Details of Disappearance
Mary was last seen in Fresno, California sometime during July 1974. She has never been heard from again. Her parents did not report her missing until November of that year. Her disappearance was intially considered to be a runaway case.
The month before Mary went missing, Clarence Ray Allen, Clarence's son Roger, and other accomplices burglarized Fran's Market in Fresno. The burglars stole $500 in cash and $10,000 in money orders. Mary was Roger's live-in girlfriend at the time. After the burglary, she told Bryon Schletewitz, whose parents were the owners of Fran's Market, that the Allens had burglarized the store and she had helped cash the money orders.
Schletewitz confronted Roger about this and he admitted he and his father had committed the crime. Clarence was furious when he found out what Mary had done and ordered her murder. An accomplice, Eugene Leland "Lee" Furrow, strangled her to death and her body was wrapped up, weighted with stones and dumped in the Friant-Kern Canal.
In 1977, Clarence was convicted of burglarizing Fran's Market and murdering Mary, and sentenced to life in prison. Furrow, who said Clarence threatened to kill him as well if he didn't murder Mary, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of second-degree murder.
After his conviction, Clarence ordered the murders of eight of the witnesses who had testified against him in the Mary trial, including Schletewitz and Schletewitz's father. In 1980, two hired killers went to Fran's Market and murdered Schletewitz and two teenage store employees who happened to be present. A fourth victim at the store was also shot, but survived. The perpetrators were arrested before they could carry out additional murders.
Clarence was later convicted of three counts of murder and sentenced to death for his role in the crime. His son Kenneth, who supplied ammunition and transportation to the contract killers, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Clarence was executed by lethal injection in January 2006, although his attorneys tried to get his sentence commuted because he was 76 years old and in poor health. Photographs of Clarence are posted below this case summary.
Foul play is suspected in Mary's case due to the circumstances involved. Her remains have never been located.
Left: Clarence Allen in the 1970s;
Right: Clarence Allen, circa 2006