5 Unsolved Murder Cases Most People Probably Haven’t Heard Of

5 Unsolved Murder Cases Most People Probably Haven’t Heard Of

Patrick Lynch - February 9, 2017

For the amateur sleuth, few things are more compelling than examining unsolved murders. You get the chance to test out your detective skills and comprise various scenarios before finally coming to a conclusion. Most people know about Jack the Ripper, the Zodiac Killer, and the murder of the Black Dahlia as many pages have been written about these cases. However, countless lesser-known murders have yet to be solved, and in this article, I will cover 5 gripping mysteries.

1 – The Jamison Family Disappearance (2009)

Bobby Dale and Sherilyn Leighann Jamison disappeared on October 8, 2009, along with their 6-year-old daughter Madyson. Various theories ranging from violent cults to group suicide circulated until their bodies were finally found near Red Oak, Oklahoma on November 15-16, 2013. The remains were severely decomposed, so coroners were unable to ascertain a cause of death. The medical officer confirmed that the bodies belonged to the Jamison family on July 3, 2014.

5 Unsolved Murder Cases Most People Probably Haven’t Heard Of
The Jamison Family. News OK

The Jamisons lived in Eufaula, Oklahoma but wanted to purchase a plot of land 30 miles away near Red Oak. The 40-acre plot is located near the picturesque Sans Bois Mountains, and the idea was to relocate to a remote location far away from civilization. The family traveled to Red Oak to finalize the deal on October 8, 2009, but never returned. When no one heard from the family after eight days, relatives contacted the police, and a large search party combed the area.

They found the Jamison’s truck abandoned but locked at the side of a road. The family’s dog was inside and almost dead from starvation. Oddly enough, the vehicle also contained $32,000 in cash, cell phones, IDs and wallets, so robbery wasn’t the motive. The Latimer County Sheriff launched a huge search for the family but found nothing over the next eight months. In November 2013, hunters found the remains of two adults and a child lying side by side, face down on the ground almost 3 miles from the site of their abandoned truck.

Various theories about their deaths surfaced. For instance, there were suspicions that the Jamiso’s became drug addicts as they were unusually haggard and emaciated looking in the weeks leading to their deaths. Perhaps they died in a drug deal gone wrong? However, there was no trace of drug use in the truck, and surely a drug dealer would have stolen their cash? Another wild theory suggests the family was murdered by a violent cult.

A slightly more plausible theory relates to Bobby Dale’s bad relationship with his father, Bob. The son sued the father over profits from a gas station, and Bob allegedly had ties to the Mafia. Maybe he killed his son? The Jamisons supposedly had a tempestuous relationship; police found a nasty 11-page letter from Sherilyn to Bobby Dale in the truck, and her pistol was missing. This points to a potential murder-suicide.

Several oddities surround this case. First of all, how did over 100 searchers fail to find the bodies when they were less than 3 miles away? A murder-suicide is possible, but police surely would have found the gun near the bodies. The three bodies were found face down, side-by-side which would suggest an execution-style killing. This seems the most likely scenario, but the decomposed nature of the remains means the medical examiner couldn’t confirm any bullet wounds in the skulls of the victims. The murder of the Jamison family is officially a cold case and one unlikely to ever be solved.

5 Unsolved Murder Cases Most People Probably Haven’t Heard Of
Four known victims of the OCCK. Clickondetroit

2 – The Oakland County Child Killer (1976-1977)

This case relates to the murder of at least four children in Oakland County, Michigan from February 1976 to March 1977. Despite one of the largest police manhunts in American history, all four cases remain unsolved to this day. There were multiple child murders in the states of Michigan and Ohio before and after the Oakland County killings, but only four cases are directly tied to a probable serial killer.

12-year-old Mark Stebbins went missing on February 15, 1976, and his fully clothed body was found four days later. The victim was last seen leaving an American Legion Hall and heading home. Ligatures were found on his wrists, and the boy had been strangled and sodomized. 12-year-old Jill Robinson vanished on December 22, 1976, and her fully clothed body was found four days later. The victim had run away from home after an argument with her mother and took her bicycle. It was found behind a store the next day. Robinson had been shot in the face with a shotgun, and like Stebbins, she was neatly laid out in the snow.

The killer struck soon after as 10-year-old Kristine Mihelich disappeared on January 2, 1977. Her fully clothed body wasn’t found for 19 days, and the cause of death was suffocation. Once more, the corpse was laid out in the snow. 11-year-old Timothy King was the last known victim and he vanished on March 16, 1977. Two teenagers found the body six days later. King died from suffocation. Before the discovery, King’s father made a TV appeal to the killer, and King’s mother wrote a letter which said she hoped he returned home safely so he could have his favorite meal; Kentucky Fried Chicken. Examination of the boy’s body showed his last meal was fried chicken.

Given the time gap between the disappearance and discovery of the bodies and the fact they were fully clothed (and in some cases, the clothes were pressed and washed), it seems likely that the killer held the children hostage before murdering them. He must have read Marion King’s letter in the paper because it is too much of a coincidence that Timothy’s last meal happened to be fried chicken.

There was no shortage of suspects and investigators put together a profile based on the man Timothy King was speaking to on the day of his disappearance. It suggested the murderer was 25-35 years old, Caucasian, with sideburns and unkempt, scraggly hair. Dr. Bruce Danto was a psychiatrist working with the task force charged with finding the killer. He received a poorly spelled letter from someone named ‘Allen’ who claimed he was a slave to his roommate Frank; Allen said Frank was the killer, but after Danto had set up a meeting, Allen failed to show and never made contact with the doctor again.

Other suspects include Vince Gunnels, Christopher Busch, Arch Sloan and Ted Lamborgine. Busch is the most likely killer from the group, but he committed suicide in 1978. Timothy King’s father Barry believes his son was possibly the victim of a pedophile ring and not a single killer. After over four decades and no conclusive evidence, it seems as if the Oakland County Child Killer will never be brought to justice.

5 Unsolved Murder Cases Most People Probably Haven’t Heard Of
Stacy, Suzanne and Sherill. Stephanie Faris

3 – The Springfield Three (1992)

The disappearance of Stacy McCall, Suzanne Streeter, and her mother, Sherrill Levitt, on June 7, 1992, still baffles police and would-be detectives. The Springfield Three vanished from Levitt’s home in Springfield, Missouri and no trace of the trio has ever been found. They were probably abducted sometime between 2 a.m., and 8 a.m. because McCall and Streeter were seen at 2 a.m. when they left a graduation party, and a high school friend stopped by the house at 8 a.m. only to find it empty.

The friend was alarmed to find the front door wide open, and the front porch light was broken. This is the only evidence of foul play; the women’s purses and cigarettes were in the house, and the beds were slept in. This suggests a kidnap time significantly later than 2 a.m. The teenage girl heard the phone ring while in the house and answered it. On the other end was a man who made lewd comments. The girl hung up, but the man called again. For some reason, the girl didn’t call the police, and they only arrived on the scene when McCall’s mother, Janis, contacted them after coming to the empty house in the afternoon. Unfortunately, Janis accidentally deleted a message from the male caller that could have been vital evidence.

One of the biggest issues with this case is the enormous amount of crime scene contamination. The last house the two girls left on the night of their disappearance was that of Janelle Kirby. Along with her boyfriend, she cleaned the broken glass on the porch and threw it away; police recovered it later on. Friends of the girls came the following morning to search for them, so the crime scene was contaminated by anywhere between 6 and 20 people.

Police have made little progress on the case in almost 25 years despite receiving over 5,000 tips from the public. One witness claimed she saw a van on her street containing a very distressed-looking Streeter on the morning of the disappearance; she also heard a male voice telling the driver not to do anything stupid. Streeter’s ex-boyfriend, Dustin Recla, was a suspect as he had a criminal record. He fell out with Streeter after she gave a statement to police regarding some of Recla’s petty crimes.

A bank robber and kidnapper named Robert Craig Cox claims to know the killer, but will only disclose the information once his mother dies. One theory suggests the women are buried beneath Cox Hospital; it was being built when they disappeared. A mechanical engineer searched the area and confirmed ‘three anomalies’ in the ground similar to what he would find in a graveyard. Even though the engineer offered to pay for a core sample of the concrete, police rejected the idea.

Another theory states that the Springfield Three were kidnapped and murdered by a cop, or someone pretending to be one. How else could he lure three women outside and take them away without any struggle and with no witnesses? With this in mind, it is possible that the abductor posed as a utility worker and claimed the house had a gas leak. There is little chance that the three women will ever be found What happened to the Springfield Three?

5 Unsolved Murder Cases Most People Probably Haven’t Heard Of
The four Cabin 28 victims. KOLO

4 – The Keddie Murders (1981)

This is one of the most shocking unsolved mass slayings in American history. There were four victims (Glenna Sharp, her son John, daughter Tina, and John’s friend Dana Wingate). The murders took place in Cabin 28 in Keddie, California on April 11, 1981. Unlike many old homicide cases, police continue to look for the killer; mainly because new evidence came to light as recently as 2016.

Glenna Sharp had rented Cabin 28 since November 1980 and lived in the small community of Keddie with her five children. On the fateful night, she was in the cabin while her two youngest sons played with their friend in an adjacent room. Tina returned home at around 10 p.m. after spending the evening with neighbors in Cabin 27. The next morning, Sheila Sharp, Glenna’s 14-year-old daughter, found a shocking scene when she returned after a sleepover at a friend’s house.

Glenna, John, and Dana lay dead on the floor; all three were bound and murdered with knives and a claw hammer covered in blood at the scene. Forensic examination revealed that two different hammers were used (one was missing). Glenna and John were repeatedly stabbed, Dana was strangled, and Glenna was also beaten with a rifle. The gun was never found, but another knife turned up in a bin behind the local general store. The number of weapons used and the chaos at the scene suggest at least two killers if not more. Tina was missing, and her body wasn’t discovered for three years until part of a skull was found at Camp Eighteen almost 30 miles away. An anonymous phone call told police it was Tina Sharp and a medical examination proved it. Police searched the surrounding area and found more bone fragments belonging to Tina.

It is remarkable that four murders with so much physical evidence remain unsolved after over 30 years. Why was Tina taken from Cabin 28 while the others died? Glenna had two other children in the cabin; why were they left alone and why didn’t they hear anything? More to the point, why did the neighbors hear nothing? The scene was one of extreme violence and struggle, and would surely have made a lot of noise.

John Boubede and Marty Smartt lived in Cabin 26, and both men had criminal records. Smartt was the prime suspect at the time of the murders because he was angry at Glenna’s interference in his failing marriage. Smartt wrote a letter to his wife Marilyn where he said: “I’ve paid the price for your love & now that I’ve bought it with four lives…” A therapist in Reno, Nevada claims Smartt confessed to the killings, and he told the police; he was shocked the confession was never used against the man. Certainly, it isn’t a far-fetched theory, although he would have needed an accomplice (Boubede perhaps?).

In March 2016, Mark Gamberg, Plumas County Special Investigator, took a bloody hammer into evidence. It matched the description of the ‘missing’ hammer from the Keddie killings. According to Sheriff Hagwood, it was deliberately left in the location where it was found. Will this new evidence help solve the mystery of Cabin 28? Time will tell.

5 Unsolved Murder Cases Most People Probably Haven’t Heard Of
CBS News

5 – Highway of Tears (1969 -2011)

The Highway of Tears is a 450 mile stretch of road on Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert in British Columbia, Canada. Between 1969 and 2011, as many as 40 women have either been murdered or are missing and presumed dead on this road. Although police officially place the number of deaths at 19, aboriginal organizations say the number is well over 40 because a large number of women disappeared some distance from the highway, but they believe the homicides are connected.

The first known victim is 26-year-old Glenda Moody who was last seen leaving a bar in Williams Lake on October 25, 1969. Her body was discovered 10 kilometers away at a cattle ranch. The last probable victim is 20-year-old Madison Scott who disappeared at Hogback Lake on May 28, 2011; she has never been found.

Dozens of Canadian women, mostly indigenous, have vanished or were murdered on Highway 16 during the 42-year reign of terror and investigators aren’t sure if the killer or killers are finished yet. The age range of the victims is 12-33 years, although most of them were teenagers. The Highway of Tears is indicative of the violence perpetrated against indigenous women in Canada. Estimates suggest some 4,000 aboriginal women have either died or disappeared in the country over the last 30 years.

Given the vast time scale, there is definitely more than one murderer. Serial killer Cody Legebokoff was tried and convicted of four homicides, including that of Highway of Tears victim Loren Leslie, who he killed in 2011. Another serial killer, Bobby Jack Fowler, was a prime suspect for at least three of the Highway of Tears murders (Gale Weys and Pamela Darlington in 1973, and Colleen McMillan in 1974). He almost certainly killed McMillan, as forensic testing in 2012 confirmed his DNA on her body. Fowler could be responsible for at least 10 of the homicides; he probably started killing around 1973, but couldn’t have committed any of the crimes after 1996 because he was in prison.

Indigenous women believe that the police aren’t doing enough to protect them. British Columbia has a history of serial killers that prey on indigenous women, including David Ramsay and Robert William Pickton. Given the vast size of this stretch of road, the remoteness of the area, and the apparent police inaction when indigenous women are the victims, it seems that further Highway of Tears slayings are likely.