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Delmar Anholt - Torture Slaying of the Woman and the Demon Seed

Delmar Anholt
When Trooper Ronald Ruecker pulled into the park­ing lot at the Columbia City office of Oregon State Police where he worked the swing shift, he likely thought it would be another routine Sunday of merely patrolling U.S. Highway 30, occasionally handing out traffic tickets to speeding motorists en route to Port­land from Astoria or vice versa. Rueck­er's territory or jurisdiction wasn't equally all that exciting. However, in spite of the mundaneness he had learned to count upon, Ruecker, like all lawmen, was trained to expect the unexpected. What he unexpectedly encountered on this particular Sunday was unlike any­thing he'd ever experienced before; it was so horrible that it would likely haunt him the rest of his life.

The homicide which occurred in Columbia County on Valentine's Day, February 14, 1982 was so horrendously brutal that most area residents are reluc­tant to talk about it, preferring instead to simply try and forget that it ever hap­pened. But happened it did, and the story you are about to read on the pages of this magazine is not the "toned-down" ver­sion which appeared in the newspapers. Instead it is the shocking, bizarre, un­varnished account of a homicidal rage of such unleashed savagery that ultimately ended the life of a young woman and her unborn child.

It had been raining off and on through­out most of the day, and the fact that the sky was overcast with clouds brought on the darkness earlier than usual as the afternoon turned into early evening. Trooper Ruecker was driving south on Highway 30 towards the small commu­nity of Scappoose when he spotted two dark figures outlined by the dim periph­eral rays from his car's headlights lying several feet apart on the hillside opposite him. Were there two people lying there? He made a U-turn and pulled onto the soft shoulder of the road. It was difficult to tell what was lying there, as his vision was impaired by the darkness, the falling rain and the motion from his car's wind­shield wipers. He decided to investigate further.

As he put on his "Smokey Bear" hat and grabbed his heavy duty flashlight, Trooper Ruecker noted that he was only a few yards from the entrance to Colum­bia Memorial Gardens, a cemetery which lay just over the hillside he was about to check out. He had an eerie feel­ing that night, he later said in retrospect during an interview, as he headed toward the first dark figure. Upon reaching it, however, Ruecker discovered that it was merely a backpack, gold in color with a blue jacket draped over one end of it. It looked as if the backpack had been soiled or stained in certain areas, but with only the limited illumination from his flash­light it was difficult to discern just what the stains consisted of.

Using his flashlight to guide him through the darkness Trooper Ruecker proceeded toward the second figure, which was lying in some grass above the highway from the gold backpack. He soon discovered, however, that it was just another backpack, green in color with another blue jacket draped over it and a stocking cap lying next to it. It was at this point that Ruecker thought he'd heard a voice in the distance and, his curiosity now thoroughly aroused, he climbed up the embankment, crossed a set of railroad tracks and entered the northwestern edge of the cemetery.
He could hear the voice more clearly now and was able to discern that it was that of a male. As he approached the voice he saw a human figure, silhouetted by the darkness, kneeling over another human figure, but it was too dark to see what was happening.

At this point, however, Ruecker could hear the male voice saying, "It's okay, man, it's okay," but he was unable to determine if the male subject was speak­ing to him or to the figure lying on the ground.

As he got closer, Ruecker shined his light on the two figures and saw that the kneeling person had his thumbs pushed firmly into the eyes of the other person, rotating his thumbs in a circular motion until one of the person's eyeballs popped about an inch out of its socket!
Horrified at what he saw, Ruecker knew that the person had to either be dead or unconscious because the person made no movement and made no sound. No one, he reasoned, could withstand that kind of pain if he or she was alive and conscious.

At that point the man got up, looked at Ruecker and started moving toward the trooper. Ruecker stayed calm, keeping his flashlight's beam on the man, but nonetheless placed his hand firmly on his holstered gun. Not knowing what state of mind the man was in, Ruecker began talking to him and persuaded him to go with him. On the way to the patrol car, the man began to resist, even though he was handcuffed, but Ruecker put his hand on his gun and tightened his grip on the man with the other. He decided to go along peaceably.

When he had the man locked safely inside his patrol car, Ruecker noted that his captive's long, brown and curly shoulder-length hair, as well as his face, hands, and clothing, were literally covered in blood. Although the man, in his late teens or early twenties, was wearing a T-shirt and jeans, Ruecker thought it odd that he was wearing socks but no shoes.

Deciding not to speak with the young man at this point, Ruecker called in for back-up help and returned to the cemet­ery to determine exactly what the situa­tion was there.

Using his flashlight, Ruecker saw that the human form lying on the ground was a young, dark-haired female, now quite dead, who had most assuredly suc­cumbed to her injuries before Ruecker arrived at the scene. Although she was now severely mutilated, Ruecker gues­sed that she had been quite pretty. But now, in her present unsightly state, the young woman was difficult to look at without becoming nauseous. Just the same, Ruecker took note of his observa­tions while he waited for back-up per­sonnel to arrive.

He noted that the victim was lying flat on her back, her legs bent so that her knees and thighs extended upward with her feet planted firmly on the ground, her heels nearly touching her buttocks. She was wearing a T-shirt which read, " All natural ingredients. No artificial sweeteners, no preservatives added," with a bra underneath. She was also wearing blue jeans and panties, both of which were pulled down below her knees, exposing her genitals, and was wearing tennis shoes and two pairs of socks, one pink and one blue one pulled over two yellow socks. In addition, holes were noted in the groin area of the elastic band of her pants, and there were sec­tions of a fishing pole protruding from her vagina!

Already aghast at what he saw, Ruecker was shocked still further when he observed that the victim's feet were tied together with rope or cord, and the suspect had used slip knots on rope or cord to bind the victim's wrists and neck in such a manner that if the victim strug­gled the ropes would tighten around her neck and choke her. Abdominal wounds were also discernible, as were wounds to her eyes and nose.

A short time later, additional Oregon State Police units arrived at the scene, as did Columbia County District Attorney Martin Sells and his chief investigator, Dalton Derrick. After their observations of the crime scene and the victim, Sells and Derrick turned the scene over to evi­dence technicians from the Oregon State Police crime labs in Portland. Dalton De­rrick and
Trooper Michael Roberg, crim­inal investigator from the Columbia City office of the Oregon State Police, were assigned to handle the investigation.

Located under the victim's buttocks the investigators discovered two very large extensively rusted nails, which technician Chris Johnson, directing crime lab operation, placed and labeled in an appropriate container for transport back to the labs in Portland. Also found in the same location were two bloodstained sections of a fishing rod, eight inches long and the other six inches in length. They also found two bloodstained, broken and spent sections Fussee, commonly called a roadside flare.

Trooper Roberg took photos of crime scene, including shots of the victim from every imaginable angle. He also took photos of the suspect, who had a large amount of blood over both eyes and blood spattered over his face. It noted by investigators that the suspect had several circular type wounds near center of his right palm, and that hands were also bloody. His hands were also photographed.

The suspect's clothing was confiscated at the crime scene to prevent destruction or loss of evidence, and patrol car in which he had been secured was impounded and taken to the police crime labs where it would be processed in search of strands of the victim's hair, which the investigators belie may have been present on the suspect's clothes and had fallen off inside the car They weren't going to take any chances on losing potential evidence, no matter how minute it might be.

In the meantime, the suspect was taken to a local hospital — all the while being reminded of his rights — where urine and blood samples were taken to determine whether drugs of any kind were present. He was also interrogated briefly, after which fingernail scrapings were obtained. He was transferred hooked into the Columbia County Jail St. Helens, and was identified as 20-year-old Delmar Anholt Jr. of Portia.

Meanwhile, back at the cemetery, investigators were still gathering evidence when Columbia County Medical Examiner Dr. John Brookhart arrived at scene to make a preliminary or superficial examination to make sure it was okay to move the body and get it ready for transport to Portland where a definitive autopsy would be performed by state medical examiner.

Brookhart noted that there were external wounds resulting from multiple punctures to the lower abdomen, there were superficial abrasions as was severe burns in the area of the victim' anus and vagina. He noted the presence of a metal spike that was embedded in right pelvic region, and noted that a fishing pole extruded from the victim's vagina.

There were also multiple puncture wounds of the face and both eyes, as well as lacerations and abrasions of the vic­tim's nose and face. He entered into his records that the victim was pregnant at the time of her death, and that the unborn child had also died. He made note of the fact that the victim's hands and feet were bound with cord and, after taking a rectal temperature, the victim's body was placed inside a yellow body bag and taken to the Multnomah County Morgue in Portland.

"It's the worst thing I've ever seen," said Columbia County District Attorney Martin Sells, commenting on his observation of the homicide victim upon arrival at the crime scene: "The victim was eight and a half months pregnant. There were these ten-penny spikes used for construction (authorities later learned the suspect used them for tent spikes) jabbed into her abdomen, all the way in there. The spikes were eight or nine inch­es long (and as big in diameter as a man's little finger, blunt or dull on the ends). Her eyes were gouged out, way down deep into the sinuses, and her nose was practically cut off.

"Just about everything you could do to a person he (the suspect) did," said Sells. "At that point in time (when Ruecker entered the scene and saw the suspect kneeling over the victim), I think the officer did a terrific job," said Sells in retrospect.

Sells said that additional evidence taken by the crime labs included the two backpacks found by Trooper Ruecker, which had been stained with blood, a black stocking cap, a burlap sack, ciga­rette rolling papers, three very large ex­tensively rusted nails (in addition to those found under the victim's buttocks), a bloodstained white comb, 30 inches of bloodstained white cotton rope and addi­tional sections of fishing rods, both ends broken with bloodstains and tissue adhering to the distal ends. Additionally, said Sells, it had been determined that the bloody jeans of the suspect had been stained with her own blood as had her multi-colored long sleeved shirt.

According to D.A. Sells, in­vestigators identified the victim as 19 ­year-old Tara Lea McCarthy, the sus­pect's girlfriend. Inquiries into her back­ground revealed that Tara came from a rather large family of five kids, and that she had lived in the St. Johns area of North Portland. She had gone to school at Roosevelt High, where she had met Anholt through a relative.

When she was 15, Tara's family de­cided to move away from St. Johns, but Tara refused to leave with them. She insisted on remaining there so that she could finish high school at Roosevelt. She was invited to live with Anholt and his family while she continued school. Her parents eventually agreed to that arrangement, and she moved in with the Anholts. The investigators learned that it wasn't long before she and Anholt began sleeping together.

A background check on Anholt re­vealed that he attended a Catholic school until the seventh grade, at which time he began to use and abuse marijuana and tobacco. He was a poor student in high school, in and out of trouble until he was eventually suspended from Roosevelt. As a result, he did not graduate.

Although he came from a good, re­spected family, Anholt's home life was nothing he could brag about due, pri­marily, to his own self-centered actions. Things got continually worse and, at one point, Anholt threatened to kill his sister. As a result, his mother called the juvenile detention authorities and he was placed in a detention home for a few months. It was also revealed that, at one point in his youth, he was sent to a place called Sun Village, a school for youths in trouble.

At one point, while living with Tara, Anholt was charged and convicted of first-degree theft and placed on proba­tion. However, he violated the con­ditions of his probation and was sent­enced to Oregon Correctional Institution for 14 months. Tara was true to him during this time and visited him often, when she could get a day off from var­ious waitress jobs she held while going to school and living with Anholt's rela­tives.

When Anholt got out of Oregon Cor­rectional Institution, detectives learned, he very rarely worked. When he did, it was for a very short time, often only a half day at a time. Instead, when he wasn't getting into trouble for criminal mischief, he did a lot of fishing, camping and wandering around, with Tara accompanying him nearly everywhere he went.

During the course of her relationship with Anholt, the cops learned, Tara be­came pregnant four known times. The first time, Anholt sent her to an abortion clinic in Seattle somebody had told him about, where she had the pregnancy ter­minated. Anholt demanded that she have her second and third pregnancies aborted also, and near the delivery date of her fourth pregnancy Anholt killed her and attempted to take the baby, which he believed, wrongly, belonged to another man.

The investigators also uncovered, dur­ing their probing, allegations made by acquaintances of Anholt that he was an occultist, that he and others went out on one occasion and somehow obtained a cow or a calf and butchered it during some sort of ritual. However, the investigators were unable to establish just how deeply involved he was with the occult, and as a result were not able to establish a link between his alleged occult activities and the torture-murder of Tara McCarthy.

Following a thorough autopsy on the victim's body by Dr. William Brady, state medical examiner, the facts of the case became even more grisly with each of his findings. According to Brady, Tara had injuries to both of her eyes, to her nose, cheek and lips. Both of her eyes were bruised and swollen, indicat­ing the application of force against the eyeballs, and there were lacerations across the victim's left upper eyelid. Puncture wounds present near her eyes extended down into the girl's face and sinuses to a depth of an inch or more. Her lips were cut and bruised, and her tongue was clenched tightly between her teeth, an indication that she endured extreme pain prior to her death.

Brady's conclusion was that the vic­tim died from asphyxia by strangulation and by piercing of her body with a fish­ing pole, causing the injuries to the uter­us and to the liver. Aside from complete dismemberment and decapitation cases, Brady said this was the most severe case of mutilation that he had ever seen.

In the meantime, lab tests performed on Delmar Anholt's blood samples taken shortly after his arrest revealed that he had taken methamphetamines and amphetamines, both of which are powerful forms of speed. Also, after being charged and indicted for murder, Anholt was examined by Medford, Oregon psychiatrist Dr. Hugh Gardner at the request of the prosecutor.

Dr. Gardner found that Anholt didn't have a value system that is normally associated with maturity, citing as example that Anholt once quit a construction job in order to spend the money that he'd made. Gardner said that Anholt also told him that he bought drugs such as valium, speed, pot and beer just make him feel good, but said that he didn't like heroin or cocaine.
Dr. Gardner also said that Anholt bragged about his sex life at first, but later told him that he started masturbating when he was in his early teens an had had intercourse with only two different females, one of whom was his victim and the other an older woman he'd had sex with when he was younger.

Gardner's diagnosis of Anholt was that he manifested an anti-social personality, was narcissistic and self-centered, and held no value for human life other than his own. According to Gardner, drugs did not interfere with Anholt's ability to form the intent to commit the murder of Tara Lea McCarthy or anything else that he wanted to do.

While lodged in the Columbia County Jail, Anholt was interrogated by investigators Derrick and Roberg several times, and during the course of the sessions the officers learned that there had been some explosive arguments be­tween Anholt and some of his relatives regarding an inheritance left by his de­ceased father. It was after one such argu­ment, the cops were told, that Anholt and Tara decided to take off on a trip to Long Beach, Washington to stay at his fami­ly's beach cabin. Anholt said they were leaving because "everything was com­ing down in the city. All the sluts, whores and prostitutes were going to get it." Anholt told the detectives that he and Tara then packed up their sleeping bags, backpacks, and other camping gear and left the house, hitching a ride on North Willamette Boulevard in Portland near the University of Portland campus. Anholt said that he and Tara had been picked up by a motorist driving a pickup truck, and that they had been taken as far as a tavern in Linnton, just outside the Portland city limits. Anholt said that the driver of the pickup was carrying two small puppies, one of which was given to Tara at her request.

Anholt added that he and Tara contin­ued hitchhiking toward the coast, and were eventually picked up by a man driv­ing another pickup. This time they got as far as Scappoose (about 10 miles west of Linnton) when the pickup broke down and had to be towed. They had been dropped off near the cemetery.

Derrick and Roberg began checking out Anholt's story, to see if any of it could be corroborated. They eventually located the driver of the first vehicle, who told them basically what Anholt had said. The driver said they talked, smoked a joint of pot and stopped at a store for a can of beer on their way to Linnton. Eventually they stopped at the tavern, which was the driver's destination.

Derrick and Roberg then checked with the local wrecking yard in Scappoose and learned that a pickup had been towed in for repair on the day in question, Feb­ruary 14th. After obtaining the pickup owner's name and address from the wrecking yard they contacted him and, again, Anholt's story was corroborated. The driver told the investigators that he had picked up two hitchhikers and their dog.

During the interviews Anholt told De­rrick and Roberg that he and Tara came upon an old barn, not far from the cemet­ery, and went inside to get out of the rain for awhile. He told the cops that inside the barn there was an old mattress on the floor, a table and a couple of chairs. Anholt said that he was wearing a knife and scabbard on his belt that day, but had lost it, probably inside the barn. Anholt said that he had been thinking about us­ing the knife on Tara.

"Roberg and I went out and we found this barn," said Derrick. "We went in and there was a mattress on the floor, and there were the table and chairs, and his knife was lying beside the mattress."

According to Investigator Derrick, from statements obtained from Anholt, Tara and Anholt finally left the barn and walked on down the road toward St. Helens. About a quarter of a mile later, they entered the cemetery, located on the opposite side of the road from the barn. It was while walking through the cemetery that Anholt said he asked Tara to confess to Jesus Christ and God, which she re­fused to do. "It was here that he did her in," said Derrick, because she was carrying" the demon seed."

"It (the baby) was the devil and had to be taken care of," said District Attorney Sells, " which appeared to be what his motive was...the way he murdered her was brutal, but a lot of it (the violence) was directed toward the baby inside her womb. This time she wanted to have that baby," he said, referring to her previous pregnancies and abortions.

"He (Anholt) claimed that she had a bad seed in her, that she had been fooling around on him," said Investigator De­rrick. "We checked back on that and found that she was almost nine months pregnant at the time of her death. She was carrying a full-term baby, which was due any day. So we checked back beyond that and found that she had left him on several prior occasions because he was mean to her. She'd gone to live with her sister on one or more occasions, and had gone to stay with friends on other occasions. Two or three months prior to her becoming pregnant, she had left him and lived with a girlfriend for about three weeks. During this time she had gone out with another guy, told An­holt that she had sexual relations with this other guy. Well, Anholt claimed (when she became pregnant by him) that it was a 'bad seed,' wasn't his baby."

"But you could prove that she hadn't become pregnant by the other guy due to the passage or lapse of time," said D.A. Sells, who said she had purportedly had sexual relations with the other guy two or three months prior to becoming preg­nant.

"So we backtracked by talking with the other guy she'd been with," said Derrick, "and with friends she'd stayed with. She was gone for about three weeks, and the rest of the time she was always with Anholt, who absolutely did not want her to have that baby."

Was the intent to kill present inside the mind of the suspect at the time of the homicide? Was the killing premeditated?

"Dr. Gardner (the psychiatrist who examined Anholt) believed Anholt formed the intent quite some time before he did it," said Derrick. "He (Anholt) told us he thought about it while they were sitting in the barn across from the cemetery. I'm sure he formed the intent earlier, probably prior to leaving Port­land, maybe even thought about it for several days beforehand."

"An interesting question was raised (due to the killing) because there were two murders that took place," said D.A. Sells, "the baby and the mother." But under Oregon law, the definition of a human being prohibited us from pro­secuting on the part of the baby because, according to definition of the law, it wasn't yet born. But when he began the acts which led to (Tara's) murder, he actually induced labor and the baby came out of the victim's uterus. But it couldn't get into the vaginal canal (because of the foreign objects inserted into the vagina), and it didn't have anywhere to go, so the baby either suffocated or drowned. But had the definition of a human being been different, we could have prosecuted him for two murders."

"He (Anholt) said when he got to the cemetery," said Investigator Derrick, recalling portions of Anholt's state­ments, " he was looking at this big mural painted on the cemetery's mausoleum, which is not far from where the killing occurred. The mural depicts Jesus with a flock of sheep.

That's when he said he decided to kill her, and he told her so. She took off running through the cemet­ery with Anholt in pursuit. He caught her, knocked her down. He said he pun­ched her in the stomach several times.

"After tying her up in such a manner that whenever she struggled by pulling her hands and arms, a rope would tighten around her neck and choke her," contin­ued Derrick, "he got into his backpack, took out the spikes and drove them into her body. He said he intended to bury her there in the cemetery, but he got caught before he could get the job done."

Did Anholt ever say why he tortured Tara so, rather than just kill her quickly and be done with it?

"His intent was to kill that 'demon seed' inside of her," said Derrick, "and he directed most of his actions toward that baby, her entire abdominal area. He was angry because he had to bite the skin, to make holes in it so he could drive those spikes in there. He had the imprint of the head of one of those spikes in the palm of his hand where he was pounding them with his hand to drive them into her body. He had her blood all over his face and hands. He said his intent wasn't to kill Tara, but he had to kill that 'demon seed' inside of her, and she had to go along with the baby.

According to Derrick, none of the spikes which injured the victim's face penetrated the brain. Although the spikes entered only into the sinus cavities, De­rrick said the medical examiner believed that, although those wounds were not fatal, they were likely the most painful of the entire ordeal.

"He (eventually) went down to the highway with the backpacks and laid them on the embankment," continued Derrick. That's when Trooper Ruecker came along and discovered the back­packs, lying several feet apart on the embankment, and explains why they were stained with the victim's blood. "He said he came back to make sure she was dead but she was still convulsing, so he decided he'd better finish her off and he got back on top of her and went to work again. That's when Trooper Ruecker found them."

One of the defenses used at the trial, said D.A. Sells, was that Anholt was high on drugs and didn't know what he was doing when he killed Tara. That defense was easily countered by Sells, however.

"From what Anholt told us," said Sells, "and from what everyone else said who was with him prior to the murder, we could determine approximately how much marijuana and amphetamines he'd had. Based on that, the psychiatrist and other doctors could give an opinion as to whether or not he'd taken enough drugs so that he couldn't think or rationalize or form the intent (to commit murder). And they all agreed and would testify that Anholt di­dn't have enough drugs that would pre­vent him from being able to form the intent (to murder)."

On May 11, 1982, Delmar Anholt Jr. was convicted of the torture-murder of Tara Lee McCarty. On May 25th, Columbia County Circuit Judge James A. Mason sentenced Anholt to life in prison. However, it should be noted that because of the utilization of a matrix system, the State Parole Board will de­termine the actual time served.

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  2. unfortunately i've never had the pleasure of meeting my Aunt Tara< heard so many beautiful things about her never should have read this horrible story


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