List of unsolved deaths

This list of unsolved deaths includes notable cases where victims have been murdered or have died under unsolved circumstances, including murders committed by unknown serial killers. The mysteriously-deceased are listed chronologically by year. (For "serial killer cases" which span multiple years, entries are listed under the year the first murder took place.)

Unsolved murders

Before 1800

  • Caesarion (17), (Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor Caesar), 30 BC; the son of Cleopatra by Caesar, and as such the last king of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt, ruling alone for eleven days whose death at the orders of Augustus (while still Octavian) is accepted in 30 BC,[1] and yet the exact circumstances of his death and the location of his body are not documented.
  • Dagobert II, 679; he was one of the last kings of the Merovingian line, murdered by persons unknown in the Ardennes Forest on December 23.
  • Momia Juanita, also known as the Inca Ice Maiden and Lady of Ampato, is the well-preserved frozen body of an Inca girl,[2] who was murdered as an offering to the Inca gods sometime between 1450 and 1480 when she was approximately 12–15 years old, by persons unknown. She was discovered on Mount Ampato (part of the Andes cordillera) in southern Peru in September 1995 by anthropologist Johan Reinhard and his Peruvian climbing partner, Miguel Zárate.
  • Giovanni Borgia, 2nd Duke of Gandia, 1497; his body was recovered in the Tiber with his throat slit and about nine stab wounds on his torso. His father, Pope Alexander VI, launched an investigation only for it to end abruptly a week later. Theories range from the Orsini family to his own brothers, Cesare Borgia and Gioffre Borgia, having committed the crime.
  • Moctezuma II, 1520, Aztec emperor; according to Spanish accounts he was killed by his own people; according to Aztec accounts he was murdered by the Spanish.
  • Robert Pakington, 1536, likely to have been the first person murdered with a handgun in London
  • Expatriate English Royalists are believed to have ambushed and murdered Isaac Dorislaus in 1649, then a diplomat representing the interests of the Commonwealth to the Dutch government at The Hague, in retaliation for his role in the trial and execution of Charles I. But no suspects were ever identified, although some Royalists later boasted of having taken part.
  • Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey, 1678; he was found impaled on his own sword and strangled at Primrose Hill, London. Three men were hanged, but later the witness statement was found to be perjured.
  • Alessandro Stradella, 1682, composer; he was stabbed to death at the Piazza Banchi of Genoa. His infidelities were well known, and a nobleman of the Lomellini family may have hired the killer; but this was never proven and the identity of the killer was never discovered.
  • Jean-Marie Leclair, 1764, violinist and composer; he was found stabbed in his Paris home. Although the murder remains a mystery, his nephew, Guillaume-François Vial, and Leclair's ex-wife were considered as main suspects at the time.
  • Although the colonial authorities in Pennsylvania at the time investigated the two December 1764 Paxton Boys massacres of defenseless Conestoga communities near present-day Millersville as a criminal mass murder, they were never able to identify the perpetrators, and historians have not been able to either.

19th century

  • Davy Crockett (49), a 19th-century American folk hero, frontiersman, soldier, and politician, who in early 1836, he took part in the Texas Revolution is said to have been killed at the Battle of the Alamo in March, yet since his body was never recovered his murder remains unsolved.[3][4]
  • Mary Rogers, also known as the "Beautiful Cigar Girl"; her body was found in the Hudson River on 28 July 1841. The story became a national sensation and inspired Edgar Allan Poe to write "The Mystery of Marie Rogêt" (1842).
  • Fanny de Choiseul-Praslin, wife of French duke Charles de Choiseul-Praslin; she died shortly after a beating and stabbing in the family's Paris apartment on 17 August 1847. Her husband was arrested, but committed suicide during trial, protesting his innocence all along. No other suspect has ever been identified. The scandal caused by the case helped to provoke the French Revolution of 1848.
  • Thomas C. Hindman, an American politician assassinated by one or more unknown assailants on 27 September 1868. The assassins fired through his parlor window while he was reading his newspaper with his children in Helena, Arkansas, United States.[5]
  • Alexander Boyd was the county solicitor of Greene County, Alabama, who was lynched by the Ku Klux Klan on March 31, 1870. His murderers were never brought to justice.
  • Robert V. Richardson (49), an ex-Confederate General officer was killed in 1870 by a shotgun blast outside a tavern he was staying in at Clarkton, Missouri. The Identity of his assailant and motive are unknown.
  • Benjamin Nathan (56), a financier turned philanthropist; he was found beaten to death in his New York City home on 28 July 1870. Several suspects were identified, including Nathan's profligate son Washington, who discovered the body along with his brother. None were ever indicted, and the case remains unsolved.[6]
  • Juan Prim, a Spanish general and statesman; in December 1870, he was shot through the windows of his carriage by several unknown assailants and died two days later. In 2012, his body was exhumed; the ensuing autopsy showed he may have been strangled in his deathbed, but results were deemed inconclusive.
  • Sharon Tyndale, former Illinois Secretary of State, was robbed and shot fatally as he walked from his house in Springfield to the train station nearby early on the morning of 29 April 1871. No suspect was ever found.[7]
  • Henry Weston Smith (49), a minister, was found dead on the road between his home in Crook City, South Dakota, and Deadwood, where he was going to give a sermon, on August 20, 1876. While he was not robbed, it has never been established who was responsible for his death, and what their motives were.
  • George Colvocoresses, Greek American naval commander and explorer, died of a gunshot wound while returning to a ferryboat on 3 June 1872, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The insurance company claimed it was suicide, and while it eventually settled with his family the case has never been solved.[8]
  • Martin DeFoor (73), an early settler of Atlanta, Georgia, was along with his wife the victim of an unsolved axe murder on their farm on 25 July 1879.
  • Two trials in Canada's Black Donnellys massacre, in which five members of a family of Irish immigrants were found murdered in the ashes of their Ontario farm after an angry mob attacked it on 4 February 1880, allegedly as a result of feuds with their neighbours, resulted in all the suspects being acquitted.
  • John Henry Blake (74), agent for one of Ireland's more despised British landlords, was shot and killed along with his driver on their way to Mass outside Loughrea on 29 June 1882. The case received considerable attention at the time because Blake's boss, Hubert de Burgh-Canning, 2nd Marquess of Clanricarde, was a nobleman. Although his wife survived the attack, she was unable to help identify any suspects, and the case remains unsolved.
  • The Whitehall Mystery In 1888, the dismembered remains of a woman were discovered at three different sites in the centre of London, including the future site of Scotland Yard.
  • Print Matthews (43), a Reconstruction-era supporter of civil rights and former sheriff of Copiah County, Mississippi, was shot and killed by a neighbor as he attempted to vote on November 6, 1883, in defiance of threats against his life. The neighbor was subsequently acquitted by an all-white jury.
  • John M. Clayton, American politician, shot and killed instantly by an unknown assailant on the evening of 29 January 1889 in Plumerville, Arkansas, after starting an investigation into the possible fraud of an election he took part in. After his death he was declared the winner of the election but his assassin was never found.[9]
  • Andrew Jackson Borden and Abby Durfee Borden, father and stepmother of Lizzie Borden, both killed in their family house in Fall River, Massachusetts on the morning of 4 August 1892, by blows from a hatchet. In the case of Andrew Borden, the hatchet blows not only crushed his skull but cleanly split his left eyeball. Lizzie was later arrested and charged for the murders. She was the only one in the house at the time of the killing of Mrs. Borden. Lizzie and the maid, Bridget Sullivan, were the only ones in the home when Mr. Borden was killed. She was acquitted by a jury in the following year of 1893 and the case remains unsolved.[10]
  • The Gatton murders occurred 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from the rural Australian town of Gatton, Queensland, on 26 December 1898. Siblings Michael, Norah and Ellen Murphy were found deceased the morning after they left home to attend a dance in the town hall which had been cancelled. The bodies were arranged with the feet pointing west and both women had their hands tied with handkerchiefs. This signature aspect has never been repeated in Australian crime and to date remains a mystery.[11]


  • William Goebel, an American politician who was shot and mortally wounded on the morning of 30 January 1900 by an unknown assailant in Frankfort, Kentucky, one day before being sworn in as Governor of Kentucky. The next day the dying Goebel was sworn in and, despite the best efforts of eighteen physicians attending him, died on the afternoon of 3 February 1900. Goebel remains the only state governor in the United States to die by assassination while in office.[12]
  • Rose Harsent, a six-months-pregnant maid who was stabbed to death on 1 June 1902 in Suffolk, England by an unknown assailant. At the time it was alleged that the murderer was a preacher of the Primitive Methodist Chapel named William Gardiner, who was having an affair with the victim. Gardiner was tried twice for the murder but each time the jury failed to reach a verdict.[13][14] The case has been investigated in BBC One's Julian Fellowes Investigates.[15]
  • Al Swearengen (59), operator of the Gem Theater brothel in Deadwood, South Dakota, was found dead in a Denver street of a massive wound to his head on 15 November 1904. No suspects were ever named.
  • Elsie Sigel (20), found strangled inside a trunk in an apartment in New York City's Chinatown on 18 June 1909, nine days after she had last been seen. The resident of the apartment, who had been having a love affair with her, was considered the prime suspect but was never arrested.
  • Elsie Paroubek, the five-year-old daughter of Czech immigrants, is thought to have either wandered away from her home or beern kidnapped in Chicago on 8 April 1911. Her disappearance was the subject of intense police investigation over three states, with massive newspaper coverage. Her body was found a month later. Elsie, under the name "Annie Aronburg" became one of the principal characters in Henry Darger's immense novel The Story of the Vivian Girls in the Realms of the Unreal.
  • Joseph Wilson, the sixty-year-old stationmaster, was shot dead at Lintz Green railway station in the Northeast of England on 7 October 1911. His murder sparked one of the largest murder investigations in northeastern England.[16]
  • One suspect in the Villisca Axe Murders, which claimed eight lives in the Iowa town on the night of June 9–10, 1912, was tried twice and ultimately acquitted. Other suspects have been considered, but history has largely exonerated them as well.
  • The body of Mary Phagan, 13, was found strangled and raped early on 27 April 1913 at the Atlanta, Georgia, pencil factory where she worked. Suspicion eventually fell on Leo Frank, manager of the factory, who was convicted of the murder later that year. When his death sentence was commuted to life in 1915, Frank was abducted from prison and lynched, in what is considered one of the worst episodes of antisemitism in the United States. Historians have come to believe he was wrongly convicted, and in 1986 he was pardoned. It is believed that a janitor who testified against Frank and served a year in prison as an accessory after the fact was the real killer.
  • Chinese journalist Huang Yuanyong (30), was shot and killed in San Francisco on 25 December 1915. No arrests were ever made. Most theories about the responsible parties suggest that it was a political assassination, since Huang had increasingly been in conflict with the government of the newly established Republic of China (1912–1949) after initially supporting it.
  • John Bamford was considered the prime suspect in the 1917 Wonnangatta murders in East Gippsland, Victoria, Australia; however, his body was found early the following year. The cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. Several theories have been advanced, but no suspects have ever been identified. In the late 1970s, Barclay's son, who later worked for a mutual friend of the two who had been an early suspect, made a statement suggesting he knew who the murderers were as well but declining to identify them.
  • De La Haye, principal of the Newington House school in Madras, India, was shot dead in his bed at the school on 15 March 1919. One defendant was acquitted after a highly publicized trial; no others have ever been identified.
  • James Colosimo (42), gangster who led a precursor to the Chicago Outfit. He was shot and killed at his café on 11 May 1920. No one was ever charged with the killing; it is believed that Al Capone, then one of Colosimo's henchmen, was involved.
  • Joseph Bowne Elwell (46), a bridge player, was shot and killed inside his locked house on 11 June 1920. One clearly false confession the next year was discarded, and no other suspects ever were identified. The intense media interest in the case inspired the development of the locked-room murder subgenre of detective fiction.[17]
  • Italian anarchists were suspected in the Wall Street bombing of 16 September 1920, which killed 38, making it the deadliest terrorist act in U.S. history at that point. Despite a number of arrests, no one was ever charged. One likely suspect, who was never arrested, fled to Italy shortly afterwards and never returned to the U.S.
  • Chrissie Venn, a thirteen-year-old girl who was murdered on or around 21 February 1921 near the township of North Motton, near Ulverstone, Tasmania; her body was found in a hollow tree. George William King, who claimed the incriminating marks on his hands were from injuries sustained during the three-day search for Venn, was acquitted after a trial which was the first change of venue ever granted in Tasmania. No other suspects were ever named.
  • "Little Lord Fauntleroy", an unidentified boy who was murdered in late 1920 or early 1921 and was found on 8 March 1921. He was killed by a blow to the head and drowning after being dropped into a quarry in Waukesha, Wisconsin, United States.[18]
  • Anthony D'Andrea (48), an early Chicago Mafia boss, was shot and killed while entering his apartment on 11 May 1921, near the end of the city's aldermen's wars. No one was ever charged or named as a suspect.
  • Professional golfer James Douglas Edgar (36), whose book The Gate to Golf changed the sport considerably, died shortly after he was found on an Atlanta street late at night on August 8, 1921, with a leg wound. Reports that this was the consequence of his involvement in a love triangle have never led to any suspects being identified.
  • William Desmond Taylor, a popular Irish-born American actor and director of silent movies. Killed by a shot in the back on 1 February 1922 inside his bungalow. His murder, along with other Hollywood scandals, such as the Roscoe Arbuckle trial, led to a frenzy of sensational and often fabricated newspaper reports, and a deathbed confession of dubious veracity.
  • The Hinterkaifeck murders. Hinterkaifeck, a small farmstead between the Bavarian towns of Ingolstadt and Schrobenhausen (approximately 70 km north of Munich), was the scene of one of the most puzzling crimes in German history. On the evening of 31 March 1922, the six inhabitants of the farm were killed with a pickaxe, and the murder is still unsolved.
  • Edward Hall and Eleanor Mills, both of New Brunswick, New Jersey, were found dead of gunshot wounds in a field in nearby Franklin Township on 16 September 1922. Hall, an Episcopalian priest, had apparently been having an extramarital affair with Mills, who sang in the church choir. His wife and her brothers were charged with the crime. After one of the first trials to attract heavy media interest, they were acquitted of all charges. No other suspects were ever identified.
  • The plane crash that killed early aviator B. H. DeLay, 31 a pioneering stunt pilot, on 4 July 1923 in Venice, California, was found to have been the result of sabotage to the aircraft. No one was ever formally charged or identified as a suspect.[19][20][21]
  • The Lava Lake murders occurred in January 1924 near Little Lava Lake in Central Oregon. The victims were Edward Nickols, 50, Roy Wilson, 35, and Dewey Morris, 25. The three were working as fur trappers and staying in a private cabin while trapping animals over the winter. Their bodies were discovered in April 1924 in Big Lava Lake, where they had been placed under the ice sometime shortly after Christmas 1923. The men had been bludgeoned with a claw hammer and shot to death.[22]
  • Father Hubert Dahme, a popular local Catholic priest, was shot dead at an intersection in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on 4 February 1924. A local vagrant, Harold Israel, was arrested and charged with the crime; but at trial prosecutor Homer Stille Cummings, later U.S. Attorney General, not only dropped the case but discredited the evidence the city's police department had collected against Israel. No other suspects have ever been named; thirty years later a witness to the killing said it was not Israel but refused to identify the real killer out of fear for their life.
  • The Janet Smith case. On 26 July 1924, the 22-year-old Scottish nursemaid was found dead of a gunshot wound to the temple in a home in an exclusive neighborhood of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Although she was initially labeled a suicide (despite much evidence to the contrary), her friends were able to get the case reopened and deemed a murder. The initial suspect, Chinese houseboy Wong Foon Sing, was kidnapped and tortured for weeks in an unsuccessful attempt to extract a confession, causing a major scandal when it was discovered that various police officials and respected members of society were directly involved. Wong was eventually tried and acquitted for lack of evidence. A law was proposed, banning the employment of Asians and white women in the same household, but failed to pass.
  • Responsibility for the 29 October 1924, bombing of a Canadian Pacific train in British Columbia that killed Russian émigré Peter Verigin, 65, leader of the pacifist Doukhobors, along with seven others including a member of the provincial legislature. Government investigators believed the culprits were Verigin's rivals among the Doukhobors, while the remaining members of the sect accused the government of committing the crime. No suspects have ever been officially named.


  • The killing of Lizzie O'Neill in Dublin was the June 1925 shooting of a sex worker who was also known as Honour Bright. Two suspects were brought to trial, but were acquitted.
  • The Milaflores Massacre: Three Detroit gangsters were shot down in the Milaflores Apartments on March 28, 1927. The killings are widely believed to have been a revenge attack by members of The Purple Gang; two members were arrested the next day but never charged.
  • Morduch Halsman, a Latvian Jewish dentist, was hiking with his son Philippe in Austria's Tyrol on 10 September 1928, when he slipped and fell down a ravine. He survived the fall, but when Philippe returned with assistance, he had been beaten to death and robbed. Philippe was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to four years in prison in a trial marked by the antisemitism prevalent in Austria at the time. After prominent Jews of the time, including Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud drew attention to the case, Halsmann was pardoned and emigrated to France to begin his career as a photographer. No other suspect in his father's murder has ever been identified.
  • Jewish gangster Arnold Rothstein (46), an avid gambler best remembered for his alleged role fixing the 1919 World Series, died on 6 November 1928, of gunshot wounds inflicted the day before during a New York City business meeting. He refused to identify his killer to police. A fellow gambler who was believed to have ordered the hit as retaliation for Rothstein's failure to pay a large debt from a recent poker game (Rothstein in turn claimed it had been fixed) was tried and acquitted. No other suspects have ever emerged.
  • It is historically accepted that Al Capone ordered the St. Valentine's Day massacre of seven other gangsters in Chicago on February 14, 1929. But neither he nor any of the suspected gunmen (many of whom were dead themselves within a few years) were ever formally prosecuted for the crime.
  • The Wallace Case was the unsolved murder of Liverpool housewife Julia Wallace on 20 January 1931.[23] Her husband, William Herbert Wallace, was convicted and sentenced to hang, but the verdict was overturned on appeal[24] – the first such instance in British legal history. The chess-like quality of the puzzle has attracted a host of crime writers. Raymond Chandler said, 'The Wallace case is the nonpareil of all murder mysteries ... I call it the impossible murder because Wallace couldn't have done it, and neither could anyone else. ... The Wallace case is unbeatable; it will always be unbeatable.'
  • Harry C. Beasley (42), a Medal of Honor recipient who later became a Newark, Ohio, police officer, died after being shot while confronting robbers on July 2, 1931. No one was ever identified as a suspect.
  • On 12 September 1931, Arthur Brennan, 50, a World War I veteran and early Australian rules football player, was shot and killed while struggling with a burglar he was trying to apprehend on a neighbour's property. After investigating for three months, police announced they could not find a suspect. No arrests were ever made.
  • The murder of Vera Page occurred on 14 December 1931. Page was a 10-year-old schoolgirl from Notting Hill, London, who was last seen walking towards her own house, having visited her aunt to show her new swimming certificates she had been awarded.[25] Her raped and strangled body was found two days later.[26] Despite strong circumstantial evidence linking a local man named Percy Rush to the crime, a jury recorded an open verdict of "Murder by person or persons unknown."[27]
  • Jack "Legs" Diamond, 34, American gangster, was found shot to death in the Albany, New York, apartment of his mistress on the morning of December 18, 1931. While he had many enemies among the underworld who wanted him dead, Daniel P. O'Connell, boss of the city's political machine, claimed in an interview with author William Kennedy four decades later that he had ordered the killing after Diamond ignored police warnings to stay out of the city's rackets. The case remains officially unsolved.
  • Vampire Murder Case is the nickname given to the case of an unknown assailant who committed the unsolved murder of Lilly Lindeström, a prostitute, who was found dead with a crushed skull in her apartment on 4 May 1932 in Stockholm, Sweden. Police noted that someone had drunk her blood.
  • The body of Erik Jan Hanussen, 43, an Austrian Jewish publicist who claimed to have psychic powers and was a confidant of Hitler, was found in a field in Zossen, Germany, outside Berlin in late April 1933, a month after he had last been seen on March 25 in the city. He had been shot execution-style, twice, in the back of the head at close range. No one was ever charged with the crime, although it is believed that it may have been carried out by stormtroopers. Possible motives range from resentment of Hanussen's relationship with Hitler to a desire to keep secret inside information on the Reichstag fire, which Hanussen claimed to have foreseen.
  • Left-wing Zionist leader Haim Arlosoroff was shot and killed late on the night of 16 June 1933, while walking with his wife on the beach of Tel Aviv in what is now Israel but was at the time British Mandate Palestine. Three men belonging to a rival political faction were arrested and tried; all were ultimately acquitted. Theories as to who was really responsible have ranged from the Soviets or Nazis to a failed attempt to rape Arlosoroff's wife.
  • Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, 29, was killed by bandits who had been holding him for ransom near what is now Zhangjiakou, China, on 12 April 1935. A fellow journalist with him had been released two weeks earlier, ostensibly to collect the money demanded. Since Jones had two years before been banned from the Soviet Union for life after being the first journalist to report on the 1932–33 Ukrainian famine, it has been believed that the Soviet NKVD had him killed in retaliation, as some of those connected to the kidnapping were its agents. No suspects have ever been identified.[28]
  • American journalist Walter Liggett, 49, was shot in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on December 9, 1935, while investigating connections between that state's governor and organized crime. No suspects were ever identified.
  • The body of Pamela Werner, 19, only daughter of British China scholar E.T.C. Werner, was found near the Fox Tower in Beijing on the morning of 8 January 1937; she had last been seen alive leaving an ice skating rink nearby the night before. After being killed by several blows to the head, her body had been severely mutilated, with several internal organs removed, among them her heart, by someone with professional skills, and sexually violated. An unusual joint British-Chinese investigation found some possible suspects among the city's foreign community, where she was socially prominent, but was unable to develop any evidence to the point of arrest before the coroner officially concluded that the killers were probably Chinese and closed the case; after the Japanese occupied the city a few months later there would be no further official investigations. E.T.C. Werner funded an unofficial investigation which identified an American dentist as the killer; his conclusion was endorsed by Midnight in Peking, Paul French's 2011 book about the case.[29] However. some of the dentists' descendants have strongly disputed that finding. Other theories of the case suggest Japanese revenge for the death of two army officers allegedly at British hands the summer before, mistaken identity by Blue Shirts intending to kill Helen Foster Snow, or a local serial killer.[30]
  • Russian banker and politician Dimitri Navachine, 47, was stabbed to death while walking his dog in Paris's Bois de Boulogne on the morning of 25 January 1937. No suspects have ever been identified, although theories as to who might be responsible suggest the Soviet NKVD, as while he had initially worked with the communists despite not sharing their ideology he had broken with them under Stalin and was reportedly about to reveal evidence which would have shown that some prominent political prisoners were in fact innocent of the crimes with which they had been charged. Another theory implicates the French fascist organization La Cagoule, which did not like a Jew closely advising the French government on economic matters and supposedly hoped that his death would be blamed on communist operatives, appearing to strengthen La Cagoule's claims of foreign Communists operating in France.
  • On 16 May 1937, Laetitia Toureaux, 29, was found fatally stabbed in an empty first-class car on the Paris Métro when it stopped at Porte Dorée. The crime received considerable media attention as not only was it the first homicide on the Métro, Toureaux had boarded the train at the previous station, meaning the crime had to have been committed in just minutes. Further investigation found that she was leading a double life, working a factory job during the day under her own name but then at a dance hall at night under another name, and making frequent if discreet visits to the Italian embassy. Eventually it was revealed that she was a spy, infiltrating La Cagoule, who it is believed may have discovered this and killed her. The onset of World War II two years later put a stop to the investigation before any suspects were identified; it has not been reopened.
  • Margaret Martin (19), of Kingston, Pennsylvania went missing on 17 December 1938, and was found dead in Wyoming County, Pennsylvania, several days later on 21 December 1938. Many suspects were investigated, but nobody was ever convicted.
  • Pete Panto (28), a labor leader who had fought Mafia control of the International Longshoremen's Association local on the Brooklyn docks, was found in a Lyndhurst, New Jersey lime pit in January 1941. He had not been seen since leaving his house on July 14, 1939. No one was ever arrested in the case; one suspect who was questioned was found dead a month later.
  • The body of Dolores Delmar was found at the bottom of Los Angeles harbour on 2 February 1941 after she had apparently jumped off the yacht of a wealthy business heir.
  • On 24 March 1941, Josslyn Hay, 22nd Earl of Erroll (39), was found shot dead behind the wheel of his car at a crossroads in Kenya. Reporting on the murder investigation outraged the British public with its accounts of carousing and partying by Lord Erroll and fellow members of the Happy Valley set while the homefront endured the hardships of World War II. Sir Jock Delves Broughton, another peer in Happy Valley who Hay might have cuckolded, was acquitted after being tried with a weak case later that year; he committed suicide the following year. No other suspects have ever been named. The crime has inspired several dramatisations, most notably the 1987 film White Mischief, which have attempted to offer solutions.
  • Carlo Tresca (63), an Italian American labor leader who led opposition to Fascism, Stalinism and Mafia control of unions, was shot dead at a Manhattan intersection on the night of January 11, 1943. Given the enemies he had made and their propensity for violence, the list of potential suspects was long; however, the investigation was incomplete and no one was ever officially named. Historians believe the most likely suspect was mobster Carmine Galante, later acting boss of the Bonanno family, seen fleeing the scene, who had likely acted on the orders of a Bonanno underboss and Fascist sympathizer Tresca had threatened to expose.[31]
  • The beaten and partially burnt body of Sir Harry Oakes, 68, an American-born British gold-mine owner and philanthropist, was found in his mansion in Nassau, Bahamas on 8 July 1943. His son-in-law, Count Alfred de Marigny, was arrested shortly afterwards based on evidence allegedly uncovered by two Miami police detectives brought in to work the case, who had upset their Bahamanian counterparts by completely taking over the investigation. However, weaknesses in the case led to de Marigny's acquittal; no one else has ever been tried. The murder became the subject of worldwide press coverage at the time as well as several books, films, and documentaries.[32]
  • Actor David Bacon, best known for playing Bob Barton in the Masked Marvel serials of the 1930s, died shortly after crashing his car in Santa Monica, California on 12 September 1943. Afterwards he was found to have been suffering from a stab wound to the chest; no suspect has ever been identified.
  • Georgette Bauerdorf, a 20-year-old oil heiress who was found face down in a bathtub in her home at West Hollywood, California, on 12 October 1944. She had been strangled with a piece of towel stuffed down her throat, and although there was a large roll of $2 bills and thousands of dollars worth of sterling silver lying in an open trunk, Bauerdorf's jewelry and other valuables were not stolen. The police believe her murderer had unscrewed an automatic night light over the outside entrance of the apartment so it would not come on and lain in wait for her.[33]
  • Tamil film critic C.N. Lakshmikanthan was stabbed while riding back to his Madras, India, home on 8 November 1944; he died in hospital the next day having been able to describe the attack to police but not identify the assailants. Six men, all film actors whom he had feuded with, were arrested; three were tried and two convicted. Their convictions were overturned on appeal three years later but their film careers were ruined. No other suspects have ever been identified.
  • Charles Walton was found dead at a farm at Meon Hill, Warwickshire, on 14 February 1945. He had been beaten over the head with his own stick, his neck had been cut open with a slash hook and he had been pinned to the ground by his neck with a pitchfork. His employer, Alfred John Potter, was suspected of the murder but never charged. The case attracted notoriety because of suspicions the murder had been related to witchcraft, and because of its similarities to the murder of a local woman, Ann Tennant in 1875, who was also killed with a pitchfork by a man accusing her of witchcraft.
  • Ernst Dehmel, 30, a decorated officer in the German Waffen-SS, was allegedly beaten to death by French soldiers who had him in their custody at Remscheid-Lüttringhausen on 7 August 1945. No charges have ever been brought.
  • The Carterons, a French family of three and a foster child who lived with them, as well as their family dog, were all found shot execution-style face down on the floor of their Bommiers farmhouse on 25 July 1946, several days after signs of their apparent inattention to their farming duties had been noted by a neighbor. Robbery was seen as an unlikely motive since the family was very poor, and there were no signs of a struggle. The investigation was hampered by the still chaotic nature of French society barely a year after the end of the war; not until two years later was it established that the weapon used to kill the four was a Sten, a submachine gun commonly used by the French Resistance, giving rise to theories that the killings had something to do with it. A friend of Kléber Carteron said he had been claiming he was being followed the previous winter. No suspects have ever been named, although most residents of the area believe the killer was someone local who had a dispute with the family.
  • The Black Dahlia (Elizabeth Short), a 22-year-old woman who was found severely mutilated and her body cut in half in Leimert Park, Los Angeles, California on 15 January 1947. Her unsolved murder has been the source of several books, films, and widespread speculation.[34]
  • On 20 June 1947, gangster Bugsy Siegel, known for making Las Vegas into a gambling destination, was shot several times with an M-1 carbine from outside as he read the newspaper at a friend's house in Beverly Hills, California. There are many suspects. Police believe he was killed by his own associates, but have never put together enough evidence against any one of them to declare the case solved.[35]
  • In the Tamam Shud case, an unidentified man was found dead on Somerton beach in Adelaide, South Australia on the morning of December 1, 1948 at 6:30 a.m. Also known as the Mystery of the Somerton Man, this case is considered "one of Australia's most profound mysteries", and no suspects have been named nor has the man ever been identified despite the best efforts of many world agencies. He was killed by an unknown poison with a piece of paper in his pocket that reads "Tamám Shud", meaning "The End".
  • Emily Armstrong, found in a dry cleaner's shop in London, England on 14 April 1949, about an hour after she had been murdered. An autopsy showed she was beaten to death and her skull shattered by at least 22 blows from a blunt object, believed to be a claw hammer.[36]
  • Three people died when a train derailed near Matsukawa, Japan on August 17, 1949. Investigators found that the track had been sabotaged going into a curve and arrested 20 people; all of whom were initially convicted and, in several cases, sentenced to death. However, during the appeals process, it eventually emerged that prosecutors had suppressed exculpatory evidence, and after all the defendants were released in 1970 the case was closed. No other suspects have ever been identified.


  • Harry and Harriette Moore, 45 and 49 respectively, were severely injured by a bomb that exploded underneath the bedroom of their Mims, Florida, home on 25 December 1951. Harry died in the ambulance on the way to the nearest hospital that would treat African Americans; his wife succumbed to her injuries nine days later, after his funeral. They had both been active in the local civil rights movement, and investigations have concluded that was the motive for the bombing, making them not only one of the earliest martyrs to that cause but the only married couple killed for their activism in it. By the time four suspects, all senior members of the central Florida Ku Klux Klan, were identified, they had all died, and the case was closed in 1991 with no arrests.
  • Arnold Schuster, 24, a clothing salesman who had provided the tip that led to the capture of legendary bank robber Willie Sutton, was shot dead outside his Brooklyn home a month afterwards, on 8 March 1952. Police interviewed 300 people but never identified any as a suspect, although they came to believe the killing was carried out by either the Mafia or Sutton's associates. A lawsuit against the city by his family led to a landmark state-court ruling that the state has a duty to protect anyone who cooperates with the police to the extent that they seek.
  • Jack Burris, 35, Mayes County, Oklahoma, county attorney, was killed with a shotgun blast just outside his house in June 1952. Investigators were unable to obtain a tape that purported to be the killer's confession later in the decade; there have been no suspects since then.
  • John Acropolis, 43, a New York labor leader with organized crime connections, was shot by an unknown assailant in Yonkers on 26 August 1952.
  • The severely beaten body of Betty Shanks, 22, was found in a Grange, Queensland, garden on the morning of 19 September 1952. The largest criminal investigation in the state's history yielded no solid suspects or leads; the case remains open.
  • Babes in the Wood murders (Stanley Park) – two unidentified boys located on 14 January 1953 in Stanley Park, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. They were likely murdered in 1947.[37]
  • On April 9, 1953, the body of 21-year-old Wilma Montesi washed up on a beach at Torvaianica, Italy, near Rome. The investigation delved into accounts of orgies and drug use in Roman society, but no one was ever charged.
  • The body of Kyllikki Saari, 17, of Isojoki, Finland, was found on 11 October 1953, almost five months after she was last seen. Several suspects have been considered but no one has ever been prosecuted. The case remains one of the country's best-known mysteries.
  • Alma Preinkert, 58, registrar of the University of Maryland, was stabbed by an intruder in her Washington home on February 28, 1954, and died shortly afterwards. No suspect has ever been named.
  • Marilyn Reese Sheppard, pregnant wife of Sam Sheppard, attacked and killed in their home in Bay Village, Ohio, United States, on 4 July 1954. Sam Sheppard was convicted of killing her, but this was overturned in 1966, and he was acquitted in a new trial. He claimed his wife was killed by a bushy-haired man who also attacked him and knocked him unconscious twice. Their son slept through the night, just down the hall from the bedroom in which his mother was murdered. The trial of Sam Sheppard received extensive publicity and was called "carnival atmosphere" by the U.S. Supreme Court.[38] The Sheppard case was a large part of the inspiration for the 1960s television series The Fugitive and the 1993 movie of the same name.
  • Carolyn Wasilewski, 14, was found dead in a rail yard near her Baltimore home on 9 November 1954. The case generated nationwide media attention, and police still get calls about the case. However, no suspects have ever been named. Filmmaker John Waters says the case and the media frenzy over some aspects of Baltimore's youth culture of the time inspired his film Cry-Baby, later adapted into a Broadway musical.
  • Serge Rubinstein, 46, a stock swindler and international playboy was found strangled in his Manhattan mansion on January 27, 1955. Because of his notoriety, there were numerous suspects but the murder remained unsolved. The following year, the film "Death of a Scoundrel, loosely based on Rubinstein's life, was released.
  • Early civil rights movement leader George W. Lee, 51, was killed by an assailant who drove up alongside his car and shot him several times on May 7, 1955, in Belzoni, Mississippi. After local and state authorities insisted that the death was a traffic accident, U.S. Attorney General Herbert Brownell Jr. ordered a federal investigation which was able to prove it was a homicide; however, although some suspects were identified but never named publicly no arrests were made since witnesses were afraid to testify.
  • Another Mississippi African American civil rights activist, Lamar Smith, 63, was shot and killed on August 13, 1955, outside the Lincoln County courthouse in Brookhaven, where he had been helping other African American registered voters fill out absentee ballots for an upcoming primary to avoid attempts to intimidate them at the polls. Dozens of witnesses reportedly saw the killing, and three men were arrested, but an all-white grand jury refused to indict them.
  • William Morris Bioff, 55, a labor leader with organized-crime ties, was killed by a bomb that detonated when he started his car on the morning of 4 November 1955, outside his Illinois home. No suspects have ever been named.
  • Barbara and Patricia Grimes disappeared on 28 December 1956, in Chicago, Illinois after going to a cinema to view a screening of the Elvis Presley film Love Me Tender (1956).[39] Their disappearance launched one of the biggest missing-persons hunts in Chicago history. However, police were not able to determine what happened to the Grimes sisters.[40] On 22 January 1957 their naked bodies were found off a road near Willow Springs, Illinois. The corpses contained various bruises and marks (for example puncture wounds in the chest that may have come from an ice pick) that were never fully explained.
  • Discovered in a box in the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia, PA, 25 February 1957, was a young boy. Known as "The Boy in the Box" and "America's Unknown Child", to this day his homicide, as well as his identity, remains unsolved.
  • Mafia boss Albert Anastasia, 55, was shot to death while being shaved at a Manhattan barbershop on 25 October 1957. The list of suspects includes many other organized-crime figures of the era; no one has ever been officially named although authorities think the actual assassins were members of the Boston-based Patriarca crime family, in keeping with the mob's practice of hiring for such major hits from out of town.
  • Rosemarie Nitribitt, 24, a prostitute, was found dead in her luxury apartment in Frankfurt, Germany, on 1 November 1957. She had been strangled and beaten; the investigation established that this had happened three days beforehand. Police arrested Heinz Pohlmann, a businessman and friend of Nitribitt's who had visited her that day. He was tried and eventually acquitted due to questions about whether the time of death had been accurately established. No other suspects have ever been identified; the case has inspired novels, films and plays.
  • Dancer Pearl Eaton, 60, was found dead in her Manhattan Beach, California, apartment on 10 September 1958. The police called the death a homicide, but never solved the case.
  • Gus Greenbaum, 62, another Chicago Outfit figure, was stabbed and beaten to death along with his wife in their Phoenix, Arizona, house on December 3, 1958, supposedly as punishment for his continued skimming of casino profits. No suspects were ever identified.
  • Lynne Harper, 12 years old, was last seen alive on 9 June 1959 riding on the handlebars of her friend Steven Truscott's bike near an air force base which is now Vanastra, Ontario, Canada. Two days later her body was discovered in a nearby farm woodlot. She had been raped and strangled with her own blouse. Fourteen-year-old Steven Murray Truscott was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder, becoming Canada's youngest person to be sentenced to death. The sentence was later commuted to life in prison. Truscott was held in custody for 10 years: in 2007, his conviction was ruled a miscarriage of justice, although he was not declared innocent.[41]
  • After a friend of Dutch prostitute Blonde Dolly, 32, born Sybille Niemans, found her shades drawn and the door locked on the morning of November 2, 1959, police in The Hague found her body upstairs. She was determined to have been strangled two days before, but in the years since no suspects have ever been identified.
  • Almost 600 possible suspects have been considered in the Walker family murders of December 12, 1959, in which two children and their parents were shot by intruders at their Osprey, Florida, farmhouse. Among them are the two men executed by Kansas for the Clutter family murders, which formed the basis for Truman Capote's In Cold Blood.


  • All 34 passengers and crew aboard National Airlines Flight 2511 from New York to Miami were killed on 6 January 1960, when a bomb exploded aboard the plane in mid-flight. The FBI is still investigating the case and no suspects have been named.[42]
  • The Lake Bodom murders were a multiple homicide that took place in Finland on 5 June 1960. That night four teenagers were camping on the shores of the Finnish lake when between 4 am and 6 am, they were attacked by an unknown individual or individuals with a knife and a blunt object. Three of them died, and the fourth one was wounded but survived. Although the sole survivor became a suspect for some time in 2004, the case remains unsolved and the killer(s) unidentified.[43]
  • Paul Guihard, 31, an Agence France-Presse reporter covering the Ole Miss Riot of 1962, was found dead near a building of what turned out to be a gunshot wound. He was the only journalist killed during the civil rights movement; his killer has never been identified.
  • The body of William Lewis Moore, 35, was found on the side of U.S. Route 11 near Attalla, Alabama, on April 23, 1963; he was in the middle of a one-man civil rights protest in which he was marching from his home in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to the Mississippi Governor's Mansion to deliver a letter supporting racial equality and desegregation to that state's governor, Ross Barnett. He had been shot twice with a rifle shortly after giving an interview to a local TV station; the gun's owner was identified but neither he nor anyone else was ever charged.
  • Louis Allen, 44, was shot dead on 31 January 1964, on his Liberty, Mississippi, farm. An African American who had attempted to register to vote and reportedly was willing to talk to federal investigators about a 1961 murder of another black Liberty resident by a white state legislator, Allen had faced increasing harassment and was to move to Wisconsin the next day. The sheriff at the time, Daniel Jones, has long been suspected of involvement; in a 2011 television interview he denied it. No one has ever been prosecuted.
  • Mary S. Sherman, 51, an orthopedic surgeon, was found dead of stab wounds and burns in her New Orleans apartment on 21 July 1964. No suspects have ever been named.
  • Mary Pinchot Meyer, a socialite from Washington, D.C. who had been married to CIA Director of Operations Cord Meyer, and mistress of U.S. President John F. Kennedy,[44] On 12 October 1964, Meyer was shot once in the head and once in the chest by an assailant while walking along the towpath of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal.[44] A witness identified the assailant as Raymond Crump Jr., but without hard evidence, Crump was tried, acquitted, and released.[44]
  • The bodies of Marianne Schmidt and Christine Sharrock, both 15, were found beaten and stabbed on Wanda Beach near Sydney on the morning of 11 January 1965, having last been seen on the beach the previous evening; the killer had apparently also attempted to rape them. Several suspects have been identified over the years, but none ever formally charged; a DNA sample was taken from the preserved blood and semen at the scene but it is not known if a match has been made.
  • James Reeb, 38, a Unitarian minister from Philadelphia, died on March 11, 1965, in a Birmingham, Alabama, hospital of injuries sustained during a beating at a restaurant outside Selma four days earlier, where he was dining with other civil rights activists. Four men were indicted for the crime; three were acquitted and one fled the state. The FBI reopened the case in 2007 only to close it four years later as the only living suspect was among those acquitted.
  • On March 25, 1965, Viola Liuzzo, 39, a civil rights activist from Michigan, was shot and killed after a car driven by four local Klansmen ran hers off an Alabama highway outside Selma. The four Klansmen were arrested, but prosecutions were complicated since one was an FBI informant. The other three were convicted on broad federal civil rights charges, but the only suspect to face trial on the murder charge was acquitted despite a strong circumstantial case brought by prosecutors.
  • No suspects have ever been identified in the 8 July 1965, bombing of Canadian Pacific Air Lines Flight 21 above British Columbia, which killed all 52 aboard.
  • Similarly, the bombing that killed all 66 passengers and crew of Cyprus Airways Flight 284 over the Mediterranean between Greece and Cyprus on 12 October 1965 remains unsolved.
  • Sammy Younge Jr., 21, was shot and killed January 3, 1966, by a Tuskegee, Alabama, gas station attendant with whom he had been arguing while trying to use a bathroom reserved for whites. He had been a member of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, which decided three days later to start opposing the Vietnam War because his death. The attendant's trial was moved to a neighboring, whiter county, where he was acquitted by an all-white jury in December.
  • Early in the morning of 17 June 1966, two black men walked into a Paterson, New Jersey, bar and began shooting. The bartender and one patron died at the scene; a female customer died of her wounds a month later. Former professional boxer Rubin Carter and a friend, John Artis, were charged with the crime and convicted the following year, despite their own alibi, weak evidence and alleged racial bias by police and prosecutors. They always protested their innocence, and their case became a cause celebre, inspiring Bob Dylan's "Hurricane". In 1978, they won a second trial but were convicted again; after another habeas corpus petition was granted in 1985, the state declined to retry them. No other suspects have ever been identified.
  • Valerie Percy, 21, was stabbed and beaten to death by an intruder who broke into her family's lakeside house in Kenilworth, Illinois before dawn on 18 September 1966. Despite some evidence left behind, and a sketch of the suspect that was widely distributed, no arrests were ever made. Her father, Charles Percy, was elected to the U.S. Senate several weeks later. In 1973, an award-winning series in the Chicago Sun-Times suggested the murder was a botched robbery committed by a gang with organized-crime connections; however, nothing was taken from the house and investigators today believe the motive was personal.[45]
  • Cook County, Illinois, deputy sheriff Ralph Probst, 30, was shot and killed in the kitchen of his Hometown home from outside on April 10, 1967. In the weeks before he had told family and coworkers that he was investigating "something big" that would lead to his promotion. Since he had been working in the organized-crime unit, suspects, including Silas Jayne, have been named, but none ever charged.[46]
  • On 25 August 1967 two men dressed as road maintenance workers stopped Hong Kong radio commentator Lam Bun, 37, as he drove home, then poured petrol all over him, a cousin who was with him, and his car, all of which they then set aflame. Both Lam and his cousin died; it is believed that the killers may have been associated with the leftist groups that Bun often ridiculed on air during that year's ongoing leftist riots, since many of the latter have refused to condemn the killing. While public outrage over the killing led the government to finally suppress the protests and riots, no arrests have ever been made.
  • All six members of the Robison family were found shot in the head in their Good Hart, Michigan, vacation cabin on 22 July 1968; investigators established that the killings had taken place on June 25. A lengthy investigation led police to Joseph Scolaro, an employee of Richard Robison's who may also have been embezzling from him. There was much circumstantial evidence linking him to the crime, but it was not sufficient enough to charge him with it. Four years later the case was reopened in the Robisons' county of residence, and when Scolaro learned that he was about to be charged this time he killed himself, leaving behind a typed suicide note in which he confessed to previous thefts and swindles but protested his innocence of the Robison killings. The case remains officially open.
  • On 1 October 1968, the body of Stevan Marković, 31, Serbian-born bodyguard to French film star Alain Delon, was found in a garbage dump on the western outskirts of Paris. Possible nude photographs of the wife of French president Georges Pompidou were found in his car shortly afterwards, leading to a political scandal around allegations of blackmail and Marković's connections to Corsican organized crime. The murder officially remains unsolved.
  • Barbara Ann Hackmann Taylor's body was found alongside a road near Georgetown, Kentucky, on December 17, 1968. Until her identification in 1998, she was known only as "Tent Girl". Her husband was suspected at the time, but is now deceased.
  • Edwin T. Pratt, 38, then director of the Seattle Urban League, was shot and killed outside his Shoreline, Washington, home on 26 January 1969. Despite an extensive investigation, no arrests were ever made. Later research by area newspapers has identified three likely suspects, all of whom have since died.[47]
  • Clarence 13X, 41, founder of Five-Percent Nation (splinter group of the Nation of Islam), was fatally shot by a group of attackers in the lobby of his wife's Harlem apartment building on the morning of 13 June 1969. One suspect was arrested two months later; charges were dropped. New York police believe the murder was related to an extortion attempt; no other suspects have ever been named.
  • Betsy Aardsma, 22, from Holland, Michigan was a graduate student at Penn State University. She was stabbed to death in the stacks of Pattee Library on Penn State's campus on 28 November 1969. She was stabbed a single time through the heart with a single-edged small knife. Approximately one minute later two men told a desk clerk, "Somebody better help that girl," and then left the library. The men were never identified. 25–35 minutes later she was pronounced dead at the hospital. She had been wearing a red dress, and since there was only a small amount of blood visible, no one realized immediately that she had been stabbed.[48]


  • On 3 January 1970 the body of Sister Catherine Cesnik, 27, a nun and teacher at a local Catholic high school for girls, was found in a garbage dump in Lansdowne, Maryland, just outside Baltimore, dead from the internal bleeding after a strong blow to the head fractured her skull. She had been missing for almost two months. While the case remains unsolved, later journalistic investigation has raised the possibility she had become aware of sexual abuse allegations against two priests who worked at the school and was planning to bring those allegations to authorities at the time she disappeared. The case is the basis for the 2017 Netflix documentary series The Keepers.
  • UCLA Black Student Union cofounder Melvin X, 22, was found fatally shot in the driver's seat of a borrowed car outside Mira Loma, California, on June 7, 1970; he had last been seen the previous evening. A suspect who was arrested four months later on unrelated charges in Las Vegas was released after passing a lie detector test along with two other persons of interest. The case remains open.
  • Leon Jordan, 65, an African-American civil rights movement leader in Kansas City, Missouri, was shot dead outside a tavern he owned on July 15, 1970. Three men, connected with local organized crime, were arrested and charged with the crime; one was acquitted and charges were dropped against the other two. In 2010, the case was reopened after the Kansas City Star uncovered evidence that had gone missing during the original investigation; it uncovered more definite evidence that the killing was a mob hit but by then all the suspects had died.
  • The bodies of Harvey and Jeannette Crewe, 28 and 30 respectively, were found in New Zealand's Waikato River near their Pukekawa farm in August and September 1970 respectively. They had been reported missing on 22 June of that year, five days after last being seen. Both had been shot with a rifle. After a short investigation, police arrested Arthur Thomas, another farmer, later that year. He was tried and convicted twice, but there was evidence that police had fabricated key evidence against him. This led to an inquiring commission that severely criticized two of the lead investigators without holding them accountable otherwise, and Prime Minister Robert Muldoon pardoned Thomas in 1979. Authorities have never identified any other suspects, although two journalists have written books proposing alternative theories of the case.
  • Investigations have strongly suggested that Italian journalist Mauro De Mauro (disappeared September 16, 1970), 49, was killed by the Mafia to prevent him from completing his own inquiry into the death of Enrico Mattei after he was kidnapped while returning from work in Palermo. However, it has never been clear which of several possible motives led to his death, and his body has never been found. In 2011, the only living suspect was tried and acquitted; the prosecution continues to appeal.
  • Little Miss Lake Panasoffkee was found in Lake Panasoffkee, Florida on 19 February 1971. She has never been identified and possibly originated from Greece.[49]
  • Joe Gallo, 43, was shot to death in a Manhattan clamhouse on 7 April 1972, as part of a war between New York City Mafia families. The investigation identified no suspects, although Frank Sheeran claimed shortly before his death 31 years later that he was the lone gunman.
  • On 20 April 1972, New York City police officer Philip Cardillo, 32, died in the hospital of a gunshot wound inflicted six days earlier during an incident at a Harlem mosque. Another officer involved said he had seen one of the mosque's congregants, Louis 17X Dupree, standing over Cardillo with a gun pointed at his chest. Due to political complications resulting from the incident, suspects who had been in custody were not identified before being released and evidence was not collected at the scene. The detective in charge of investigating the shooting later claimed interference from senior officers impeded his efforts and procedures were ignored. Two years later, Dupree's first trial, based largely on the testimony of an informant, resulted in a hung jury and his second in an acquittal. He later served a prison sentence in North Carolina on drug charges and is currently in a Georgia prison on another charge. A later police informant in another case identified another suspect; he was never tried. Detectives who continue to investigate the case have complained that the FBI, which also had informants within the mosque, lied about what it knew in the past and is still withholding relevant information.[50]
  • Parts of Dolores Della Penna's body were found in two separate South Jersey locations in July 1972. The Philadelphia 17-year-old had last been seen leaving her house in the city's Tacony neighborhood on July 11. Her fingertips had been removed from her hands to prevent fingerprint identification and her head has never been found. In the mid-1990s police identified several suspects and claimed the motive had been revenge against her boyfriend for stealing drugs from some local dealers; however, most of them were dead by that time and the living ones were not charged. No other suspects have ever been identified.[51]
  • Thomas Eboli, 61, acting boss of the Genovese crime family, was shot and killed as he walked from his girlfriend's house in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn to his car in the early hours of 16 July 1972. It has been speculated that he was killed over unpaid debts, but no one has ever been charged.
  • Jeannette DePalma, 16, is believed to have been killed on or around August 7, 1972 in Springfield Township, New Jersey.
  • Yosef Alon, 43, a military attaché at the Israeli embassy in Washington, was shot fatally in his Chevy Chase driveway as he and his wife returned from a party shortly after midnight on 1 July 1973. The Palestinian Black September urban guerrilla claimed responsibility, in retaliation for the slaying of one its members by Israeli operatives, but officially the case remains unsolved.[52]
  • Brian McDermott was a ten-year-old boy who went missing on 2 September 1973 in Belfast. His partly-burned remains were found in a sack in the River Lagan a week later.[53]
  • Albert DeSalvo, 42, a convicted serial rapist widely believed at the time to have been the Boston Strangler, was found stabbed to death in the infirmary at Walpole state prison on the morning of November 25, 1973. Charges brought against another inmate led to a mistrial when the jury deadlocked; no other suspects have ever been named.
  • On 20 December 1973, Chicago Outfit member Richard Cain was shot to death by masked gunmen in Chicago.
  • Athalia Ponsell Lindsley, 56, a former model and Broadway dancer, was fatally assaulted with a machete on the porch of her St. Augustine, Florida, home on January 23, 1974. The investigation centered on a neighbor she was having a dispute with at the time; he was tried and acquitted due to mishandling of the evidence. No other suspects have been named.[54] Later that same year, on 3 November Frances Bemis, a socialite friend of Lindsley's who had reportedly been conducting her own investigation of the murder, was found with her skull crushed in the neighborhood. That case also remains unsolved.[54]
  • Lady of the Dunes, who remains unidentified, was found in Provincetown, Massachusetts on 26 July 1974. She may have been murdered by Boston gangster Whitey Bulger or individuals working for him, but no charges have ever been brought.[55]
  • Martha Morrison's remains were found in Vancouver, Washington on 12 October 1974, alongside Carol Valenzuela. Morrison's body was unidentified until July 2015 and the killer of both victims has never been apprehended or identified.[56]
  • Arlis Perry, 19, was found dead in Stanford Memorial Church, where she had gone the previous night after an argument with her husband, on the campus of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, early on October 13, 1974. She had been beaten and sexually assaulted before her death but not raped; an ice pick found lodged into the base of her skull during the autopsy turned out to be the murder weapon. David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" serial killer, told investigators he had heard details about the killing from another inmate purportedly linked to the Manson family, but they ultimately discounted his information.[57] In 2018, DNA tests led police to Stephen Blake Crawford, the security guard who had found Perry's body, but he shot himself when officers arrived at his house to arrest him.[58]
  • Writer Donald Goines, 37, and his wife Shirley Sailor, were found shot dead in their Detroit apartment on 21 October 1974. No suspects have ever been identified.
  • Betty van Patter, 52, bookkeeper for the Black Panther Party, was last seen leaving a San Francisco tavern on 13 December 1974. A few weeks later her beaten corpse was pulled out of San Francisco Bay. It has been believed that members of the party were behind her death, as she had reportedly uncovered financial irregularities that pointed toward criminal activity, but authorities have never named any suspects.[59]
  • A car bomb on 18 March 1975 in Lusaka, Zambia, killed Herbert Chitepo, 51, the first black lawyer in Rhodesia, a bodyguard and, later, Chitepo's neighbour. No suspects have ever been named. A 2001 investigation blamed infighting among members of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), which Chitepo had helped found, but a memoir by a former member of Rhodesian intelligence says instead that his agencies were behind it and planted evidence to implicate ZANU.
  • Sam Giancana, 67, a longtime leader of the Chicago Outfit, was shot and killed in his kitchen on 19 June 1975, shortly before he was to testify before a Senate subcommittee investigating possible CIA and Mafia collaboration in plots to assassinate John F. Kennedy over a decade earlier. This has led to much speculation as to who wanted him dead, with the actual shooter believed to be someone Giancana knew well. However, no charges have ever been brought in the case.
  • On 23 June 1975, the body of brothel keeper Shirley Finn was found shot dead in a parked car in South Perth, Australia. No suspects have ever been identified; the investigation is continuing.
  • Juanita Nielsen was last seen on 4 July 1975 in Sydney, Australia after a meeting in a club owned by a major figure of organized crime. She was a publisher, activist for conservation and community issues, particularly anti-development campaigns, which may have led to her death.
  • Barbara Colby and James Kiernan, American actors, were shot to death while walking to his car in Venice, California on 24 July 1975. Colby died instantly but Kiernan was able to describe the shooting to the police before he also died from his wounds. He said the shooting occurred without reason or provocation and said that there were two gunmen whom he did not recognize. There was no attempt at robbery, and the killers and their motivation are still unknown.[60]
  • Claude Snelling, 45, a journalism professor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, was shot and killed by an intruder in his home on the night of 11 September 1975, after discovering the man trying to kidnap his teenage daughter. Police believe the killer was a serial burglar active at the time known only as the Visalia Ransacker, now suspected to be Joseph James DeAngelo.[61]
  • When Harlem businessman Wesley Diggs returned to his Teaneck, New Jersey, home on the afternoon of 6 December 1975, he found the bodies of his wife and four children, shot sometime after he had left for work that morning. Despite an extensive investigation by local police, no suspects were ever identified. It is the largest mass killing in the history of Bergen County.[62]
  • The 1975 LaGuardia Airport bombing occurred on the evening of December 29, 1975, at the TWA baggage claim at New York's LaGuardia Airport, killing 11. It has been suspected that Croatian nationalists were behind it, due to a similar bomb found at Grand Central Terminal a year later, but the group responsible for that event has denied responsibility for the earlier attack. Officially it remains unsolved.
  • All 81 aboard died on 1 January 1976 when a bomb exploded on Middle East Airlines Flight 438. No suspects were ever identified.
  • Joseph Barboza, 43, a former operative with Boston's Patriarca crime family, was killed by four shotgun blasts at close range on February 11, 1976, while walking back to his car after visiting a friend's San Francisco apartment. It is believed that his killing was in retaliation for his testimony against members of the family at trials in the 1960s; however, no one has ever been charged.
  • David Stack, 18, was shot and killed somewhere near Wendover, Utah, on or about 9 June 1976, while hitchhiking from his home in Broomfield, Colorado, to visit relatives in California. His body was found in a landfill and remained unidentified until 2015, when DNA and dental records verified the body was his. The investigation is continuing now that his identity is known.[63]
  • Jim Leslie, 38, a publicist and lobbyist for the government of Shreveport, Louisiana, was shot fatally in the parking lot of a Baton Rouge hotel 9 July 1976, on his way to celebrate a legislative victory. Shreveport's public safety commissioner, George W. D'Artois, was charged with ordering the murder but died before he could face trial. No one has ever been identified as the actual gunman.
  • World War II German colonel Joachim Peiper, 61, who led the troops responsible for the Malmédy massacre as a member of the Waffen-SS, was defending his home in Traves, Haute-Saône, in eastern France, from unidentified vigilante attackers on the night of 14 July 1976, when he died of what is believed to have been smoke inhalation. His badly-burned body was identified by a fellow veteran of the Wehrmacht who lived nearby; the circumstances of his death and autopsy have led to allegations that he faked it.[64]
  • Seewen murder case: 5 people were shot during Pentecost weekend 1976 in a weekend house near the Swiss village Seewen. Although the weapon was found in 1996, the murderer remains unknown.
  • Priscilla Childers maintained to her 2001 death that her former husband, oil heir T. Cullen Davis, entered her house disguised with a wig on 2 August 1976 and fatally shot her 12-year-old daughter Andrea Wilborn, then ambushed her and her boyfriend Stan Farr as they returned home, also killing Farr. A judge had just granted her an increase in the support payments Davis owed her. He was indicted only in Wilborn's death, making him was the wealthiest person to ever be tried for murder in the United States; at trial he was acquitted although Farr's children settled a wrongful death suit they brought against him. A few years later Davis was also tried and acquitted on charges he had conspired to have Childers and the judge murdered. Both cases have been the subject of books.[65]
  • The Sumter County Does, unidentified male and female homicide victims, were shot to death in Sumter County, South Carolina on 9 August 1976. Neither has been identified.[55]
  • Dallas police officer Robert W. Wood, 27, was fatally shot during a traffic stop in the early hours of November 28, 1976. Randall Dale Adams was initially convicted of the murder and almost executed. Errol Morris's 1988 documentary film The Thin Blue Line re-examined the case and suggested that another Texas inmate, David Harris, who had testified against Adams, was the more likely suspect after a taped statement from Harris at the end of the film that implicated him. Harris recanted his trial testimony at Adams's habeas corpus hearing, which resulted in the charges against Adams being dropped, freeing him. But Harris never explicitly confessed to the crime before his own execution for another murder in 2004, leaving the killing officially unsolved.[66]
  • The stabbing deaths of Suzanne Armstrong and Susan Bartlett occurred on 10 January 1977 in Collingwood, Australia. These murders have been linked to the disappearance of a North Melbourne woman two years earlier. However, no suspect has ever been named.
  • Frank Bompensiero, 71, a longtime Mafia contract killer, was himself shot and killed on 1 February 1977, while making a phone call in the Pacific Beach neighborhood of San Diego, California. Several defendants were arrested and charged with the killing. One died before trial and the others were acquitted.
  • Another Mafia assassin, Charles Nicoletti, 60, was shot three times in the back of the head while waiting in his car outside a Northlake, Illinois, restaurant on March 29, 1977. No suspects were ever identified.
  • On May 13, 1977, Mickey Spillane, 42, head of the Westies, the last major Irish-American criminal organization in New York City, was killed outside his Queens apartment. It is believed one of his underlings ordered the crime in order to take control of the organization from him, but police have never formally suspected anyone.
  • On the morning of 13 June 1977, the bodies of three young girls, beaten, strangled and raped, were found at Camp Scott, a Girl Scout camp near Locust Grove, Oklahoma. An escaped prisoner believed to have been involved was taken into custody; he later died after being returned to prison following his acquittal. No one else has ever been charged although various other theories of the crime have been floated in the intervening years.[67]
  • Australian wallpaper designer Florence Broadhurst, 78, was found bludgeoned to death in her Paddington studio on 15 October 1977. No one has ever been officially named as a suspect; speculation has ranged from serial killer John Wayne Glover to an acquaintance (the evidence suggests she knew her killer, and s/he was familiar with the layout of her studio).
  • South African National Party politician Robert Smit and his wife were found shot and stabbed in their home in a Pretoria suburb on 22 November 1977. The words "RAU TEM" were spray painted on the walls and cupboards of the house. Their meaning remains unknown, as does the identity of the perpetrators.
  • On 8 January 1978, a shot through the window of his home in a suburb of the South African city of Durban killed anti-apartheid South African philosopher Rick Turner, 35. An extensive investigation at the time turned up no suspects, and none have been named since, although it is widely believed that he was murdered by the security forces due to his activism.
  • Denise McGregor, 12, was abducted on her way back from doing errands in the Melbourne suburb of Pascoe Vale on the evening of 20 March 1978. Her body was found the next day, raped and with injuries so brutal the pathologist likened them to those suffered by victims of plane crashes. Robert Arthur Selby Lowe, convicted of the 1991 murder of Sheree Beasley, was suspected until DNA evidence eliminated him. The case remains open.
  • The Pemiscot County Does were found murdered on 17 June 1978. Although both were found in different states, they are believed to have been killed by the same person, as they were both seen together before their murders.[68] 39 years later, they were identified as Jimmy Hendricks and Kim Mills, respectively - however, their murders remain unsolved.
  • No arrests have ever been made in the June 28, 1978, Blackfriars Massacre, in which four mobsters and investigative journalist John A. Kelly were killed at a pub by that name in downtown Boston.
  • Bob Crane, an American actor best known for his role in Hogan's Heroes, was discovered bludgeoned to death with a weapon that was never found (but was believed by police to be a camera tripod) at the Winfield Place Apartments in Scottsdale, Ariz., on 29 June 1978. Crane had allegedly called his friend John Henry Carpenter the night before to tell him their friendship was over. Crane was involved in the underground sexual scene and filmed his numerous escapades with the help of Carpenter, who was an audio-visual expert.[69][70][71][72] Police reportedly found blood smears in Carpenter's car that matched Crane's blood type, but no charges were filed against Carpenter for more than a decade. When he was charged in 1994, he was acquitted. Carpenter maintained his innocence until his death in 1998, and the case is now officially cold.[73]
  • The Burger Chef murders of four employees of that restaurant outside Speedway, Indiana, on 17 November 1978, have never been solved despite extensive investigation.
  • Ten guests, mostly visiting Canadians, died in a 26 November 1978 fire at a Holiday Inn in Greece, New York, outside Rochester. Investigators found that it was set but were not able to make progress until 2014, when after a three-year reinvestigation of the case they announced they had one, but did not identify that person.
  • Shortly after a private meeting with Cambodian dictator Pol Pot on 22 December 1978, British Marxist academic Malcolm Caldwell, 47, was shot and killed by unknown assailants at the Phnom Penh guest house where he was staying with two Western journalists, the first allowed to visit the country since Pot's Khmer Rouge had taken power three years before. Three days later, Vietnam invaded Cambodia, forcing the Khmer Rouge from power and exposing their genocide, reports of which Caldwell had been one of the most forceful deniers of in the West. His killing is believed to have been an inside job since he and his companions were under heavy guard the whole time they were in the country. It is believed that either Pot had him killed over a disagreement (although he reportedly returned from the meeting in very high spirits) or that anti-regime subversives did it in preparation for the Vietnamese invasion, in order to eliminate one of the Khmer Rouge's most passionate defenders abroad.
  • On 6 January 1979, the bodies of the four Tan children were found in their family's apartment in the Singapore neighborhood of Geylang Bahru, stacked on top of each other after they had been extensively stabbed and slashed with a knife and chopper. Police believe the killer or killers had planned the crime for some time and knew the family, as a Chinese New Year card sent a month after the crime used personal nicknames and seemed aware that the couple could not have more children. However, no suspects have ever been identified.
  • Adolph Dubs, 58, then U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, who had been kidnapped by militants, was found to have been shot in the head at close range on February 14, 1979, after an abortive rescue attempt by Afghan police. The investigation of the crime was perfunctory; who the kidnappers were, and which of them killed Dubs, has never been determined. U.S. authorities came to believe that the Soviet KGB was behind the murder, and documents released from the Mitrokhin archive in the 1990s, after the Soviet Union collapsed, have lent some support to these allegations; the Soviets in turn accused the CIA of having done it to discredit them. In the wake of the killing the U.S. began disengaging from Afghanistan and more openly supporting opponents of the government, setting the stage for the Soviet invasion of the country later that year.[74]
  • Carlos Muniz Varela, 25, a Cuban refugee in Puerto Rico who supported independence movements on the island, was shot dead while driving to his mother's house in Guaynabo on 28 April 1979. A group calling itself Comando Cero took credit, but no arrests have ever been made. Documents released in 2012 by the FBI suggest the Cuban government may have been involved.
  • Perry County Jane Doe was found on 20 June 1979 in Perry County, Pennsylvania. Her body has never been identified.[75]
  • Kerry Graham and Francine Trimble disappeared on 16 December 1978 and were found dead on 9 July 1979. They remained unidentified for 36 years and no suspects have been named in the case.[76][77]
  • Actor Victor Kilian, 88, was beaten to death during a burglary of his Los Angeles home on March 11, 1979. No arrests have ever been made.
  • Raymond Washington, original founder of the South Central Los Angeles street gang that came to be known as the Crips was murdered on August 9, 1979. Washington was shot dead at the age of 25 when he walked up to a car on the corner of 64th and San Pedro Streets in Los Angeles. At the time of his death, Washington no longer had any real control over the gang he founded. He wanted to unite warring gangs in peace and had always opposed guns. Different theories exist on why he was killed and who did it but no one was ever arrested for his murder.[78]
  • Sahara Sue's body was found on 14 August 1979. She was never identified although she wore dentures at a very young age.[79]
  • Tammy Vincent's body remained unidentified for 31 years after she was found beaten, shot, stabbed and set afire after her death on a beach near Tiburon, California, on 26 September 1979. It is believed the 17-year-old runaway may be a victim of Gary Ridgway, the "Green River killer," although she likely died because she was due to testify in court against a pimp.
  • An unidentified woman known as "Orange Socks" was found murdered on 31 October 1979 in Georgetown, Texas. Henry Lee Lucas falsely confessed to her murder and was sentenced to death; his sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment due to doubt over the veracity of his confession.[80]
  • The body of Tammy Alexander, 16, of Brooksville, Florida, was found in a cornfield off U.S. Route 20 in Caledonia, New York on 9 November 1979. She had been shot twice the night before. She remained unidentified, known as Caledonia Jane Doe or Cali Doe, for over 35 years until being identified via a DNA match with her sisters in 2015. Law enforcement in both states are continuing to investigate.[81]


  • Óscar Romero, the fourth Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, was killed by a shot to the heart on 24 March 1980 while celebrating Mass at a small chapel located in a hospital. It is believed, but was never proven that the assassins were members of Salvadoran death squads. During the funeral a bomb exploded in Plaza Barrios fronting San Salvador Cathedral, and shots were fired. Many people were killed during the subsequent mass panic.[82]
  • Dorothy Jane Scott (32), disappeared on 28 May 1980 in Anaheim, California after heading to pick up a colleague who had been discharged from the hospital following treatment for a spider bite. Her car was found burnt out in an alleyway 10 miles (16 km) from the hospital the following morning, and her decomposed remains were discovered in August 1984. Her murderer and cause of death remain unknown, but police believe an unidentified male who stalked Scott with harassing phone calls prior to her disappearance and subsequent murder is the likely suspect.
  • War saxophonist Charles Miller, 41, who cowrote and sang their hit "Low Rider", was killed during a robbery in Los Angeles on 14 June 1980. No suspects have ever been identified.
  • The explosion that killed all 81 on board Itavia Flight 870 near the Italian island of Ustica on 27 June 1980 has been variously attributed to a bomb or a missile strike. Whatever the cause, the investigations have been criticized as ineffective, and no culprits identified.
  • Arroyo Grande Jane Doe, an unidentified girl, was discovered on 5 October 1980 in Henderson, Nevada. She was between fourteen and twenty-five and had a distinct gap between two teeth on the right side of her mouth.[83]
  • Walker County Jane Doe, an unidentified girl whose body was found on 1 November 1980 in Huntsville, Texas, United States. A possible runaway matching her description was reported by a witness to have asked for directions to a prison unit, which she never arrived to. The victim was killed by strangulation and beating, also being sexually assaulted.[84][85]
  • Carol Cole was discovered stabbed to death in Bellevue, Louisiana in January 1981, after her 1980 disappearance. Her body was identified in February 2015. The man who found her, now in prison for killing his wife, is considered a person of interest.[86]
  • The Keddie Murders, in which four people were found dead in Keddie, California on April 11 (and possibly into April 12), 1981.[87]
  • Brenda Gerow was found murdered in early April 1981 in Tucson, Arizona. Her body remained unidentified until 2015 after a photograph of her was found in a convicted killer's possession and led police to believe she was the unidentified victim, based on a resemblance to a facial reconstruction. Gerow was subsequently identified to be the girl in the picture and later confirmed to be the victim through DNA tests. The man who possessed her photograph is considered a person of interest and her murder remains unsolved.[88][89]
  • Marcia King, who had been nicknamed "Buckskin Girl" prior to her identification in 2018, was found in Troy, Ohio on 23 April 1981. She had been beaten and strangled to death.[90]
  • Raymond Nels Nelson, Administrative Assistant to Senator Claiborne Pell and former bureau chief of The Providence Journal, Rhode Island. He was found bludgeoned to death with a typewriter in his Washington, D.C. apartment on 1 June 1981.[91]
  • Wonderland murders are four unsolved murders that occurred in Los Angeles on 1 July 1981. It is assumed that six people were targeted to be killed in the known drug house of the Wonderland Gang, five were present, and four of those five died from extensive blunt-force trauma injuries: Billy DeVerell, Ron Launius, Joy Miller, and Barbara Richardson. Launius' wife, Susan Launius, survived the attack. The attack was allegedly masterminded by organized crime figure and nightclub owner Eddie Nash. He, his henchman Gregory DeWitt Diles, and porn star John Holmes were at various times arrested, tried, and acquitted for their involvement in the murders.
  • Ken McElroy, 47, long considered the "town bully" of Skidmore, Missouri, was shot dead while in the cab of his pickup truck on 10 July 1981. None of the 46 potential witnesses to the crime have ever come forward to identify a suspect.[92]
  • Dana Bradley, 14, disappeared while hitchhiking in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador on 14 December 1981. Her body was found four days later in a wooded area south of St. John's. An intense and highly publicized investigation followed, and in 1986 a man confessed to her murder but later recanted. As of 2018, the case remains open and unsolved.
  • Marcel Francisci, 62, French member of Union Corse criminal organization who created the French Connection drug pipeline, was shot fatally as he walked to his car from his Paris apartment on 16 January 1982. No suspects have ever been identified.
  • Valentine Sally, approximately 17, an unidentified female discovered along I-40 in Arizona on 14 February 1982. She had likely been seen at a truck stop with an older male, possibly her father, early in the morning on February 4 and had been murdered soon after. No suspects have ever been identified.[93]
  • Roberto Calvi, 62, CEO of Banco Ambrosiano, found hanged under Blackfriars Bridge in London on 17 June 1982. Initially considered a suicide, authorities later changed their minds and investigated it as a homicide. An Italian court acquitted five defendants in 2009; charges against a sixth defendant were later dropped.[94]
  • The body of a strangled teenage girl found on 1 July 1982, outside Baytown, Texas, remained unidentified for 32 years. In 2014, the corpse's DNA was matched to Michelle Garvey, a 15-year-old runaway from Connecticut. The investigation is continuing.[95]
  • In Blairstown, New Jersey, an unidentified girl dubbed "Princess Doe" was found on 15 July 1982. Extensive research and investigation to discover the identities of her and her killer have been unsuccessful.[96]
  • The bodies of seven people were found on board the remains of the fishing vessel Investor after it burned off the coast of Craig, Alaska, on 7 September 1982; a coroner's jury found that an eighth known to have been on board died as well even though their remains were not found, and that the fire had been set. Two years later, police arrested a former crewman and charged him with murder and arson. After the first trial ended in a hung jury, he was acquitted in 1988. No other suspects have ever been named.[97]
  • The FBI continues to investigate the Chicago Tylenol murders which took place in late 1982, but has not identified any suspects.[98]
  • On 20 January 1983, three days before he was to be sentenced for attempting to bribe a U.S. Senator, Allen Dorfman, 60, an insurance agency owner, and close associate of Jimmy Hoffa believed to have ties to the Chicago Outfit, was shot to death in a Lincolnwood, Illinois, hotel parking lot. While it is believed he was killed by former associates to prevent him from offering information about them in exchange for a reduced sentence, no suspects have ever been named.
  • Peter Ivers, television host and musician, was found bludgeoned to death in his Los Angeles apartment on March 3, 1983. The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) failed to properly secure the crime scene and the murder was never solved, although on the basis of new information found in the book In Heaven Everything Is Fine: The Unsolved Life of Peter Ivers and the Lost History of New Wave Theatre (2008) by Josh Frank and Charlie Buckholtz, the LAPD has reopened their investigation into Ivers' death.
  • On 10 April 1983, Palestinian Liberation Organization peace negotiator Issam Sartawi, 48, was shot and killed in the lobby of a Portuguese hotel while attending that year's Socialist International conference. The Abu Nidal organization later claimed responsibility, but no arrests have ever been made.
  • While Dursun Aksoy, 39, an administrative attaché at the Turkish embassy in Brussels, Belgium, was starting his car on Avenue Franklin Roosevelt 14 July 1983, a man walked up to him and shot him twice in the head; he died almost instantly. Two militant Armenian groups claimed responsibility, but no one has ever been charged.
  • Gérard Lebovici, 51, French film producer, was found in his car on 7 March 1984 in a Paris parking garage. He had been shot several times two days earlier. No suspects have ever been identified.
  • On the morning of 14 April 1984, the body of a male infant, its neck broken and repeatedly stabbed, was found on the beach at Cahersiveen in Ireland's County Kerry. Later named Baby John, the police investigation became known as the Kerry Babies case after it led to a young woman in nearby Abbeydorney who was mistakenly charged with the crime along with her family. While she had in fact hidden the corpse of a baby she gave birth to who died of undetermined causes shortly afterwards, she was found to have no connection to the Cahirseveen baby, whose identity and killer remains unknown.[99]
  • Corporal William McIntyre, 33, an officer with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) who was working undercover at the time, was found dead of a single gunshot in his Oakville apartment on April 21, 1984, some time after his superiors had lost track of him; both his personal vehicle and the one he used for his undercover work were in the police station's parking lot.[100] The case inspired the television series Blue Murder. OPP investigators believed initially that McIntyre had been killed as revenge by convicted bank robber Rex Yates from whom he'd obtained a confession while undercover as a fellow inmate; however, they could not find any evidence to support that theory and, after Yates' own death in a 1990 boating accident, a witness claimed McIntyre had been seen alive later than police thought he had been killed, seemingly ruling Yates out as he had an alibi. The OPP continues to believe McIntyre's death was related to his work. In 2004, it was also reported that McIntyre might have been killed by fellow OPP officers to prevent him from coming out as gay and revealing their homosexuality as well. The case remains open.[101]
  • Vernon County Jane Doe, an unidentified victim was found on 4 May 1984 near Westby, Wisconsin. Her hands were severed and never found, making identification through fingerprinting impossible.[102]
  • Catrine da Costa, Swedish prostitute. Parts of her dismembered body were found in Solna, just outside Stockholm, during the summer of 1984.
  • The strangled bodies of Margaret Tapp, 35, and her daughter Seana, 9, were found at their home in Melbourne's Ferntree Gully neighborhood on 7 August 1984; Seana had been sexually assaulted as well. Two suspects were cleared after their DNA did not match that left at the scene; the case was reopened in the 2010s.
  • Lenny Breau, 42, music teacher and guitarist. His body was found floating in the swimming pool at his Los Angeles apartment complex on 12 August 1984; the coroner's office found that rather than having drowned he was strangled. While his wife was suspected, she was never charged, and no one else has been.[103]
  • Christine Jessop, an eight-year-old girl of Queensville, Ontario, was raped and murdered in October 1984. Her next-door neighbour, Guy Paul Morin, was convicted of the crime in 1992 but DNA testing led to a subsequent overturning of this verdict in 1995.[104][105]
  • After an anonymous caller to the house of Grégory Villemin, 4, of Lépanges-sur-Vologne, France, told his family on 16 October 1984 he had taken the boy, who had been playing unsupervised in front of the house, a search found Grégory's body, bound and gagged, in the Vologne River 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) away, where he had apparently been drowned (although the autopsy suggested the drowning had occurred in a different body of water). This began a case that has continued to receive extensive national media attention. An anonymous note suggesting the writer had killed the boy led to the arrest of Bernard Laroche, a Villemin cousin, who was now suspected of having written a long string of threatening anonymous letters to members of the family, socially and economically prominent in that area of the Vosges. Grégory's father, Jean-Marie, shot and killed Laroche several months later; he would serve several years in prison as a result. Handwriting experts then linked Grégory's mother to the notes; she was charged with the murders but, after seven years and two trials, acquitted. Efforts to recover DNA from the principal evidence in the early 21st century failed, but in 2017 three of Grégory's other relatives were charged, although police say they do not yet know who actually killed him.
  • Günther Stoll, a German food-engineer, is suspected to have been murdered under strange circumstances on 26 October 1984, after leaving behind the cryptic message "YOGTZE."
  • Tscherim Soobzokov, 59, a Circassian refugee in the United States, died on 6 September 1985, of injuries suffered when a pipe bomb exploded outside his house almost a month earlier. An anonymous caller, claiming that Soobzokov had been a Nazi collaborator during World War II, claimed credit for the bombing on behalf of the Jewish Defense League (JDL); however, the organization has formally denied any responsibility. No other suspects have ever been identified.[106]
  • Olof Palme, Prime Minister of Sweden and the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party was shot in the back while walking home from a cinema together with his wife shortly after 11 pm on 28 February 1986 in Stockholm, Sweden.[107]
  • No charges were ever brought after Italian banker Michele Sindona, 65, was found dead in his prison cell on the morning of 22 March 1986 after drinking a cup of coffee that had been laced with cyanide. He was serving a life sentence for murder; investigation of his activities and ties to the Sicilian Mafia had led to the exposure of Italy's P2 Masonic lodge.[108]
  • Pauline Martz, 13 April 1986, was left in her burning home after being bound and gagged by someone who had broken in. A man named Johnny Lee Wilson would be imprisoned for her murder after confessing, but was pardoned in 1995. Another man, Chris Brownfield, also confessed to the crime with an accomplice. No other charges have been made in this case, and is currently inactive.
  • Alejandro Gonzalez Malave, Puerto Rican who was involved in the Cerro Maravilla murders case, was shot at his mother's home on April 29, 1986. The assailants were never apprehended.[109]
  • Yvan Leyvraz, 32, a Swiss member of the international solidarity brigades in Sandinista-run Nicaragua, was killed in a contra ambush upon leaving Wiwili, with four others, on 28 July 1986. No arrests have ever been made.
  • Dutch mathematician Willem Klein, 73, was found dead of stab wounds in his Amsterdam apartment on 1 August 1986. A young man was arrested shortly afterwards but released. No other suspects have ever been named.
  • Police in East Orange, New Jersey, initially believed that the March 8, 1987, death of 79-year-old Harry Dudkin, former judge, Congressional candidate and clerk of the state Assembly, was due to a fall in his family's stationery store. But the autopsy revealed a bullet lodged in his brain, and on further investigation discovered the store's receipts for that day were missing. The case remains open.
  • A body found 11 June 1987, in Fort Collins, Colorado, field turned out to be that of Peggy Hettrick, 37. She had been stabbed and "sexually mutilated." Police initially suspected Timothy Masters, a teenage boy who lived nearby, and eventually arrested him a decade later. His 1999 conviction was vacated in 2008 when physical evidence that had been withheld from the defense at his original trial was found to rule him out as a suspect. Two other individuals, one of whom took his own life in 1995, have been described as possible suspects. The case remains open.
  • On 17 November 1987, police found the beaten bodies of Elaine Dardeen, 30, and her son Peter, 3, as well as a newborn female infant she had apparently given birth to prematurely during the attack, tucked into bed in the family mobile home south of Ina, Illinois. Her husband Keith, 29, was the prime suspect until his body was found in a nearby wheat field the next day. After shooting him, the killer had cut his penis off. Nothing of value was taken from the home and Elaine had not been raped, nor were police able to find any other evidence that might have suggested a motive. In 2000, serial killer Tommy Lynn Sells confessed to the crime; however, he was never charged as there were doubts about his confession and authorities in Texas, where he was imprisoned, would not allow him to be taken to Illinois in order to resolve them before he was executed in 2014. No other suspects have ever been named.
  • The decomposing body of Deanna Criswell, 16, was found off Interstate 10 near Tucson, Arizona, on 23 November 1987. She had been there for any time from several days to several weeks. She remained unidentified for 28 years until DNA tests matched her with her family in Spokane, Washington; they had not reported her disappearance at the time because she habitually ran away only to return later. Another DNA profile at the scene matched that of the main suspect in her death, William Ross Knight, a local criminal who had died in 2005.
  • Several motorcyclists opened fire on Punjabi singer Amar Singh Chamkila, 27, and his wife as they got out of a car before a performance in Mehsampur on March 8, 1988. The couple and two of Chamkila's musicians were killed. Several theories as to who might have been responsible for the killings have been floated since then, but no suspects have ever been officially identified.
  • In the early afternoon of 23 March 1988, Deborah Linsley was murdered in a British Rail closed-compartment coach on a train journey between Petts Wood and Victoria stations. She was stabbed multiple times and despite the police retrieving the full DNA profile of her killer, they have never been found. Partly as a consequence of Linsley's murder, BR accelerated the removal of closed compartment coaches from across the network.
  • Brian Spencer, 39, who played for several National Hockey League teams during a 10-year career that ended in 1979, was shot during a robbery after allegedly buying cocaine in Riviera Beach, Florida, on June 2, 1988. He died the next day. The year before, Spencer had been acquitted of a 1982 murder and kidnapping. Despite not entirely believing the story told them by Spencer's companion that night, police said he was not a suspect. No one else has ever been named in connection with the crime.[110]
  • Skeletal remains found November 11, 1988 off a road near Lake Nasworthy outside San Angelo, Texas turned out to be the bodies of Sally McNelly, 18, and Shane Stewart, 17, missing since they had last been seen on the lakeshore, alone, the night of the previous July 4. Both had been shot in the head. Local rumor at the time connected the killings to a supposed Satanic cult the two had been involved in and were trying to get out of, but no arrests were ever made. In 2017, a drug arrest led police to identify a local person of interest.[111]
  • Julie Ward, murdered in Kenya on September 6, 1988 while on safari in the Masai Mara game reserve. Her burnt and dismembered body was found a week later. The original statement by Kenyan officials was that she had been eaten by lions and struck by lightning but this was later revised to say she was murdered.[112]
  • Jaclyn Dowaliby, 7, disappeared from her home in Midlothian, Illinois during the night of September 10, 1988. Her body was found in a nearby dump four days later. Her mother and adoptive father were charged with her murder; she was acquitted and he was convicted, a verdict later overturned on appeal due to lack of evidence. No other suspects have been named since then.
  • Seymour and Arlene Tankleff were found murdered in their Long Island home on September 17, 1988. Their 17-year-old son Martin was charged with the crime and convicted, a verdict overturned on appeal in 2004; the state decided in 2008 not to retry him.[113] His lawyers accused the police detective who originally arrested Martin of having lied during the investigation to cover for a business associate who they believe was the actual killer; he denies it. Neither the business associate nor anyone else have ever been formally named as a suspect.[114]
  • Venus Xtravaganza, featured in the documentary film Paris is Burning, was found strangled under a New York City hotel bed on December 21, 1988, four days after having been killed. There are no suspects.[115]


  • The body of Amy Mihaljevic, 10, was found in Ruggles Township, Ohio, on 10 February 1990. She had been abducted from a Bay Village shopping center three months earlier. No suspects have ever been named, although police have been exploring some promising leads in recent years.[116]
  • Despite extensive investigation and publicity, the gunmen who killed four people, including two children, at a Las Cruces, New Mexico, bowling alley on 10 February 1990, have never been identified or apprehended.[117]
  • Canadian-American weapons designer Gerald Bull, 62, died in Brussels, Belgium, on 22 March 1990, two days after being shot several times near his apartment. It has long been believed that the Israeli Mossad was behind his death, as they believed his work for Saddam Hussein's Iraq might allow that country to develop weapons that could be used against their country, after he had refused to work with Israel. Other theories have implicated Iraq itself, Iran, the U.S. or other countries he was known to have dealt with. The identities of the killers remain unknown.[118]
  • The dismembered body of gay porn star William Arnold Newton, 25, was found in a Los Angeles trash container on 29 October 1990. No suspects have ever been named.[119]
  • The body of French Baptist minister Joseph Doucé, 45, was found in a forest in October 1990, two months after he was last seen being led away from his apartment by two men who claimed to be police officers. No suspect has ever been identified.
  • On November 20, 1990, the body of Susan Poupart was discovered in Wisconsin's Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, six months after she had last been seen leaving a party in Lac du Flambeau. The two men she was last seen with have been considered suspects. Charges against one led to several hearings in 2007, but were dropped after witnesses failed to testify. The investigation continues.[120]
  • Five boys aged 9 through 13 went to the woods around South Korea's Mount Waryong on 26 March 1991, to hunt for frogs and never returned. Despite a massive search of the mountain and surroundings, their bodies were not found until 2002, after an anonymous phone call led police to an area that had already been searched near the boys' village. At first it was theorized that they had died of exposure, a conclusion disputed by their families since the boys knew that area well and their clothes had been tied in knots. An autopsy showed that four had died of blows to the head and the other killed with a shotgun. Although the statute of limitations on the case expired in 2006, police continue to investigate for historical reasons.
  • Karmein Chan, 13, was abducted from her family's home in Templestowe, Victoria by an unidentified man who was later dubbed "Mr. Cruel" by Melbourne newspapers on April 13, 1991. Her body was discovered on April 9, 1992, in Thomastown, she had been shot in the head. Although Victoria Police knew a great deal about the perpetrator from previous, non-fatal child abductions and rapes dating back to 1985,[121] there has never been enough evidence to charge any of the 27,000 men interviewed at the time.[122] The case is still open with a second police operation, Taskforce Apollo, formed in 2010 to examine new evidence and material from the original Operation Spectrum.[123] If the perpetrator is still alive he would be between approximately 60 and 75 years old in 2014.[124] The murder of Karmein Chan is still one of the extensive and expensive investigations in Victorian history, with a combination of investigative errors and the perpetrator's precautions preventing his identification and arrest.[125]
  • Ioan P. Culianu (41), a Romanian American professor of religion at the University of Chicago, was shot in the back of the head in a bathroom of the university's divinity school building on 21 May 1991. While rightist Romanian nationalists in the then-new Romanian government of Ion Iliescu, some of whom openly celebrated his death, and members of the Communist-era Securitate intelligence service were suspected, along with occultists who also clashed with Culianu, no one has ever been formally identified as one.[126]
  • A retired police officer accused of killing four security guards in the course of stealing $200,000 from the United Bank Tower in downtown Denver, Colorado, on June 14, 1991, was acquitted the following year. He died in 2013; the case remains open.[127]
  • The body of Robert Donati, 51, a Boston-area mobster believed to have masterminded the theft of $500 million worth of art from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum the year before, was found beaten and stabbed multiple times in the trunk of his car on September 24, 1991, three days after he had last been seen alive leaving his nearby home in Revere, Massachusetts. He was likely a casualty of an ongoing war for control of the Patriarca crime family, but no suspects have ever been charged with the crime.[128]
  • On 6 December 1991, police in Austin, Texas, discovered the bodies of four young women, stripped, bound and shot in the head, after a nighttime fire at a yogurt shop. Eight years later, two suspects were convicted, but those convictions were overturned in 2009 and charges dismissed due to questions about the DNA evidence. No other suspects have ever been named although the investigation is continuing.[129]
  • 15-year-old Katrien De Cuyper disappeared on her way home in Antwerp, Belgium, on the night of 17 December 1991. Her body was found buried in the port of Antwerp six months later. In 1997, Regina Louf confessed to killing De Cuyper while part of a "paedophile network", but no concrete evidence was found to support her testimony.[104] In 2006, a 35-year-old man was arrested and charged with her kidnapping and murder after it was established that he had written anonymous letters about her to a magazine, but was later released due to a lack of evidence.[130]
  • Writer Joe Cole (30), was shot and killed on 19 December 1991, during a robbery outside the Venice Beach, California, home he shared with Black Flag lead singer Henry Rollins, who was present and escaped. No suspects have ever been identified.[131]
  • A suicide bomber drove a truck filled with explosives into the Israeli embassy in Argentina on 17 March 1992, killing 29 in the deadliest attack ever on an Israeli diplomatic mission. Argentinian officials said they strongly believed Iran was behind the attack. They have not formally prosecuted any suspects, though they suspected Imad Mughniyah was involved in both this attack and the deadlier AMIA bombing two years later.
  • Exiled Iranian dissident Fereydoun Farrokhzad, 53, was found dead of multiple stab wounds in his house in Bonn, Germany, on 13 August 1992. The autopsy established that he had been killed five days earlier. No one has ever been named as a suspect although it is widely believed that he was killed at the behest of the Iranian government.[132] Prior to his murder, Farrokzhad had been involved in producing an opposition radio program and reportedly received death threats. In his show the Royal Albert Hall in London he had criticized Ruhollah Khomeini and made fun of Khomeini's obsession with sex in his Ressaleh book. He had consequently received death threats and there were concerns for his safety.[133]
  • Piotr Jaroszewicz, 82, a former Prime Minister of Communist Poland, was found murdered along with his wife Alicja Solska at their home in the Warsaw suburb of Anin on 3 September 1992. He had been strangled with a belt, which was still around his neck, after being beaten (and bandaged); she had been shot several times with one of the couple's hunting rifles after her hands were tied behind her back. She may have injured one of their attackers, who apparently also tried to kill the couple's dog with poison gas, while fighting back. A safe was left open and documents were taken from it while valuables were left behind. The killings were found to have occurred two days before; friends and family say that Jaroszewicz, who was obsessed with security to begin with, had been acting extremely paranoid in the days before the murders. No suspects have been named.[134]
  • The Alcasser Girls, were three teenage girls from Alcasser, Spain, who disappeared on 13 November 1992,[135] and were found dead on 27 January 1993, and it was revealed that they had been kidnapped, and raped, beaten, tortured after they were abducted.[136][137] Their killers have never been found or identified.
  • Retired Canadian professional wrestler Adolfo Bresciano, 44, who performed under the name Dino Bravo, was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds in his Laval, Quebec home on March 10, 1993. It is believed by law enforcement and those who knew him that he was killed by the Montreal Mafia over his successful cigarette smuggling business. Officially no suspects have ever been identified.
  • Colin Ridgway, 56, the first Australian to play in the National Football League, was murdered in his University Park, Texas, home on 13 May 1993. Police suspect a man serving time in Florida for a 2011 murder committed the crime after being hired by Ridgway's wife and his father; however, they have not found sufficient evidence to arrest anyone.[138]
  • Brett Cantor, 25, part-owner of the Dragonfly nightclub in Hollywood, was found stabbed to death in his nearby home on July 30, 1993;[139] no suspects have ever been identified.[140] The case gained renewed attention a year later when O.J. Simpson's defense team successfully petitioned the court trying him for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson, his ex-wife, and Ronald Goldman, for access to the case file, on the grounds that the way in which all three were stabbed suggested the same killer.[141] Since Goldman had worked for Cantor as a waiter, and Nicole Simpson was a regular at Dragonfly, some books about the case have raised the possibility that the three killings may also have resulted from involvement in drug trafficking.[142][143][144]
  • The body of Holly Piirainen, 10, was found on 23 October 1993, in the woods of Brimfield, Massachusetts. She had disappeared in August while visiting her grandparents in nearby Sturbridge. Police have identified two persons of interest, one of whom died in 2003, the other of whom has been named in connection with the Molly Bish murder which occurred several years later in the region. Neither has been named as a suspect in the case, however.[145]
  • Inokashira Park dismemberment incident in Japan, April 23, 1994.[146]
  • Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, found dead of multiple stab wounds in front of her condo in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles late on the night of June 12, 1994. Her ex-husband, former professional football star O. J. Simpson, was arrested and charged with the crime two days later; after an eight-month trial covered heavily by the media, in which the defense argued that there had been extensive mishandling of the evidence and that some investigators were racially biased, he was acquitted. However, strong public sentiment remained that he was guilty, and he was held liable in a suit by the victims' families later. No other suspects have ever been officially named.[147]
  • David Cullen Bain of Dunedin, New Zealand, was initially convicted of the 20 June 1994 murder of his parents and three siblings at their home. Prosecutors claimed he had staged the crime to look like his father had committed a murder-suicide of his family while David was out delivering papers; his defence claimed that murder-suicide was exactly what had happened. With help from former rugby star Joe Karam, David pursued appeals and was eventually acquitted after a 2009 retrial. Other than David and his father, no other person was suspected.[148]
  • The 18 July 1994 suicide bombing of a Jewish organization's building in Buenos Aires killed 85, surpassing the similar attack on the Israeli embassy two years earlier as Argentina's deadliest terror attack. Five suspects, four of whom were local police officers, were acquitted in a 2004 trial; the investigating judge was removed from the case and later impeached after it was disclosed that he had paid for evidence. British authorities arrested an Iranian suspect named by Argentina in 2003 but declined to extradite him due to weak evidence. No other suspects have been named although investigations continue, one of which has since led to the unsolved death of Alberto Nisman, the investigating prosecutor.
  • The day after that bombing, another suicide bomber brought down a plane in Panama, killing 21, 12 of whom were Jews. While an apparently fictitious Arab terrorist organization claimed responsibility, no suspects have ever been identified.
  • Irish crime boss Martin "The General" Cahill, 45, was shot and killed at a Dublin intersection on 18 August 1994. The Provisional IRA claimed responsibility, citing Cahill's dealings with the Ulster Volunteer Force; however, it has also been reported that the IRA took exception to this only after being paid by two of Cahill's subordinates who were not eager to share profits from a drug operation with him. No arrests have ever been made.
  • Johan Heyns (66), an Afrikaner Calvinist theologian, was shot and killed from outside his house in Pretoria, South Africa's capital, while playing cards with his wife and grandchildren on 5 November 1994. While no suspects have ever been identified, it is widely believed the killing was the work of radical white supremacists unhappy with Heyns' increasingly liberal political views, which in addition to opposition to apartheid had also called for tolerance of homosexuals.
  • Melanie Carpenter (23), Canadian woman who was abducted and murdered in Surrey, British Columbia, on 6 January 1995. Carpenter was taken from her workplace and found dead in the Fraser Canyon several weeks later, and the prime suspect, Fernand Auger committed suicide before arrest.
  • Deanna Cremin (17), teenage girl from Somerville, Massachusetts, United States, was murdered on March 30, 1995. Her body was found behind a senior housing complex. An autopsy revealed she had been strangled. She was last seen alive by her boyfriend who, unlike on other occasions when he would walk her to the door, walked her only halfway and she continued on her own toward her house. Her murder remains unsolved.[149]
  • Michael Nigg (26), an aspiring actor and waiter at a Los Angeles restaurant, was shot and killed during an attempted robbery on 8 September 1995 while withdrawing money from an ATM.[150] Three suspects were arrested a month later but released for lack of evidence and the case remains unsolved. Since Nigg was a friend of Ronald Goldman, with whom he had worked, and seemed to live quite well for someone in his position, leading to some reports that he was involved in drug trafficking, his death has been used to support theories that the murders of Goldman and O.J. Simpson's ex-wife Nicole the year before were drug-related as well.
  • Mitchell Bates, a sleeping-car attendant for Amtrak, was killed when the Sunset Limited derailed on 9 October 1995, near Palo Verde, Arizona. Investigators later found notes from a group identified as the "Sons of the Gestapo", supposedly angry over the Waco siege earlier that year. The tracks were found to have been tampered with in a way that circumvented safety warning systems, suggesting a perpetrator with knowledge of rail operations. No suspects have ever been identified, however, although the FBI believes the real plan was to rob a passing freight and there were no terrorist motivations.
  • Rapper Randy Walker, 27, better known as Stretch, was shot and killed by the occupants of a vehicle passing his minivan in Queens Village, New York, shortly after midnight on 30 November 1995. No suspects have ever been identified, but it is often believed to be somehow related to Tupac Shakur's later death, since it took place exactly one year after an apparent robbery attempt in which Shakur had been seriously injured.
  • Jacksonville Jane Doe, a body found on 6 December 1995. She is believed to have been murdered in the early 1990s and was then disposed of in Jacksonville, North Carolina. She has never been identified.[151]
  • Amber Hagerman, victim of an abduction and murder. On 13 January 1996, the 10-year-old girl was kidnapped while riding her bike near her grandparents' home in Arlington, Texas. Four days later, a man walking his dog found her body in a creek bed. An autopsy revealed that her throat had been cut. Although a $75,000 reward was offered for information leading to Hagerman's killer, the perpetrator was never found. Her murder would later inspire the creation of the AMBER Alert system.[152]
  • Sarah Keyenejad, 19, who was six months pregnant, was shot to death at 12:48 a.m. Feb. 14, 1996, when two black males dressed in women's clothing robbed the 7-Eleven at 3501 E. Bonanza Road, Las Vegas, Nevada. The bullet also struck and killed her unborn baby.[153]
  • The body of Barbara Barnes, a Steubenville, Ohio, 13-year-old, was found strangled on a riverbed on 22 February 1996, over two months after she was last seen walking to school. Some of her relatives have been suspected, but the case remains open.[154]
  • On July 11, 1996, the half-naked body of 31-year-old Canadian, Blair Adams, was found in a parking lot in Knoxville, Tennessee, scattered around his body was German, Canadian, and U.S. currency totaling nearly $4,000. Authorities believe he knew no one in Tennessee, and investigators retracing his steps found the way he arrived made as little sense as the way he died.[155]
  • Tupac Shakur, a top-selling American rapper who was shot four times in a drive-by shooting on 7 September 1996, in Las Vegas, Nevada, United States. He died six days later of respiratory failure and cardiac arrest at the University Medical Center.[156]
  • On the morning of 13 August 1996 Indonesian journalist Udin was beaten to death at his home with a metal rod by two men who gained entry by claiming they wanted to leave a motorcycle with him for safekeeping; they then fled on that motorcycle. The investigation became a political issue with opponents of the Suharto regime claiming the dictator himself or other government officials were behind it as retaliation for his reporting on their misdeeds, while the government and police suggested it had been the work of a jealous husband. A suspect arrested on the latter theory was later acquitted, protesting his innocence as his trial revealed that he had been pressured to confess and other investigative shortcomings. The police have declined to investigate the case further, saying their responsibility was fulfilled when they arrested the original suspect.
  • Nigerian businesswoman Bisoye Tejuoso, 80, daughter of a former Egba tribal chief, was assassinated on September 19, 1996, during a dispute over the tribe's obaship. The killers have never been identified.
  • Sophie Toscan du Plantier. Wife of French filmmaker Daniel Toscan du Plantier, found beaten to death outside her home in Toormore near Schull in County Cork, Ireland, on the morning of the 23 December 1996. Former French President Jacques Chirac was a friend of the couple and gave the case national attention. The main suspect, Ian Bailey, has been questioned twice by the Irish authorities in relation to the murder, but the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) decided not to prosecute. In early April 2010 the French authorities issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Bailey. Later that month the Gardaí in Ireland arrested Ian Bailey and brought him in front of the High Court in Dublin to appeal his extradition. This case is ongoing and is expected to take many months.[157][158]
  • JonBenét Ramsey, a six-year-old American girl who had competed in child beauty pageants, was found dead in the basement of her parents' home in Boulder, Colorado, on December 26, 1996, nearly eight hours after a ransom note was apparently found and she was reported missing. The coroner listed cause of death as "asphyxia due to strangulation, associated with" a broken skull and concussion. Police suspected the parents of staging the ransom note and strangulation to cover up an accidental killing by either the mother or nine-year-old brother. A 1999 grand jury recommended charging the parents with obstruction and endangerment, but the district attorney declined to prosecute. Discovery of trace DNA from an unknown male in 2003[159] led a new district attorney in 2008 to write an apology to the Ramseys, declaring them "cleared of any involvement".[160] Contradictory evidence seems to support both the family and outside intruder theories, and after several independent investigations, the case is still unsolved as of September 2016.[161]
  • On 5 February 1997, Richard Aderson, 47, a school administrator from LaGrange, New York, had a minor collision with another driver just before crossing the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge along Interstate 84. Across the river, just outside Fishkill, the two pulled over to exchange information. After they argued briefly, the other driver shot Aderson. He was able to describe the assailant and his vehicle before dying at the scene. A sketch has been circulated, but no suspect has ever been identified.[162]
  • Ali Forney, 22, an advocate for homeless LGBT youth in the New York neighborhood of Harlem, was found shot dead on a street there on 5 February 1997. The case remains unsolved.
  • The Notorious B.I.G., an American rapper killed by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting on 9 March 1997, in Los Angeles, California, United States. Even though a composite sketch[163] of the perpetrator was made, the case is still unsolved.
  • On 8 April 1997, 45 year old Turkish German male Adem Bozkurt was found dead in his car that apparently had crashed into a tree by a road near Bad Nauheim. The case was ruled an accident, any involvement of other parties was ruled out and Bozkurt was buried without an autopsy. However, 21 years later, after doing some tests, questioning some witnesses and finally exhuming the body and doing an autopsy on it, the police found out that Bozkurt had been shot in the neck. Investigations were resumed, but so far no definite suspect has been identified.[164]
  • Bones found on a hillside by hunters in Pisgah National Forest near Asheville, North Carolina, on 7 September 1997 were later identified as those of Judy Smith, 50, a nurse from Newton, Massachusetts, who had last been seen five months earlier at a Philadelphia hotel where she was accompanying her husband at a legal conference. Cutting marks on the bones, along with slash and puncture marks on a bra found near the body, led investigators to conclude she had been stabbed to death. The case remains open.[165]
  • Jane Thurgood-Dove, 35, was shot outside her car, in full view of her young children, as she pulled into the driveway of her home in the Melbourne suburb of Niddrie on 6 November 1997; the killer escaped into a waiting getaway car which was found, burnt, shortly afterwards not too far away.[166] Her husband and a police official believed to have been infatuated with her have been eliminated as suspects. More recently a theory has been floated that the killers were members of a local biker gang who had mistaken her for their real target, another local woman of similar appearance married to a fellow criminal. Police believe that the shooter and getaway car driver have since died of a heart attack and boating accident respectively; they have offered the remaining participant immunity if he testifies against the man who they believe ordered the killing.[167]
  • On 1 January 1998, the body of Australian 14-month-old Jaidyn Leskie was found in a lake far from his home. He had been kidnapped the previous June. Greg Domaszczewicz, acquitted of the murder charge after a 1998 trial, was nevertheless found by a 2006 inquest to have had at least a contributing role in the crime, including the disposal of the body. However, current double jeopardy laws in Victoria do not allow the state to try him again, and the case is still officially unsolved.
  • Australian organized-crime boss Alphonse Gangitano, 40, the "Black Prince of Lygon Street", was found in his home dead from gunshot wounds shortly before midnight 16 January 1998, the first of the Melbourne gangland killings. Graham Kinniburgh and Jason Moran, both of whom were believed to have been in Gangitano's home that night, were suspected. They were both murdered later themselves. No arrests have been made.
  • Stephanie Crowe, 12, was found stabbed to death in her Escondido, California bedroom on the morning of January 21, 1998. Since there were no signs of forced entry, police focused on and eventually arrested her older brother Michael and two friends; however, charges against them were abruptly dismissed when later lab tests found several drops of Crowe's blood on a local transient. He was tried and convicted, but that was overturned on appeal and a 2013 retrial acquitted him. The Crowe family reached a legal settlement with San Diego County over the wrongful prosecution of their son. No other suspects have been named.[168]
  • Father Alfred Kunz, 56, a Roman Catholic priest, was found with his throat cut on March 4, 1998, in his Dane, Wisconsin, church. A wide pool of initial suspects was narrowed to one unnamed individual by 2009, whom police say they still track in the hope that eventually they will have enough evidence to arrest.[169][170]
  • On March 25, 1998, NASCAR driver Chris Trickle, 24, died of injuries sustained in a Las Vegas drive-by shooting on 9 February 1997. A quirk in Nevada law at the time meant that the gunmen could not be prosecuted for his murder, since his death had occurred more than a year and a day after the attack; it was subsequently changed. No suspects have ever been identified, and the case is considered cold.[171]
  • 13-year old Tristan Brübach was last seen alive at Frankfurt Höchst railway station on 26 March 1998 at 3:20 PM. Later that afternoon, his dead body was found near the railway station. He had been knocked unconscious and choked, and parts of his body had been cut out. The cause of death was a cut in the throat. The murderer was never identified.[172]
  • Marek Papała, 38, former Chief of Polish State Police, was shot in the head on 25 June 1998 while parking his car. In 2012, a former car thief turned state witness given immunity of prosecution came forward with the revelation that he had killed Papała. He also testified some Polish mafia bosses had encouraged the crime. However, in 2013 the indictment against the mafia bosses was dropped due to numerous factual and logical inconsistencies. The murder of Papała remains unsolved.
  • Ita Martadinata Haryono, an Indonesian human rights activist, found dead on 9 October 1998 in her bedroom in Central Jakarta, Indonesia. She had been stabbed ten times and her neck had been slashed. The murder occurred three days after a Jakarta press conference held by the human rights organizations she had been involved with.[173]
  • Miranda Fenner, an 18-year-old employee at a video store in Laurel, Montana, was brutally stabbed to death by an unknown assailant while working on the evening of November 15, 1998.[174]
  • Suzanne Jovin, a 21-year-old senior at Yale University, was found stabbed to death on 4 December 1998 on campus.[175] Allegations that her thesis advisor was a suspect led to the end of his career at Yale, but the crime remains unsolved.
  • A badly mutilated body found deep in a New South Wales state forest in January 1999 was identified as Lois Roberts, 38, of Lismore, who had not been seen since leaving the police station in Nimbin the previous July 31. The case remains open.
  • Big L, a Harlem rapper, was shot multiple times in the head and chest near his Harlem home on 15 February 1999.[176]
  • The body of Immigration and Naturalization Service attorney Joyce Chiang, 28, was found in the Potomac River in April 1999 by a canoeist, three months after she had last been seen. Washington police, who had initially called the case a suicide, later changed their minds and said it was a homicide. They have suspects, who are currently in prison, but have not publicly identified them.[177]
  • Jill Dando, an English journalist and television presenter who worked for the BBC for 14 years. She was killed by a single gunshot wound to the head on 26 April 1999, after leaving the home of her fiancé. Her death sparked "Operation Oxborough", the biggest murder inquiry and largest criminal investigation since the hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper.[178]
  • On June 12, 1999, exactly seven months after her disappearance, the body of 13-year-old Christina Marie Williams was found on the former Fort Ord Army base next to California's Monterey Bay. Police suspect a man in prison for other abductions; in 2011 a woman recanted her corroboration of his 1998 alibi in the case, saying she had been threatened into making it. However, no charges have been filed.
  • Ricky McCormick, whose body was found in a field by sheriff's officers in St. Charles County, Missouri, on June 30, 1999. The only clues to the mystery are two notes in his pockets, apparently written in a complex cipher.[179]
  • On 21 July 1999, the unidentified Racine County Jane Doe was found murdered. She was tortured for several weeks before her body was found in Raymond, Wisconsin.[180]
  • Raonaid Murray, an Irish young woman stabbed to death at the age of 17 within a few hundred metres of her home in Glenageary, Co. Dublin, in the early hours of Saturday morning, 4 September 1999.[181]
  • On 2 September 1999, a 55-gallon drum in the basement of a house in Nassau County, New York turned out to contain the pregnant body of Reyna Marroquin, a Salvadoran immigrant murdered 30 years earlier. Police suspected a former owner of the house who had also run a dye company that used the drum. He had reportedly been having an affair with Marroquin. The day after police interviewed him in Florida and told him they would get a court order to produce a DNA sample, he killed himself. DNA tests later showed he had fathered the fetus. Police consider him their main suspect, but as he is dead himself he cannot be charged and the case remains officially open.
  • On December 28, 1999, a friend visiting the apartment of Larry Dale Lee, 41, an American journalist in Guatemala City, found his body with multiple stab wounds. It was determined that he had been killed two days earlier, shortly after he was last seen alive. Police developed several theories of the crime but no arrests have ever been made.


  • Mark Moran, 35, of Australia's Moran crime family, was shot and killed outside his Aberfeldie home on the evening of June 15, 2000, another of the many still-unsolved Melbourne gangland killings. Carl Williams, who was beaten to death by a fellow prison inmate a decade later, is the prime suspect.
  • An August 17, 2000, bombing at the Centrs shopping mall in Riga, the capital of Latvia, killed one person. A suspect arrested and tried for planting one of the bombs was acquitted a year later by the country's Supreme Court; no one else has ever been identified.
  • Loyalist paramilitary Jackie Coulter, 46, was shot and killed August 21, 2000, along with Bobby Mahood, a former member of the Ulster Volunteer Force, while sitting in a parked car along Crumlin Road in Belfast, Northern Ireland. While the Progressive Unionist Party later admitted that the UVF, its military wing, had carried out the killings in reprisal for an attack on it by members of Coulter's rival Ulster Defence Association, no suspects have ever been named. It is believed the real target may have been Mahood's brother, Jackie, whom the killers may have mistaken him for; Coulter and Bobby Mahood were reportedly trying to broker an end to Loyalist feud that claimed both their lives.
  • Former Indiana state trooper David Camm was convicted of the September 28, 2000, murder of his wife and children in their home while he was out playing basketball. After extensive evidence tampering and other investigative misconduct was uncovered, he was retried and acquitted. Camm's lawyers identified a career criminal who left forensic evidence at the scene and had committed similar crimes in the past as the more likely suspect, but he has not been prosecuted.
  • A Japanese family of four was found murdered in their Tokyo home on December 31, 2000. Police were able to find a considerable amount of forensic evidence, including undigested food in excrement, that would help identify the suspect but no arrests have been made.
  • Jill-Lyn Euto, an 18-year-old student, was found stabbed to death in her sixth-floor apartment at 600 James St, Syracuse, NY on January 28, 2001. No arrests have been made.[182]
  • The May 4, 2001, gunshot murder of Bonnie Lee Bakley, while she waited in a car for her husband actor Robert Blake in Studio City, remains officially unsolved. He was tried and acquitted, but later held liable in a civil suit brought by Bakley's family.[183]
  • Henryk Siwiak, a 46-year-old Polish immigrant to New York City, was shot and killed on a Bedford-Stuyvesant street known for its heavy drug activity on the night of September 11, 2001. He is officially the only homicide victim in the city on that day since the victims of the terrorist attacks are not included in crime statistics. The diversion of police resources in the aftermath of the attacks constrained the investigation; no suspects have ever been identified.[184]
  • Thomas C. Wales (born 1952) was an American federal prosecutor and gun control advocate. On October 11, 2001, he was killed by a bullet fired through the window of his basement home-office in Seattle, Washington. No suspects have been charged, and the investigation continues.[185]
  • Five people died as a result of the 2001 anthrax attacks in autumn of that year; however, no one has ever been arrested in the case. Biowarfare researcher Bruce Edwards Ivins killed himself in 2008 just before he was supposedly to be charged; he was the FBI's prime suspect. Others, including some of the targets of the attacks, have disputed that conclusion or believed he may not have been acting alone.
  • Kent Heitholt, 48, sports editor of Missouri's Columbia Daily Tribune, was found beaten and strangled in his car at the newspaper's parking lot early on November 1, 2001. Ryan W. Ferguson was convicted of the murder in 2005 despite strongly protesting his innocence; eight years later he was released after the two key witnesses against him said they had been pressured to lie on the stand. No other suspects have been named in the case.
  • Nigerian Minister of Justice Bola Ige, 71, was shot and killed in his Ibadan home on December 23, 2001. Several suspects have been tried in the case; all were acquitted. No other suspects have been identified.
  • The body of Chandra Levy, 24, an intern at the U.S. Bureau of Prisons, was found in Washington's Rock Creek Park on May 22, 2002, slightly over a year after she had been reported missing; her death was ruled a homicide although the medical examiner could not identify the exact means. Since investigations had revealed she and California congressman Gary Condit were having an affair, speculation at first had focused on him as a possible killer but police later cleared him; he was defeated for renomination in a primary election the next year with his behavior in the case cited as a contributing factor. In 2009, a Salvadorean illegal immigrant, Ingmar Guandique, was arrested and charged with the murder on the theory that he had bound Levy and left her to die there. His conviction at trial the next year was overturned on appeal in 2012 due to questions about tainted evidence from a jailhouse informant; a new trial at which the defense planned to introduce new evidence was ordered for 2015. Before it could take place, in July 2016, prosecutors dropped the charges against Guandique, saying they no longer believed they could prove their case, and instead began proceedings to have him deported. No other suspects have ever been named.[186]
  • John Gilbride, 34, a baggage handler for US Airways at Philadelphia airport, was shot dead in his car outside his home in Maple Shade, New Jersey on September 10, 2002. He was involved in a custody dispute with his former wife, the widow of the founder of the radical group MOVE, and was worried that members of the group might carry out threats they had made to kill him. While other former members of MOVE believe the group is responsible, and current members assert in turn that the murder was either faked or that the government did it in an attempt to frame them, it has also been suggested that gambling debts were involved. No suspects have been identified.[187]
  • Jennifer Servo, 22, a TV news reporter, was found beaten and strangled in her Abilene, Texas, apartment on September 16, 2002. Police have suspected either her former boyfriend or a coworker she had begun a new relationship with, but so far lack the evidence to arrest either.[188]
  • On October 30, 2002, two gunmen went into a Queens, New York, recording studio and shot Jason Mizell, 37, better known as Jam Master Jay, a founding member of pioneering hip hop group Run-DMC, in the head at point-blank range; he died shortly thereafter.[189] While some suspects have been identified in the years since, no one has ever been prosecuted.
  • Bulgarian-born Australian mobster Nik Radev, 44, was shot fatally as he got out of his car April 15, 2003, in the Melbourne suburb of Coburg. Like many other Melbourne gangland killings, police believe it was related to his criminal activities, and suspect a rival drug dealer, but have not made any arrests.
  • The body of Molly Bish, 16, of Warren, Massachusetts, was found in woods near neighboring Palmer on June 9, 2003, almost three years after she was last seen by her mother when she dropped her off at her lifeguarding job. Several suspects have been investigated, but no arrests have been made.[190]
  • South African memoirist and socialite Hazel Crane, 52, a close friend of Winnie Mandela, was shot and killed on November 10, 2003, in her car while traveling to Johannesburg, where she was expected to testify in the trial of an Israeli man accused of killing her husband. She was the third witness in that trial to be killed; the case remains unsolved.
  • Retired Major League Baseball outfielder Iván Calderón, 41, was shot in the back several times outside a bar in his native Puerto Rico on December 27, 2003. No suspects have ever been identified.
  • John Whitehead, 55, half of the McFadden & Whitehead songwriting team, was shot fatally while fixing a car outside his Philadelphia home on May 11, 2004. It may have been a case of mistaken identity; however, no suspects have been named.
  • Lindsay Cutshall, 22, and her fiancé Jason S. Allen, 26, both counselors at a nearby Christian summer camp, were found shot dead on a public beach near Jenner, California, on August 18, 2004. The autopsy established that they had died around three days earlier. Two possible suspects have been named; one is in prison for another murder committed around the same time and the other died in 2009. The investigation continues.[191]
  • The body of a 2-year-old boy found wrapped in a blanket off an interstate highway near Naperville in DuPage County, Illinois, on 8 October 2005, was identified six years later as Atcel Olmedo. The exact cause of death was impossible to determine due to the condition of his remains, but it appeared he had been severely beaten. His mother and stepfather are considered possible suspects; they are believed to have returned to Mexico.
  • The Jeff Davis 8: Eight women, all involved in prostitution and/or drugs, were found dead in Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana, between 2005 and 2009. Investigators initially believed they were murdered by a serial killer, but reporting by Ethan Brown has suggested instead that there are multiple suspects, and local law enforcement personnel may be complicit.[192]
  • South African businessman Brett Kebble, 41, was fatally shot in his car on 27 September 2005 while driving along Johannesburg's M1 motorway to a dinner engagement. The bullets used were a special low-powered type normally used by bodyguards and security personnel to reduce the likelihood of injuries to people other than those targeted. Another South African businessman, Glenn Agliotti, was charged with the crime a year later but acquitted in 2010 when the court hearing the case ruled that the state had not presented a case against him strong enough to require trial. No other suspects have ever been named.
  • Mario Condello, 53, a member of the Australian Mafia, was fatally shot in the driveway of his Brighton home on 6 February 2006, the day before he was to stand trial for plotting to murder another mob boss, Carl Williams.[193] While Williams would later be convicted of in turn conspiring to have Condello murdered, and police believe the killer was a hit man currently in prison for another killing, the murder officially remains unsolved.
  • Robert Wone, age 32, was murdered on 2 August 2006, in his friend's Washington, D.C., apartment. He was "restrained, incapacitated, and sexually assaulted" prior to his death. The only individuals present in the apartment at the time were its three residents, all friends of Wone. They have denied involvement and insisted that an intruder committed the crime. Authorities claim that there was no evidence of a break-in: the apartment appeared to be washed and cleaned, the three residents appeared freshly showered, and the evidence was not consistent with the residents' accounts. In addition, the residents tampered with the crime scene, waited an inordinate amount of time to call 911, and exhibited strange behavior when paramedics and police arrived. Authorities believe that either some or all of the three house-mates murdered Wone and engaged in a cover-up.[194][195]
  • The unidentified body of Lavender Doe was found on 6 October 2006 in Kilgore, Texas. She died shortly before she was found, but was not recognizable because her body had been badly burned.[196]
  • Bryan Pata, 22, a defensive lineman for the University of Miami football team, was shot dead outside his apartment on November 7, 2006. No suspects have been identified.[197]
  • Helen Hill, 36, animator, was shot fatally during an attempted robbery of her home in the Faubourg Marigny section of New Orleans on January 4, 2007. Her death was one of six murders in the city that day, which inspired a protest march demanding a safer city in the wake of the disruptions caused by Hurricane Katrina. No suspect has ever been identified.[198]
  • During a 19 February 2007, convoy to the Central American Parliament in Guatemala city, one car carrying three ARENA party members of the El Salvadoran Congress, abruptly left the others for a dirt road near El Jocotillo. The burnt and tortured bodies of all three, along with their driver, were found in the vehicle a short distance away the following day. Four Guatemalan police officers were arrested shortly afterwards, but then were killed in prison two weeks later. Attempts to further investigate the crimes have resulted in either acquittals of suspects or the murders of investigating officials.
  • Frank Newbery was beaten to death inside his convenience store at Cooks Hill, Australia.[199]
  • Colorado marijuana activist Ken Gorman, 51, was shot and killed in his home on 17 February 2007. The case remains open.
  • On the morning of 21 July 2007, the strangled body of Snehal Gaware, 27, was found in a drawer under her bed in her home in the Mumbai suburb of Dombivili. It was believed she had been killed the previous day. Her boyfriend was charged with her murder, but acquitted in 2011 after the case against him was found lacking. No other suspects have ever been named.
  • Almost a month after she was last seen being forced into a van at a Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia wet market, the body of 8-year-old Nurin Jazlin was found stuffed in a bag outside a Petaling Jaya shop. She had apparently died hours earlier of a bacterial infection resulting from injuries sustained during a sexual assault. Several suspects were arrested but eventually released for lack of evidence; police have released a CCTV video showing the body being discarded by a motorcyclist, as well as several other people who may have been involved. However, they have not been able to identify any of them.
  • Paul Quinn, 21, died on 20 October 2007 in Drogheda, Ireland, after being beaten with farm implements by a group of people with such length and severity as to break every major bone in his body. It is believed his death was the result of a feud with local IRA members. No suspects have been named.
  • John Pezzenti, 55, a wildlife photographer, was found shot dead in his Anchorage, Alaska, apartment December 3, 2007. Neither a motive nor a suspect has emerged from the investigation.
  • Lane Bryant shooting – on 2 February 2008, a gunman trying to rob a Lane Bryant store in the Brookside Marketplace in Tinley Park, Illinois killed five women (a manager and four customers). The shooter has not been apprehended, although police do not consider it a "cold case" yet.[200]
  • On that same date, in Saanich, British Columbia, real-estate agent Lindsay Buziak, 25, was stabbed 40 times while showing a house to an unknown couple described as speaking accented English. Her boyfriend, whom she had expressed reservations about the viewing to, since the couple had claimed to have been referred to her by a coworker who was unreachable at the time, had been waiting outside for part of the time, was taken into custody along with a friend but later cleared. Police believe the attack was a professional hit since Buziak was stabbed from behind without any defensive wounds and the couple had made the appointment with a disposable cell phone. The investigation is continuing.
  • Aarushi Talwar, 13, and Hemraj Banjade, 45, were murdered on the night of 15–16 May 2008 at Aarushi's home in Noida, India. Aarushi's parents were first suspected and charged, but the charges were dropped and their domestic servants became suspects. Then her parents were again charged, and were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment, but were exonerated after an appeal in the High Court. No other arrests have been made and the murderer is unknown.[201]
  • Malalai Kakar, 41, the highest-ranking woman in the Afghan police force, was shot and killed by an unknown assassin while leaving her Kandahar home for work on 28 September 2008. No suspects have been officially named although it is believed that the Taliban may be connected to the crime.
  • The Fond du Lac County Jane Doe, found on 23 November 2008 in Ashford, Wisconsin. No arrests have been made and her body has never been identified.[202]


  • Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, 52, a senior military commander of the Palestinian radical group Hamas and cofounder of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, its military wing, was found dead in his Dubai hotel room on January 19, 2010. Initially his death was thought to be from natural causes, and Hamas, in a public statement, attributed it to cancer, but later investigation showed that he had been injected with suxamethonium chloride to paralyze him and then suffocated with a pillow. The Dubai police circulated pictures of 20 guests and visitors believed to have been associated with the killing, whom they suggested were operatives of Israel's foreign intelligence service, the Mossad. Many had entered the United Arab Emirates on forged passports from other Western countries; the disclosures caused diplomatic tensions between those countries and Israel but did not lead to any public arrests or identifications.[203]
  • Lorenzo González Cacho, 8, of Dorado, Puerto Rico, was pronounced dead on arrival at a clinic his mother brought him to on March 9, 2010. She claimed his injuries had resulted from a fall from bed; this was contradicted by an autopsy which revealed severe facial and head wounds, as well as some stabbing injuries. She and several other people in the house at the time have been publicly identified as suspects, but not charged.[204]
  • The body of Namibian schoolgirl Magdalena Stoffels, 17, was found in a river near Windhoek on July 27, 2010; she had been raped and then murdered. Police arrested a local man they found washing some clothing in a nearby portion of the river shortly afterward and charged him with the crime due to scratches on his body and what they believed were bloodstains on the clothing. A year later, he was released because the forensic evidence did not provide any stronger link to the crime. The investigation is continuing.
  • The badly decomposed body of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright, 34, was found in woods near his Collierville, Tennessee, home on July 28, 2010, ten days after he had last been seen, with several gunshot wounds. Records showed that his cell phone had been used to make a 9-1-1 call that was interrupted by gunshots shortly after he disappeared; it had not lasted long enough for its location to be fully established. The case remains unsolved. However, in December 2017, over seven years after his death, Wright's ex-wife Sherra Wright-Robinson was charged with his murder.
  • A worker at a landfill outside Wilmington, Delaware, spotted the body of John P. Wheeler III, 66, founder of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, contract employee of Mitre Corp., and an official who had served in the Department of Defense under Republican administrations, in some waste being unloaded on December 31, 2010. He had been beaten to death sometime after being seen at an intersection downtown the preceding afternoon; witnesses who had seen him in various locations around Wilmington over the previous two days said he had appeared somewhat confused and disoriented but sober, claiming at one point to have been robbed, but refused offers of help. He was reportedly involved in a feud with a neighbor and may have been involved in an attempted arson; no suspects have emerged.[205]
  • Muzafar Bhutto, 41, a Sindhi nationalist politician in Pakistan, was last seen alive February 24, 2011. His body, with many gunshot wounds, was found near a Hyderabad bypass fourteen months later. No suspects have been officially identified.
  • On the afternoon of September 12, 2011, Brendan Mess, Erik Weissman, and Raphael Teken were found with their throats cut almost to the point of decapitation in different rooms of Mess's Waltham, Massachusetts apartment, their bodies sprinkled with $5,000 in cash and seven pounds of marijuana, an amount having an even higher street value at the time, suggesting robbery had not been the motive. It was determined that the three had been killed the previous evening. After Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed by police following the Boston Marathon bombing a year and a half later, which his brother Dzhokhar was later convicted of perpetrating, it was disclosed that he had been suspected of involvement in the Waltham murders, due in part to his acquaintanceship with one of the victims. Ibragim Todashev, another friend of Tsarnaev's who had been suspected of involvement, was killed when he reacted violently during an FBI interrogation shortly after the bombings. Police still suspect Dzhokhar, sentenced to death in 2015 for his role in the bombings, of being involved as well, but have not formally charged him.
  • Married Bangladeshi journalists Sagar Sarowar and Meherun Runi, both 27, were found stabbed to death in their Dhaka apartment on February 11, 2012. Their deaths, of all the many murders of journalists in the country, drew protests and public outrage both in Bangladesh and abroad. Both were working on stories at the time that could have led to violent reprisals. The government initially promised to have suspects in custody within days, but to date no arrests have been made.
  • Bashir Ahmed Qureshi, 54, another Sindhi nationalist leader, suddenly collapsed during a dinner with members of his party on April 7, 2012 in Sakrand, Pakistan. He died in hospital early the next morning. A week later, pathologists announced that he had been poisoned with phosphorus and ruled his death a murder; no suspects have been identified.
  • The person or persons behind the Annecy shootings, in which an Iraqi-born British engineer, several of his family members, and a French cyclist were murdered at a campsite in the French Alps on September 5, 2012, have never been identified officially, and the case remains under investigation.
  • The body of Faith Hedgepeth, 19, an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was found in her apartment on the morning of September 7, 2012; she had been sexually assaulted and beaten to death sometime in the preceding seven hours. Most records pertaining to the investigation were kept under seal for two years; when they were finally released they revealed some evidence that might help identify the killer, including a note and an accidentally-recorded voicemail conversation.[206] In 2016, the police released an image, based on DNA evidence left at the scene, of what the suspect might look like, after the DNA cleared two early suspects. The investigation is continuing.[207]
  • Keith Ratliff, 32, producer of the popular YouTube gun-enthusiast channel FPSRussia, was found dead from a gunshot wound to the head in his custom gun shop in Carnesville, Georgia, on the evening of January 3, 2013, about 24 hours after he had last been seen alive. Police believe he knew his killer, as none of his guns were taken or used to kill him, and he would have only allowed an acquaintance to get close enough to him to do it. The investigation is continuing.[208]
  • In the early morning hours of January 11, 2013, Paris police forced their way into a local Kurdish information center, where they found the bodies of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) members Sakine Cansız, 55, Fidan Doğan, 33 and Leyla Söylemez, a younger woman. They had last been seen in the office where they were found the previous afternoon. Nothing had been taken, all were shot execution-style, and the killer or killers locked the door after leaving, suggesting that someone acquainted with at least one of the victims committed the crime with the intention of killing all three.
  • Irish police detective Adrian Donohoe, 41, was shot fatally when ambushed by an armed gang which then robbed a credit union in Bellurgan, County Louth on the morning of January 26, 2013; he was the first Garda Síochána officer killed in the line of duty since 1996. No arrests have been made although the Garda have several suspects, all but one of whom have fled the country; the other is in prison on unrelated charges.
  • An explosion at a fertilizer factory in West, Texas, on April 27, 2013 killed fifteen people. After an investigation that took almost three years, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced that the cause was an ammonium nitrate fire that had been deliberately set, although this finding has been disputed. No suspects have been named.
  • Two members of Greece's right-wing Golden Dawn political party were shot by passing motorcyclists and killed outside the party's offices in the Athens suburn of Neo Irakleio on November 1, 2013. A leftist organization claimed the attack was retaliation for the murder of an antifascist rapper several weeks earlier for which another Golden Dawn member is facing charges. The investigation is continuing.
  • Crimean Tatar activist Reşat Amet, 39, was abducted during a March 3, 2014 protest against the recent Russian military occupation of the peninsula in Simferopol. His bound, beaten and stabbed body was found 12 days later in a forest 60 kilometres (37 mi) away. No arrests have been made.
  • Rapper The Jacka, 37, born Dominick Newton, was shot to death along an Oakland, California, street on February 2, 2015. Police have not identified any suspects.
  • Kenyan investigative journalist John Kituyi, 63, was attacked and beaten fatally by two assailants on motorcycles while walking home from work on April 30, 2015. A man was later arrested and charged with robbery after Kituyi's mobile phone SIM card was found in his possession, but no suspects have been identified in the murder.
  • Gerard Davison, 47, a commander in the Provisional IRA, was shot dead on the morning of May 5, 2015 on Welch Street in Belfast. No suspects have been named although press reports speculate that he may have been killed by fellow Irish nationalists who had a grudge against him.
  • Lionel Pickens, 31, better known as rapper Chinx, was fatally wounded during a drive-by shooting in Queens, New York on May 17, 2015. The investigation is continuing.
  • Overnight between April 21 and 22, 2016, eight members of the Rhoden family, one of them a teenage boy, were shot and killed in four different residences in Pike County, Ohio; children in the residences were spared. Police believe the victims knew their killers; evidence at the scenes suggested some of them were involved in growing marijuana and cockfighting, which could have been a motive for murder. The investigation, possibly the largest in the state's history, is continuing.[209]
  • Seth Rich, 27, a Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer, was found with two gunshot wounds in his back shortly before dawn on July 10, 2016, near his home in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C.. He never regained consciousness and died later in the hospital. Police have attributed his death to a botched robbery attempt; his wristwatch band was torn but nothing else was taken from him, and there were signs of a struggle.[210] Conspiracy theorists have claimed he was murdered for leaking DNC emails to WikiLeaks.[211]
  • On February 14, 2017, police found the bodies of Abigail Williams and Liberty German, aged 13 and 14, on a Delphi, Indiana, hiking trail where they had last been seen the day before; they have not disclosed how the girls died but have called it a homicide. An image and audio recording of a possible suspect were found on one of their cell phones; despite being widely disseminated he has not been identified publicly.[212]

Unsolved serial killer murders





Suspected serial killers

  • John Bodkin Adams, a physician suspected of being a serial killer in England. One alleged victim, Gertrude Hullett, was found to have committed suicide at the inquest in 1956, but Dr. Adams was indicted for her murder the following year. The case was then dropped by the prosecution via a nolle prosequi, an action described by the judge as an "abuse of process".

Other unsolved deaths

Before 1899

  • Margaret Hanmer (49–50), 1420, was the wife of Owain Glyndŵr[213] is said to have died, yet her death was never recorded and her body was never found.
  • A mummified man found high in the Alps at the Austrian-Italian border in 1991, later named Ötzi, is believed to have died in the 31st–32nd centuries B.C. For ten years after the discovery his death was attributed to hypothermia; however later X-rays found an arrowhead lodged in his shoulder, matching a small tear on his coat. The wound would likely have been fatal even today, but the body shows evidence of other blunt force trauma, including a blow to the head which most likely killed him. The blood of four other individuals was also found on his effects. Theories of his death now include murder, battle, or a mercy killing when his injuries proved untreatable. It has also been suggested that his body was moved there after his death, or after the injuries.
  • Alexander the Great died in 323 B.C. after a short illness. Exactly what the illness was is a subject of debate; some historians believe there is a possibility he was poisoned.
  • King William II of England, 1100, killed by an arrow while hunting; it may not have been an accident.
  • Colorado rancher Gottlieb Fluhmann, 55, was last seen alive in 1892. His disappearance was not resolved until his bones were found in a secluded Park County cave in 1944; the cause of his death could not be determined.


  • Death of Rudolf Diesel, 1913, the place is unknown and many theories are given about Diesel's death. He disappeared in the English Channel and was found dead at sea ten days later.
  • Silent film actress Virginia Rappe, 26, was found to have died of peritonitis due to a ruptured bladder following her death on September 9, 1921. While this could have been the result of some of her ongoing health problems, such as cystitis, or complications from a recent abortion (illegal at the time and thus very dangerous), Maude Delmont, an acquaintance, told San Francisco police that star film comedian Fatty Arbuckle had sexually assaulted Rappe during a Labor Day party in his suite at the St. Francis Hotel, another possible cause of the ruptured bladder. Arbuckle was charged with rape and involuntary manslaughter. Delmont did not testify against him at trial due to her criminal background; some prosecution witnesses admitted on the stand they had been pressured to change their testimony, and Arbuckle's defense also brought to light Rappe's health issues and history of promiscuity and alcohol consumption. After two hung juries, he was acquitted; however, his career was effectively ended by the negative publicity the case attracted. Whether Rappe's death was the result of nonconsensual sexual activity is still a matter of historical debate.


  • Rudolf Steiner, Austrian esotericist who developed anthroposophy and Waldorf education, died from illness on 30 March 1925, but the nature of the illness was never confirmed and remains controversial, with theories suggesting cancer or poisoning as the most probable causes.
  • Ottavio Bottecchia, 1927, Italian cyclist, was found by the side of a road, covered with bruises and with a serious skull fracture. His bicycle was undamaged, propped against a nearby tree. He was taken to a hospital but died soon afterwards. An official inquiry concluded accidental death but many suspected that he had run afoul of the powerful and growing fascist movement in Italy at the time.
  • Cuban rumba dancer José Rosario Oviedo, known as Malanga, died at the age of 42 in 1927. The exact circumstances under which he died have never been known for certain. One common account has it that he was murdered after a dance contest through broken glass hidden in his food, but no death certificate was ever filed and the location of his grave is unknown.
  • Starr Faithfull, 1931, a Greenwich Village flapper, was found drowned on the beach at Long Beach, Nassau County, New York on 8 June. Although Faithfull had left a suicide note, her family contended that she was murdered by wealthy politician Andrew James Peters, former Mayor of Boston, who had allegedly sexually abused Faithfull for years beginning when she was 11 years old and paid the Faithfulls to keep silent about it. Despite a lengthy investigation, it was never determined whether Faithfull's death was homicide, suicide, or accident.
  • The body of Princeton University undergraduate Jay Ferdinand Towner (23), was found on campus shortly after a 11 November 1933, football game. He had suffered broken wrists and severe internal injuries. His death was variously attributed to a fall suffered in the stands during the game or a car accident amid conflicting accounts of his whereabouts prior to his death; its exact cause has never been determined.
  • Early blues guitarist Robert Johnson (27), died on 16 August 1938, near Greenwood, Mississippi. The cause was not officially recorded. He was reportedly in extreme pain and suffering from convulsions; this has led to theories he had been poisoned with strychnine by a jealous husband; however, the alleged poisoning is said to have taken place several days earlier and most strychnine deaths take place within hours of ingestion. Another report claims he died of syphilis or pneumonia. The uncertain location of his gravesite has made it impossible to exhume his body for further investigation.
  • King Ananda Mahidol of Thailand, 1946. Died of gunshot wounds; suicide, accident or assassination.
  • Władysław Sikorski (62), prime minister of the Polish Government in exile, was among 16 people killed 4 July 1943 when their plane crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from a British base in Gibraltar. The plane had not managed to gain sufficient altitude due to its elevators being prevented from working properly; British investigators found the cause was most likely an accident while their Polish counterparts called it undetermined.[214] The bodies of Sikorski's daughter, chief of staff and other key aides purportedly on the plane were never found,[215] and the plane's only survivor, the pilot, had uncharacteristically worn his life preserver in the cockpit.[216] Sabotage and a possible assassination have been suspected, with the Nazis, Soviets, British or even rival factions in the Polish government in exile theorized to have been involved. Poland reopened the case in 2008; an exhumation of Sikorski's body found his injuries consistent with death from an air crash, ruling out some theories that he had been killed before being put on the plane, but the investigators still could not rule out the possibility of sabotage.[217] British files on the case will remain sealed until 2050.[218]
  • The Trow Ghyll skeleton, discovered in a cave in rural north Yorkshire, England in 1947, remains unidentified. The death probably occurred in 1941; the fact that the body was discovered with a glass bottle of cyanide has led to speculation that it was someone connected with espionage.
  • Jan Masaryk, 1948, son of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk; Czech diplomat, politician and Foreign Minister of Czechoslovakia, was found dead in the courtyard of the Foreign Ministry below his bathroom window. The initial investigation concluded that he committed suicide by jumping out of the window, although many are convinced that he was pushed.
  • Sadanori Shimoyama, 1948, first director of Japanese National Railways, was last seen leaving his official car to go into a department store on his way to work the morning of July 5 of that year. Others reported seeing him at various train stations, and walking along one line, that afternoon. His dismembered body was found at noon the next day on the Jōban Line. It had indisputably gotten that way as a result of being struck by a train, but the autopsy suggested he had died before being struck. That conclusion has been disputed, and whether his death was a suicide or murder remains undetermined.


  • Indian politician Syama Prasad Mukherjee, 52, died in a prison hospital 23 June 1953 one and a half months after his arrest for attempting to enter Jammu and Kashmir without a permit. The exact cause of death has never been disclosed; Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, whose government Mukherjee had resigned from in protest over Nehru's decision to normalise relations with Pakistan despite that country's treatment of its Hindu population, said at the time he made inquiries and was satisfied that his former minister's death was due to natural causes; speculation has continued that Mukherjee was actually murdered due to some unusual circumstances of his arrest and treatment.
  • The Dyatlov Pass incident was the death of nine hikers on the Kholat Syakhl mountain in the northern Ural Mountains range on 2 February 1959; all the bodies were not recovered until that May. While most of the victims were found to have died of hypothermia after apparently abandoning their tent high on an exposed mountainside, two had fractured skulls, two had broken ribs, and one was missing her tongue. After testing, the clothing of some of the victims was found to be highly radioactive. There were no witnesses or survivors to provide any testimony, and the cause of death was listed as a "compelling natural force", most likely an avalanche, by Soviet investigators.[219]
  • Dr Gilbert Stanley Bogle, 39, and Margaret Olive Chandler, 29, were found dead, both partially undressed, near the banks of the Lane Cove River in Sydney, Australia, on 1 January 1963. Their bluish pallor and the presence of vomit and excrement led to a finding that they had been poisoned, but the coroner was unable to determine what the toxin was. It was suspected they had been murdered (possibly by Chandler's husband) although no suspect has ever been identified. A 2006 TV documentary suggested their deaths were not due to foul play but the result of hydrogen sulfide gas leaking from the river bed and reaching dangerously high concentrations in the low-lying depressions where their bodies were found.
  • Lead Masks Case in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1966.
  • Oakland, California, police officer John Frey was fatally shot on the morning of October 28, 1969, during a traffic stop where he had pulled over Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton, who was wounded in the shootout and convicted of voluntary manslaughter the following year. The gun Newton purportedly used was never found, and following two hung juries after the conviction was overturned on appeal in 1970 the district attorney's office announced it would not try him a fourth time. Newton suggested that Frey may have been shot by his partner; there has been no new investigation to determine whether this was the case and whether this was an accident.
  • Joan Robinson Hill, 1969, Texas socialite. At first ruled to have died of influenza following a brief hospitalization on March 19, suspicions were aroused when her body was released to the funeral home and embalmed before a legally required autopsy could be carried out. Despite the compromised evidence, three autopsies, all with their own irregularities, were performed and her husband John eventually became the only person indicted by a Texas grand jury for murder by omission, or failing to take proper action in the face of a life-threatening situation. The first attempt to prosecute him ended in a mistrial in 1972; he was murdered before he could be retried and the gunman who was suspected of his murder died in a police shootout. Two other alleged accomplices were later convicted.
  • The arson attack on the retirement home of the Jewish Community of Munich on February 13, 1970 killed seven Jewish residents, among them two concentration camp survivors. Several indications and assumptions of the Federal Prosecutor that a left-wing radical group committed the act could not be proven, leaving the attack unsolved.[220]
  • Ronald Hughes was an American attorney who disappeared while on a camping trip in November 1970. His body was found in March 1971, but his cause of death could not be determined.
  • Isdal Woman, a partially charred unidentified corpse found on 29 November 1970, hidden off a hiking trail near Bergen, Norway.The official conclusion that her death was a suicide has not been widely accepted, since some believed she was murdered.[221] Her identity remains unknown and is considered one of Norway's most profound mysteries, the case has been the subject of intense speculation for many years.[222] Multiple investigations point to the possibility that she was a spy.[223]
  • Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, who had during the 1950s published the smuggled manuscript of Boris Pasternak's novel Doctor Zhivago but later became a left-wing militant during Italy's Years of Lead, was found dead at the base of a power-line transmission tower outside Segrate, near his native Milan, on 15 March 1972. It was believed that he had died when a bomb he was attempting to plant on the tower went off, and later testimony by other members of the Red Brigades supported this. However, the death was always viewed suspiciously, and in the 2010s forensic reports surfaced that suggested he had been tied to the tower before the bomb went off, with various intelligence agencies insides and outside of Italy suspected of responsibility.
  • Nuclear power whistleblower Karen Silkwood died in a car accident on 13 November 1974, while driving to a meeting with a New York Times reporter in Oklahoma City. Whether that accident involved another vehicle, which may even have deliberately run her off the road, or resulted from her own fatigue remains a matter of debate.


  • Theresa Allore (19), a student at Champlain College Lennoxville in Quebec, was last seen alive in a campus dining hall on November 3, 1978. When her body was found in a nearby pond five months later, police, who had initially believed she had run away when the college had not reported her missing until a week after her disappearance, suggested that she had overdosed on drugs, but never officially announced a cause of death. Bruises on the body and strangulation marks on her neck, whose existence was not made public until 2002, have led to theories that she was instead murdered. A 2001 reopening of the case was hindered when it was found that most of the original physical evidence, including clothing that purportedly belonged to Allore found near the body, had been destroyed in the interim.
  • On 24 March 1979, two boys playing near Ayer's Cliff, Quebec, found the frozen body of Manon Dubé, 10, who had disappeared from her Sherbrooke home, 50 kilometres (31 mi) to the north, four months earlier. Other than a small cut on her face which could have been caused by the ice she was encased in, there were no signs of any kind of violence, and investigators were unable to determine a cause of death. A reopening of the case in 2001 found that most of the original physical evidence had been destroyed; journalists have suggested she might have been murdered by the same person who may have killed Theresa Allore around that time.
  • Marcia Moore (50), a writer on yoga and astrology, disappeared near her home in the Seattle, Washington, area during winter 1979. Her skeletal remains were found in nearby woods in 1981. It has been presumed in the absence of any evidence that would more conclusively establish a cause of death, that she died of hypothermia while wandering the woods under the influence of ketamine, a drug whose use she had promoted. However, true-crime writer Anne Rule, a friend, says what appeared to be a bullet hole was found in her jawbone, although authorities said it could just as easily have been a result of the bone decaying during the cold winters. Officially the cause of Moore's death remains undetermined.
  • On November 29, 1981, actress Natalie Wood, who had been boating with her husband Robert Wagner and fellow actor Christopher Walken, was found drowned near Santa Catalina Island, California. While that has always been accepted as the direct cause of her death, the circumstances under which she went into the water have never been clear, and after reopening the investigation in 2012 the coroner changed the cause of death from "accident" to "undetermined", based on cuts and bruises on her body that may or may not have been suffered before her death.[224] In 2018, Wagner was identified as a person of interest.[225]
  • Eduardo Frei Montalva, 1982, president of Chile from 1964 to 1970. As of 2005, his death is being investigated because of allegations that he was poisoned.
  • The cause of death of the baby born to Joanne Hayes in Ireland's 1984 Kerry Babies case was never established.
  • On 7 March 1983, East German football player Lutz Eigendorf died after being involved in a suspicious car accident two days earlier in Braunschweig. The circumstances of his death remain controversial as there is speculation that he was assassinated by the Stasi. Apparently, a large truck had blinded him by turning on its main headlights just as Eigendorf was approaching a curve, causing him to crash his car into a tree. Eigendorf had fled to West Germany by escaping from the rest of the team of his then club BFC Dynamo in West Germany in 1979 and started playing for 1. FC Kaiserslautern before joining Eintracht Braunschweig in 1982. On 10 February 2010, a former East German spy revealed that the Stasi had ordered him to kill Eigendorf, which he claimed not to have done.[226]
  • On 11 October 1987, German politician Uwe Barschel (CDU) was found dead in a bathtub filled with water in his room at the Hotel Beau-Rivage in Geneva, Switzerland. He was fully clothed. Among others, the drug Lorazepam was found in his system. Until today, the cause of his death remains undetermined and controversial, with both suicide and murder considered possible explanations and the case still being investigated in both directions.
  • Whether the 17 August 1988 plane crash that killed Pakistani president Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, 64, the country's longest-serving leader, and 30 others including the country's top military leaders and the U.S. ambassador, was an accident or deliberate, the result of sabotage or a shootdown, is a matter of debate. American investigators came to the former conclusion, while their Pakistani counterparts produced a report reaching the latter. Theories as to responsibility if it were an act of malice have put the blame on a number of domestic and foreign actors.
  • Zviad Gamsakhurdia former president of Georgia, died in 1993 from circumstances that remain very unclear. It is known that he died in the village of Khibula in the Samegrelo region of western Georgia.
  • On 1 May 1994, Brazilian three times Formula One champion Ayrton Senna died by crashing into a concrete barrier during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, but the exact circumstances of his death as to why and how it happened were never fully established and remain controversial, with theories suggesting either technical failure due to a broken steering column, low tyre pressure or material fatigue, construction defects in his car or a driver error. It is also unproven if he died on impact or later in hospital.
  • Screenwriter Gary DeVore (55), left Santa Fe, New Mexico, on 28 June 1997, for Hollywood to drop off his final draft of the script for a remake of The Big Steal, a 1949 film about, in part, a man who stages his own disappearance. He never arrived, and was considered missing for a year until his body was found in his car in the California Aqueduct. Its hands were missing, and it did not appear from the position in which it was found that the car had gone into the waterway after an accident. No cause of death has been conclusively established.
  • Yves Godard was a French doctor who disappeared from a sailing boat with his two children in 1999. Several years later, bones belonging to Dr Godard and his daughter were discovered in the English Channel. No trace of his son or his wife (the latter did not go on the sailing trip) has ever been found, nor has any trace of the boat. Prosecutors believe Dr Godard probably murdered his family before committing suicide at sea, but they also acknowledge that they are not certain of this.


  • Rodney Marks, 32, an Australian astrophysicist, died of a sudden illness on 12 May 2000 at Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica. It was not possible for his body to be flown to New Zealand and autopsied until after the Antarctic winter ended six months later; the cause of death was found to have been methanol poisoning. Suicide was ruled out as he did not seem to have a motive and had readily sought treatment for his apparent illness, nor did an accidental overdose seem likely either as there was plenty of alcoholic drink available for consumption at the base should he have wanted it. The New Zealand police believed instead that the methanol had been "unknowingly" introduced into Marks' system, but could not conclusively call the case a homicide. Further investigation has been frustrated by the refusal of American agencies to share their findings, the global dispersal of researchers and personnel at the base that winter, the 2006 disappearance of the doctor who treated Marks, and the loss of any possible crime-scene evidence during the winter after Marks' death.
  • On 11 August 2001, British musician Paul Cunniffe, 40, formerly of the bands Blaze X and the Saw Doctors, died in a fall in the London neighborhood of Whitechapel. The circumstances that led to the fall, or even exactly where it occurred, however, remain unknown. His is one of several deaths among friends and acquaintances of Pete Doherty.[227]
  • Abu Nidal, 65, Palestinian terrorist leader behind the 1985 Rome and Vienna airport attacks, already suffering from leukemia, was reported to have died from a gunshot wound in Baghdad on 16 August 2002. Iraq's government at the time claimed his death was a suicide;[228] the Palestinians believe he was assassinated on Saddam Hussein's orders to prevent his possible capture during the American invasion of Iraq that began six months later.[229]
  • Jeremiah Duggan, 23, a British student studying in Paris, was found dead on a highway in Wiesbaden, Germany, early on 27 March 2003. The initial investigation concluded he had committed suicide by running into traffic. However, his mother, noting that he had called her in great distress over his involvement with the LaRouche movement, who may have discovered that he was British and Jewish, within an hour of his death, never accepted that theory, and a later investigation found evidence that the accident may have been staged to cover an earlier beating. The case was reopened in 2012 after extensive litigation in England, resulting in a change of the cause of death to "unexplained", with the note that Duggan may have been involved in some sort of "altercation" beforehand.[230]
  • Jürgen Möllemann, 57, German politician (FDP), died on 5 June 2003 in a parachuting incident at Marl-Lohmühle. His death was investigated by the Essen district attorney's office, which published a final report on 9 July 2003. While outside interference was ruled out, no definite verdict was reached on whether Möllemann committed suicide or had an accident. Shortly before his death, Möllemann, a passionate and experienced skydiver, had been confronted with allegations he had been involved in illegal arms deals and evaded taxes on millions of euros he allegedly earned from those activities. To enable a full investigation on these charges, the Bundestag lifted his parliamentary immunity on 5 June 2003 at 12:28, 22 minutes before his death. The tax evasion charges were dropped after his death.
  • Singer-songwriter Elliott Smith, 34, died of stab wounds inflicted in his Echo Park, California, home on October 21, 2003. His girlfriend claims she got out of the shower after an argument, having heard him scream, to find him with the knife sticking out of his chest, and found a short suicide note on a Post-It shortly thereafter. While he did indeed have a history of depression and addiction, friends say he was actively working to finish an album at the time and seemed optimistic. The coroner found the stab wounds were inconsistent with a suicide attempt but could not say it was a homicide either; the cause of the stabbing remains undetermined and has not been further investigated.[231]
  • Jonathan Luna, 38, an assistant U.S. attorney from Baltimore, was found dead of multiple stab wounds inflicted with his own penknife in Denver, Pennsylvania, on the morning of December 4, 2003, in a stream underneath his car, which had been driven there overnight from Baltimore. The FBI, which has jurisdiction over the possible murder of any U.S. federal employee, found that Luna had mounting financial problems and was facing an investigation over missing money at his office, considered it a suicide or botched attempt at staging a kidnapping. However, the Lancaster County coroner's office, pointing to evidence suggesting he had been abducted and someone else was driving for at least the final stage of his drive, ruled it a homicide and considers the case open.[232]
  • The coroner investigating the death of Richard Lancelyn Green, 51, a British Arthur Conan Doyle scholar who was found garrotted with a shoelace on his bed in his home on April 27, 2004, returned an open verdict. Many of his friends and family suspected homicide as he had complained of someone following him in his efforts to stop the auction of a cache of Doyle's personal papers that he believed to have been wrongfully acquired. However, despite suicide by garrotte being unusual and difficult, some investigators believed that he had followed the example of one of Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories in which a woman stages her suicide to look like a murder.
  • On October 4, 2006, the skeletonized remains of Frauke Liebs, 21, a student nurse, were found off a road near Lichtenau, Germany. She had last been seen leaving a bar on June 20, and called her roommate several times in the days afterwards indicating she would come home but was being vague about when or how. Police now believe she was being held against her will and might have been murdered, although the body was too decomposed to establish a cause of death.
  • Three years after the body of 44-year-old Corryn Rayney was found in the Perth suburb of Kings Park, Western Australia a week after her 7 May 2007 disappearance, her husband Lloyd was charged in her murder even though a cause of death had not been determined. A judge acquitted him at his 2012 trial, finding the largely circumstantial case was further compromised by police misconduct. The verdict was upheld on appeal the following year; Rayney and his lawyers have called for two known sex criminals to be investigated as well.
  • Barbara Precht's body was found on 29 November 2006 in Cincinnati, Ohio. She remained unidentified until November 2014. Her husband was located later on and is considered a person of interest in her death, which has unknown circumstances.[233]
  • Joyce Carol Vincent, 38, was found dead in her London flat in January 2006, two years after she had died, by which time the body had decomposed so much as to make identifying a cause of death impossible; her story was profiled in the 2011 documentary Dreams of a Life.[234]
  • Two-year-old Caylee Anthony, of Orlando, Florida, was reported missing by her grandmother in the summer of 2008, when she learned that her daughter Casey had not seen her in over a month. Casey claimed the girl had been kidnapped by a nanny and circumstantial evidence led to her arrest on murder charges that fall. A tip that could have led to the body's discovery in August was not fully acted upon until December; by then the body was so decomposed that it was impossible to establish how Caylee had died, although the coroner ruled it homicide. Casey Anthony, despite public sentiment strongly against her, was acquitted of the murder and child-abuse charges (but convicted of the lesser charges of lying to the police) after a heavily covered trial in 2011, where her lawyer claimed that Caylee had accidentally drowned in the family pool and Casey's domineering father had led a cover-up. Later, her father came forward with his own explanation: Casey had allegedly been known to drug Caylee to entice her to sleep so Casey could leave Caylee home alone and go out with friends for the evening. He alleges Casey or a friend accidentally overdosed Caylee, killing her, and in a panic, made up the kidnapping story as a cover.[235]
  • On 18 March 2007, Bob Woolmer, Pakistan's national cricket coach, was found dead in his hotel room after losing in the Cricket World Cup 2007 in the West Indies. Investigators at first ruled the death a suicide, but the jury that heard the inquest was not so sure and returned an open verdict.
  • On 3 September 2008, Jenny Böken, an 18-year-old female German Navy officer candidate, went overboard from the German Navy schooling ship Gorch Fock and fell into the North Sea north of Norderney. Her body was discovered 11 days later near Heligoland. The circumstances of her death were never fully determined and remain controversial, with accidental death, murder or suicide all being possible explanations. It was known that she had health restrictions, but it could not be determined whether they contributed to her death. The autopsy found no water in her lungs, suggesting that the cause of death was not drowning.


  • Skeletal remains found in a dry creek bed in California's Malibu Canyon on August 9, 2010, turned out to be those of Mitrice Richardson, 25. She had last been seen on the night of September 16, 2009 in the backyard of a former local television news anchor, after being arrested for marijuana possession and failure to pay the bill at a local restaurant where she had been acting strangely, behavior that investigating officers did not believe was caused by alcohol or drugs. The coroner has said her death did not appear to be a homicide, but the body was too decayed to determine the exact cause of death.[236]
  • On 23 August 2010, the partially decomposed body of Gareth Williams, 32, a Welsh mathematician who worked for British intelligence GCHQ, but who was seconded to MI6 at the time of his death, was found in a padlocked bag in the bathroom of a safe house in the London neighbourhood of Pimlico. It was determined he had been dead for about a week. Due to the nature of his work, the investigation had to withhold details of it and some other aspects from any material made public; his family and friends allege that the Metropolitan Police compromised and mishandled key forensic evidence in the early stages of their response. An initial investigation by the coroner's office concluded that the death was a homicide; a later re-investigation by the police claimed that it was instead an accident.
  • British citizen Lee Bradley Brown, 39, was arrested by Dubai police while on holiday there 6 April 2011 and charged with assault after an incident between him and a hotel maid; accounts of the circumstances differ. Held without bail, he died in custody six days later after, police claimed, being beaten by cellmates; later they said he had "thrown himself on the ground repeatedly." An autopsy, however, found instead that Brown had, under the influence of hashish, choked on his own vomit. British officials who were allowed to examine the body disputed that conclusion, saying they saw no evidence of choking or blunt force trauma; Dubai authorities have declined repeated requests to share evidence such as CCTV footage from the original incident and the police station that might clarify matters. A coroner's inquest in the UK that considered only the autopsy report and the diplomats' reports returned an open verdict.[237]
  • Exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, 67, was found dead in his home near Ascot, Berkshire on 23 March 2013. At first glance he had hanged himself; he had recently lost what remained of his fortune, and some other close friends had unexpectedly died, which had left him despondent. The police soon ruled the case a suicide, but at the inquest, Berezovsky's daughter, who believes her father was murdered at the behest of the Russian government, introduced a report by a German pathologist that cast enough doubt for the coroner to return an open verdict.[238]
  • On November 15–16, 2013, skeletal remains of two adults and child were found in a field outside Red Oak, Oklahoma. A year later they were identified as the Jamison family, who had gone missing in 2009 while looking into some land they wanted to purchase. Their abandoned pickup truck was three miles (4.8 km) from where their bodies were found. No cause of death has been determined.
  • The decomposing remains of Canadian journalist Dave Walker, 57, were found in Cambodia's Angkor temple complex on May 1, 2014, ending a search that began shortly after he failed to return to his hotel's guest house on the night of February 14. While the medical examiner concluded that he had died weeks earlier, the cause of Walker's death could not be determined.
  • Bone fragments found along the Rio Culebra near Boquete, Panama, in late June 2014 were matched to Lisanne Froon, 21, and Kristin Kremers, 22, of Amersfoort, the Netherlands. The two had last been seen alive on April 1, when they went for a hike on the popular Pianista trail. The women's cell phones, recovered along with their remains, showed that they had repeatedly attempted to contact emergency numbers shortly after taking pictures of themselves at the Continental Divide. Those calls had continued over several days, and the phones also contained almost a hundred photographs taken during the next 10 days, most of which were completely dark but some of which showed plants and rock formations in closeup. It was impossible to determine from the remains that were found how exactly they had died. Local officials believe the girls suffered an accidental injury shortly after getting lost in a network of trails in the region's cloud forests and got lost in the wilderness around Volcán Barú; however, Panamanian lawyers for their families have pointed to failings of the investigation and suggested that foul play might have been responsible.[239]
  • On June 27, 2014, the body of 20-year-old Andrew Sadek was recovered from the Red River near Breckenridge, Minnesota, with a small-caliber gunshot wound and a backpack full of rocks. He had last been seen by a security camera leaving his dorm at North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton around 2 a.m. on May 1. At the time of his disappearance he had been working as a confidential informant for local police as a result of his own arrest for selling marijuana on campus, which could otherwise have resulted in a long prison sentence. It has not been determined yet whether his death was suicide or murder. Like Rachel Hoffman's death, the case has been used as an example of the mishandling of youthful CIs by police.[240]
  • John Sheridan, 72, formerly New Jersey's Transportation Commissioner, was found dead in his Skillman home along with his wife Joyce on the morning of September 28, 2014. The bodies were in an upstairs bedroom where a fire had been set; they were found with multiple stab wounds. An original ruling of murder-suicide was changed to undetermined in 2017 after a court challenge by the couple's sons, motivated by complaints of mishandled evidence and some evidence suggesting the couple had been attacked by an intruder. The sons are currently calling for the investigation to be reopened.[241]
  • Alberto Nisman, 51, an Argentine federal prosecutor, was found dead in his apartment of a single gunshot wound to the head on January 18, 2015. He had been investigating the 1994 AMIA bombing, Argentina's deadliest terror attack, and had publicly accused President Cristina Kirchner and other high officials close to her of covering up for suspects in the case for foreign-policy reasons; he was scheduled to present these allegations to Congress the next day. While some of the circumstances of his death are consistent with an early statement that he committed suicide, friends and relatives say that he was eagerly looking ahead to his appearance before Congress and did not seem depressed or despondent at all. Kirchner has suggested the country's intelligence services were behind the killing, since he was about to expose their attempts to bring her down, and called for them to be dismantled. The case remains under investigation.[242]
  • On 22 April 2015, the body of Ambrose Ball, 30, of London, was recovered from the River Lea in Tottenham. He had last been seen leaving his vehicle following a single-car accident early on the morning of 24 January after visiting a local pub with friends. The body was too decomposed to determine a cause of death; police requested an adjournment of the inquest in order to further investigate, implying a murder charge was in the works. No charges were ever filed, and threats were later made against Ball's friends and family after they set up a Facebook page appealing for help from the public and questioning the conduct of the investigation.
  • On 20 April 2018, Swedish star DJ Tim Bergling, known as Avicii, was found dead in Oman, aged 28. A few days later, the police of Oman claimed to have found the cause of his death and ruled out criminal conduct, but kept the real cause secret. According to some media, he committed suicide by cutting himself with the shards of a wine glass,[243] but an official statement confirming the cause of death has yet to be published.

Date of death disputed

  • Raoul Wallenberg, a Swedish humanitarian who worked in Budapest, Hungary, was most likely executed in Russia in or around 1947 after being captured by the Red Army in 1945. His death is dated by Soviet authorities as 16 July 1947, but this is disputed, and the case remains unsolved.
  • In 1948, a German court ruled that Hans Kammler, 43 at the time, an engineer and SS commander who oversaw many Nazi construction projects including concentration camps and, later, the V-2 missile program, died on 9 May 1945 of what was later claimed to be suicide by cyanide poisoning. Some other accounts, however, have him being killed by his own side to prevent his capture during an attack by Czech resistance fighters; others suggest those accounts of his death were put out to cover his surrender to American forces, in whose custody he supposedly hanged himself two years later.

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