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The Oklahoma State Fair Murders

Updated: May 10

Mystery Surrounds Disappearance of Teenagers at Oklahoma State Fair

By Raven Rollins, Staff Writer

Pallett & Kinsey

Oklahoma City, September 26, 1981 — In a heart-wrenching turn of events, two teenage girls vanished without a trace during a seemingly routine visit to the Oklahoma State Fair. Cinda Pallett and Charlotte Kinsey, both 13 years old, attended the fair on that fateful afternoon, embarking on an adventure that would forever alter their lives.

The pair, eager for newfound independence, had convinced their parents that they were old enough to explore the fairgrounds without supervision. At 5:00 p.m., Charlotte made a call home to her mother, Paula Peterson, excitedly sharing news of a job offer. A carnival worker had asked her and Cinda to assist in unloading stuffed animals from a truck. Paula agreed, but with a condition: Charlotte must call again at 9:00 p.m. to confirm their safety. Norma Pallett, Cinda’s mother, received a similar request from her daughter.

However, as the evening wore on, the promised calls never came. Panic set in as the fairgrounds buzzed with activity. Uniformed and undercover officers scoured every nook and cranny, desperate for any sign of the missing girls. Volunteers canvassed booths, distributing flyers bearing Charlotte and Cinda’s photographs. Charlotte’s family established a 24-hour post at the fair, hoping for a breakthrough.

This wasn’t the first time such a concerted effort had been mobilized. In 1978, the city had witnessed the brutal slaying of six individuals at a local restaurant—the infamous Sirloin Stockade Murders. Now, a dedicated task force was formed once again, determined to unravel the mystery surrounding the teenagers’ disappearance.

Eyewitness accounts provided a crucial lead. A potential suspect emerged: a middle-aged man, aged between 35 and 50, stood at 6’1″ to 6’3″ tall, weighing approximately 200 to 250 pounds. His dark hair bore streaks of grey, and he sported a full beard and mustache. The man wore silver wire-rimmed glasses, a brown-striped or plaid cowboy shirt, and sturdy cowboy boots. His flimsy straw cowboy hat shielded his face, while a digital watch adorned his left wrist. A yellow badge and a leather belt, inscribed with the name “Joseph,” completed his ensemble.

But it was his vehicle that left an indelible mark on investigators’ minds. The suspect drove a tan two-door 1980 or 1981 Pontiac Grand Prix, its South Dakota license plates catching attention. The car featured a half-vinyl roof and a cluttered dashboard strewn with papers. On the day of the girls’ disappearance, he had approached several children, enticing them with job offers paying $5 to $10 an hour.

As the search intensified, neighboring law enforcement agencies received the suspect’s description, hoping to bring Charlotte and Cinda home safely. But the question remained: What happened to these two young friends on that sunny September afternoon?

The Oklahoma State Fair, once a place of joy and laughter, now held secrets that haunted the hearts of families and investigators alike.

The Boys’ Account

Two teenage boys have stepped forward, shedding light on their interactions with the mysterious man at the center of this case. According to their testimony, the man offered them a ride, along with Charlotte and Cinda, to a truck stop off I-40. Their mission: to meet a truck carrying stuffed toys. But when the truck failed to appear, the man instructed the boys to wait while he drove off with the girls to check the next stop. As a token of gratitude, he handed them $10 before disappearing into the dusk.

Contrary to initial reports, these boys were not the girls’ boyfriends. In fact, they had only met Charlotte and Cinda on the very day of their disappearance.

Donald Michael Corey: The Suspect

The plot thickened when investigators discovered a yellow badge bearing the name and photograph of Donald Michael Corey. A 36-year-old carnival drifter, Corey eerily resembled the man depicted in witness sketches. Swift action followed: police charged him with two counts of kidnapping, launching a nationwide manhunt. Corey’s arrest in Alabama raised hopes, but the charges were later dropped when it became clear he had no connection to the case.

Carnival Deception

Investigators ruled out fair employees as suspects, believing that the abductor had cunningly posed as a carnival worker to gain the girls’ trust. The Oklahoma City Police Department, desperate for leads, offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to Charlotte and Cinda’s safe return. Families and organizations rallied, adding to the reward fund. Highland West Middle School, where the girls were students, contributed additional funds.

Sightings and False Leads

Reports of sightings poured in from across the country. Some believed they’d glimpsed the girls in California and Maryland. An international tip even came from Germany. Meanwhile, a New Jersey woman claimed to have seen Charlotte and Cinda among a group of Hispanic men in work uniforms near the Fun Town pier in Seaside Park.

Desperate for answers, the girls’ parents followed every lead. A man named “James Miller” allegedly confessed to Cinda’s murder, while another individual, “Sig Ragland,” claimed to have witnessed the girls’ remains and burned clothing. Charlotte’s older sister, Lisa, recounted a cryptic phone call from Charlotte herself: “Curtis, help. I can’t get a hold of Lisa.” Yet, verification remained elusive.

As the days turned into weeks, the mystery deepened. Our community clung to hope, praying for the safe return of Charlotte and Cinda. But the shadow of uncertainty loomed large, casting doubt on whether these two friends would ever be reunited with their families.

The enigma surrounding the disappearance of Charlotte Kinsey and Cinda Pallett took a chilling turn, with Royal Russell Long thrust into the spotlight as the prime suspect. Long, a part-time carnival worker and long-haul truck driver, bears an uncanny resemblance to the man depicted in the suspect sketch. His connections to Tuttle, Oklahoma, and his recent activities have raised eyebrows among investigators.

Long’s Trail of Suspicion

Royal Russell Long’s presence in the vicinity of the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds on September 26, 1981, cannot be ignored. The day before Charlotte and Cinda vanished, Long arrived in Oklahoma City to deliver a flatbed trailer to a local business. Witnesses recall seeing him at the fair, offering children job opportunities—an eerie parallel to the man who enticed the two teenagers.

But Long’s dark history casts an even more ominous shadow. Accused of molesting his own daughter, he allegedly lured young girls with promises of puppies and toys. Disturbingly, he reportedly told his daughter that no female over the age of 13 could ever satisfy him.

Early Investigation and Recent Developments

During the initial stages of the investigation, Oklahoma City prosecutors identified Long as a person of interest. However, after three or four days, he slipped off their radar. It would take three more years for him to resurface as a central figure in the case.

Forensic Clues and the Pontiac Grand Prix

Police tracked down the Pontiac Grand Prix Long had rented in El Paso, Texas. A witness stepped forward, affirming that they had seen Charlotte and Cinda with a man matching Long’s description in a similar vehicle on that fateful September day.

The vehicle underwent meticulous examination. Thirteen scalp hairs recovered from the trunk were a match for Cinda, while animal hairs corresponded to her three dogs and one cat. Additionally, a strand of blonde hair clung to the mat. Forensic tests revealed bloodstains and a distinct boot print. Although DNA technology was not yet available, an expert discerned the outlines of either one large body or two smaller ones within the bloodstains. The nature of the blood remained inconclusive.

Blonde Hair and Elusive Roots

A lock of blonde hair discovered during a search of Long’s Wyoming trailer home tantalized investigators. Could it belong to Charlotte? Unfortunately, tests yielded inconclusive results due to the absence of hair roots. Despite scouring other locations associated with Long, no further evidence emerged.

As the investigation intensifies, the haunting question remains: What fate befell Charlotte Kinsey and Cinda Pallett, and does Royal Russell Long hold the key to their mysterious disappearance?

Long was charged with the kidnapping and murder of Charlotte and Cinda in August 1985.

Oklahoma City, December 3, 1985 — The courtroom held its collective breath as Royal Russell Long, the man at the center of the Charlotte Kinsey and Cinda Pallett disappearance, faced charges of kidnapping and murder. The haunting events that unfolded in the fall of 1981 had left our community reeling, and now justice hung in the balance.

Long’s Arrival and Denials

Investigators pieced together Long’s movements. He had arrived in Oklahoma City on the eve of the girls’ vanishing, delivering a flat-bed trailer to a local company. Long admitted to being at the fair but vehemently denied any involvement in their disappearance. Yet, eyewitness accounts from the boys and other witnesses painted a different picture—one where Long offered the girls jobs and approached other children with the same proposition.

Conspiracy Theories and Preliminary Hearing

Behind bars, Long spun tales of a conspiracy involving authorities from Oklahoma and Wyoming. He claimed they sought to pin the abduction of the girls and the kidnapping of another victim, Sharon Baldeagle, squarely on him. The preliminary hearing commenced in October, featuring testimony from Lance Rumsey, one of the boys who had encountered Long. Additionally, two teenage girls recounted their unsettling encounter with the suspect, where he had offered them a job unloading toys—an offer they wisely declined.

Defense Arguments and Controversial Claims

The defense team fought fiercely. They challenged the prosecution’s case, suggesting that Charlotte and Cinda were spotted in Miami, Florida. An even more shocking claim emerged: the possibility that the missing girls had turned to a life of prostitution in Burbank, California, allegedly participating in a pornographic film titled Little Love Slaves.

Sharon Baldeagle’s Ordeal

Long’s dark past extended beyond the Oklahoma case. In 1984, he abducted 12-year-old Sharon Baldeagle and her friend, 15-year-old Sandi Brokenleg, while they hitchhiked to Idaho. Long took them to his home in Evansville, Wyoming, where he subjected them to unspeakable horrors. Sandi managed to escape, but Sharon vanished alongside Long.

A Plea Deal and Legal Maneuvers

The FBI eventually apprehended Long in Albuquerque, New Mexico. During questioning, he claimed to have sent Sharon to Cheyenne, Wyoming, putting her on a light-colored bus or truck bound for Dallas, Texas. His defense? The girls had willingly engaged in sexual activity with him due to financial need, lying about their ages.

Long struck a plea deal, receiving two life terms in prison for kidnapping with intent to commit indecent liberties with a minor. But the trial for the Oklahoma girls continued. The judge made controversial decisions, excluding physical evidence and key testimonies. The charges of kidnapping were dropped due to the absence of evidence linking the girls to confinement.

A Verdict Eludes Justice

The prosecution appealed, reinstating the kidnapping charges. Long, once again, pleaded not guilty to murder and kidnapping. A plea deal offered him a chance to serve his sentence in Wyoming if he revealed the girls’ burial site—a deal he rejected.

As December dawned, both sides stood before the judge. The defense implored him to drop all charges, citing insufficient evidence. The judge obliged, and the jury disbanded.

Oklahoma City, December 18, 1986 — The courtroom crackled with tension as Royal Russell Long, the enigmatic figure linked to the disappearance of Charlotte Kinsey and Cinda Pallett, faced trial. But beyond the legal proceedings, a chilling saga unfolded—one of taunts, cryptic letters, and a web of unsolved cases.

Long’s Provocations

According to the distraught family, Long reveled in tormenting them during the court proceedings. His sinister claim? He alone held the truth about what transpired on that fateful day when Charlotte and Cinda vanished into thin air.

The Mysterious Letter

In 1986, Long penned a letter to the Daily Oklahoman, dangling a tantalizing proposition. For a price, he promised to unravel the mystery surrounding the girls’ disappearance. The publication, however, stood firm, denying his request for payment. Meanwhile, another letter—this one addressed to Norma Pallett—expressed remorse but maintained Long’s denial of ever encountering Cinda on that ominous day.

A Web of Suspicion

But Long’s dark shadow extended far beyond Oklahoma. Consider these chilling cases:

  • Carlene Brown and Christine Ann Gross: On July 4, 1974, the Little Britches Rodeo in Rawlins, Wyoming, turned into a nightmare. Carlene Brown and Christine Ann Gross, both 19, vanished without a trace. Christi’s remains were discovered in Sinclair, Wyoming, in October 1983, her death marked by two brutal blows to the head. Carlene, however, remains missing. These best friends, with their dark hair parted in the middle, had become victims of an unsolved mystery.

  • Deborah Rae Meyer: On August 4, 1974, Deborah Rae Meyer disappeared in Rawlins, Wyoming. She had been visiting a family member at an apartment building, intending to walk to a local movie theater. But did she ever make it there? Deborah, 5’4" tall with brown hair and eyes, left no trace. Her body remains lost to this day.

  • Jayleen Dawn Banker: The Carbon County Rodeo in Rawlins witnessed another tragedy on August 23, 1974. Ten-year-old Jayleen Dawn Banker got separated from a friend. Her lifeless body was discovered in a field two miles southwest of Rawlins on April 24, 1975. A fatal blow to the head silenced her forever.

  • Carolyn Eaton: The web of suspicion extends further. Long’s name surfaces in the murder of Carolyn Eaton, a 17-year-old who fled her Missouri home around Christmas 1981. Her journey led her to Arizona, where she met a gruesome end on Valentine’s Day 1982. Witnesses who last saw Valentine Sally alive at a truck stop along Interstate 40, described a trucker wearing a cowboy hat with a peacock feather adorning the front, along with a description matching Long.

  • July 25, 1985: Two sisters, Rozlin Rochelle Abell, 18, and younger sister Fawn Marlene Abell, 15, were last seen at their home in the vicinity of 59th and Rockwell in Bethany, Oklahoma. Rozlin had told her parents she was going to look for a job that afternoon. The girl’s brother, Otto Abell, Jr. came home that afternoon and overheard his sisters talking as they were headed out the door. According to the Oklahoman, Otto Jr. remembers one of the girls saying, “Hurry up. They’re waiting for us down the street,” as they walked out. That was the last time he ever heard his sister’s voice. They vanished that afternoon and their disappearance has mystified their family and police for nearly 4 decades.

A Sinister Legacy

As Long’s trial unfolds, these unsolved mysteries cast a long shadow. The truth remains elusive, buried beneath layers of deception and darkness. Our community grapples with questions that defy resolution. What secrets lie hidden? And will justice ever prevail?

Carolyn Eaton was not unidentified until February 26, 2021, and for decades had been an unidentified person nicknamed Valentine Sally. Currently, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office is investigating her murder.

Oklahoma City, January 5, 2017 — The chilling theory that Royal Russell Long abducted Rozlin and Fawn has finally been laid to rest. In a surprising turn of events, Whereabouts Still Unknown debunked the notion, revealing that Long was incarcerated in Wyoming when the two sisters vanished. His dark history, however, remains intertwined with other unsolved mysteries.

Long’s Incarceration and Extradition

Royal Russell Long, infamous for his connection to the disappearance of Charlotte Kinsey and Cinda Pallett, found himself behind bars. Serving time for the kidnapping of Sharon Baldeagle and her friend, Long was far removed from the events surrounding Rozlin and Fawn. His extradition to Oklahoma City in August 1985 to face trial for the murders of Charlotte and Cinda further cemented his fate.

Lt. Warfield’s Investigation

In 2010, Lt. Warfield delved into the cold case. Shockingly, only one police report existed—Fawn was listed as a missing child, but Rozlin had no official record. A tragic oversight left Rozlin, an adult at the time, unlisted in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Fawn’s entry had been mistakenly removed. After consulting with the girls’ brother, Lt. Warfield rectified this, ensuring both names were entered into the NCIC and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).

The Elusive Remains

Rozlin and Fawn’s bodies remain elusive. Despite tireless efforts, investigators have yet to locate them. In April 1985, a tantalizing report surfaced: Cinda and Charlotte had allegedly been spotted in Miami, using names similar to their real ones. A task force scoured the area, but the girls remained elusive.

America’s Most Wanted and a Troubling Call

The case gained national attention when it featured on America’s Most Wanted. Following the broadcast, a woman contacted the hotline, claiming to be Cinda. Hope flickered, only to be extinguished—she turned out to be an 18-year-old from Virginia with a history of mental illness.

Oklahoma’s Silent Secret

Investigators harbor a grim belief: Cinda and Charlotte’s remains lie hidden in Oklahoma. Yet, the likelihood of discovery grows slimmer with each passing year. Charlotte’s DNA awaits comparison, while Cinda’s dental records and DNA remain on file, ready to identify her should her remains ever surface.

Long’s Final Chapter

Royal Russell Long’s own fate took a dark turn. Imprisoned at the Wyoming State Penitentiary, he suffered a fatal heart attack in November 1993. His secrets, like Rozlin and Fawn’s whereabouts, remain buried—a haunting legacy that continues to grip our community.

Charlotte June Kinsey was last seen at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on September 26, 1981. She was 13 years old, and was last seen wearing a dark maroon short-sleeved pullover blouse with white stripes on the sleeves and white trim on the sleeves and neck; blue jeans; Nike tennis shoes; and a wedding band-type ring on her right ring finger. At the time of her disappearance, she stood between 5’0″ and 5’1″ and weighed 100 pounds. She has shoulder-length strawberry-blonde hair and blue/grey eyes. She has a triangular-shaped birthmark on her lower back, near her waistline, and a small dot-shaped scar below her left eye. She has silver caps on her lower front teeth, and her ears are pierced.

She was suffering from depression at the time of her disappearance. Just two weeks before, she had tried to take her own life by overdosing on her mother’s tranquilizers.

Cinda Leann Pallett was last seen at the Oklahoma State Fairgrounds in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. She was 13 years old and was last seen wearing a white t-shirt with dark blue sleeves, the ZZ Top logo on the front and the number 81 on the back; size 12 slim blue jeans; a rope belt made of braided orange/rust-colored nylon with a leather buckle and her name tooled in it; and two-tone blue Nike sneakers with black waffle soles. At the time of her disappearance, she stood at 5’0″ and weighed 88 pounds. She has shoulder-length brown hair and blue eyes. She has a small scar below the corner of her left eyebrow and wears a dental retainer behind her lower front teeth.

Currently, the cases are classified as non-family abductions, and some agencies state their disappearances occurred on September 25, 1981. If alive, both girls would now be in their 50’s.

Those with information regarding the case are asked to contact the Oklahoma State Police or the Oklahoma City Police Department. Tips can also be called into the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the FBI’s Oklahoma City office.


Cheryl Genzer (25) and her sister Lisa Pennington (16), sisters, were last seen leaving the Oklahoma State Fair on September 23, 1987. Their brother left them at the fair to take a friend home, but the pair did not show up at the prearranged meet-up location later that night.

Approximately one month later, their remains were discovered in the northwestern part of Oklahoma City where the turnpike is (Southwest of 132nd & Sante Fe) now buried in a shallow grave near a small pond. They had both been shot in the head with a .357. Police collected earrings, jewelry, fingernails from both girls, clothing, and hair that could be retested with modern technology.

To this day, no one has been held accountable for their murders. The case has garnered national attention and was featured on “America’s Most Wanted” in 2001.

A witness said he saw Henley strike Genzer with a handgun and club her sister with a shovel outside Henley’s house several hours after the sisters left the state fairgrounds with the men. The witness said he and Henley met the sisters at the state fair and went with them to a house where they smoked marijuana, drank beer, and snorted cocaine. He said Henley raped the younger sister when the other two went to get more beer. When the older sister found out and confronted him, Henley knocked her out with a blow from a revolver and hit the younger girl with a shovel. Henley was arrested and charged with 2 counts of murder.

However, on the eve of the trial, the witness recanted and was sent to prison for five years on a perjury charge.

Henley later moved to Roswell, New Mexico.

There was a confession that was collected by bounty hunters in 2012 from the daughter of a man police once interviewed in connection to the murders. In the video of her statement, the woman said her dad told her he killed the girls and helped cover up the crime. That confession ended up being a dead end for investigators.

On March 19, 2000, the Chavis County Sheriff’s Dept says the body of Molly Keahey, 35, was discovered buried in a shallow grave by the Pecos River 15 miles outside of Roswell, New Mexico. She had been shot to death. Molly’s sister filed a missing person’s report in January 2000, however, Molly was last seen in November 1999. Deputies say Molly Keahey was Lane Henley’s live-in girlfriend. He was never charged and wasn’t indicted in the death of a second girlfriend in a house fire.

“America’s Most Wanted” brought in retired detective Ron Antoci to take a look at these baffling cases. In an interview with Lane Henley, Henley denies anything to do with the murders of Lisa Pennington, Cheryl Genzer or Molly Keahey.

The girl’s brother believes that Lane may have been involved in the girl’s deaths along with another man who has apparently confessions and bragged to many people over the years. This man has never faced charges either.

Lane Hensley died in 2015.

Cheryl and Lisa’s parents both died without knowing who took the lives of their daughters, but their brother continues to push investigators to re-examine forensic evidence collected from Henley’s home at the time of the murders.


Other Fairground Killings and Missing Cases

  • Tina Anderson and Patricia “Patsy” Campbell (July 22, 1978): Tina Anderson (12) and her 14-year-old friend, Patricia “Patsy” Campbell, were last seen at a Pioneer Day celebration in Pocatello, Idaho, on July 22, 1978. The two friends spent the day at the city-wide celebration in Pocatello’s Alameda Park. After Tina failed to show up for a babysitting job that evening across the street from the park, family members reported the girls missing to the Pocatello Police Department. Three years later, their bodies were found near Malad, Idaho.

  • Sandra Butler (June 26, 1978): Sandra Butler was last seen in Sparks, Nevada, on June 26, 1978. She was walking to the Greenbrae Shopping Center, which was across the street from her family’s apartment at Fourth and Greenbrae Streets. Sandra has never been heard from again. On the day she disappeared, she had gotten permission from her mother to ride her bike to the Reno Rodeo at the fairgrounds, which has been speculated as the place she was abducted from.

State Fair Safety Tips:

  • At the event information booths, you can register your child. They will provide a wristband with your contact information.

  • The Oklahoma State Fair also has a Safety Center where police, first aid, and the lost and found are located.

  • Security Measures: In recent years, the fairgrounds have installed approximately 325 cameras, totaling over 800 camera views.

  • Keep your phone off and put it away to be more aware of your surroundings.

  • Use the buddy system and never leave anyone alone or be alone for an extended period.

  • Handling Unwanted Interactions: You don’t owe anyone an excuse. If someone asks you to do something that makes you uncomfortable (e.g., help them to their car, pose for pictures, etc.), simply walk away. If you feel uneasy, find the Safety Center.

  • Location Sharing: Set up your phone to relay your location to a friend or parents using apps like SISTER.

  • Consider carrying a personal safety alarm like Birdie. Take a panic button with you. Weapons and even pepper spray will probably not be allowed inside the fairgrounds, but you can always take a personal safety alarm like Birdie with you and keep it handy.

  • If you use the buddy system, make sure you are watching out for each other. Never leave anyone alone or be alone for any amount of time.


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