A German couple comes to hike and enjoy the beautiful Big Sur coastline. As they wander through the backroads, they encounter their worst nightmare – a couple of predators out looking for a soft target. Detective Lins is called to investigate the aftermath and finds a story of tragedy as well as miraculous survival.
The Detective: Retired Detective Lins began his 31-year-career in law enforcement when he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Military Police Corps in 1967 after he graduated from UC Davis. He served two years at the United States European Command in Stuttgart Germany, where he was promoted to first lieutenant, and commander of the military police station. Later, as a captain, he commanded the first post stockade annex at the now defunct Fort Ord in CA. His most memorable investigation in Europe was solving the case of the bananas missing from a 4-star general’s kitchen. Detective Lins went on to spend two decades as a deputy sheriff with the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department, first as a patrol deputy and then as a detective working major crimes for 14 years. His final 7 years in law enforcement were as a District Attorney Investigator for the Monterey County DA, where where his assignments included major crimes and child sexual assault. During his law enforcement career he investigated over 40 death cases, with the majority being homicides.Read Transcript
Lins: [00:00:06] I rappelled off the side of this cliff. At about 80 feet down, I can see where the vehicle had hit. I continued on down following the debris. At about 400 feet down, he was laying seven feet in front of the vehicle. His left arm was severed at the elbow, and he had bled out.
Yeardley: [00:00:29] Hi, there. I’m Yeardley.
Dan: [00:00:31] I’m Dan.
Dave: [00:00:32] And I’m Dave.
Yeardley: [00:00:33] And this is Small Town Dicks.
Dan: [00:00:35] Dave and I are identical twins, and we’re retired detectives from Small Town, USA.
Dave: [00:00:40] Together, we’ve investigated thousands of cases. From petty theft to sex crimes, from child abuse to murder.
Dan: [00:00:47] Every case on our podcast is told by the detective who investigated it, offering a rare personal account of how they broke the case.
Dave: [00:00:55] Names, places, and certain details, including relationships, have been altered to protect the privacy of the victims and their families.
Dan: [00:01:01] And although we’re aware that some of our listeners may be familiar with these cases, we ask you to please join us in continuing to protect the true identities of those involved, out of respect for what they’ve been through.
In Unison: [00:01:12] Thank you.[Small Town Dicks theme playing]
Yeardley: [00:01:25] Today, on Small Town Dicks, we have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:01:32] Hello, everyone.
Yeardley: [00:01:33] Hello, you. And we have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:01:35] Hello, team.
Yeardley: [00:01:37] Hello, sir. And, Small Town Fam, we are so pleased to welcome to the podcast, retired Detective Lins.
Lins: [00:01:46] Hello.
Yeardley: [00:01:47] Linz, I remember when you told us about this case, our jaws were just to the ground. So, I’m just going to hand it off to you.
Lins: [00:01:55] All right. Well, this case came to our attention on June 14th, 1979. I was sitting in my office in Monterey, California when we were alerted by the dispatch system that the United States Forest Service Rangers in the Big Sur, California area had reported that they were going to investigate a possible gunshot victim a female, located on Mill Creek Trail which is 60 miles south of Monterey. The sheriff’s unit was dispatched to that location. When they arrived, the forest rangers directed them to a woman by the name of Molly.
[00:02:39] She was a visitor to the area with her boyfriend, and she was walking along the Mill Creek Trail and came across a female whose name was Gertie. Gertie thinks she has been shot, and all she has on is a pair of shorts. When they come across Gertie, she can’t stand upright. She’s got this hole on her arm that’s covered in maggots. This wound in her left arm appears to be a gunshot. Well, Gertie could speak English, she was more comfortable speaking in German. Molly happened to be fluent in German, and what she told Molly was pretty shocking.
[00:03:21] Gertie was with her friend, Herman, on a camping trip. They started this journey on the 6th of June. They flew from Germany to Arizona, where they rented a car, drove from Arizona to the Los Angeles area and then up the coast to the Big Sur area. I should mention it at this point, Gertie was 41 years old at this time. Herman was 28 at the time, and he was a family friend, who had been to America before, and he was going to take Gertie and her husband, but her husband couldn’t make the trip.
Yeardley: [00:03:58] Just give us for anybody who’s unfamiliar with Big Sur, give us a little bit of the lay of the land of that area.
Lins: [00:04:05] Sure. Big Sur is an interesting place. You have the Pacific Ocean on your right as you’re headed south, and on your left as you’re going north up the coast. Highway 1 is a two-lane highway that twists and turns for 60 or 70 miles down the county line. It includes some spectacular cliffs, or drops can be 400, 500, 600 feet straight down on the ocean side. On the inland side, you see mountains and streams coming down from these mountains. Beautiful scenery either way you look. With Gertie and Herman, when they got into the Big Sur area on June 11th, they couldn’t find any place to camp, so they took this road coming off of Highway 1 going east away from the Pacific Ocean, and they went up a hill about 5.5 miles where they pulled over for the evening, several thousand feet up as the sun was setting, with a beautiful view of the Pacific Ocean down below.
[00:05:14] They got out their sleeping bags and fell asleep on this pullout off of this road. They were awakened sometime in the middle of the night by another vehicle coming up. Gertie explains that these two guys came to their spot where they were camped, and they said they were looking for their lost dog and asked if Gertie and Herman had seen the dog. They’re drinking whiskey out of a big bottle. When these guys first approached, Gertie says they didn’t notice her at first, and she hunkered down more in her sleeping bag, hoping that they would not see that she was a woman. She started feeling right then that this is not going to end up well.
[00:06:02] Herman is trying to explain they haven’t seen the lost dog. One of them asks Herman for money. They didn’t have any American cash on them. They had these traveler’s checks, and if they did have any cash, it would have been small amounts, like four or five bucks. Herman pulled out his traveler’s checks. One of the guys said, “I don’t want these,” and actually threw them over the cliff side, and he pulls out this pistol, hits Herman over the head, knocks him out, puts him in the back of this 1979 Plymouth Arrow, lifts up the hatchback, stuffs him inside and takes his shoelaces off his shoes, and hog ties him. In other words, he’s laid face down in the back of this car on his stomach with his arms and his legs tied together.
[00:06:50] One of the guys says to Gertie, “Well, I’ll tell you what? You show us your breasts, and we’ll let you go.” She said, “Okay, I’ll do that.” Of course, that didn’t work. Next thing they do is they stripped her of all her clothing, and then both of them forced her to orally copulate them. They took her down on the ground, and they raped her. And then, they decided that next thing to do was they were going to tie her up. And she says, “Well, can I please put on some clothing?” And they said, “Okay, you can put your shorts back on.” And then, they put her in the front passenger seat of the Plymouth Arrow. So, Gertie is in the front seat of the car now, only dressed in a pair of shorts with her hands tied. Herman is in the back unconscious, hogtied. And then, the two suspects using their car push Gertie and Herman’s car over this cliff. And it plummets down the cliff, and on the way down, it screws all kinds of luggage. And Gertie is thrown out of the car. She’s ejected. And she has no idea where it landed. It’s dark. And for some reason, she can’t stand upright. She starts crawling on her butt, with her hands folded over, just crawling along, calling for help for four days.
Dave: [00:08:14] I’m struck by being out in this very, very rural, remote area and two people happen upon where you’re camping. And I’m sure that Herman and Gertie, their senses were going wild like, “This is not good.” It’s that uneasy feeling like, “Something bad’s about to happen, and I just don’t know what it is.” And then for them to do what they did, throw them both in a car, and Gertie to be conscious. Was she conscious when she went over the side?
Lins: [00:08:48] Yes, she was.
Dave: [00:08:50] You just picture that car bounding down this cliff side, and these two guys high fiving each other at the top of the hill. It’s so heartless.
Lins: [00:09:01] It is. This thing happened on 11th. For the next four days, Gertie is crawling. It’s now the 14th June, and this is when Molly comes across Gertie. The call goes out that we now have a possible murder, and we have a sexual assault case. So, my partners and I started driving down to the scene. A helicopter is called to come in and pull Gertie out of the area, and our two deputies who were down in the Big Sur area finally arrive and they actually see her. She’s eventually airlifted out of there to the hospital, and I arrive on the scene about an hour later.
Dan: [00:09:46] When deputies first made contact with Molly and Gertie on the trail, Gertie is able to pinpoint where this campsite is?
Lins: [00:09:57] Yeah. She said it was about five miles up the road. We started driving up to that point. And it’s still daylight, so we find this area where there’s a big turnout, and we can see there’s barbed wire fencing along this turnout, and there’s a big section of barbed wire missing. So, we look over the side, we can see about 60 feet down, a big gouge in the ground, and you can see debris going all the way down to the copse of trees. Now, I was also a trained mountaineer, trained at Yosemite in rappelling. So, I rappelled off the side of this cliff.
Dave: [00:10:36] What did you anchor to, the vehicle or a tree?
Lins: [00:10:39] We actually had a rescue truck there. That’s what I’m anchored to.
Dave: [00:10:44] Smart move.[chuckles]
Yeardley: [00:10:46] Lins, was this cliff, did it drop down to a solid ground?
Lins: [00:10:52] Yeah. It drops down to this trail I was talking about earlier, the Mill Creek Trail. That’s where Gertie found the trail and started working her way down the trail until she was found by Molly. So, I start working my way down this cliff. It’s about 45-, 50-degree angle. It’s not like 90 degrees, but it’s still steep. And on the way down the cliffside, at about 80 feet down, I can see where the vehicle had hit and rolled. I continued on down following the debris. I found a purse at about 200 feet down. And then, I found Herman’s ID at about 350 feet down. And around the 400-foot mark, I’ve found the vehicle upside down in a copse of trees. Herman was laying seven feet in front of the vehicle, facedown, he was wearing blue coveralls, and a white Long John type shirt. His left arm was tucked under, and his right arm was in a forward position. I took a close look at him, and he was covered in maggots. His left arm was severed at the elbow, and I assumed at the time that that was his cause of death. He had bled out.
Lins: [00:12:19] Since I was a supposed trained investigator, I have my 35-millimeter film camera with me and so I’m taking pictures of all this stuff. When I get the end of the roll, I said, “I’ve got to reload, but I don’t have any more film. I’m going to need some more.” So, I go back up to the top, open the camera up, and there’s no film in it.
Yeardley: [00:12:41] [gasps] Argh.
Lins: [00:12:44] I’ve got to repeat this whole process. That’s the things that can go wrong in an investigation.
Yeardley: [00:12:50] [laughs]
Dave: [00:12:51] I’ve been there.
Lins: [00:12:52] Had we had cell phones and things like that, that wouldn’t have been a problem.
Dan: [00:12:55] When you get back up to the top of the hill and you find out that you had no film in the camera, what does your partner say to you?
Lins: [00:13:00] You can imagine what he said, “You dumb–” [laughs]
Dan: [00:13:04] “You idiot.”
Lins: [00:13:08] Anyway, I have to repeat this whole process. And then, we bring Herman’s body back up, and we’ve got a car which is a piece of evidence about 350-400 feet down this cliffside. We have to get the car back up. But now, it’s getting dark. So, what happens is we have to go back the next day to get the car up with a big tow truck. In the meantime, we’ve got to go interview Gertie. So that evening, she’s interviewed but she’s in a lot of pain and not too coherent. We go back the next day, and my partner and I, using a translator, interview her again. She gives us basically the same story.
Yeardley: [00:13:50] Is Gertie still in the hospital?
Lins: [00:13:52] Yeah. She’s in the hospital, and we determined at that time that’s not a gunshot wound. It’s just a hole she got in her arm. It’s probably when she was ejected from the vehicle or hitting branches or something on the way down.
Yeardley: [00:14:05] Is there a reason why she wasn’t able to walk? Why she sort of scooted along on her bum for a while?
Lins: [00:14:13] There was nothing wrong with her legs, but she was in a lot of pain with that arm and perhaps a muscle strain or something of that nature caused her to feel like she couldn’t stand up right.
Yeardley: [00:14:22] I’m also sure Gertie was in terrible shock.
Lins: [00:14:26] Yeah, she was.
Dan: [00:14:28] Did she give you any indication of what those four days were like for her? Was she able to find water? Did she have anything to eat? Or, was it just she was in survival mode?
Lins: [00:14:40] She had absolutely nothing to eat. Nothing to drink. No water. Down at the bottom, there is a creek, but she didn’t quite get that far. She was getting close, but she’d lost a lot of blood from that hole in her arm, and she was also extremely dehydrated. She was probably passing out as she’s working her way down. When I saw her, she was just in terrible, terrible shape. But she described the two suspects with a little more detail at this time. She gives us a pretty good description and we ask her if she would be able to sit for a police artist to come and draw a picture. He comes down and sits with her and draws these two beautiful sketches that she says, “These look very much like the guys.”
[00:15:28] In the meantime, we gather up pictures of all the usual suspects, and show her photo lineup after photo lineup after photo lineup, and she can’t identify any of them. As the investigation continues, Gertie is flown back to Germany. We continue to send photo lineups to her, but she cannot identify anybody. We put those composite sketches in the newspaper, but they yield nothing. And what happens next is the case just goes cold. Five years go by.
[00:16:04] One day, it’s five years later, it’s now June 1984. I’m sitting in my office with my partner, and we’re not even talking about this case, and we get this phone call in from this man called Tim. He had been a prisoner the night before in the jail in the Monterey courthouse, and Tim does something that’s never been done before. He escapes out of the jail.
Yeardley: [00:16:28] Really?
Lins: [00:16:30] We didn’t know it at the time. He’s noticed missing later, but we didn’t know how he got out. When he calls up and says, “I want to turn myself in,” we pick him up. And he says, “Well, the way I got out of there was I found this corner in this jail cell I was in up in the ceiling, and I pushed on it, and it raised a little bit. Nobody else was in the cell. I think I’ll just push up on this.” And he was able to tear a piece loose, got up into the ceiling and crawled over into the evidence room, which is loaded with all kinds of weapons, drugs. But what he does, he goes to the door of the evidence room, which goes to the main hallway of the entrance to the sheriff’s office. There’s nobody there. So, Tim walks right out the door.
Yeardley: [00:17:17] Holy shit. [laughs]
Lins: [00:17:20] Needless to say, that caused some changes in our jail. Tim goes, “Would it help if I gave you some information about an old homicide case?” I say, “Sure, what case are you talking about?” He says, “Well, do you remember the one about the German couple about five years ago? The guy was murdered, and the woman was raped?” I said, “Yeah, I know, the people who did it.” I said, “Well, what are their names?” And he said, “I’m not going to tell you that until you can give me some guarantees.”
[00:17:49] What we do is we talked with the district attorney about it, and he says, “Well, find out what this guy’s got, and maybe we can give him a deal,” excuse his jailbreak and whatever petty theft he had caused to put him in jail. And Tim says, “A girlfriend of one of the suspects took me to the Monterey Library and said, ‘I want to show you pictures in the archives here.'” She pulls out the paper, and it’s the one where our composite drawings are. And she says, “This is my boyfriend, George, and the other guy is Ralph.” And he says, “Wow, now that you say that, I do recognize them.” Tim goes and talks to these guys. And they say, “Yeah, yeah, we did it. But we didn’t think anybody would ever find out about it. We took our car, the Chevy Vega, and we had somebody just tow it away because we were afraid somebody would identify it.”
[00:18:41] There we have our possible vehicle, and we have names. The next step is we’ve got to find Gertie. This took quite some time. We had to use Interpol. I end up calling Washington, DC, and talk to the on-duty Interpol agent. I said, “I need help finding this woman in Germany right away.” So, he says, “Okay, we’ll contact the German police and find her for you.” And they did. Well, the next thing which would have made more sense would have been to fly me to Germany, [Yeardley laughs] but the county didn’t want to incur that expense. So instead, I put together two photo lineups with six people in each one. One with Ralph, and another with George. And they were sent to Munich police department where the German detective, his name is Werner. Detective Werner takes the photo lineups to Gertie and follows the instructions that I gave him as to how to show them to her.
Yeardley: [00:19:38] Do they do photo lineups differently in Europe that you needed to instruct him in that way? Or, were you just sort of catching him up on the details of the case?
Lins: [00:19:47] I really don’t know if they do their photo lineups differently than we do. I would assume they do the same. But the reason I gave him the instructions was so that he would do it exactly as I would do it.
Dan: [00:20:01] One of the lines I’ve heard from detectives, and I’ve seen it on true crime actual documentaries, is when a detective hands over a lineup and says, “Do you recognize anyone in this photo lineup?”, well, that’s not speaking specifically to the case you’re investigating. Maybe they saw this person who works at a gas station that they frequent. So, if they say, “Yeah, I do recognize that person,” that’s not a good ID.
Lins: [00:20:27] Not at all. I agree. So, I told him, “What I need you to say to Gertie is that the person who did this to you may or may not be in this lineup. Do not assume that he is in his lineup, because we’re showing you these pictures.” But Gertie breaks into tears and identifies both of these guys positively.
Dan: [00:21:02] Once you’ve got a positive ID of George and Ralph from Gertie, can you walk us through what the next steps were for you as an investigator back in the States?
Lins: [00:21:13] Yeah. Gertie had told us during the assault that one of the guys had said, “I’ve got to get home. I’ve got a baby.” What I was able to determine by going through old police reports is Ralph had been a minor criminal during these five years that have passed. And I discovered a report where it said he had a girlfriend, and that she’d had a child in 1979, who was about seven or eight months old. I went to her house, contacted her, and she said, “Yeah, Ralph is my son’s father, and he told me that he and George committed these crimes.” “Why didn’t you come forward?” “Well, I didn’t want to ruin the relationship I have with him.” That helped make the case stronger, because now we have another witness of the two guys saying, “I did it.” And that’s when the DA’s office authorized the arrest warrants, and we arrested them both on the same day in 1984.
Dave: [00:22:13] Were you present when the handcuffs went on?
Lins: [00:22:16] Yes.
Dave: [00:22:17] I’m wondering what their reaction was when there’s detectives knocking on their door.
Lins: [00:22:22] They were absolutely shocked and of course said they didn’t do it.
Yeardley: [00:22:29] Were they together when you arrested them? Were they in the same dwelling?
Lins: [00:22:33] They were in two different locations, but the police agencies that helped us were right there to help us and we got them.
Yeardley: [00:22:40] Did you say how Tim knew George and Ralph?
Lins: [00:22:45] They were acquaintances. It was a group of people who just kind of hung around together, the usual suspects. And Timmy was just a thief-type crook. He wasn’t into heavy-type things. These guys all like to hang around together and drink and kind of brag about what they’ve done. It’s a code amongst a lot of these people not to tell anybody else, unless you need to use it to get yourself out of trouble. Jailhouse informants, as we all know, are not always the most reliable. A lot of them make up stuff. That’s why it was really important that once he gave us this information that we start tracking down these people, to see if they would corroborate what was said. For example, George’s girlfriend refused to say anything to me about taking Tim into the library to show him the old newspaper with the composite. She wouldn’t answer any of those questions. It’s kind of a code of honor amongst thieves, I guess that they don’t tell on each other unless, of course, it’s to their advantage.
Dave: [00:23:46] Don’t want to be labeled a snitch.
Lins: [00:23:49] Yeah, exactly.
Yeardley: [00:23:51] George and Ralph, what was their usual kind of crime? Petty theft or were they into more violent crimes such as the ones that committed against Gertie and Herman?
Lins: [00:24:02] Just petty theft.
Yeardley: [00:24:05] It escalated so brutally.
Lins: [00:24:09] It just doesn’t make any sense that these guys who have no record of doing anything like this, why it happened that way. I can see them maybe robbing them, but why it escalated like that, I don’t know. They’d been drinking, and I guess decided to have a little fun and it got out of hand. I think once they forced Gertie to orally copulate them, they figured that, “Now, it’s gone too far. We’ve got to get rid of them, because she’ll be able to identify us.” So, will Herman. I can guarantee you that had she not survived, I don’t think we would have ever found them unless somebody happened to get out of that pull out and see the gouges in the earth going down to that copse of trees and some of the debris. Weeks, months, years would have passed probably, and then somebody probably would have come across a wreck with the skeletons in it, and Gertie further down the trail.
Dan: [00:25:07] How fortuitous for Gertie in this time of need and terror that she’s been through this horrible experience for the last four days, how terrifying those nights would have been when you have wildlife around that you’re not aware of, that can kill you, and she runs into someone who speaks her native language on this trail?
Lins: [00:25:28] Unbelievable how that happened. And speaking of wild animals there, one of the reasons that Ralph and George might have been in that area was that the area’s known for feral pigs. That’s something else that could have frightened her, and actually hurt her.
Yeardley: [00:25:43] Yeah, they’re terrible.
Lins: [00:25:44] Yeah. George and Ralph could have been out there hunting for pigs. It’s an unusual place for them to have been. It’s 60 miles south of where their homes are. What were they really doing? Were they hunting pigs? Were they looking for somebody like Gertie and Herman? Who knows? But why were they that far away? There’s no explanation.
Dan: [00:26:06] That crime scene may have contributed to some of their behavior, where you’re so remote that no one’s around, no one’s going to see anything, and you’ve got a cliff nearby, and maybe you can get away with this.
Lins: [00:26:18] Yeah, and they actually did for five years. They probably thought they were home free. The looks on their faces when we clapped the handcuffs on were worth the price.
Yeardley: [00:26:29] Lins, in addition to the alcohol that George and Ralph were drinking, and the remote location that Gertie and Herman were in, do you think the fact that Herman and Gertie were obviously foreign and speaking with heavy German accents contributed to the escalation of this crime?
Lins: [00:26:50] Yeah, I’m sure that with Gertie and Herman being German, that gave incentive to George and Ralph to commit the crimes they did. I think that might be a reason which encouraged them to go ahead and do this because these people don’t speak English very well. Although Gertie could speak English better than I can speak German but I’m positive that was probably enough to give them the incentive to go ahead and do what they did. Gertie’s feelings turned out to be correct. It did not turn out well, and she’s lucky she survived.
Dave: [00:27:36] Did either of these guys once they were locked away, did they ever come off their story that they didn’t do it?
Lins: [00:27:44] Not to my knowledge. I think they’re sticking to it. And after preliminary hearing, which took about three months to go through, they were held to answer and they separated with two different attorneys. We had a trial for George, and Ralph had a court trial in front of a judge.
Dan: [00:28:03] Did Gertie have to come back to the states for the trial?
Lins: [00:28:05] Yes, she did. She had to come back twice. She had to come back for the preliminary hearing and testify through a translator, and then she had to come back for George’s trial and testify with a translator. The jury found George guilty of murder, sexual assault, rape, oral copulation. The judge did the same thing a month later to Ralph. Ralph was sentenced to 26 years to life, and George was sentenced to life without parole. Ralph died several years later in prison due to AIDS, and that was really hard. We had to get through it notify Gertie about that. George is still in prison.
Yeardley: [00:28:51] Did Ralph have AIDS when he assaulted Gertie? Was that why that conversation was difficult?
Lins: [00:29:00] Because we didn’t know that he had AIDS before that, and I don’t think it was ever proven that he had AIDS before that. But because he died of AIDS, we felt that we had to let her know, and we did. And she did not have AIDS. So, that’s a positive aspect of it.
Yeardley: [00:29:17] And why were the sentences different for Ralph and George when it seemed like they were both equally culpable? They both pushed the car off the cliff.
Lins: [00:29:29] Well, that’s a really good question. The judge who sentenced Ralph was a more lenient judge, and the one who sentenced George was not as lenient. That’s the only reason there was a difference in the two cases.
Dave: [00:29:46] This is a frustration, that you have different judges who are applying the law in different ways and applying their senses in different ways. In our state, we have mandatory minimums. If you check the boxes on this crime, this is the least amount of days you’re going to spend in prison. When you give judges that kind of discretion, that’s how we get sentences like the Stanford Brock Turner case, where Brock Turner gets blessed with this very lenient judge who says, “You know what? I don’t want to ruin this kid’s life.” Well, he’s witnessed raping a girl who’s unconscious, and he gets six months. That is how you lose the trust of the people. You have one judge who’s like, “Oh, these guys are monsters. I’m hammering them.” You have another judge, who’s like, “Well, you know, I’m going to take it easy on you.” It’s absurd.
Dan: [00:30:43] Yeah. Were there any discussions with the DA when this case starts coming together for you guys, of trying both of them at the same time?
Lins: [00:30:52] Yeah, that was the original plan. However, the defense looked at it differently. I think if we’d done it both at the same time in front of that first judge, the judge would have come down just as hard on Ralph. The interesting part was just being able to see Gertie after all those years, and she was able to actually fly to the United States with her sister as a companion to give her support. My wife and I, during the trial, actually had them over for dinner one night, it was just nice getting them to relax. We were having dinner with Gertie and her sister, and Detective Werner, the Munich detective, at the hotel where Gertie and her sister were staying, and into the dining room comes Jimmy Doolittle, the World War II hero, that flew the B-25s over Japan right after Pearl Harbor. So, it was really interesting for them to see actual American hero that has nothing to do with the case. But it was this interesting.
Yeardley: [00:31:52] Did Gertie stay married? I’m curious that she traveled to the US with her sister instead of her husband.
Lins: [00:31:58] Yeah. Her husband stayed behind, although I did get to meet him because he came to pick her up to fly her back to Germany.
Yeardley: [00:32:06] After the original incident?
Lins: [00:32:08] He was there within days after the incident and took her back to Germany. Of course, she had quite a rehabilitation, and she went through some mental health issues as well. Of course, the defense jumped on that right away. That didn’t work for them but they figured that they would somehow be able to attack her testimony because she was suffering posttraumatic stress disorder, which anybody would suffer.
Yeardley: [00:32:33] That’s ridiculous. Of course, Gertie was suffering after this crime.
Lins: [00:32:38] They’re going to try to make the victims the suspects. That’s how the defense works in a lot of cases, start attacking them. They don’t mean anything personal by it, but their job is to get their clients off. It was a great case, because so many years have passed, and we didn’t think we were ever going to get to the bottom of it. And then we did.
Yeardley: [00:33:01] Well, Lins, thank you for bringing that to us today. It is odd to thank somebody for something so dreadful, but I do think that people want to know that even when you have no cell phones and DNA technology, like we have today that you can still solve a crime like that, just from hard work and a little bit of luck. So, thank you.
Dan: [00:33:26] Thank you, sir.
Dave: [00:33:26] Appreciate it.
Lins: [00:33:27] You’re welcome.[music]
Yeardley: [00:33:32] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Logan Heftel, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor, the Real Nick Smitty. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin, with additional editing assistance from Jacqui Fulton. Our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
Dan: [00:34:04] If you like what you hear and want to stay up to date with the show, visit us on our website at smalltowndicks.com.
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Yeardley: [00:34:48] That’s right. Your subscription also makes it possible for us to keep going to small towns across the country-
Dan: [00:34:54] -in search of the finest,-
Dave: [00:34:56] -rare, true crime cases told-
Dan: [00:34:58] -as always by the detectives who investigated them.
Dave: [00:35:02] So, thanks for listening small town fam.
Yeardley: [00:35:04] Nobody’s better than you.