Single Mom Schoolteacher Taken And Killed In A Murderous Would-Be Menage A Trois

Melissa Jenkins caught the eye of Allen and Patricia Prue, a couple wrapped up in a deadly romantic fantasy.

When Melissa Jenkins, a 33-year-old beloved schoolteacher in rural Vermont, went missing, shocks of anxiety and grief ran through her community. Her body was found on March 26, 2012, one day after her unharmed 2-year-old son was found in her idling SUV, with Melissa nowhere in sight, according to CBS Boston.

The death of Melissa Jenkins, who taught science and coached girls’ basketball at the prestigious St. Johnsbury Academy, was quickly ruled a homicide.

Melissa’s ex-boyfriend gave the police a lead: she had told him that someone who used to plow her driveway called her for roadside help, and she had been on her way to them. Allen Prue, a local jack-of-all-trades, had plowed Melissa Jenkins’ driveway and even once asked her out on a date, the ex-boyfriend told authorities.

The truth quickly came out: Allen and Patricia Prue had called Melissa from a remote road from a burner phone, and after she arrived — she was known for her kindness — Allen Prue grabbed and strangled her. They took her in the backseat of the car, where Patricia Prue also strangled Jenkins.

After determining she had died, the couple wrapped her body in a tarp, and after removing her clothes, doused her body in bleach to remove any evidence. They dumped her body into the water of the Connecticut River, and burned the tarp and clothes in New Hampshire across the state border.

When Melissa’s body was recovered, it told a gruesome story, punctuated by bruises and contusions. “There were indications that she suffered greatly,” said detective Matt Nally on the latest episode of “Killer Couples.” She died by strangulation, a Vermont medical examiner determined.

Patricia, 33, and Allen Prue, 30, were arrested days after her body was found and held on charges of second-degree murder, CBS Boston reported.

So why did this seemingly random neighborhood couple come together to hurt her?

An Internet Match

Allen Prue, as his mother Donna described him on “Killer Couples,” was a “good boy” who “never got into trouble.”

Describing him as a fixer-upper, Donna Prue said that her son Allen was always a good member of their close-knit family. “When his father got sick, he was there to take care of him, and once he passed away, he promised dad that he’d always be home to watch over me.”

Allen Prue met his future wife Patricia through online dating, after starting an account in the summer of 2008. They connected long distance, and after Allen picked Patricia up from her home in Long Island for what was supposed to be a two-week visit, they quickly became serious.

After they married, Patricia, who is bisexual, and Allen sought to explore their sexual horizons. 

“Patricia had a hold on Allen from the start, but Allen was a little apprehensive to jump in to this multiple partner lifestyle, but Patricia sold it,” reporter Hannah McDonald told “Killer Couples.”

They turned to the Internet yet again, this time looking for a third, who they would bring to Patricia’s camper for threesomes.

Aside from this, Patricia and Allen had a relatively conventional marriage, it would seem. Patricia helped Allen with his paperwork for his plowing business — which is how Allen met Melissa Jenkins in the winter of 2010.

Eyes On The Neighbor

“She gave them attention, and I don't think that that's something that they received from a lot of people in the town,” recalled Hannah McDonald in “Killer Couples,” remarking on how Melissa, beyond being a nice neighbor, was also a doting mother. “Melissa and her son were the picture of happiness, and Allen and Patricia wanted to start a family.”

The line between aspiration and attraction was crossed, however.

Prosecution alleged that the Prues had “hunted” down Melissa Jenkins because that Sunday night, as Allen Prue told the police, he wanted to “get a girl,” though he claimed he hadn’t planned on it being “forcefully,” according to CBS Boston.

But Jean-Paul Sinclair, of the state police, speculated to “Killer Couples” that it was “their desire to go out and kidnap a woman to have a sexual encounter with.”

Fingers Pointed

Their immediate compatibility and love was tested in the aftermath of their crime: Patricia Prue first said she had nothing to do with the murder, until computer records showed that she had searched “how to kidnap a girl,” while the Prues had also acquired a stun gun and a prepaid cellphone from which Patricia called Melissa for help that fateful night, reported the Burlington Free Press.

During the trial, Allen Prue, turning on his prior confession, said he was not guilty. Though serving a life sentence, he appealed his conviction to the Vermont Supreme Court, according to the Burlington Free Press.

"The one thing I am guilty of is bringing the person who committed this crime to Vermont, and for that, I'm truly sorry,” said Allen Prue during his sentencing in December of 2014, referencing his wife Patricia Prue, on whom he and his mother pinned the blame.

Patricia Prue was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole after she pled guilty to charges of aggravated attempted murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy. During her sentencing, she not only apologized that “it ever happened at all,” she also signaled shame about Allen Prue’s behavior.

"I want to apologize personally for the fact that my husband wasn't a strong enough human being to admit his wrongs and be able to take his rightful punishment willingly," said Patricia.

Meanwhile, Allen Prue is serving life in prison for attempted kidnapping concurrent with a sentence of 50 years to life for first degree murder and a five-year sentence for conspiracy to commit murder. 

[Photo: AP Photo/Pool, Caledonian Record, Michael Beniash]

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