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Too Close to Home: Chasing the Ghost of Cindy Williams

This is a synopsis of the case, meaning it will include details and themes that may be sensitive to some readers.
History of Mt. Washington, Kentucky | Facebook
“I, Cindy Williams, with all the fun I’ve had and plan to have to my sister, Donna Sue.” Williams said in her high school Yearbook.

Small towns can only hide so much, and somehow our 9.46 mi² were able to cover up a dark past. When people are in one place for too long, unrest builds. This leads to violence. And violence led to the death of 19-year-old Cindy Marlene Williams.

38 years ago, on Jan. 14, 1986, Marvin and Virginia Williams’ daughter went missing. Cindy had just graduated from Bullitt East when she presumably began dating a man named Chris Mengedoht. In her senior yearbook, she mentions a man with different initials: “FUTURE PLANS: Getting rich and marrying the man I love (DS)!” We can assume that she separated from “DS” and got with Mengedoht between the time she graduated and before Jan. 14. Mengedoht worked with a man named Glen Myles, who had recently separated but not divorced from his wife, and needed a place to stay. The two lived together in a trailer on the Bullitt-Spencer line and worked, at B&B Screw Co., in Bullitt County, according to an article by Judy Bryant.

Williams was staying over at the trailer with Mengedoht and Myles on the night of Jan. 13. One account, a man named Stephan Strong, claimed to have visited the trailer just that night. “Cindy was very happy that night and nothing seemed out of place,” Strong said. Glen’s wife, Brenda, was also there. “[Glen] was doing some pretty heavy drugs that night but no one else was. They had been smoking some pot and such but nothing really seemed out of place,” Strong said. 

The next day, when Mengedoht had left, Myles, still being influenced by the previous night’s substances, chose to skip work for the day. He had allegedly made advances on Williams, and when she refused, Myles tore off her clothes with a knife and struck her three times after. Williams was pronounced missing that same day. Several eyewitnesses claimed to have seen Myles driving his pickup truck or Mengedoht’s car on Jan. 14 during the hours that prosecutors claim Williams’ body would have been dumped near Elk Creek in Spencer County.  “Myles testified that he was driving Menegedoht’s car in Jefferson and Bullitt counties that day searching for his then-estranged wife. Myles said he did not stop to talk with anyone when he left work at about 9:30 a.m. and returned to his trailer about 2 p.m.,” Bryant wrote in an article. 

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The search for Williams that led to a 14-month goose chase began on Jan. 14, 1986. An article released on Jan. 18 of that same year, gave details of her disappearance on the Tuesday of that same week. Williams’ family rejected the theory that she may have been a teen runaway, saying that it would be “out of character”. Spencer County Sheriff Larry Lawson and state policeman spokesman Glenn Walton declined to provide details of the search, other than the estimated 50 police officers, deputies, and crime lab technicians. “Lawson said 19-year-old Cindy Williams was last seen by Chris Mengedoht when he left her in his trailer on KY 44 in Spencer County at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday. When he returned from work around noon, Mengedoht told police, Miss Williams was gone and a substance that appeared to be blood was found near the trailer,” The article said. 

“We’ve searched the area—and interviewed people. It seems like we’ve just about exhausted where we can look in the area,”

— Glenn Walton

Williams’ body was found months later by two hunters. Cindy graduated from Bullitt East and was a housekeeper at Humana Hospital-Suburban at the time of her death. She had also lived with her parents at the time.

In court, Joel Frockt represented Myles, while the Commonwealth’s Attorney was Ted Igleheart. Frockt’s argument was that the same circumstantial evidence that was presented for Myles could have easily been used to convict Mengedoht. “Myles’ attorneys claimed Mengedoht killed Williams during the night of Jan. 13 when they were alone at the trailer. They said Williams did not approve of Mengedoht’s drug use and had talked of ending their relationship,” Bryant wrote. Frockt reminded the court that Mengedoht often borrowed Myles’ coat and hats, and could have driven Myles’ truck since it had always been parked in the same spot with the key in the ignition. However, Mengedoht had an alibi, as he worked a full shift. Myles had testified that he lied to his boss to leave work early at about 9:30 a.m. Igleheart agreed that the evidence against Myles was circumstantial. “But, there was such an abundance of circumstantial evidence that taken together, [the pieces] fit in place,” Igleheart said. The only evidence found from the scene, besides Cindy’s body, were a sleeping bag from the trailer, and several of Williams’ clothes found in an abandoned house nearby. While no direct murder weapon was discovered, prosecutors concluded that Williams had been struck with a blunt object.

We often forget about the family affected by their relative’s actions. Myles had a wife and a daughter at the time, who were there at his sentencing. “Jurors deliberated about 90 minutes yesterday before returning the guilty verdict against Myles, whose daughter, Glenna, 12, sobbed when the verdict was announced,” Bryant wrote. Glenna was 12 years old when her father was sentenced to 40 years. And although his sentence was 40 years, Myles had the chance of being released in 2015. However, on November 18, 2005, at 7 a.m., he died in prison. A man named Austin Grubb on the “History of Mt. Washington, Kentucky” Facebook page mentions that his grandfather was a state police detective and that Myles died of cancer. The official cause of death is unspecified since prison medical records cannot be publicly shared.

“Before the sentencing hearing, both the daughter and Myles’ wife, Brenda, were led crying from the second-floor courtroom. Brenda Myles’ cries could be heard as she left the courthouse,”

— Judy Bryant

At age 19, Williams was taken from this world out of spite. Myles killed her because he was upset. He directed his anger towards a bystander and paid for his crimes. Mt. Washington is one of those small towns where everyone knows everyone. Several people knew Cindy when she went to Bullitt East. “Oh how this brings back so many memories. Cindy was such a beautiful person inside and out. She was a dear friend and we worked together at a hospital right after graduating high school in 1985.  Such a terrible tragedy for her wonderful family. This could have happened to any of us gals that hung together during that time. So sad,” Glenda Maupin, an old friend of Williams, said.


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