A brutal crime is horrible. But guess what is scarier than that? When a brutal crime is never solved. Since 1980, more than 200,000 murders remain unsolved in the U.S. Which means, when a homicide is committed, there is a 1 in 3 chance that the killer won’t be identified, and the victims will never get justice.
The world is full of mysterious deaths and disappearances with secrets that continue to elude us. Those unclosed files have perplexed investigators for generations. I’m sure you will be familiar with some of the most publicized cases— Who was Jack the Ripper and the Zodiac Killer? Who Killed JonBenét Ramsey and the Black Dahlia?
Life is unpredictable. There are so many intriguing cases that deserve your attention. What had happened to the two girls who vanished during the jungle walk? Where were the Sodder children when they just suddenly went up in smoke? Who would have thought that a boy would disappear for decades after he finished playing basketball in his neighbourhood court? Why did the Beaumont children never return from their trip to Glenelg Beach?
Let’s check out the 15 creepiest mysteries that no one can explain.
15. THE LOST GIRLS IN PANAMA
On Apr. 1, 2014, two Dutch students, Lisanne Froon and Kris Kremers disappeared after setting out on the trail of Pianista near Boquete. Searchers found no trace of them but a Ngobe woman turned in Lisanne’s backpack around 10 weeks later, together with some of the girls’ belongings. Their camera took 90 photos between 1 and 4 a.m., one week after the girls went missing. Most of them were extremely dark and taken deep in the jungle. Later, during the second search, the girls were found in a state far away from alive. Over 33 bones were discovered from the river bank: 28 of them were from Lisanne’s left foot, a rib and a pelvic bone belonged to Kris. Were they victims of a brutal crime or a deadly accident? With what purposes were the photos taken? The questions led to much speculation but with no confirmed answers.
14. MYSTERIOUS DEATH OF JONBENÉT RAMSEY
More than twenty years have passed since the American child pageant queen, JonBenét Ramsey, was brutally murdered by strangulation and skull fracture in her Boulder, Colorado home, on Dec. 26, 1996. She was only six years old. Eight hours before the body was found in the basement, her parents, Patsy and John Ramsey, called 911 to report JonBenét missing and reported finding a ransom note demanding $118,000 for her return. The tragedy was put in the spotlight again in 2006, when 41-year-old John Mark Karr admitted to being guilty of JonBenét’s murder. However, the confession was overthrown as the DNA test revealed he could not have been at the crime scene. Meanwhile, John and Pasty remained suspects in the case for nearly 12 years. It was in 2008 they were proven to not be responsible of their daughter’s death. Until today, the case stays unsettled and the investigation is still open.
13. MISSING CASE OF NICHOLAS BARCLAY
Just as other typical days, on Jun. 13, 1994 Nicholas’ mother gave her son $5 to go and play basketball at their Texas neighbourhood court before she went sleeping after a night shift. Nicholas later called to ask his mother to pick him up, but his request was refused by his brother Jason. And this was the last time the family heard from the young boy. Oddly, three years after of the disappearance, a young man in Spain identified himself to be Nicolas Barclay. Despite the fact that his facial features were totally different from that of Nicholas (his eyes were brown while Nicholas’ were blue, and the man had a French accent), the Barclay family believed him desperately. It was the DNA test which proved the man was lying. The man later insisted that the family killed Nicholas and hid his body. It is still an unsolved mystery.
12. GIRL SCOUT MURDERS
Camp is supposed to be a joyful and fascinating experience for most children, but it’s proven to be a nightmare for three young girls. Doris Milner, Lori Farmer and Michelle Guse, aged at 8 to 10, attended the Camp Scott in Mayes County, Oklahoma in 1977. Prior to the murders, the counsellor’s tent was broken by someone and a note was left stating that three camp participants would be killed, but it was taken as a prank. The morning after the first night, the bodies of the three children were found by the frightened counsellor on a trail leading to the showers. DNA testing showed the girls had been bludgeoned, raped, and strangled. Several suspects were considered and questioned, but to no avail.
11. WHERE ARE THE BEAUMONT CHILDREN?
In 2016, South Australian Police identified a 71-year-old former scout leader as a person of interest in the disappearance of the Beaumont children, after more than 50 years since the children went missing. In January 1966, Jane (9), Arnna (7), and their 4-year-old sibling Grant Beaumon, took a five-minute bus trip at 10 a.m. from their home to Glenelg Beach in Adelaide. The kids were expected to return home by 2 p.m. However, they were never seen again after failing to return from the beach. Several witnesses reported that they had seen the children playing with a middle aged, tall, blond and thin-faced man. However, no one was arrested. It was one of the most infamous child abduction cases in Australia, and, even though many potential witnesses are dying out, the police said they had never closed the Beaumont mystery and the investigation is still open.
10. THE JAMISON FAMILY TRAGEDY
The year is 2009. Bobby, Sherilyn and their daughter Madyson vanished mysteriously on Oct. 8, in Oklahoma. It was reported that the family headed to the mountain in Bobby’s white truck to finalize the purchase of a forty-acre plot of land near Red Oak, Oklahoma. Since then, they were never seen alive again. Popular rumours include that they had committed group suicide, involved in drug dealing, participated in a witness protection program, were killed or are faking their own deaths. It wasn’t until 2013 when their skeletal remains were finally found by two hunters, lying side-by-side face down in dirt, in a remote Oklahoma mountainside less than three miles away from where the abandoned truck had been found. Sadly, the autopsy could not ascertain the cause of death and uncover what had happen to the family.
9. CHICAGO TYLENOL POISONINGS
The tragic medical mystery began on Sep. 29, 1982, when Mary Kellerman, a 12-year-old girl from Elk Grove Village was found dead after taking a Tylenol extra-strength capsule because of a cold. Postal worker Adam Janus died in the hospital later that day. His brother and sister-in-law, Stanley and Theresa, popped a few of Adam’s Tylenol pills after experiencing throbbing headaches. They both died. Over the next few days, three more people were found dead shortly after they took Tylenol. The strange deaths generated a big buzz in society. It was later revealed that the Tylenol capsules were laced with potassium cyanide at a level toxic enough to supply thousands of fatal doses. The drugs were removed immediately from the shelves to prevent further deaths. It’s still one of the most horrifying case to date and the culprit was never identified.
8. OAKLAND COUNTY CHILD KILLER
It is one of the most notorious unsolved crimes in the United State, and it also triggered one of the largest murder investigation in the country’s history. For 13 months between 1976 and 1977, at least four children, two boys and two girls, aged 10-12, were murdered by an unknown serial killer in Oakland County, Michigan. The evidence showed the children were abducted, held for days, and then slain. At least two of the victims had been sexually assaulted. The whole region was terrified of a person who became known as the Oakland County Child Killer. Despite the massive effort put into the task force and a few compelling suspects, the killer has never been caught.
7. “I’VE GOT HER”
After driving her co-workers to the hospital for a spider bite treatment on May 28, 1980, Dorothy Jane Scott, a 32-year-old single mother, went missing in Anaheim, California. Reports showed that Dorothy had been receiving anonymous phone calls from an unidentified man at her workplace for months. The man told Dorothy he was stalking and following her. One week after her disappearance, her parents received a phone call from a mysterious man who said, “I’ve got her.” The taunting calls repeated as week went on until 1984, when the remains of Dorothy were discovered by a construction worker on Santa Ana Canyon Road. The investigators asserted that the anonymous caller was responsible for the murder. However, the motives for Dorothy’s abduction and the killer were never recognized.
6. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF LAURIA BIBLE AND ASHLEY FREEMAN
The two teenage girls were enjoying a sleepover at Freemans’ mobile home to celebrate Ashley’s 16th birthday, before the tragedy happened. On Dec. 30, 1999, the Freemans’ home was set on fire and both Ashley’s parents were found dead with shot wounds in the head. The report shows that the couple was killed before the mobile home caught light. Ashley and Lauria weren’t among the remains, and for nearly 18 years they have remained missing. The baffling circumstances have led to suspicions of abductions, murderers, serial killers and police corruption, but none of them has ever been proven. The police struggled to pursue any solid leads after a decade-long investigation. In 2010, Ashley was declared legally dead and to this day no one can explain why the sleepover would lead to two girls missing and a couple dead.
5. The Black Dahlia
This was probably one of the most horrific murder’s in the world at the time it occured. On Jan. 15, 1947, the naked body of Elizabeth Short, a 22-year-old raven-haired actress, was found in two pieces in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. The corpse looked extremely hideous: the body was mutilated and drained entirely of blood, her face had been gashed from the two corners of the mouth to her ears, creating a chilling clown smile. Due to the involvement of a Hollywood celebrity, the murder quickly commanded public attention. About 60 people confessed to the killing and 25 of them were considered to be highly suspicious. Yet, all of them were released for lack of evidence. This unsettling murder would continue to serve as the inspiration for various university theses, books, television shows and movies.
4. THE POLAROID DILEMMA
In June 1989, a mysterious polaroid photo was found in the parking lot of a convenience store in Port St., Florida. Two unidentified persons were seen in the photo, including one young lady and a child. It has been speculated that the girl is Tara Calico, an American woman who disappeared when she went on a bike ride from her home in Belen, New Mexico on Sep. 20, 1988. The woman who discovered the polaroid mentioned the parking space had previously been occupied by a white windowless Toyota cargo van, with a male driver inside the car. Unfortunately, despite the set-up of roadblocks, the man was never identified or caught. After more than 28 years, there was still no clue on what had happened to Tara and the little boy.
3. ZODIAC KILLER
At least five murders have been definitely attributed to the Zodiac Killer. The horror started on Dec. 20, 1968, when two high school students were shot to death on Lake Herman Road. Over the next ten months, he shot a couple in Blue Rock Springs Park, stabbed two students at Lake Berryessa, and killed a cab driver in Presidio Heights. While the police could not identify the motives and suspects for the crime, following the second attack, the Zodiac Killer began sending coded letters to newspapers, providing details that only the killer could have known. He told the media, “I like killing people because it is so much fun.” He even threatened to go ahead with further attacks, including shooting schoolchildren on a school bus. Although several promising suspects emerged, the murderer was never caught.
2. FIVE SODDER CHILDREN
On Christmas Eve of 1945 in Fayetteville, West Virginia, after a delightful Christmas celebration, the house of George and Jennie Sodder burnt to the ground. The couple and four of their children made it out of the house. Five of their kids, Maurice (14), Martha (12), Louis (10), Jennie (8), Betty (6) were missing and assumed dead. Yet, there was no smell of burning flesh from the fire and no remains were ever found. The tips and leads continued to come in the next few years, but still no one could explain how five children vanished in a fire and leave nothing behind. In 1967, the family received a mysterious letter with a photograph of a man who believed to be their missing son Louis. However, the private investigators were unable to locate him and never reported back to the Sodders.
1. JACK THE RIPPER
From Aug. 7 to Nov. 10 in 1888, a serial killer terrorized the Whitechapel district in London’s East End. The worst nightmare ever in English history started on Aug. 31, 1988, when the body of a prostitute named Mary Ann Nichols was found in Buck’s Row, Whitechapel. She was nearly decapitated – the throat had been deeply severed by two cuts, and her lower abdomen was partly ripped open by a deep, jagged wound. Over the next few months four more prostitutes were brutally murdered. The five victims are known as The Canonical Five, who were confirmed to be killed by Jack the Ripper. The killer also threatened the public by sending half of a kidney from the victim to the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee. Though the police could identify several suspects, the killer was never captured. The identity of Jack the Ripper remains one of world’s most famous mysteries.
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