Little Boy Blue

Convicted murderer Eli Stutzman, formerly of the Amish of Wayne County, Ohio, has died. His death has been ruled a suicide.

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The father of “Little Boy Blue”, suspected in three other deaths in addition to that of his son, killed himself in a Fort Worth, Texas apartment last week.

Gregg Olsen, who chronicled the case in Abandoned Prayers, says the story might not be over.

“I think it would be a pretty big thing to take to your grave, don’t you think?”, said the author.

Stutzman leaves behind questions

Stutzman gained notoriety after his nine-year old son’s body was found frozen in Nebraska in 1985.

1287_1Stutzman was never convicted of murder in that case, only of lesser charges.  He was also suspected in his wife’s mysterious death in a barn fire, as well as in two other deaths.

Stutzman was sentenced for the 1985 killing of a Texas man, and served thirteen years.

“Little Boy Blue” was the nickname given to the unknown boy by local residents.

The case got a lot of attention.

Reader’s Digest covered it in a story in 1987. A book, Abandoned Prayers, by crime writer Olsen investigated the case in great detail. Another, shorter account of it can be found in Dorcas Sharp Hoover’s House Calls and Hitching Posts.

Violent crime – and non-violent crime, for that matter – is so unusual among the Amish that any time it happens, it’s bound to get attention.

When you are dealing with a people that as a whole are exceptionally peaceful and law-abiding, violent individuals and miscreant behavior stand out even more.

The Amish know that just being Amish is not a free pass.  The individual and the decisions he makes are what count.  They acknowledge that there is good and bad behavior within their own communities, just as the same is true in the modern world.

They also realize that by virtue of the way they live, the spotlight is on them even more.  The Eli Stutzman story, as well as being tragic and unfortunate, is an extreme example of that.

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    12 Comments

    1. betty

      FIRST ALL I WANT TO SAY CHRISTAIN DO NOT RUN OTHER PEOPLE DOWN…MOST AMISH ARE GOOD CHRISTAIN PEOPLE.I BELIVE ELI PARENTS SHOULDVE GOT HIM HELP WHAN HE WAS YOUNGER,,BUT KNOW ITS ALL OVER AND DONE WITH SO JUST LET THE GOOD LORD TAKE CARE OF IT…

    2. betty

      FIRST ALL I WANT TO SAY CHRISTAIN DO NOT RUN OTHER PEOPLE DOWN…MOST AMISH ARE GOOD CHRISTAIN PEOPLE.I BELIVE ELI PARENTS SHOULDVE GOT HIM HELP WHAN HE WAS YOUNGER,,BUT KNOW ITS ALL OVER AND DONE WITH SO JUST LET THE GOOD LORD TAKE CARE OF IT…

    3. Betty, I agree wholeheartedly, hope that everyone involved can find the healing they need.

    4. Carrie

      I would like to say that it was very unfair of the media to pay SO much attention to the fact that Stutzman WAS Amish. It puts a bad slant on the community, as though the Amish should be kept an eye on because you just never know. After all they dress funny and ride in buggy’s! What rubbish! Although I am from Australia, I have very good Mennonite friends who live in Ohio and who also have Amish neighbours, and know for a fact that the percentage of this kind of crime happens 100 times more often in the ‘general’ population. ‘He who is without sin should cast the first stone’ Perhaps the media should remember that!

    5. "Amish murderer" Eli Stutzman?

      Carrie, good point. The Amish get disproportionate attention. I can sort of understand since many of us have a deep down fascination with people that are so outwardly different. So you see headlines like ‘Amish store robbed at gunpoint’, or ‘Amish youth run wild’.

      As others have pointed out, if you substituted ‘Catholic’ or ‘Jewish’ for Amish, there would be uproar.

      To perhaps misuse a recent pop-culture term, I think this was a ‘perfect storm’ type of crime–with especially dramatic circumstances-the innocent-looking boy’s body found serenely laid by the road, the mystery surrounding his identity, the innocent nickname, Reader’s Digest coverage. Enter Eli Stutzman, who turns out to have Amish roots, and suddenly it becomes an ‘Amish’ crime, adding yet another element of intrigue to the case.

      Anyway I do appreciate the effort that Gregg Olsen and others have made to get to the bottom of things. Sounds like Stutzman’s DNA might link him to the Colorado murders.

      Thanks again Carrie for reading the blog and for the important point you made and I invite you back!

      Erik

    6. Amy

      What a terrible story! I don’t disagree with Carrie’s point of view, as if ‘Amish’ was replaced with ‘Jewish’ or ‘Christian’ there would be an uproar. What I think the author of this piece was trying to establish is that the crime was so shocking, not because Amish people are more dangerous than others, but because Amish people are generally so ‘peaceful and law abiding’. The author isn’t making the statement that we should watch those Amish folk because they could be bad news. He is saying the exact opposite; that the crime rate in Amish villages is extremely low.

      But I definitely agree that something like this is more likely to happen in the ‘general’ population. And in any case, murder is murder and those who break the law must be punished appropriately. It is terribly sad that this little boy’s father never had to pay any consequences for his actions. But hopefully now he will be getting his final judgement and rightful punishment, in God’s higher court.
      Rest in Peace, Danny Stutzman, aka Little Boy Blue.

    7. Sandie

      I have read the story and have visited Amish country in Ohio that he was from. I know that the Amish people are Kind, and very peaceful. I think what makes this interesting to most people is the fact that you never hear of any thing like this happening. My deepest sympathies go to the families and communities that were effected by this one man’s deeds, and believe that the he has met his rightful punishment as Amy stated in God’s Higher court. God Be With you Danny and Ida, Glen and anyone else he may have harmed

    8. Pingback: Nov. 29/10 U.S. Fritz Springmeier on CIA MC Programming Amish &/or Old Order Mennonites « Three Dead Words
    9. Lindsay

      I remember my dad telling me this story everytime we happened to drive through Chester…it was huge news at the time and his body was found on my birthday. The reaction of the community was amazing…it always reminds me of the good people back home. Really kind of a bittersweet story to be honest.

      On another note, I went to school with a Stutzman family, and they always would joke about “calling Uncle Eli” if someone misbehaved. Kind of a morbid inside joke!

    10. Little Boy Blue

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