Two ex-convicts, Richard ("Dick") Eugene Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, were soon arrested, questioned, confessed, then tried, and convicted of the killings. The duo's murderous odyssey began when both Hickock and Smith were released from prison and acting on jailhouse information by a fellow cellmate named Floyd Wells (who had once worked for Mr. Clutter), made plans to rob the Clutter household under the mistaken belief that Mr. Clutter kept thousands of dollars in cash in a safe at the residence.
There was no Clutter safe, nor any substantial amount of cash in the home. Upon this discovery, and after killing the captive family to eliminate any witnesses, the pair fled with around $42, a portable radio, and one binocular. They were arrested 6 weeks later in Las Vegas, Nevada. Following their convictions and after several appeals, both Hickock and Smith were hanged for their crimes on April 14, 1965.
The shocking murders, arrests and convictions of both Hickock and Smith were the basis for author Truman Capote's acclaimed book, In Cold Blood, which was serialized in The New Yorker magazine in 1965 and first published in book form in 1966. Capote actually began work on the book several days after he read a news article in a New York paper in 1959 about the murders.
The best-selling book, in turn, spawned three filmed versions of the compelling story: director Richard Brooks' theatrical feature film in 1967 starring Robert Blake, Scott Wilson and John Forsythe, and a two-part made-for-television movie starring Eric Roberts, Anthony Edwards and Sam Neill that aired on network TV in 1996. Portions of the 1967 theatrical film were shot on location in and around Holcomb and nearby Garden City, including the actual Clutter house where the crimes occurred. The 2005 movie Capote, directed by Bennett Miller, is also about the author Truman Capote, and provides great insight into Mr. Capote, his writing, and the crimes in Holcomb. Philip Seymour Hoffman received an Oscar™ for Best Actor in March 2006 for his portrayal of author Truman Capote in the movie.
Holcomb is located at 37°59'2N, 100°59'10W (37.983934, -100.985996). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.0 km² (1.2 mi²), all land.
As of the census of 2000, 592 households, and 515 families residing in the city. The population density was 668.6/km² (1,730.1/mi²). There were 608 housing units at an average density of 200.6/km² (519.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.80% White, 1.09% African American, 0.89% Native American, 0.30% Asian, 13.28% from other races, and 3.65% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 24.43% of the population.
There were 592 households out of which 65.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 64.9% were married couples living together, 17.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 13.0% were non-families. 10.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.42 and the average family size was 3.62.
In the city the population was spread out with 41.7% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 32.7% from 25 to 44, 14.8% from 45 to 64, and 2.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 25 years. For every 100 females there were 97.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $47,115, and the median income for a family was $48,587. Males had a median income of $31,250 versus $22,652 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,264. About 7.6% of families and 10.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 11.4% of those under age 18 and 26.5% of those age 65 or over.
The city is served by Holcomb Unified School District Number 363. Residents are zoned to either Holcomb Elementary School (grades 4-5) or Wiley Elementary School (Preschool-3). All residents are zoned to Holcomb Middle School and Holcomb High School.