SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Utah) – It was more than 40 years later that Shauna Rae Christensen learned the truth about her grandfather.

But it took another decade before her journey for information was complete.

As a child, she kept asking her mother about Grant Strong, her grandfather.

“I asked about grandpa and she said he died,” said Christensen. “He was a taxi cab driver and he got shot and killed on the job.”

But that was all she knew. In 2009, she learned for the first time how he was killed. It was a letter from the man who killed her grandfather.

Now she wanted to know more. She continued searching on the internet. Christensen never knew what her grandfather even looked like. Then she came across something on the internet.

“At first it was a shocker that it came up so quickly in Utah,” said Christensen. “It was such a bigger deal than it had ever seemed because she (mother) had said it so casually at the time.”

But Grant Strong was one of six people murdered during a 1966 crime spree by two cousins. Three others were wounded during a week-long rampage in Salt Lake county.

Walter Kelbach and Myron Lance were finally arrested after an alert patrolman made a traffic stop.

Here’s how that went down according to a story in 1966 on ABC4:
Trooper: “I went to the driver’s side where Kelbach was sitting and ordered him to put his hands upon the steering wheel. He didn’t react the first time.”
Reporter: “Where was your weapon at the time?”
Trooper: “It was on the side of his head.”

Kelbach and Lance were convicted and sentenced to die. But in 1972, their lives were spared after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the death penalty unconstitutional.

In 1992 both men appeared for a parole hearing. At the hearing, Kelbach said little. Lance was different.

Lance: “I don’t see how you can ever let me out. I think the hearing has been a waste of your time as well as mine. I see there is no possible way I’ll ever be granted a release and if I was in their (families of victims) shoes, I would feel the same way as they do.”

Their parole was denied. Both men were never released from prison. Kelbach died in 2018, Lance in 2010.

But a year before he died, Lance wrote a letter to Christensen.

“They were both very cold and were proud of what they had done,” she said. “When I received a letter it was different. But there was a sadness or a darkness. I thought I saw in him (Lance) more so than Kelbach.”

And then Christensen answered him back. That part of the story on the Justice Files, Thursday.