Man Who Buried Girl Alive Becomes Doctor

ByABC News

Nov. 15, 2002 -- He was convicted of kidnapping a college student and burying her alive. Now Gary Steven Krist has a license to practice medicine.

Krist now works as a general practioner in Chrisney, Ind., about 10 miles north of the Kentucky line. He was upset when confronted with questions about his criminal past.

"Ambush journalists inflicting pain on people who are trying to do the right thing are almost as shameful as Osama bin Laden," Krist said after being approached by a reporter from ABCNEWS affiliate WRTV.

He declined to comment further.

Three decades ago, Krist was sentenced to life in prison for the 1968 kidnapping of Barbara Jane Mackle, a college student from a wealthy family.

Authorities said Krist, then 23, and a female accomplice abducted Mackle, a student at Emory University in Atlanta, at gunpoint from a motel and drugged her with chloroform. They put Mackle in a wooden box with food and other provisions, and buried her in a remote area in Georgia.

Police rescued Mackle 3½ days later, after her father paid a $500,000 ransom. Krist was captured off the Florida coast in a speedboat he had purchased with the ransom money.

The crime became the subject of a movie of the week, and Krist himself wrote a book about it, as did his victim.

In her book, Mackle described her reaction as she was buried inside the box.

"I screamed and screamed," she wrote. "The sound of the dirt got farther and farther away. Finally, I couldn't hear anything above. I screamed for a long time after that."

Medical License Granted, With Restrictions …

After serving 10 years in prison, Krist was released and went on to study at medical schools in Grenada and Dominica, eventually earning a medical degree. The state of Alabama rejected his attempt to get a license, but the Indiana Medical Licensing Board approved him in December 2001.

Indiana law does not prevent convicted felons from obtaining a medical license, and the state medical board put a number of restrictions on his ability to practice medicine. He remains on indefinite probation, and he must appear before the board every six months. He was required to submit to psychiatric evaluation, and he is not allowed to prescribe certain drugs.

Though Krist was upset by questions about his past, the state medical board said the public had a right to know.

"The fact that they gave him a probationary license, I think, is an indication that maybe there were some reservations," said Lisa Hayes, the executive director who oversees the Indiana Medical Licensing Board.

"I think it is important for the public to know — whether they're getting a physician or a plumber — to try to know who they're dealing with and making that decision for themselves," Hayes said.

ABCNEWS affiliate WRTV in Indianapolis contributed to this report.

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