Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


New technology gives hope in trying to solve 1964 murder of 9-year-old Hazleton girl
Grosse Pointe Farms teen Paige Stalker’s murder still unsolved after 4 years
New ‘movement’ in search for Virginia woman missing since 2011
Body found in Wheelersburg is that of missing Portsmouth woman Rebecca Lee Kerns
‘Justice hasn’t been served for her’: 6 years after her death, Aliza Sherman’s murder remains unsolved
Cold case: The search for Myrna Spuehler’s killer continues
Who is Jody LeCornu? You might have seen her on billboards in Baltimore
NEW LONGREAD + PODCAST: Who left little Dusty Bowers to die in the snow?
NEW LONGREAD: The police sex scandal that ‘rocked’ 1929 Portland – and might be tied to a notorious unsolved murder


Man with Connection to Springfield Three Arrested in TN for Alleged Kidnapping
Police need help identifying little boy found dead behind cemetery
‘Thai bride’ body found on Yorkshire Dales in 2004 identified
Friends, family identify dismembered body as Woodbridge High graduate
14-year-old Andrew Gosden pretended to go to school one morning 11 years ago and never came home again
NEW LONGREAD: Mystery deepens over Nevada murder of ex-priest from N.J. ‘credibly accused’ of sexual abuse of boys


Jack the Ripper finally identified, forensic scientists claim
California man arrested for 1986 Van Buren County cold case
Athens social worker’s death remains a mystery
29 years later, search continues for killer of Jupiter teen Rachel Hurley
DNA, forensic genealogy link man who died in 2017 to 2 cold case rapes, killing
Community still seeking closure 54 years after Tyrone girl’s disappearance
NEW LONGREAD: The True, Complicated Story of the Ayahuasca Murders
VINTAGE LONGREAD: Kennebunk family still waiting for answers 35 years after murder of Mary Tanner


Family members gather on 30th anniversary of one of city’s oldest unsolved homicides
Unsolved Bay County: The disappearance of Pamela Ray
Deaths of 6 men tied to Ferguson protests concern activists
A Moment in (Local) History: The Mysterious death of Martin Ahern
New crime solving technique may have led to arrest in 1999 murder cases of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett
Monday marks year since Longmont’s Rita Gutierrez-Garcia disappeared
Woman formerly accused of four children’s murder says notorious serial killer Kathleen Folbigg could be innocent
NEW LONGREAD: Can the killing of Holly Branagan 40 years ago ever be solved? (related archives)


Arrest made in 43-year-old murders of David Schuldes and Ellen Matheys
Man charged with rape, murder in J.B. Beasley-Tracie Hawlett case
Minnesota family’s 1933 slaying is still unsolved
Detective seeking closure for family of woman killed in 1985
White County detectives ‘not giving up’ on 1995 cold case, despite lack of new evidence
‘Foul play’ suspected in disappearance of ‘somewhat bohemian’ Monica Chisar: police
One year anniversary of the disappearance of Susy Tomassi
NEW LONGREAD: Charles Manson, Rose Bird, Caryl Chessman and California’s Wrenching Death Penalty Debate
VINTAGE LONGREAD: Marking 50 years since the Shell Lake murders, Canada’s worst random mass killing


This Indianapolis murder case was cold for two decades. New information led to an arrest.
OPP renew call for tips on 45th anniversary of teen’s unsolved death
Parents beg abductor ‘to phone or write us’ after daughter disappears
Cold Case Detectives Identify Suspect of Unsolved Rapes and Murder; DNA and Genealogy Helped Solve the Crimes
Middletown woman’s slaying still resonates 16 years later
What happened to Kristina Rhodes?
Could Ted Bundy have Whitman County, Spokane victims?
The Justice Files: Double murder in South Ogden remains unsolved
NEW LONGREAD: ‘For the first time in 25 years, we have a face to this crime’
NEW LONGREAD: Death of Ellen Greenberg is a locked-room mystery that has experts at odds


Pamela Cahanes cold case: DNA match leads to arrest in Navy grad’s killing — 34 years later
Detective, community still searching for Kathleen Shea 54 years after she disappeared from Pennsylvania
Nineteen years after teen’s unsolved murder, family wants answers
Sheriff says they won’t give up on finding answers in KC teen’s mysterious death
Unsolved Hernando homicide will be featured on Oxygen’s ‘Cold Justice’
Valley woman believes she’s found the man responsible for her sister Brandy Myers’s disappearance 27 years ago
A Tipster Pointed to Where a Body Was Buried, Revealing a 40-Year-Old Mystery
Notable inmates on California’s death row and their crimes
VINTAGE LONGREAD: What happened to Carole Packman?


Precinct walk continues search for gunman, answers in 2018 triple murder
Pilot lived a mysterious double life
A trail of murder: Serial killer Anthony Kirkland captured 10 years ago
Snowtown ‘bodies-in-the-barrels’ serial killer Robert Wagner seeks potential release date
NEW LONGREAD: FATHER KUNZ UNSOLVED CHAPTER 8 (chapters 1-7 previously posted)
VINTAGE LONGREAD: 75-year-old unsolved family murder mystery
VINTAGE LONGREAD: Candy Montgomery’s Love and Death in Silicon Prairie (part I + part II)


Yesterday’s Crimes: The East Bay Strangler
‘I couldn’t sleep for about 2 or 3 nights straight;’ 2 years later, neighbor remembers Gentilly murders
Grisly Double Homicide Solved Thanks To DNA
Two decades after vanishing, her daughter suddenly showed up with children, a new identity — and speaking Spanish
Almost two years later, still no sign of Holly Crider
DNA testing helped police confirm missing Utah teen was killed by Ted Bundy
Indiana Grandma Seeks Answers After Toddler’s 2015 Disappearance from Relative’s Home
After Teen Son Went Missing From California Boarding School in 2004, Mom Says ‘Part of Me Is Missing’
VINTAGE LONGREAD: The ‘Beekman Hill maniac’: The story of sculptor Robert Irwin’s Easter weekend killing spree
VINTAGE LONGREAD: Who Killed Heather Broadus?


Vacaville police ID woman whose mysterious 1991 death remains unsolved
Woman searching for son who vanished in 1974
Girl, 9, Found Murdered On Hacienda Heights Trail Identified
6 years later, family seeks answers in East Bridgewater woman’s mysterious death
2 years later, mother of dead Lumberton woman has more questions than answers
World’s End serial killer Angus Sinclair dies
4 Evansville-area missing persons cases still shrouded in mystery
NEW LONGREAD: How a Young Girl’s Death in 2000 Gave Birth to an Urban Legend
VINTAGE LONGREAD: Fiendish serial killer terrorized Tulsa in ‘40s
VINTAGE LONGREAD: In 1947, a Month After the Black Dahlia, the “Lipstick Murder” Shocked L.A.


Girard’s Charlotte Nagi Pollis still missing 25 years later
Beckenridge mystery: Multiple ‘sightings’ of missing pair
After 29 years, Paul Hicks wants killer of his daughter brought to justice
The forgotten ones: KCK police reveal new leads in 20-year-old murder case
JUSTICE STORY: ‘Attila’ the son-in-law and his trail of death
Nearly 8 years, still no answers in Kelly Rothwell’s disappearance
Family found dead in Morrisville grew isolated, spoke of demons in weeks before grisly discovery
DNA snapshot puts a face to a possible suspect in 10-year-old girl’s 1994 slaying
As Southern California investigators try to ID young girl found in duffel bag, another missing child turns up alive
NEW LONGREAD: Do Iowa police have right man in grisly killing of 9-year-old? Fourth trial will try to answer
NEWLY REPRINTED LONGREAD: A beloved Miami college student vanished 25 years ago. There was a murder, but no closure


Real Monsters | What is known about the gruesome Jacobs family murders (full at link, part 1 + 2 previously posted)
ONTARIO COLD CASE: Sleuth from Nova Scotia finds kindred spirit in missing Ontario mom
Police reopen 62-year-old missing child case
New Zealand’s vanished children – Our cold cases
Police getting ‘closer and closer’ to finding young girl’s killer
Missing Tacoma girl featured in People Magazine. Do you know where Teekah Lewis is?
Three charged in triple homicide in southern Ontario
VINTAGE LONGREAD: What really happened to Marianne Schuett?
VINTAGE LONGREAD: She vanished years ago and famously reappeared with amnesia. Inside the mystery of Jody Roberts


Cold case detectives re-open murder case of Texas teen Sonya Wallace
Sioux Falls Police: Mother Arrested In 1981 Cold Case
Jake Patterson writes to TV reporter that he will plead guilty in Jayme Closs abduction case
A closer look at the Bakersfield 3: part 1 (previously posted) + part 2 + part 3
After four years of searching, West Chester police identify woman’s remains
Woman posts three billboards inside Baltimore asking: Who killed my sister Jody LeCornu?
Man seeks ‘justice’ in cold case involving body dumped in I-95 median in Stafford
NEW LONGREAD: Mother reflects on past 20 years as Mishawaka triple murder case finally comes to a close
NEW LONGREAD: ‘One of saddest cases I’ve ever seen’: SLO police still seeking killer from 1991 cold case
NEW LONGREAD: The science of serial killers is changing


Cold Case: A Murder at Stone Mountain Park
New Hampshire unsolved case file: What happened to Eddy Segall?
Mom prays every night for Moss Point son missing for decades
EPISODE 1: The gripping first episode of a podcast investigating the death of a small-town North Dakota man
A suspect is finally charged in Charlotte’s 2008 quadruple murder mystery
‘Ripper Crew’ killer Thomas Kokoraleis to be released soon
Husband faces homicide charge in Cumberland County woman’s 2012 disappearance
NEW LONGREAD: FATHER KUNZ UNSOLVED CHAPTER 7 (chapters 1-6 previously posted)
NEW LONGREAD: Capac’s unsolved mystery (part 1 + part 2 + part 3 + part 4 + part 5 + part 6 + part 7 + part 8 + part 9 + part 10 + epilogue)


New leads emerge about Sioux Falls woman who vanished 45 years ago
Sheriff says Leigh Ann Sluder a suicide ruling will stand
A closer look at the Bakersfield 3: Where is Baylee Despot?
Was this Middletown woman murdered? More than 3 years later, case remains a mystery
MP wants federal review of serial killer Cody Legebokoff’s move to medium-security prison
Tulare County Sheriff’s Office hoping to solve girl’s 1994 murder with new DNA evidence
NEW LONGREAD: ‘I never, ever expected foul play’: What happened to Belinda Peisley?
NEW LONGREAD: This Evansville lawyer was shot to death. Decades later, mystery still lingers (part I + part II + part III)

03-06- 2019

Danielle Stislicki Who Vanished in 2016 Is Presumed Dead, Imprisoned Sex Criminal Is Charged
11-Year-Old Alabama Girl Was Strangled to Death Before Body Was Found in Woods, as Man Is Charged
Juan Corona, convicted in slayings of 25 farmworkers, dies at 85
Mother of 14-year-old daughter on her murderer’s early prison release: Where is the justice?
A decade wanting ‘closure’: Family seeks information on missing woman Jody Hockett
Arrest made in cold case of San Angelo woman who was murdered in 1986
10 years later: Who killed Eric Birnbaum?
‘He’s a sociopath’: How serial killer Samuel Little was linked to 1981 local homicide
‘Girl in the Closet,’ accused of sexual assault of 14-year-old girl (related vintage interactive)


I always knew Facebook was evil and I never thought twice about selective newspaper coverage until the 2016 election. These may seem to be two discrete issues—one boast, one admission—but both play a role in my obsession
with famed dog breeder and unfamous missing person Ercilia Anita Maria Elrod Shelton Le Ny.

Nothing in this story makes sense, none of the numbers add up and all of the details are either contradictory or unclear. That said, leading with the bleeding never goes out of style:
let’s start with the tale’s only documented act of violence—intergenerational fisticuffs—and we’ll follow the trail as best we can from there.


At Your Throat or at Your Feet

June 10th, 1964. To call the article tawdry would be an understatement; it begins with a joke about murdered civil rights workers and races cheerily downhill from there.
According to the New York Daily News  seventy-year old New Orleans socialite Geraldine de la Parra Elrod was visiting the home of her daughter Countess Ercilia Le Ny when she was physically assaulted by Guenter Behr,
her daughter’s twenty five-year old live-in boyfriend.
The Countess, as the Daily News  noted with glee,
owned not only the elevator-equipped duplex at 130 East 72nd Street in which the assault allegedly took place but the entire apartment building, located in the most desirable neighborhood in Manhattan.

“I watched my daughter being wrapped around the fingers of this arrogant man who will not go out and work; he orders the servants and even myself around as if we were part of his possessions. I could take it no more. I told my daughter she was sinking to the lowest level with this man. He was not for her.” Geraldine de la Parra Elrod, New York Daily News, June 28th, 1964

Both Ercilia and Guenter Behr denied a physical altercation had taken place and the disposition of the assault charges, apparently deemed unworthy of Daily News  coverage, has never been publicized.

Through a Glass Sparkly

Piecing together the narrative of Ercilia’s life from the available sources is like reconstructing an ancient mosaic—some of the tiles are missing or cracked leaving some aspects of the image indistinct.
The only child of newspaper executive Samuel Floyd Elrod and his Spanish-born second wife, Ercilia was swaddled in luxury from conception.
I can find no definitive record of her birth, oddly,
and her age varies widely in media accounts of her disappearance—but she was enrolled in Wright High School in 1941 and matriculated at Newcombe College, Tulane’s sister school, in 1942.
Assuming she graduated from high school at the age of seventeen Ercilia would’ve been forty years old in 1964, fifteen years older than Guenter Behr and sixty years old when she vanished.

A saucy Ercilia standing center in dark dress, 1938

“Miss Ercell (sic) Elrod performed a Spanish skit at a tea for the Fleur de Lis chapter of the Delphian Society.” New Orleans Times-Picayune, November 3rd, 1935

From her first mention at the (estimated) age of ten Ercilia was rarely absent from the Times-Picayune‘s society pages—performing an exhibition of Mexican dances at the 1938 Spring Fiesta,
attending charity functions and soirees,
hosting luncheons and cocktail parties at the Elrod home at 4725 Carondelet Street in NOLA.
Her first marriage, to La Vega Robert Shelton, sparked a flurry of coverage in 1943;
the couple’s divorce three years later, however, was relegated to a two-line legal notice in the McComb, Mississippi Enterprise-Journal.
Divorce in the 1940s was a societal taboo; performing the distasteful deed in a neighboring state was common haute société  publicity dodge.


Ercilia’s buoyant social life seemed unscathed by her marital misadventure; readopting her maiden name the Picayune chronicled her post-divorce travels—to San Francisco, Miami, Cuba, and the “European continent.”
In 1950 she was again ready to wed, this time to Yves Joseph Le Ny of Hennebont, France;
unable to wear a white dress as a divorcée or obtain a religious ceremony she was married at the Elrod family home in a blue taffeta gown with a local judge officiating.


For Ercilia the second time was not the charm; according to the legal notices in the Biloxi Daily Herald  she and Yves Le Ny divorced one year later, on September 15th, 1951.
I have no desire to cast aspersions but truth is an essential component of true crime: her adoption of the title “’Countess” is, as far as I can tell, puffery.
There is no record of royal lineage for Yves Joseph Le Ny and his aristocratic status is not mentioned in the couple’s marriage announcement or divorce decree, which lists Mr. Le Ny’s employer as the Berlitz School of Languages.
Ercilia apparently began calling herself Countess Le Ny in the early 1960s,
approximately ten years after the dissolution of her marriage;
the Daily News elder abuse article is, to the best of my knowledge, the first time the title is employed in print.

Who Let the Dogs in?

Ercilia had bad luck with men but good luck with investments; in addition to the apartment building on East 72nd street she owned a 99-acre estate at 280 Miller Park Road in Hunterdon County New Jersey, purchased in 1959.
There Ercilia—a lifelong canine enthusiast—founded Querencia Kennels, breeding and showing champion terriers.
Escorting numerous Querencia dogs to victory in the ring Guenter Behr became a well-known show handler,
most notably capturing the Best Terrier award at Westminster in 1962 with Airedale Querencia’s Suerte Brava.


“I kept breeding Airedales and I couldn’t bear to sell the pups so before I knew it I had forty-five dogs.”
Ercilia Elrod Le Ny, New York Times, May 24th, 1973

Everyone who knew her agreed: it was Ercilia’s dogs, not her romantic partners, who were the genuine love of her life.

The First Thing We Do, let’s Kill all the . . . .

Ercilia’s early life can be traced through the Picayune-Times  society pages but in the mid-1960s another avenue of investigation unfurls—civil court records.
Shortly before Samuel Elrod died in 1961 the deed of the family home and several rental properties at 4212-14 Saint Charles Avenue were placed in Ercilia’s name.
Samuel Elrod had a son from his first marriage who predeceased him, leaving two grandchildren—after the Guenter Behr assault Geraldine attempted to rescind this property transfer,
claiming it had been implemented for the sole purpose of defrauding Samuel Elrod’s grandchildren.


The legal technicalities are irrelevant but a trove of family scandals was elicited during the course of the proceedings, three separate cases litigated over a fifteen-year span.
Samuel Elrod, as it turns out, might have been a bigamist—his divorce from his first wife wasn’t granted until 1924 but Geraldine, in her sworn testimony,
asserted she and Samuel had wed in Cuba in 1922.
Conversely, it’s possible the 1922 marriage never took place, rendering Ercilia illegitimate—no record of the 1922 marriage could be located.
Although the couple did legally wed in Mississippi four years before Samuel’s death Geraldine’s evolving testimony on her marital status paints her as an unreliable narrator at best.

“We have, from the evidence before us, no way of telling whether Mrs. [Geraldine] Elrod was lying then or is lying now.” The judicial equivalent of a serious burn, Succession v. Elrod  (1971)


The disclosure of the Elrods’ peculiarly-timed marriage(s) wasn’t the litigation’s only sordid revelation;
Ercilia, questioned under oath, revealed a long-term affair with a married Columbian coffee-grower who showered her with cash, sometimes as much as 4K a month.
Ercilia refused to name her benefactor, citing his diplomatic immunity, and it’s unclear whether this dalliance, or the disclosure thereof, played a role in her subsequent disappearance.
Ercilia ultimately lost both the sole rights to the litigated properties and a related suit regarding her attorneys’ fees; Geraldine died in 1973, her rift with her daughter unmended.


No Accounting for the Countess

Time passes. Ercilia lost in court, appeared regularly in the Times-Picayune  society pages and continued to show and breed champion dogs.
At some point—the exact date is uncertain, but by 1984 he had a new, much-younger wife—her affaire d’amour with Guenter Behr went kaput.
No man, no problem: we’re not privy to her innermost thoughts on the matter but Ercilia’s dedication to living a festive and philanthropic life—as evinced by her presence at charity functions galore—apparently did not wane.
Ercilia Elrod Shelton Le Ny continued to enjoy the archetypal existence of a wealthy, well-bred woman of a certain age until Friday, August 9th, 1985.

Guenter Behr in the rearview mirror, 1977 

As was her custom, Ercilia intended to spend the weekend at her apartment in Manhattan.
She fed her dogs, checked in with her kennel staff, packed her favorite Airedale Rudy into her 1981 Lincoln Continental and vanished off the face of the earth.

Although some contradictory information has been published these are—or at least appear to be—the relevant evidentiary events in the period after Ercilia’s disappearance:

  • When she failed to return home her dog-sitter Elizabeth Mazyk contacted authorities
  • A few days after she vanished Ercilia’s Lincoln was found in Westchester County, New York, immaculately clean and devoid of fingerprints
  • Later that week a credit card receipt arrived at the New Jersey estate for gas purchased in the Bronx; Ercilia’s signature appears to have been forged
  • Investigators learn two plane tickets to Caracas, Venezuela had been purchased in Ercilia’s name; only one ticket was used and the passenger—flying sans chien—deplaned in Miami
  • Detectives entered the Manhattan duplex to search for clues and found the residence neat and orderly; when they returned months later Ercilia’s possessions had been boxed and bagged by persons unknown

    “There is no direct evidence of foul play but since she walked away leaving a considerable amount of property and money common sense tells you that something untoward happened to her.” Lieutenant Robert Davis, NYPD Missing Persons Unit, Huntingdon County Democrat, August 11th, 1987 (reprinted in 2012)


    Investigation Destination Unknown

    As is often the case with missing persons the investigation into Ercilia’s disappearance was hobbled by jurisdictional issues—her primary residence was in New Jersey,
    her intended destination in Manhattan and her car was found abandoned Downstate.
    Whether by design or default the Hunterdon County Sheriff’s Office took the lead, creating friction with the infamously territorial NYPD.
    Hunterdon County Sheriff Warren Peterson acknowledged the animosity, later lamenting to the Bridgewater Courier News, “New York Police haven’t been the most cooperative in all of this.”

    “My personal feeling is she’s disappeared permanently.” Hunterdon County Sheriff Warren Peterson, Bridgewater Courier News, July 11th, 1988


    Mickey Easterling Brings the Glamour, also the Bacon

    The leading lady had exited the stage but the daily upkeep at her New Jersey estate and Querencia Kennels did not cease with Ercilia’s disappearance.
    Since she was simply missing, not deceased, her bank accounts were frozen and none of her properties or possessions could be sold.
    American Kennel Club rescue groups stepped in to rehome Ercilia’s dogs and her childhood friend Marycathyrn “Mickey” Easterling, legendary New Orleans bon vivant,
    stepped up and paid the 85K mortgage on the New Jersey estate.

    “She loved those dogs too much to ever leave them like this. None of us have any idea what happened to her but we could never carry out her wishes for what they would get at a sheriff’s sale.” Mickey Easterling, Bridgewater Courier News, July 11th, 1988

    Mickey Easterling,

    Triumph of the Will

    Ercilia’s missing . . . who’s got the will? According to Mickey Easterling several variations of Ercilla’s final testament had been drafted, including at least one version bequeathing her entire estate to Guenter Behr.
    Plot twist: he may have manhandled her mother and possibly her heart but Guenter Behr made no attempt to benefit from Ercilia’s disappearance.
    In truth, Geraldine Elrod’s spirited perjury in Succession of Elrod  cast a shadow on the 1964 assault allegations—although ex-boyfriends are always statistically viable suspects in this case, at least,
    Guenter Behr appears to be a Teutonic MacGuffin.

    The side-eye from the judge on the left is everything, 1975

    Rumors of a more recent version notwithstanding, the will ultimately probated was drafted by an attorney named Irving Soloway and signed by Ercilia in 1978.
    She had no children, no siblings, and her only blood relatives were the half-niece and -nephew allied with Geraldine in Succession of Elrod—they were, not surprisingly, disinherited.
    An animal-lover to the end,
    Ercilia bequeathed the entirety of her estate to a trust for the comfort and care of her beloved terriers.

    “I am not convinced Ercilia had her last will with Mr. Soloway; they were not on the friendliest of terms.” Mickey Easterling, Bridgewater Courier News, November 17th, 1990

    Mickey Easterling attending her own funeral in style, 2014

    After(math) Not Adding Up

    “It’s a story made for the magazine rack at the grocery store checkout lane: money, romance, royalty, mystery.”
    Bridgewater Courier News  on the Le Ny case, July 11th, 1988

    Women go missing—even, on rare occasions, wealthy women. Ercilia’s disappearance was within the realm of possibility but what happened next was not.
    Not a single story was written about her disappearance in the New York papers or the Picayune-Times—not an article, not an item, not a word.
    Media attention can be capricious but there is one inviolate rule: when a rich white lady goes missing attention must be paid.

    From the Picayune-Times  exactly one month before her disappearance,

    To recap: the Daily News  featured Guenter Behr’s 1964 battery arrest, the Picayune covered her every pirouette since childhood and the New York Times  printed twelve years of Querencia Kennel victories plus a quarter-page Style Section puff piece in 1973.
    Ercilia’s conventionally charmed life had been saturated with media coverage and yet her disappearance—the most newsworthy aspect of her biography—somehow rated nary a mention.

    The investigation into Ercilia’s disappearance will receive no first-class reportage despite her fist-class life; instead the case garnered scattershot accounts from three Hunterdon County newspapers,
    a total of seven articles in all— four stories in the Bridgewater Courier News,
    two in the Hunterdon County Democrat  and a single piece in the Hunterdon County Observer.
    Adding insult to injury not only is the coverage paltry but much of the reported information is erroneous—the name of Ercilia’s second husband,
    her age, her New York address, the lengths of her marriages and the acreage of her New Jersey estate are all listed incorrectly.

    Querencia stud circa 1975

    Confession: I am not averse to conspiratorial thinking; sometimes powerful people are, in fact, working together towards nefarious ends.
    If Ercilia vanished from a backwater I could (grudgingly) believe a shady lawyer, police chief, and the town’s only newspaper owner colluded to steal her fortune—disappearing her,
    eliminating publicity, and probating a bogus or outdated will.
    Admittedly, such an occurrence would be bizarre and unlikely but it could, theoretically, happen.
    A media blackout on a wealthy woman’s abduction in Manhattan would be an impossibility—three daily newspapers, multiple law enforcement agencies,
    in New York City there are too many working parts, too many opportunities for leaks and pointed questions.
    Yet somehow, here we are.

    Can’t Buy Me Love


    For comparison purposes here are four fellow heiresses who vanished within the same general time frame:

    All of these women received copious publicity not only in their local newspapers but in national publications;
    books have been written, documentaries filmed and in the case of gender-fluidity pioneer Cam Lyman Robert Stack himself weighed in on an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

    Guenter Behr, Tarnbreck Cassius and two plaid jackets from Satan’s atelier, 1977

    But Ercilia—just as wealthy, the circumstances of her disappearance equally mysterious—-garnered naught but a handful of poorly-fact checked articles in second-tier media outlets.
    In investigations, especially missing persons cases, media attention can be vital:
    an Airedale terrier running loose in the Bronx,
    a human-sized parcel carried out of Ercilia’s duplex—we’ll never know if anyone saw these things because they’re not, in and of themselves, incriminating.
    Witnesses won’t come forward with information if they’re unaware a crime has been committed.

    It’s the ultimate irony: Ercilia’s disappearance had everything—missing wills, orphaned show-dogs, high-dollar real estate, spurious claims of royalty—everything except the one thing it needed most: publicity.

    Not the Record We Want but the Record We Have

    Although I can’t explain how we ended up with such a paucity of information within the Huntingdon County articles lurk two facts and one incidence of trial testimony which almost certainly hold great import,
    and might even be the key(s) necessary to unlock mystery of Ercilia’s disappearance.

    First:    One of the tenants residing at 130 East 72nd Street, Louis Laurie, attempted to claim partial ownership of the building. It’s unclear if his claim had merit or ultimately prevailed.

    Second:    New Jersey allows a declaration of death after five years of absence. Ercilia was declared deceased on November 30th, 1990 and during the hearing NYPD Detective Constance Montonaro testified
    the Le Ny investigation would likely be closed
    as a declaration of death would make it difficult to question Louis Laurie about his ownership claim on the building.

    Everything about Detective Montonaro’s reported testimony is so ludicrous I can only assume the Bridgewater Courier  journalist misunderstood or misheard her.
    Louis Laurie would have the same legal right to be questioned—-or to refuse to be questioned, if he so chose—irrespective of whether the NYPD was investigating Ercilia’s death or disappearance.
    Criminal investigations are not closed because of “difficulty” in questioning witnesses; jabber-jaws might facilitate prosecution but they are not a prerequisite.

    Third:    An unnamed employee of Querencia Kennels received a letter purporting to be from Ercilia in 1988, three years after she vanished.
    Although the handwriting was believed to be genuine Judge Bernhard proceeded to issue the 1990 finding of death since the note—the contents of which were not revealed—could have been written prior to her disappearance.
    What did the note say, and if Ercilia didn’t send the note who did and why?

    Even amidst the misreporting it’s obvious Ercilia didn’t voluntarily abandon her fortune and pets to live penniless on the streets of Miami, panhandling and performing Spanish skits and Mexican folk dances for cash.
    (“Will Breed Dogs For Food” is a cardboard sign you’ll never see brandished on skid row.)
    It’s also clear she wasn’t slain in a random act of violence since elements of staging—the plane ticket purchase most glaringly—were manifest throughout the crime.
    That a conspiracy existed is undeniable but it’s impossible to assess which anomalies—the press inattention, the law enforcement jurisdictional feud—were manufactured and which were dumb luck.
    Who was in cahoots with whom, and who stood to gain the most from Ercilia’s disappearance?

    I don’t know the answer to any of these questions and the New Jersey press didn’t seem interested in finding out.

     From a modern perspective it looks like Guenter Behr is goosing that bitch while Roger Ailes looks on approvingly, 1977

    Not with a Bang but a Whimper

    When Ercilia Elrod Le Ny departed her home on August 9th, 1985 she owned a mansion on ninety-nine acres of prime New Jersey real estate and an Upper East Side apartment building valued at 7.5 million dollars in 1990—plus whatever stocks, jewelry, and liquid assets she had inherited or accrued throughout her not-especially long but fabulous life.

    In December of 1996, nearly twelve years after her disappearance attorney Irving Soloway settled her estate with a 100K donation to the Hunterdon County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,
    an organization unmentioned in the decedent’s will.

    The sole directive of Ercilia’s final will and testament was that her cherished pets—ultimately charity cases rehomed with strangers—continue to live lives of canine luxury.
    I have no idea where her assets went or why it took so long to probate an uncontested will but—coincidentally or not—by the time her estate was settled every single one of her dogs was dead.

    Anti-Social Media

    That was then, this is now.

    As I have previously noted on this very blog I’d rather have a public pap-smear than a Facebook page.
    Smarmy dopamine peddler Mark Zuckerberg hooked the unwashed masses on likes and fake news but my brain chemistry is strictly off-limits.

    During the course of my deep-dive into Ercilia’s disappearance, however, I stumbled upon this:


    If Ercilia Elrod Le Ny was still alive she’d be approximately ninety-three years old, a not impossible feat; that a woman of such advanced years would create a Facebook page is unlikely but not inconceivable.

    I hesitated for a moment; was it possible Ercilia had  sashayed away from her money,
    possessions and pets thirty-three years ago?
    I pondered—perhaps publishing this post without creating a Facebook account and reaching out to Ercilia—or the person posing as Ercilia online—would be ill-advised.

    And then I reconsidered.

    If Ercilia eloped to begin life anew she certainly wouldn’t create a Facebook page in the name she’d abandoned millions of dollars and her precious pups to jettison.
    She had no family to speak of and her disappearance received virtually no publicity—who was even aware she was missing?

    Reliably, my paranoia blossomed—and this image popped unbidden into my mind.

    You rang?

    Clear as day I pictured the person behind the Facebook page dolled up like Jame Gumb in Silence of the Lambs, draped in the blue taffeta wedding dress from Ercilia’s second wedding,
    fingers and earlobes dripping with the Elrod family jewels.
    Propped next to not-really-Ercilia in my fevered imagination lolled the taxidermized remains of an AKC-Champion Airedale terrier, Rudy beside his mistress in death as in life.

    Ercilia’s killer is still out there. I did not create a Facebook page.

    Still not as scary as a Russian troll farm


    Oregon police search on for teenage girl’s killer, the department’s lone cold case from 1982
    Cold Case: 1976 murder of Jane Seneca Doe
    LIST: Tyler Police Department has 24 cold cases dating back 40 years
    Unsolved Bay County: The unsolved homicide of Lois Bailey Johnson
    Family renews plea for clues 3 years after woman vanished from Manitoba First Nation
    Local woman wins victory over records she hopes will solve mystery of daughter’s disappearance
    ‘I finally proved my innocence’: N.S. man who spent nearly 17 years in prison for murder is freed
    NEW LONGREAD: What happened to flight VH-MDX?
    NEW LONGREAD: A Utah family searches for hope and justice in the 23-year-old unsolved murder of Rosie Tapia
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: A mystery in Philadelphia


    Infamous Lamar murder case to be featured in Oxygen’s ‘Cold Justice’ series
    43 years ago, a Romeoville mom vanished. Finally, her family knows why.
    CRIME HUNTER: Clues slim in House of Horror case
    Bethany Markowski still missing 18 years after disappearing in Tennessee
    Murder of woman found shot in her Port Orford in 1991 still unsolved
    New Podcast to Focus on Nancy Moyer’s 2009 Disappearance
    NEW LONGREAD: A new wife, a dead husband, and the arsenic panic that shook the Victorian world.
    NEW LONGREAD: 18 years after the disappearance and murder of Rachel Anthony, her killer remains a mystery
    NEW LONGREAD: 20 years ago, Marilyn Lemak killed her 3 children in their Naperville home. The case still haunts law enforcement.


    Family ‘desperately searching for answers’ 15 years after 8-year-old’s death
    The Justice Files: Who murdered Michelle Halling?
    Detective rebuilding case in hopes of solving decades-old murder of Donna Tattersall
    Mysterious Hiker Found Dead On Florida Trail May Be From Brooklyn
    East Brunswick cold case: Who killed 85-year-old resident Ellen Elfstrom in her home?
    20 years after death, boy found in cemetery still listed as ‘John Doe’
    Serial killer Shawn Grate sentenced to life without parole in Richland County
    Iowa grandmother faces murder trial in case built largely on testimony by child
    NEW LONGREAD: His mother died climbing K2. Now he’s missing on ‘Killer Mountain.’
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Questions linger 37 years after teen’s slaying


    Experts take new look at Berkeley County cold case of missing mother, 11-year-old girl
    Family believes priest may have played a role in boy’s death
    UNSOLVED: The murder of Chelsea Rohn & Matthew Brumbaugh
    Mother of Nanaimo teen found dead in 2017 speaks publicly
    Wisconsin Cold Case: Laurie Depies
    Jury finds Kansas son not guilty of murdering mom 15 years ago
    Mother of Bethany Markowski, missing from Jackson since 2001, returning for Missing Children’s Day vigil
    Veteran still believes brother could be alive 50 years after Vietnam
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: There’s a New death in Arizona murder suspect’s file—His own
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Thirty years ago Kim Klein and Martha Lema were shot execution style and theories still abound


    Brenda Condon: 28 Years Missing
    EXCLUSIVE: FBI informant says he witnessed Brittanee Drexel’s murder
    Woman whose body was found 23 years ago ID’d as missing Greenburgh resident
    Mother Fights For Answers After Her Son’s Mysterious Death, But Is It Linked To A Serial Killer?
    Nevada Triangle’s unexplained disappearances
    Reward raised on anniversary of Maegan Hembree’s disappearance
    Reward offered for woman who disappeared 10 years ago
    CLAREMONT: The Claremont Serial Killings Podcast
    NEW LONGREAD: Inside the Mind of Accused Serial Killer Cleophus Cooksey
    NEW LONGREAD: Korean-American widow’s quest to find her husband’s killer takes strange turns
    NEW LONGREAD: FATHER KUNZ UNSOLVED CHAPTER 6 (chapters 1-5 previously posted)


    Cold Case: 15-year-old Littleton girl killed in 1970
    Investigators solve two 1970s cold cases with emerging DNA technique
    The Molly Miller case: ‘We’re going to get answers’
    Man Gets Life for Killing Girlfriend’s Munchausen Mom After She ‘Talked Him Into It’ to Stop Abuse
    Cold case DNA answer brings 10K more questions
    Spokane convicted killer, rapist may be released from prison early
    Family searching for original Mickey Mouse Club Mouseketeer Dennis Day, missing since July 2018
    NEW LONGREAD: Five young men went missing in Yuba County under perplexing circumstances in 1978 (part 1 + part 2)


    8 of the most sensational crimes in modern Utah history
    Family desperate for answers more than 7 months after Fargo woman’s disappearance
    Happy Face Killer: Who is Jane Doe?
    NEW LONGREAD: This Evansville lawyer was shot to death. Decades later, mystery still lingers (part 1 + part 2)
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Family hopes for closure in double homicide case of Robbie Biggar and grandson Kasey Roberts (part 1 + part 2 + part 3 + part 4)


    Look Back: Unsolved 1972 slaying of Wilkes-Barre woman
    Alberta woman recognizes herself in photo found in U.S. serial killer’s truck
    3 years later, cousin of murdered Winnipeg woman still hopes family will find answers
    Jesse Jacobson Cold Case File: “Overkill”
    Year after rekindling, Josephine Despard case remains unsolved
    Claremont serial killer case: A pencil, porn and a past conviction
    NEWLY REPRINTED 2007 LONGREAD: The Donnelly massacre’s boy under the bed


    The unsolved case of Clare Stone
    Noblesville police reopen murders of Hope Brewster and her 2-year-old son Jacob Brewster after 26 years
    Man found dead in Dickson last year used fake name
    Pieces of the Past: 1990 shooting death of 18-year-old Tammy Salyer remains unsolved
    Double Initial Murders: One killer?
    Missing or murdered: What happened to Linda Skeek?
    Who killed Mary Theresa Simpson? (Part One + Part Two)
    VIDEO: Hunting the Killers of the Jacobs Family (Episode One + Episode Two)
    NEW LONGREAD: The mysterious death of Dr. Dudley Buck, the Forrest Gump of Cold War computing
    NEW LONGREAD: Retracing the recent years of suspected serial killer Samuel Legg III


    Cold case: 20 years later, murders of 9-year-old girl, father and employee remain unsolved
    Fire Destroys Home Where Jennifer Short’s Parents Were Murdered
    Suspect in 40-year-old Muskego cold case arrested in Florida
    Search continues for remains of Gina Renee Hall, missing for nearly four decades
    Anonymous letter could shed light on Cherrie Mahan’s decades-old disappearance
    Parents turn to governor to help find Randy Leach, Leavenworth County teen missing for over 30 years
    Sisters make final attempt to find answers in 40-year mystery: dedicated mom left toddler, never to be seen again
    NEW LONGREAD: Kansas City teen was tied up, burned in 1974. Now, his sister searches for the killer
    NEW LONGREAD: Cold Cases of 4 people who will not be forgotten


    ‘Frankford Slasher’ Case Still Haunts Philadelphia, Remains Unsolved
    UNSOLVED: The 1987 murder of Melissa Ellison
    COLD CASE: Investigators dive deep into disappearance of Kemberly Ramer
    Remains Found In Yard In 2018 Identified As Woman Last Seen In 1960s
    Man arrested in Regina Krieger’s murder; girl was fatally stabbed 24 years ago
    Man run over by train in Macon suicide linked to 1991 vanishing of Sabrina Long
    Samantha Harer Found Nude, Had Unexplained Injuries: Lawyer
    New Podcast: Finding Gina Renee Hall
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Danick Adams’ Murder Mystery
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Was local farmer convicted of the Drummond family murders really guilty – or was a more sinister plot at work?


    1966 murder-robbery solved, case closed with suicide of suspected killer
    Suspect Caught In 1973 Newport Beach Murder Of 11-Year-Old Girl Thanks To DNA Evidence
    Pomona man charged with murder of 11-year-old Inglewood boy in 1990 cold case
    Former soldier charged with 8 year-old’s murder linked with another 40 cold cases in France
    Is Annie Doe, Annie Lehman?
    Search for killer continues 12 years after Quincy mother’s horrific murder
    Yesterday’s Crimes: Strangle and Slash in San Leandro
    NEW LONGREAD: Serial Killer Or Accidental Drowning? KDKA Investigates What Happened To Dakota James
    NEW LONGREAD: FATHER KUNZ UNSOLVED CHAPTER 5 (chapters 1-4 previously posted)


    Is There A Serial Killer On The Loose In Chicago? Dozens Of Similar Cases Unsolved
    Local officials talk to students at Penn State-Beaver about severed-head mystery
    8 unsolved cases that continue to haunt Butler County families
    Petition calls for celebrity genealogist to investigate Angie Housman mystery
    Mother seeks to reopen case into son’s mysterious death
    Reward Increased In Unsolved Murder Of Demetrius Griffin, Burned Alive In 2016
    NEW LONGREAD: After 69 years, Indiana cold case has new life
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Killings of N.J. girls remain unsolved after 50 years


    Hope Ann Moore’s disappearance still a mystery 20 years later
    New leads in Tabitha Tuders case point detectives back to Nashville
    Kirsten Hatfield’s family still searching for answers 22 years after her disappearance
    Jerika Binks remains missing one year after vanishing during a run
    Unsolved: Single mom found murdered in St. Pete apartment in 2013
    Five years and Meagan Pilon is still missing
    NEW LONGREAD: Gruesome find in a north Suffolk field 30 years ago today sparked an unsolved murder investigation
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: A Decade Later, Hollywood Video Slayings Still Haunt Families, Survivors
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Burlington’s oldest cold case continues to baffle investigators


    Are unsolved murders along Cleveland’s East 93rd Street corridor connected?
    UNSOLVED: Amos Yoder’s son found Amos and his wife beaten and bound to their bed
    What’s changed in decade since Pa. woman mysteriously died during Sea Isle polar plunge weekend?
    After 19 years, Asha Degree’s mother holds on to hope her daughter will be found
    NEW LONGREAD: Linda Marie Kohlmeier’s Knox County murder lingers — more than 50 years later
    NEW LONGREAD: Eighty years later, we’ve identified Matt Warren’s killer
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Lyndon Fuller’s family still searching for for answers in ‘bizarre’ Berwick cold case 29 years later
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Murder-Suicide in the Keys Unravels a Doctor’s Decades-Long Mystery


    Arrest made in 1993 murder of Sophie Sergie at University of Alaska Fairbanks
    Appalachian Unsolved: 6-year-old Avery ‘Peaches’ Shorts
    Man charged with first-degree murder in three historical cases
    Brother Appeals For Help In Disappearance Of Sister, Niece As Police Release New Details
    “I love you” were the last words 7-year-old Danydia Thomspon said before she disappeared on her way to school in 1997
    Double Initial Murders: Michelle Maenza
    Cold Case: Woman found in 1976 never identified. Victim was in her fifties or sixties. Her hands were cut off.
    Pieces of the Past: Murder of Mai Helvey unsolved for 35 years
    NEW 2-PART LONGREAD (both parts at link): Unsolved? A Rockland murder mystery

    BONUS: Seeing Gavin de Becker back in the news courtesy of Jeff Bezos’ Peckergate has reminded me how much I loved his book, downloaded here in full: The Gift of Fear


    Pennsylvania child Cherrie Mahan still missing after getting off school bus in 1985
    Haskell Police Re-Open 30-Year-Old Missing Persons Case
    “She had Goals, Dreams, a Future:” Family of Amber Wilde Holds out Hope for Answers
    Man convicted for infamous East Texas KFC murders up for parole in June
    UNSOLVED | Mystery of the Missing
    In One Ear: What happened to Marty?
    She was killed and dumped in a ditch over 40 years ago. A deputy coroner has vowed to find out her name.
    Maura Murray’s family presses for answers
    Family of murdered Memphis woman believes serial killer’s drawing proves she was killed by him
    NEW LONGREAD: Black Widow Killer is North Carolina’s oldest woman on death row
    NEW LONGREAD: Elyria police reopen 1990 cold case of teen’s murder (ARCHIVED STORIES ATTACHED)


    UNSOLVED: The vanishing of Jacquelyn Lorraine Markham
    Authorities want help solving odd cold case over Hamilton County man reported missing in 1993
    Gregg County Sheriff’s Office releases name of Lavender Doe
    Lady in Red remains a Mississippi mystery. Who is she?
    Sheriff’s Department checking into 16-year-old disappearance of Erin Hoover Davis
    Puzzling loss: Delores Griffin’s remains identified after 43 years
    RELATED: Arizona trucker indicted in 1992 Austintown cold case, suspected in several slayings + Friend of teen who was murdered in 1990 looks for closure
    NEW LONGREAD: Appleton’s Connie Boelter homicide investigation shifts away from former bank president
    NEW LONGREAD: University of Florida student Tiffany Sessions vanished without a trace 30 years ago. Her dad was determined to find her.


    UNSOLVED | Tied Up and Tortured
    U of M Student’s Remains Identified After 4 Decades
    Minneapolis police make arrest in woman’s 1993 murder
    Detective reopens 1984 double murder case, citing similarities to Golden State Killer crimes
    Monica Keenlance of central Illinois was constantly on the run
    Newly engaged couple’s murder still unsolved five years later
    Police says torn letters key to 1986 killing of boy in Nevada, arrest of mother in Palm Beach County
    WATCH HERE: 5-part Oakland County Child Killer docuseries
    NEW LONGREAD: Richard Marquette case shocked Oregonians after ‘butcher’ slayer scored parole, killed again
    NEW LONGREAD: FATHER KUNZ UNSOLVED CHAPTER 4 (chapters 1 + 2 + 3, previously posted)


    38 years after skull is found, Jane Doe has a name
    Former mayor describes chilling phone call about a murder confession 41 years ago
    Claude and Sue Shelton told their children they were going to truck stop in 1971. They never came home.
    Unsolved mass lynching grand jury testimony set for release thanks to N.J. lawyer
    Skelton Brothers: Author sheds new light on search for missing brothers
    A fallen firefighter’s family and friends continue to search for answers 25 years after his death
    NEW LONGREAD: How a 46-year-old slaying became a Monroe County legend
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Inside the puzzle of Roseville’s ‘three little girls’ tragedy


    The mysterious death of Justin Taylor
    ‘Cookin Up Justice’ With Brevard Sheriff Wayne Ivey Highlights 2017 Double Homicide Case
    Mysterious Dyatlov Pass Incident reopened 60 years later
    Hammersmith nude murders: new clues in ‘Jack the Stripper’ case
    Local 4 premieres “Oakland County Child Killer” special Wednesday (plus related LONGREAD)
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Abandoned pet cemetery has eerie, murderous past


    New podcast chronicles mysterious disappearance of HaLeigh Cummings + podcast link
    30 years later, Tiffany Sessions remains missing
    After 15 years, missing woman’s mother ‘still in shock’

    Bonus Round: a fortuitously-timed Unsolved Mysteries mini-burst:

    Las Cruces Bowl massacre still unsolved; $25,000 reward for information
    New England’s Unsolved: Who killed US Marine David Cox?
    Forensic artist sketches image of Charles Horvath-Allan, who disappeared 30 years ago
    NEW LONGREAD: 40 years later, mystery still surrounds the Sarah Joe and five Hana fishermen who didn’t return


    Woman arrested on charge she murdered her child 33 years ago
    Mother of murdered children still awaiting justice: slayings of Cody Garrett and Linda Gibson still unsolved after 25 years
    Living with a cold case: Local woman writes book about husband’s 1980 murder
    Ten years later, Randa still missing
    The Justice Files: Reenactment of ’94 missing mother case released on social media
    Double Initial Murders: Wanda Walkowicz + Vintage 1973 report
    The Mongo Murders: part 1 + part 2 (an introduction, previously posted)
    NEW LONGREAD: Bruce McArthur, serial killer who stalked and terrorised Toronto’s gay village, sentenced to life
    NEW LONGREAD: Amy Mihaljevic was kidnapped in 1989, and police are still searching for her killer


    Kansas City police reveal new leads in Fawn Cox’s 1989 homicide
    3 men suspected they could be infant kidnapped from Colorado Springs in 1986
    Human Foot Found on Shore of Wash. Island Belonged to ‘Happy’ Young Man Missing Since 2016
    20 years later, Saco teen Ashley Ouellette’s death is still unsolved
    35 years later, Pembroke police pursue killer in case that changed town
    Taylor Co. inmate linked to Jeannie Quinn murder, 1993 missing person cold case
    The Justice Files: Utah’s first serial killers show no remorse
    10 years later: What happened to HaLeigh Cummings?
    Mother of Sky Metalwala still won’t talk to Bellevue police 7 years after son’s disappearance
    NEW LONGREAD: ‘My sister, where are you?’ Missing woman’s sister wants justice for Rosenda Strong
    NEW LONGREAD: Would I have been one of Ted Bundy’s victims? My mom? My friends?


    Dad wants NH authorities to dig for Maura Murray’s remains
    Who murdered Maria Honzell? 1977 cold case remains unsolved
    Cold Case Investigators Discuss Denise Oliverson’s Disappearance and Possible Bundy Connection
    20 years later, the search continues for Erica Baker
    Christine Diefenbach’s unsolved murder turns 31 today
    Police Offer $100K For Leads on 1970s ‘Doodler’ Serial Killer
    ‘Just remember Barbara’: Search group of friends organizes tribute for missing Sumter woman Barbara Nave
    Unsolved slaying of stripper Tamara Greene gets national audience in podcast
    NEW LONGREAD: Searching for Sky Burnley
    NEW LONGREAD: Out from the Void—Eugene’s dead, missing and unidentified people (part 1 + part 2)


    San Francisco Police Release 1970s ‘Doodler’ Serial Killer Sketch
    Nearly 18 years later, Bianca Lebron still missing
    Michiana Unsolved: Mysterious remains
    He said his wife and son moved to South Korea. Decades later, a detective learned the truth.
    Former lead detective opens up about HaLeigh Cummings’ disappearance
    Malheur County team turns attention to cold case involving murdered nurse May Hori
    Tips sought: OSBI playing cards include couple’s unsolved 1983 Cold Case
    7 Things to Know About the Mysterious Death of Florida Woman Investigating Cold Case
    What happened to Savannah Spurlock? Here’s what we know about the search
    NEW LONGREAD: FATHER KUNZ UNSOLVED CHAPTER 3 (chapters 1 + 2, previously posted)


    Bodies Found in 2 States Identified as Mother and Son 20 Years After They Were Murdered
    The Lisa Stebic case: 12 years later, where does the investigation stand?
    Family says anonymous tip led them to skeletal remains they think belong to missing uncle
    State police look for leads in cold case of Oneida teenagers missing since 1990
    Mother of ‘Bakersfield 3’ woman posts video saying leg found in lake is not her daughter’s
    Beaufort County deputies seek clues in Dorothy Kay Olbert’s 1975 murder
    Delphi murders: Unanswered questions 2 years after the slayings of Abby and Libby
    NEWISH LONGREAD: What happened to Ellabeth Lodermeier?

    I-Team: 1994 murder of grandmother haunts family
    Cold County Part 1: The Disappearances of Karin Mero and Hannah Zaccaglini
    Family holds out hope of finding Quebec teen who disappeared 10 years ago
    Crime of the Week: Robtown Double Murder Unsolved
    Her murder went unsolved for nearly 40 years, until DNA pointed to a serial rapist named ‘Animal’
    Las Vegas sex-trafficker who is suspect in unsolved double homicide threatened victims weeks before the murders
    NEW LONGREAD: Murder in Peking – two hot takes on a grisly 1937 cold case involving British teen
    NEW LONGREAD: New details about the final hours before Yorkton teenager Mekayla Bali’s mysterious disappearance


    Real Time Investigation: The Mongo Murders, an introduction
    On 11th anniversary of the unsolved murder of Lindsay Buziak, many call for justice
    Podcast features Kimberly Moreau’s missing person story
    Brothers break silence on exoneration fight in death of 21-year-old Deanna Crawford nearly 12 years ago
    CATCHING A KILLER: Why it’s tough to nail serial murderers
    Search warrants issued, data pulled from electronic devices in search for missing teen Karlie Guse
    NEW LONGREAD: The vanishing of Granger Taylor
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Investigators hold out hope in Julie Valentine case


    A call for fresh tips in 1999 murders of Roger Smith and Wendy Haveron
    Cajun FBI Solving the Fifty Year Disappearance of Alice Marie Reeves
    Honolulu Police reopen a cold case from 1972: The murder of Nancy Anderson
    On Cassidy Bernard’s birthday, family still hopeful RCMP will solve her murder
    Remains of missing person Krystie Stuart found in Apple Valley
    Double Initial Murders: Carmen Colon
    New Mexico ceremony marks ‘horrible’ discovery of bodies
    One year later, murders of Loudoun Co. mother, son unsolved
    OCSO still searching for missing girl Andrea Durham 29 years later
    NEW LONGREAD: Fayetteville police chief’s 1935 death remains a mystery
    NEW LONGREAD + PODCAST: To Catch Melanie Layton Callison’s Killer (part 1 + part 2)


    No answers 32 years after Jenny Lynn Pandos disappeared from Virginia
    Deck of cards renews hope of solving 10-year-old Christine Cole’s decades-old murder case
    Family still holds out hope on 8th anniversary of Joshua Davis’ disappearance
    Cold Cases | Not forgotten: Linda Pagano
    COLD CASE: Who killed Brenda Gaddis?
    Family of Carrie Culberson continues to search for her decades after convicted killer imprisoned
    Connie Boelter: Waiting for Answers
    NEW LONGREAD: Halfway Across the Delphi Murders
    NEW LONGREAD: Killing of famed Knox hairdresser remains mystery after 35 years


    47 years later: Investigator has hunch in teen’s disappearance
    Police: DNA, forensic genealogy helps solve 40-year-old homicide of Portland woman
    2009 disappearance of Milford man remains a mystery, baffles investigators
    New cold case database bringing renewed hope for 14-year-old Gabrielle Distefano’s family
    As anniversary of Kelsie Schelling’s disappearance nears, family again offers $100K reward
    Bone fragments found in wall during investigation into 1989 disappearance of Barbara Miller
    Jennifer Kesse’s family wants police file on her disappearance — but even reviewing it could take years, judge says
    Elizabeth Wettlaufer confessed to attacking a 15th patient. The public was never told.
    NEW LONGREAD: A former cop is suspected in the deaths of three women. He died just before he could be arrested.
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Decade after Daytona Beach serial killer leaves 4 women dead, cops still seek answers


    Missing children: Nine infamous cases of Bay Area children who vanished
    2007 homicide of Luciana Davey and her 11-year-old son Frank still unsolved
    East Berlin man speaks 20 years after mother’s disappearance
    Husband wants Linda Vavaris’s murder case reopened years after it went cold
    Murder of Clearwater couple David and Mina Swan remains unsolved
    Family retrieves remains of Lina Reyes-Geddes, missing for 20 years
    How did my sister die? Woman wants answers about year-old case from Henry County Sheriff’s Office
    NEW LONGREAD: Ilene Misheloff disappeared 30 years ago — ‘How do you give up on your child?’


    Podcast draws attention to cold case of missing Wallingford girl
    The fifth anniversary of Amber Long’s slaying has come and gone and still no arrests
    Mysterious death: Plea deal angers family of Jennifer Myers, woman found dead inside Wheat Ridge home
    NEW LONGREAD: Detectives planned to arrest sheriff’s deputy for 1967 killings. He died last week.
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: 30 years ago, father’s evil act shocked small Otter Tail County town
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: 50 years later, unsolved Guthrie Center murder still an open wound


    ‘Who killed Teryl Orcutt 29 years ago?’ Deputies post on social media, asking for community’s help
    10 years later, family still hopes for justice in Priscilla Dondi Hickman’s death
    Investigators ask for public’s help solving Littleton bowling alley cold-case triple murder
    Evidence destroyed in 1991 cold case murder, documents say
    New Website, $50,000 Reward Announced In Unsolved Maggie Long Murder
    Police: Probe into Barbara Miller’s 1989 disappearance ‘very active’
    NEW LONGREAD: Family holds out hope they’ll find boy missing for 45 years
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Helen Hill’s Unfinished Story


    Remarkable Discovery: DNA links family to missing DC woman
    Putnam man serving time for Josette Wright killing to get new hearing
    Disappearances of Christine Markey and Tammy Mahoney live on for families, investigators
    Justice Files: New tip could turn Rosie Tapia murder in a new direction
    21st anniversary of Renée Sweeney murder: Police have a suspect in custody this year
    NEW LONGREAD: Ted Bundy Survivor Kathy Kleiner Tells Her Story
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Strangled Flint babysitter case closed decades after accused killer freed


    A half a century later, Clearwater police still on the hunt for the Jeatrans’ killer
    Will Cierzan disappearance still baffling after 2 years
    Reward offered in cold case double murder in Schiller Park
    Ohio physician allegedly ordered 28 people potentially fatal doses of opioid painkillers
    Bolingbrook seventh-grader Rachel Mellon missing for another year without answers
    NEW LONGREAD: Who is Dennis Rader aka the BTK serial killer?
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: 48 years later, memory of a mother’s brutal death lingers


    Chilling surveillance video shows last known images of murdered woman whose nude body was found in nearby woods
    Reward increased for tips in Anne Paetz’s unsolved 1999 murder
    Suspect Arrested in San Diego Man’s 2006 Cold Case Sword Killing
    4 victims were gunned down in 2015. A suspect now faces charges in their deaths.
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: Unanswered questions leave father . . . haunted by death
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: New twist in Vermont farmer’s mysterious 1957 death


    DNA Just Led To A Major Break In A Murder Case That’s Stumped Police For 27 Years
    ‘Crazy Brabant Killers’: ex-gendarme arrested on suspicion of hiding evidence
    Candlelight walk to mark 30th anniversary of Ilene Misheloff’s disappearance
    Concordia University students dig into years-old Chelsea Small cold case
    13 years later, Jennifer Kesse’s family says they’ll leave ‘no stone unturned’
    New Hampshire unsolved case file: What happened to Patricia Ann Wood?
    The Stayner brothers: 20 years after the Yosemite serial killings
    NEW LONGREAD: The Life and Murders of Ted Bundy, 30 Years After His Execution


    Into thin air: Haleigh Cummings disappeared 10 years ago
    Hunt County investigators searching for single mother who vanished in 1991
    The eerie Berks tale of a woman’s 1923 murder on Neversink Mountain
    Burglary gone bad led to public defender Nancy Bergeson’s death, records allege
    Blue Island hit-and-run that killed Robby Silva, 11, in 2005 remains unsolved
    After Mom of Newborn Twins Goes Missing, Scammers Seeking Ransom Money Target Worried Family
    Police still working on Sherri-Lynn McEwan’s 5 year old unsolved murder
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: The Babysitter Mystery
    NEW LONGREAD SERIES & PODCAST PART 1: The Unsolved Murder of Alfred Kunz


    RCMP using old files, new techniques in attempt to crack cold cases of three missing women
    Homes used by serial killer Darren Vann to strangle, hide 7 women will be razed, city says
    Trucks featuring Teekah Lewis to be unveiled on 20th anniversary of her disappearance
    Judge declares missing Unity woman Cassandra Gross legally dead
    Delphi Murders: Investigators say internet rumors can hinder search for Libby & Abby’s killer
    Dark Poutine podcast: The Beast of B.C. Clifford Olson, Part 1
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: The unsolved murder of Jodi Cooper
    VINTAGE 3-PART LONGREAD: He killed his parents in Omaha at age 16 and escaped from prison nearly a decade later. Then he simply vanished.


    No arrests 46 years after Sarah Lou Gammons’ brutal California killing
    New clues emerge 15 years after teen’s disappearance: ‘We just want to know he’s safe,’ family says
    Police make arrest in 2009 homicide of assistant federal public defender Nancy Bergeson
    Cops working on the Abby Williams and Libby German case looking into man arrested on suspicion of child molestation
    NEW LONGREAD: Inside the Hunt for a Murderer Who Escaped from Prison 45 Years Ago
    NEW LONGREAD: Arrest of two grade schoolers for murder 20 years ago shook the city — until it became clear their admissions couldn’t be correct.


    Body believed to be missing Texas woman Emily Wade found in creek bed
    Police, desperate for clues, plan flyer handout in nine-year search for missing child Patrick Alford
    Indiana police investigating new lead in cold case murder of Delphi teens
    Recognize her? Artist reconstructs face of woman believed to be serial killer’s victim
    Still no answers in Holly Cantrell case
    Family still looking for answers 7 months after disapperance of Belmont County couple
    Has ‘murdered’ mother-of-10 who vanished in 1976 finally been found?
    Still no sign of missing Mono County teen three months after the 16-year-old disappeared
    NEW LONGREAD: Genetics extends the long arm of the law
    VINTAGE LONGREAD: In 1959 Bruce Campbell vanished into thin air

    BOY CRAZY: Three Dead in Ohio

    Posted: January 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

    The 1970s were an ugly decade to grow up in.

    The divorce rate skyrocketed, the economy tanked and pretty much everyone, regardless of political affiliation, was pissed off about Nixon.
    The miasma of misery wasn’t limited to social issues—aesthetically the 1970s were the fatal collision between advances in synthetic fibers and a generation of designers primed on LSD.
    The color scheme looked like the Pantone color chart had been kicked in the stomach,
    the resultant vomit scooped into a dirty bucket then swirled and splattered onto AstroTurf.

    1974 Amityville crime scene photo: 12-year old Marc Defeo’s blood is on the bed but it’s the wallpaper that gives me nightmares

    Our Halloween candy bristled with razor blades, the entire decade was awash in avocado-marigold plaids and the only thing uglier than our super-flammable wardrobes were the the national crime statistics.
    My peers and I felt a sense of of aggrieved vulnerability, as if we’d been cheated out of the halcyon upbringing guaranteed to suburban youth of yore.
    Deprived of the luxury of faceless boogeymen we were the first generation raised with the mental image of Charles Manson creepy-crawling across our shag-carpeted living rooms,
    Helter Skelter in his heart.
    The cavalcade of horrors on the nightly news served as a constant reminder our privileged existence as nice kids from nice towns conferred no guarantee of safe passage to adulthood;
    if anything our coddled upbringings made us more attractive prey, human veal calves for carnivorous strangers with high-fructose candy.

    One nice kid from a nice town who never made it home was twelve-year-old Brad Lee Bellino of Boardman, Ohio.

    8am, April 4th, 1972. The carting industry is no place for the faint of heart. When Varie Brothers waste disposal employee Paul Smith peered into the dumpster behind Isaly’s Dairy at 263 Boardman-Canfield Road he was prepared for any manner of maggot-animated refuse but not for the horror his eyes beheld—two child-sized, sneaker-clad feet.

    Brushing aside the detritus revealed a small corpse positioned on its side, feet angled upward, a tan belt cinched tightly around its neck.
    Brad Bellino’s red, white and blue striped jeans were pulled down below his hips, his shirt hiked up to his armpits.
    The slain boy’s tee-shirt, imprinted with a cartoon image of Satan, featured a popular 1970s slogan grimly ironic in context: The Devil Made Me Do It.

    An autopsy will reveal Brad had been sodomized and strangled. The belt around his throat—size-small JC Penney-brand, not his own—bears teeth marks indicating possible usage as a gag or restraining device.
    Semen is recovered from the fifth-grader’s jeans.
    At a press conference Mahoning County Coroner Dr. David Belinky gives voice to the obvious: “The Bellino boy’s death is the act of a degenerate.”

    Brad was last verifiably seen at 7pm on Friday, March 31st, four days before the discovery of his body.
    The opportunity for his disappearance arose only due to a confluence of events:
    Boardman Middle School was closed for the Easter holiday and Brad spent Thursday night at the home of his friend Donald Templeman.
    His mother Elissa Bellino, a buyer for Lane Bryant, had given him permission to stay Friday night as well.

    Unaware his wife had sanctioned an extension of the sleepover,
    Brad’s father Joseph, a steel mill employee, spoke with him by phone and instructed his son to return home.
    Donald’s parents usually provided transportation between the two residences—the Templemans lived at 733 Teakwood Drive, two miles from the Bellinos at 61 McClurg Road—but Mrs. Templeman was shopping and Mr. Templeman was sick in bed with the flu.
    Brad therefore departed on foot;
    although he did have a prior of history of hitchhiking—a not uncommon practice in the 1970s—it’s unclear if he did so on this occasion.

    And just like that the patrolman on the left changed his name to Officer PTSD

    Back at the Bellino residence Brad’s father had gone out for the evening and his mother, unaware he had been ordered home, assumed her son was spending the night with the Templemans.
    It was only the following day the Bellinos realized the youngest of their four children was missing—Brad’s disappearance was reported to the Boardman Police Department on Saturday, April 1st, at 3:20pm.

    Dr. Belinky will later estimate Brad’s time of death at 9pm Saturday, twenty-six hours after he began his journey homeward.
    Although unverified—the identity of the witnesses and reliability of these encounters has never been made public—the Youngstown Vindicator  reported several alleged sightings of Brad the day after  his departure from the Templeman residence. He was reportedly seen:

  • At 11am at a Dairy Queen in the neighboring town of North Lima
  • Playing ball at the Southern Park Mall at 2:30pm (he and Donald were there the previous day so this sighting is likely erroneous)
  • Thumbing a ride at an undisclosed location at 4:20pm, one hour after the filing of his missing person’s report
  • It’s possible all these witnesses were mistaken—false sightings of missing children are not infrequent,
    and a twelve-year-old gadding around town twenty-four hours after being ordered home seems an unlikely sequence of events.
    That said, anything is possible; the precise path Brad Bellino traveled to his trash-strewn tomb remains a mystery.

    For most locals, irrespective of the horrific details—the photo of his dumpstered legs is seared forever on the town’s collective consciousness—the most alarming aspect of Brad’s death was not its abnormality but its familiarity:
    his was not the first sexually-tinged child murder in Boardman in the 1970s.
    Eighteen months earlier, on December 3rd, 1970, fifteeen-year old Thomas Baird was found in an industrial plant parking lot at 4040 Lake Park Road, his skull crushed and his clothing torn from his body.

    Thomas had last been seen at 8pm exiting his home at 825 Afton Avenue; at 10pm his friends happened upon his crumpled form a mile and half away,
    beaten so badly he was unrecognizable.
    Described in the Youngstown Vindicator  as a “good guy” with “no known enemies,”
    the Boardman High freshman lingered in the hospital ten days before succumbing to his multiple skull fractures—he briefly regained consciousness but trauma had erased all memory of his assailant.

    Although the modus operandi in the Baird and Bellino homicides differed in many details the rarity of juvenile murders prompted Boardman detectives to investigate a possible connection between the cases;
    no firm link could be established, and it appeared the two murders were aberrant occurrences . . . until two and a half years later when the next boy disappeared.

    Not only were the 1970s ugly but the ads were weird as hell: looking at you, Isaly’s!

    From birth, David Evans had to fight. Born with a birth defect resulting in a malformed left hand minus two fingers,
    he endured major eye surgery at the age of six and a daily regimen of insulin injections after being diagnosed as diabetic at the age of ten.
    Nothing slowed him down.

    A straight-A student at Boardman Middle School, David was an avid athlete despite his tiny stature: 4’10” and 80 lbs. at the age of fourteen.
    At 6pm on January 17th, 1975 his father Peter saw him one block from the family residence at 208 Ridgewood Drive.
    Stopping briefly to chat, David informed his father he was returning home after visiting Boardman Lake.
    Although he was only moments from his front door David never arrived.

    Thong underpants pig sells ham by the hour

    An intensive search of the area produced only a single clue, unearthed by his mother Gracia at 11:30pm:
    David’s red knit cap, discarded in a roadside ditch one hundred feet from the spot where his father last saw him.
    To the Boardman Police Department’s credit,
    despite the laissez-faire missing child protocol of the era an abduction investigation was launched without delay—David had left behind his medication, wallet and glasses.
    He clearly hadn’t anticipated being gone for long.

    As the hours passed the Boardman Police Department’s probe took on a special urgency: as David himself was fully aware, he was due for his next insulin injection at 7:30am.
    Without it he would lapse into a coma—likely by 5pm, according to his pediatrician—and then die.
    As the critical time period slipped away his loved ones clung to hope and battled despair.


    Six days later, January 23rd, 5:15pm.
    Realtor Hugh Parks was retrieving his car in a Market Street parking lot when a flash of color in nearby shrubbery caught his eye—closer inspection revealed a denim-clad knee protruding from a snow bank.
    Fifteen blocks from home, David Evans’ remains had surfaced less than half a mile from Brad Bellino’s dumpsite.

    Fully clad in the blue plaid jacket, maroon sweatshirt, tan boots and jeans in which he’d last been seen,
    David was positioned on his back, hands laid flat on his chest.
    With one leg straight and the other bent,
    his clothing pooled at his neck as if he’d been dragged into the bushes by his feet.

    This was a devastating time for the Evans family, soon made worse by Mahoning County Coroner Dr. Nathan Belinky.
    Dr. Nathan Belinky—not be confused with his brother Dr. David Belinky, of Bellino autopsy and “degenerate” quote fame—insisted, to the consternation of the grieving family and the Boardman Police,
    no crime had been committed: David Evans, he declared, had died a natural death from diabetes.
    The post-mortem report—later criticized as a “comedy of errors” by David’s parents—seemed to indicate otherwise.

     The still-missing Boardman residents referenced are presumably Joanne Coughlin and John Robek 

    Admittedly, David’s remains bore no overt indicia of sexual assault and his blood sugar at death was, as the autopsy report noted, “extraordinarily high.”
    But his body also exhibited injuries which seemed to indicate foul play:
    a broken left wrist was detected, as were abrasions under his chin, right eye and left ear.
    David also had an inexplicable wound in his back, three inches above his belt line: the puncture, measuring one-inch in diameter, was perfectly round and no corresponding hole existed in his clothing.
    A lack of bleeding at the wound site and dearth of swelling around the fractured bone seemed to indicate David’s most severe injuries had been suffered post-mortem—a finding hard to reconcile with a natural death resulting from diabetes.

    David’s remains, when discovered, were frozen solid, precluding an accurate determination of time of death.
    He had not, however, expired immediately after his final sighting on Ridgewood Drive—although the comestibles ingested have never been publicized,
    David died with a full stomach.
    He’d eaten a small sandwich at home at 4pm, and the human digestive tract empties within four hours:
    at some point after his disappearance he had apparently consumed a large meal.

    Dr. Belinky was resolute: despite these anomalous circumstances no crime had been committed.
    The boy had simply dropped his hat, obtained a mystery meal, walked fifteen blocks, crawled into shrubbery in a random parking lot and perished.
    Then his corpse subsequently reanimated, sustaining a perfectly round puncture wound and snapping a wrist bone.
    Understandably, the Evanses were outraged at the assertion their son’s death was undeserving of investigation;
    unwilling to accept the Coroner’s findings David’s parents were not shy about airing their frustration in the media.

    In a stunningly classless move even by 1970s standards—and this, remember, was the decade of pet rocks,
    tube tops, and high heels for men—Dr. Belinky penned an angry screed published in the Youngstown Vindicator suggesting the Evans family was too blinded by grief to accept his perfectly reasonable autopsy findings.
    At this juncture David’s parents attempted to call in the FBI but, citing a lack of jurisdiction, the Bureau demurred.

    Not only does the Boardman boy killer own one of these models but inside there be trophies

    [Beep Beep: Sometimes it takes decades to arrive but the karma bus always pulls into the station—in 1993 Dr. Nathan Belinky was sentenced to six months in jail pursuant to a drugs-for-sex scheme. Crooked public officials abusing their power in Mahoning County is a timeless issue: in 2014 Dr. Belinky’s son Mark Belinky, a Probate Court judge, pleaded guilty to 4th-degree felony corruption charges. One can only hope David Evans’ parents lived long enough to savor that double-shot of piping-hot schadenfreude.]

    Dr. Belinky’s certification of natural death would impede criminal prosecution but the Boardman Police Department nevertheless persisted.
    Chief of Police Grant Hess, according to the Vindicator, disagreed with the Coroner’s determination of no foul play; David had been abducted by a predator, the Chief believed,
    who then panicked when the boy lapsed into a diabetic coma—and in his haste to dump the body the assailant inflicted post-mortem injuries on the remains.
    Prior to David’s disappearance the Evans family had been inundated with hang-up phone calls—Boardman PD had been investigating this harassment even before David’s missing person’s report was filed.
    Citing the inconsistencies in David’s autopsy and several additional factors law enforcement opened a homicide investigation which continues to this day.

    Nope, not too phallic

    Thomas Baird in 1970, Brad Bellino in 1972 and David Evans in 1975—three dead boys in a five year span,
    all their murders (or one-maybe murder, allegedly) yet unavenged.

    More than four decades have passed, both global aesthetics and the national crime statistics have improved dramatically,
    and forensic science has surpassed the wildest imaginations of 1970s crime buffs.
    The DNA sample from Brad Bellino’s Bicentennial red-white-and-blue-jeans has long been entered into CODIS,
    and with the capabilities of familial DNA it’s almost certain his assailant will one day be identified—and maybe,
    if the perpetrator is still alive, he’ll have a tale to tell about David Evans and Thomas Baird as well.

    Butch Defeo’s Amityville bedroom: if he blamed his decorator instead of Satan he’d be out on parole today

    On a personal note, my true crime research has made me realize my childhood fears of stranger danger were overblown.
    Though rare, there have been sexually-motivated child murders since time immemorial—the increased awareness of the 1970s was simply an after-effect of more nationalized media and a corresponding uptick in all categories of violence.
    We’re a homicidal species: children have been found butchered in dumpsters since the dawn of trash collection,
    and sad to say their broken bodies will continue to turn up in the waste disposal systems of the future.
    Child murders will always be with us, but there’s been one major improvement since the 1970s: at least the slaughtered innocents of today are bleeding out into non-clashing plaids and natural fabrics.

    Lori Heimer’s Goldendoodle sits with an ear cocked for his mistresses’s screams

    Thirty years later the identity of wealthy housewife Judy Nesbitt‘s false rape accuser remains a mystery
    If only Tammy Zywicki had known the highway good Samaritan was planning to falsely accuse her of rape
    Donna O’Steen‘s attacker cut her phone lines and crept into her home with one goal: falsely accusing her of rape
    Lori Heimer‘s remote location and low-risk lifestyle couldn’t save her from false accusations of rape
    No one knows what happened to missing club owner Marsha Ferber after her 1988 disappearance but her loved ones fear she’s been falsely accused of rape
    And let’s wrap this up with one for the kiddies: Shannon Sherrill was only six years old but you’re never too young to worry about the life-altering effects of false accusations of rape

    The township of Henryville is inextricably linked to two things: fried chicken and dead boys.

    First, the poultry:

    For weak sisters uninterested in murder Henryville—a municipality of less than two thousand souls boasting only a single (perpetually blinking) stoplight—is best known as the birthplace of crispy chicken magnate Harland D. Sanders.

    I had always assumed Colonel Sanders was a fictional advertising construct like Betty Crocker or Aunt Jemima but the Colonel—an honorary title bestowed by the state of Kentucky,
    unrelated to military rank—was not only a real person but a fascinating one.

    A failed attorney with a sideline in bootlegging, the Colonel endured a string of catastrophic business ventures before establishing the Kentucky Fried empire in his mid-sixties.
    In perhaps his most famous escapade he shot business rival Matt Stewart during a 1931 gun battle, forever cementing his ranking as the most badass of fast food mascots.
    (Clowns may be inherently scary but Ronald McDonald has never, to my knowledge at least, busted a cap in Hamburglar’s ass.)

    Matt Stewart survived his injuries and the Colonel—the Teflon Don of his day—managed to avoid prosecution thanks to an affirmative self defense claim and Stewart’s community-wide reputation for belligerence.

    The Chicken King laying in state (obscure poultry pun intended)

    Now the dead boys:

    During the three year period from 1974 to 1977 the township of Henryville—so sparsely populated it lacks a police force and relies instead on the Indiana State Police—experienced three still-unsolved homicides involving young male victims.


    NAME: Richard Lee Sweeney

    AGE: 8

    DATE OF DISAPPEARANCE: April 28th, 1974

    Youngest victim Richard Lee Sweeney was the first to die,
    departing his home at 16311 Pixley Knob Road shortly after midday to “play,”
    a common pastime for free-range children in the 1970s.

    When the Henryville Elementary student failed to return his parents contacted law enforcement and a search commenced;
    at 6pm Indiana State Policeman John Booher discovered Richard’s fully-clothed body on the second floor of the nearby Blue Lick Auction barn,
    buried beneath stacks of boxes,
    rags and old clothing.

    An autopsy would later determine Richard was killed approximately three hours after leaving home;
    he’d been sexually assaulted, strangled,
    and had asphyxiated on his own vomit
    due to a too-tight gag.
    His hands had been bound behind his back but the binding used has never been publicized.

    [Live and Learn: the Blue Lick Auction Barn wasn’t a traditional farm building full of hay bales and livestock;
    it was primarily used for swap meets. One local described it as “ a giant yard sale or hillbilly pawn store.”]


    NAME: Jeffrey Allen Burkett

    AGE: 15

    DATE OF DISAPPEARANCE: June 9th, 1977

    High school junior Jeffrey Allen Burkett was small
    for his age,
    weighing one hundred pounds and standing only a single inch over five feet tall.
    There is some debate about the 11th grader’s final sighting;
    some sources report Jeffrey was last spotted entering a black pickup truck on Blue Lick Road,
    while others place his final sighting at a Henryville High drivers’ education class.

    Jeffrey failed to return home that evening;
    at 10am the following morning, June 10th,
    his brother contacted the Indiana State Police and filed a missing person’s report.
    At 3:45pm Jeffrey’s body was discovered—by either a motorcycle rider or trail bikers, depending on the source—approximately thirty yards inside the Clark State Forest.
    Located eight miles from Henryville High
    Jeffrey was found face down, fully clothed,
    his hands arched above his head and his wrists bound together with wire.

    The medical examiner will later conclude Jeffrey has been beaten, sexually assaulted and throttled;
    his skull is fractured but strangulation is assessed as his primary cause of death.
    Although these details are uncorroborated the local rumor mill alleges Jeffrey exhibited extensive self-defense wounds and his remains showed evidence of having been dragged some distance through the forest.

    “Most of the people are afraid for their children; people are just scared to death. They’re scared to let their kids out alone. The’re scared to let them out in bunches.” Gas station attendant David Roby on the esprit de Henryville, Louisville Courier Journal, October 16th, 1977


    NAME: Donald Michael Abell

    AGE: 19

    DATE OF DISAPPEARANCE: September 27th, 1977

    A mere four months after Jeffrey Burkett’s death fellow Henryville High student Donald Abell completed his morning classes at 10:58am;
    telling friends he intended to walk downtown the fifth-year senior then exited the building and vanished.
    Two weeks later—-at 1pm on October 9th—his fully-clothed remains were discovered by a group of walnut hunters splayed at the bottom of a 27-foot ravine.

    An autopsy will later determine Donald had been
    beaten to death,
    his massive skull fracture incompatible with an
    accidental fall.
    Unlike the previous two victims Donald’s body bore no evidence of sexual assault or strangulation,
    and although this information does not appear in the press local gossip alleges Donald’s hands were bound and his 1970’s-style platform shoes were missing.

    Like Jeffrey Burkett Donald’s body was found almost 10 miles from Henryville High,
    indicating he’d likely been driven, dead or alive,
    to his dumpsite.
    Although they attended the same school Donald Abell—a fifth year senior completing academic requirements for graduation—and 10th grader Jeffrey Burkett were reportedly not close friends.

    The three dead boys were not the only victims of the killer or killers in their midst;
    in the 1970s Henryville High had an open campus policy which allowed students to leave the premises during the day.
    Although it managed to survive Jeffrey Burkett’s death an additional slaying was deemed a bridge too far—Henryville’s open campus policy was killed by the administration shortly after third victim Donald Abell.

    “I know they’re probably investigating it and all but it’s got me very upset to think there’s evidently some nut running loose in this community.” Farmer Jerry Able, Louisville Courier Journal, June 16th, 1977


    In the whispers of townsfolk and nether-reaches of cyberspace the Sweeney-Burkett-Abell slayings—often referred to as the Henryville Forestry Murders though only one victim, Jeffrey Burkett,
    was found in Clark State Forest—-are believed to be the work of a single assailant or pair of assailants working in tandem.
    Investigators from the Indiana State Police, however, have always maintained the murders are,
    despite victimological similarities and geographical proximity, the handiwork of three separate slayers.

    “The general public is going to believe we’ve got a ghoul stalking the woods snatching up kids but I feel we’re dealing with distinctly separate murders. I’ll tell you this much; if we find enough evidence to prosecute you won’t need a telephone to find out about it—you’ll hear me hollering.” Indiana Police Sergeant Guy Schroeder, Louisville Courier Journal, January 24th, 1979

    There’s been speculation through the years the local gentry is purposely stonewalling law enforcement to protect one of their own—a common trope in small town cold cases—but the Indiana State Police investigation,
    as chronicled in the media, appears comprehensive.
    Although Detective David Markowski recently described the remaining physical evidence as “scant,”
    the probe into the boys’ murders has been periodically reopened as technology has improved.
    Two highly-publicized top-to-bottom reinvestigations were undertaken in 1983 and 1999, and the inquiry into the murders remains ongoing.

    “[I’m] ninety-nine percent sure I know who did it. I’ve just got that little bit of doubt.” Albert Sweeney, father of first victim Richard Lee Sweeney, Louisville Courier Journal, February 25th, 1996

    Interestingly, Albert and Juanita Sweeney—parents of youngest victim Richard Lee Sweeney—believe they know the identity of their son’s killer.
    As Mrs. Sweeney told to the Courier Journal, in 1998 she confronted this person with her suspicions;
    the suspect then “ran and hid,” confirming the Sweeneys’ belief in his guilt.
    Whether the Sweeneys’ person of interest is among the many (alleged) suspects implicated on various cyber-crime boards is unknown, however;
    and it’s unclear if the Sweeneys believe this man is also responsible for the subsequent slayings of Donald Abell and Jeffrey Burkett.
    (The identity of the Sweeneys’ person of interest is shielded in the media as he has not been officially implicated by law enforcement.)


    I first became interested in the Henryville murders via a true crime post on the Southern Indiana News and Tribune’s Jefferson City forum.
    The thread no longer exists, unfortunately, although the first page endures on the Wayback Machine.
    Like a Topix thread with folksy grammar and an extra dash of vitriol the posts were informative but undeniably libelous:
    aspersions were cast, reputations besmirched and family names dragged through the mud.
    It was, needless to say, riveting.

    In order to avoid legal jeopardy I have opted to provide pseudonyms for the (alleged) persons of interest fingered on various message boards; for inveterate snoops the participants’ true names can be found here, a sad shadow of the once mighty thread I privately dubbed Libel-palooza.

    1) In the 1970s Clark State Forest was home to a boys’ correctional facility known as the Henryville Youth Camp.
    In 1979 Dr. Kenneth Heinz, tasked with providing medical care for the incarcerated youngsters,
    pleaded guilty to a single count of child molestation and surrendered his medical license.
    Although Dr. Heinz did not murder his victim(s)—believed to be numerous despite his single plea of guilt—many crime board posters believe his pedophilia makes him an obvious suspect in the Sweeney-Burkett-Abell slayings.

    2) The Burkett family reportedly believes the slayer to be Mr. Starmousse, a then-resident of nearby Russell Springs, Kentucky.
    Mr. Starmousse—whose father sported hooks-for-hands, an irresistible detail—is mentioned on virtually every message board as person of interest in all three murders.
    As the story is told by a purported Burkett family relation, shortly after the final slaying the entire Starmousse clan decamped for Florida, presumably to hinder the Indiana State Police investigation.
    Mr. Starmousse’s motive for the murders is never revealed, however, and it’s unclear if he possesses the predilection for child rape exhibited in the Sweeney-Burkett slayings.

    3) Two then-teenaged sons of a local doctor—Dr. Bus, not handsy Dr. Heinz of the boys’ reformatory—came under considerable scrutiny on the deleted News and Tribune  thread.
    The Bus boys appear to have been something of a local scourge, protected by their father’s social status;
    but as is the case with Mr. Starmousse their specific motivation for the murders is never established and a history of paraphilia, if one exists, is never mentioned.
    At least as chronicled on the deleted thread the Bus boys were local bullies and mischief-makers;
    in many ways they seem to be simply default suspects, implicated by their prior bad acts in the community.

    [The Doctor Who Couldn’t Prescribe Straight: I make no claim of a connection but a Dr. Kenneth Heinz was indicted for trafficking morphine last year and his biographical details correspond with those of the disgraced youth camp physician.
    I can’t help but wonder if the doctor managed to finagle the resuscitation of his medical license—stranger things have happened, especially in the freewheelin’ 1970s.]

    Personally, I’m far from certain all three Sweeney-Burkett-Abell slayings are connected.
    While the murders of Richard Sweeney and Jeffrey Burkett exhibit a certain similitude—both were rape-strangulations perpetrated against bound male victims—Donald Abell’s slaying bears little resemblance to the first two homicides.
    (Although it is certainly possible Donald’s slaying was an ancillary crime, committed because he knew too much about the Sweeney-Burkett murders.)
    Without further information or a forensic link, however, the Indiana State Police supposition of three separate killers is probably the safest tack for investigation;
    even bucolic burgs like Henryville have no shortage of perverts and bad actors
    and I’ve always suspected the separate killers theory might be supported by hold-back evidence to which the public (and internet commentariat) isn’t privy.

    “Somebody knows and may die knowing but we won’t let them forget.” Indiana State Police Detective Dallas Meyer, Louisville Courier Journal, July 21st, 1983

    He May Be Heavy But He Ain’t My Brother: Never trust the internet. Arguably the most infamous series of solved crimes in Henryville history were perpetrated by a multifarious criminal named Charles Sweeney,
    currently serving 60 years in prison for the 1991 murder of business associate Danny Guthrie.
    Sweeney’s lawbreaking extravaganza involved a twice-buried corpse,
    marijuana plants, a bogus bingo game at the Sellersburg Moose Lodge
    and a bomb planted under the car of a Clark County police detective.
    As Judge Cale Bradford noted during one of Sweeney’s appeals, “This case has more parts than a Rocky movie.”

    Numerous crime-board posters have alleged Chuck Sweeney is the brother of unsolved homicide victim Richard Lee Sweeney but this is not the case.
    Richard Sweeney’s father is named Albert and Chuck Sweeney’s full name is Charles Sweeney Jr.,
    indicating his father’s name is Charles.
    Sweeney is a fairly common name in Henryville, however, so a more attenuated relationship between Charles Sweeney and Richard Lee Sweeney is certainly possible.


    He had no known ties to Henryville but I am utterly incapable of ending a blog post about fried chicken and dead boys without mentioning the most notorious connoisseur of both commodities:
    serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

    In the late 1960s Gacy, a Kentucky Fried Chicken University alumnus, began managing a trio of KFC franchises owned by his father-in-law in Waterloo, Iowa.
    Gacy reportedly delighted in delivering takeout dressed as Harland Sanders, shouting “Colonel John Gacy’s here!” as he made a grand entrance in a white suit and string tie, his meaty arms laden with buckets of KFC.

    [Birds of a Feather: I doubt John Wayne Gacy and I would’ve agree on much but we—and all sentient beings with one or more operational taste buds—agree on one thing: Original Recipe is not only the best recipe but the only  recipe.]

    A Kentucky Fried loyalist to the end, Gacy enjoyed a bucket of the Colonel’s finest—Original Recipe, of course—as the final meal before his May 9th, 1994 date with the executioner’s needle.

    I hope that bastard didn’t even have time to lick his fingers.

    John Wayne Gacy in Colonel cosplay; you don’t want to know what he had for dessert

    Mysterious Arkansan Murders and Maybe-Murders

    From the December 12th, 1996 Madison County Record (which somebody fogot to proofread)

    Famed West Memphis Three chroncicler Mara Levitt advocates digging deep for the solution to Linda Edward’s disappearance: So Open the Grave
    What Happened to Paty? Seven years later law student Patricia Guardado’s inexplicable death continues to confound
    If anything good ever happens at a cabin in the woods I’ve yet to hear about it: The Mysterious Death of Janie Ward
    The murder of Highland Valley Methodist’s choir director was ungodly out-of-tune: Who killed Jim Sjodin?
    The second part of this Michael Whitely exposé on the epic life and death of Billie Jean Phillips features one of the most iconic opening lines in true crime: Billie Jean Phillips rode life like a sexual Jet Ski
    Part I: Meth and murder in Madison County
    Part II: Who killed Billie Jean?

    “I know a girl from a lonely street / Cold as ice cream but still as sweet” —- Blondie (1979)

    [Note: all quotes courtesy of the Arizona Republic.]
    She contained multitudes.

    At home she was Laurie Jeanie Wardein, a record store clerk too timid to drive a car and still living with her mother at the age of twenty-six.
    At science fiction conventions she was Tempest, an elf who frolicked with fellow fantasy nerds in an Elfquest fan club called Silverwood Holt.
    After dark she was Cortina Bandolero, an artist who wrote punk band reviews for the Phoenix New Times and never missed a midnight Rocky Horror screening.
    All were snuffed out in the early hours of June 10th, 1985.

    “She spent a lot of time alone. She just didn’t know how special she was.” Laurie’s mother Elsie Wardein, September 15th, 1985

    At 9:15am the Phoenix Police Department received a phone call summoning investigators to 815 East Bethany Home Road. The Wardeins lived in unit A-119 of the Place Three Apartments,
    a first floor rental located across from the pool next to the laundry room.
    Elsie Wardein had returned from an overnight nursing shift and discovered her daughter crumpled on the floor of her blood-spattered bedroom, stabbed repeatedly in the neck, chest and stomach.
    The precise number of stab wounds, indicia of sexual assault and Laurie’s state of dress when slain have never been publicized.

    “When Laurie died I died with her. Cortina died. Tempest died. Everyone died.” Elsie Wardein, September 15th, 1985

    Laurie had spent her final evening enjoying dinner and a movie with a male friend who dropped her home at 1am;
    according to a newspaper article published shortly after the crime investigators do not consider this person,
    who they declined to name, a suspect in her slaying.
    The night of the murder tenants socialized poolside into the wee hours and the Wardeins’ next-door neighbor returned home at 11pm—no one noted any strangers in the complex or signs of disturbance.
    Nothing had been stolen during the commission of the crime and although a window was ajar the scene lacked overt evidence of forced entry.

    Crime scene exterior present day

    “You have a young lady who was a very gifted artist and very active in the Greek Orthodox Church and we can’t give her family any closure on why this happened.” Phoenix Detective Bob Brunansky on the aspect of the case he finds most troubling, June 3rd, 2005

    Investigators reportedly have a person of interest in Laurie’s slaying but have refused to share any identifying details;
    a recent Arizona Republic  article speculates she may have been killed by someone she “went on a date with
    but it’s unclear if this refers to a previous romantic partner
    or if her final companion—the male friend who last saw her alive—has come under renewed scrutiny.
    Thirty-three years after her death Laurie Wardein’s murder remains unsolved; her mother Elsie passed away in 2015 never knowing the identity of her daughter’s killer.

    “We don’t want to jeopardize our investigation. We let anything out and this guy—or girl—could make up some kind of fantasy story we would have to disprove.” Phoenix Police Department spokesman on his rationale for declining to identify the person of interest, September 15th, 1985

    Self portrait as elf

    Ever since I first read about her murder in a 2005 cold case retrospective I’ve felt a kinship with Laurie Wardein.
    Although she was a decade older and dwelt on the opposite side of the country she and I were living a parallel existence:
    in 1985 I too worked in a record store and frequented hardcore shows and fantasy conventions.
    Every year when Comic-Con rolls around I think of Laurie and all the things she’s missed in the last thirty plus years;
    our nerdy subculture grew into a financial and cultural juggernaut and she didn’t live to see it.
    Punk rock became mainstreamed and monetized and she didn’t live to see it.
    She didn’t even live to see the defining moment in geek culture, the birth of the almighty world wide web in 1990.

    Cover art by Cortina Bandolero

    “Woman’s Alter Ego Unmasked by Murder.” Arizona Republic headline, January 16th, 1989

    While reading the 1980’s-era coverage of her death I was struck by the salacious spin the media cast on Laurie’s affinity for science fiction—as if a running around a hotel convention center in a leotard and elf ears
    was comparable to performing live sex shows or working as a dominatrix.
    We live in a world where someone can repeatedly stab a 26-year old woman in the throat forever ending her life and her art and spend not a single day in jail.
    Laurie missed all the technological marvels of the last three decades but there’s a good chance her killer didn’t.

    No wonder so many people are eager to retreat into fantasy.


    Unsolved mystery: why didn’t the show feature a pool-related episode? Robert Stack certainly had the gams for it.

    The crime news was underwhelming today so please enjoy these vintage longreads about murders and maybe-murders from the annals of Unsolved Mysteries.

    Never mind the strychnine—the existence of wax museums in modern times is a mystery in and of itself (D Magazine, 1986)
    I’ve never seen the episode with Kristie Lee’s slaying but wikipedia says it exists and I want to believe (Sun Sentinel, 1996)
    Some things need to be seen to be believed: the 1980s skater fashions exhibited in his segment are more confounding than Chad Maurer’s death (Los Angeles Times, 1992)
    The very definition of mystery: I’ve reread this 4-part article about Matthew Flores’ murder twice and still have no idea who killed him (Providence Journal, 1994)
    Ending on double: the newer Amy Wroe Bechtel article has more recent information but the older article has better prose styling so I suggest you read both (Runners World Magazine, 1998 + 2016)

    Let me tell you something you already know: Donald Trump lies about everything.

    Now let me tell you something you might not know: his inaugural wife, Ivana Trump née Zelnícková was neither an alternate nor a full-fledged member of the Czechoslovakian ski team at the 1972 Sapporo Winter Olympics.

    I speculate you may not know this because I did not know this and I consider myself well informed.
    As a consumer of mass media in 1980s NYC it was impossible to avoid Trump-brand™ propaganda and many publications—including the vaunted New York Times—described Ivana Trump as a former Olympian.
    I assumed someone, somewhere had fact-checked this easily-verifiable assertion. I was wrong.

    Spy Magazine Über Alles

    Backstory: I cannot remember how Ivana Trump became a topic of conversation and even if I could recall it would have no bearing on this blogpost.
    Suffice it to say I was lunching with friends and Ivana was mentioned and I cited her Olympic credentials.
    “No, no, no,” my friend interjected, “Ivana’s Olympic career has been completely debunked.”

    Embarrassed at having been hoodwinked and curious if other Trump-related lies still simmered in my subconscious
    I recently undertook an exhaustive investigation of all Ivana-era Trump coverage and happened upon a startling circumstance.

    On their first date: Stolen Valor Olympian and Portrait of the Fascist as a Young Man

    Throughout the years both Donald and Ivana Trump have maintained they first met at the 1976 Montréal Olympics but this is, as is par for the course, untrue;
    although Czech-born Ivana was a Montréal resident in the mid-70s the couple’s first encounter actually occurred in Manhattan, at then-hotspot Maxwell’s Plum.
    Now to the interesting bit: one of the people present at the table during the Trumps’ initial meeting—-Canadian model Donna Maureen Andrade—would be murdered a few months after the Trumps’ introduction,
    her slaying still unsolved. Courtesy of the November 24th, 1993 Montréal Gazette:

    [Caveat: since the crimes discussed herein occurred in Montréal the majority of newspaper articles are en Français and sometimes the translations provided by Google seem a little . . . nonsensical. I’m almost certainly missing some nuances, so please pardonnez-moi.]

    The first body was found in the parlor, just inside the front door. On February 2nd, 1977 a relative’s noontime visit to Montréal’s Manoir Haddon Hall, 2150 Sherbrooke Street, set the stage for a homicide investigation;
    29-year old Antonio Sorgente, discovered in the front room, hadn’t died alone—detectives found a second decedent, 31-year old fashion designer Robert Theodore Thompson, Teddy to intimates,
    sprawled on the bedroom floor wreathed in a halo of blood.
    On the bed reposed the final victim, mannequin célèbre Donna Andrade, age 29; all three had been shot once in the head.

    The three and a half room apartment where the murders transpired was rented by Donna Andrade but the superintendent reported Teddy Thompson, her romantic partner, was ever-present.
    Manoir Haddon Hall is a luxury building in an exclusive neighborhood—the adjective “stately” is a common descriptor—yet the Andrade-Thompson-Sorgente slayings aren’t the residence’s only macabre association.
    A Satanic horror movie variously known as The Pyx, La Lannule and The Hooker Cult Murders had been filmed at the location, the building’s edifice visible in several exterior shots.

    [The Montréal Gazette reports the film was in production during the 1977 triple slaying but according to IMDB The Pyx was released in 1973—apparently the New York Times isn’t the only media organization with a laissez-faire attitude toward fact-checking.]

    The summer of 1977 was a lawless time in Montréal, the crime rate skyrocketing as the local police staged a slowdown amid a pension negotiation stalemate.
    Predictably, the law enforcement dispute hampered the investigation into the Andrade-Thompson-Sorgente slayings;
    the evening before the bodies’ discovery a woman in an adjacent apartment thought she heard gunfire at approximately 11:30pm; when she peered down the hallway nothing seemed amiss, however,
    and afraid of wasting overburdened law enforcement resources she failed to notify authorities.

    Although unnamed, the Andrade-Thompson-Sorgente murders are the West End triple slaying referenced

    Improbably, the triple murder’s posh location and Donna Andrade’s high-profile career weren’t the most noteworthy aspects of the Manoir Haddon Hall slayings;
    two of the victims, Donna and Teddy Thompson, had been involved in another homicide a mere two and a half years earlier.

    5:20am, July 25th, 1974; another luxury apartment, another frantic phone call to police.
    In an eerie foreshadowing of future events Montréal investigators arrived at 1250 St. Mathieu Street and found Donna Andrade and Teddy Thompson at a homicide scene.
    This time, however, only the third person present in the residence was slain—Diane Juteau, age 25, Teddy Thompson’s wife and mother of his three small children.
    Diane had been shot through the left eye with .357 Magnum, the bullet travelling at a slight upward trajectory and lodging in her skull.

    Manoir Haddon Hall, present day

    Although both Donna Andrade and Teddy Thompson were taken into police custody Donna was released after a cursory investigation; Teddy, despite his avowal the shooting had been accidental, was charged with his wife’s homicide.
    At trial Donna testified she’d been in the process of ending their two-year extramarital affair when Teddy began threatening suicide and brandishing a newly-purchased firearm;
    she had summoned his wife Diane, she claimed, to try to talk some sense into him.
    According to Donna she’d been in another room putting on a record to lighten the mood (♫ Suicide is Painless ♫) when the fatal shot rang out and she had thus failed to witness Diane’s death.

    “I told him I loved him but I had to leave him because our relationship wasn’t working out and I was very unhappy. Teddy asked me not to leave him and said if I didn’t stay with him he would blow his brains out.” Trial testimony of Donna Andrade, Montréal Gazette, January 9th, 1975

    Teddy Thompson, testifying in his own defense, alleged he’d been demonstrating the sincerity of his suicidal intentions by gesticulating with his .357—as one does—when he tripped and the revolver mysteriously fired.
    The plausibility of his story is impossible to gage because the case was never adjudicated by the finder of fact;
    Thompson cut a deal mid-trial, typically an indication the proceedings aren’t going in the defendant’s favor (in American courts, at least).

    On January 20th, 1975 Teddy Thompson accepted a manslaughter plea and was sentenced to a whopping three years in prison; the precise length of Thompson’s sojourn behind bars is unclear
    but he was fancy-free two years later when he went from shooter to shootee, his mid-flight stance at death indicating his suicidal impulses were a thing of the past.

      Marketing executive: “The cover art’s okay but do you think you could sex it up a little?

    Several newspaper articles describe the Andrade-Thompson-Sorgente murders as a probable “settling of accounts,”
    and I assumed the accounts being settled involved Thompson’s ludicrous sentence for the death of his wife—perhaps a friend or relative of Diane Juteau had opted to mete out a more commensurate punishment.
    Not an advisable course of action, but understandable under the circumstances.

    Further investigation into Antonio Sorgente’s past,
    however, provided evidence the accounts being settled may have belonged to him:
    at the age of 21 Sorgente was one of four men arrested for a series of violent 1968 armed robberies—the disposition of his case was never publicized, indicating he may have cut a deal in exchange for testimony.
    Sorgente’s codefendants in the crime spree ultimately received as much as twelve years in prison
    which (if paroled) would’ve put them back on the street in the same rough time frame as the Manoir Haddon Hall murder.

    Of course, it’s also possible the Andrade-Thompson-Sorgente slayings involved narcotics; a small blurb in the Canadian true crime magazine ‘Allo Police describes the crime as an “affaire de drogue,”
    although the identity of the victim or victims—Andrade, Thompson or Sorgente—with drug involvement is unspecified.
    So many possible motives yet so little evidence available for elimination purposes.

      Designer: “Say no more.”

    Four decades later, mysteries in the case persist: was Diane’s homicide the precipitating event for the Manoir Haddon Hall murders or was one of the other scenarios the true impetus for the crime?
    And why in God’s name did Donna Andrade resume her affair with Teddy Thompson after his release from prison?
    Donna’s professed desire to be free of Teddy led directly to his wife’s death—their continued relationship seems like a postmortem slap in Diane Juteau’s face, essentially heaping insult on top of her (fatal) injury.

    On a more germane note: why didn’t 1980s NYC media reveal Donna Andrade’s presence at the Donald-Ivana introduction, an inarguably colorful detail?
    I’m aware of the publishing truism when truth and legend contradict it’s advisable to print the legend
    but in this case the legend of Ivana’s Olympic feats seem less newsworthy than the first Trump marriage being only one degree away from an unsolved triple homicide.

    [Irony alert: if a witness to Hillary and Bill Clinton’s introduction was mysteriously murdered there’d be an entire cottage industry built around blaming the crime on deep-state crisis actors and Hillary Clinton’s voracious vagina dentata.]

    I need a word for the frustration I feel when I spend weeks hunting down a photo and then this; photus interruptus? Pixel blocked?

    The moral of today’s post is multifaceted, but let’s begin with the valuable life-lesson imparted via the tragic fate of Diane Juteau: if your husband’s girlfriend summons you at 5am to tango with his suicidal impulses decline the invitation.
    Solemnly state, “Sister, he’s your problem now,” and hang up the phone.
    The unfortunate end of the glamorous Donna Andrade is also a teachable moment:
    if your paramour does time for killing your predecessor end the relationship—regardless of your personal circumstances you deserve a romantic partner without blood on his or her hands.

    The most important (dare I say big-league?) lesson provided by this post, however, comes courtesy of Donald Trump—possibly the only decent and useful commodity he will ever impart to humanity.
    Always check your sources.
    Who knows? The true story might be far more fascinating than stolen Olympic glory.

    But I understand there are some allegations even the bravest fact-checkers won’t touch