I first saw the above image a few years ago at the Fort Erie border station on the Canadian side of the Peace Bridge. It’s on the doorway one walks out of into free Canadian air, after answering questions about what you do for a living and if you’re bringing any infested American produce into Canada. I was the one of the first people through the border from my bus, so I had some time to kill and was scanning the missing persons posters. I did a double take when I saw this one.
There is something very odd and a bit sad about putting a photo of the man in clown make up on his unsolved murder photo. It almost implies that the murder was somehow tied into his profession; as if someone who saw the regular photo would have drawn a blank on the matter, but after seeing the clown photo realized in fact that WAS the clown who went too far at that birthday party. Also, does it mean that clowning is more than a profession but a lifestyle choice? I mean, if the man in question murdered was a UPS driver, would his missing photo show him in his UPS uniform? Probably not…
I went through the same border again a few months back, and the poster was still there. At this point, my interest was piqued a little further, and I had to find out what the deal was.
The man in the clown make-up was named Randy Rankin. He went under the names Lunchbox Louie and Koo-Koo the clown. Despite his vaguely John Wayne Gacyesque appearance, he was by all accounts a successful clown.
Although, his profession was clowning, Rankin’s real passion was harness racing. He posted on a harness racing forum and claimed that he knew inside information about doping and corruption in horse racing circles in Ottawa. Rankin’s brother thinks this what lead to his death, saying that, “We still think it was a hit.”
Rankin’s posts were indeed controversial. Posting as “Big Daddy” on the Harnessdriver.com forum, Rankin said, “If I go national with what I know, this industry would be in such a tailspin it would never recover. Now sit quiet and watch the ball unravel.”
Anyone who has ever posted on an online forum before has seen this type of big talk. Sometimes the poster in question does have inside information and sometimes they are just internet personas full of hot air. It’s odd to read the posts of a murdered man to look for clues as to which he was.
Rankin was shot in the head in home in 2007. If the murder wasn’t harness racing related, why exactly was an unmarried 46 year old clown murdered?