Elvis Presley is big in about half of our house. They are not fanatical about him, but they are avid fans. So the other night I said I’d watch the latest movie about him. The main emphasis was on his legendary, shady manager, Colonel Tom Parker.
Parker was born Andreas Cornelis van Kuijk on 26th June, 1909. This was in the Dutch town of Breda.
Parker adopted his name after he moved to the USA. Apparently the whole Colonel bit was true in that he was given it as an honourary title. The name was one he had taken from an army officer he met. The important part is that in May 1929 he apparently left his old life and family behind and went Stateside. A complication arose because he entered the USA illegally. Right up until his death in 1997 he didn’t try to arranged citizenship.
During the tale of him and Elvis the movie highlighted the fact that the super star never toured outside of the USA except for a few appearances in Canada. The inference was that Parker avoided lucrative offers of global touring because he could not follow Elvis. If he had he would have had trouble getting back into the US.
I wasn’t that struck by the movie so my mind wandered. I thought, why would a rich and relatively powerful music personality never sort out that technicality? I personally know of a guy who is now all set in the USA and he lived there illegally for years. In the end he just went and saw the immigration service and after a bit of a nail biting time he got a green card. The guy I knew was brokeish. He had paid all his taxes etc so that was ok. Yet for a man like Parker, surely it would have been nothing more than a few phone calls…unless?
In an article called ‘Colonel Parker: murderer?’ author Mike Dash recounts a trail of others as they tracked down Parker’s origins AND a possible reason he had never unraveled his status issue.
In 1977 Elvis Presley died and after that bits of the story began to seep out. Back in Holland a home grown journalist started to look into Parker’s past. Yes, he was born in Breda. Yes, he and his large family lived in the town in May 1929. Most interestingly is the fact they resided only a short distance from an unsolved murder that happened before the great showman vanished to the USA.
Anna van den Enden was 23 years old and newly married. She ran a grocery store at 31 Nieuwe Boschstraat.
On 17th May 1929 her battered body was found in the rear of the building. The motive appeared to be robbery. Pepper had been spread over her body. The thinking was it would stop tracker dogs from following the scent. A witness said that a man had been seen in the area. He was well dressed and had on a yellow coat.
Parker was by all accounts a snappy dresser. According to the article yellow was a particular favourite. An autobiographer of Parker sought out the original police report. In all the pages there is no mention of any interest in Parker never mind any attempt to track him down. So why would he think that was a good reason to duck into the USA?
Collectively, those that knew Parker and those that researched him, think it was highly likely he killed that young woman. The overriding theory is that he probably planned a nice quiet burglary and things went wrong for her. The suggested motive was he wanted funds for a long desired passage to the USA.
Cited as anecdotal reasons for thinking this are: He could be violent in an impulsive rage sort of way and he was discharged from the US army for having a psychopathic personality.
The group that think he may well have committed the crime include his family. It certainly would explain why a man with a serious gambling issue would turn down a fortune. Elvis would have broken records for the cash he could have received from playing in Europe and Japan. This would have been very tempting as Elvis aged and he remained planted in a Las Vegas loop of appearances.
A Daily Mail piece goes further and openly talks of Parker being the killer of that young woman. They expand the connection by stating that they attended the same church and therefore Parker knew her. They also suggest the pepper trick was in keeping with the then young man’s experience training circus dogs.
Regardless 1929 and that poor woman are a long time ago and there is no proof that his departure was tied to her death. That is the sad thing. I can find plenty of pictures of Parker yet none of Anna van den Enden. Yeah, that is the saddest thing for me anyway.