For almost 40 years, the first words of Truman Capote's "In Cold Blood" have been most people's introduction to a town that seems wholly unremarkable on the surface. It seems an ordinary town for western Kansas-except for what's down a little dirt lane on the southwest edge of town. A day shy of 45 years ago, two released convicts made their way here and changed the town irrevocably
Holcomb — A man with a connection to the 1959 slayings of the Clutter family is working to erect a memorial in time for the 50th anniversary of the crime.
Bob Rupp has approached the Holcomb City Council, saying he has been contacted by people from all over the world asking about a memorial for the Clutter family, the murdered family of four at the center of Truman Capote's novel "In Cold Blood."
"There is no memorial," Rupp said. "That's what I tell 'em."
Aside from the former Clutter house, the only marker is the family's graves at Valley View Cemetery.
Rupp wants to change that and asked the City Council during a Wednesday meeting for their thoughts on erecting a memorial to honor the family.
Rupp said the memorial could serve tourists and provide information to those interested in the story.
The members of the Clutter family - Herb Clutter; his wife, Bonnie; and their children, Kenyon and Nancy - were shot to death at their Holcomb farmhouse on Nov. 15, 1959.
Rupp, who dated Nancy Clutter, said he had stopped by the Clutter house that November night and watched television with the family until 10:30 p.m.
"Nancy walked me out," Rupp said. "We talked a while and made a date to go to the movies Sunday night. ... Then she ran back in the house and I drove away."
Rupp said he doesn't have a specific vision right now for what the memorial would be or even where it would be. He said he wants to start a committee to explore the possibility of a memorial.
Rupp told the council he wasn't asking for money. Still, Councilman Gary Newman said he thought the committee and the city should pursue some type of memorial.
"They put the two together," he said of people associating Holcomb with the Clutter killings.
After the meeting, Rupp said he might have a better idea in a couple of weeks on what direction the committee will head in establishing a memorial.