Possibly one of the most famous unsolved crimes ever, in 1888 there were eleven brutal murders committed in the Whitechapel District of London’s east end. All of the victims were prostitutes murdered by the same killer who became known as “Jack the Ripper” and who’s identity has never been uncovered.
Andrew and Abby Borden
The murder of husband and wife Andrew and Abby Borden on August 4, 1892 attracted media attention not only due to their affluence in Fall River, Massachusetts, but also for the fact that the suspect who was tried and acquitted was a family member named Lizzie Borden. Andrew sustained 11 blows from an axe on his head while taking a nap on the couch, while Abby, who died an hour or so before him, had suffered 18 or 19 blows. Speculations about properties, strained relationships, and food poisoning abounded.
The Atlas Vampire Case
In 1932 in Stockholm, Sweden, an unnamed 32-year-old prostitute was found dead approximately 48 hours after her murder. Though murders of prostitute weren’t that rare at the time, the woman who had been killed by a crushing blow to the skull had attracted significant media attention as it appeared in the autopsy note that the killer had apparently been drinking the woman’s blood. Due to the absence of forensic technology and the lack of witnesses, this spine-chilling mystery remained unsolved.
The Black Dahlia
This is a moniker given to a 22-year old aspiring starlet named Elizabeth Short, due to her dark hair and wardrobe, who was the victim of a gruesome and much-publicized murder. Her body was found mutilated, sliced with surgical precision and drained of blood on January 15, 1947 in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, California. The oldest unsolved case in LA was the subject of widespread speculations that led to a number of suspects but no convictions.
The killing of Marilyn Sheppard in her family’s home on July 1954 in Cleveland led to the conviction of her husband, neurosurgeon Dr. Sam Sheppard. However, he maintained his innocence throughout and always claimed it was a “dark-hair intruder.” Dr.Sheppard was acquitted when the US Supreme Court overturned his convictions due to the excessive media hype that may have influenced his trial, and was still seeking his wife’s killer until his death in 1970. His son, who was 7 years-old at the time of the brutal killing and was just sleeping next door when it happened, continues his family’s quest up until this day.
Jack the Stripper
copycat of “Jack the Ripper,” this serial killer was nicknamed “Jack the Stripper” for the killings of eight prostitutes between 1964 and 1965 whose bodies were dumped in the River Thames. Though a young man who committed suicide was implicated in the murder, there was no solid evidence to link him to the crimes and just like the crimes of Jack the Ripper, the Stripper’s reign of panic seem to cease on its own.
The Lead Masks Case
On August 17, 1966 two repairmen, Miguel Jose Viana and Manoel Pereira da Cruz, left Campos dos Gostacazes, Brazil to buy some supplies for a car. Three days later they were found dead by a teenager in Vintem Hill. The odd thing about the case was the fact that both men were wearing identical impermeable suits and lead eye masks with no holes like the one worn to protect from radiation. Found on the scene were empty water bottles, two towels, and notebook containing the words: “16:30 be at agreed place, 18:30 swallow capsules after effect protect metals wait for mask signal.” The money for the car was not found and these items did not present any clues but led to more questions that up to now are unanswered.
D.B. Cooper was just a media epithet given to an unidentified passenger who hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington on November 24, 1971 and demanded a ransom of $200,000 that he received at the Seattle airport. He demanded the pilot to fly back to Oregon and en route opened the rear door and parachuted into the dark with 21 lbs of $20 bills strapped to his body. Neither he nor the money was ever found, except for $5,580 that was found years later at the Columbia River. This is the only unsolved airplane hijacking in American aviation history.
The Glico-Morinaga Case
The Glico-Morinaga case, also known by its official designation Metropolitan Designated Case 114, was a famous extortion case in 1980s Japan, primarily directed at the Japanese industrial confectioneries Ezaki Glico and Morinaga and currently remains unsolved. The entire case spanned 17 months from the initial kidnapping of the president of Glico to the last known communication from the prime suspect, a person or group known only as the “The Monster with 21 Faces”. The case captured the Japanese public’s imagination and many commentators refer to this incident as a turning point in Japanese society in which the image of a crime-free and safe Japan was dispelled.
Oscar Romero, a bishop in El Salvador, was shot on 24 March 1980 while celebrating Mass at a small chapel located in a hospital called “La Divina Providencia,” one day after a sermon in which he had called on Salvadoran soldiers, as Christians, to obey God’s higher order and to stop carrying out the government’s repression and violations of basic human rights. The killers were said to be government affiliated, but no one ever claimed responsibility.
The Gardner Museum, named after Isabella Stewart Gardner experienced the world’s biggest art heist ever on St. Patrick’s Day in 1990. Two men, who posed as policemen sent to purportedly investigate something stole 13 paintings worth an estimated $300 million. The artworks, which were hacked from their frames, were apparently uninsured and in spite of a $5 million reward, they were never found.
six-year-old beauty queen of a wealthy Boulder, Colorado executive was found bludgeoned and strangled to death in the basement of her family home around Christmas of 1996. Clashes between the family and the police and district attorney fed the media frenzy while public speculations centered on her parents John and Patsy Ramsey. They appeared in media channels for years defending their innocence and demanded justice for their daughter, until they were cleared from any involvement in 2008 through the newly-discovered DNA evidence. Who the real culprit was, however, remains a mystery.
Amber Hagerman, 9, and her little brother Ricky, 5, were pedaling their bikes to an abandoned grocery store on the afternoon of January 13, 1996. Ricky went home alone, and an eyewitness, a 78-year old retiree, accounted that Amber was biking alone when a man in a dark pickup grabbed her and pulled her into the vehicle. He contacted the police, who did a massive search along with some volunteers in the area. She was found four days later on a creek bed, dead and sexually assaulted for the two days she had been kept alive. No suspects had been found but this led to the start of the now well known Amber Alert, an international child abduction alert bulletin.
The Amsterdam Diamond Heist
This is not as disturbing as some of the other crimes, but what is crazy about this heist is the fact that it was pulled off in broad daylight before multiple witnesses. Two men disguised as KLM employees rode a stolen car from the cargo terminal of Amsterdam Schipol Airport and hijacked a truck carrying uncut diamonds estimated at US $118 million bound for Antwerp. The police hinted at an inside job though they have yet to solve the case.
The Salish Sea Foot Mystery
When several detached feet washed up on the shores of the Salish Sea in British Columbia, some officials didn’t think it too odd as they may have come from boating accidents or plane crashes. What was strange about these feet, however, was the fact that they kept washing up and every single one of them had running shoes on. Speculations range from suicides to tsunami victims but as of yet, there has been no official conclusion.
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