365 Days of Texas True Crime: Broomstick Killer P2
….so here we are…it’s October 1989 and Kenneth “The Broomstick Killer” Allen McDuff has just been paroled. He heads back to his hometown of Rosebud where the residents are out of their minds afraid of once again having to live with this bully of man and absolutely floored that he was released after what he did to those innocent teenagers. But he’s been in prison “reforming” since his arrest and conviction in 1966 right? Isn’t that what prison if for, punishment and reform? Besides it’s not like he had done anything like this before or already had an escalating criminal history with a family history of disfunction and violence right? About that town in Rosebud….. (I like to tell some of a story and then go back, like movie directors these days seem to keep doing things, which I’m totally ok with)
Kenneth Allen McDuff was born March 21, 1946. He was born in the small Texas town of Rosebud, number five of six kiddos to John Allen “JA” and Addie McDuff. He grew up in a family with one of those mommas who thinks her kids could do no wrong, you know they kind. Addie McDuff played a significant role in shaping the man would become “The Broomstick Killer. She became known as the “Pistol Pack’n Momma” because of an incident with a school bus driver who kicked Kenneth’s older brother Lonnie off the bus for repeated disruptions and threatening of other kids….so she threatened him with a gun she pulled out of her purse. It was known around town that Addie kept a gun on her at all times even before the incident. Lonnie McDuff, Kenneth’s older brother, had at one point thought himself a tough guy. He called himself “Rough, Tuff, Lonnie McDuff”, but because of his speech impediment it came out sounding a bit sweet, “Wuff, Tuff, Wonnie McDuff”. I’m sure if he and his family weren’t such a-holes he would’ve been teased for the way he talked but they were already well known for their retaliatory pattern of behavior. Lonnie got a little too big for his britches, however, when one day at school he pulled a knife on a well-liked teacher….who promptly tossed him down some stairs.
McDuff was spoiled by his mother and older sisters and allowed to bully and abuse as he pleased. It wouldn’t come until years later when family members confided to lawmen that as a teenager, McDuff had raped members of his own family and killed at least one other woman. One of the women he raped and attempted to kill, survived, became pregnant and gave birth to a daughter. The daughter who McDuff, her father, would befriend and then try to lure into prostitution
McDuff was a notorious bully in school, especially high school. He picked on whoever he thought he could, and he was relentless. He was a coward though, making sure to only pick on those who he knew were weaker than him. When he picked a fight with the wrong kid, a popular, stronger, more capable boy named Tommy Sammons and lost, he quit school and started working with his dad doing manual labor for his dads concrete business. In 1964 at the age of 18, McDuff was convicted of 12 counts of burglary and attempted burglary in three different Texas counties: Bell, Milam and Falls for which he was sent to prison. He was given 12 four-year prison terms to be served concurrently but made parole in December of 1965. He was back in prison for a fight he got into but didn’t spend long inside and was released again. Who knows how many other crimes he committed that he wasn’t made to face judgement for but it is said that he bragged to Roy Dale Green, the man who would become his triple murder accomplice, about his crimes and claimed to have already raped and killed two young women.
So who knew if Kenneth McDuff were let out of prison that he would offend again? Everyone who knew him….literally everyone.
He did not disappoint. Within three days of being released he began adding on to the body count he began back in 1966. He enrolled in a class at Texas State Technical College in Waco and got a job at a gas station, which all sounds very promising actually. However, turning his life around was not his intent. The body of 31 year-old Sarafia Parker (a known prostitute) was found naked in a field, beaten and strangled on October 14, 1989, in Temple, along the I-35 corridor, a town not far from the prison. Law enforcement strongly believe McDuff to be responsible for her murder but he wasn’t charged with the crime.
One night in his hometown of Rosebud McDuff, a rabid racist, decided to harass some African American kids just walking down the street by making death threats and landed back in prison for violation of his parole. Don’t worry, his master enabler of a mother was able to bribe two Huntsville attorneys with upwards of $2000. In December 1990 he was cut loose again and released into society.
Less than a year after his release he was at it again. He picked up a woman on October 10, 1991. As a side note, unless you didn’t notice he only prayed on those who were weaker than him, particularly women in bad places in their lives.
Brenda Thompson was addicted to drugs doing what women who are addicted to drugs often do in order to make a living. He picked her up in Waco and had her tied up in his truck when he came upon a police check point. He stopped about 50 yards away and as an officer approached his vehicle Brenda started kicking the windshield, cracking it several times, doing whatever she could to alert the officer to situation. If the officer hadn’t had such quick reflexes McDuff would’ve ran him right over. He barreled through the barrier and though the officer gave chase, McDuff lost him by turning off his lights and going down the wrong way on one-way streets.
He was able to escape capture and disappear into the night with Brenda Thompson still bound and screaming for help.
Five days later McDuff finds another woman in a bad place in her life and takes full advantage of it. 17 year-old Regenia DeAnne Moore, who was working as a prostitute at the time, went missing shortly after being seen arguing with Kenneth McDuff at a motel in Waco on October 15, 1991.
September 16th (or so) 1991, Cynthia Renee Gonzalez is reported missing after delivering a stripper gram. Gonzales owned a business called Beauty and the Beast, a business that provided adult entertainment for special occasions in Arlington. She was found September 21, 1991, just days after being reported missing, in a creek bed near CR 313 in the woods about a mile west of I-35. She was shot multiple times.
McDuff finds himself another accomplice and he and Alva Hank Worley spot a young lady at an Austin car wash and kidnap her in plain sight of several eyewitnesses.
Days after Christmas a pretty young accountant decides to go out and run some errands. Colleen Reed, 28 years old at the time, goes to an all-night car wash on December 29, 1991 where she is kidnapped in plain view of several witnesses by two men in a tan vehicle. The witnesses rush to the car wash but find only a half washed vehicle with the keys and a purse inside. (her kidnapping was aired on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries on February 26, 1992)
Valencia Kay Joshua was last seen looking for McDuff, knocking on the door of his dorm room where they went to school together, Feb. 24, 1992. She too was working at the time as many of his other female victims were, as a prostitute.
Days later on March 1, 1992, Melissa Northrup, a co-worker at a Waco Quick-Pak store McDuff worked at, goes missing from the store. She was pregnant with her third child at the time she disappeared.
The body of Valencia Kay Joshua is found on March 15, at a golf course near Texas State Technical College, where she and McDuff both attend.
April 26, 1992, a fishermen minds the body of Melissa Northrup.
McDuff must have been worried about the police making a connection between himself and the women who’s lives he cut short because not long after Melissa Northrup goes missing he leaves Texas. He flees to Kansas, Missouri, gets a new car, new identity and new job as a garbage collector. While working with the garbage crew one of his co-workers recognizes him and contacts the authorities to tell them where to find him. While McDuff and his crew are making routine garbage stops he is pulled over and becomes America’s Most Wanted’s 208th successful capture. He is arrested by sex officers, two of which are Deputy U.S. Marshal Thomas Parnell McNamara, Jr. and his brother, Deputy U.S. Marshal Mike McNamara (whose fathers arrested McDuff back in 1966 for the murders of three teenagers).
At this point the bodies of some of these women have yet to be found. McDuff is arrested May 4th, 1992 and the bodies of Reginia DeAnne Moore, Brenda Thompson and Colleen Reed still have yet to be found. McDuff goes on trial for the murder of Melissa Northrup and throughout the trial he is rude and disruptive, he is convicted and sentenced to death for her murder. He goes on trial again, this time for the murder of Colleen Reed and is even more disruptive. Even though at this point her body has still not been found he is still convicted for her murder and sentenced to death. While in prison an informant is cultivated over weeks by the U.S. Marshal brothers from Waco and is convinced to help them get the locations of the missing women from McDuff. Directions to the graves of Branda Thompson and Reginia Moore are obtained and their bodies are found.
McDuff would hold the disclosure of Colleen Reeds body a little tighter to the chest however.
They find out that McDuff tied up Reginia Moore’s arms and legs with stockings and disposed of her body in a remote area along Texas State Highway 6, near Waco. She had been missing for 7 years when her body was finally found on September 29th, 1998. Brenda Thompson, the brave young woman who attempted to save her own life by kicking out the windshield of McDuff’s truck was found in 1998 as well. She is also in a secluded area next to the woods near U.S. Route 84. The scene she made at the police check point would earn Brenda an even harsher fate than the one she was already in for. She was tied up raped and tortured to death.
McDuff does eventually give up the location of Colleen Reeds body just a few weeks before his execution. It is found out that he and Alva Hank Worley both repeatedly raped Colleen and tortured her with cigarettes before she was murdered.
Kenneth Allen McDuff is executed on November 17th, 1998. No one in his family comes to claim his body and he is buried in the Captain Joe Byrd Cemetery, also known as “Peckerwood Hill”, in Huntsville, Texas. His marker only contains the date of his execution, an “X” (meaning that he was executed by the State of Texas) and his death row number (999055).