Case Study- Pt 2: Jim Boy’s tape

*A 22-year veteran researcher of the Heather Teague case has volunteered to share his findings with the community. The following is his second segment on this extensive research.

After arriving home in nearby Reed, KY and hearing about the abduction on his scanner, James Allen returned to the investigation at the beach. While they watched, someone told KSP that he had shot video of the vehicles at the scene. But he refused to give his tape to police. He said he didn’t trust them. Bill Melander, the first reporter to arrive, followed Mr. Allen home and convinced him to give him the tape for broadcast on Channel 25.

We would assume Mr. Melander would have contacted KSP and arranged for them to view the tape, ASAP, because it probably hadn’t been much more than two hours since Heather was abducted. There was no time to waste trying to identify suspects, vehicles and witnesses on the tape. On Walthall’s 911 recording, you hear #83, Lt. David Osborne reporting to be in route to the beach. So we might assume Lt. Osborne was likely the first KSP to watch the tape at Channel 25 studio.

When the tape was shown on Channel 25 news, the reflections off both windshields made it impossible to identify the man sitting behind the wheel of the Bronco or the man standing beside the driver’s door, and any others who may have been in the background. The TV version stops just past Heather’s car, and begins again, abruptly, at the hood of the Bronco, too close to read the personalized front license plate which said “SONNY.” Most likely the TV station edited out the 25-30 seconds traveling from Heather’s car to the Bronco, to save broadcast time. And maybe they edited out the nameplate for privacy reasons. But withholding the critical clue of the name, “Sonny,” from the public really crippled the investigation. What could have been solved in three hours took KSP three days. 

Marvin “Sonny” Dill was the well known, longtime Henderson Codes Inspector. His red and white Ford Bronco, with the safari-type luggage rack and his nickname on the front bumper, would have been widely recognized, if it had been shown on TV.  Figuring out that his son, Marvin “Marty” Dill, drove it, should have been simple. He’d just been arrested driving it in February, in Evansville, IN. Instead, newspaper articles reported how KSP was searching records and receiving call-in leads. Records show it was three days later when KSP detective Babbs met with Marty’s wife, Tracy, and verified he drove a red and white Ford Bronco.

340 of the 399 FBI records Heather’s mother, Sarah Teague, received through FOIA, are available to anyone on the FBI website: (Click on “FOIA,” then “The Vault,” then “Heather Teague.”) Records #27-28 show an odd request for the FBI lab to enhance a frame from Mr. Allen’s videotape:

(4) When victim’s red car is in lower left portion could small rectangular box-like figure appearing upper right of frame be Bronco? 

Mr. Allen always insisted that he “left the camera running” when he passed Heather’s car, and traveled about 100 yards further to tape the Bronco. He had also “left the camera running” for the 20 seconds the tape shows him approaching Heather’s car. Even if he doesn’t always have the camera pointed straight ahead, you can see as Heather’s car goes from being a small red rectangle in the distance, to a red Nissan, as he gets closer. The same would be true for the Bronco, which was a little farther away. So if Mr. Allen “left the camera running,” his continuous tape should show 25-30 seconds of this “small rectangle” in the distance getting larger, until it becomes the Bronco, or not. FBI shouldn’t have needed to ask what the rectangle was if they had Mr. Allen’s original, continuous tape.

Channel 25 called Mr. Allen and asked if they could let Channel 44 borrow the tape, next. He agreed. They told him he could expect his tape back on Sunday, the next day. But they kept delaying its return. Finally on Thursday, 8/31/95, five days later FBI came to his house asking for his tape. So he called the man at Channel 44, who he remembered as “Warren,” and he told him, “FBI wants the tape, and they want it now!” Mr. Allen said (Warren) first said he thought it had been mailed, then acted surprised and said he found it right there on his desk. He told Mr. Allen that FBI could come get it. On FBI’s website, page 285-6 shows that FBI received Jim Boy Allen’s videotape evidence, on 8/31/95 —  five days after Heather Danyelle Teague was abducted at gunpoint at Newburgh Beach. Can you imagine that?

Who would keep FBI waiting five days for evidence in a matter of life and death? This reckless disregard for human life seems so blatant, it’s like somebody higher up had their back. This was KSP’s case. FBI were only their helpers.

So what about the tape? All these questions and conspiracy theories could be solved by analyzing the tape. Mr. Allen tried repeatedly to get KSP Post 16, Henderson, KY, to return his tape. He had it notarized and put in writing. He requested it in person. Post 16 Commander Robert Shoultz sent Mr. Allen a letter explaining that the tape is evidence and therefore will not be returned.

Abraham Zapruder filmed the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, and yet he got his film back. What makes a VHS tape that FBI couldn’t identify anyone from, important enough to withhold as evidence for 26 years? It doesn’t add up.

Mr. Allen wrote to KSP Commissioner Sanders, threatening to hire a lawyer, and  asking if this was KSP’s final answer. We made an Open Records Appeal 17-ORD-261 to establish proof that he had made legal requests for his tape. But nothing worked. We wrote to Channel 25 and 44 asking for a copy of their tape. We got nothing but excuses. Mr. James “Jim Boy” Allen passed in Oct. 2017. He spent 22 years working to solve the abduction of Heather Danyelle Teague. R.I.P. Jim Boy. We owe you a great debt.

Jim Boy always said when he first watched the tape at home before giving it to reporter Bill Melander, he said it was clear as a bell. Maybe eventually we’ll find out if he was right.