A day out hand fishing for catfish on the South Canadian River in Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, has turned into a murder investigation after a man claims Bigfoot forced him to kill his friend.
Larry Sanders, 53, stands charged with first-degree murder after allegedly admitting first to a family member and later to police to killing his noodling fishing partner Jimmy Knighten, who Sanders claimed wanted him dead by the hand of the mythical monster Bigfoot. Noodling is a popular fishing technique used in the southern United States to catch a fish by sticking one’s hand in its mouth.
The local sheriff, John Christian, told local media that Sanders “appeared to be under the influence of something” when he told police he had struck, strangled, and then drowned Knighten.
“So, his statement was that Mr. Knighten had summoned ‘Bigfoot’ to come and kill him, and that’s why he had to kill Mr. Knighten,” Christian told local reporters.
Christian said that the confession “always makes it easier,” but that the difficulty came in trying to find Knighten’s body, which had floated on the river currents and was not discovered until more than 24 hours after the deadly incident.
Christian said authorities first arrested Sanders on an outstanding warrant and charged him with murder only after Knighten’s body was retrieved from the riverbed.
“You still have to prove all the elements of the crime, and what the suspect is telling you, you have to prove that that’s actually what happened,” Christian said.
Christian said that the local prosecutor would likely push for the death penalty if Sanders were found guilty in the case.