Crime History, Dec. 19, 1968: So-called mastermind buries heiress alive in box

On this day, Dec. 19, in 1968, Gary Krist, the self-declared Albert Einstein of crime, kidnapped the daughter of President Richard Nixon’s friend, and buried her alive in a ventilated box.

Gary Krist

Gary Krist

Krist and Ruth Eisemann-Schier, who was disguised as a man, abducted 20-year-old Emory University student Barbara Jane Mackle in Georgia and buried the heiress underground in a fiber-glass reinforced box outfitted with an air pump.

Robert Mackle, a Florida land developer, delivered the $500,000 ransom, and his daughter was rescued alive after three days underground.

Police found an abandoned car that had a photograph of the girl in the box holding a sign that said, “Kidnapped.”

Documents inside the vehicle soon led authorities to Krist, who was arrested on a speedboat off the coast of Florida.

Krist was convicted and served 10 years in prison.

— Scott McCabe


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