Mary Stauffer stalked by former math student Ming Shiue

Mother survives 53 days trapped in closet with her daughter

Mary hadn't thought of Ming Shiue since the last school bell rang on the last day of class in 1965. He, on the other hand, had thought of little but her during those ensuing 15 years. He'd built a fantasy life around the belief that he and Mary were meant to be together.

At 3:45 p.m., Mary and her daughter, Beth, got into the family car and drove to Carmen's Beauty Salon in Roseville. They walked out of Carmen's chatting about Beth's new haircut.

As they headed toward their car, Shiue climbed out of a nearby ditch and approached them. Shiue grabbed eight-year-old Beth and pressed his gun to her head, saying to Mary, "I need a ride."

Top: Ming Shiue's high school graduation picture. Bottom: Staff picture of Mary Stauffer.
Alexander Ramsey High School Yearbook 1965
Top: Ming Shiue's high school graduation picture. Bottom: Staff picture of Mary Stauffer.
Jason Wilkman's first-grade school picture
courtesy of Eileen Biernat
Jason Wilkman's first-grade school picture

Mary opened the door for Beth to get into the front seat and then began walking around to the driver's side. Before she got very far, Shiue told her to get in on the passenger side with Beth. Mary climbed over her daughter and settled in the driver's seat. Shiue pushed in next to the terrified little girl and, gesturing with the handgun, motioned for Mary to drive to the nearby freeway ramp onto Interstate 35W and then to head north toward Anoka County.

Confused and stunned, but trying to stay calm, Mary asked Shiue if he was in trouble. He told her to be quiet and just drive, to which Mary replied, "We're Christians, and if you have a problem, we will try to help you." Shiue made no response. She then told him they were expected home soon, that her sister was coming over for a family dinner, and that her husband would wonder where they were.

He directed her to drive into a deserted grove of pine trees and turn off the car.

He then pulled rope and duct tape out of his jacket pocket, ordered the two of them into the backseat, and tied their hands behind them. Once he had secured their hands, he demanded they get into the trunk of the car, where he then bound their feet. With an ominous thud, he closed the trunk, got into the driver's seat, started the car, and drove off.

Lying back-to-back in the stiflingly hot trunk, Beth and Mary began to pray. Shiue abruptly stopped the car, got out, and opened the trunk. He did not want to hear their prayers. He taped their mouths shut, wrapping the tape all around Beth's head; it would remain there for several hours, eventually leaving a scar. As Mary would later remember it:

Finally, he stopped the car and Beth and I could hear voices, mostly the voices of children. We learned later that he'd stopped the car in Hazelnut Park in Arden Hills. When he opened the trunk that time, he became furious when he saw that Beth had untied her ropes and had been working to untie mine.

Shiue shouted, "Look what you've done." Then he placed the spare tire on top of us so we couldn't make further attempts to get free.

Just then, a little child walked up to the car and saw us tied in the trunk; he looked at our abductor and said, "Hi, wha—?" Before he could finish what he was saying, the little boy was thrown in the trunk with us and the trunk was slammed shut.

   

SHIUE PARKED in the backyard of his home on Hamline Avenue in Roseville, a neighboring suburb to Arden Hills.

Guiding Beth by her shoulders, Shiue walked the child inside the house, not removing her blindfold until they stopped in front of a bedroom closet. Then he pushed her in the closet and closed the door. Engulfed again by thick darkness, Beth screamed for her mother. Telling her to stop screaming, that he was going to bring in her mother, Shiue turned away and headed back outside.

As Mary stumbled, blindfolded and led by Shiue, into the house, she thought she heard him call her Mrs. Stauffer, but she wasn't sure. "It couldn't be," she thought. "I don't know him."

Once inside, Shiue took off Mary's blindfold and led her into the bedroom closet where Beth was waiting for her, tears of fear and exhaustion running down her face. Mary was horrified to see the closet had been prepared for them. In between her daughter's sobs, she heard Shiue say, "Just get in the closet, Mary."

Stunned at the sound of her name, Mary swung around to face her abductor. She realized she hadn't told him her name. She was close enough to smell his body odor; his teeth needed cleaning and his breath was hot and sour in her face. His hair smelled rancid and hung in greasy black clumps around his pockmarked face.

But startled to realize he apparently knew her, she asked, "Who are you?" When he didn't reply, she raised her voice. "You know me; how do you know me? Who are you? I want to know—who are you and what do you want?" Mary demanded.

Wordlessly, Shiue pushed her into the closet, closed the door, and jammed a large piece of furniture against it.

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