Facebook Twitter

Is woman with cloned pups the ’77 kidnapper of LDS missionary?

SHARE Is woman with cloned pups the ’77 kidnapper of LDS missionary?

A former beauty queen whose obsession with an LDS Church missionary made international tabloid headlines 30 years ago appears to be the same woman who had her dog cloned in South Korea this week.

In 1977, Joyce McKinney, a one-time Brigham Young University drama student and Miss Wyoming-World, was accused of kidnapping and raping a missionary in England. It came to be known worldwide as the "Mormon sex-slave case."

This week news media reported that a woman named Bernann McKinney sold her house to pay a South Korean company $50,000 to clone a litter of puppies using frozen DNA from her pit bull, Booger, who died two years ago.

"Yes, I know you," she said, hugging the cloned dogs. "You know me, too!"

Apparently, a lot of people know her — not as Bernann McKinney but as Joyce McKinney. The two women may be one and the same. Bernann McKinney, though, denied the connection.

"That's garbage. That's rot," she told the Telegraph in London.

The Daily Mail reached her at her Seoul hotel and asked, "Are you really Joyce McKinney?"

"Are you going to ask me about my dogs or not?" she snapped. "Because that's all I'm prepared to talk about."

Though older and heavier in a photo of her holding one of the puppies, Bernann McKinney bears striking resemblance to woman whose face filled newspapers in the late '70s. Her age, reportedly 57 or 59, also matches that of the infamous McKinney, who was 27 at the time of the incident. A 1985 news story lists her middle name as "Berman."

Joyce McKinney gained international notoriety when she was accused of abducting then 21-year-old Kirk Anderson, whom she dated while at BYU, and holding him hostage for three days in a remote English cottage. She allegedly handcuffed him to a bed and forced him to have sex with her. She let him go after he agreed to marry her. Anderson contacted police.

She and an accomplice, Keith Joseph May, fled England less than a month before they were to go on trial. She was later arrested in her native North Carolina, but British authorities did not press for extradition.

Joyce McKinney always maintained she did not hold Anderson against his will and that the sex was consensual.

United Press International reported her saying in a court appearance that she loved him so much "I would have skied Mount Everest in the nude with a carnation up my nose."

According to a September 1977 combined Associated Press and UPI story, Joyce McKinney arrived in Provo in 1973 with an eye for the Osmond brothers. She became "emotionally distressed and received counseling" after she was unable to get to know and date them, the story said.

Anderson and Joyce McKinney dated in 1975 but broke up before he left for his mission. An LDS Church spokesman told UPI in 1977 that Anderson reported being harassed, physically assaulted, having his car tires slashed and being run off the road after the breakup.

Joyce McKinney was arrested in 1984 for following and taking pictures of Anderson while he worked at the Salt Lake City International Airport. According to police, she had two notebooks detailing his daily activities. Charges were later dropped.

Salt Lake attorney Ron Yengich represented her in that case. After looking at her recent photo he said he didn't know if it was the same person.

Bernann McKinney told the AP she lives in California where she worked as a screenwriter who taught college drama.

E-mail: romboy@desnews.com