Traveling with Twain

In Search of America's Identity

Visiting the Matthew Shepard murder site, 13 years later

After Matthew Shepard’s bloodied and frozen body was found tied to a buck fence on October 7, 1998, the city of Laramie, Wyo., changed the names of the streets.

On a wintry day, at the intersection of Pilot Peak and Snowy View Roads, the sky and the snow-covered ground appeared to have no boundary in the Equality State. The desolation of the place 13 years after the murder could be felt despite the houses in the distance.

At 21, Matthew Shepard, 5’2” and 102 lbs, met two Laramie men who were pretending to be gay at a local bar. Planning to rob Shepard, Aaron McKinney, 22, and Russell Henderson, 21, held their victim at gunpoint and took his wallet containing $20. After driving Shepard away from Laramie and tying him to a fence in an isolated area, the two men continued to beat him and finally left him to die.

18 hours later, a cyclist found Shepard’s body. The police officer who responded to the 911 call testified, “Though his face was caked in blood, his face was clean where streaks of tears had washed the blood away.”

Due to the efforts of resistant residents, there is no marker or memorial in Laramie to commemorate Shepard’s murder.

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One thought on “Visiting the Matthew Shepard murder site, 13 years later

  1. Bob on said:

    I was wondering — where did you find the location of his murder? I’m trying to track down the original street names, as I understand they were changed after the fact.