Episode 245:

Time Is Becoming A Serious Problem

The Pied Piper of Tucson




Episode 245: Time Is Becoming A Serious Problem

Karen and Georgia cover the Pied Piper of Tucson.

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The Pied Piper of Tucson

The Pied Piper of Tucson Notes:

Header Image Sources:

Photo by Pablo García Saldaña on Unsplash

Photo by Eleonora Patricola on Unsplash


Other Images:

@Buscemi_cat Instagram

Charles Schmid (via Murderpedia)

Victims Gretchen Fritz, Wendy Fritz, and Alleen Rowe (via Buzzfeed)


"Charles Howard 'Smitty' Schmid, Jr. (July 8, 1942 – March 30, 1975), also known as "The Pied Piper of Tucson," was an American serial killer. His crimes were profiled by journalist Don Moser in his article "The Pied Piper of Tucson", featured in the March 4, 1966 issue of Life magazine and are the basis for "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?", a short story by Joyce Carol Oates. In 2008, The Library of America selected Moser's article for inclusion in its two-century retrospective of American True Crime

On May 31, 1964, Charles Schmid decided to murder Alleen Rowe, a high school student living with her divorced mother. Schmid's girlfriend Mary French had persuaded Rowe to go out with Schmid's friend John Saunders, but Schmid had intended all along to murder Rowe, in order to know what it felt like to kill someone.

Schmid and his friends took Rowe to the desert, where Schmid and Saunders murdered her. Before murdering Rowe, Schmid told Saunders to rape her, but Saunders was gay, and he couldn't do it. While the murder occurred, Mary French was waiting in the car and listening to the radio.

Afterwards the three buried her. When Alleen went missing, her father told her mother he felt she had been murdered and left in the desert.[clarification needed] The mother, Norma Rowe, went to the police and was told that she needed more evidence before they could go looking in the desert.

One of Schmid's many girlfriends was Gretchen Fritz, daughter of a prominent Tucson heart surgeon and community leader. Schmid confided to Gretchen that he had murdered Alleen Rowe. There were also rumors that Fritz knew of an earlier, unsubstantiated murder that Schmid supposedly committed. When Schmid decided to break up with Fritz, she threatened to use the information against him. Schmid strangled Gretchen Fritz and her sister Wendy on August 16, 1965.

Schmid confided to his friend Richard Bruns that he murdered the sisters and showed Bruns the bodies, buried haphazardly in the desert. Bruns became increasingly afraid that Schmid was going to murder his girlfriend. Ultimately, Bruns fled to Ohio because his girlfriend's parents were convinced that he was harassing her. Bruns stayed with his grandparents in Ohio and told them everything he knew about the murders, and flew back to Tucson to help with the investigation..."

— Source: Charles Schmid, Jr. Wikipedia

Rec Room

This week's recommendations are...

@buscemi_cat Instagram

GameFace, tv show

The Other Ones, tv show

Not Safe For Work, tv show

I Want My MTV, documentary

This Naked Mind book by Annie Grace

Check out the trailer and follow the latest Exactly Right podcast (coming November 10th), I Saw What You Did