April 5, 1963 – Olympian Sonja McCaskie

Sonja McCaskie, who skied for the United Kingdom at the 1960 Winter Olympics, was working as a ski instructor at the Slide Mountain Resort in Reno, NV, when she was murdered. McCaskie’s body was found in her Yori Avenue apartment on April 5, 1963. She had been raped and strangled to death. Her body was mutilated and decapitated.

McCaskie, 24, hosted friends at her home the evening she was killed. She was due to pick up her 10-month-old son from the babysitter the following morning but never showed. When the babysitter could not reach McCaskie by phone, she called the police and asked them to check on her. Police arrived at McCaskie’s apartment and found a terrible odor emanating from it. When they opened the door, they found her heart, which had been removed from her body, lying in the entryway. McCaskie’s foot was wrapped in a blanket on the living room floor and her naked body was inside a cedar chest. She had been stabbed with three different knives that were still in her torso. Her head had been removed and was found underneath her body. Bloodstained rags and blankets were scattered around the crime scene. McCaskie’s mattress was covered with her blood, indicating she had been murdered on her bed. It was determined McCaskie had been strangled to death with a garrote.

The only thing missing from McCaskie’s home was a camera lens, which was found one week later in a local pawn shop. The lens led police to Thomas Lee Bean, 18, who confessed soon after being taken into custody. Bean pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to a first-degree murder charge, but he was still found guilty and sentenced to death. In 1972, his sentence was reduced to life in prison after a Supreme Court ruling against the death penalty.

1 Response

  1. I’m really intrigued by this story about Sonja McCaskie. It’s such a tragic event, and I can’t help but wonder about the impact it had on the skiing community at that time. I’m curious to know if the author has any thoughts or opinions on how this incident might have affected the perception of safety in ski resorts, or if there were any significant changes in security measures as a result.

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