Trena McCloud's Civil Suit Against Skidmore, Missouri Revealed Nothing About Ken McElroy's Murder

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The death of Ken Rex McElroy is a perplexing case that has hung heavy over the town of Skidmore, Missouri for decades. Despite being shot in broad daylight in front of various witnesses, the identity of McElroy's murderer was never discovered and no criminal charges were ever filed. The only legal consequence of McElroy's murder was his wife, Trena McCloud's, civil suit against the town of Skidmore, as reported by United Press International. However, even that closure was hard-won, as the $5 million suit eventually settled for just $17,600 with no information being learned or revealed about who was responsible for McElroy's death.

McElroy died on July 10, 1981 in a shooting that McCloud claimed was a vigilante attack. Following the gunshot, McClatchy DC reports that not one of the shootings' dozens of witnesses called an ambulance. McCloud's civil suit claimed that a town-wide meeting was held prior to the shooting "for the specific purpose of planning how to rid the area [of Ken]." It's an odd case, but McCloud's attorney claims he knows exactly why the killer's identity was never revealed and why a civil case was the closest that Trena would get to finding justice. As McFadin told McClatchy, "I know why they didn’t talk — they were all glad he was dead. That town got away with murder."

No One Saw A Thing investigates the motives behind the supposedly vigilante nature of McElroy's killing, and the lingering impact that that killing has had on Skidmore. At the time of his death, McElroy had earned a reputation as a town bully that preyed on and terrorized townspeople. Per The Washington Post, McElroy allegedly shot multiple people, allegedly raped young women and then allegedly married them so they couldn't testify against him, allegedly stole livestock, and allegedly burned down the house of the parents of one of the young women he allegedly raped.

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McElroy's marriage to McCloud was a result of the power he held over the town, following her school bus and honking until the school drive let McCloud, then in the sixth grade, out for him to pick up. Per The Line Up, she was only 14 when she had their first child.

Following the civil suit, Trena McCloud disappeared from the public eye. She's present in No One Saw A Thing, providing her perspective on the case, but moved beyond her time in Skidmore. Trena went on to remarry in 1983, and died in 2012. Her obituary makes no mention of her time with Ken Rex McElroy. While Trena may have been the only person who sought justice for McElroy's death, she was also subject to McElroy's abuse for much of her childhood. McCloud may have moved on past her relationship with McElroy, but it's clear through her involvement in No One Saw A Thing that the murder lingered in her memory for a long time.

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