Near Crescent, Oklahoma – November 13, 1974
Karen Silkwood was a laboratory analyst who worked at the Kerr-McGee Fuel Fabrication plant near Crescent, Oklahoma. The plant produced plutonium pellets for the nuclear power industry. As a member of her union’s health and safety committee she uncovered numerous health regulation violations that could directly result in employees’ plutonium contamination.
After assembling documentation of the plant’s safety lapses that included company papers, Karen decided to go public with her findings. She arranged to meet with a New York Times reporter and a national union representative to present her findings to them. On November 13, 1974 she attended a union meeting in Crescent with her evidence in hand. Afterward, she took her packet of documents and left by herself to meet with the Times reporter and a union rep in nearby Oklahoma City.
Later that evening her body was found in her crushed car at this culvert. Forensic evidence pointed to it having been run off the road.
The documentation she carried with her was missing and has never been found. Kerr-McGee closed its nuclear fuel plants the following year