In 1960, Kinne was associated with two mysterious deaths. On March 19 of that year, her husband, James Kinne, was found shot in the head with the couple's two-year-old daughter playing nearby. Sharon Kinne claimed that the little girl, who had often been allowed to play with her father's guns, had accidentally shot him, and police were initially unable to disprove this theory. The case was closed as an accidental death and remained that way until the evening of May 27, when the body of twenty-three-year-old Patricia Jones, a local file clerk, was found by Kinne and a boyfriend in a secluded area. Investigation showed that Jones had been the wife of another of Kinne's boyfriends, and that Jones's husband had tried to break off his affair with Kinne shortly before Patricia Jones went missing. When Kinne admitted to having been the last person to speak to Patricia Jones, she was charged with Jones's death and, upon further investigation of his death, with the murder of James Kinne.
Kinne went to trial for the murder of Patricia Jones in June 1961 and was acquitted. A January 1962 trial on charges of murdering her husband ended in conviction and a sentence of life in prison, but the verdict was overturned because of procedural irregularities. The case went to a second trial, which ended within days in a mistrial. A third trial on the charge of murdering her husband ended in a hung jury in July 1964. Kinne was released on bond following the third trial and subsequently traveled to Mexico before a scheduled fourth trial could be held in October 1964.
In Mexico, Kinne and her traveling companion, Francis Puglise, were soon caught up in another criminal case when Kinne, claiming to have been acting in self-defense, shot and killed a Mexican-born American citizen named Francisco Parades Ordoñez, who she claimed attempted to rape her. Ordonez was shot in the back. An employee of the hotel in which the shooting occurred, responding to the sound of gunshots, was also wounded but survived. Investigation into the shootings showed that Ordoñez was shot with the same weapon that killed Patricia Jones. Kinne was convicted in October 1965 of the Mexican crimes and sentenced to ten years in prison, later lengthened to thirteen years after judicial review. Kinne escaped from the Mexican prison during a blackout in December 1969. Despite extensive manhunts, her whereabouts are unknown.
Sharon Elizabeth Hall was born on November 30, 1939, in Independence, Missouri. When she was in junior high, Doris and Eugene Hall moved the family to Washington, but by the time Sharon was fifteen they had returned to Missouri, where Sharon attended William Chrisman High School. Sixteen-year-old Sharon met twenty-two-year-old college student James Kinne at a church function in the summer of 1956, and the couple dated regularly until Kinne returned to Brigham Young University in the fall. Sharon, reportedly deeply interested in finding a partner with prospects and who could take her away from Independence, soon wrote a letter to Kinne at school informing him that she was pregnant by him. Kinne took leave from his college and returned to Independence, where he married Sharon on October 18, 1956. The couple's marriage license identified sixteen-year-old Sharon as being eighteen and a widow; though she later refused to address the assertion, Sharon told people at the time that she had been married when she lived in Washington, to a man who later died in a car accident. The new couple held a second, more formal wedding the next year in the Salt Lake Temple, after Sharon had completed the process of converting to Mormonism.
After their wedding, the couple returned to Provo, Utah, where Kinne had been attending college, but at the end of the fall semester, Kinne again put his studies on hold. He and his new wife returned to Independence, where both took jobs—Sharon, babysitting and tending shops, and James as an electrical engineer at Bendix Aviation. Although Sharon claimed to have miscarried the child that had brought about their marriage, she soon became pregnant again. In the fall of 1957, she gave birth to a girl they named Danna.
Sharon was reportedly a free spender who expected finer things out of life, but on Kinne's salary they lived first in a rented home next to his parents and then in a ranch-style house they had built at 17009 E. 26th Terrace in Independence. Kinne worked the night shift at the Bendix, and his wife initially filled her days first with shopping and later with other men. By the time the couple had a second child, Troy, Sharon was carrying on a regular affair with a friend from her high school days, John Boldizs.
By early 1960, James Kinne was contemplating divorce, partially because of his wife's spendthrift habits and partially because he strongly suspected she was being unfaithful to him. He spoke to his parents about the possibility of divorce on March 18, 1960, telling them that Sharon had agreed to give him a divorce if he allowed her to keep the house and the couple's daughter and paid her $1,000, but the elder Kinnes, devout Mormons, urged James to stay in his marriage. Sharon, too, was thinking about ways out of the marriage; according to John Boldizs, she once offered him $1,000 to kill her husband or find someone who would, although he later claimed that she may have been joking.
According to Sharon Kinne, at around 5:30 p.m. on the evening of March 19 she heard a gunshot from the direction of the bedroom in which her husband was sleeping. Entering the room, she found two-and-a-half-year-old Danna on the bed next to her father. Danna was holding one of James's guns, a .22 caliber Hi-Standard semi-automatic target pistol, and James was bleeding from an apparent gunshot wound in the back of his head. Kinne called the police, but James Kinne was dead by the time the ambulance carrying him arrived at the hospital.
Police were unable to recover any fingerprints from the well-oiled grip of the pistol, and a paraffin test for gunshot residue was not performed on Danna or Sharon Kinne. Multiple people, including family and neighbors, told police that James had often allowed Danna to play with his guns, and in a test by investigating officers, Danna proved able to pull the trigger on a gun matching the one that had killed her father. With no evidence to the contrary, investigators ruled the case an accidental homicide. The pistol that killed James Kinne was taken into police custody and never returned to the widow, despite her efforts to reclaim it; she later had a male friend secretly buy her a .22 caliber automatic pistol. When the friend told her that he had registered the gun in her name, she requested that he re-register it under a name other than hers.
With the investigation into his death closed, James Kinne was buried and his wife collected on his life insurance policies, valued at about $29,000 ($230,000 today).
Patricia Jones was born Patricia Clements, one of six children born to Mr. and Mrs. Elmer Clements of St. Joseph, Missouri. After graduating from a local high school, she married Walter T. Jones, Jr., her high school sweetheart. Walter Jones enlisted in the Marine Corps shortly after their marriage, and the couple relocated to the west coast while Jones served. After his discharge from the military, they returned to the midwest and settled in Independence with their two children. By 1960, almost five years into the marriage, Patricia was working as a file clerk for the Internal Revenue Service, while her husband sold cars.
Despite his marriage and children, Walter Jones reportedly had a wandering eye. On April 18, he met Sharon Kinne when she bought a Ford Thunderbird from his dealership using some of the insurance payout from her husband's death, and the two began an affair shortly thereafter. Kinne viewed him as a prospect for a second husband, but Jones was uninterested in leaving his wife despite the rockiness of their relationship. When he declined to go on a trip to Washington with her in May, Kinne reluctantly went with her brother instead. Although the couple reunited on May 25, shortly after Kinne returned to Missouri, the relationship was quickly set on the rocks when Kinne told Jones that she was pregnant and he was the father of the baby. Jones, instead of responding with what Kinne expected to be an agreement to divorce his wife, ended the affair.
According to Kinne's later testimony, on the afternoon of May 26 she contacted Patricia Jones at Jones's office and told her that Walter Jones was having an affair with Kinne's sister. Kinne then met with Patricia Jones that evening to discuss the matter further before dropping her off near the Jones house.
Patricia Jones never made it to her house that evening, according to her husband. Walter Jones filed a missing persons report with police the next day and began calling people he thought might have seen his wife. He got a lead when he spoke to friends of Patricia's who carpooled to work with her. The friends told Jones that Patricia had reported receiving a phone call that day from an unnamed woman who wanted to meet with her. She had asked the carpool driver to drop her off at a street corner in Independence, which he had done. The occupants of the carpool had seen a woman waiting for Jones in another car at the shop but did not recognize her. They nevertheless provided a description of the unknown woman to Jones.
Suspicious of the identity of the unknown woman based on the carpoolers' general description, Walter Jones called Sharon Kinne and asked if she had seen or spoken to his wife. Kinne allowed that she had, indeed, seen Patricia that day; she had met her to tell her about Walter's affair. According to Kinne, she last saw Patricia where she dropped her off near the Jones house, speaking to an unknown man in a green 1957 Ford. Based on Kinne's admission over the phone, Walter Jones met with her late Friday evening and insisted she give him more details about where his wife was; he later admitted to going so far as to hold a key to her throat threateningly. Kinne's response was, after leaving Jones, to call John Boldizs and ask him to help her search for Patricia Jones. Shortly before midnight, and within hours of Kinne's conversation with Walter Jones, she and Boldizs had found the body of a woman in a secluded area approximately one mile outside of Independence. According to Boldizs, he had been the one to suggest searching the area in which they encountered the body; it was a spot to which they had often gone on dates before.
The body, dressed in a black sweater and yellow skirt, was soon identified as the missing Patricia Jones. Jones had been hit with four shots from a .22 caliber pistol. Although the fatal wound was a shot to Jones's head, entering near her mouth on an upward trajectory, she also had one through and through bullet wound to her abdomen and two penetrating gunshot wounds to her shoulders on a downward trajectory through her body. Powder burns on the hemline of her skirt, which had been raised to her waist, indicated that the gun had been fired from close range at least once. Initial reports and investigation placed Jones's time of death at approximately 9 p.m. on May 27.
She was buried on May 31.
Investigators immediately began to question Sharon Kinne, James Boldizs, and Walter Jones. All three were questioned on May 28. Jones and Boldizs both gave written statements admitting to have been dating Sharon Kinne and both agreed to lie detector tests; Kinne gave an oral statement to police but declined to sign a written one or take a lie detector test. Kinne was questioned again on the morning of May 30, and Boldizs on May 31. The scheduled polygraphs for the two men were performed on June 1, and both men were deemed to have been truthful in their statements. Kinne's brother Eugene was also questioned on May 31, but declined to answer questions.
While police questioned potential suspects and witnesses, other investigators focused on processing the crime scene. Repeated attempts were made to find the bullet that had passed through Jones's body and the murder weapon, including the sifting of dirt at the crime scene for bullets and the deployment of a troop of Boy Scouts to search for a gun. A .22 caliber rifle slug was eventually found buried in the ground where Jones's body had been found, providing evidence that at least some of her wounds had been sustained at the place her body was found. Though investigators went so far as to drag the bottom of nearby bodies of water, the gun that had shot Jones—assumed to be a .22 caliber pistol—could not be found. Buildings near where Jones's body had been located were also searched for blood and gunshot evidence, in accordance with police's theory that Jones had been attacked elsewhere and then transported outdoors. A "white, powdery substance" found in Jones's hair was initially believed to a trace evidence of some other crime scene area—an idea which fueled the search of nearby buildings—but was later determined to be fly eggs.
Kinne was arrested at her home for the murder around 11 p.m. on May 31, the same night as Patricia Jones's funeral. The same day, the Jackson County Sheriff requested that prosecutors consider a second charge of murder, this one for the death of James Kinne. Kinne's lawyers, Alex Peebles and Martha Sperry Hickman, filed a writ of habeas corpus with the court the next morning, and a hearing that afternoon resulted in her release on $20,000 bond while she awaited a preliminary hearing originally scheduled for June 16.
Police were able to rule out the .22 caliber pistol that had killed Kinne's husband as the murder weapon in Jones's death; that gun was still in the possession of the sheriff's office. However, a man who worked with Kinne admitted to having secretly purchased a new .22 caliber pistol at her request in the beginning of May. Police were unable to locate the gun in question when they searched Kinne's house, though they did find an empty box that they believed had once held a gun. Kinne at first claimed to investigators that she had lost the gun on a trip to Washington, then stated simply that the gun had disappeared.
Walter Jones was taken into custody on June 2 as a material witness to the case and was freed the same day on $2,000 bond.
The initial autopsy performed on Patricia Jones was criticized by police and prosecutors, who felt that the recovery of bullets and the testing of stomach contents should have been done. Dr. Hugh Owens, who had performed the autopsy, argued that he had recovered one of the presumed three bullets present in the body, and that because the body had been "prepared" by an undertaker prior to autopsy, any chemical tests on stomach contents would have been useless. Owens did add when asked that he had not seen any food apparent in the stomach at autopsy. The body of Patricia Jones was exhumed on June 17 in order to collect the bullets that had been left behind at the original autopsy, as well as to gather what samples of tissue and stomach contents were possible.
Kinne's arraignment on July 11 resulted in denial of bail, but the Kansas City Court of Appeals struck down the ruling days later based on the prosecution's reliance on circumstantial evidence. Kinne was freed on $24,000 (worth $188,976 in 2013 dollars) bond on July 18.
After a delay in her trial date due to her advanced pregnancy, Kinne gave birth to a daughter she named Marla Christine on January 16, 1961.
Though charged with both the murders of Patricia Jones and James Kinne, Sharon Kinne was tried separately for the two crimes. Her trial for the murder of Patricia Jones began in mid-June 1961, with jury selection beginning on or about June 13 and the trial commencing days later with an all-male jury.
Opening arguments by both prosecution and defense set up cases based on purported times of death. Basing their assertion on pathologist-given testimony that Jones had died about six hours after she ate lunch on May 26, the prosecution claimed that Jones had died more than 24 hours before Kinne and Boldizs found her body; defense attorneys argued that death had more likely occurred six to eight hours prior. Prosecutor J. Arnott Hill cited testimony by Chief of Detectives Lieutenant Harry Nesbitt and by Patricia Jones's husband, Walter, as evidence of Kinne's motive for the crime: the detective recalled statements by Kinne that she was afraid Jones was drifting away from her despite the financial support she offered him, and Jones testified that Kinne had told him she was pregnant by him and he had thereafter attempted to end the relationship.
The prosecution was unable to firmly establish that Kinne owned or had once had the weapon that killed Jones, though both Kinne's known pistol and the one that fired the bullets that killed Jones were .22 caliber weapons. Roy Thrush, the man who sold the pistol to Kinne's coworker, had led police to a tree that contained what he claimed to be bullets he had fired from that pistol; however, when the bullets were extracted from the tree trunk, tests showed that the extracted bullets were not identifiable as having come from the weapon that killed Jones.
The prosecution rested its case on June 21 after calling 27 witnesses. Kinne's defense, which took less than two days and involved fourteen witnesses other than Kinne—who did not testify— focused on breaking down the State's claims of motive and means, arguing that Kinne had no reason to kill Jones and that the .22 caliber pistol she was alleged to have owned had not been proven to be the murder weapon.
After slightly over one and a half hours of deliberation, the jury, citing "just too many loopholes" left in the prosecution's case, found Kinne not guilty. Immediately after the delivery of the verdict, juror Ogden Stephens asked Kinne for her autograph, which she was photographed giving to him. Kinne was returned to jail the same day to await trial for the murder of her husband.
Despite her acquittal in the case of the murder of Patricia Jones, Kinne remained under charges for the murder of her husband, James Kinne. When jury selection began on January 8, 1962, District Attorney J. Arnott Hill noted that he did not intend to pursue the death penalty in the case.
The prosecution's case rested largely on their contention that Kinne had been so interested in seeing her husband removed that she had been willing to pay for his murder, supported by the grand-jury testimony of John Boldizs. Boldizs, though nominally a witness for the prosecution, weakened his testimony on the stand during the trial by claiming that Kinne's offer to pay him $1,000 in return for James Kinne's murder could have been a joke, and Hill was forced to attack his own witness's credibility. Further prosecution testimony alleged that the Kinne's marriage had been on the verge of dissolution at the time of James Kinne's death, that Sharon Kinne's adultery had been a cause of this, and that Sharon Kinne had known that she would collect her husband's $29,000 in life insurance policies only if she were still his wife.
The defense, led by attorneys Martha Hickman and James Patrick Quinn, focused on the circumstantial quality of the prosecution's evidence, noting that prior police investigation had determined James Kinne's death to be "obviously accidental" and that the jury was obligated to assume innocence on the defendant's part no matter how unpleasant they found her moral character to be. The defense, too, attacked the reliability of John Boldizs's testimony, calling him a "poor, mixed-up kid" who would "sign anything". Kinne's attorneys also presented testimony from witnesses supporting the viability of the theory that Danna Kinne had shot her father, including statements that guns had been regularly left within Danna's reach at the family home, that Danna was able to pull the triggers on toy guns with stiffer trigger pulls than the weapon that caused Kinne's death, and that Danna had often been observed pretending to fire guns in play.
The trial ended in conviction on January 11 after five and a half hours of deliberation. In April of the same year, she was formally sentenced to life in prison. She began to serve her sentence in the Missouri Reformatory for Women.
Later interviews with jurors from the trial revealed that "three or four ballots" had been taken before the "guilty" verdict was reached, beginning with the jury solidly divided and moving progressively toward unanimity for conviction. One juror told the Kansas City Star that Kinne's morals had not been considered at issue by the jury, and that she thought no juror had been aware of Kinne's previously being tried for the murder of Patricia Jones.
Despite the verdict, James Kinne's family continued to believe the best of their daughter-in-law, telling reporters on the day of the verdict, "[W]e can't find it in our hearts to say anything bad about her" and "We still don't feel that she committed murder." Kinne herself told reporters that she felt the verdict was a mistake, and that she regretted her previous enthusiasm for having a woman on the jury.
The next week, Kinne's lawyers requested that she be released on bond, supported by a community petition signed by 132 supporters of her innocence. The motion was denied on the basis of first-degree murder not being a bailable offense; presiding judge Tom J. Stubbs also counseled Kinne's lawyers that he felt their involvement in such a petition at a time when a motion for bond was being considered was "highly improper". A subsequent defense motion requested that Kinne's conviction be vacated because the jury had delivered its verdict based on "surmise and speculation" rather than "substantial evidence". The motion also listed a series of procedural errors that Kinne's counsel alleged had taken place before and during the trial, including a juror taking "incomplete" notes, attorneys for both sides of the case having disputed John Boldizs's testimony, and an incorrect number of potential jurors being provided for selection. The motion was denied by Judge Stubbs in April 1962, but appealed to the Missouri Supreme Court, which in March 1963 reversed Kinne's conviction and ordered a new trial on the basis of Kinne's defense having been denied adequate peremptory challenges during jury selection in her trial. Kinne was denied an opportunity for bail in May 1963, but that ruling was overturned in July and Kinne was released on $25,000 bond, posted by her brother. The state's request that the Missouri Supreme Court re-consider its position on Kinne's conviction was granted, but in October 1963 that hearing resulted in further grounds being found for a new trial, this time on the basis of the prosecutor having been allowed to cross-examine a prosecution witness. A second request for a re-hearing on the validity of Kinne's conviction was denied by the Missouri Supreme Court. Kinne and her children moved in with her mother and awaited the start of her new trial.
Kinne's second trial for the murder of James Kinne began on March 23, 1964. As jury selection got underway that day, the public was initially barred from the proceedings, but the restriction was soon loosened and the media were allowed into the courtroom. An unusually long jury selection process made the first day of the trial last fourteen hours, beginning at 9 a.m. and not ending until nearly midnight the same day; presiding judge Paul Carver noted that due to the notoriety of the case, he had been forced to choose between sequestering the entire jury pool overnight and forcing the court into a long day. The eventual jury, all men, were immediately sequestered, but days later, a mistrial was declared after it emerged that a law partner of prosecutor Lawrence Gepford had once been retained by one of the jurors.
Kinne's third trial for the murder of James Kinne, originally scheduled to begin early in June 1964, began instead on June 29. Assistant prosecutor Donald L. Mason declared at jury selection that he intended to death-qualify the jury, a process in which a prosecutor peremptorily challenges any juror who automatically opposes the death penalty, and jury selection once again took more than twelve hours in one day. John Boldizs's testimony in this trial remained contradictory as to whether he believed Kinne's offer had been intended seriously, but he added this time that after James Kinne's death, Sharon Kinne had asked that Boldizs not tell authorities about her $1,000 offer for the death of her husband. A new witness, a female acquaintance of Kinne's, testified that Kinne had once joked that the woman should "get rid of [the woman's] old man like [Kinne] did", but defense cross-examination highlighted inconsistencies between this testimony and a similar quote the woman had offered at a previous deposition. For the first time at any of her trials, Kinne took the stand on the last day of this trial to issue a categorical denial of all charges.
The all-male jury deadlocked seven-to-five in favor of acquittal in this trial, resulting in a second mistrial.
A fourth trial in the death of James Kinne was scheduled for October 1964; however, in September 1964, Kinne, still free on her $25,000 bond, traveled to Mexico with an alleged lover, Francis Samuel Puglise leaving her children with James Kinne's father and traveling as Pugliese's wife under the name Jeanette Pugliese. The couple later said that they had come to Mexico to get married. Under the legal terms of her bail, Kinne was permitted to leave the country, but her contract with the company that posted her bond prohibited her from leaving Missouri without written permission from the company's agents. After crossing the border, the couple registered at a local hotel, Hotel Gin, again as husband and wife. Kinne, saying that she felt unsafe in the foreign country, bought a pistol—which meant that the couple now possessed multiple guns, having brought one or two with them from the United States.
On the night of September 18, 1964, Kinne left the hotel without Pugliese, either to acquire money because the couple was running low or to get medicine she required. Kinne encountered Francisco Parades Ordoñez, a Mexican-born American citizen, at a bar that night and accompanied him back to his room in Hotel La Vada. According to Kinne's account, she went with Ordoñez to see photographs he offered to show her, but he soon began to make sexual advances toward her and she was forced to fire her gun at him in an attempt to protect herself. Kinne maintained later that she had had no intention of killing or harming Ordoñez, and had intended only to frighten him, but her bullets struck him in the chest and killed him. Responding to the sound of gunfire, hotel employee Enrique Martinez Rueda entered the room. Kinne fired again and hit Rueda in the shoulder. Wounded, Rueda fled the room, locking Kinne inside, and called the police.
Police, rejecting Kinne's story, theorized that she had gone out that evening intending robbery, and had chosen Ordoñez as her victim. When he resisted her orders to give her his money, police believed, Kinne had shot him.
Police responding to Hotel La Vada arrested Kinne on charges of homicide and assault with a deadly weapon. Kinne maintained that she had not intended to harm Ordoñez, merely to frighten him, and that she had fired her weapon at Rueda because she feared that he, too, was coming to attack her. Police searched Kinne's purse, finding a gun and fifty shells, and then the couple's room at Hotel Gin, where they found two more guns and another supply of shells. Authorities took Francis Pugliese into custody there, initially holding him without charge and later filing charges of entering the country illegally and carrying an unlicensed gun. The gun found in the couple's room that night was later proven through ballistics to be the same gun that killed Patricia Jones in 1960, but because Kinne had already been acquitted of that crime, she could not be charged again for it based on the new evidence.
Pugliese was held at the Palacio de Lecumberri, while Kinne was initially placed in a women's prison before being transferred to Lecumberri for her trial.
The couple were arraigned on September 26 and held for trial. In October, Kinne's attorney, Higinio Lara, filed a recurso de amparo, similar to a writ of habeas corpus, asserting that Mexico was violating Kinne's constitutional rights by holding her for a shooting committed in self-defense. The request was denied and both Kinne and Pugliese were tried in the summer of 1965. Pugliese, cleared of the charges against him, was deported to the United States, but Kinne was convicted on October 18 of the homicide of Ordoñez. Despite rumors that she would receive probation and be deported like Pugliese, Kinne was instead sentenced to a 10-year prison term for the crimes; when she was officially notified of the sentence the next day, she asserted that she would appeal her conviction. Kinne was returned to the women's prison to serve her sentence. There, she was nicknamed "La Pistolera" ("the gunfighter"), a nickname subsequently adopted by the Mexican press.
Kinne's appeal, rather than overturning her sentence, lengthened it. The three-man superior court which heard her case overturned one aspect of her conviction—charges of attempted robbery—but upheld her murder conviction and increased her sentence from ten to thirteen years, saying that her original sentence had been too lenient.
On December 7, 1969, Kinne was not present for a routine 5 p.m. roll-call at the Ixtapalapan prison where she was serving her sentence, but her absence was not officially noted until she also failed to show up at a second roll-call later that evening. The news of her disappearance was not reported to Mexico City police until 2 a.m. the following morning. A manhunt was then arranged, initially focusing on the northern Mexican states due to authorities' belief that Kinne may have been heading for the last known whereabouts of a former inmate to whom she had grown close while they were in prison together, but also encompassing country-wide transport hubs and eventually circling back to the Mexico City area. American authorities, including the FBI, were also alerted of Mexican authorities' belief that Kinne may have been attempting to work her way back into her native country, but the FBI noted that it was unlikely to have jurisdiction in the case.
Initial police speculation was that Kinne had bribed guards to look the other way while she escaped the prison—an unusual blackout had been reported at the prison on the evening of and at the approximate time of her escape, and investigation showed that a door that should have been locked had been left unsecured—but further questioning of prison guards and administration showed that oversight at the prison was generally lax and that it was staffed by fewer guards than it should have been. News reports of the time reported numerous theories about Kinne's escape, including that she had bribed prison guards, that she may have enlisted the help of a supposed boyfriend who was a Mexico City policeman, that Kinne's mother had been involved in the escape plan, that a former Mexican secret service agent had assisted in her escape, and that Kinne may have disguised herself as a man to effect her escape. A more modern theory speculates that the family of Francisco Parades Ordoñez had helped her escape and then killed her.
The intensive manhunt for Kinne was short-lived, however; by December 18, the Mexican secret service and the Mexico City district attorney's office were both reporting that they were no longer involved in searching for the escaped prisoner, while the federal district attorney was reporting that responsibility for the hunt belonged to the city district attorney's office. Investigators speculated that Kinne had already crossed the border from Mexico into Guatemala, mooting the purpose of a Mexican manhunt, but noted that Kinne was fluent in Spanish after her years in Mexican prison, and she could therefore be "get[ting] along rather well" in nearly any Spanish-speaking area of the world. Despite vowing to keep the case open and their investigation running until Kinne was back in custody, by the end of December 1969, authorities were forced to admit that they had run out of investigative leads to pursue.
More than forty years after her escape, Kinne remains at large, her whereabouts and ultimate fate unknown.
Kinne's arrest and conviction in Mexico had implications for the status of her Missouri legal entanglements. Because she was being held in Mexico on October 26, 1964—the scheduled date for her fourth trial in the murder of her husband—Kinne's $25,000 bond was revoked on that date. Though the United Bond Insurance Company, which had posted the bond, argued that paperwork irregularities rendered the issuance of Kinne's bail illegal, the court ordered the company to forfeit the bond. Kinne was reportedly concerned about the monetary implications of this forfeiture: "I could always use the money," the Altus Times-Democrat quoted her as saying. "I don't intend to spend all my life in jail."
A $30,000 supersedeas bond was issued in August 1965 as the United Bond Insurance Company continued to dispute the payment of Kinne's original $25,000 bond. The supersedeas bond allowed the company to defer payment of the $25,000 bond until a ruling on the matter was handed down by the Missouri Supreme Court, but when that court upheld the bond's forfeiture, the $25,000 was paid to the State of Missouri in October 1965. The United Bond Insurance Company later filed suit against Kinne's family to recover the cost of the bail, lawyer's fees, and searching for Kinne after her escape.
Shortly before her scheduled Missouri trial date, Kinne's Missouri counsel filed a motion to change the venue of any eventual fourth trial in the death of James Kinne, claiming that news coverage of Kinne's cases had so prejudiced residents of Jackson County against her that it would be impossible for her to get a fair trial there.
When Kinne failed to appear for the murder of her husband, a warrant was issued for her arrest in October 1964. It is still outstanding 50 years later—making it the oldest outstanding murder warrant known to exist in the Kansas City area. Kinne's status in the Mexican system also remains outstanding, though authorities have pointed out that at the time of her escape, jailbreak was not a crime under Mexican law; if she were re-captured there, she would have only to serve out the remainder of her outstanding sentence.
In a segment of the Investigation Discovery series Deadly Women covering the Kinne case, episode entitled "Born bad", James Hays, author of I'm just an Ordinary Girl: The Sharon Kinne Story speculates that Kinne committed her first murder for pecuniary gain, hoping to cash in on James Kinne's life insurance policy, and that she began to derive pleasure from killing at that point. Former FBI profiler Candice DeLong supports this assertion with her theory that Kinne is a sociopath, lacking in remorse and empathy, and therefore had no compunction about killing to get what she wanted — be it life insurance, marriage to her boyfriend, or cash. This idea is echoed by some of those involved in prosecuting Kinne, who feel that she was a "psychopath" and born bad. and that "her solution to a problem was to kill somebody". Even those who believe in her guilt, however, note that Kinne had a certain appeal, describing her as "rather attractive" and admitting that they grew to like her. The Mammoth Book of True Crime describes her as a relative rarity, a "pretty" criminal.
In I'm just an Ordinary Girl: The Sharon Kinne Story, Hays also asserts that Kinne was inspired to kill her husband by a police magazine she read that told the story of Lillian Chastain, a Virginia woman who shot her husband during an argument and blamed the gunshot on the couple's two-year-old daughter. Charges against Chastain were filed in February 1960, weeks before James Kinne's death.