top of page

Sandra Chapman makes crime case a continuing story that matters

Former newswoman was inducted into the

Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame on April 27.

Former news anchor/reporter now produces documentaries.

Sometimes a profound incident will grab you and hold on for days. Weeks. Maybe even years.

For Sandra Chapman, it was a murder.

Chapman was a WISH-TV news anchor and investigative reporter for 10 years, and a WTHR-TV investigative reporter for 17 years before retiring in 2021. She talks about the one story that has impacted her life for 23 years.

In September 1968, a young Black woman named Carol Jenkins left her home in Rushville, Indiana, to sell encyclopedias in Martinsville with her co-workers. While walking the street, she was assaulted and stabbed to death.  

Local and national TV stations covered the murder. There was a racial component: Martinsville had the reputation of being a stronghold for the Ku Klux Klan. Despite police involvement, Jenkins’ case went unsolved for more than 30 years.

In 2001, Chapman did a series of reports on the story after becoming interested in the case. Afterwards, she received a voice mail message that changed the direction of the investigation – and her life. The call was from a woman who claimed she had witnessed Jenkins’ murder. She told Chapman: “If the girl had a yellow scarf and was killed with a screwdriver, my father could be the killer.” “It was chilling,” Chapman said.

The woman’s name was Shirley McQueen. Why did she reach out to Chapman?


“Her sister-in-law saw my report on TV and told Shirley that she needed to tell somebody what she knew. Shirley was not ready. After all those years went by, she was afraid,” says Chapman. “She saw my reports on Channel 8 and decided she’d reach out to me, give me bits of info and let me figure it out. It didn’t quite work out that way because Shirley's sister-in-law anonymously contacted authorities about the case, unbeknownst to me and Shirley."


After months of cat-and-mouse phone calls, Shirley finally agreed to meet Chapman in person. She told her that when she was 7 years old, her dad, Kenneth Richmond, and another man put her in the back seat of a car and went cruising around Martinsville. When they came upon Carol Jenkins peddling her encyclopedias, they harassed her from the car. Then they got out of the car and Richmond stabbed her with a screwdriver while his friend, who was never identified, held her down.


The investigation was re-launched and Kenneth Richmond was arrested for murder in 2002. By then he was elderly and had bladder cancer. He was declared incompetent to stand trial and died soon after.


Infinitely joined by this incident, Chapman and McQueen stayed in touch over the years and decided to work on a book together about the murder. Shirley eventually dropped out of the project.


“After Mr. Richmond died, there were still questions that needed answers. I thought the story needed to be told in its entirety,” says Chapman. “We never had told all the intricate details of my work with Shirley. But she found out you can’t pick and choose the material, and it became difficult and scary for her. She decided that I should write the story with what I had.”


“The Girl in the Yellow Scarf : One of Indiana's Most Notorious Cold Case Murders Solved, As a Town Tries to Leave Behind Its Past” was released in 2012.


But Sandra’s – and Carol’s – story doesn’t end there. In 2023, Sandra produced and directed “The Girl in the Yellow Scarf Documentary” for her production company, Prince Media Group. It has been shown at theaters in several Indiana cities.


Why a documentary? Sandra wants you to know it goes beyond what’s in the book.


“With the documentary I want people to know Carol Jenkins and how her legacy is a lasting part of civil rights history. I talked to people who knew Carol more intimately, and relatives have been very forthcoming. I talked to people who last saw Carol alive and a couple who tried to help her in Martinsville. There are a lot of different voices,” she explains.


“It also looks at small, rural communities, and the lessons learned here can be applied to similar communities across the country. The mayors of Martinsville and Rushville talk about the issue of race at that time in history, and how that brought them to where we are today. Journalism has a big part in this: How small town papers were impacted and what was being reported. It offers views to better understand about what happened then and how it’s relevant now. We cover a lot in an hour. I’m proud of all of it.

“For journalists, there are one or two stories throughout your career that pulls at something within you, and this was the one for me,” she adds. “The story kept evolving. It wouldn’t let me go."

"The Girl in the Yellow Scarf” documentary recently was awarded the Indy Film Festival’s prized “Hoosier Lens” Award for features.

Today, the award-winning journalist is busier than ever working within her production company, Prince Media Group. She does a lot of production work for the education-focused Lumina Foundation and its digital magazine, hosts virtual programs and facilitates panels. She has a graduate certification in strategic communications.


Currently she is working on co-producing a documentary that she can’t reveal much about other than “It’s fun, important and historical, and I’m excited about it.”


While documentary filmmaking is her current passion, she also has a more personal one: The mother of three now has a 2-year-old grandson. “He’s the light of our lives!”


Sandra is married to former Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Chief Randal Taylor, who currently is Commander in Victims Assistance at IMPD.


Her big news: On April 27 she was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame!


“When I got my letter it was just so fulfilling, humbling and just wow! It fills you with a sense of gratitude about being able to do this work and have an impact, and to have your colleagues and others recognize that,” she says. “I’m so excited and thankful that my life’s calling has made a difference. I always wanted my journalism to matter. You want to have impact. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to do that.”



For documentary info, click here:



bottom of page