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'Madam Mayhem': Joyce McKinney, former Miss Wyoming, who became obsessed with the Mormon Kirk Anderson.

‘Madam Mayhem’: Joyce McKinney, former Miss Wyoming, who became obsessed with the Mormon Kirk Anderson. “For Kirk, I would have skied down in the nude with a carnation up my nose…”

 ‘Madam Mayhem’

A Tawdry Tale 

The Surreal Life of Joyce McKinney

The story of Joyce McKinney and the Manacled Mormon sounds like a Quentin Tarantino film or an episode of South Park. It’s almost unbelievable that the story actually happened; that it wasn’t something that was made up by the National Enquirer or the Globe like all those Big Foot sightings or Bat Boy. They say that truth is stranger than fiction and it is certainly true in this bizarre story of one beauty queen’s obsessive love for a Mormon missionary. In McKinney’s version she was just trying to save the man she loved from the mind-bending control of a religious cult.

A brief affair with a religious man in the 1970s, led the former Miss Wyoming Pageant winner to embark on a cross-continent journey involving kidnapping at gunpoint, sexual assault and solicitations for tabloid and movie offers. Joyce McKinney dated Kirk Anderson for a brief period of time when she was 25 years old, an affair Anderson ended quickly over religious beliefs. Anderson was so wracked with guilt that he actually moved to England, which didn’t deter the obsessive McKinney at all.

After hiring a Private Investigator to track her lover down, McKinney crossed the pond, had an accomplice kidnap him at gunpoint and take him to the home she was renting, where she proceeded to chain him to a bed and rape him for days. Anderson only escaped his chains after agreeing to marry McKinney. Instead, he reported his ordeal to the cops. Though arrested, McKinney jumped bail and wound up in Canada. She tried to sell her story in Atlanta, and ultimately couldn’t resist following Anderson to Utah, where she was arrested.

In 1977, the young Mormon missionary named Kirk Anderson was abducted by an unknown woman from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Ewell, Surrey. A few days later, he returned claiming he was kidnapped by a woman named Joyce McKinney, a young woman who was crowned Miss Wyoming, who attempted to seduce him and rape him while he lay bound on a bed.


After McKinney was arrested, the case was dubbed “The Mormon sex in chains case.” It was shocking and absurd for the time period as well.

It was a time when sensationalistic crimes of passion were so much more innocent. Joyce McKinney steadfastly insists she always acted like a proper young woman during her English sojourn, even when evidence of her lurid past came to light. Regardless of her Clintonesque definitions of propriety, it is safe to say McKinney is kind of a nut. Her love and madness become indistinguishable.

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As the 1972 Miss World-Wyoming with a genius level IQ, McKinney should have had her pick of men. For some reason, perhaps his upright upbringing, she chose Kirk Anderson, a rather doughy looking Mormon. One would have thought the schlubby guy would have been thrilled be involved with a former beauty queen, but it seems Anderson picked up on something in McKinney so unsettling, he up and left on his British missionary trip without a word of warning. However, as a young red-blooded American woman, McKinney was not about to let a few trivialities like an ocean and unequivocal rejection stand between her and her man.

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In what became the crime of the century of the 1970’s, McKinney and her loyal co-conspirator Keith May stalked and abducted Anderson, so she could chain him up and whisper sweet nothings in his ear. Apparently, Anderson was allowed to freely walk away from the bizarre captivity, but he has since shunned all publicity, including interview requests, so many of the details remain hazy. However, the story really started getting weird once the British press dug into her case. She even sparked rivalry between tabloids, with one hyping her as-told-to story, while another dug up a treasure trove of Betty Page-esque photos that McKinney argues are not necessarily untoward (but perhaps a tad embarrassing). She even has a final epilogue of oddness that fittingly caps an epic of eccentricity.
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McKinney is the ultimate unreliable witness, clearly living in her own version of reality, and it is possible that she could casually explain away murder. As such, when McKinney was first charged with these crimes back in the day, she was the perfect fodder for the tabloids. As The Daily Mirror and The Daily Express tried to outdo each other for scoops, all manner of nude photos and S & M stories began to surface of the former beauty queen. In a time prior to the Internet, it was exactly what the Fleet Street rags needed to sell copies, and McKinney’s own spiralling descent into lies and obfuscation. Or are they?

As strange as it sounds, this is all just the beginning of the story, and the years that follow take McKinney’s saga in bizarre directions, from bondage dens to cloning.

Through the layers of McKinney’s life, we are led to a South Korean scientist who has managed to master the art of cloning dogs, the story touches on the broader implications of living in an age where average people’s entire personal lives are played out in a very public forum, and the “truth” of the tale is almost secondary to these troubling trends.

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In the mid-1970s, Joyce McKinney fell in love with and was set to marry Kirk Anderson. It would seem like a perfectly fitting relationship for the decade of Love, American Style, if not for two things: Kirk Anderson was a Mormon about to serve a mission overseas, and Joyce McKinney was an adult model. When Anderson “vanished,” in McKinney’s words, she tracked his missionary work to England and spared no expense to find him, hiring bodyguards and a pilot for a trip overseas to bring him back.

Once McKinney and her entourage arrived in England, the story broke off into two versions of the truth: It’s he said, she said. She said Anderson came with her willingly, and they made sweet love for days and days in a country cottage, emerging just long enough to drive back into London to get married. He said he was forcibly abducted, chained to a bed and repeatedly raped, finally escaping her clutches when they drove back into London. It became known as the “Manacled Mormon” case, and McKinney became the subject of a very public trial.

Owing to how little things have changed since then, McKinney’s tabloid infamy—multiplied exponentially in the gossip-addicted United Kingdom—made her a celebrity, and she showed up at film premieres and partied with the biggest British stars of the day.

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In Kirk Anderson’s more horrific tale, McKinney held him hostage for 3 days in a remote Devon cottage, chained him to a bed, and forced him to have sex with her.

It’s clear that McKinney is bat crazy, and not just because she actually had her dog cloned. Her story goes far beyond just the kidnapping; it involves bondage photos, and the kind of ingenuity that comes straight out of an episode of Mission Impossible or Covert Affairs. McKinney clearly missed her calling. She should have joined the FBI or the CIA, although I doubt she would have passed the psychological exam. On camera, she comes across as a nice, Southern girl who fell in love, only to have her love whisked across the country to keep him from her.

Born in 1949, Joyce grew up in a small town Minneapolis, North Carolina, the only child of indulgent teacher parents. With a reported IQ of 168, Joyce went through an accelerated program at her high school. Full of energy, she was a cheerleader and a drum majorette. She graduated with both a Bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee University and a Master’s Degree in Drama from the University of North Carolina It was while living with a Mormon family during college that she converted to the Church of Latter Day Saints.

According to Joyce, they convinced her that it would be a way for her to meet good, decent marriage-oriented young men. But Joyce was also obsessed with beauty pageants, she decided to move to Wyoming to try her luck in a less populated and competitive state. She achieved her goal, becoming Miss Wyoming World in 1974, and competing in the Miss USA pageant. One has to wonder what her life had been like if she had won! Instead, Joyce moved to Utah to go to graduate school at Brigham Young University in Provo. With her best friend, Joyce would cruise the local pizza parlor and ice cream shop for men. Her first dream was to marry one of the Osmond brothers, the pride of the Mormon Church. She set her sights on Wayne Osmond, but Mama Olive put the kibosh on that relationship, steering her son to another beauty queen who was less obvious.

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Not long after, Joyce met the man of her dreams, 19 year old janitor’s son Kirk Anderson. Anderson who stood 6 foot four was, shy and six years younger. According to Joyce, their first meeting was like something out of American Graffiti. Apparently Joyce had an orange corvette while Kirk had a white one. They agreed to race. According to Joyce, it was love at first sight. By their third date they were naming their children. They had a brief affair, losing their virginities, but Kirk was overcome with guilt at breaking the no pre-marital sex rule. Mama Anderson also didn’t approve of this older woman who was hanging around her son. Joyce claimed that she became pregnant but later miscarried. He went for advice to his bishop who arranged for him to go on a mission. While Kirk later admitted that he and Joyce did have a relationship, he denied that they were ever engaged.

Appalled at the Church’s reaction, Joyce turned her back on Mormonism but she was not about to give up on the man of her dreams. The Church moved Anderson to California and then to Oregon, Joyce in hot pursuit. Finally the church sent Anderson overseas to England. Since the church wouldn’t tell Joyce where he was, she would just have to find him herself. However private detectives cost money so Joyce started working as what they jokingly call a ‘glamour’ model, posing for bondage photos, and apparently also working as call girl performing BDSM and oral sex. If a client wanted intercourse, Joyce had an associate, a Russian student named Laura who was available. Looking at photos of Joyce at the time, one can see why she would be a popular model. While not conventionally pretty, she had an outstanding figure, and a sparkling personality. For two years she worked to pay for a private detective agency in England who discovered Anderson working at a church in the Surrey village of Ewell. Joyce set off in hot pursuit with her accomplice, a guy named Keith May who was just as besotted with Joyce as she was with Kirk.

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Joyce and Keith flew to England using false passports in the names of Kathie Vaughn-Bare and Paul van Deusen, armed with fake pistols, chloroform, cinnamon flavoured rubbing oil, and fur-lined handcuffs.

So, accompanied by a bodybuilder ‘bodyguard’ she’d hired from a Los Angeles gym, a pilot and devoted friend May, they flew on a commercial flight to Britain in the autumn of 1977.

The pilot, Jackson Shaw, recalls being ‘impressed’ by McKinney’s ‘outstanding figure’, particularly when she wore a see-through blouse and no bra at their first meeting. ‘She had this strange wig she called Matilda which she wore whenever we went out,’ he adds.

But Shaw and the bodybuilder bailed out of the adventure when they saw the fake gun and chloroform which Joyce had brought with her, realising this was not the ‘rescue’ mission she had described.

Renting a cottage in Okehampton, Joyce, and May drove to Ewell. On September 14, 1977, May engaged Anderson in conversation under the guise of a potential convert.

He invited Anderson to join him in his car to point out the way to the local Mormon headquarters. Pulling out the fake gun, May forced Anderson into the back seat where he chloroformed him.

With Anderson — 6ft 4in tall and 17st — lying in the back quaking under a blanket, they drove to the cottage.

At the cottage, McKinney had cooked all of Kirk’s favourite foods, including fried chicken, mashed potatoes and chocolate cake, the bed made up blue silk sheets to match his eyes, and with Anderson’s initials on them.

After dinner May chained Anderson to the bed, spread-eagled, with a 10ft chain and left them alone for the night. As a gift Joyce presented Kirk with a £1,000 ring and offered to give him a back rub with the cinnamon oil to relax him. He consented and the next part gets a little dicey.

Joyce claims that she ripped off his sacred Mormon underwear and burned it. “There was only one way to make Kirk get out of Mormonism, and that was to make love to him…..because for a Mormon missionary to have a love affair is totally taboo.” In other words, she planned to —-  the Mormon out of him. She claims that she never raped him, believing that it is impossible for a woman to rape a man, she argued, observing crudely: ‘It’s like trying to put a marshmallow into a parking meter.’
In fact, she says that tying him up was to help him overcome his sexual inhibitions. Kirk Anderson admitted in court that he and Joyce had sex more than once during the 3 days that he was incarcerated but he claimed that she forced him by performing oral sex until he was aroused. In Joyce’s version, after Kirk promised to marry her, they released him, brought him back to London where they had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. After dinner, Kirk told Joyce that he was going to the Mormon Tabernacle just to assure them that he was okay.

Anderson however claims that he escaped and went to the police on September 17, 1977. Three days after he went to the police, Joyce and May was arrested were in a sting operation (Kirk had arranged to meet Joyce). Joyce later claimed that the cops had been bribed by the Mormons to arrest them. Since Anderson has refused to speak about that time, and has not been interviewed, we only have Joyce’s side of the story. She believes that the Mormons pressured Kirk to claim that he had been kidnapped. Joyce and Keith May were charged with forcible abduction, false imprisonment, assault, & possession of imitation firearms with criminal intent.

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Joyce McKinney's arrest picture from Salt Lake County Sheriff's office. Joyce was arrested for kidnapping and holding hostage Kirk Anderson, who she claimed was her lover.

Joyce McKinney’s arrest picture from Salt Lake County Sheriff’s office. Joyce was arrested for kidnapping and holding hostage Kirk Anderson, who she claimed was her lover.

McKinney was arrested, and the case was dubbed "The Mormon sex in chains case." It was shocking and absurd for the time period as well.

McKinney was arrested, and the case was dubbed “The Mormon sex in chains case.” It was shocking and absurd for the time period as well.

Joyce was sent to Holloway prison for three months to await trial. At the hearing, Joyce’s lawyer claimed that his client lived in fear of the Mormon Church.

The story became a jaw-dropping saga of sexual obsession.

McKinney’s first court appearance was a melee, the media gratefully leaping on her comment to the judge that she loved Anderson so much she ‘would have skied down Mount Everest nude with a carnation up my nose for the love of that man’.

Although Joyce wasn’t allowed to testify, she did give an hour long statement in court, giving her side of the story. After claiming it was Kirk’s choice to be tied up since that was the only way he could respond sexually, she told the court that he had strung her along with promises of love and marriage. He was no longer worthy of her “eternal love.” She pleaded with the court to release her to get counselling to help her get over Kirk’s betrayal. While the court decided to prosecute, Joyce was released on bail, for fear of her mental health.

Joyce became the darling of the tabloid press who fell over themselves to write stories about the case once she asked for the court to lift the restrictions on what they could print. Britain at the time was in the middle of a recession, and the story of the buxom blonde obsessional love for a Mormon missionary held audiences enthralled for over a year. Britain hadn’t seen anything like this since the Profumo Affair in the early 1960’s. To some, Joyce was the embodiment of the wronged woman, to others she was a manipulative drama queen, who used men for her own ends, and changed identities at will. Joyce knew how to play to a crowd. In the van on the way to court, she pressed an open bible to the window with a message, “HE HAD SEX WITH ME FOR FOUR DAYS. PELASE GET THE TRUTH TO THE PUBLIC. HE MADE IT LOOK LIKE A KIDNAPPING.” The tabloid press ate it up. She even took out ads in Daily Variety announcing that she was writing a book as well as a screenplay based on her case.

The tabloid press whisked her off to parties where she met members of the Rolling Stones and the Bee Gees. She went to the premieres of Saturday Night Fever and the Joan Collins/Jackie Collins boink fest The Stud where she managed to upstage the star in a slinky halter dress! It somehow never occurred to her that her hobnobbing with stars and partying might hurt her case. And then, wearing disguises, Joyce and Keith May jumped bail, fleeing to the US via Canada on false passports, pretending to be deaf-mutes. “I left, I didn’t flee,” she insists. Joyce was tried in absentia and given a one-year prison sentence. However, no effort was made to extradite her back to the UK. The aborted trial ended up costing the UK £100,000.

Not content to be out of the public eye, Joyce decided to sell her story to a British tabloid, The Daily Express for £40,000 which was about $80,000 at the time. The journalist who was sent to meet her described in Tabloid how Joyce and Keith May wore various disguises to meet with him, including dressing up as a Native American. Joyce represented her story as that of a Princess going to great lengths to rescue her Prince. Unfortunately for Joyce, the Daily Mirror dredged up the bondage photos and adverts that revealed her past as a ‘glamour’ model and call girl. They did discover that she managed to confine her sexual exploits to oral sex. When the story was made public, Joyce denied the story. To this day, she claims that the pictures were fabricated. Despite these revelations, Joyce never gave up on her pursuit of Kirk Anderson.

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But then she disappeared. While no one heard much from McKinney for years, it was a story that kept giving.

In 1984, she was arrested for stalking him outside the office where he worked in Utah. Police reportedly found chains and handcuffs in the boot of her car, suggesting she was hoping to repeat her sexually motivated kidnapping.

Anderson, who works as either a real estate or a travel agent, prefers to forget that those 3 days ever happened. Apparently his story is used as a cautionary tale for Mormon males as to what can happen if they get caught up with a predatory female.

Since then Joyce made headlines in 2007 when it was revealed that she had gone to South Korea and spent $25,000 to clone her dog Booger. At first, she insisted that she wasn’t Joyce McKinney but Bernann McKinney. Eventually she admitted the truth. How she has supported herself over the years is also a mystery. Now in her sixties, she seems never to have held a job, and the memoir that she claims to be writing has never been published. She’s never married, maybe a part of her is still pining for Kirk Anderson and what might have been. At one point in she compared herself to Anderson’s wife, claiming that they found him a ‘fat wife.’ According to some, she lives off her elderly father.

Joyce McKinney (left) and Errol Morris. The director is set to face off in court against Joyce McKinney, who claims he tricked her into an interview that she believed would clear her name.

Joyce McKinney (left) and Errol Morris. The director is set to face off in court against Joyce McKinney, who claims he tricked her into an interview that she believed would clear her name.

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No more beauty queen: Joyce McKinney is pictured here leaving a veterinarian hospital in 1999 in North Carolina.

No more beauty queen: Joyce McKinney is pictured here leaving a veterinarian hospital in 1999 in North Carolina.

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The revival of interest in the story led the documentary filmmaker Errol Morris to produce his 2010 film, Tabloid, based on the media sensation surrounding the story. The film gives extra details, from press reports of the day and from participants in the story, to the use of a (possibly fake) gun during Anderson’s abduction, and Anderson being tied up during his alleged rape by McKinney.The film also gives further details regarding McKinney’s work as a call girl, earning funds for her team’s international adventure by offering bondage and S&M services around the time she became obsessed with Anderson.

Errol Morris, was to square off with the one time Miss Wyoming, claiming Morris and the producers of Tabloid tricked her into giving an interview for the film, believing it would clear her name, but which only made her look even crazier.

‘They offered me £45,000 (about $65,000) to settle, and I told them they could kiss my butt,’ McKinney told The Hollywood Reporter.

‘They made millions off me. I’m going to take it all the way to the end. I want my day in court.’ McKinney is suing for breach of contract, fraud, and the infliction of emotional distress.

Partially blind, she claims that the filmmakers broke into her home and stole photos and footage. She also claims they forced her to sign release papers, threatening to kill her guide dog if she refused. Her case is based around the argument that Tabloid portrayed her as a prostitute.

The defendants told THR that McKinney cannot demonstrate she was damaged.

‘The evidence will show that Plaintiff willingly — in fact, eagerly — participated in the lengthy interview that is featured in the film,’ states the defendants’ trial memo. There were also allegations that she was told to sign a release under the threat that her dog would be killed if she didn’t.

Some of the claims were trimmed by the trial judge and upheld on appeal, but until recently, a Feb. 29 2016, trial date was on the calendar.

McKinney, however, split from her attorney, and under some personal hardships, had trouble getting her affairs in order during some of the pre-trial events. On Feb. 1, a judge dismissed the case for lack of prosecution.

If reality TV had existed in the 1970’s, Joyce could have parlayed her 15 minutes of fame into a lucrative career as a contestant on Celebrity Big Brother. She might have had a clothing line or even a fragrance, made millions from a sex tape, although Calvin Klein already owns the right to the name ‘Obsession.’ Instead she comes across as a rather sad and delusional figure convinced that she once lived the great American love story.

Return of Joyce, the kidnap beauty queen | World | News | Daily Express

Joyce McKinney sues Errol Morris over Tabloid | Film | The Guardian

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