Unsolved Murders: Dardeen family and Joel Kirkpatrick

Published: May. 2, 2008 at 7:13 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 10, 2009 at 3:45 PM CDT
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November 17, 1987

Ina, Illinois

The Dardeen family was brutally killed November 17th, 1987 in Ina, Illinois.

Elaine Dardeen and her 3-year-old son Peter were found beaten to death in their trailer.

Elaine was seven months pregnant and gave birth to a baby during the attack. The killer beat the newborn to death too.

Keith Dardeen was found a day later in a nearby field, shot and sexually mutilated.

In 2000, serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells confessed to the crime, but will likely never be tried because he's already on death row.



An Illinois mother also claims it was serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells who came into her home in the middle of the night and killed her son.

Julie Rea Harper was convicted of the 1997 murder of her son Joel Kirkpatrick.

That conviction was later overturned and she was found not guilty in her second trial.

Her family maintains Sells came into the home and stabbed her son after she was rude to him earlier that night at a nearby convenience store.