Unsolved crimes, like the Black Dahlia murder and Jack the Ripper’s legendary reign of terror in London are creepy, but there are several lesser-known murders that left investigators scratching their heads and spawned conspiracy theories that live on today. From two teenagers getting run over by a train to a series of bodies found dismembered in Cleveland, check out some of the most disturbing crimes that remain unsolved, despite the best efforts of law enforcement and private investigations.
Deaths Of Don Henry And Kevin Ives
Don Henry, 16, and 17-year-old Kevin Ives were struck and killed by a freight train in the early morning hours of August 23, 1987. Witnesses on the train claimed that the boys remained motionless on the tracks before they were struck. Police quickly ruled it an accident, but not everyone was sure that it actually was. Henry and Ives’ parents pushed investigators to look further into the case. When they did, they discovered that Don was stabbed and Kevin had been knocked unconscious before the train hit them. While authorities never found out what happened, their parents’ believe they witnessed a drug deal gone bad — and the police covered it up.
The Cleveland Torso Murderer
Also called the Butcher of Kingsbury Run, this still-unidentified serial killer terrorized Cleveland in the 1930s. Twelve people were found beheaded and dismembered by the killer during this time period. The murderer would often keep the bodies for a long time before he (or she) disposed of them. Many of the victims have yet to be identified because their heads were never found. While the Butcher was never brought to justice, police had two possible suspects. Some believe that the Butcher of Kingsbury Run was also responsible for Elizabeth Short’s grisly murder. Despite the geographical difference (Short was killed in Los Angeles), the crimes were similar.
Disappearance Of Patricia Meehan
While it’s possible no crime has been committed here, Patricia Meehan’s unsolved disappearance still vexes her friends and family. Meehan disappeared on April 20, 1989, after her car struck another vehicle on a stretch of highway in Montana. The late night head-on collision was scary enough, but what happened to Meehan afterwards is even scarier. The other driver told police that she witnessed Meehan crawl from her vehicle, stare at her, and climb a fence into the woods. While there have been reported sightings of Meehan across the United States since her disappearance, none of them have been confirmed. Her family believes she either suffers from amnesia because of the crash or has undiagnosed psychological issues.
Tara Calico’s Disturbing Kidnapping
Just one year after Meehan’s disappearance, Tara Calico disappeared while riding her bike on her usual morning route. The 19-year-old vanished on September 20, 1988, along with her bike. Eyewitness reports stated that a suspicious vehicle was following her, but investigators had hardly anything to go on. That is until a terrifying Polaroid of two young people surfaced outside a convenience store in June 1989. The Polaroid showed a male and a female tied up with tape across their mouths, possibly inside the back of a van. While Calico’s mother believed the girl in the photo was her missing daughter, investigators weren’t convinced. Two more Polaroids have surfaced over the years. In 2009, Sheriff of Valencia County, Rene Rivera, received a tip that a group of boys accidentally hit Tara Calico’s bike with their car. Afterward, they panicked, killed her, and disposed of the body. But since no body has ever been recovered, Rivera can’t charge the boys with a crime.
New Hampshire’s Connecticut River Valley Serial Killer
At least seven women were murdered along the Connecticut River Valley in the 1980s, and one more woman narrowly escaped with her life. The victims died of multiple stab wounds, but pregnant Jane Boroski managed to get away. A man with a knife sought Boroski out at a marketplace on August 6, 1988. She was stabbed 27 times but managed to drive her car to a friend’s house to get help. While Boroski’s description was enough for authorities to get a suspect in the case, they weren’t able to get a conviction. The suspect, Michael Nicholaou, committed suicide before he could be charged with the crime. The case remains unsolved.
Southern California’s Original Night Stalker
A man murdered at least 10 people and raped more than 50 women in Southern California from 1979 until 1989. While sketches have been created from victims’ descriptions, the Night Stalker has never been identified. The creepy part? He called some of his victims years later to say things like, “Merry Christmas, it’s me again!” He would hang up before he got a response.
Houston’s Ice Box Killer
Elderly couple Fred and Edwina Rogers were found murdered in their home on June 23, 1965. The killer had bludgeoned Fred to death, while Edwina had a single bullet wound in her head. While the murders were grisly, what the killer did afterward was even worse. The Rogers were dismembered and their body parts were neatly stacked inside their fridge. Their heads peeked out from the vegetable drawers. A trail of blood led police to the bedroom of their 43-year-old son, Charles Rogers. Police believe he killed his parents and dismembered them, but he remains missing.
Angela Hammond’s Telephone Screams
Angela Hammond stopped to use a payphone at a convenience store parking lot on April 4, 1991. The pregnant woman was speaking with her fiancé when she noticed a strange man circling the lot in his pickup truck. She told her fiancé about the man, who made his way to the payphone with a flashlight, apparently looking for something. Then, Hammond heard his fianceé’s screams through the phone before the line went dead. He rushed to the convenience store and heard Angela screaming his name from inside a pickup truck. He began to follow the vehicle, but his car stopped working. Andrea and the pickup truck have never been found.
The Blind River Killer
In June 1991, married couple Gord and Jackie McAllister were looking for a place to sleep for the night. They pulled off at a rest stop in Blind River, Ohio. Just before 1 AM the couple heard a knock at their door. The man claimed to be a police officer, but when the McAllisters opened the door of their RV, they were met with two guns. The man robbed and shot them. Jackie died from her wounds, but Gord managed to survive by hiding under the RV. The mysterious murderer fled the scene, shooting and killing 29-year-old Brian Major as the victim pulled into the rest area. While no one has been identified as a suspect, police believe the man responsible is Ronald Glenn, a retired police officer who is in prison for murdering two people in the 1970s.
The Good Hart Murders
A family of six was brutally murdered in Northern Michigan during the summer of 1968. The Robinsons were vacationing on Lake Michigan when they were beaten and shot in a violent crime scene that devastated the area. The crime scene was only found when neighbors reported an awful smell coming from the cabin where the family was staying. Investigators believe the bodies of the couple and their four children were there for nearly a month before they were found. The killer was never arrested, but investigators suspect Joe Scolero, an employee of Richard Robinson’s cultural magazine Impressario. Scolero committed suicide before he could be charged with the grisly crime.
The Phantom Killer And The Texarkana Moonlight Murders
The Texarkana Moonlight Murders involved a 10-week killing spree in 1946. The town was tormented by a person dubbed the Phantom Killer. The killer was connected to eight attacks and five deaths over this time span. Each attack happened on the weekend, leaving residents hiding in their homes. While more than 400 suspects have been investigated over the years, no one has ever been convicted of the crimes.
The Villisca Axe Murders
In 1912, A family of six, along with two young girls who were spending the night with their friends, were killed in the middle of the night when someone came into the house and bludgeoned them to death with an axe. Unfortunately for investigators, word spread about the crime and neighbors crowded into the house to see the bodies. By the time the authorities arrived, the crime scene was a wreck. Some of the townsfolk believed the local Reverend was to blame. He was tried twice but never convicted of the murders. While several names arose as suspects, the case went cold.
The West Mesa Bone Collector
In 2009, the bones of 11 women were discovered in the middle of the desert near Albuquerque, New Mexico. The women, whose ages ranged from 15 to 32, were all prostitutes who appeared to have been murdered by the same person. Investigators have little to go on because no one reported seeing any of the women abducted and authorities have only found DNA linked to the victims.
The Circleville Writer
In 1976, an anonymous person wrote to Mary Gillespie, claiming to know of her extramarital affair with the local school superintendent. The writer threatened violence to get Mary to stop. Dubbed the Circleville Writer, the person called Mary’s husband Ron several months later. After he hung up, Ron grabbed his gun and drove away. He was found shortly after with a bullet wound. His car crashed off the road. Mary’s brother was initially arrested for the murder, but when the letters to Mary continued, he was let go. The mysterious writer has never been named.
Blair Adams’ Weird Death
Construction worker Blair Adams’ last few days were filled with strange behavior as he tried to escape from someone he claimed was after him. Adams started his weird antics by withdrawing all the money from his savings account and attempting to cross from Canada to the United States. He was turned back at the border because his large sum of money was seen as a sign of a drug trafficker. Blair then purchased a roundtrip ticket to Germany that he returned soon after. Finally, he managed to cross the border to Seattle in a rental car. He took a one-way flight to Washington, D.C. and drove to Tennessee. After a key mixup at a gas station in Knoxville, Blair hitchhiked to a nearby where he checked in and left. His body was discovered 12 hours later. Blair was naked from the waist down and surrounded in Canadian and American dollars, as well as German marks.
Aileen Conway’s Disturbing Death
Aileen Conway’s body was found in her flaming car in Lawton, Oklahoma in 1986. The cause of death was initially ruled an accident, but Conway’s husband, Pat, didn’t agree. He worked to find evidence that appears to prove Aileen may have been murdered. The car she burned in was smothered with gasoline, for one. Pat also found an iron at their home turned on. Aileen’s purse was left behind and a water hose was filling up their pool. Pat believes Aileen may have walked in on burglars who kidnapped her and made her death seem like a mere accident.
The Murder Of Little Angie Housman
Fourth-grade Angie Housman was last seen alive in November 1993 at her local school bus stop in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri. After a desperate search that lasted nine days, Angie’s body was found dotted with ice and tied to a tree. While the young girl’s cause of death was exposure, the person who kidnapped her, raped and tortured her before duct-taping her alive to the tree. Police pulled DNA and fingerprints from the young girl’s body, but they never linked them to a suspect.
The Satanic Murder Of Rachael Runyan
Three-year-old Rachael Runyan was playing in her front yard one afternoon when she was kidnapped by an unidentified man. Her body was found three weeks later in a rural creek near where she disappeared. Investigators got nowhere and the case went cold. Years later, the killer left a message in a market bathroom claiming Rachael’s murder was part of a Satanic ritual. Police believed she was the unwilling star of a snuff film, where she was molested, tortured, and murdered while someone videotaped the brutality. No one has been arrested for her horrific death.
Deaths Of Ruth Cooper, Stephen Harkins, Diana Robertson, And Mike Riemer
Two couples were found murdered in the woods in Washington state in 1985. The first couple, Ruth Cooper and her boyfriend Stephen Harkins, were found dead four days after they began a camping trip near Tacoma, Washington. Stephen and his dog were found shot to death, while Ruth’s body was discovered decapitated with a tube sock tied around her neck. Four months later, Diana Robertson’s body was found the same way as Ruth deep in a forest in the same state. Robertson’s boyfriend, Mike Riemer, was initially a suspect until his skull was found a mile away 25 years later. The real killer is still on the loose.
The Frankford Slasher
Nine murders happened in Frankford, Pennsylvania over the span of five years that appeared to be the work of the same serial killer. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the victims were discovered sexually assaulted and stabbed. The majority of the victims were spotted with a white middle-aged male just before they died. However, the work of a serial killer was ruled out after the 8th victim. Police arrested a black man named Leonard Christopher, even though he didn’t fit any description of the suspect. Even with little evidence against him, Christopher was convicted and sentenced to life in prison. However, the 9th victim was murdered in exactly the same way. While Christopher may have been responsible for one or some of the murders, the other killer was never found.
The True Story Of “In Cold Blood” By Truman Capote
If you’ve ever read In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, then you’re already familiar with the tragic 1959 murders of the Walker family. The family of four, including two toddlers, were found murdered in their home in Osprey, Florida. Two suspects, Perry Smith and Richard Hickock, committed a similar murder of a family in Kansas a few weeks before the Walkers were killed. However, there was no DNA evidence to charge them with the crime. The pair were hung for the murder in Kansas, but justice was never served for the deaths of the Walkers.
The Grimes Sisters
Teenage sisters Barbara and Patricia Grimes went missing on December 28, 1956 after they went to a movie theater together in Chicago, Illinois. Their bodies were found nearly a month later frozen and naked on a backroad near Chicago. Several people claimed to see the sisters after their disappearance, even though investigators determined they were likely killed the same night they disappeared. Several people claimed to see them get on a CTA bus and head into the city after the show. Others claimed to see them on a train, in a deli, and even at a department store in early January. No suspects have been charged in the murders.
The Body On Somerton Beach
When the body of a man was discovered on the beach in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, authorities uncovered the start of a mystery that may never be solved. A couple walked past the man on their evening stroll in December 1948. From his manner, they assumed the man was drunk. But the couple discovered the next day that he was dead. A coroner ruled the likely cause of death was heart failure, though he suspected the underlying cause was poisoning. The body had no identification, no wallet, and no cash. None of his clothes bore brand tags. Investigators were baffled by the case, convinced the man was murdered, but no evidence could be found for how. On the man’s body, they found a note that said, “Tamám Shud,” which is Persian for “It is ended.” The mystery continues today.
The Dyatlov Pass Incident
In February 1959, a group of nine Russian students went missing while on a cross-country ski trip in the Ural mountains. Two weeks after they went missing, a search party found their tents ripped to pieces and their clothes and belongings scattered around their campsite. The bodies of five of the students were found nearby. The other four were recovered two months later, buried under deep snow. All nine students suffered severe injuries from broken ribs and fractured skulls to missing tongues and eyes. While some believe the students were killed by a combination of bad weather and an avalanche nearby, others believe a more sinister force was at play. Some things about the bodies cannot be explained, including abnormal levels of radiation and potential animal predation. The final report on the incident cited an “unknown compelling force.”
The Children Who Went Up In Smoke