Del Clement From 'No One Saw A Thing' Died Before The Mystery Could Be Solved
No One Saw a Thing tells the story of Skidmore, Missouri and how, for nearly thirty years, the townspeople have never given up the identity of who killed town bully Ken McElroy. McElroy's wife Trena McCloud has always maintained there's an obvious suspect though: bar owner Del Clement. Armchair detectives wondering if No One Saw a Thing will reopen the case against Clement and finally provide solid answers will have to be disappointed though. The latest update on Del Clement is that he passed away in 2009 from liver disease. On his memorial page, someone wrote that he was “a good, brave man.”
McElroy used to frequently haunt D&G Tavern, Skidmore's local watering hole named after owners Del and Greg Clement. "Every time he came in, everybody else walked out," In Broad Daylight author Harry MacLean said to Insider Edition. Del Clement reportedly never liked McElroy because of how often he would drive away their customers.
On July 10, 1981, McElroy was shot outside of Clement's bar while sitting in his truck with Trena McCloud. McCloud swore to law enforcement and three grand juries that just before shots were fired, she saw Del Clement raise a rifle from behind the truck. No charges were ever filed. MacLean told Insider Edition that it was an "open secret" that Clement fired one of the rounds that hit McElroy, but no one would testify as such.
On his own website, MacLean wrote that in all the time he spent researching for In Broad Daylight, he "never heard another name seriously mentioned as the rifleman" except for Clement. "Del, a short man with a chip on his shoulder and a hot temper, wore a cowboy hat and drank heavily. It wasn’t hard to imagine him jerking the gun from his pickup in a burst of anger," wrote MacLean.
In contrast, Clement's relatives say he didn't personally have a strong enough motivation to kill McElroy. “We didn’t really have any trouble with him while he was at the tavern,” Kathi, Clement's sister-in-law, told People in 1981. “He was always real quiet. What he liked to do was speak in a low whisper and stare people down.”
During the course of writing the novel, MacLean told Insider Edition that he thought somebody would give something up, especially the townspeople who may want to clear their conscience on their deathbeds. "A good portion of the people have died," MacLean said. "I wondered about a deathbed confession. I knew a lot of people who witnessed it. But man, they died one after the other, and not one person said a thing."
In the end, the crime will never be concretely solved. No One Saw a Thing director Avi Belkin told The Wrap that there will just never be closure on the case because the town will never confirm it was Clement. "It’s like an open wound that you never let heal. The series doesn’t say who the killer is and I personally don’t care about the name of the killer — for me, the whole town did it. The name is out there, the FBI has it in their files. I saw them. But no one wants to convict him and this was an agreement of everyone in the town. Del Clement is the name that people agree on — that he was one of the shooters. He is dead today, and he was never brought to justice."