You know how you watch movies about convicts in prison wanting revenge on the people that put them there? And the victims are worried that somehow the person that hurt them will get released and come after them? Well, that’s exactly what happened to rape victim Renae Wicklund. Only the second time around, Charles Campbell didn’t stop at rape, and he didn’t stop with just her.
19-year-old Renae Ahlers met her future husband, Jack Wicklund while working at a beauty parlor in Seattle, Washington. Jack was fourteen years older, divorced with two children from a previous marriage.
In 1972 they fell in love and got married. Renae got pregnant immediately and she and Jack moved into their own home, a neat one-story ranch in Clearview, Washington. The neighborhood had houses with large lots, so houses were spaced far apart. Renae got to know her next-door neighbors, and Barbara and Don Hendrickson, and they became very close friends very quickly. Don was forty-three and Barbara forty-one. They had lived in that house for 10 years and had three children—Peggy, Susan, and Dan.
Because Jack’s job required him to spend much of his time on the road, Renae spent a lot of time with the Hendricksons. In 1973, Renae give birth to a little girl she and Jack named Shannah, and Renae spent her days caring for her new baby.
On Dec. 11, 1974, it was unseasonable warm outside so Renae decided to wash her windows. She placed Shannah on a blanket in the grass and went inside to get some rags. Seemingly, out of nowhere, Renae saw a tall stranger running up her driveway at her. She lived in a deep lot, so it was a long driveway far from the road.
In a panic, Renae grabbed Shannon and ran into the house. She tried to close the door, but he was much stronger than her, and he pushed the door in. Renae could see a large knife in his hands and in an instant, he grabbed Shannah out of her arms and put a knife to the baby’s throat. He yelled “Get your clothes off right now, or I’ll kill the kid, and I mean it,” She could smell alcohol on his breath. He demanded she give him oral sex, and she of course complied. After he ejaculated, he said “thanks” to Renae and he left.
Renae Wicklund immediately ran over Barbara Hendrickson’s house, and Barbara got out her shotgun. They locked the doors and called the police.
Renae Wicklund described her attacker as being 6-feet-5 with distinctive bushy, reddish hair. Given his stature and his bushy red hair, it was really easy for Renae to identify him in a police lineup. Charles Campbell was a stranger to the police.
In 1976, Charles was tried for the rape of Renae. Both Renae and her neighbor Barbara Hendrickson testified against him. A jury found him guilty and Charles Campbell was sentenced to a total of 45 years in prison.
Unbeknownst to Renae and Barbara, Charles Campbell was released from prison after six years. And when he got out, he sought revenge.
Listen to this true crime episode to learn about the brutal crimes that occurred after his release.