Two Charged With Jenkins Murder
Published: Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2012 22:03
Two people have been arrested and charged with former Lyndon State College student Melissa Jenkins’ murder.
Allen Prue, 30, and his wife Patricia Prue, 33, plead not guilty to second-degree murder and improper disposal of a body.
According to police, Allen Prue confessed to the murder and told police he and his wife strangled Jenkins, took her back to their house, stripped her, covered her in bleach and dumped her body into the Connecticut River.
The killing of Melissa Jenkins has had an impact on both teachers and students at LSC.
Jenkins, 33, graduated from LSC in 2003 with a degree in natural science and geology and was teaching science at St. Johnsbury Academy.
People that knew her used similar words to describe her: positive, social, helpful, and caring.
LSC Senior Marc Samson graduated from SJA in 2008 and took basic science and accelerated physics classes taught by Jenkins. He remembers what he thought when he heard the news of Jenkins’ disappearance.
“I was just hoping that nothing this bad could have happened,” he said. “It’s the Northeast Kingdom. Nothing like this happens. When I found out that she was murdered, I didn’t know how to deal with the thought.”
Samson, who is the photo editor for the Critic and an English major, said that Jenkins almost convinced him to major in physics.
“I just remember how easy going she was,” he said. “How easy it was to learn from her. She just broke everything down and if you didn’t understand she helped you by thoroughly explaining things.”
LSC Junior Crystal Reed, who graduated from SJA in 2009 and was also a student of Jenkins’, agrees that Jenkins changed Reed’s view on science.
“She was really fun, really social, and really laid-back,” Reed said. “She was a really nice teacher and I hated Physics. I thought I was going to do horrible, but she really helped. She took the time to sit down and explain everything step by step and she never lost her patience.”
Associate professor of geology Alison Lathrop, one of Jenkins’ former teachers at LSC, said that Jenkins was the kind of student who was always positive.
“She was a ray of sunshine,” Lathrop said. “She was the kind of student with a future, a career that we like to hope we are helping to achieve. She had every characteristic to be a fine scientist.”
Lathrop said that even though Jenkins had moved on to a career, she still had an influence on Lathrop’s courses and teaching.
“(Jenkins) is responsible for one of the highlights of my intro geology course,” she said. “As students find over the years, there’s a movie about the eventual eruption of Yellowstone and it always takes people back and they never forget it. She sent me that movie a couple of years after she graduated and I would have never discovered it otherwise. I was always grateful for that.”
Lathrop was driving home from Maine when she heard the news about Jenkins going missing on the radio.
“My concern was quite personal,” she said, adding that some of her own students at LSC were helping Jenkins’ high school students in science. “It’s a huge, huge impact on the community.”
Lathrop said that she has had students come to her saying they could not come to class because they were dealing with Jenkins’ death.
“It’s a time of self-reflection,” she said. “It’s such a shock when things like this happen in your own circle. So many people know each other; so many people are from here. It’s a thing that happened with no reason. I’ve never had anyone I’ve known…go in this way. I’m still testing what that feels like. Those who are close and have had her for a teacher recently, are going to be devastated.”