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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Murder In Hazard, Nebraska - Who Killed Mary?

I may have touched upon this before in a previous entry, but I have always loved songs that told a story. To me, the songs were just much better if you could follow along with the story as the lead singer belts out each lyric.

The latest entry in the Sunday Jukebox portion of the blog can definitely be classified as a story song. However, unlike most storytelling songs, this one never really had a resolution. The song was a big hit all over the world, and its accompanying music video only served to provide the listener with more questions than answers.

Set in a fictionalized version of a real life small town in the state of Nebraska, the lyrics of the song are haunting, powerful, and by the end of the song, you're left wondering what the solution to the mystery is. The song's lyrics have all the makings of a soap opera. It has affairs, it has childhood trauma, it has even has murder. Somebody ends up dead during the song, and it is assumed that we're supposed to know who the murderer is. But do we?

So, I thought that what we would do today is take a look at this song, examine it in detail (maybe give some information on the singer who performed the song), and give some possible explanations as to what we think really happened in the song. And, after that, I'll open up the floor to your own theories. Doesn't that sound like fun?

So, here's the video for the song in question. Be sure to watch it very closely.

ARTIST: Richard Marx
SONG: Hazard
ALBUM: Rush Street
DATE RELEASED: January 28, 1992

Though, I should note that the song hit #1 on the Adult Contemporary Charts in May 1992.

First, we might as well talk about the artist who recorded the song. Richard Noel Marx, born September 16, 1963, got his start in the music business when he was just five! Having a father who worked in advertising writing commercial jingles, young Richard would sing on some of his father's jingles for such products as Nestle Crunch and Arm & Hammer.

In early 1981, when Marx was seventeen, he was living in Highland Park, Illinois sending out demo tapes, having decided that he wanted to get into the recording industry in some manner. Somehow, one of his demo tapes ended up in the hands of singer Lionel Richie, who liked what he heard so much that he recommended that Marx move to Los Angeles, in hopes of making his dream come true. Once Marx graduated high school, he boarded a plane to Los Angeles and quickly met up with Lionel Richie, who was in the process of recording his first solo album. Marx recalled that Richie was having a bit of trouble with the background harmony for a specific song, and Richie asked for his input on how it should sound by inviting him to sing it. Marx obliged, and as a result, he ended up providing background vocals on this Lionel Richie hit from early 1983.

And Lionel Richie wasn't the only singer who Richard Marx provided background vocals for. He also sang backing vocals on songs recorded by Whitney Houston, Madonna, and Luther Vandross, among others. He even got into the idea of writing songs for other artists. He penned hits for Kenny Rogers, Kim Carnes, Freddie Jackson, and rock band Chicago! Marx was only in his early twenties at the time he had all of these accomplishments, so that is definitely something to be commended.

Still though, as much success as he had behind the scenes, his real dream was to have his own record deal releasing solo albums and having his own success on the charts. It took Marx four years for his dream to become a reality, as almost every record label in Los Angeles rejected his demo tape. But in 1987, Bruce Lundvall, then head of EMI/Manhattan Records, took a chance on Marx, believing that he had the star power to make it huge in the world of music. In June of 1987, Marx released his self-titled debut, which skyrocketed up the music charts, as did his 1989 album 'Repeat Offender'. When Marx's first single, “Don't Mean Nothin'” was released, he was just a few months shy of turning twenty-four. His success with his first two albums was huge. He was nominated for two Grammy Awards between 1987 and 1990, having his first seven singles reach the Top 5 on the Billboard Music Charts (three of which were #1 hits), and his record sales and concert tours helped make him a household name.

By 1991, with the release of his third album, “Rush Street”, Marx's popularity on the main Billboard Charts was waning, but his performance on the Adult Contemporary Charts had grown, as it appeared as though Marx was taking a different direction with his music. A more mature direction.

Hence the creation of the song, “Hazard”, which was Marx's second single from “Rush Street”.

And what a song “Hazard” was. There's just as many things that by watching the video and listening to the lyrics that we know as fact. There are just as many unanswered questions though. First, as we would any murder mystery, we should state what we know.

FACT #1: A young woman is brutally murdered in the small community of Hazard, Nebraska. Her name is Mary. The cause of death is somewhat hazy, but based on the fact that she was found in the bottom of a river with a scarf tied around her neck, I think it's safe to say that Mary died of strangulation, and that her body was thrown into the river in an effort to hide the crime.

FACT #2: The main suspect in her murder is the character played by Richard Marx in the video (for argument's sake, let's refer to our unnamed man as Richard.

FACT #3: The scarf that was found around Mary's neck did belong to Richard. We know this because we saw Mary pulling on it when Richard was wearing it.

FACT #4: Richard was not very well liked in Hazard, even at an early age. He said that his mother moved to Hazard when he was just seven, and that the townspeople were quite judgmental in their assessment of him. They felt that there was something that was just not right with Richard.

FACT #5: At some point, three years before the murder took place, Mary and Richard meet, and they begin dating each other for a time.

FACT #6: The sheriff of the town of Hazard seems to have a lot of time on his hands, as he seems to view Richard and Mary as “cheap entertainment”, watching every single move they make. Which would have been fine if it were a reality television show, but in this case, it's just creepy.

FACT #7: At some point in the video, we see that Richard's parents split up when Richard was a young boy. His father left with another woman, and then Richard's mom appeared to have an affair of her own. Coincidentally, this brings us to...

FACT #8: Richard happens to come across a disturbing sight just hours before Mary breathed her last breath. He saw Mary cheating on him with another man.

So, it's pretty obvious what the solution is, right? You think you know who did the crime?

I admit that I thought I knew who it was too, but after doing a lot of research (which admittedly had me watching the video in a continuous loop for a 90-minute period), I realize that there are four possible scenarios that could have happened. Some of them are likelier than others, but the more I think of it, all four of them make sense.

We'll begin with tentative conclusion #1...


We heard him protest his innocence throughout the whole song. He swore he left her by the river. He swore he left her safe and sound. According to Richard, there was absolutely no way that he would kill the one person who actually gave a damn about him in the whole community of Hazard, Nebraska. But, the evidence spoke volumes. Mary was found with Richard's scarf around her neck. The sheriff knew that Mary had cheated on Richard with a new squeeze (because as we know, the sheriff somehow knew everything that had gone on), and cited a motive of jealousy in regards to Mary's death. And thanks to flashbacks, we know that Richard didn't take the fact that his mother was getting involved with a new man so soon after his father abandoned them. We even see a child version of Richard running out of a burning building with his mother and her man still inside, but what exactly this represents, we don't know. I suppose one guess might be that Richard set the fire, which presumably ended the lives of his mother and her boyfriend, which could possibly explain the town hatred towards him. Of course, that's just a wild theory.

Do I believe that this is how the crime took place though? No. The reason being that when Richard happened to spot Mary and the man she was with in that car, he took off running, his scarf getting tangled up in a bush. I suppose it could have been possible for him to come back later on, but given how upset he was at his mobile home, I don't see it happening. Anything is possible, but I don't believe Richard to be the guilty party. The only thing that I think he did lie about was when he told the sheriff that he didn't date her during the interrogation. It was pretty clear that there had to be SOMETHING between the two.


I only entertain this theory because of the fact that we do see him in the video. Just imagine that Mary has started seeing this new man. Suppose she KNEW that Richard had come up at that moment and saw her in the embrace of another man, and she felt very guilty about what had happened. So guilty that she abruptly ended the lovemaking session that she was partaking in to chase after Richard to explain what happened. She doesn't find him, but she does find the scarf. Picture her putting on the scarf and dissolving in tears knowing that she hurt him terribly (remember, we see Mary crying just before she dies). I suppose it's entirely possible that the real jealous one was Mary's new love, who may have been so angry over the fact that Mary was still hung up over the town outcast that he decided to take matters in his own hands. It is a possible scenario, and definitely one that makes sense. But, I also dismiss this as being what really happened, because if it did go the way it did, wouldn't you think that Mary's secondary love interest would have a much larger role in the video?


Now we're getting into the real questions. Why was the sheriff so preoccupied with Mary and Richard so much? I mean it, he was everywhere they were. It even got to the point where the sheriff creeped Mary out so much that she literally ran away in fear every time the police car came near. But, why was that?

Well, the reason why I thought this was the case was because I believe that the sheriff killed Mary. And, here's the scenario that I have outlined to support this.

We know that the townspeople of Hazard hated Richard. I provided a couple of theories behind why this was the case earlier in this entry, but let's just say it was because they saw him as threatening to the community. He didn't think the way they thought, he didn't look the way they did. Richard was basically an island community of one within the Nebraska town. Part of me thinks that the sheriff was part of the problem. How do we know that he didn't start all of the rumours that were circulating around Richard? One thing we know for sure though. The sheriff's obsession with Richard grew the very day that he met Mary and started to hang around her. The more fun that Richard and Mary had, the more that the sheriff's obsession grew. He knew that he wanted nothing more than to see Richard run out of town for good...but with his relationship with Mary growing stronger and stronger, the sheriff's anger seemed to grow and grow. The sheriff knew that as long as Mary was around, Richard would be too. That's when his evil scheming began.

But how does he succeed? I bet I have the answer. I'm figuring that maybe he hired the man who cheated with Mary, courtesy of the taxpayers of Hazard, Nebraska. I'm thinking that he told the man to seduce Mary with the intention of Richard coming across the pair of them, and erupting in anger. In fact, I think that is what he was counting on (which I suppose if the theory that I coined does amount to being true, it makes the relationship breaker an accessory to murder, but let's move on from that thought). The point is that by doing this, our sheriff provided a motive for Richard. Let's face it, I doubt the man hired by the sheriff would squeal. He was likely paid for his silence, and if he broke it, he could have done jail time or worse. The idea that the sheriff blackmailed the man to participate in his evil scheme is a possibility. Maybe he had something on him, and promised to wipe the record clean if he did what the sheriff wanted. Think about it, it could make sense.

The fact that Richard lost his scarf was also a prime opportunity for the sheriff to commit the perfect crime. Because Mary was holding onto the scarf that Richard dropped at the time she died, the sheriff thought that it was a perfect murder weapon. After strangling Mary with the scarf, he dumped the body in the river, partly for show (the river was a significant place for Mary and Richard), but partly to destroy evidence (as the water would have likely erased any traces of fingerprint evidence left on the scarf. Oh, but, seeing as how fingerprint dust was shown during the video, we can safely also assume that the sheriff probably used it to frame Richard. Though, this is merely speculation.

The fact remains that by the end, it appeared that the sheriff got what he wanted. It didn't matter whether the evidence was enough to convict Richard or not of murder. The town hated him even more than ever, as evidence by the fact that some townspeople set his home ablaze. People shielded their children's eyes when Richard looked at them. Meanwhile, the sheriff was treated like a hero, and he delighted in the fact that he successfully got the 'cancer of the town of Hazard' removed.

And, besides, his smug smile throughout the whole video was presented in a way that we knew he was hiding information.

But, you know, Richard also stated through the lyrics of “Hazard” that he and Mary both were desperate to dream a way out of town. So, by that argument, we can suggest that the sheriff didn't even need to kill Mary. Richard and Mary were supposedly leaving by their own accord, and had plans to do exactly that. Of course, the sheriff of town did not want to have a happy ending for Richard, and I honestly do believe that Mary paid the price for the sheriff's judgmental opinions.

Of course, there's another possible theory that we could bring up, as unbelievable as it could be.


You know, I never once thought that this could be a possible theory until quite recently. But the more I think about it, the more I think it could have happened. The reason why isn't quite clear, but my guess is that she felt guilty over cheating on Richard and hurting him just like everyone else did in his childhood. She may possibly have seen herself as being no better than the very people in town she despised, and maybe decided to do herself in. She wrapped the scarf around her neck and quite possibly passed out, falling over the side of the bridge, and drowning. It's a crazy theory, I know, but for whatever reason, I can't really eliminate it from being a possibility.

So, I guess after presenting my opinions, what do YOU think?

In Richard Marx's song “Hazard”, who do YOU think killed Mary? Richard? The Sheriff? Mary's lover? One of the Hazard citizens? Someone else unaccounted for? I'd like to hear your views, and if you can, how you came to that conclusion.

The one final question I have to bring up is Mary's final line in the video. “You know, everyone thinks I should be afraid of you, but I'm not.”

Who do you think Mary said this to?

I'll end this piece right here, and turn over discussion to you!


  1. Richard did it. He's clearly disturbed.

  2. I really enjoy your theories that you presented here. You have some very valid points. When they show the house burning and 'Richard' as a boy running out, maybe that is to signify that he was trying to burn memories from his mind. As far as who did it...that is a tough one, but I think I am going to lean towards the Sheriff. Though Richard might have had some issues & was maybe jealous/hurt by Mary's actions, he does not give the indication as to committing the murder. The Sheriff clearly had an obsession with the couple, but I think he was maybe obsessed with Mary, rather than Richard. As the evidence shows, the Sheriff was around & photographing just about anything & everything that they did...but in the video, it also show that the sheriff was looking out the passenger window (sitting as though he had his arm around someone) at someone & Mary was running from the squad car as though she knew he was stalking her & she was scared. With the last line of the song, I think perhaps she had told that to Richard sometime during their relationship. Everyone he was different somehow, but she wasn't.

  3. It definately wasn't Richard.
    As much as I want it to be the Sheriff, I don't think it was - if it had have been, he wouldn't have been so focused on trying to get Richard for it.

    The thing is - which you havn't mentioned is that there's actually a Part 2 of the video (same song, slightly different clues) has it being ruled as a suicide,which I agree with,with the fact that she doesn't seem to have been strangled,just drowned, and Mary's different voice over at the end.

    My theory: I think the Sheriff was a creepy stalker guy who didn't like Richard but was obsessed with Mary. After Mary was caught in the act with her boyfriend by both Richard and the sheriff (if she didn't see Richard, she knew he had seen, she found his scarf), she was assaulted by the obsessed creepy sheriff in a jealous rage. This leads her to the edge of the river, crying at what's just happened, clutching Richard's scarf for comfort, traumatised and thinking she's lost his friendship and life's not worth living, and so drowns herself.

    The Sheriff feels guilty, and is convinced that Richard killed her as he can't cope withthe thought that what he did has led her to commit suicide.

  4. Interesting theories. I always liked this song and was intrigued by the mystery which led me to this site. I'm inclined to believe that the sheriff did it. He was obsessed with Mary and wanted Richard out of town. What better way to get rid of him than to stoke the town's submission of him?

  5. what if ~ Richards mother became jealous of Mary? her husband had left her and all she had left was her son. who was now in enamoured of Mary. so let's say that Richards mother kills Mary, Richard sees it, becomes enraged, and that's why he burns the trailer house? Q( her brief affair, was just a weak attempt to fill the hole left by her husband). THOUGHTS?

  6. actually when you look at the guy with mary (not richard) it looks more like a guy forcing himself on her for a kiss or more not something shes actually enjoying

    maybe she encouraged a kiss but more No and thats when richard saw them when she was struggling to get away from the man but he saw it as a lovers tussle

  7. I'm really loving all of these comments and theories! We have a lot of sleuths in the making! :)

  8. It was a suicide pact between richard and Mary, thats why he needed to get back to the river to leave the town. Just a thought

  9. It's a great song. I really enjoyed reading this post. The more I think about it the more I think Mary killed herself.

  10. I remember watching this video over and over, and waiting for Part 2 to come out weeks later, back in 92 or whenever it hit.

    Scouring online to find Part 2 again and watching in and Part 1 a few times through, some things I noticed:

    1) Richard's and Mary's relationship
    Richard says to the Sheriff in the interrogation that he and Mary never dated. I think this is true. There's a point in the video(s) where Mary tries to touch his hand in a romantic way, and he pulls it back. I don't think he was capable of being romantic with her because of his past, and that's what leads her into meeting up with the other man in the car. She's not cheating on Richard, but he never accepted her advances. Still, she feels shamed by him seeing them.

    2) Richard's mother and his past as a boy
    This is where things start to come to light (so to speak). Richard watches his father leave with another woman, and I'm not sure if he blames his mother or not, but soon after he catches her sleeping with someone else (a man with long hair). When he does, the room catches ablaze and Richard runs out of the house. In the Chapter Two of the video, it shows him as a boy cutting his hair after this. I'm not sure if it's in part because of the way the man with his mother looked or if it's a grooming to "cleanse himself" of what he did. But it's pretty apparent that Richard killed his mother and her lover and the town and Sheriff knew it, but never could do anything about it. Maybe his father didn't leave simply because of the mother, but because Richard was a troubled child and he went to find a new life and started a new family. Either way, Mary is quoted (at the end of Chapter One) as saying, "Everyone tells me I should be afraid of you. But I'm not." They told her that because of what he did as a boy. And this is why the Sheriff is obsessed with Richard and Mary. He's not creeping on her. He's trying to protect her from a man with a history of violence. When he's following her in his car and she runs, it's because she refuses to hear what he says. She's not afraid of him when he first pulls up, but then she becomes more distressed in each moment of the scene and finally runs away from him.

    1. (cont.)

      3) Richard kills Mary
      The stranger in the car with her has no story. Yes, he could be a random drifter that seduces and then kills her, but that is so unexplainable that I just don't see it making sense. The sheriff is not shown to have any motive either, taking away the creepy stalker aspect that we've associated with him, which I think is misinterpreted. Richard is the only one left, besides Mary herself. Which is fair to believe to some degree because she says (Chapter Two) that she doesn't know what she'd do if she lost him as a friend (a friend, though, nothing more). And while I can't say it's completely unlikely, I still have to follow the evidence to Richard.
      Richard sees Mary and the man in the car (who I think also has long hair again). He takes off, and is shown later remembering his mother and her lover, and then remembering Mary. He pushes hard on his eyes to block out the thoughts. He sings, "I swear I left her by the river. I swear I left her safe and sound." Safe, yes, in his mind maybe. But not alive. And he left her there, which is telling. There's some argument that the song lyrics don't sync with the video, that he's saying she was safe the last time he saw her, but the part of the river only makes sense if he was there. Yes, she had the scarf already, but that doesn't mean he didn't go back to look for her. Maybe safe and sound was safe from the evils of the world.
      My final push on this though is at the end of the video (both Chapters), he is seen cutting his hair again as an adult now. Just as he did when he burned the house down with his mother still inside. The parallels are too set here, and the fact that we see the young Richard cutting his hair in the second chapter and not the first makes me think it was the evidence we were meant to be given later, to find out who did it. Mary was Richard's companion as an adult, but he couldn't be romantically involved with her. I think she was his replacement for the abandonment he felt by his mother, and when Mary did committed the same crime in his eyes as she had, he killed her again. I think the only reason he didn't act when he caught them in the car was because the sheriff showed up and scared him off. When we see Mary at the river when she is about to die, she looks concerned, but she doesn't look afraid. She does walk into the water, it looks like, herself. Again, that's something that says she could've killed herself. But there was somebody there. And it had to have been Richard. So he either watched her kill herself, or he did it. And while I think Mary felt some guilt, she never came across as so unstable herself that suicide was part of her nature. But murder was definitely his.

    2. inconclusive, insufficient evidence...
      All we can say is, well, it looks like it could've been...
      I would like to hear what Mark would say about it, but why screw up a work of genius. The tone of 'I swear I left her safe and sound' could be sinister or innocent - my intuition tweaks both ways... But I love the gentle eerie quality of the song. I don't think their was actually a designated killer when the song was composed -just a social outcast who may or may not have been the victim of a plot by someone who hated him. Says a lot about prejudice and how rumors can escalate.

  11. The biggest clue for me is who was watching them on the bridge?

    We are led to believe that it is the sheriff, but upon inspection of the photos in his car as he's passing Mary on the street. I believe Richard has been framed for her murder by someone else in Mary's life. Initially we are led to believe Richard is the only man in her life until we find her in the car with another man. Perhaps the flashback which included Richard's father was him reliving a moment in his father's own life and the reason why he left Richard and his mother.

  12. i think richard killed mary.richard was a neglected and rejected child .he felt betrayal from parents which might have lead some mental disorder that triggered him to burn down house when his mother was with her boyfriend.nebraska is small town so everyone knew each other and sherrif was well aware of his he saw him as threat to community.on the otherhand mary might be prostitute.thats why sheriff was infactuated by her as well.she hid her identity from richard due to shame.she felt ashamed when richard found her in car with a man.before she could explained her helplessness of being prostitute to earn a living to richard,he strangled her and left body safe and sound according to him. she said she was not afraid of him due to fact that she knew richard suffering and neglect in childhood .she understood him.but he felt betrayed byall...

  13. all fingerprints were washed away in water which was proof against he was free.ending he killed his old identity to start a new life in new town.

  14. Richard killed her I believe. There is an article available online about the 5 questions he never wants to be asked again. The fifth question is "Is your song "Hazard" auto-biographical?" His answer is "Yep. I lived in a tiny town in Nebraska….drowned a girl that lived there and have been in hiding ever since. Except for when I wrote a song and made a record about it. Good question." note the "drowned a girl" "been in hiding ever since" parts. I think he slipped up when he gave away that the character he played drowned Mary.I think he was cutting his hair off to change his appearance because he planned to flee "Hazard".

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  16. I needed to revise my statement. I had said that Richard retrieved the scarf, but Mary has it in her hands by the river and is startled by the killer. I still believe it's Richard. Claiming "I swear I left her by the river" is meaningless. It appears he killed his mother and her lover. He sees Mary with a man that resembles his mother's lover, he's either convinced himself he didn't do it disconnecting from reality, or he's just lying. The Sheriff has been following him, watching him probably since the fire that killed his mom. He's trying to warn Mary off of him, but she won't listen. He cuts his hair making a break with the past and the similarity to the lovers of both of the women he has killed. Richard is also shown with what appears to be a bandaid on his left ring finger early in the video with Mary and again at the end when he cuts his hair. Is that his mother's wedding ring he's covered? Her ring is the only other ring shown when she's with her lover. That is too odd to be coincidence. the problem with trying to apply actual detective methods is that it's a mystery ballad. Fictional murder stories have their own quirks. Like the "B" actor on NCIS that is too big a star to be insignificant...usually they're the killer so you don't have to do much thinking to guess the killer in the first 10 minutes.BUT sometimes, for that very reason, a "B" actor is a red herring to get you off track. Robert Conrad, the Sheriff, is too obvious because he's shown apparently stalking Mary, so there must be another explanation for his behavior. That's why I think he's watching the girl to keep her safe and catch Richard screwing up. So I'm thinking Richard. The whole thing reminds me of the "Ode To Billie Jo" ballad that had everyone trying to figure out what really happened on the Tallahatchie Bridge. (interesting that a bridge figures into this video as well)

  17. Anyone ever thought the long-haired man Richard's mom was with when the house was set on fire could be the sheriff? After all, the sheriff was younger by then. Maybe he escaped and that's why he was stalking the couple all around. OK, my mind is probably just drifting away. By watching version 2, I see Mary walking into the river. The one and only reason she would do that would be kill herself by drowning. So my pick is suicide.

  18. Richard Marx did 3 videos of this and all 3 are slightly altered to give clues to figure it out. After watching all 3 chapters it seems obvious she killed herself due to grief and guilt for betraying him. In the 2nd and 3rd she said she didn't know what she would do if she lost him as a friend. In the 3rd it shows her walking into the water of her own accord. I suppose this could be a representation of depression and suicide contemplation by dreaming a way out of this town by the river of death.

    1. Do you have the url for the 3rd chapter? I can't seem to locate it.

    2. The 3rd 'chapter' was never really a chapter at all - it was a fan made video of the first 2 videos. The first video was the original and the 2nd was the European release of the same with a slightly different edit. There were only ever 2.

  19. I love that other people are as fascinated by this song as I am!!
    I love Matthew's conclusions and everyone's thoughts. I hope it was the Sheriff. Like Matthew said, he had too much free time and scared Mary.

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  21. I certainly don't have it figures out, but the photos of richard and mary by the bridge make logical sense only to provide evidence later linking richard to mary, particularly in that very spot.

    Someone taking pictures in order to have evidence for a precise future crime presumably must know of the precise future crime. Which in this case makes one look rather guilty.

  22. So I haven't read through all the comments and maybe this has already been said. What if Mary was the one hired by the Sherriff? Perhaps the Sherriff does have something specific against Richard such as he was the mother's boyfriend or he at least at some point had a fling with her (I think someone said that already). But the reason I say this is because Hazard is obviously a small town... If he was there at 7 where was Mary all along? Why did it take so long for her to even notice him? And if she were new, why wasn't she treated as an outcast too? Then, maybe after she got to know him, she actually did find love for him, maybe not as a lover, but as a friend at least. Maybe she also knew that he loved her so much more than friends and when he found her with another man, he broke down because that's when he knew she really didn't love him the way he wanted.

    Or hey, maybe the whole thing was Richards imagination. Maybe Mary existed in his mind. Maybe he found a pretty girl in town who wasn't really a Mary, and maybe he imagined a life with this girl who he called Mary. And maybe it got out of hand and when he actually saw this girl with her lover, he flipped. Ok, that's probably not true because it leaves so many other things unexplained... But still..

  23. What if the sheriff is Mary's father? This would explain a number of things. First, this would explain why he is following her. Since the sheriff clearly dislikes Richard, Mary's relationship with Richard would create tension in Mary's relationship with her father. This is why she is running from the sheriff's car. As parents tend to do when their child is dating or hanging out with someone the they don't approve of, the sheriff became more possessive and controlling the further Mary got involved with Richard.. Mary doesn't want to fight with her dad about this any more, so she is running away. The sheriff is taking pictures trying to capture evidence of Richard's poor character to convince Mary to stay away from him.

    Now, I am not sure if this lends more credence to the sheriff as the killer theory or the suicide theory. If the sheriff is Mary's father, he might have gotten so angry when he caught her in the car with the "other" man that he gets into a fight with her and kills her. He may have seen her fooling around in the car with the "other" man as evidence of her poor character. They fight about her poor choices (Richard and the "other" man) and he kills her. Conversely, after being caught fooling around with another man by Richard and her father, Mary realizes that she has let down her dad and her best friend/boyfriend (Richard). She can't handle how far she has gotten off track in her life and she kills herself. Since she was already unhappy with life (dreaming of a way out of this town), maybe this was just the straw that broke the camel's back.

    So, no real answer, just another theory.

  24. Hey, great site! Lots of awesome info on here. We're committed to solving this mystery this year, please follow our Group on Facebook.

    We want to inspire Richard Marx himself to disclose the true identity of the murderer on the 25th anniversary of the video reaching Number 1 in Australia, on July 25th 2017.

    Help us spread the word!!!

  25. Mary slipped, fell into the water and hit her head, drowned.

  26. Okay, my theory. It starts with the M.C.'s childhood and the sheriffs. Now it does appear the Sheriff maybe older, but what if he's only ten years older than the M.C. So the M.C. caught his father in an affair at the age of seven with who, this maybe a stretch, but how about the sheriff's mother. A fire somehow started. Due to the M.C. being seven I don't think the M.C. would have the balls to start the fire. However the son of the deceased women, whom the M.C.'s father their was banging, is so overcome with rage he can only accuse the only survivor of the fire, the M.C.. (and the rumors only fuel this) Years later he notices the boy's relationship with Mary and begins to plot revenge. He bribes a boy to "pretend" fall in love with her. The M.C. finds Mary in the car cheating on him. The sheriff shows up just at this time, because he knew when it'd happened because he planned it. When the M.C. runs away Mary sees him and gets upset. She finds the scarf and heads down to their favorite place on the river to think of what she did. The M.C. returns to his trailer, therefore has an alibi for the murder. The sheriff follows Mary, strangles Mary and drops her in the river. He then uses hundreds of photographic evidence to frame the M.C. However his attempt fails since they didn't have enough evidence to put him away. He's forced to return him to his trailer. However, when the Sheriff drops him off the M.C. finds those who did believe he did it burned his trailer. He makes a final decision to leave town, leaving the revenge driven sheriff behind.

    Main plot point evidence in music video
    -Rumours spread about OC
    -OC falls for Mary
    -Sheriff spies on them
    -Mary notices it
    -sheriff arrived just as the M.C. is there to find Mary cheating on him.
    -he leaves the scarf.
    -M.C. returns to trailer.
    -Mary is seen in her last moment around the river crying with the scarf.
    -police catch M.C.
    -Sheriff tries to use their relationship as a foundation for his suspicions.
    -M.C. maybe given a polygraph due in the interrogation scene, since a man present is listening through headphones hooked up to a machine.
    -M.C. has flashback of his father's affair and the fire.
    -Townspeople burn M.C.'s trailer.
    -M.C. is let go for lack of evidence.
    -M.C. leaves town.

    1. Sorry I got roles switched, he caught his mother in the affair and it was Sheriff's she was having the affair with.

  27. This is one of my all-time favorite songs. It's just so beautifully haunting. There are some cool YouTube videos where Richard himself explains how the song came to be. Am I the only person that can listen to this song 50 times in a row, and it still never gets old? :-)

    This one is tellng:

    There are more...

    1. PS. As far as my thoughts on who the culprit might be, there is a single lyric that is telling, and implicates the singer (Richard). In the bridge, he states "There's no escape for me this time...". "This time" implies that he has done it before and escaped (gotten away with it).

  28. Alot of judgemental Johns here �� Some comments suited to Hazard village mentality lol.

    What if Richard/Mom/Moms lover accidentally knocked over the candles that were burning during that rendezvous? Making Richard a completely innocent party in that. And that's why Mary isn't afraid of him. She believes him because she's got to know him.

    I can't help feeling that there is a link between Mom being killed by fire and Mary being in water. Doesn't water end fire? Maybe Mary helped heal him regarding his mother's death. She put out the fire?

  29. "All of my rescues are gone, long gone" just as the body bag is closed. Mary was his rescue?

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