When you flip through your phone or scroll through the channels on the TV to find something to watch, you’ll bet you’re going to run into some headlines about horrendous crimes. As the level and evidence of the crime become more complex, so do the reasons for the crime. In 2015, Business Insider reported that in the U.S. alone, reports of murders have gone drastically down. This then impacts the amount of unsolved murders in the country. One of the common reasons for the increase in unsolved cases is people having less trust in their authority figures. There’s been a rift between civilians and police for a while now, but as our political and economic relationships become more unbalanced, so do the relationships between civilians and their police. The other reason why unsolved murder cases have increased is because investigations into homicides are really expensive. Poor communities typically can’t afford to lower the amount of investigators’ cases. For example, the city of Detroit, Michigan in the U.S. has one of the highest murder rates in the country. The city of Detroit is a prime example of both reasons that lead to an increase in unsolved murders. Nobody wants to snitch, nobody trusts the police, the community is poverty stricken, and because it’s rated as the most dangerous city in America, it can potentially become isolated as well. These are sad and unfortunate statistics that also feed into the 15 scariest unsolved murder cold cases which will never bring the victims and their loved ones any closure.
15. Brain Shaffer
At the time of his disappearance, Brian Shaffer was a medical student at Ohio State University. In 2006, he went out with some of his pals to party and rage the beginning of their spring break. Later on in the early hours, Shaffer wasn’t with his friends. He somehow got separated from the group and his pals assumed he’d gone back home. But, the security footage that was captured on camera by the bar entrance showed Shaffer chatting it up with two women. He then re-entered the bar. Ever since then, Brian Shaffer hasn’t been seen or heard from. The case gained national attention. His disappearance puzzled investigators because there wasn’t any other entrance into the bar. One of the theories into what happened is linked to Shaffer’s friend. There’s no doubt that foul play is suspected. Other theories include the involvement of ‘Smiley Face’ serial killer or that he’s alive and living somewhere else.
14. Kingsbury Butcher
The Cleveland Torso Murderer, otherwise known as the ‘Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run’, is an unidentified serial killer from the ’30s. The killer’s signature style is dismembering at least a dozen victims within the Cleveland area. There’s some speculation that there’s probably more unclaimed victims in the Ohio city of Cleveland and its surrounding areas, stretching as far into the ’50s. One of the unknown victims is nicknamed “The Lady of the Lake.” She was found in September, 1934. The other victim was Robert Robertson, who was found in July, 1950. It’s alleged that the victims were usually “drifters.” Thus, their identities were never determined. There have been a few exceptions—Edward Andrassy, Florence Polillo, and [possibly] Rose Wallace. Both male and female victims seemed to be from the lower classes, which was easy prey during the Depression-era in Cleveland, Ohio. Most were part of the “working poor,” who didn’t have anywhere else to live but the ramshackle-town known as the ‘Cleveland Flats’.
13. Elisa Lam
Elisa Lam was a Canadian university student, when she was pulled from a hotel water tank at the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles in 2013. Maintenance workers (at the hotel) discovered Lam’s body. Guests had complained about having problems with their water supply, which then led to the discovery of Lam. The LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) released elevator video footage of the last time Lam was seen. On the day of her disappearance, Lam is seen exiting and re-entering an elevator. She seems to be talking and gesturing while doing so, and looks like she’s hiding in the elevator as well. The clip went viral on the web and many people commented that they found it creepy. Claims of paranormal involvement, in combination with her known bipolar disorder, have been argued as part of the reason. However, reports show no evidence of physical trauma and that the cause of death was merely “accidental.”
12. The Sodders
In 1945, on Christmas Eve, a rogue fire destroyed the Sodder family home in West Virginia. The home housed George Sodder, his wife, Jennie Sodder, and a total of ten children. Apparently, during the fire, George and his wife—along with four of their nine children—had escaped the burning home. Unfortunately, the bodies of the other five children were never found. The family believed that the other five children were alive until the very end. George never rebuilt the home, but instead converted the site as a memorial garden dedicated to their lost children. In the ’50s, the family put up a billboard with pictures of their five offspring, offering a reward for any information that would bring closure. It remained up until the late ’80s. There were a number of unusual circumstances before and during the home-fire case. George disputed that the blaze was an electrical issue. Instead, theories were convinced that the children were taken by the Sicilian Mafia. However, this yielded no evidence or information.
11. Daddy & Mommy Are In The Fridge
Charles Frederick Rogers, son of Fred and Edwina Rogers, is the leading suspect in “The Icebox Murders.” Rogers was unemployed and living with his elderly parents in Houston, Texas. The son was said to be “reclusive.” In 1965, two cops forced themselves into the home after Edwina’s nephew voiced his concerns. When one officer opened the fridge, he found cuts of unwrapped “meat.” He thought it was pork until he saw two human heads through the vegetable bin. The dismembered heads were of Charles’ parents. They realized the “meat” was the couple’s dismembered limbs and torsos. Police found organs that had been flushed down the toilet and determined the couple was killed on Father’s Day. Fred was killed by blows to the head, had his eyes gouged out, and his reproductive organs removed. Edwina was beaten, then shot in the head. There was little evidence of blood, until they went in Charles’ bedroom. The cops only found a bloody keyhole saw. The son was never found.
10. California Night-Stalker
The ‘Original Night Stalker’ is the given media description for the unidentified serial killer and r*pist who committed 50 r*pe crimes in Northern California during the ’70s. The killer has also gone and murdered twelve people in Southern California area between 1979 and 1986. Other names include the ‘East Area R*pist’, ‘Diamond Knot Killer’, and ‘Golden State Killer’. The crimes initially centered around east of the Sacramento area. At least 50 women were s*xually assaulted. In 2001, several victims were linked through DNA evidence to the murders in Southern California. The DNA-linked assaults make it likely that the same person is responsible for the attacks. The last crime reported, and the only one reported after 1981, was in 1986. The ‘Original Night Stalker’ has never been arrested. Last year, the FBI re-opened the case to get nationwide effort to find the killer and offered up a $50,000 reward for the capture.
9. Hinterkaifeck Farm
The small farmstead of Hinterkaifeck was located in Bavaria. It’s approximately 43 miles north of the city of Munich. One evening, in 1922, six people were killed on the farm. The victims were the farmer, his wife, their widowed daughter, her children, and the maid. The farm was remote, surrounded by forest. A few days before the murders, the farmer mentioned to neighbors about finding footprints in the snow, which lead from the edge of the forest to the farm, but no footprints leading back to the forest. He added that he heard footsteps in the attic of his home, found a strange newspaper, and that the house keys were missing for several days. Six months prior to that, the previous maid left the farm, saying it was haunted. When the new maid came on the day of the murder, she was killed hours later. What happened isn’t certain. It’s alleged that the family was gathered in the barn and killed. The two-year-old was killed while sleeping. The murders remain unsolved.
Besides ‘Jack The Ripper’, the ‘Zodiac’ serial killer is probably one of the most notorious 20th century murderers. The killer operated in northern California between the late ’60s, and early ’70s. The killer’s identity still remains unknown. The Zodiac victims consisted of four men and three women (between the ages of 16 and 29). The killer got the name “Zodiac” by sending letters, which taunted the press. The letters were basically four ciphers. Out of the four cryptic letters, only one letter was successfully solved. Throughout the countless years, many suspects have been named. However, no concrete evidence was brought up. In 2004, the case was marked inactive but was re-opened in 2007. Coincidentally, that same year, the film Zodiac was released. The film starred Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Robert Downey Jr. The film’s premise followed the exact same story outline as the real, and true, horrifying events.
7. Somerton Man
The “Tamam Shud Case,” also known as “Mystery of the Somerton Man,” is an unsolved Australian murder case. An unidentified Caucasian male was found dead at around six in the morning in 1948. His body was located on the Somerton beach, a little south of Adelaide, South Australia. The title of the crime was named after the phrase ‘tamám shud’, which means in Persian “ended” or “finished.” This was written on a scrap of paper, which was found in the pocket of the deceased man’s pants. The paper seemed to be torn from the final page of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which is a collection of poems connected to Omar Khayyám. The actual copy of the Rubaiyat, which the paper was torn from, was located and investigated. The inside of the back cover had handwritten notes. A telephone number, an unidentifiable digit, and an encrypted passage was inside. Unfortunately, the message hasn’t been deciphered. The case is considered to be one of Australia’s most mysterious crimes.
6. Ashley Freeman And Lauria Bible
In 1999, two girls, Lauria Bible and Ashley Freeman, went missing in Oklahoma. On the evening of celebrating Ashley’s sixteenth birthday, a fire erupted inside of the Freeman mobile home. Kathy Freeman was found dead, but her husband Danny Freeman’s body, and the two girls’ were not found. It was theorized that the husband killed his wife, and abducted his daughter, Ashley, and her friend, Lauria Bible. But then, his body was found a day later with a gunshot in his head. Autopsy reports showed that the wife also had been shot in the head. Lauria’s purse was left with $200 inside, which ruled out robbery. One theory into the case was that the Freemans had issues with the Craig County Sheriff’s department over their son who was shot and killed by a deputy. The local judge ruled the shooting as “justifiable.” Some believe foul tactics with the police, but that was also ruled out. The girls were never found.
5. Beaumont Children
For this case, we go back to the ‘Down Under’ to look into the Beaumont children who were three girls—Jane Nartare, Arnna Kathleen, and Grant Ellis Beaumont. All three disappeared from Glenelg Beach by Adelaide, South Australia, in 1966. At the time of their disappearance, they were aged nine, seven, and four. It all went down when a tall blonde male was seen escorting the children around town. Several eyewitnesses saw the children and the man. The last time the children were seen was at an abandoned home, where one report saw a boy being grabbed violently by a man as he was walking away from the house. Their case is regarded as one of the largest police investigations in Australian criminal history. It’s also one of Australia’s most infamous cold cases, among the Somerton Man. Even after almost fifty years, the story is still regularly revisited by the press. It’s also seen as the pivotal event that changed the way parents look after their children.
4. Where’s Amy Lynn
Amy Lynn Bradley, at the time of her disappearance in 1998, was a 23-year-old American citizen who went missing during a Caribbean Cruise on the Royal Caribbean International. The ship was headed to Curaçao. Investigators into her case claimed no evidence of her falling overboard or dying by suicide. Throughout the ’90s, tourists have claimed to spot Bradley in the Caribbean. They’ve reported a woman with the same tattoos in department stores, a brothel, and other places. On the morning of her disappearance, Bradley was seen drinking and dancing with the Blue Orchid band on board. One band member said he partied with Bradley until about one in the morning. Around five in the morning, Bradley’s father saw her sleeping on the cabin balcony. When he got up at six, she was gone. It’s speculated that, due to the sightings, Bradley might have been kidnapped and sold as a s*x slave.
3. Girl Scouts
The “Oklahoma Girl Scout Murders” occurred in 1977 at Camp Scott, located in Mayes County, Oklahoma. The innocent victims were three girl scouts, between the ages of eight and ten. The murder case was classified as solved, when Gene Leroy Hart, a jail escapee, was arrested. But, he was eventually acquitted. It all started on the first day of camp. The night before, a thunderstorm hit the area and the girls stayed put in their tents. They were sharing tent number eight in the camp’s “Kiowa” unit. This was the farthest unit from the Camp Counselor’s tent, and also hidden by the camp showers. The next morning, one of the camp counselors, on her way to the showers, found a girl’s body in a sleeping bag. All three girls from tent eight had been killed. Their bodies were left on the trail leading to the camp showers. Autopsy reports showed the girls had been r*ped, bludgeoned, and strangled. Camp Scott was evacuated and was later shut down.
2. Ray Gricar
Ray Frank Gricar was an American attorney who served as DA in Centre County, Pennsylvania. He went missing in 2005, after failing to go home on time. Investigators soon found his red MINI Cooper vehicle, by an antique store. The car contained his county-issued cellphone, but not his laptop computer, keys, or wallet. There was no sign of foul play. Although, there was an eerie connection between his disappearance, and the discovery of his brother’s body in an Ohio river, in 1996. In July (of the same year), fishermen found a county-issued laptop computer in the Susquehanna River, but the hard drive was missing. Two months after the incident, someone found the hard drive on the banks of the Susquehanna River, but it was badly damaged. Attempts at recovering data from the hard drive failed. In 2009, police revealed (before Gricar’s disappearance) that someone used the home computer to search for ways to wreck a hard drive and laptop.
1. Laced Tylenol
The last in this list of scary unsolved murders is the infamous 1982 “Chicago Tylenol Murders.” They were a series of over-the-counter poisoning deaths which resulted from tampered Tylenol pills. The common thread that connected the victims, was the obvious—all had taken Tylenol-branded acetaminophen capsules, laced with potassium cyanide. Seven people died in the original poisonings with an additional several more deaths due to subsequent ‘copycat crimes’. The killings led to better reforms in the packaging of over-the-counter medications. Federal anti-tampering laws were harshly implemented and Johnson & Johnson took immediate action in reducing deaths by warning the public of poisoning risks, which was praised as an exemplary response. No suspect was ever charged but James William Lewis was considered the prime suspect and was convicted of extortion for sending Johnson & Johnson a note where he took credit for the deaths and demanded a million dollars. Do you trust what’s in your cabinet?
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