Twenty-year-old Barbara Jane Mackle lived a life that many envies. She was the daughter of millionaire Robert F. Mackle of the Deltona Corporation, had a wonderful boyfriend, and was completing her studies at Emory University in Atlanta. Everything was going according to plan until Gary Krist entered the picture in 1968 and tried to ruin everything all for the sake of money.

The horrific kidnapping

On December 17, 1968, Barbara had the flu, so her mother Jane Mackle cared for her in a small hotel in Atlanta near Barbara’s university. While inside the hotel bedroom, Krist knocked on their door pretending to be a police officer. As soon as Jane opened the door, Krist and his girlfriend, Ruth Eisenmann-Schier bound and gagged Jane and forced Barbara at the back of their station wagon.

The couple drove to a remote forest near Norcross, Georgia and led Barbara inside a hidden, underground room that Krist built. It was stocked with necessities like food, water, and battery-powered fan and light. Krist sealed it and covered it with dirt and spent the following days trying to secure ransom money from Barbara’s father.

The capture and arrest

Robert made all necessary effort to get her daughter back. After the first botched attempt to hand over the $500,000 ransom money, the business tycoon already asked assistance from the FBI.

Krist set-up another drop-off with Robert somewhere near the Tamiami Trail. As soon as he received the money, he called the FBI and disclosed where Barbara was buried alive. Over a hundred FBI agents went to the scene to find Barbara, and after 83 hours of being buried underground, the 20-year-old was rescued alive.

Krist was captured west of Port Charlotte while his accomplice, Eisemann-Schier was eventually caught in Texas. Krist avoided the death penalty as jurors acknowledged that he did keep the victim alive and disclosed her whereabouts. He was sentenced to life imprisonment but was given a parole after 10 years.