by: Chris Six and Jacob Blount, Ozarks First
It’s been 35 years since the killing of Ena and Rory Cordt in Forsyth.
The man who allegedly killed the mother and son was serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells; Sells was known as the “Coast to Coast killer.”
And now, Peggy Dirks, Ena’s daughter, is skeptical that Sells killed her mother and brother.
Taney County Detective Don Swan once got Sells to admit he murdered the two; Dirks doesn’t believe Sells.
“So for several years actually, I did believe that is who did it. That the case was solved, but then it was brought to my attention that the police did not believe that and they believed that Don went to the jail where Tommy Lynn Sells was and showed him a photo of my mom’s house and basically helped to feed him information that Tommy Lynn Sells would just agree with. He didn’t actually come up with any information on his own,” says Dirks.
Dirks told Ozarks First reporter Jacob Blount that she believes the case is still open because her private investigator, a detective with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, saw an interrogation video in Texas between Swan and Sells.
“They viewed that interview. There’s a videotape of it, and in it, there is no proof that Tommy Lynn Sells knows anything that Don Swan doesn’t tell him,” she said.
According to KOLR10 reports from 2001, Sells killed:
- Ena and her four-year-old son Rory in Forsyth -1985
- 13-year-old Stephanie Mahaney in Greene County -1997
- A nine-year-old girl in San Antonio, Texas -1999
In 1999 Sells was captured when one of his victims he left for dead survived and was able to identify him. After his arrest, Sells confessed to other crimes, including the deaths of Ena and Rory.
At the time of the incident 28-year-old, Ena and her son were beaten to death in their home.
Sells once said he killed up to 70 people. During a jail interview, Sells said these murders were ways of helping family members of his victims.
“Sorry is just a word. I feel remorseful. I feel sorry, but actions now are the only thing that will make amends,” he said.
In 2014, Sells was executed for a murder he committed in Texas.
More photographs and the complete feature can be found on the Ozarks First Website.