He fired his last bullet at her, but when that didn’t kill her he was forced to improvise. He carried the toddler into the bathroom and drowned her in the bathtub. Afterward, he left the bodies in the house and left the scene. Their bodies were found by Cliff’s hunting buddy the next morning. The killer left behind plenty of clues, including a thumbprint on the bathtub, a bloody cowboy boot, and cellophane from a cigarette packet, but none of these helped the police in the investigation.
There have been 587 suspects in the case over the years. They include Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, who murdered the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas, a crime which became the subject of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. But when Smith’s and Hickock’s bodies were exhumed in 2012, they could not find a match between their DNA and the samples from the Walker farm. The bloody mystery remains unsolved to this day.