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Darrell V. SCHLATTER

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

   
 
 
Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Swindler
Number of victims: 0 - 3
Date of murders: 1985 / 1992
Date of birth: April 29, 1952
Victims profile: His wife, Terri Schlatter, and their son Nathan / Erika Hartwick
Method of murder: ???
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
Status: Committed suicide by hanging himself in prison before trial on June 30, 1993
 
 
 
 
 
 

Oklahoma psychic fails to find missing bodies

By Tom Genoni, Jr. - Skeptical Inquirer

Spring, 1994

In a rural area of Oklahoma, just outside of Tulsa, a local "psychic" recently led authorities to an area pond in an attempt to locate the bodies of Terri Schlatter and her son Nathan, who had been missing since 1985.

Initially the psychic, identified only as A. Louise of Oklahoma City, was contacted by a family friend of a September 1992 murder victim, Erika Hartwick, in hopes of gaining more information about what caused Hartwick's death. (It is important to note that the incarcerated prime suspect in the Hartwick death, Darrell Schlatter, was the husband of Terri Schlatter and was long thought to be involved with the 1985 disappearance of his wife and son.)

In the process of A. Louise's "investigation" into the 1992 murder, the psychic reported picking up "images about a woman and child in a pond" that seemed to relate to the 1985 case.

A sister of the missing Terri Schlatter, impressed with the psychic's apparent talent and abilities, urged Deputy U.S. Marshal James Caldwell to contact the psychic. Though skeptical, Caldwell spoke with A. Louise several times, and eventually in May 1993 he arranged for her to visit several different locations around the Tulsa area.

During her search, A. Louise repeated claims that she was picking up "strong vibrations" and the images of two bodies, a pond, and thick mud. Claiming at one point to have made contact with Terri Schlatter's spirit, the psychic said, "I started picturing Terri and her child, the images of them being weighted down. I could actually sense her being thrown in. It was kind of like a dream, very vague, no color." A. Louise then claimed Terri's spirit indicated that her burial place was at the bottom of a large pond located close to a former home of the Schlatters.

Unsure how to proceed, the investigators requested help from Search and Rescue Dogs of Oklahoma, which trains dogs to locate buried human cadavers. The dogs were brought out separately, and two of them were said to have "alerted" within 10 feet of the location indicated by the psychic and a third hit directly downwind from the spot.

With this evidence, the investigators decided to proceed with the draining of the pond. Lending further credibility to the psychic was word that the suspect, Darrell Schlatter, committed suicide in his jail cell after learning that the pond was being searched. (The correlation however was later discounted.)

After the water was drained in June, diggers had to wait for the remaining mud to dry. By July, investigators dug by hand and soon after began to use heavy equipment, although it, too, failed to locate any bodies. Dogs were again brought in, but this time were unable to pick up any scent. (Trainers blamed the dogs' failure on the hardened mud, which they claim can block decomposition gases from being released.)

Commenting on the slow progress of the search, one investigator remarked: "Obviously, this has to be concluded at some point. We can't dig to China." After weeks of digging, no bodies were found and the search was abandoned.

 
 

SEX: M   RACE: W   TYPE: T   MOTIVE: CE

MO: Swindler who murdered his victims.

DISPOSITION: Suicide by hanging in jail, june 30, 1993.