Alfred “Sonny” and Pauline Carpenter were your average friendly carnival workers, usually seen selling bears and other toys. They were murdered in a scheme orchestrated by fellow Kansas carnival worker Kimberly Younger who posed as a member of a fictitious mafia group. Younger ordered fellow workers to kill the couple as part of an initiation ritual, police in Arkansas alleged in filing charges related to dumping the bodies.
Carnival workers Younger, Michael Fowler, Rusty Frasier and Christine Tenney were charged this week in Crawford County Circuit Court, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The charges include abuse of a corpse, theft by receiving and tampering with physical evidence in the deaths of the elderly couple.
Younger allegedly posed as a carnival mafia member named “Frank Zaitchik” and texted others last month to kill the Carpenters on the fairgrounds at Great Bend, Kansas, where the couple were vendors, according to Van Buren, Arkansas, police. Detectives discovered Younger had a Facebook page in the name of Frank Zaitchik while examining her phone, according to police reports.
Police said Fowler told investigators that Frasier stabbed Alfred Carpenter before Fowler shot him. Fowler then went into the couple’s camper and shot Pauline Carpenter, according to police reports.
Fowler told investigators that the killings were initiation into the carnival mafia, police said.
Asked whether there was even such a thing as a carnival mafia, Van Buren police spokesman Jonathan Wear said in an email that was something the woman “definitely made up.”
Zaitchik also told & texted others to clean the inside of the camper and to dispose of the bodies, Fowler allegedly told investigators.
The four suspects loaded the couple’s bodies into the camper and dumped them in a creek bed north of Cedarville, Arkansas, according to police reports. Tenney’s sister-in-law told authorities Tenney called and said she was kidnapped by three others who had murdered an elderly couple and that she’s being held against her will, police said. Authorities found the suspects at an apartment complex.
Younger, Fowler and Frasier are being held on $1 million bond. Tenney is being held on $250,000 bond. All have pleaded not guilty.
No charges had been filed in Kansas as of Wednesday, according to the Kansas attorney general’s office. The Barton County sheriff’s office, the Great Bend Police Department and the Barton County attorney’s office are conducting the investigation, according to the attorney general.