Missing In Vegas

fravel_amanda4 Photo courtesy of The Charley Project

A beautiful young woman disappears from Vegas in 1986. Her roommate seems to have fallen off the map. What happened to Amanda Fravel, and what was her roommate’s real name? You can’t find a guy if you don’t know his name. Maybe that was the plan.


Amanda (Mandy) Lee Fravel, 20 was an all American child of the ’80s. With big hair and an even bigger smile, she loved musicians and rock music. Although her home life was difficult, Mandy found refuge in Las Vegas, NV in the fall of 1985. At first, she moved in with a friend from high school, but Cammi was a newlywed with a new baby, so it was just a temporary arrangement. Mandy stayed about a month, but quickly found a place of her own. She lived by herself for a short time before answering an ad in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A man named Lew Frank needed a roommate to share expenses. Mandy applied and was approved.

During her time in Vegas, Mandy ran into a musician named Xavier. The couple hit it off and began dating. Soon they found they were better friends, so they parted ways. The two remained close, but not close enough for Mandy to introduce him to her new roommate. It wasn’t until after her disappearance did anyone close to Mandy actually meet Lew Franks. And every one that met the guy was immediately uneasy about him. No one is even sure that is his name, and since no one can find the guy, Lew Frank was likely an alias.

On Friday, June 13, 1986, Mandy Fravel was supposedly last seen by her roommate. She reportedly left the apartment to go to her job at Taco Bell to pick up her paycheck. Then she planned to go to Xavier’s house. This story is corroborated by Xavier who said he had spoken to her on the phone and was expecting her to show up, but she never did. Despite the troubles at home, Mandy’s mother had sent her airfare to travel back to California. No one was sure if it were for a few days, or indefinitely. Xavier waited around for her to show up, but thought nothing of it when the hours past without seeing her. Perhaps she had changed her mind about stopping by. For you millennials out there, this was before the days of cell phones, and this type of thing was common. Xavier never thought anything about it until a few days later when Mandy’s mother called from California saying she never arrived. Mandy was gone.

Mandy’s parents flew in from California to begin searching for their daughter. They spoke to Cammi and Xavier and even visited the apartment Mandy shared with Lew Frank. Mandy’s stepdad, Tom took notes about his visit to Vegas. He was the one who wrote Lew’s name down. He was the person who chose the peculiar spelling. Now, over time, he cannot remember why he spelled it L-E-W. Tom was even put off by the man in his mid-forties. Why was he living with a 20-yr-old, and more disturbingly, why did he randomly mention that he wanted to move to a nearby county and start a brothel? Who says that during a missing person investigation?

When Tom visited the apartment, all of Mandy’s things were packed in boxes by the door as if they were waiting for someone to pick them up. Did Mandy pack them to move back to California? Did Lew pack them to give to her parents? From what I can gather by reading in between the lines, Lew didn’t even know her parents were coming, so how could he pack her stuff?

To make the mystery more unusual, no one has seen or heard from Lew Frank since Mandy’s disappearance. Internet sleuths have gone over all the online records looking for everyone named Lew, Lou, Lewis, and Louis, but nothing has been found. If he were in his late 40’s – early 50’s in 1986, he would be in his 70’s by now. He may not even be alive. Either way, no one can find the guy. This is where my love of Sherlock Holmes stories really kicks in. Lew Frank doesn’t sound right to me. Who would name their kid Lewis Frank? To me, it seems reversed. What if his name was Frank Lewis? This could provide the reason for the odd spelling of Lew. Maybe I’m wrong, but a quick internet search dug up three different men named Frank Lewis in the Las Vegas area. All the men were mid-late 70’s. Maybe you armchair sleuths out there can keep digging for me, and perhaps we can find Mr. Vanishing Act.

Whether Lew Franks is a suspect or a person of interest, he is still the last person to see Mandy Fravel alive. If you have any information, in this case, please contact the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (702) 828-3111 or 1-800-492-6565.


The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.

Further Reading:

Unfound Podcast

Charley Project

Websleuths

Youtube


This Week’s Recommended True Crime Book:

The Battle for Las Vegas: The Law vs. The Mob


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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Awful Irony – Guest Post Thursday

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

In July of 1994, 21-year-old Angel Maher was about to begin her senior year at Creighton University. Before doing so, however, she made the 1,300 mile drive from Omaha, Nebraska, to her Scottsdale, Arizona, home to celebrate her mom’s birthday. It was supposed to be a joyous occasion, but instead it became one of tragic and awful irony.

Around 10:00 p.m. on the evening of July 29, a friend phoned Angela, asking for a ride home from a neighborhood bar. Angela had told her friend to call her if she had had too much to drink. As Angela left to pick up her friend, she told her mother not to wait up for her.

Half an hour later Rose Maher heard a knock on her door. She at first thought Angela had returned and had forgotten her house key. When she answered the door, however, her heart sank.

Standing on the doorstep was a policeman with a look of dread on his face. He informed Rose that her daughter had been killed in a car accident.

The awful irony of Angela’s death was soon learned. The young woman who took it upon herself to be the designated driver had, tragically, been killed by a drunk driver. The ultimate injustice, however, is that her killer remains in hiding over a quarter of a century later.

As Angela departed her home, 31-year-old Gloria Schulze stumbled out of a local bar, egregiously inebriated. Moments later, the two women’s vehicles engaged in a violent crash.

Paramedics arrived quickly on the scene, but by the time they were able to cut Angela from her car, it was too late. She was dead from massive blunt force trauma to her head resulting from the injuries sustained in the accident.

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Schulze, however, survived the accident relatively unscathed, suffering only a broken jaw.

When police arrived at the scene, she was lucid enough to be questioned and admitted to having drunk alcohol. Later tests showed her blood-alcohol level to be nearly double the legal limit for driving in Arizona. A urinalysis also detected traces of marijuana, although it could not show definitively whether Schulze had been stoned at the time of the accident.

As inebriated as Schulze was, she had had the sense to put on her seat belt. Angela had not been wearing hers. 

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In high school, one of Angela’s friends had been killed while driving drunk. Afterward, Angela established her high school’s S.A.D.D. (Students Against Drunk Driving) program. She organized several fundraisers and presentations at which she talked about drunk driving accidents.

Furthermore, Angela resolved to be a “designated driver.” When she and her friends painted the town, Angela always refrained from drinking to ensure that everyone would get home safely. She also insisted her friends promise her that if they had had too much to drink, they would call her to give them a ride home. 

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The phone call Angela received on the evening of July 29, 1994, was from a friend who knew she had had too much to drink. She remembered Angela’s order and called her.

Gloria Schulze didn’t have much sense. In a bitterly “sad” irony, Angela, the crusader against drunk driving, had become a drunk driving victim.

 On May 13, 1995, the day Angela would have graduated from college, Creighton University awarded her a posthumous honorary diploma. Her mother Rose accepted the diploma on her behalf.

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Gloria Schulze was charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment. At her arraignment, she was represented by a prominent attorney experienced in handling drunk driving cases. The attorney persuaded the judge to release Schulze under her own recognizance. The judge stipulated that Schulze was to submit to pretrial drug testing three times a week and report to the court by telephone once a week. Schulze, did not, however, have to post bond or surrender her driver’s license.

Schulze’s attorney asked, and was granted, six postponements for her trial over the next eight months. In addition, the prosecutor and judge originally given the case were reassigned.

In August of 1995, just over a year after Angela’s death, Schulze was offered a plea bargain. If she waived her right to a trial and plead guilty to reckless endangerment and manslaughter, she would serve a reduced sentence. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for September 15, 1995.

But Gloria Schulze had other plans.

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Because of the drunken Gloria Schulze’s decision to get behind the wheel of her car, Angela Maher is now only ashes. Even the sobered Schulze’s decisions, however, stayed shameful.

Schulze was a no-show for her court date in September of 1995 and has been a no-show for nearly a quarter-century. In 2001, she was convicted in absentia of manslaughter with sentencing to be imposed upon her capture. Eighteen years later, the sentence has still not been enforced.

Schulze comes from a family of means, and police believe relatives have helped her elude capture. Authorities believe Schulze lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for several years after fleeing. In the last 17 years, reports have placed her with family in California, Michigan and even abroad in Turkey. Despite the sightings, Schulze has managed to stay one step ahead of the police.

Gloria Schulze remains at large a quarter-of-a-century after claiming the life of Angela Maher. She is now 55-years-old.

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If you believe you have any information on the whereabouts of Gloria Schulze, please contact the Scottsdale, Arizona, Police Department at 480-312-5000.

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The obvious lesson of this awful story is to not drink and drive. The secondary lesson is that a motorist should always wear a seat belt. As inebriated as Gloria Schulze was, she had the wherewithal to put on her seat belt and it probably saved her life.

Angela was not wearing her seat belt; wearing it may have saved her life.

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SOURCES:
America’s Most Wanted
Phoenix New Times


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Recommended Reading:

Show your support for the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving by checking out their products on Amazon today.


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Mobster Monday: Albert Anastasia

Albert Anastasia Pic Courtesy of Wikipedia

He changed his name so he wouldn’t bring shame to his mother as a criminal, but he didn’t think twice about brutally slaying Joe Turino in front of a dozen people. Witnesses say the fury in his face while he stabbed and strangled Turino was terrifying. With the Mafia’s help and the disappearances of four main witnesses, Albert Anastasia was set free.


Umberto Anastasio was born on September 26, 1902, in Parghelia, Italy. His parents were Raffaelo Anastasio and Louisa Nomina De Filippi. Tragedy struck young Anastasio’s life early on. At the age of ten, Raffaelo died, leaving his wife and a dozen kids behind. Life was tough on the family, and soon, the older boys left home to find work elsewhere.


Umberto and his brother Antonio took jobs working on a ship. When the ship docked in New York, the two brothers jumped to shore and never looked back. The docks may have offered the brothers a place of employment, but it was back-breaking work run by the mob. It wasn’t long before Umberto’s temper overtook him in an argument with a fellow dock worker.


The young Italian brute slew Torino with fury. Witnesses say it was terrifying to watch the slaying. Torino was stabbed repeatedly and strangled in front of a dozen people. Umberto didn’t seem to care. It was almost as if he enjoyed the entire process. He was arrested and sentenced to death.


Unwilling to bring shame to his mother, Umberto changed his name to Albert Anastasia. It’s incredible how someone so vicious and brutal could care about such a thing. While Albert changed his name, his brother Tony did not. Tony would continue to rule the docks for the majority of three decades, although he never gained the notoriety of his psychopathic brother.


This murderous escapade landed the young illegal alien in Sing Sing prison. While there, he grabbed the attention of a fellow inmate with mob connections. Those connections would end up winning Albert a new trial. Unfortunately, by the time the new trial came around, four of the main witnesses had disappeared.

Anastasia now had connections with the likes of Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lanski, and Frank Costello. When Luciano wanted to take out his boss, he called in Anastasia as part of the hit squad. After Luciano re-structures the mob, Anastasia is set up as the head of the Mafia’s hit squad; Murder, Inc.


Anastasia ruled the elite team of assassins alongside Jewish mobster Louis “Lepke” Buchalter. Their headquarters was in the most unlikely of places. Down on the corner of Saratoga and Livonia Ave in Brooklyn sat a 24-hour candy store called Midnight Rose. This place was owned by a pleasant little elderly lady named Rosie Gold. Along the back wall of the shop was a row of payphones.


The team of mafioso killers would hang around the candy store, waiting for the next hit to be called in. Anastasia would take the call, make a plan, and send out a hit team. By the end of this decade of bloodshed, the FBI estimates the body count of this team was well over 1000.
Unlock most mob bosses, Anastasia wouldn’t pass off the dirty work to an underling. Anastasia enjoyed taking part in the actual murder. It wasn’t enough to plan it; he wanted to be involved. If he weren’t a part of the squad, he would witness the event from across the street. His bloodlust was disturbing and seemed to be growing.


1935: Dewey Wages War:
Special Prosecutor Thomas Dewey declared an all-out war on organized crime in New York. He took down the powerful Lucky Luciano, and then no one was safe. The next on his list was Louis “Lepke” Buchalter. Anastasia tried to hide his friend from the feds, but his attempts were futile. Dozens of witnesses were killed during this process, and now the mafia commission was wondering if Buchalter was worth the trouble
Finally, Anastasia received word from the commission. It was Buchalter or the Mob. Anastasia chose the mob and played a pivotal role in the double-crossing of Lepke Buchalter. During this time, one of Murder, Inc’s hitmen were arrested.


Abe “Kid Twist” Reles decided to turn state’s evidence in an attempt to save himself from the chair. Reles began telling everything he knew about Murder Incorporated. His testimony would send seven mobsters, including Lepke, to the electric chair. This landed the FBI’s target square on the back of the “Mad Hatter.”


Mad Hatter? Let me explain this nickname. When Lucky Luciano took over the Mafia, he structured it like a giant corporation and put down some basic ground rules. Breaking these rules came with the penalty of death.


The commission was supposed to sanction the hits before anyone was killed, but Anastasia had his own ideas about that. Public figures and civilians were off-limits. If they were killed, they would bring too much publicity. There was one more rule that Albert would break. You weren’t supposed to kill your boss. Anastasia would break all of these rules. His blood lust would give him the name The Mad Hatter, and his complete disregard for mob rule would sign Albert Anastasia’s death warrant.


On October 25, 1957, Anastasia walked in to see his barber at the Park Sheraton Hotel. His driver parked the car and went for a stroll. While the Mad Hatter had his face covered in a warm towel, three gunmen barged into the room. Albert Anastasia was hit with ten bullets and died on the floor next to his barber chair.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.

Further Reading:

The Candy Shop

Here are a few books about Albert Anastasia on Amazon.


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.


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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


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THE MURDEROUS MISSIONARY

Photo courtesy of FBI.gov

November 29, 2004:

It was a quiet Monday morning at a local mall in Phoenix, Arizona. The employees were recovering from the mad rush of Black Friday events, and the busy shopping season was well underway. An armored truck was busy making its rounds picking up the weekend’s receipts when it pulled into the parking lot of the AMC movie theater. Robert “Keith” Palomares, 24 was the truck’s “hopper” so he jumped from the vehicle and headed inside never realizing this would be his last day on Earth.

As the guard exited the theater a hooded thief pulled out a .45 semi-automatic Glock and shot six times hitting the unsuspecting guard in the head with five of the six rounds. He was down immediately without a chance to defend himself. As the young man lay bleeding to death the thief mounted a blue and silver mountain bike and took off down the alleyway. Palomares died on the scene. He was a newlywed of only 15 months.

The police had little to go on in this case in the way of forensic evidence until the gunman’s bike was found stashed under a bush only half a mile away. The man had forgotten to wipe the handles for fingerprints, but this evidence would bring even more questions.

Witnesses had described the shooter as a Hispanic male in his mid-twenties, but the evidence showed a 35-year-old Mormon surfer boy. Jason Derek Brown wasn’t your typical street thug. By all accounts, he was raised in a good, financially stable, family in Laguna Beach. His family was active Mormons. Brown spent two years as a missionary in France after high school. He got married and then enrolled in the master’s program at the Monterrey Institute of International Studies. It seemed like he had a good life ahead of him, but somewhere in the 1990s, he changed.

Brown divorced his wife and took his party life on the road. He collected lavish cars, ATVs, and toys, but no one ever seen him go to work. Somehow, he always had a boatload of cash. Over the next ten years, Brown traveled around the U.S. creating various scams to fund his lavish lifestyle. Still, how does a Mormon missionary turn into a scheming conman and then into a cold-blooded killer? Perhaps it was his financial troubles. We may never know, but in Phoenix, Arizona Brown had morphed into a murderous killer stalking his prey. He went out and purchased a handgun and took his conceal and carry course that day. He stayed at a friend’s house for a week and stalked the armored truck to learn its routes. The day before the murder, Brown left his friend without explanation and rented a hotel room. The day before the murder, Brown took his gun out to the desert for some target practice.

During this practice session, he inadvertently shot a man’s vehicle and promised to pay for the damages. Brown gave Max Newton his name, address, and phone number and promised to send a check if Newton would get an estimate of the damage. Fast forward within a few hours of the shooting and Brown gets the phone call from Newton. Again, Brown calmly promised to send Newton a cashier’s check. The price of the repairs was $1300.

Before the robbery, Brown parks his BMW a mile from the movie theater and pulls out his mountain bike. Witnesses at his hotel remember him trying to fit the large bike into the two-seater. Brown takes out across the alleyway and ends up at the theater and waits. He kills the guard, takes the money, hops on his bike and is well out of the area before the police arrive on the scene.

With all the evidence one would think Jason Brown would be rotting in a jail cell somewhere, but that’s not the case. After his picture is seen on the news, Brown takes off towards Mexico leaving an electronic trail of credit card purchases along the way. The FBI is in hot pursuit until the trail goes cold. Somehow his Cadillac Escalade is found abandoned not at the Mexican border, but in Portland Oregon. The FBI believes he crossed over into Canada and no one has seen him since. Strangely, Max Newman received a cashier’s check in the mail for $1,300 just as promised.

It’s been almost 16 years. Brown speaks fluent French, and some speculate that he could have returned to Paris. Others wonder if he is hiding in the Mormon community. Whatever the case, Jason Brown has not paid for his crimes and was placed on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list on December 8, 2007. As always if you have any information regarding Jason Derek Brown please contact your local FBI office. 1-800- CALLFBI


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

Wikipedia

Or watch this episode of American Greed for more in depth info on Jason Derek Brown.


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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SIGN UP HERE


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.


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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Taken At the Ballgame

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

On the evening of June 9, 1995, Colleen Nick and her six-year-old daughter Morgan traveled to Alma, Arkansas, to watch the children of friends play in a Little League baseball game.

As darkness fell, Morgan and two friends lost interest in the game. Instead of watching young boys catch fly balls, the children wanted to catch fireflies. They asked their parents if they could go play in a nearby field. The play field was within eyesight of the ball field, near where the cars were parked. With reluctance following Morgan’s persistent begging, Colleen let her go with her friends. A grateful Morgan thanked her mom, hugged her and gave her a big kiss before setting off on her quest to nab the glowing critters. As the game wound down, Colleen periodically glanced to the field and saw Morgan playing. The last images she has of her daughter is of her gleefully playing in the sand.

At the ballgame that evening, far more than bases were stolen. In an instant, someone stole a child, and the ripple effect would be stolen innocence, stolen memories, and a stolen life. Morgan, who dreamed of performing in the circus when she grew up, had disappeared. News of her presumed abduction spread beyond Alma, through all of Arkansas, and then all of America. Twenty-four-years later, however, Morgan remains missing.

When the ball game ended at approximately 10:45 p.m., the children began walking from the playing field to the ball field. Morgan stopped at her mom’s car to clean the sand from her shoes. She told her fiends she would meet them at the ball field, but she never arrived.

By the time Colleen reached her car, Morgan was gone. The police were summoned and conducted a search of the area but found no trace of her.

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Morgan’s friends remembered seeing a man they described as “creepy” talking to Morgan in the playfield. Several people recalled seeing a man matching the girls’ description watching Morgan play on the field earlier in the evening. While Morgan was playing with a different group of children, the man approached them and asked a question. Police have not released any details about what was asked. The man was in a red pickup truck. By the time police arrived to search for Morgan, the truck was gone.

Earlier that day in Alma, the same man is believed to have attempted to entice a four-year-old girl into his vehicle. Her mother saw it happen and screamed. The man heard her, saw her running toward his vehicle, threw the girl out of the vehicle, and sped away– in a red pickup truck.

The following day in Fort Smith, 15 miles southwest of Alma, the same man is believed to have tried to entice a nine-year-old girl into a men’s restroom at a convenience store. He stopped when the girl resisted. The girl said the man was driving a red truck.

Because the man in both instances resembled the man believed to be Morgan’s abductor, and because the truck involved in both incidents resembles the one seen at the ball field that evening, police believe they are linked to Morgan’s abduction.

Police believe the man is a loner, with few friends. He had a scruffy beard and salt-and-pepper hair. He is Caucasian, and in 1995 was between the ages of 23-38-years-old and spoke with a “hillbilly” accent. He weighed approximately 180 pounds and stood about 6’0 tall.

The truck the man was driving was a low wheelbase, red Ford pickup with dulled paint and a white camper shell with curtains covering the windows. Witnesses noted the shell was too short for the bed and the rear passenger side was damaged.

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In 2002, seven years after Morgan’s kidnapping, police received a tip that she may be buried on a private piece of land in Booneville, Arkansas, 53 miles southeast of Alma. However, after digging on the property, authorities found no trace of Morgan or any evidence that she had ever been there.

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In August of 2012, seventeen years since the last trace of Morgan Nick, Tonya Smith was arrested for computer fraud after attempting to assume Morgan’s identity. She was sentenced to six years’ probation and fined $2,500.

Police believe Smith was not involved in or has any knowledge of Morgan’s disappearance.

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Acting on another tip, on November 15, 2010, investigators searched a vacant house in Spiro, Oklahoma, 35 southwest of Alma, for DNA evidence that Morgan had once been in the house. At the time, the property was vacant, but a former occupant who once rented a mobile-home on the property had recently been convicted of the sexual molestation of a child and was considered a person of interest in Morgan’s disappearance. The search produced nothing relative to Morgan.

Granted permission by the new owner, on December 18, 2017, investigators returned to the house to conduct another search after receiving another tip. This search proved deja vu as no evidence was found suggesting Morgan had ever been there.

The previous occupant, now jailed in Oklahoma for the rape and molestation, remains a person of interest in Morgan’s abduction.

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One year after Morgan’s abduction, Colleen Nick established the Morgan Nick Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to prevent children from going missing and offers a support system to families who are facing the hardships of a missing child. The foundation has helped bring several children home safely, but its namesake child remains missing.

The state of Arkansas renamed its Amber Alert system after Morgan Nick.

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It is rare, but not unprecedented, that a child is found alive years after being kidnapped by a stranger. The rescues of Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard, and the Cleveland children Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight give hope, however faint, that Morgan could still be alive and will one day come home.

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Beginning with her establishment of the Morgan Nick Foundation, Colleen Nick has become a crusader in searching for missing children. She relentlessly searches for her daughter, confident her efforts will not be in vain.

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Police say over the years there have been hundreds of reported sightings of Morgan across the country, but none could be confirmed.

At the time of her disappearance, Morgan’s teeth were crowded and she would have needed orthodontic braces in adolescence. Police hope if she were kidnapped to be raised as another person’s child, a worker in the dental field will have recalled doing the procedure.

Morgan Nick would today be 31-years-old.

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Further Reading:
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
• Arkansas Times
Charley Project


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Recommended Reading:

For more stories of famous kidnappings check out these books on Amazon today.


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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SIGN UP HERE


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.


Synova’s Amazon Author Page


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


The El Dorado Jane Doe Mystery

Mugshot courtesy of Pinterest


Her face is well known, her murderer has about served his time, and we still don’t know her name. Who was this mysterious woman?


July 10, 1991, a life ended but a three-decade-old mystery began. A supposed prostitute named Mercedes was murdered in room 121 of the Whitehall Motel in Eldorado, Arkansas.

Witnesses overheard the argument with her ex-boyfriend, James McAlphin. Others heard a gunshot and seen McAlphin running from the scene. It didn’t take long to arrest and convict the murderer.

Unfortunately, the victim still doesn’t have a name. It’s been nearly thirty years.

Last year there was finally a huge break in the case. Investigators submitted Jane’s DNA to an ancestry site and got a hit. These distant relatives have no missing persons in their history and so far no one recognized Jane although they see a family resemblance.

Jane’s Many Aliases:

Cheryl Ann Wick was the name she was using at the time of her murder, but investigators quickly realized it wasn’t her true identity. The real Cheryl Wick was alive and well living in Minneapolis.

Jane used several names including Sharon Wiley, Cheryl Kaufman, Kelly Karr, and Kelly Lee Carr.

Theories:

Jane’s past is checkered with prostitution, homeless shelters, pimps, and aliases. It seems everywhere she went, she had another story about her past.

Some say she had been on the streets since she was sixteen. This story began with being kidnapped and trafficked by a pimp named Jeffrey Davis.

Another time she was running from the mafia in the witness protection program. I’ve never heard of the Witness Protection program stealing people’s identities.

One of the latest theories was put forth by her murderer. He claims in his rambling letters to Huff Post reporter, David Lohr. McAlphin claimed Jane was a Russian operative and they took her out. I doubt if anyone believes that, but it’s just another theory upon a stack of them.

The recent development, in this case, may finally shed some light on this cold case. Stay tuned and I will keep you updated on this case as it unfolds.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

Wikipedia

Huff Post

Scribd documents


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

2ndDIYpackage-templates

SIGN UP HERE


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.


Synova’s Amazon Author Page


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


The Racketeer Restaurateur: Guest Post Thursday

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All Photos courtesy of Guest Blogger

June 16, 1991

Affable. Bright. Caring. Loving. Sensitive. Those words were used by friends and acquaintances to describe Richmond, Virginia, restaurateur Leo Koury.

Manipulative. Vicious. Ruthless. Vengeful. Murderous. Those words were used by business associates and the FBI to describe Leo Koury.

Both descriptions were accurate as Leo Koury was a classic example of a Jekyll and Hyde personality. The devoted church goer and volunteer softball umpire was also an underworld boss and a cold-blooded killer.

For over a dozen years, Leo Koury was one of the most wanted men in America. He eluded detection by living a spartan existence while in hiding, enabling him to never answer for his crimes.

In the mid- 1970s, Leo Koury opened Richmond’s first nightclubs catering to homosexuals. In a time when gays were still frowned upon and could legally be refused service by businesses, Koury saw a great opportunity. His bars were venues where gays could gather and feel comfortable. Koury made a bundle as he was able to charge excessive prices because of his virtual monopoly on the homosexual bars. He became known as the “Godfather of the Gay Community,” and one associate described him as “the Jack Ruby of Richmond.” Koury himself was not gay as he was married with four children.

Rival bars catering to homosexuals soon opened, forcing Koury to lower his prices. The newer establishments were nicer than Koury’s “dives” and soon the patrons were flocking to them. Most of Koury’s bars became ghost towns. Koury, wanting to re-obtain his monopoly, attempted to buy out his competitors. When most would not sell, Leo became lethal, sending armed thugs into the rival clubs to terrorize the patrons. Three people were shot to death and more were injured. Chuck Kernahgan, a bouncer at a rival club, was also believed to have been murdered on Koury’s orders. Koury’s cohorts told investigators Kernaghan was shot to death after being lured to a home on the premise of discussing a business deal. His body was placed in a trunk, weighed down with the bumper from a 1957 Chevy, then dumped into the Rappahannock River. His remains have never been found.

The shootings were investigated as hate crimes until one of the gunmen, Eddie Loehr, was caught trying to kill, on Koury’s orders, rival club owner Jim Hilliard. In exchange for a lesser sentence, Loehr revealed he was a hired gun of Leo Koury. Loehr agreed to wear a wire enabling police and the FBI to gather information and build a case against Koury. After several months, Leo’s laundry list of crimes was exposed.

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With his Hyde side exposed, Richmond’s racketeer restaurateur went into hiding. The week before the indictments, Koury fled, allegedly with over $1 million stuffed into the trunk of his car. On April 20, 1979, he was placed on the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted List.

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Nearly 200 sightings of Koury were reported over the next dozen years. Among the most promising was that he was living the circus life, traveling with the carnivals along the east coast. Others suggested he had gone abroad and was living the good life in South America. Still, others claimed he had fled to Lebanon, from where his father had emigrated and where he had many relatives. None checked out, and as it turned out, the truth was far less glamorous.

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On June 15, 1991, over 12 years after Koury fled, a convenience store clerk known as Bill Biddle was admitted to a San Diego, California, hospital in failing health. The following day, he died of complications following a stroke. The hospital received an anonymous phone call, saying the name Bill Biddle was an alias; the man who had died was Leo Koury. The FBI made a positive identification and, after nearly thirteen years, was able to close the voluminous file on the senior member of its Ten Most Wanted List.

Richmond’s reputed racketeer had been living as a recluse in a small rent-controlled apartment in east San Diego. The Gay Godfather who was believed to have had millions of dollars had been working a minimum-wage part-time job at a convenience store. He did not own a car and he lived a very sheltered life, rarely socializing with anyone. As far as could be determined, “Bill Biddle” lived as Jekyll; the FBI found no evidence of criminal activity by Koury during his years on the lam.

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In the pre-Internet days, the FBI often used billboards in an effort to track down their most wanted.

In 1991, at the time of Leo Koury’s death, the FBI offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of a Ten Most Wanted Fugitive. Today, the minimum rate for a Top Tenner is $100,000.

San Diego County officials believed the county was entitled to the reward, because a county investigator had called the FBI, enabling them to confirm Koury’s identity. The FBI said the reward money applied only to the tips that led to the capture of fugitives, not to those leading to their remains. However, after some negative publicity, the FBI relented and agreed to pay San Diego County the $25,000.

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As a volunteer umpire, Koury worked several charity softball games in which FBI employees played. Jack Colwell, the FBI agent who would later be in charge of tracking Koury, played in one of those games. He described his later prey as an overall good umpire, though he thought Koury’s strike zone was a little too liberal.

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THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.

Further Reading:
New York Times
Richmond Post-Dispatch
Washington Post
WTVR CBS Affiliate Channel 6 Richmond, VA


Recommended Reading:

For more FBI stories check out these books on Amazon today!


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

2ndDIYpackage-templates

SIGN UP HERE


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.


Synova’s Amazon Author Page


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Guest Post – Crimes Against Man’s Best Friends


The Overlooked Crime Against Man’s Best Friend: Guest Post By J.A. Yates

All of you people standing before me have been found guilty of the newly created federal offense of “Operating A Puppy Mill.” Meaning all of you will now be treated “exactly as you have treated the animals in your care,” so say the voters in your state. 

To remind you, a puppy mill is any dog breeding operation that puts money over a dog’s well being. We know some of you have licenses under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you are going to sell to a pet store, licensing is a requirement. But licensing means nothing: “Current laws provide inadequate protection against harm to breeding dogs and puppies associated with commercial breeding establishments” (McMillan, 2013). And you’re smart enough to hide the nastiness. Puppy mills can be large, over 100 dogs, or small, as in “backyard breeding” – breeding for profit or “love” of the breed and treating the animals like numbers.

Found guilty, here is your punishment:

First, we will assign you a cage that is half your body size. As you see by the dimensions of your pen, you probably won’t be able to stand, and turning around will be difficult. If it’s too cold or too hot, that’s ok. You have skin to protect you.

The cage is wire, so over time, it will rust, and wires will break; the broken wire will poke your feet, body, maybe your eye. If it causes a wound, let us know, but we probably won’t do anything about it. Your injury might fester, and in time you could lose the limb or the eye. In that case, well, we won’t discuss it; the people outside don’t want to know. They’d instead think you live a happy life here.

Food: you will eat from these dishes – yes, they’re filthy! We reuse them over and over; we’re not going to add to our expenses. Or, we’ll toss food into the cage. This way, feeding time goes much faster. One reason we stack your cages on top of each other: food can drop to the next person. Plus, we can tell the outside world you have a healthy meal three times a day.

There are an estimated 10,000 puppy mills in the United States, both licensed and unlicensed. There are so many of you – perhaps three to ten persons working in the mill. We can’t catch all of you; it cost about $500,000 to bust a puppy mill of 250 animals, and no one has that kind of funding, especially nonprofit organizations. 

The International City and County Management budgeting recommendation for animal control programs is only $4,000 to $7,000 annually. Besides, who is going to turn you in? Not the public, because they are buying the puppies online and in pet stores. They haven’t a clue where the dogs come from; they don’t research. But they will brag they have a purebred dog “with papers” – and might even try to breed it because it’s a good-looking dog, or to make money. Well, there’s an estimated 3 million dogs and cats euthanized by shelters annually. Many of those were once this cute puppy – a purebred dog “with papers” – a good-looking dog that made money. Most pet stores have stopped selling puppies. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating an outbreak strain of Campylobacter jejuni. “Epidemiologic and laboratory evidence indicate that contact with puppies, especially those at pet stores, is the likely source of this outbreak.” (Outbreak, 2019)

But, back to your punishment: you will have water if you don’t tip your water bowl. Hope you get enough water. There are no bathrooms in the cage, so it runs down into the cages below or sticks to the bottom of your pen, you better hope your water is clean. Don’t worry about the stench and diseases arising from the filth! That’s part of it all.

When you lose hair or pieces of skin or even body parts (remember we discussed that wire-poking business), it will gather in your cage. You can step around it; sleep on it, whatever is most comfortable. Do people go mad here? Great question! Of course, they do! We’ve seen them chew themselves until they bleed, scream until their vocal cords are raw, even chew off legs and hands. It happens. You will learn to adapt because you will live like this 24 hours. And when you die, we’ll pitch your body into a pit or a heap. No headstone, no monuments to say you were on this earth. No one will shed a tear. 

Were all of your puppy mills as bad as described above? No. But even one infraction: living in a cage, breeding for profit, issues with food, water, and health care can mean future physical and mental problems with a dog. A study conducted in 2011 reveals “a broad range of abnormal behavioral and psychological characteristics in the …breeding dogs from large-scale commercial breeding establishments.” (McMillan, 2011). You have also exhibited poor business practices and animal cruelty. 

Now, get into your cage. Go to sleep. When you wake up, you will realize this was all a dream. Puppy mill operators will never receive this treatment! In reality, if caught, they might receive an infraction, a fine, and they will continue to operate. Puppy mills are legal in almost half of the United States, and the other states have lax operation laws.

The victims, the dogs, will never wake up, because this is their real life.


Raise Awareness & Support the Cause:


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Information On This Topic:

American Veterinary Association. https://www.avma.org/

“Differences in behavioral characteristics between dogs obtained as puppies from pet stores and those obtained from noncommercial breeders.” FD McMillan, JA Serpell, DL Duffy, E Masaoud, IR Dohoo. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association2013; 242: 1359-1363.

“Mental health of dogs formerly used as ‘breeding stock’ in commercial breeding establishments.” FD McMillan, DL Duffy, JA Serpell. Applied Animal Behaviour Science 2011; 135: 86-94.

Outbreak of Multidrug-resistant Campylobacter Infections Linked to Contact with Pet Store Puppies. (December 17, 2019). Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Obtained from https://www.cdc.gov/campylobacter/outbreaks/puppies-12-19/index.html

Puppy Mills: Facts and Figures (January 2014). The Humane Society. Obtained from http://www.humanesociety.org/sites/default/files/archive/assets/pdfs/pets/puppy_mills/puppy-mills-facts-figures.pdf

Stop Online Puppy Mills. https://www.stoponlinepuppymills.org/

The Puppy Mill Project website. www.thepuppymillproject.org

An excellent video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roWnRNN-1BI&feature=youtu.be

See what laws exist in your state about puppy mills: https://protectedpaws.org/legislation/puppy-mill-laws-by-state


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More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

J. A. Yates  is an award-winning author and criminologist who has appeared as a guest speaker, lecturer, and instructor for organizations across the United States for almost 30 years, to include Dallas Area Paralegal Association, PFLAG (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians & Gays), Texas Association of Licensed Investigators, Tennessee Correction Association, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and many more.


Her resume lists loss prevention, the Sheriff’s Department, the federal prison system (minimum to maximum, male & female),  investigations, and criminal justice professor/instructor. She is the only journalist who is continually investigating the disappearance of Tabitha Tuders, Nashville’s most baffling missing child case.

Not only is she an author, but she is also an investigator who carefully researches each book. A percentage of each book benefits nonprofit organizations and is made in the victim’s name.


Ms. Yates is Texas-born, Irish/Native American/Kentucky – bred; a left-handed Taurus. She volunteers in animal rescue and locating missing/murdered. Hobbies include horseback riding, perusing flea markets, and video gaming. She is addicted to bottled Coca-colas. She has a phobia of clowns, dental offices, and alligators (not in that particular order)

Check her out here: www.judithayates.com


EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

2ndDIYpackage-templates

SIGN UP HERE


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.


Synova’s Amazon Author Page


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Mobster Monday: Tony “The Ant” Spilotro


The Ant is buried in a cornfield. The sentence may sound odd, but to fans of the Italian Mafia, it’s standard jargon. Tony “The Ant” Spilotro’s body was found buried in a cornfield along with his brother’s.



Anthony John “Tony, the Ant” Spilotro, was born on May 19, 1986, to immigrant parents. Pasquale “Patsy” Spilotro, Sr. had six sons. Five of them would join the criminal underworld, but one went to school and became a respected oral surgeon in Chicago.


No one knows why some people choose the life of crime, and others choose a better path. Perhaps Patsy’s restaurant turned mobster hangout introduced his sons to crime at an early age. Who knows? Whatever the reasons, Tony chose the Mafia. He dropped out of high school and started his life of crime with petty larceny and purse snatching.


Spilotro officially became a made member of La Cosa Nostra in 1963 at the age of 25. In 1971, “Joe Batters” put Spilotro in charge of Las Vegas matters, but Spilotro would spell the beginning of the end of the Mafia’s reign of Las Vegas. He was a brutal enforcer and brought a lot of media and law enforcement attention to the operations.


In 1974 an article in the L.A. Times stated there were more gangland-style killings in Vegas than in the past 25 years combined! Obviously, that type of spike in murder will draw attention from the FBI and local law enforcement.


Two years after that article hit the headlines, Spilotro decided to branch out beyond the Mafia’s control. He created the “Hole in the Wall Gang.” Like most other monikers, the name was given to him by the media. The group was known to drill through walls and ceilings to gain access to their target. The stolen goods were fenced through the Gold Rush, LTD pawnshop that sat right off Sahara Ave. in Las Vegas.


During this time, The Ant’s relationship with his childhood friend became strained. Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal was a casino executive and ran four different major casinos for the Mafia. Lefty and The Ant’s relationship reached a boiling point when The Ant began having an affair with a Vegas showgirl named Geri McGee. McGee was married to Lefty at the time.


July 4, 1981:The Bertha’s Robbery Disaster

The Hole In The Wall Gang had spent weeks laying out an elaborate plan to rob the Bertha’s Gifts & Jewelry store. Spilotro and his gang were set to cash in big time, but there was one problem. Sal Romano was a specialist in disabling alarm systems. He was also an informant. By the time the robbery went down, the FBI and the local police had the building under surveillance.


Six members of the gang were arrested, but four avoided the arrest. After sitting in jail for six months, the authorities successfully turn one of Spilotro’s men. Somehow the police had gotten Spilotro on tape hiring a hit on Frank Cullotta. This was all that Frank could take. He had done everything for The Ant. Cullotta agreed to turn state’s evidence and testify against Spilotro.


Spilotro was tried and acquitted due to lack of evidence, but he had bigger problems lurking in the shadows of his organization. A secret meeting had taken place, and the Mafia wasn’t happy with Spilotro’s behavior. He was supposed to be protecting the mob’s interest in the casinos, not running around with a mobster’s wife, and bringing attention from the FBI for his robberies. A hit was sanctioned, and two of the six Spilotro brothers would pay.

June 14, 1986: The Disappearance:

Tony Spilotro and his brother Michael left Mike’s home in Oak Park and was never heard from again. Mike’s car was found abandoned in a motel parking lot near the O’Hare International Airport.


Eight days later, their bodies were found by an Indiana farmer 96 miles south of Chicago. The farmer noticed the fresh grave and thought a poacher had buried an illegally killed deer, but he was in for a shock. Tony Spilotro and Mike Spilotro had been killed by blunt force trauma, stripped of their clothes, leaving nothing but their underwear and buried on top of each other. The burial plot was in a cornfield near the Willow Slough Preserve just outside of Enos, Indiana.


Sadly, the one brother who took the high road ended up having to supply his own brothers’ dental records for identification. This case would go unsolved for nineteen years. On April 25, 2005, the FBI announced it had indicted 14 members of the Chicago Outfit for 18 murders, including the two Spilotro boys.


By the time of his death, the FBI suspected Tony “The Ant” Spilotro in 22 murders. This information and more was obtained through the FBI’s inquiry called “Operation Family Secrets.” Not only were several mobsters indicted, but two former Chicago police officers were also included.

Anthony Doyle was a former officer included in the indictment. Doyle worked as a counterintelligence officer for the Mafia and kept the mob bosses informed of various investigations. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.


The other officer indicted was Michael Ricci. Ricci was convicted of passing information for the imprisoned mob boss, Frank Calabrese, SR.
During this investigation, officials learned the true story of what happened to the Spilotro brothers. The two men were lured to a house in Bensenville, IL, under the pretense of making Michael a made man. Once the brothers entered the basement, they were beaten to death and taken to the cornfield.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

Chicago Tribune


Recommended Reading:

There have been several books written on Tony Spilotro. Here are a couple of them.


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


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If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.


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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


The Homemaker Homicide – Shawnda Slote Reed

Photo courtesy of Family FB Page

A homemaker was slaughtered in her own home; two neighbors were named as persons of interest; her husband was named as well. Strangely an unknown insurance policy popped up, and another person’s name appeared. Still, with all of this, there have been no arrests. What happened to Shawnda Reed?


Shawnda Slote Reed, 28, was found shot to death in her own home by her two youngest children. When they couldn’t wake their mom, the two ran to a neighbor’s house for help. Brian Richey took the children in and called the authorities.

Investigators found blood on the kitchen floor and the body of the 28-year-old mother in the bedroom. A bullet lay beneath her head. Fingerprints were lifted from the patio door and the garage. There was no sign of forced entry.

A week later, a press release publicly named a person of interest. Frances Kempker and his live-in girlfriend Georgette Henley were eventually both named. They were later arrested on unrelated charges stemming from illegal drugs and theft.

Shawnda’s ex-husband, Nickey Kmiec, was quickly excluded as a suspect. The authorities haven’t given specifics, except they said they knew where he was at the time of her murder. Her current husband, John T. Reed, remains a person of interest to this day. Although police followed hundreds of leads, nothing seemed to lead to an arrest.

Strangely, an unknown life insurance policy is set to pay out to the widower and the mortgage holder of the family home. Yes, you read that right. Not only was this unusual, but it seems as if Shawnda didn’t even know about the policy.

The family sues the insurance company claiming the mortgage holder had no right to the fraudulent policy. The funds were eventually split five ways between Shawnda’s three children, her husband, and the mortgage holder.

Some people wonder if this was the motive behind the slaying of this gentle homemaker. Others wonder if her death could have been tied to another home invasion that happened in the area a few days prior. Could she have died during an interrupted robbery? It seems unlikely since there weren’t any signs of forced entry.

Whatever happened, this case remains unsolved nearly fifteen years later. The children were between the age of 5-10 and are now between 20-35. What happened to Shawnda Slote Reed? Her family needs an answer.

If you have any information on this case, please contact the Mid Missouri Major Case Squad at (573) 592-3155.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.

Further Reading:

Columbian


Recommended Reading:

For more unsolved crimes, check out The Encyclopedia of Unsolved Crimes on Amazon today.


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

2ndDIYpackage-templates

SIGN UP HERE


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.


Synova’s Amazon Author Page


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.