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For week ended March 26, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 29Mar00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Man Killed In Arlington Texas Hotel Room
Arlington TX Morning News 24Mar00 P2
By Nancy Calaway / Arlington Morning News

ARLINGTON, TEXAS -- An LDS man, reportedly a counselor in the bishopric of his ward, was discovered dead, bound and gagged in a North Arlington, Texas hotel room Wednesday, March 22nd, the apparent victim of a random robbery attempt. Robert Neal Allen, 44, was a Federal Aviation Administration inspector from Ypsilanti, Michigan who was in Texas on business. Police have no suspects in the murder. A hotel housekeeper at the Fairfield Inn discovered his body.

"The investigators are trying to talk to employees and guests at the hotel, look at his phone records and recreate his last few hours," said Sgt. James Hawthorne, a Police Department spokesman. "They'll take all that and put it together and see what develops, but it takes time to do that." So far, police have no indication that Allen knew anyone in Texas. Some personal items were taken from his hotel room, but police have refused to disclose the kind of property that was taken. His rental car was also discovered and searched by police.

Allen had traveled to Texas on a Kitty Hawk International plane, and was scheduled to take a return flight on the same carrier, a freight airline. As an inspector, Allen's duties involved monitoring electronic equipment on planes. The flight to and from Texas was part of his normal duties.

"We are all very shocked and very grieved by this," said John Clabes, an FAA spokesman of the agency's Oklahoma City, Okla. regional office. "I don't know of anytime something like this has happened. It's pretty shocking when it happens while he is doing his job." FAA employees are shocked at Allen's death. "This was a regular inspection and a normal job duty," Mr. Clabes said. "This job takes people to all parts of the country."

Allen's family expressed shock at the murder to the Ann Arbor News, "It was just a total, total shock," said Liz Engstrom, Allen's sister-in-law. "He was just doing his job." Allen lived with his wife and three of their five children in Pittsfield Township. His elderly mother, Laura Allen, lived with them. Two additional children are college students in Utah.

Allen was first counselor in the bishopric of the Huron Valley Ward. "You never saw this man without a smile on his face," said Wendy Ulrich, a family friend and church member. "He was a very gentle, warm human being."

Coincidentally, Weber State University basketball coach Joe Cravens, in Texas on a recruiting trip, was staying a few doors away from Allen's hotel room at the time of the murder. "The maid was cleaning the room as I left," said Mr. Cravens. "I may not stay here tonight. I've been coaching college basketball and traveling for 25 years, and I've never stayed in a hotel where there's been a murder the night I stayed in it. I haven't decided if that makes me nervous."

Allen was hired by the FAA after he retired from the U.S. Navy after 20 years of service.

See also:

Federal employee found bound, dead in hotel room
Arlington TX Morning News 23Mar00 P2
By Nancy Calaway: Arlington Morning News

Man found slain in Texas hotel
Ann Arbor MI News 24Mar00 P2
By Mary Morgan: News Staff Reporter
Investigators say robbery may have been motive in attack

Allen, Robert Neal, Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor MI News 25Mar00 P2


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