RUSHVILLE – A film about the murder of a young woman from Rushville nearly 55 years ago is getting high praise following three public screenings, one of which took place Sept. 23 at The Princess Theatre in Rushville.
“The Girl in the Yellow Scarf” is an hour-long documentary about Carol Marie Jenkins, a 20-year old Black woman who was stabbed and left to die in downtown Martinsville in 1968, the result of a racially motivated crime.
The film is produced by Prince Media Group, LLC and Award-winning Investigative Reporter Sandra Chapman, formerly of WTHR TV 13 and WISH TV 8, Indianapolis.
Chapman’s debut documentary introduces viewers to Jenkins, an ambitious young woman who was in Martinsville selling encyclopedias at the time of her death.
Through eyewitness accounts and exclusive investigatory documents, Chapman provides a detailed narrative of Jenkins’ last moments, the handling of the investigation, and how a child witness called with a chilling message that turned the case on its head in 2001.
The historical account goes beyond the headlines of the only arrest in the case and into the search for the accomplice. The feature length program uncovers new details and new voices as part of the murder mystery.
“It has been a case that has stayed with me” said Chapman, who first produced the riveting series about police missteps into the Carol Jenkins murder case in November 2001. It was those reports that led to the arrest of a suspected murderer for the first time in 33 years. “This case has intrigued me from the beginning. I was moved by the efforts of Paul Davis, Carol’s step-father, who spent 50 years of his life searching for justice. And then to receive the call from the daughter who said her “father could be the killer” was just shocking!”
Special guests for the Rushville screening of the film included members of Carol Jenkins’ family including longtime Rushville resident Elizabeth A. Scott (mother of Carol Marie Jenkins); Jenkins’ sisters Paulette Davis, Laura Davis, Patricia Howard and husband Jim; Robert Davis (brother of Carol Marie Jenkins); first cousin Edith Ann Cox and husband Luttrell from Louisiana; former Rushville resident Dennis Goins; and Rushville Mayor Mike Pavey, who presented Carol’s 96-year-old mother Elizabeth A. Scott with the highest award given by the Rushville mayor, the Rushville Medal.
Mayor Mike Pavey said there are several reasons why the Rushville Medal might be awarded including community service, philanthropy, heroic acts and bravery, longstanding service, and promotion of social justice.
“Elizabeth Scott, Paul Davis (posthumously) and Carol Jenkins-Davis (posthumously) all earned the Rushville medallion due to the prolonged hardships the family faced following the passing of Carol,” the mayor said. “In their quest to unravel the events of the tragic night on Sept. 16, 1968, Elizabeth and Paul exhibited remarkable patience, persistence, bravery and resilience. The families dedicated decades to uncovering the details of Carol’s murder. Despite the challenges they maintained a positive outlook, choosing to spread love instead of succumbing to hate. Elizabeth Scott, a valiant mother, has also emerged as a dedicated advocate for social justice.
Pavey also noted that Sandra Chapman unearthed crucial information that ultimately led to the apprehension of Carol’s murderer, and that in honor of her work she was also awarded a Rushville medallion.
Victoria J. Scott, youngest daughter of Elizabeth Scott and youngest sibling of Carol Marie Jenkins, offered the following comment on her mother’s behalf, “I was beyond proud of my mother, Elizabeth Scott, for being presented with the highest award from the Rushville mayor’s office, the Rushville Medal. My thanks go out to Rushville Mayor Mike Pavey for honoring my mother in this special way. Truly, she is the strongest person I know, and she is a quiet storm champion for civil rights.”
She also noted that her father, Jean Scott, was the last member of the family to see Carol alive.
“She [Carol] stopped by my father’s business in Indianapolis before she left for Martinsville and the last thing she said to him was, ‘Bye, Dad.”
Jenkins was murdered Sept. 16, 1968, by two white men. Her murder remained unsolved for more than 30 years until a tip led investigators to one of her alleged killers in the early 2000s. One of the alleged killers, Kenneth Clay Richmond, who was affiliated with the Ku Klux Klan, was declared incompetent to stand trial and died of bladder cancer in 2002. His accomplice was never identified.
Carol Jenkins was born to Elizabeth Jenkins in Franklin, Indiana, in 1947. Her mother divorced her father when Carol was still an infant. Elizabeth would later marry Paul Davis, a factory worker in Rushville.
Paul and Elizabeth would go on to have five more children.
In 1965, after graduating from Rushville High School, Carol got a job at the plant of the Philco Division of the Ford Motor Company. Carol worked there until a union strike temporarily shut the plant down. Looking to supplement her income, she took a job as a door-to-door saleswoman for Collier’s, selling encyclopedias.
In September 1968, Carol started her first day of selling encyclopedias door-to-door. She volunteered to go to Martinsville, which had a reputation for being what’s known to be a “sundown town,” but Carol thought she would be safe as she was traveling there with three co-workers: two white men and a 19-year-old black woman.
While on her route, two white men in a car began following her making racist slurs. She approached the home of a young white married couple, Don and Norma Neal, seeking help.
The Neals called the police who soon reported that they tracked down two locals who admitted following her, but to nothing else.
Norma Neal walked several blocks with Carol, looking for her co-workers. When they could not find them, Neal offered to let Carol stay at their residence. Carol turned down the offer, saying that she did not want to trouble them further. Around 8:30 P.M., Carol then walked off, heading to the predetermined rendezvous point where she was supposed to meet her co-workers to head back to Rushville.
Approximately 15 to 30 minutes later, two men got out of their car and chased her down. As one of them held her the other stabbed her with a screwdriver. The men left her in the street where, bleeding out from the wound, she died.
In June 2000, Carol’s mother, Elizabeth, received an anonymous phone call from someone revealing the name of the killer. Elizabeth told Paul, who dipped into his retirement savings to hire a private investigator to look into it. After the Indiana State Police got wind of Paul’s effort, they assigned two cold case investigators to look back into the murder. In November 2001, the investigators received an anonymous letter naming the killer: Kenneth Clay Richmond. The letter also said that Richmond’s daughter, Shirley, had witnessed the murder.
On May 8, 2002, police arrested Richmond in an Indianapolis nursing home.
Richmond’s estranged daughter, Shirley, corroborated the details of Carol’s murder, including the clothing that Jenkins was wearing that night, which never had been revealed to the public.
Shirley McQueen confirmed that, as a 7-year-old, she watched from the back seat of a car as her father, and another man — who had been riding around drinking together — killed Carol Jenkins.
McQueen said that as they drove back home Richmond gave her $7 to keep her quiet about what she had witnessed.
Richmond never went to trial for Jenkins’ murder, nor was his accomplice ever identified. Richmond was declared incompetent to stand trial and, two weeks later, on Aug. 31, 2002, he died of bladder cancer.
A community park in Rushville was rededicated in Jenkins’ name (as Carol Jenkins-Davis Park) on Nov. 1, 2017, and a memory stone was placed in the garden of Martinsville’s City Hall on Nov. 2, 2017.
(Much of the history of this case was taken from Wikipedia and confirmed by one of Jenkins’ relatives.)
Chapman is currently seeking a distributor for “The Girl in the Yellow Scarf.” For more about the film visit https://thegirlintheyellowscarf.com/