Bizarre, Unsolved or Otherwise Infamous True Crime Cases From Your State / Country

Here in Ireland, it would be the disappearance of Philip Cairns.

In 1986, A 13 year old school boy left home to return to school after lunch, and joined a throng of perhaps 1200 other school kids also returning from lunch. He vanished, without a single trace. All the schools involved had school uniforms :- somebody somewhere should surely have noticed a kid in uniform getting into a car, or even walking the wrong way (away from school).
6 days after his disappearance, his school bag was found in a lane about 200 meters from his home, with the religious knowledge and geography books missing. The lane had been previously searched, and the police believe the bag was placed there shortly before it was found.

Nothing more is publicly known than what I’ve recounted. About 3 years later, the missing school books were found on enclosed waste land about a mile from Philip’s home. This has never been publicly disclosed, for exclusionary reasons (I know this because a then girlfriend worked in a office building adjoining the waste land).

As it happens, my childhood home was 10 houses away from Philips’s : I spent many weekends at the time as part of search parties combing the Wicklow mountains.

Here in San Luis Obispo, where I’ve lived for most of the last 28 years, the Kristin Smart case has been in the news lately with rumors of new developments.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearance_of_Kristin_Smart

It’s kind of baffling how often people apparently stumble across dead spouses / family members, seeing how often this defense is used. At this rate I’m beginning to seriously fear for my parents!

One of the more famous, D.B Cooper.

Growing up, we had to deal with the Oakland County Child Killer, a serial killer working in our area targeting children the same age as my older siblings. This was back in the mid 70s, and the killer has never been identified although there has been new findings in the last couple of years.

Here in Missouri:

On July 10, 1981, town bully and generally bad dude Ken McElroy was shot to death in broad daylight, in the middle of town in Skidmore, in front of 20-30 witnesses.

But nobody saw anything, and the case remains unsolved to this day.

I knew more than a few people involved in that case and had heard there were some new developments. As I’m sure you know, the case has been solved for years. They just can’t prove he was the one who (allegedly) did it. Without a body, pretty tough.

I hope the new developments garner a conclusion. That poor family.


My own pick for this thread is the same one as I mentioned in the previous thread, also in San Luis Obispo. An honest-to-goodness whodunit without even the hint of a suspect, the victim, Marina Ruggiero was from out of town, an innocent woman attending the wedding of her childhood friend. She left the reception to go back to her room at the hotel and 45 minutes later, was found brutally stabbed to death in her room. It still gives me the creeps.

Rhode Island checking in:

Everyone has gone with murders so far, but I’ll try a theft.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabella_Stewart_Gardner_Museum_theft

In 1990, thieves dressed as police officers gained access to the museum, tied up the guards, and stole $500 million worth of art. None of it has ever been recovered, and there are essentially no leads at this point.

In my neck of the woods, it was the Zodiac Killer.

I was just a kid, but I remember hearing the talk.

While visiting the museum a few years ago, the people there seemed convinced it was organized by Whitey Bulger and were hopeful the pieces would be found or returned on his death. Since he died a year and a half ago, I guess not.

That’s what I was going to mention. Any case that has a character dubbed “The Pig Woman” has to be mentioned.

It was the trial of the century until there were others.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hall–Mills_murder_case

Well for bizarre, New Hampshire had a man arrested for standing in the tank of woman’s outhouse in White Mountain National Forest back in 2005.

https://www.wmur.com/article/man-pulled-from-women-s-outhouse-tank/5142933

https://www.fosters.com/article/20050629/NEWS0201/106290019

My county sheriff has a cold cases page seeking any information on listed homicides.

Steven Lee Stafford (20 years old) killed by blunt force in 1997.
Dennis Palmer (33 years old) found in a mine shaft in 1987.
Gloria Shomler (33 years old) stabbed in bed in 1987.

Those are pretty damn cold cases, from 23 and 33 years ago.

Texas is a big state

Unusual:
The Murder of Scott Dunn -interesting because IIRC it was the first case in Texas that was tried as a murder without a corpus delecti - luminol showed so much blood in the victims apartment that the coroner? or at least the person who could speak to the issue, said that there was no way a person could be alive after losing that much blood. One of the stories in a true crime book called “The Murder Room” by Michael Capuzzo

Infamous:
The University of Texas Tower Shooting.
1966 - one of the earliest of the mass shootings, a lone gunman went to the 27th floor of a building at the University of Texas and killed people until he was killed. One of my university professors was a student at UT when the shooting spree occurred.

Unsolved and close to home
Three girls disappeared in 1974, from Seminary South - a mall just a few miles from where I lived at the time, about the same age as I was.
Never been solved.

Honorable mention to my great-uncle for being involved in a missing person case that stank to high heaven, and for helping with some rather stupidly done extortion attempts, that I’ve discussed here before

That’s just the tip of the iceberg

In the early 1980s, two newspaper carriers disappeared from the Des Moines, Iowa area without a trace. My sister went to school with Eugene Martin, the second one.

My brother was a paper boy at the time this first one happened.

I was still living in Des Moines when this one (he wasn’t a paperboy) happened, and I have no recollection of ever hearing about it until I saw it on this website a few years ago.

This one was close to home, literally. Hawaii. Diane Suzuki was a dance teacher in the building my Dad had his business in. My Mom, Dad and niece knew her because she’d let my niece (too young to start dance classes) watch from the side of the classroom. Diane disappeared after class in 1985 and the prime suspect was the photographer in the next building whom my parents also knew. My Mom talked about how we was always staring at Diane whenever he saw her and supposedly asked her our several times but she refused.

This one happened a few miles from my house in Maryland and it’s possible I went to the same high school parties as the guy. I went to a different school but some of my classmates knew him and one’s father was his defense attorney. The killings were pretty gruesome:
Biography of Larry Swartz, Convicted Murderer

Johnny Galecki from The Big Bang theory was also in it. And I’ve seen the case on one of the true-crime shows.

The disappearance of *Maud Crawford *, a prominent S. Arkansas Attorney.
Very interesting tale of greed and very rich families in Ouachita county.

I readvhe wiki article you linked to, theme wanderecinto the wiki article only Nodaway County, where Skidmore is located.

The article has a section entitled “Crime”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nodaway_County,_Missouri#Crime

Jeepers! Is that amount of murder and mayhem standard for counties in Missouri? In the US?