Most people will tell you that there is no such thing as the perfect murder. With advancements in forensic sciences, and almost instantaneous dissemination of information via the internet and social media, it is more unlikely for murders to go unsolved than ever before.
However, even with today’s modern crime-solving methods and DNA databases, there remain many unsolved murders that challenge investigators, resist best efforts, and defy explanation.
Some cases are decades old with crime scenes originally processed using less-than-ideal methods. Is it too late to solve them? Possibly not; somewhere, someone knows a relative, a friend, or an acquaintance that possesses the knowledge or the evidence that is the key to closing a case. Is it you?
It is very hard to keep a secret for any period of time without any part of it becoming public; however, if anybody knows who committed these crimes, they have remained hidden, in some instances for over a hundred years. The following cases are some of the most mystifying and bizarre murders that remain unsolved. Maybe someday we will uncover definitive proof that will finally solve these shocking crimes.
10 February 9 Killer
On February 9, 2006, near Salt Lake City, a Hispanic woman was murdered in her apartment. The crime went unsolved. Then, oddly enough, on February 9, 2008, another Hispanic woman was murdered in her apartment, just about a mile away from the first victim. A ghastly coincidence? That’s what the police thought at first. Then, DNA analysis of the evidence collected at both crime scenes uncovered a dreadful piece of evidence: both murders were committed by the same man!
In both cases, the women were strangled, there were no signs of forced entry, and no missing property was ever recovered. The killer was immediately dubbed the “February 9 Killer.” Though they now have the killer’s DNA on file, no match has ever been found.
9 The Boston Strangler?
I know what you’re thinking; they caught the Boston Stranger in 1964. Did they? Albert DeSalvo confessed to raping and killing thirteen women ranging in age from nineteen to eighty-five, all within the Boston area. There was no evidence linking him to any of the murders and his confession contained many details that were inconsistent with the actual crime scenes. He was never tried for any of the murders and instead incarcerated on unrelated charges.
His confession was also made while in a mental institution and was ruled inadmissible. Most investigators believe that there was more than one killer, and DNA evidence has exonerated DeSalvo of at least one of the murders to which he confessed. Many believe he made the admission for the fame. That means that there is a good possibility that this vicious murderer is still out there.
8 The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run
During the late 1930s, in Cleveland, a serial killer was beheading and dismembering his victims, and sometimes even emasculating them. Also known as the Cleveland Torso Murderer, this “Mad Butcher” has an official body count of twelve; however investigators believe he killed many more.
Some victims were not found for months and most could never be identified - including some because no heads were ever found to match with bodies. Photos and death masks of some of the victims are housed in an exposition open to the public at the Cleveland Police Museum. The case remains unsolved.
7 The Moonlight Murders
In the Spring of 1946, someone shot eight people in the Texarkana, Texas area, of which five were killed. Many of the victims were young couples in cars looking for a secluded area to be alone. Dubbed the “Phantom Killer,” an urban legend grew out of the case.
Local residents were terrified and many nailed their windows shut and purchased firearms. Two survivors described the killer as a tall man with a white sack over his head, with holes cut out for his eyes. Many suspects were rounded up, some confessed, but no evidence was ever found to corroborate any of their statements.
6 The Hinterkaifeck Murders
Hinterkaifeck is a small farm hidden in the Bavarian woods of Germany. On Friday, March 31, 1922, the six residents of the farm were brutally murdered with a pickaxe-like tool called a mattock. The victims were an elderly married couple, their daughter and her two children, as well as the maid. It is believed that the family was lured out to the barn one by one, where their heads were split apart by a single swift blow. The bodies were found the following Monday, all meticulously stacked and covered.
Evidence points to the killer staying on the farm over the weekend after committing the murders, as fresh food was eaten in the kitchen, the cattle were fed daily, and smoke from the fireplace was seen by neighbors, however no valuables were taken. Despite many theories, the murders have never been solved.
5 The Axeman of New Orleans
In New Orleans, between May 1918 and October 1919, a brutal killer attacked at least fifteen unsuspecting victims in their homes. He violently swung his axe at their heads, killing most of his victims. The Axeman, as he was called, began taunting police with letters claiming he was a demon from Hell. Many of the victims were Italian-American and appeared to have been chosen at random.
The bloody Axeman killed viciously and his victims included a young girl being carried in her mother’s arms. Despite the killer almost always leaving a bloody axe behind at the scene, his identity was never discovered, and the killings just stopped.
4 Dyatlov Pass Deaths
In 1959, nine students journeyed up into the Ural Mountains for a ski trip. That much is certain. What happened afterwards might not ever be known. Sometime during the night of February 1, the students ripped the back of their tent from the inside and all nine ran off into the bitter ice and snow. The temperatures were approximately -15 to -18 degrees Celsius. Some of the students were barefoot and some scantily clad indicating they fled in a hurry.
When their frozen bodies were found scattered throughout the snow bluff, some appeared unharmed but others had fractured skulls, broken ribs, and one was missing her tongue. Once recovered, two of the bodies mysteriously contained trace levels of radiation. Russian investigators closed the case citing a “compelling unknown force” as the cause of the deaths.
3 The Black Dahlia
The Black Dahlia, as she was nicknamed, refers to the young 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, who was found gruesomely murdered in a park in Los Angeles on January 15, 1947. She was left nude and her body had been cut completely in two across her waist. Short had been completely drained of blood and the corners of her mouth had been brutally slashed.
Due to the lack of blood at the scene, it was determined she had been killed elsewhere and then left, posed in the park with her arms above her head. It was also determined that she died from the cuts to her face resulting in massive blood loss as well as shock from an apparent concussion. Neither the killer nor the motive was ever found.
2 The Zodiac Killer
In the late 1960s, seven people in secluded “lover’s lane” areas were gunned down in Northern California, five of whom died. The killer taunted police with enigmatic letters sent to local newspapers, and claimed to have killed a total of 37 people. These letters contained four mysterious cryptograms that the killer wrote would reveal his identity when they were all solved. He signed the letters, Zodiac.
To date, only one of the four cryptograms has been deciphered. Despite evidence including physical descriptions, fingerprints, and the letters, Zodiac was never caught. The case remains unsolved and Zodiac goes down in history as the most notorious murderer in the United States who was never caught.
1 Jack the Ripper's Identity
The most notorious unsolved murderer in world history has to be Jack the Ripper. The identity of this serial killer has eluded us for over a hundred years after his grisly killing spree terrorized London’s East End in 1888. He is believed to have killed five women in London’s Whitechapel district, though there could be as many as eleven victims.
Jack would encounter the women - all prostitutes - in the middle of the night, slashing their throats and proceeding to savagely mutilate their bodies, sometimes removing their organs. His precision in doing so led some to believe he had medical training. Jack sent several letters taunting the police, one of which even included a small piece of a human kidney. Over the years there have been several suspect theories, but the Ripper’s identity remains unknown.