As morbid as it sounds, it cannot be denied that some people are murdered, and their murderers never get the punishment they deserve. Some murders remain mysteries, and year after year, their family loses a little shred of hope and finally gives up on finding the guilty.
Here are the top 15 unsolved murder mysteries of all time
1. Murder of Dorothy Jane Scott
Dorothy Jane Scott, a single mother of a four-year-old named Shawn, was receiving threatening calls since early 1890 at her aunt’s house where she and her son lived. The caller switched between threatening to kill her and confessing his undying love for her. The calls unsettled Dorothy since the caller described the details of her day implying that he had been following her the entire time. One night, he even told Dorothy to come out because he had a gift for her. When she went, she found a single dying rose on the windshield of her car. The calls went unreported, her relatives claimed afterward that Dorothy said that she recognized the voice from somewhere but could not put her finger on it.
Then one evening on May 28, 1980, Scott dropped her son at her parent’s house to attend a staff meeting at her workplace. After the meeting, she volunteered to take one of her co-workers to the hospital. Since he was ill, another coworker accompanied them. On her way to the hospital, Dorothy stopped by her parent’s house again to check on her son where she also changed her black scarf to a red one.
At the hospital, the sick co-worker was treated while the other one stayed with Dorothy all the while; after it was one, the two co-workers stayed behind to fill out some form while Dorothy went to get her car. When the two men got to the parking lot, they saw Dorothy’s car driving away, its light blinding them so they could not see who was behind the wheel. Dorothy was never seen again. Only the remains of her charred bones were found in a bush outside a construction site. The calls kept coming to Dorothy’s mother claiming that the caller ‘has got her daughter’. The murderer was never found.
2. The Case of Black Dahlia
One of the most chilling cases, the case of Black Dahlia whose actual name was Elizabeth Short remains unsolved after even half a century later. In the early morning of 15 January 1947, a brutally murdered Elizabeth’s body was found in an empty lot in Downtown LA by Betty Bersinger. Her bare body was bisected neatly at the waist, her intestines were tucked under her buttocks, her breasts were slashed, her legs opened and vulva mutilated, her elbows were bent at right angels and her face was carved from one ear to another in bloody joker like a grin. This horrible state of her body haunted everyone and the person who murdered Elizabeth this grotesquely was never found.
3. The Dardeen Family Murder
On the evening of November 18, 1987, the police discovered the dead bodies of Russell Keith Dardeen, his wife Elaine Dardeen, and their son Peter. When Keith did not show up for work and didn’t call in for leave, his supervisor called his parents’ house from whom he heard that they did not know why Keith had not come and had not seen him or his family. Then the police was called, while investigating, the trailer was unlocked to look in and what was found inside would have haunted the investigators, family, and even the townspeople. Inside, the police found the bodies of Elaine and her son Peter. Both had been beaten to death by the baseball bat gifted to peter by his father for his birthday earlier that year. Elaine was pregnant at the time with her second child- a daughter and as if to make the matters worst, Elaine had gone into labor and her born on the spot baby was also beaten to death by the killer or killers. The three were then tucked into bed as if lying to sleep. The first instinct was, since Keith was nowhere to be found, that the husband had committed the horrid murders but it was soon proved wrong since his body was found the next day in a nearby field and he was shot three times.
The police suspected that it was a work of a serial killer and indeed years and years after the murders, a serial killer did confess to having committed the murders but no solid proof was ever found.
4. Lady of the Dunes
Lady of the dunes, she is called since she was never really identified, was found on July 26, 1974, lying face down on a beach towel in the dunes near Provincetown, Massachusetts. Both her hands were cut off and replaced with small piles of pine needles. Her head was badly smashed and was nearly severed from the rest of her body. Moreover, one of her forearms was also missing. The police looked through the missing reports, and records but not one identity came close to her. Her name, where she came from, why was she murdered, and who murdered her are some of the never-ending questions that were never answered even after her body was several times exhumed to run different tests to come closer to her identification.
A theory was put forth by Joe Hill, the son of famous writer Stephan King, in 2015. While watching “jaws” he noticed a woman who wore ‘strikingly similarity’ to the lady of dunes. At precisely 54 minutes and 2 seconds into the movie, a woman is seen standing as an extra among the crowd who wears the same clothes right down to the blue bandanna as the lady of dunes, and the sketches that depict her face are also somewhat similar to the woman. It is said that this was her. But in lack of any solid proof and no further clues, the case of The Lady of Dunes grows colder still and no murderer has been found or has confessed to the murder.
5. The Murder of the Walker family
In December of 1959, the entire walker family- the wife, twenty-four-year-old Christine Walker, the husband, twenty-five-year-old Cliff walker, and their children, Three-year-old Jimmie and One-year-old Debbie were found dead in their house. The wife was raped and then shot along with the rest of her family.
Very few clues were found including a bloody cow-boot and a fingerprint. But despite intensive investigation and interrogation of over 500 suspects, no culprit was found, nobody even confessed the murders. Later, in 2010, the investigators found that the murders were strikingly similar to the murders of the Clutter family.
About one month earlier the slaying of the walkers, the clutter family was slain in a similar manner by Perry Smith and Richard “Dick” Hickock. The similarities being in the killing manner and the quadruple homicide. But the further investigations could neither prove nor deny the theory. One way or the other, no one was openly accused and even after an exhume of the bodies in 2012, a little could be found and proved to be of no significance in the solving of the case.
6. The Chilling Murder of The Grimes Sisters
On December 17, 1956, two teenage girls, Barbara and Patricia Grimes who loved Elvis Presley went to Chicago’s Brighton Theater to watch his ‘Love Me Tender’ for the 15th time, from where they never returned home. Barbara was 15 and Patricia was 13 at that time. The missing of the Grimes sisters followed one of the largest city-wide hunt, where people from each corner of the city came forward claiming they had seen the sisters in one state or the other. People came from as far as Nashville, Tennessee. This sparked the theory that the sisters had disappeared on their own accord and gone to Nashville to meet Presley. This theory got more press than expected driving Presley himself to take on the radio and plead to the girls to come back if they had gone somewhere themselves. But all the calls to come back went unanswered. After a wild run from a dead end to another dead end, the case finally started to lose its heat.
Then, on January 22, 1957, a man named Leonard Prescott, saw what he thought were two mannequins on German Church Road in Willow Springs, Illinois. He ran off to fetch his wife and slowly the couple inched towards what turned out to be the naked bodies of the grime sisters with Barbara lying face down and Patricia lying on top of her sister facing upwards, their faces were partially eaten by the surrounding animals.
After an autopsy that was performed after the thawing of the sisters’ bodies revealed that the last food they had eaten was the very dinner they had had o the evening when they went missing, making it possible to deduce that the sisters were killed within a few hours of their disappearing. No killer came forward claiming the murders and none was found by the police.
7. The Seal Chart Murder
Caroline and Major-General Charles Luard, a respected personality of the late Victorian era of 1908, parted ways when Caroline headed straight for their house where a friend awaited her for Tea and Charles headed to the Golf Club to retrieve his clubs. However, little did the couple know that they were parting ways for once and for all.
After Charles returned, he found his wife’s friend waiting patiently for Caroline, so he took it upon himself to go look for her assuming that she got stuck in talking to a neighbor but Charles search came to an end when in the summerhouse of their neighbor he founded the body of his wife. She was shot twice in the back of her head and her earrings and purse were missing.
The police investigated intensely and even private detectives were hired but nothing came out. The townspeople started believing that it was Charles who had actually murdered his wife and had made a show of missing purse and earrings to throw the police off the main suspect. They accused him of putting up a ham of private investigations to edge his way off the suspect list. Thus, tormented by the hate mail he was receiving and driven by the grief of his wife’s loss, he committed suicide by jumping in the path of an oncoming train on the morning of September 18.
8. The Hinterkaifeck Murders
In the days before Farmer Andreas Gruber was killed along with his family, there were signs of something mysterious. something terrible was going to happen, Andreas was sure of it. Then it did. In the few days before the murders took place, Andreas Gruber told neighbors that he had seen footprints in the snow leading to his house but no footprints leading back, there was a strange sound like footsteps in the attic, he found an unfamiliar newspaper in his house and the house key went missing.
In the days following the murder of all the six inmates of the farm when their body remained undetected, smoke still rose from the chimney, apparently, the killer continued to live, eat and feed the cattle for several days after committing the murders.
At a small farm in Bavaria, Germany called Hinterkaifeck, in the winter of 1922, six bodies of the residents of a farm were discovered four days after their murder. When seven-year-old Cazilia did not come to school people grew suspicious and called the police. In the farm, they found the horrifying sight of four dead bodies of Andreas, 63, his wife Cazilia, 72, their widowed daughter Viktoria, 35, and her 7-year-old daughter Cazilia in the barn. Afterwards, the killer made his way to the house and murdered two-year-old Josef and the maid Maria Baumgartner, 44.
After investigating and interrogating over 100 suspects, the police found no one guilty. They severed the dead bodies’s heads and sent them to Munich in order to get more information about the murders, but in the chaos of the second world war, the heads were lost and the decapitated bodies were buried.
9. The Villisca Axe Murders
When on the fine mid morning of June 10, 1912, Miss Mary Peckham’s knocks on her neighbors’ door went unanswered many times, she called one of the relatives of the Moore family to come check on them. When Ross Moore arrived with a spare key and opened the gate, he found himself face to face with one of the most brutal killing scenes in history.
All seven members of the family, Josiah and his wife, Sarah, their four children, Herman, Mary, Arthur, and Paul, along with two of Mary’s friends who were having a sleepover- Ina and Lena Stillinger, were murdered brutally in their sleep by bludgeoned with an axe.
All eight victims were discovered in their beds and only Lena showed signs of being awake when she was murdered. The killer had swung the axe so violently that there were blood splotches and sprays on the ceiling.
There were signs of the killer enjoying himself in the house after the murders. A heavy slab of bacon was found downstairs, beside a broken key chain and the gory murder weapon. A bowl of bloody water sat beside a plate of uneaten food on the table in the kitchen. As if it was not enough, the killer covered the faces of his victims and then continued to drape linen picked up from the dressing drawers over every exposed mirror and windowsill of the house.
The murders came as a shock so severe that people lost their sleep out of fear. may suspects were interrogated and many detectives looked into the case but as it goes, the murder mystery remains unsolved to this day.
10. The Killing of Georgette Bauerdorf
Georgette was born to an oil tycoon in NYC in 1924, her life was full of luxuries from the very beginning, after the death of her mother her family moved to LA and resided there from that time on. After graduation, the beautiful Georgette pursued to act and moved to West Hollywood. She quickly found work at the Los Angeles Times in the Women’s Service Bureau and at the Hollywood Canteen—a dining and dancing club that catered to young men in uniform. She was happy in her life and showed no signs of being mentally stressed.
On the evening of October 11, 1944, after an ordinary day at work, she climbed into her sister’s Pontiac coupe and drove home, whether alone or with someone is still unclear. The following morning at 11:00 am when the janitor arrived to clean Georgette’s apartment, he found the door unlocked, after going inside hesitantly, he met with a dead Georgette, her body facing down in the bathing tub, the water still running. Her body showed signs of struggle and after investigation, a downstairs neighbor said that they heard a scream saying ‘stop! you are killing me!’, a little after two in the night. But whether the killer was someone she knew or someone who was lurking in her apartment is still unclear and there is very little hope of the case being solved after over 70 years of Georgette’s death.
11. Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?
On a spring morning of 1943, four boys of Stourbridge, England who were going through Hagley Woods near Wychbury Hill, decided to climb an old wych elm. A little boy named Bob went up first but when he climbed and stared down into the hollow of the tree, he found himself looking directly into the haunting eyes of a decomposing woman, her eyes barely eyes. The boys ran off to tell their parents and then, the police arrived.
They found a body of a woman stuffed inside the hollow of the trunk, the body, nearly decomposed. They found shoes stuck to her feet and a wedding ring on her finger, her right hand was completely cut off and buried at the base of the tree ceremoniously.
After the autopsy, it was found that she was in her mid-thirties, mother of a child, and was dead for nearly 18 months. It was also concluded that she was put inside the tree when her body was still warm.
Some people believed that it was a work of a Witch others claimed her to be a prostitute but then the graffiti around Europe started to appear. She was called many names and it was written in different ways but the ultimate and the most popular one remained- ‘Who put Bella in the wych elm?’
Although the answer was never found and her body lost in the chaos of the war, the question remains still, clinging to the walls of old dingy European alleys, demanding the answers it would never get.
12. The Phantom Killer
He haunted the southern town of Texarkana in 1946 after sundown. He wore a white mask with holes cut for his eyes and came after couples enjoying a fine evening. The phantom killer traumatized the town and people stopped stepping out of their houses after early evening.
He killed five people in the course of ten weeks and three of his victims, including the first two who survived the attacks and lived to spend the rest of their lives with a nightmare. The first attack took place on February 22, 1946. he lurked upon a young couple Jimmy Hollis and Mary Jeanne Larrey while they were in their car. He first blinded them with his torch and then holding them at gunpoint ordered them out of the car. He forced the young man to remove his pants and then proceeded to beat him so severely that he received a fracture in the skull. The girl was ordered to run as fast as she could and then the Phantom chased her. He assaulted her sexually with the Pistol he held and then let her go. Both of them lived. The next of his victims were not that fortunate, however.
In the first week of May, the Phantom Killer attacked who became his last victims, a husband and wife, in their farmhouse northeast of town. Virgil Starks was killed by two shots to the back of the head, but his wife Katie survived, despite being shot in her face not once but twice and then running to a neighbor’s house to get help.
After that many theories were put forth to prove that the phantom killer was one person or the other but never did the actual identity of the killer came to light. This chilling case too, like the rest, remains unsolved.
13. St. Aubin Street Massacre
On a summer evening of July 3, 1929, Benny Evangelist along with his four children and wife were brutally murdered in their home in Detroit By an ax-wielding killer.
At the age of 19, when he moved to America, he changed his name from Benjamin to Benny and two years later he started receiving dreams from God. On the basis of which, he claimed, he initiated his four-volume long book series he called ‘the oldest history of the world.’ He then declared himself a divine prophet, spiritual leader, and mystical healer.
He set up an Alter completely with bizarre figures he called ”celestial arrangement” and an “eye” lit up with electricity from the inside. For each healing session, he charged ten dollars that earn him quite a good sum of money. He also led a cult.
This cult is the reason that many assume he was murdered. Many also assume that he was killed for the money that was in his house but whatever the cause may be, the killer was never found. However, quite a few people were questioned and a lot were suspected but nothing came out of it and the case grew gradually colder.
14. The Servant Girl Annihilator
Three years before, hell broke loose on the London streets in the shape of Jack the Ripper, Austin, Texas was haunted by a similar killing spree.
Although the servant Girl annihilator did not exclusively made the target of the servant girls but the majority of them were African american women employed as maids in households, but his killings spread to other white women and even men at some times.
He killed his victims when they were in bed, sleeping. He dragged women out, sexually assaulted them then proceeded to kill them with axe, the blade he left on the murder site. In more than one case, he inserted sharp objects in the ears of his victims.
Some of his survivors described him as black, some white,some even called him ‘yellow man’ which led people to believe that it was a work of a group of killers. Some described him in a slouch hat and some said he was a man wearing a dress. This only strengthened the theory of multiple killers.
Again, this case was never solved, the police suspected many, the people suspected many, even claiming that it was a man with mystical and supernatural power who could ‘go invisible’ and sneak into houses. The real killer, or for that matter, killers were never found.
15. The Killing of Margaret Martin
In 1938 in Kingston, Pennsylvania, the young and promising Margaret Martin, a 19-year-old college graduate, who was eager to get a job and be independent, fixed an appointment with a man who allegedly becomes her killer.
On the morning of December 17, Margaret climbed into a brown Plymouth or black sedan driven by the person she was going to meet, that is, her killer. No description of the man driving the car could be found aside from – ‘sandy-haired and a little overweight’. No one noted the number of the car either.
Later that evening, when no one heard from her and she didn’t return, her worried parents reported her missing. But no instant investigation yielded anything.
Four days later when 19-year-old Anthony Rezykoski and his friend Stanley Shalkoski, 19 were out in the woods of Wyoming County, Pennsylvania some 25 miles northwest of Kingston, discovered a lumpy bag floating in a creek they were trying to cross. They prodded the bad with a stick and drove it to the bank, upon opening the bag they met with a gruesome corpse of Margaret who was stuffed in the bag naked.
The police was informed. Her reports showed the signs of torture and sexual assault before the murder and the body also suggested that the murder was done 24 hours prior to the boys finding her body. The killer was never seen or heard of again. Needless to say, even after all this time, the police have not cracked the case of the murder of Margaret Martin.
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