Ohio Teen’s Brutal Murder Solved After 40 Years When Family Spills Killer’s Secret

The cold case mystery about who beat Christie Mullins to death in 1975 took multiple twists and turns.

November 09, 2018
Christie Mullins [file photo]

Christie Mullins [file photo]

Christie Mullins [file photo]

By: Aaron Rasmussen

CLINTONVILLE, OH — When a teenager turned up dead on a summer’s day in Ohio, what at first seemed like an open-and-shut case turned into a 40-year-long search for the truth.

On August 23, 1975, 14-year-old Christie Mullins headed out to a local pool. Later, she and her friend, Carol Reeves, headed over to the Graceland Shopping Center, where Reeves said there was supposed to be a cheerleading contest she wanted to participate in.

When they got there, nobody was around, so Reeves went into the nearby Woolco store to see what time it was, leaving Mullins to wait. Reeves later told police that upon returning, her friend, who was last spotted alive sitting on a guardrail, had vanished.

Not long after, Henry Newell Jr. and his wife were on a walk through a wooded area three-quarters of a mile from the mall when they spotted what they recalled was a tall, unshaven, and shaggy-haired man standing over Mullins’ beaten body with a two-by-four. As they approached, he tossed the board away and ran off. The couple were able to provide police with details for a composite sketch.

Three days later, a patrolman spied a guy who looked similar to what the witnesses had described, and the suspect was brought in for questioning.

Jack Carmen, a 25-year-old mentally challenged man, confessed to the crime after over six hours of interrogation, and the Newells were able to positively identify him in a lineup. Carmen was sentenced to life in prison — all within the span of just 11 days from the time Mullins was murdered.

But many in the area were doubtful that Carmen was the real killer — including the victim’s own father, Norman V. Mullins, who always disbelieved “a skinny guy like Carmen” could drag his strong, athletic five-foot-seven daughter so far away.

Eventually, the American Civil Liberties Union got involved and succeeded in getting Carmen’s guilty plea withdrawn. He went back to trial, and Carmen's defense team proved he couldn’t have committed the crime based on the evidence, including the fact he had an alibi.

Carmen, who had spent two years in prison, was acquitted of Mullins’ murder and set free, but that left a major question: Who killed the teenager?

The premiere of the new Investigation Discovery series Welcome to Murdertown takes a closer look at the case that went cold for decades and how a local author’s book published in 2014 reignited the community and the police department’s interest in Mullins' mysterious death.

After 40 years, the identity of who killed Christie Mullins would finally be revealed, but it would take the killer’s own passing and loved ones confessing a dark family secret before the truth could come out.

Watch the Christie Mullins case unfold in the premiere episode of Welcome to Murdertown at 9/8c on Tuesday, November 13 on Investigation Discovery!