1981, Cinda L. Pallett, of south Oklahoma City, and her friend, Charlotte Kinsey - Both 13 years old at the time of their disappearance - and Cheryl Genzer (25) and her sister Lisa Pennington (16), sisters, were last seen leaving the Oklahoma State Fair on September 23, 1987.
On the afternoon of September 26, 1981, Cinda Pallett and Charlotte Kinsey attended the Oklahoma State Fair. It was the first time the pair went without their parents, as they believed they were old enough to attend by themselves.
At 5:00 p.m., Charlotte called home to tell her mother that she and Cinda had been offered jobs helping a carnival worker unload stuffed animals from a truck. Paula Peterson agreed, but Charlotte promised to call at 9:00 p.m. Norma Pallett asked Cinda to do the same thing, as the girls were planning a sleepover and she needed to know where to pick them up.
The girls were seen at the fairgrounds around 5:30 p.m. that evening.
Upon receiving the missing person's reports, uniformed and undercover officers scoured the fairgrounds, looking for any sign of Charlotte and Cinda. Volunteers went from booth to booth hanging up flyers, while Charlotte’s family set up a 24-hour post at the fair.
The police department formed a dedicated task force for the case, the second time such an effort was organized. The first was after the slaying of six individuals at a local restaurant in 1978, The Sirloin Stockade Murders. Its numbers were cut as leads began to dry up in the investigation.
Based on witness reports, investigators were able to put together the following description of a potential suspect: a male between the ages of 35 and 50, weighing approximately 200 to 250 pounds and standing at 6’1″ to 6’3″ tall. He had dark hair with grey streaks, a mustache with a full beard, and muscular arms. He was wearing silver wire-rimmed glasses, a brown-striped or plaid cowboy shirt, cowboy boots, a flimsy straw cowboy hat, a digital watch on his left wrist, a yellow badge, and a leather belt with the name “Joseph” tooled into it.
He drove a tan two-door 1980 or 1981 Pontiac Grand Prix with South Dakota license plates. It had a half-vinyl roof and numerous papers scattered across the dashboard. He’d approached numerous children the day Charlotte and Cinda disappeared, offering jobs that paid $5 to $10 an hour.
His description was put on the missing person's flyers and sent to neighboring law enforcement agencies.
Two teenage boys came forward to discuss their interactions with the man. They said he’d driven them and the girls to a truck stop off I-40 to meet the truck with the stuffed toys. When it wasn’t there, he asked the boys to wait at the stop while he drove with the girls to check the next one. He gave them $10 before driving away with Charlotte and Cinda.
It should be noted that many news outlets have mistakenly reported that these boys were Charlotte and Cinda’s boyfriends. They’d actually met them on the day of their disappearances.
The man’s yellow badge was located soon after. It bore the name and photograph of Donald Michael Corey, a 36-year-old carnival drifter who resembled the man in the witness sketches. Immediately, police charged him with two counts of kidnapping and launched a nationwide search. He was eventually arrested in Alabama, but later had the charges against him dropped after it was determined he had no relation to the case.
Investigators were able to rule out all employees with the Oklahoma State Fair as suspects, stating they felt the abductor had posed as a carnival worker in order to gain the girls’ trust and did not actually work there.
A couple of months into the investigation, the Oklahoma City Police Department put up a $5,000 reward for information leading to Cinda and Charlotte’s return. $1,000 was added by the families, with Crime Stoppers offering an additional $2,500. All this was on top of funds raised by Highland West Middle School, where the girls were students.
Police received numerous potential sightings. Some believed they’d seen the girls in California and Maryland, while one sighting was called in from Germany. A woman from New Jersey claimed she’d seen the two amongst a group of five Hispanic men in work uniforms at the Fun Town pier, near a residence in Seaside Park.
The girls’ parents received countless leads from various organizations, all of which they passed on to the police. A man identified as “James Miller” had allegedly confessed to killingCinda, while another man named “Sig Ragland” claimed to have seen the girls’ bones and burned clothing. Charlotte’s older sister, Lisa, said her former boyfriend had received a phone call from Charlotte, during which she said, “Curtis, help. I can’t get a hold of Lisa,” but it has never been verified.
Royal Russell Long, a part-time carnival worker, and long-haul truck driver, has long been considered the prime suspect in the case. Not only did he closely resemble the suspect sketch, but he lived in Tuttle, Oklahoma, and had delivered equipment to drilling rigs across the state. He’d arrived in Oklahoma City the day before Cinda and Charlotte disappeared to deliver a flatbed trailer to a local business and later admitted to visiting the fair the following day. Despite witnesses identifying him as the man offering children jobs at the fair, he denied any involvement.
Long had a history of sexual violence toward young women. He was accused of molesting his daughter, and she came forward to say she’d witnessed him attempting to lure young girls with puppies and toys. She also claimed he’d told her that no female over the age of 13 would ever sexually satisfy him.
According to an Oklahoma City prosecutor, Long was a person of interest during the early stages of the investigation but was removed after three or four days. It would take another three years for him to reappear on their radar.
Police were able to locate the Pontiac Grand Prix he’d rented in El Paso, Texas. A witness came forward to say they’d seen the girls with a man matching his description in a similar vehicle on September 26, 1981.
The vehicle was thoroughly examined. 13 scalp hairs found in the trunk came back as a match to Cinda, and animal hairs found matched those of her three dogs and one cat. Blonde hair was also found stuck to the corner of the mat. Three separate forensic tests proved there to be a bloody boot print and other bloodstains on the mat in the trunk. While they didn’t yet have access to DNA technology, an expert was able to determine that either one large body or two smaller ones were outlined in the bloodstains. However, he wasn’t able to definitively say it was human blood.
A lock of blonde hair was found during a search of Long’s trailer home in Wyoming. While it may have belonged to Charlotte, tests proved inconclusive, as the strands didn’t have their roots. Other places known to Long were searched but there was no further evidence.
Long was charged with the kidnapping and murder of Charlotte and Cinda in August 1985.
Investigators determined Long had arrived in Oklahoma City the day before the girls vanished to deliver a flat-bed trailer to a company there. He admitted he had been at the fair, but denied involvement in their disappearances. However, the boys and several other witnesses identified him as the man who offered the girls jobs as well as approached other children with the same offer.
He pleaded not guilty and was denied bond. While in jail awaiting his preliminary hearing, he spoke of an alleged conspiracy between authorities in Oklahoma and Wyoming to try him for the abduction of the girls and the kidnapping of another, Sharon Baldeagle.
The hearing went underway that October. Along with hearing from one of the boys, Lance Rumsey, the judge heard testimony from two teenage girls who claimed to have been approached by Long. They said he’d offered them a job unloading toys, but they grew suspicious and walked away.
The defense argued that Charlotte and Cinda had been spotted in Miami, Florida. They also argued it was possible they were working as prostitutes in Burbank, California, filming a porn movie titled Little Love Slaves.
Long was involved in the abduction of 12-year-old Sharon Baldeagle on September 18, 1984. She and her friend, 15-year-old Sandi Brokenleg had been hitchhiking to Idaho when Long picked them up in Caspar, Wyoming. He’d brought them to this home in Evansville, Wyoming, tied them up at gunpoint, and with coat hangers, he sexually assaulted them. While Sandi escaped and got help from a neighbor, both Long and Sharon were gone by the time the police arrived.
Long was eventually arrested by the FBI in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When questioned, he said he’d driven Sharon to Cheyenne, Wyoming, and put her on a light-colored bus or truck bound for Dallas, Texas. When questioned about kidnapping and assaulting her and Sandi, he claimed the girls had willingly engaged in sexual activity with him out of a need for money and had lied about their ages.
Long took a plea deal in relation to the case. He was sentenced to two life terms in prison for charges of kidnapping for the purpose of committing indecent liberties with a minor.
The hearing of the OK girls ended with the judge throwing out much of the physical evidence, as well as information regarding his involvement in the case of Sharon Baldeagle and testimony from Long’s daughter and an inmate who had served time with him in California. Lance Rumsey, one of the boys, was barred from testifying, as he’d been hypnotized during the investigation and the defense felt he was now partial to outside suggestion. He also threw out the charges of kidnapping, citing a lack of evidence that the girls had been bound or confined since the bodies had not been found.
The prosecution appealed the removal of the kidnapping charges and won. Again, Long pleaded not guilty to murder and kidnapping and was denied bond. While in jail, he was offered a plea deal with the ability to serve his sentence in Wyoming if he revealed the location of the girls’ bodies, but he turned down the offer.
Both sides came before the judge in December 1985. The defense asked him to drop all charges against Long, as there wasn’t enough evidence to convict, and the judge obliged. The jury and case were dismissed.
According to the family, Long frequently taunted them throughout the court proceedings, saying he was the only one who knew the truth about Charlotte and Cinda’s disappearances.
In 1986, Long wrote a letter to the Daily Oklahoman, claiming he could solve the case and was willing to speak if they paid him money. The publication denied this request. He also wrote a letter to Norma Pallett, expressing how bad he felt, but claiming he never saw Cinda on the day she disappeared.
Royal Russell Long is also a possible suspect in the following cases and please keep in mind the link in all of them - All abductions happened in public locations.
1) The disappearance of 19-year-old Carlene Brown and 19-year-old Christine “Christi” Ann Gross from Rawlins, Wyoming on July 4, 1974. She and Christi were attending the Little Britches Rodeo when they vanished. The two women were best friends by all accounts. Christi’s remains were located in Sinclair, Wyoming in October 1983, her cause of death was two blows to the head. Carlene has never been found. Brown was between 5'-5'3" tall and weighed 100-120 pounds. Christi was similar in looks to Carlene. Both girls wore their dark hair parted in the middle and had brown eyes.
2) The disappearance of Deborah Rae Meyer from Rawlins, Wyoming on August 4, 1974. She was visiting a family member at an apartment building. She was planning on walking to a local movie theater, but it's unknown if she made it there. She was 5'4" tall and weighed about 115 pounds. She had brown hair and eyes. She has a small circular growth on her left ear and wore a full set of dentures when she disappeared. Her body was never recovered.
3) The abduction and murder of 10-year-old Jayleen Dawn Banker on August 23, 1974. She was visiting the Carbon County Rodeo in Rawlins when she got separated from a friend. Her body was found in a field two miles southwest of Rawlins on April 24, 1975. Her cause of death was a blow to the head.
4) There is also speculation that Royal Russell Long may have also been involved in the murder of Carolyn Eaton, 17, who ran away from her home in Missouri around Christmas of 1981 and traveled to Arizona where she was found murdered on Valentine’s Day 1982.
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.
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.
The theory that Rozlin and Fawn were abducted by Royal Russell Long was debunked in 2017 by Whereabouts Still Unknown. It was uncovered that Royal Russell Long was incarcerated in Wyoming when Rozlin and Fawn went missing. He was serving time for the kidnapping of Sharon Baldeagle and her friend. Also, Long had been extradited to Oklahoma City on or about August 9, 1985, to stand trial for the murders of Cinda Pallett and Charlotte Kinsey.
5) 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.
In 2010, Lt. Warfield investigated and found only one police report was on file. Fawn was listed as a missing child, but her older sister Rozlin did not have a police report. It took almost 25 years to discover that Fawn’s case was treated as a runaway and never looked into, and Rozlin, because of her age and being an adult, was never listed at all. Lt. Warfield found that Rozlin had never been entered into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Fawn had been entered and removed in error. After further discussing the case with the girl’s brother, Lt. Warfield entered both into NCIC and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Their bodies have never been found.
In April 1985, a report came in, which said Cinda and Charlotte had been spotted in Miami several times over the course of two months. They were said to be using names similar to their real ones. The girls were not located despite a task force being formed to comb the area.
The case was featured on America’s Most Wanted. After the broadcast, a woman called their hotline, claiming to be Cinda. However, she turned out to be an 18-year-old from Virginia who had a history of mental illness.
Investigators believe Cinda and Charlotte’s bodies are somewhere in Oklahoma, but will likely never be found. Charlotte’s DNA is available for comparison, while Cinda’s dental records and DNA are on file, should their remains be located.
Russell Long suffered a heart attack while imprisoned at the Wyoming State Penitentiary in Nov 1993.
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/Missing
July 22, 1978: Tina Anderson, 12, and her 14-year-old friend, Patricia “Patsy” Campbell, were last seen at a Pioneer Day celebration on July 22, 1978, in Pocatello. The two friends reportedly spent the day at the city-wide celebration gathered at Pocatello’s Alameda Park. After Tina failed to show up at 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.
June 26th 1978
Sandra Butler was last seen in Sparks, Nevada on June 26, 1978. She was walking to the Greenbrae Shopping Center, across the street from her family's apartment at Fourth and Greenbrae Streets. She has never been heard from again. On the day Sandra disappeared, she had gotten permission from her mother to ride her bike to the Reno Rodeo at the fairgrounds, which has been under speculation as the place she was abducted from.
You can register your child at one of the event information booths. There they will provide a wristband for your child that has your contact information on it.
In recent years, the OK State Fair has a Safety Center where police, first aid, and the lost and found is located if you need assistance.
In 2022, Throughout the fairgrounds, there were around 325 cameras totaling over 800 camera views.
But always be aware of yourselves. Keep the phones off and put them away. Not only will this let you enjoy the night by being present in the moment, but it also allows you to be aware of your surroundings better.
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.
You do not owe anyone an excuse. If someone asks you to help them to their car, to help them unload or load something, to pose for pictures for them, to walk them to a secluded area, etc - you DO NOT owe them an excuse. Simply walk away. Find the Safety Center if you feel uneasy about the interaction.
Set your phone up to relay your location while there to a friend or parents by using apps like SISTER so they know where you are in real time.
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.