On March 5, 1993, 12-year-old Rick Ennis was walking at night on a dark Alabama highway near Montgomery. He had just crashed the family car on the side of the road, against a fence, and was walking home.

Then John Clark, then an Alabama state trooper, met with Ennis, who, unbeknownst to him, killed his parents.

Rick Ennis spoke exclusively to 48 Hours’ Peter Van Sant about his parents’ murder and his friend’s disappearance years later. Laurie Slesinski, Art “A man with a past”, airs Saturdays at 10pm on CBS and broadcast on Paramount +.

Van Sant also interviewed Clark, who said he’ll never forget the night he responded to the crash and spotted Ennis in the headlights of his marked police car.

Daryl Richard “Rick” Ennis

Alana Atkinson

“When my headlights look at the curve, I see it looks like a boy with a backpack,” Clark recalls.

Clark said Ennis admitted to driving the wrecked car and allowed Clark to search his backpack.

“The first thing I pull out is a kitchen knife,” Clark said. “At the bottom of the bag are 12-gauge and 22-gauge cartridges.”

He recalled putting a young Ennis in the back seat of his patrol car, at first thinking Ennis would get in trouble with his parents for taking the car for the ride.

But when Clark began asking Ennis questions, Ennis told the now-retired state trooper something unimaginable.

“I asked, ‘Where are your parents?’ Clark recalls, “He looks back at me and says, ‘I killed them both. . . . No tears, no emotion, nothing.’

Clark says the admission set in motion a series of actions that culminated with local Montgomery police entering Ennis’ home, where they discovered the bodies of his mother, Dolly, and stepfather, Eddie Joe Flowers. The couple met in church and were married for only 10 months.

Eddie Joe and Dolly Flowers
Rick Ennis confessed to shooting his mother, Dolly, and his stepfather, Eddie Joe Flowers.

Angela Flowers

Ennis admitted to first shooting his mother in the face and then beating her to death, authorities said. He said he then shot his stepfather, firing the gun in the face when he returned home from work. At the time, Ennis told investigators he killed his parents because he was angry that they were planning to move. Investigators also said he lived with their bodies for two days while continuing to go to school. And during a search of the home, police also found what they describe as a “case” list that included the murders of his three half-sisters.

Under Alabama law, Ennis served nine years in a juvenile prison until he was released when he turned 21. He eventually moved to Auburn, where he worked at a bowling alley and made friends Lori Slesinski.

But on Saturday, June 10, 2006, Slyasinski disappeared without a trace, and everything changed.

According to Slescinski’s best friend, Lindsay Brown, she and Lori planned to have a bachelorette party at Brown’s house that night. The two young women first met during their freshman year at Auburn University. After graduating in 2004, the two became even closer when they began working together at a local psychiatric facility.

“We were going to have a drink at my house,” Brown explained to Van Sant. “I think we were going to do Rum Runners and see a movie and just hang out, have some girly time.”

“She called me around 6:30 and said I’m going to go to the store and pick up some drink mixes and then I’m going to your house,” Brown continued. “And 30 minutes later the phone rang. Called once or twice. I answered, there was no one.”

“How many times…did she just not show up or call you?” Van Sant asked.

– Never, – answered Brown.

Brown said she went to bed that night hoping Slescinski had decided to visit another friend who had just had a baby or was up to something.

Lori Ann Slesinski
Laurie Ann Slesinski with her beloved Peanut. Sleszinski had just graduated from college when she disappeared in 2006 from Auburn, Alabama.

Arlin Slyasinski

The next day she still couldn’t get through to Laura.

“I called her home several times … left voice messages on her home answering machine,” Brown said.

Brown says she knew Ennis was with Sleszinski on Saturday because she heard his voice in the background when she and Laura last spoke.

“They were friends, so I wasn’t worried,” Brown explained to Van Sant.

But when Slescinski didn’t show up for work after the weekend, Brown became concerned and texted Laura’s friend, Ennis.

Lindsey said Ennis texted her back saying he thought she would be fine.

On Tuesday, after Sleszinski didn’t show up for work for a second day, Brown and a colleague went to Laura’s motor home to look for her.

When she got there, she immediately knew something was “horribly wrong.”

“The door was unlocked, which was not how she … the air conditioner was running. Her dog, Peanut, was in the crate,” Brown explained.

Slyasinsky was not there. And there was something else surprising: When she let Peanut out of his crate, Brown said he looked happy and well-fed. And his box was clean, as if someone had taken care of him, even though Laura had been gone for almost three days.

– What do you think? Van Sant asked Brown.

“Something is terribly wrong… There’s no way she’s leaving Peanut.”

Meanwhile, Slesinski’s mother, Arlene, who worked as a nurse at a nursing home, received a call from one of Laura’s colleagues.

“I believe it was her boss … and she said to me, ‘I just want to tell you that your daughter, Lori, didn’t show up for work,’ and right away, the bells and whistles went off,” Arlene said. Slesinski.

She said she immediately headed to Auburn, calling Casey’s husband and Auburn police during the harrowing drive to the mobile home she and her husband bought for their daughter when she decided to attend Auburn University.

Police initially treated Slesinski’s disappearance as a missing persons case. Lee County District Attorney Jessica Ventier explained that at Auburn, which is a big football college, young people can “walk away” and “disappear for a while, but they come back.”

But not Laurie.

Four days after her disappearance, Slesinski’s car suddenly exploded in a fireball on a deserted cul-de-sac near a construction site, not far from her home in a manicured trailer park popular with students. Laura was not in the burning car, police said.

“There was no sign of her,” Ventier added. – I mean, none.

Laura’s mother, Arlene, was beyond scared.

“The feelings were just unbelievable, the fear and the realization that something very bad had happened,” Arlene said.

Police spoke to Ennis because he was not only a friend of Lori’s, but he was at her home the day Lori disappeared. Ennis told them Laurie was fine when he left her. But upon re-examination, the police noticed scratches on his hands and arms and that he was giving inconsistent testimony.

Then they learned about Ennis’ disturbing past: that he killed his mother and stepfather.

Ironically, Arlene said Ennis spent Christmas 2005 with their family. She said Laurie invited him because she felt sorry for him. She said he had no family. She didn’t know why, Arlene said.

Despite Ennis’ shocking past and circumstantial evidence pointing to him, authorities at the time believed that without any direct evidence linking him to Laura’s disappearance – and without her body being found – they could not make an arrest.

Ennis soon left, and Laura’s case quickly went cold. But ten years later, in 2016, the Alabama law enforcement agency created a closed-case unit headed by Mark Whittaker, a special agent with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation. He chose Laura’s case as his first investigation. His team, which included Whittaker’s longtime partner, J. W. Barnes, began pouring over files, re-interviewing witnesses and sending various pieces of evidence to the forensics lab for testing.

They eventually found crucial evidence that had been overlooked, and after an 18-month investigation, they finally had enough to present to a grand jury, including a hand-rolled cigarette that police say was found near Laura’s burned-out car in 2006. year. It had Ennis in it, DNA on it. Also blood on the inside of Laura’s trailer front door and sperm on her bed sheet.

In 2018, Rick Ennis was charged with Slescinski’s murder, although her body was never found. In an exclusive interview with 48 Hours, Ennis denies any involvement in Laura’s disappearance and says he killed his mother and stepfather because his mother abused him, which 48 Hours cannot confirm.

Alana Atkinson

In August 2018, a law enforcement task force arrested Ennis in rural Virginia, where he lived and was engaged to a school librarian. He was accused of murdering Laura Sliasinski.

For Whitaker, the message from Laura’s mother was a highlight of his career, but it wasn’t an easy call.

Sadly, Laura’s disappearance was not Arlene’s only loss. Shortly after Ennis’ arrest, her 41-year-old son Paul died of a stroke and cancer. In 2020, her husband Casey contracted COVID-19 and died from the disease.

In March 2022, Ennis finally stood trial on charges of Slesinski’s murder.

Prosecutors knew they were not allowed to bring up his conviction for killing his parents. But in an exclusive interview with Van Sant, Ennis, now 42, opened up about it. He said that in 1993 he made an excuse that he didn’t want to move and that the real reason he killed his parents was because his mother was abusing him. “48 Hours has been unable to find any evidence to support Ennis’ claim.

Ennis also told Van Sant that he had nothing to do with Laura’s disappearance.

“I never killed Laurie Slezinski,” Ennis told Van Sant. “She was my very close, dear friend. I would never hurt her.’

At the trial, Ennis spoke in his own defense. His fiancee, Alana Atkinson, watched as he maintained his innocence. His defense also suggested that police had planted evidence to frame him.

Two weeks later, a jury had to decide whether Ennis had killed again.