Marlowe James Buchanan: Where is the Killer Now?

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Loosely inspired by true events associated with Marlowe James Buchanan, Lifetime’s ‘Danger in the Dorm’ is a crime film helmed by Robin Hays. While the movie portrays the 1972 murder case of Nancy Diane Wyckoff through characters of different names, several occurrences of the decades-old case are dramatized and included in the narrative. When the police delved deep into the case and investigated thoroughly, they found a person of interest named Marlowe James Buchanan, who turned out to be the killer responsible for taking the life of 18-year-old Nancy.

Marlowe James Buchanan Killed Nancy Wyckoff in Her Dorm Room

Born in the 1950s in Lake Oswego, Marlowe James Buchanan grew up in a seemingly loving household surrounded by his close ones. After graduating from high school with flying colors, he decided to pursue electrical engineering. So, the 17-year-old joined Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, where he studied what he desired. There, the freshman used to reside on the 2nd floor of Poling Hall, the same dormitory as Nancy Diane Wyckoff. She lived just a floor above him, on the 3rd floor of the dormitory. In the early hours of February 8, 1972, loud screams from Nancy’s dorm awakened many female residents staying at the Poling Hall student dormitory of the university.

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The scream was followed by the thudding footsteps of Marlowe, who ran to the north fire escape of the building. As several women raced upstairs to find out what had transpired, they found 18-year-old Nancy Diane Wyckoff on her bedroom floor, on the verge of passing away. However, by the time the first responders and police arrived, she did not have any pulse left. The detectives inspected the crime scene and found an 8-inch carving knife, which was used by the killer to stab her right in the heart, next to her bleeding body. Once they were done collecting evidence, they began the interrogation process.

After talking with the dormitory residents and hearing their statements, the detectives focused on a single person of interest — Marlowe James Buchanan, a 17-year-old freshman who resided on the floor beneath Nancy. Soon, the police brought Marlowe in for questioning. When they asked him several questions, he could not stick to a single story, and they found many holes in his statements. During the interview, he even claimed that he had lost his flashlight on the third floor the previous week. This flashlight was retrieved by the police from Nancy’s dorm room. The investigators found more incriminating pieces of evidence against Marlowe.

Marlowe had recently bought a fork/knife set, and it matched the carving knife found at the crime scene right next to the victim. Given the overwhelming evidence he left behind, he ended up breaking down in front of the detectives and confessed that he had broken into Nancy’s room on February 8, 1972, but his intentions were never to hurt or kill her. Instead, he claimed that he was in her room to play a prank on her, but at the time, he panicked and ended up stabbing her as soon as she woke up. Following his confession, the Lake Oswego native was finally arrested and charged with the stabbing murder of Nancy Diane Wyckoff after five weeks of investigation.

Marlowe James Buchanan Still Resides in Oregon

Then-17-year-old Marlowe James Buchanan maintained his innocence as he was ordered to stand trial for the murder of Nancy Diane Wyckoff a few weeks after the indictment. Meanwhile, he was kept in custody at Benton County Jail. During the trial, he pleaded innocent due to mental incompetency. However, the prosecution brought multiple psychologists to the stand, all of whom claimed that he had not been battling any form of mental illness. Instead, they said that he might be emotionally stressed and might have gone through a psychotic break at the time of stabbing the 18-year-old victim.

Keeping in mind the evidence against him and his claims of innocence, the court ordered him to serve a 10-year sentence for manslaughter as the judge did not believe that the convict went to Nancy’s room with the intention to kill her. Within the next decade, he seemingly got out of prison after serving his sentence and continued living his life. As per the latest records we could find, Marlowe James Buchanan, now aged 69, still resides in his homeland, Lake Oswego, Oregon, while keeping details of his personal life private.

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