What Was Your Interest in Writing this Story?
The abductions of Mary and Beth Stauffer and Jason Wilkman took place in the spring of 1980, just two miles from our home in New Brighton. The crime resonated with my husband and me because, like the Stauffers and the Wilkmans, we were a young couple raising two small children. The thought of someone abducting a mother and daughter and a second child - so close to where we lived was unnerving to say the least.
Our two children, Joey 10 and Bridget 6 even attended Valentine Hills School-the same elementary school as Beth Stauffer.
Weeks went by with no word about the victims. The whole community was on high alert that summer-concerned that a pedophile might be lurking in our neighborhood. Parents stood guard to make sure their child got on the school bus in the morning, and met the bus again in the afternoon. As summer wore on with no sign of the Stauffers or Jason Wilkman, parents made their children stay close to home. Rarely would you see children in a park without an adult standing nearby. It never occurred to us that the target for the Stauffer and Wilkman abductions was 39 year-old Mary Stauffer.
Later that summer when Mary and Beth escaped, and the truly bizarre nature of the crime was revealed, everyone who read about the case was horrified.
Like most people, I followed the case with interest and when Ming Sen Shiue was sentenced to 30 years in prison, I felt justice had been done. I went on with my life and didn't give the case another thought-until years later.
Beginning in 1994, when I returned to college to pursue a degree in psychology and later when I went for my masters in counseling psychology, I would find myself wondering about the peculiar circumstances of the abductions of Mary and Beth Stauffer and Jason Wilkman. I was always curious about the psychological profile of Ming Sen Shiue, and thought, in passing, that someday I'd look that up.
Shortly after I retired in February 2008, I began to look up the records of the crime and I became captivated by the story. During my investigation, I found Shiue on the Federal Bureau of Prison's Offender Locator site and was appalled to learn that he is scheduled for release in July 2010.
I wrote the story with the focus of understanding Shiue's mental illness, his current diagnosis and examining the diagnoses made in 1980-from an historical perspective.
What Documentation Were You Able to Find?
I have 11 three-ring binders of documents detailing this crime, the investigations and the trials. Those documents include:
- Ramsey County Sheriffs and FBI investigation files?
- 1200 pages of Ming Shiue's writings - fantasy scenarios about his sexual prowess with movie stars of the 1970's including hundreds of pages of fantasy about being in love with his 10th grade algebra teacher, Mary Stauffer?
- 1300 page trial transcript from the federal kidnapping trial of Ming Sen Shiue for kidnapping Mary Stauffer and her eight-year-old daughter, Beth?
- Complete trial transcript of the Second-Degree kidnapping and murder trial of Ming Sen Shiue in Anoka County for the murder of six-year-old Jason Wilkman?
- Transcript of Anoka County Court proceedings of the courtroom attack on Mary Stauffer by Ming Shiue?
- High School yearbook photos of both Mary Stauffer (teacher) and Ming Shiue (student) when their paths first crossed at Alexander Ramsey High school-15 years before he kidnapped her?
- Hundreds of newspaper articles
Who Granted You Interviews for the Book?
Retired Ramsey County Sheriffs Investigator Marie Ballard - who, with her partner, Walt Fowler drove the squad car that picked up Mary & Beth from Shiue's on the day they escaped
Retired Ramsey County Sheriff's Investigator Jim Daly - who drove Mary and Beth to St. Paul Ramsey Hospital after they were interviewed at the Sheriff's Office.
Retired Ramsey County Sheriff's Investigator Bruce Jerome - who worked in the Ramsey County jail while Shiue was held there and foiled an escape attempt by Shiue
Don Johnson, Chief Deputy Ramsey County Sheriff in 1980
Ron Meshbesher, Shiue's defense attorney in both trials
Tom Foley, Ramsey County District Attorney in 1980
Tom Berg, Former U. S. Attorney who prosecuted the kidnap case
Anoka County Probation official who sat through the murder trial and told me he knew someday someone would write this story. "I've never watched an episode of 20/20 or 48 Hours Mystery that I haven't thought to myself, 'If you think that story is crazy, you haven't heard about Ming Shiue'."
Interviews I Would Have Like to Have
Mary Stauffer or Beth Stauffer
When I first began writing this book, I wrote a letter to Mary Stauffer asking if she and/or her daughter Beth would care to be interviewed or comment on the book. I sent her another letter when I signed with Beaver's Pond to publish the book.
Neither Mary nor Beth has chosen to be interviewed or comment on the book and I respect their decision to maintain silence on this matter.
Sandra and David Wilkman
I have also written to Jason's parents, Sandra and David Wilkman who also have chosen not to comment.
Mother and Brothers of Ming Sen Shiue
Out of respect for Ming Shiue's family, I notified his mother Mei Shiue Dickerman and his brothers, Ron and Charles Shiue, of the writing of this story and invited them to contact me. They have chosen to remain silent on the matter.
Ming Sen Shiue
Because I was not a family member nor had I known Shiue prior to the commission of his crimes, federal regulations prevented me from visting him when he was in federal prison.
When Shiue was moved to the Anoka County Jail in November 2009, I wrote him requesting permission either to visit him there or to correspond with him about the book. Ming Shiue has not contacted me.