What happened to Mary Klatt and how did she die? ID's Murder In The Heartland explores night clerk murder

ID's latest Murder In The Heartland episode will chronicle the homicide of Mary Klatt. (Image via Facebook & IMDb)
ID's latest Murder In The Heartland episode will chronicle the homicide of Mary Klatt. (Image via Facebook & IMDb)

In the latest episode of Investigation Discovery's Murder In The Heartland, the tragic homicide of Mary Klatt will be explored in explicit detail. This true-crime episode is titled Homicide Hotel and will premiere exclusively on the platform on May 23, 2022, at 8.00 pm ET.

The upcoming episode will explore the case of hotel employee Mary, who was brutally attacked and killed while she was working overnight in the AmericInn Motel in the town of Blue Earth. The episode will also feature interviews with people involved in the 2003 case, including Mary's family, friends, police, and investigators. Here is the official synopsis of the Homicide Hotel,

"An unknown assailant strangles overnight desk clerk Mary Klatt during her shift; the town of Blue Earth, Minn., struggles with the harsh reality that someone would want to harm Mary."

Who was Mary Klatt, and how was she killed?

Mary Klatt (Image via Investigation Discovery)
Mary Klatt (Image via Investigation Discovery)

Mary Klatt was a sweet and compassionate woman who grew up in the city of Blue Earth in Faribault County, Minnesota. Initially, she worked as a teacher in Iowa, but after her father died, her mother became ill. Mary eventually returned home to Blue Earth to care for her mother.

She was 53 years old when she got a job as a night clerk at the AmericInn Motel and worked as a substitute teacher in the mornings. Mary was also engaged to marry Danny Larson at the time.

But it all fell after on the morning of May 29, 2003, when one of the motel customers called 911 at 6 am after being unable to locate the clerk. When they arrived, authorities discovered Ms. Klatt in the conference room close to the front desk.

Mary's body was lying flat on her back, with her clothes barely hanging, exposing her private parts. The motivation behind the murder didn't appear to be robbery, as there were no signs of struggle. According to autopsy reports revealed at the time, Mary Klatt was declared to have been sexually assaulted before being forcefully strangled to death after suffering several defensive injuries.

According to the motel manager, the external doors of the motel are secured at 11 pm. Guests could enter the side door with their keycard, but they had to be let in personally from the front entrance. As a result, the police suspected one of the guests of committing the crime as the death reportedly occurred between 3 and 5 am on May 29.

According to records, Mary started her daily audit at 3:12 am but never finished it. The cops discovered a nine-man construction crew from Mason City, Iowa, living at the motel while working at a local hospital.

Roger Allen Morton (Image via Investigation Discovery)
Roger Allen Morton (Image via Investigation Discovery)

Roger Allen Morton, a crew member, was questioned about his location during Mary's death. Someone reportedly called at 2:59 am on May 29, 2003, using a prepaid card from the motel lobby phone. Roger had one of those prepaid cards and phone records proving he had made the call at the suspected time.

Roger denied the claim, saying he only used the phone on the afternoon of the alleged day. Physical evidence linking him to Mary's murder helped close the case despite this. Roger's DNA matched the sperm in Mary's vagina and one of her body hairs.

Roger Allen Morton was convicted of first-degree felony murder with criminal sexual behavior and second-degree intentional murder by a jury in Faribault County in 2004. Morton was found guilty of first-degree murder and given a life sentence by the district court with no chance of parole.

Don't forget to watch the latest episode of Murder In The Heartland on Investigation Discovery this Monday, May 23, 2022, at 8.00 pm ET.

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Edited by Suchitra