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A Husband Frantically Called To 911 To Report Finding His Wife Hanging In Their Basement, But What Really Happened?
Jimmy Allan seemed inconsolable after reporting finding his wife Amy hanging in the couple's basement, but was it a man coming to terms with the agonizing loss of his wife or was it a more calculated performance?
When a 911 call came in just before 9 p.m. on Sept. 14, 2018, the caller sounded frantic.
“My wife tried to kill herself. She’s in the f---ing basement,” Jimmy Allan screamed into the phone, according to a recording obtained by “Dateline: The Last Day,” a new series devoted to exploring victims' final hours to shed light on their deaths, available to stream on Peacock.
Jimmy went on to tell the dispatcher he had gone down into the basement of their Michigan home to find his wife, Amy Allan, hanging from an extension cord around her neck and pulled her down.
Tecumseh Police Officer BJ Horn arrived minutes later to find the house “strangely quiet.”
“It wasn’t until I yelled a couple of times, you know, ‘Police, police,’ that I heard somebody,” he said.
Jimmy screamed for help from the basement. Horn found him performing CPR on his wife, who lay motionless on the ground.
When emergency responders arrived to take over a few minutes later, Jimmy threw himself onto the basement floor, moaning loudly.
It was a dramatic departure from the scene just a few hours earlier when the couple had been captured on surveillance footage grabbing a beer together at a local pub after dropping their high school daughter and a friend off at a football game.
Investigators were left wondering what had transpired during the short window of time and whether Amy—a devoted stay-at-home mom—had tried to take her own life or whether there was a more sinister explanation.
Once Horn was able to convince Jimmy to move to the kitchen so paramedics could continue to work on his wife, Jimmy said the couple had been “irritated” with each other after getting home from the bar and that Amy had gone down to the basement alone.
“I went back down and check on her and she’s f---king—f---king hanging from a goddamn extension cord,” he said, adding that his wife had no known history of mental health issues.
Jimmy, who continued to loudly moan and sob in the kitchen, insisted her death had been a suicide.
From the outside, he appeared to be the picture of a grieving husband and Detective Sgt. Larry Rothman with the Michigan State Police remembered he initially said it “sounds like a suicide to me” when he heard about the tragic case.
But there were some troubling aspects to the death. Horn would later say there had been no tears during Jimmy’s dramatic display in the kitchen and he had seemed surprised when a paramedic rushed through the room and said that Amy was still alive and was “fighting.”
“Dude, what in the f---ing hell?” Jimmy responded.
When he later recounted what happened to investigators, Jimmy said he and Amy had dropped their daughter and her friend at a game at the high school around 6:30 p.m. that night and then headed to that local bar, where they argued about their plans for the future.
Although the couple had moved to Michigan from Florida only a year earlier, Jimmy said he had talked about selling the house and moving somewhere else, possibly North Carolina. He said that Amy hadn’t been on board with the plan and told him, “Well, I hope that works out for you.”
The tensions continued to rise and the couple left the bar just before 8 p.m. Amy was captured walking home on a surveillance camera at 7:51 p.m., while Jimmy drove home.
Once back at home, Jimmy said his wife and had gone into the basement while he went to watch TV. He went to check on her once, but said she started to swear at him and he went back upstairs around 8:15 p.m.
He said he realized they’d need to pick up their daughter and went back down again around 8:40 p.m. and found Amy hanging from the ceiling with an extension cord.
But the story didn’t sit right with Amy’s family, who were initially told by Jimmy’s father that Amy had died even though at the time she was still alive and on life support at an Ann Arbor hospital.
“We were just told that she was dead. End of story and that was after 14 hours, after everyone else knew about it,” her sister Heather Krug told reporter Stephanie Gosk. “You know, when there’s an emergency, you know, you call.”
The family rushed to the hospital and was able to make it in time to say their final goodbyes before Amy was taken off life support and died, but they were angry they hadn’t been notified about Amy’s condition earlier.
They described Jimmy as someone who had been extremely controlling of the shy and quiet Amy. The pair began to date while attending high school in Florida.
Her mom, Jeanne Winchester, said she believed her daughter had initially been attracted to Jimmy because he accepted her complicated past. Amy had given birth to her first child in the eighth grade after getting pregnant at the age of 13.
At the age of 19, she got pregnant again with Jimmy’s child and they raised the two children together.
“Jimmy was always a good hard worker and a good provider for them. She stayed home as a mother and a wife,” Jeanne said. “Part of it, I think, was Jimmy not wanting her to get out into the working world.”
According to Jeanne, Jimmy’s grip on Amy grew as the relationship continued. Amy would have to check with Jimmy before agreeing to go lunch with her family and everyone living in their household had to adhere to strict rules.
“There was just a bunch of little rules that I had to follow. We couldn’t eat without asking. We basically had to ask to do anything,” Amy’s son Caleb Winchester recalled, adding that he was often forced to stare at a wall for hours as punishment in the home.
Her family said Jimmy ultimately forced her to cut off all contact with a then-teenage Caleb, who had moved out at 17 years old to live with his grandparents.
Michigan authorities continued to work Amy’s case and discovered some disturbing evidence.
They learned that Amy had a secret of her own and had been having an online affair with a man named George for three years—a man she had been texting with at the bar the last night of her life.
“It was fairly significant amount of communication between them and we also learned that they had met up a couple of times,” prosecuting attorney Angie Borders said, adding that she had been a “completely different” and positive person when she talked to George.
Investigators initially believed Jimmy may have discovered the relationship that night and lashed out in anger, but when they confronted him in an interrogation room, he seemed to be genuinely surprised by the revelation insisting his wife didn’t have “the capacity to do that.”
Authorities were also troubled by the physical evidence at the scene. Jimmy had said his wife had been hanging off the ground from an extension cord, but the ceilings in the basement were extremely low.
“With the extension cord and the height of this basement, it just didn’t add up that she could have hung herself in the way it was described by Mr. Allan,” Rothman said.
Tests using the same type of extension cord confirmed Rothman’s suspicions and found that even if Amy had been hanging, the cord would have stretched and her feet would have hit the ground.
A pathologist who looked at the reports concluded that Amy’s death was likely a homicide and authorities arrested Jimmy.
Although he continued to proclaim his innocence and even had the support of the couple’s daughter, who testified on his behalf, a jury determined in September 2021 that Jimmy was guilty of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to 20 to 45 years in prison.
"Dateline: The Last Day" is available to stream on Peacock, with new episodes dropping Tuesdays.