Mary Stauffer stalked by former math student Ming Shiue

Mother survives 53 days trapped in closet with her daughter

Shiue had not buried Jason, but left his body out in the open. When they located Jason, only his skeleton, along with his blue corduroy pants, striped T-shirt, and one tennis shoe were left.

The chaplain prayed over the remains while the men and women who'd gathered that day wept silently. Ming Shiue was not allowed near the body, but was led away from the site, shackled and sullen.

Because of the decomposition of Jason's body, the medical examiner could not do an official autopsy, but Dr. Amatuzio's preliminary findings indicated there was a large round hole in the skull and the skull itself was fractured. During the murder trial, Dr. Amatuzio would provide additional evidence about how Jason may have died.

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

The medical examiners were never able to determine if the damage to the skull was from a gunshot wound or from trauma caused perhaps by the tire iron from the trunk of the car.

   

WITH THE OUTSIDE TEMPERATURE hovering at -20 degrees and with eight inches of snow covering the ground, the jurors were asked to consider the events of a warm spring evening in May when the innocent inquiry of a six-year old boy, coming upon an unusual circumstance, turned into a ghastly murder.

Mary testified that she and Beth never saw Jason after the defendant took him out of the trunk the night of the kidnappings.

Meshbesher turned his questioning to the Bible quotations Mary had recited to the defendant during her captivity.

"Did you tell him that people should have love for one another and because he was a person, that you loved him?" Meshbesher asked.

"I don't recall saying that. I..."

Before Mary could finish her sentence, a blood-curdling scream reverberated through the courtroom. Shiue leapt from his chair at the defense table, dashed to the witness stand, hurtled himself at the witness box, and violently grabbed Mary Stauffer. Brandishing a knife, he threw himself on Mary, toppling the witness chair and landing full on top of her. One arm encircled her neck and the knife blade glistened in his other hand. He held the knife to her throat and cried out, "I just want to be with her one more time!"  He threatened to take Mary hostage and to kill her if anyone came near them.

Ignoring his threats, several deputy sheriffs, as well as FBI Agent Gary Samuels, rushed to Mary's assistance. With the force of their combined strength, they knocked Shiue to the floor, but not before he slashed Mary's face.

All this happened in front of an astonished courtroom. Screams rang out from terrified spectators. Jurors huddled together at the far end of the jury box—some breaking into tears while others simply cowered in horrified silence—as blood gushed from Mary's face.

One witness described Shiue's actions as gorilla-like. She said that he looked more like an animal than a human being when he tackled Mary. The witness said, "We couldn't believe what we'd seen and heard; we just couldn't grasp it. That unearthly scream he let out before dashing at her just sent a shock through all of us. Everyone was so horrified that we could hardly breathe. The jurors all scrambled together into the corner of the jury box as far away from the witness stand as they could. You could tell they feared for their lives."

When the deputies subdued Shiue, his body went completely rigid. He was in a catatonic state and unable to respond to verbal instruction. It took five men to carry him from the courtroom.

An ambulance rushed Mary Stauffer to Mercy Hospital, located about a mile from the courthouse, where emergency room doctors closed her massive facial wound with 62 stitches.

Ming Sen Shiue was committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Corrections on the second-degree murder conviction for a term of 40 years, to be served concurrently with his federal sentence for the kidnapping of Mary and Beth Stauffer. This was an upward departure from the sentencing guidelines that called for a presumptive sentence of 140 months (approximately 11 and a half years). The state's request for consecutive sentencing was denied.

   

MARY STAUFFER IS NOW in her late sixties and living in seclusion with her husband Irv and their son Steve. They spent many years in the Philippines continuing the work they began over 30 years ago. They retired from the Baptist General Conference in February 2009. Beth is married and has a young family.

In 1986, Mary and Irv Stauffer agreed to be interviewed by Dr. James Dobson, host of the radio program Focus on the Family. In that interview, Mary details her experience and emphasizes how important her faith was in pulling her through the ordeal.

Mary and Irv have told this story many times to Baptist church groups throughout the Midwest, and they continue to share Mary's story of faith and forgiveness.

Ming Sen Shiue is scheduled to conclude his prison sentence on July 7, 2010, exactly 30 years to the day Mary and Beth Stauffer escaped from his home in Roseville, Minnesota. Shiue is scheduled for a March 8 hearing to determine if he should be civilly committed as a sex offender—locked up for the rest of his life—or released into the community. 


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