Coach Sentenced To Die for Murdering Child – The Hailey Owens Story

She was a beautiful, brown-eyed, 10-year-old from Springfield, MO. Hailey Owens was walking home from a friends house in the 3200 block of W. Lombard St. It wasn’t a long way, nor was it unusual for the child to traverse the area. On February 18, 2014, neighbors watched in horror as she was snatched off the street and tosed into a pickup truck. The male witness jumped in his vehicle and tried to chase the truck, while the woman wrote down the lisence number and made a frantic call to 911. Unfortunately, the heavy traffic afforded the kidnapper an easy escape.

Police arrived on the scene just before 5 pm to take witness statements. The statewide Amber Alert was issued by 7 pm. By 8:30 pm the truck was located at the home of Craig Wood.

Police arrested Wood and began searching for Hailey hoping to find her alive. After all, it had only been four hours since she was snatched. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth.

Officers noticed a strong bleach smell as they entered the basement of Woods’ home. Later, Hailey’s body was found stuffed in a plastic tub. She had been raped and shot in the back of the head.

Anger erupted across the Ozarks and quickly spread nationwide. How could an ex-coach rape and murder a tiny 77lb girl?

Wood, 45 was a former employee of the Springfield school system. He worked as a teacher’s aide and a football coach for sixteen years. Officers found child pornography including pictures of four young female students from the school where he had worked.

A candlelight vigil was organized on February 23rd. 10,000 people marched from Commercial St. to the Jefferson Ave. footbridge. The bridge was lit up with purple lights. Purple was Hailey’s favorite color.

See more:

https://youtu.be/bZyFGOP2dl8Hailey’s Vigil

The murder trial of Craig Wood

The trial began on October 30, 2017. Wood claimed his Meth binge caused him to kill Hailey Owens. He was convicted of 1st degree murder on November’s 4th. Defense attorneys argued that the lack of premeditation should spare Woods from the death penalty. Much to the public’s surprise, the jury couldn’t decide on the death penalty.

Defense attorneys quickly filed a motion requesting a new trial citing errors by the judge.

While the public went on with their holiday celebrations, the family of Hailey Owens were forced to wait on justice. The ruling wouldn’t come until after the new year.

January 11, 2018:

Judge Thomas Mountjoy denied Craig Wood’s appeal for a new trial. Later the same day he sentenced Wood to death by lethal injection.

Hailey’s Law:

Hailey’s parents are working hard to get “Hailey’s Law” passed. If passed, it will help streamline the Amber Alert system in hopes of saving lives. A 2-hour window elapsed between Haily’s abduction and the Amber Alert. Could those 120 minutes have saved Hailey? We will never know, but if it saves one child in the future then I say pass it. Get it on the books.

This case took an odd turn when Craig Woods’ family joined Hailey’s family in trying to push through Hailey’s Law.

Synova’s note:

There are many photos available of Craig Woods online, but I refuse to plaster his sorry face on my blog. If you want to see him then you can google it.

Hailey’s Facebook Memorial:

https://www.facebook.com/HaileyOwensInfo


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


Recommended Reading:

Read more about Hailey’s case in Synova’s book Shattered.

Follow the heart-rending cases Synova first wrote about on her blog in 2018. Filled with missing persons’ cases, unsolved homicides, and even serial killer cases, this book will give you a greater insight into the shattered lives behind every story.Cases Included in this book: Jayme Closs, Haley Owens, Josh Robinson, Timothy Cunningham, Carol Blades, Pam Hupp, Arthur Ream, Angela Hammond, The Springfield Three, Jennifer Harris, Danny King, Angie Yarnell, Jack Robinson, Madelin Edman, Alexis Patterson, Amber Wilde, Sandra Bertolas, Jennifer Casper-Ross, Crystal Soulier, Jody Ricard, Carmen Owens, Brandon Tyree McCullough & The I-70 Serial Killer. A portion of the profits of this book will go to support the Missouri Missing Organization.


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.


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


MISSING IN VEGAS – THE AMANDA FRAVEL CASE

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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fravel_amanda4

The Boy In a box – guest post by Cricket

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

The Boy in the Box also known as America’s unknown child. February  25th, 1957 the body of a young boy’s naked and battered body was found in a blanket inside a cardboard bassinet box in a wooded area in the Fox Chase section of Philadelphia pa. It is believed he was 3 – 7 yrs of age, he was 3 ft 6 inches and weighed 30 lbs! It was later found that the bassinet was purchased at JC Penney!     

The boy’s hair was recently cropped off possibly after death, clumps of hair clung to his body and he showed signs of severe malnourishment. He also had surgical scars on his ankle and ground, and an L shaped scar under his chin. Many tips and theories have been investigated and dismissed. Two theories have generated considerable interest among police and media!              

Theory 1: The foster home – This theory concerns a foster home located 1.5 miles from the sight of the body.        

In 1960 Remington Bristow an employee of the medical examiner’s office who pursued the case till his death! In 1993 he contacted a psychic in New Jersey who told him to look for a house that matched the foster home! When psychic came out to Philadelphia she led Bristow directly to the foster home!                                                                              

When attending an estate sale at the foster home Bristow discovered a bassinet similar to the ones sold at JC Penny. He also noticed blankets hanging on the clothesline similar to the one the boy was wrapped in. Bristow believed the boy belonged to the stepdaughter of the man who ran the foster home and that they disposed of his body so the stepdaughter would not be exposed as an unwed mother. He theorized that the boy’s death had been an accident. Despite the circumstantial evidence, the police were not able to find any definitive links between the boy in the box and the foster home. In 1998 Philadelphia police Lieutenant Tom Augustine who was in charge of the investigation and several members of the VIDOCQ society (a group of retired policemen and profilers) interviewed the foster father stepdaughter whom he married. The foster home investigation was closed!  

Theory 2: Mysterious Ms. M

Another theory was brought forward in February 2012 by a woman identified only as “MARTHA” or “M”. Police considered her story to be plausible but we’re troubled by testimony as she had a history of mental illness. M claimed that her abusive mother purchased the unknown boy (who’s name was Jonathan) from his birth parents in the summer of 1954. He was subjected to extreme physical and sexual abuse for 2 ½ yrs. 

One evening at dinner he vomited up his meal of baked beans and was given a severe beating with his head slammed to the floor till he was semiconscious! Then he was given a bath during which he died! Those details matched information only known to the police. The coroner found remains of baked beans in the boys stomach and his fingers were water wrinkled! M’s mother forced her into helping dump the boy’s body.

M said as they were preparing to remove him from the trunk a passing male motorist pulled over and asked if they needed help. M was ordered to stand in front of the car’s license plate to conceal number while she convinced the driver there was no problem. He eventually drove off. This has been corroborated continually in testimony given by the male witness in 1957.

In spite of the outward plausibility of M’s confession police we’re unable to verify her story. Neighbors who had access to the house during this period denied that there had been a young boy living there and dismissed M’s claims as ridiculous! To this day the boy in the box /America’s unknown child has never been identified! 


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:

Historic Mysteries

Unsolved Casebook


Recommended Reading:

Read more about The Boy In The Box with these books an Amazon:


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Cricket Andrews is a new crime writer working on her own book to empower victim’s families. She has worked as a victim’s advocate for years and is passionate about helping those affected by violent crime.


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.


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


Dixie Mafia Tales – Killer Charles “Russ” Hamilton – Guest Blog

I grew up in McNairy County, Tennessee, the home of Sheriff Buford Pusser of “Walking Tall” fame. Stories about Pusser and the Stateline Mob were as common to me as talking about my cousin who lived down the road. I fondly remember sitting on the sun-bleached, rain weathered front porch of my Grandparent’s log house and soaking in tales of mystery, intrigue, and murder. 

Maybe these were not the best choices of stories for young ears, but they are a part of my heritage and a part of me. I learned the chemical compositions that can dissolve a body by hearing about a man who killed his wife, put her body in an abandoned well and poured lye on it, so it would quickly dissolve. Bribery and bootleg whiskey was always a common topic. 

One tale, however, always stood out. In Chewalla, Tennessee, a neighboring town, there lived a man, who by today’s terminology, would be considered a serial killer. Russ Hamilton would meet his demise in 1968, in a Christmas Day shootout with Sheriff Pusser. This was two years before my birth, and certainly not a “hot” news story by the time I was listening to front porch storytelling. In fact, I never had a name to attach to the horrific tale of how he murdered one of his wives until I was an adult and began researching for my writing. As a child, my Grandfather would recount how in 1940, Russ tortured and killed Grace Burns, his “wife” (no one can confirm if they were, indeed, legally married), tied her up in the woods and left her to die. Body parts were strewn by animals through the woods, ultimately leading to her body being found. Other versions of the story state that he had dismembered her. At any rate, it was quite a lot for a child’s imagination. 

This is where the story takes a sharp left turn, not in the details of the horrific murder, but rather in learning how close a connection my Grandfather had to this man! They were “running buddies”! Grandpa, who had long passed when I began my research, is quoted as often saying that Russ, “…was the nicest man you would ever want to meet unless he had been drinking.” That seems to ring true, when you look at his life history, although I am not certain that bootleg whiskey, alone, was the catalyst for his callousness and evil temper. 

No one knows exactly when Russ started killing. It seems that he was an odd child and possessed the stereotypical serial killer characteristic of torturing and killing helpless animals. Family members, transients and lovers suffered unusual and untimely deaths or simply disappeared. The first documented murder was in 1931 when he killed Deputy John York in Chewalla, Tennessee. In 1933, he went to the Tennessee State Penitentiary for that killing but was paroled and pardoned in 1938. 

In late August/early September of 1940, he brutally tortured and murdered his wife, Grace, for which he would negotiate a plea deal of 2nd Degree murder with a ten-year sentence. However, he was paroled on June 29, 1948. In January 1951, his mother, Ben Ella Hamilton, was found dead and although he was never charged, it is commonly held that Russ 

killed her. While being questioned about her death, he was found to be in violation of parole and did go back to prison. (Maybe a measure of justice there.) He was paroled, again, on January 1, 1953, but was arrested for assault and battery, less than two months later and returned to prison until June of that year, when he was finally discharged. 

Russ tended to bounce between the McNairy County, Tennessee area and Lauderdale County, Alabama and it was there, in October of 1960, that he killed a co-worker, John G. Grossheim. He was found guilty of 2nd Degree murder and sentenced to 40 years to life. However, he was granted a new trial in 1963 and the jury returned a verdict of 1st Degree manslaughter with a ten-year sentence.

He was released in February of 1967 and went to live with a cousin, Don Pipkin, in Selmer, Tennessee, who owned a small apartment that Russ would rent for $20 a month. On Christmas Day, 1968, one of Russ’ drunken rampages would end his life. He fell through a plate glass window during a Christmas celebration and when Don took him home, he became belligerent and drew a gun on him. Don retreated and called the law. When Sheriff Buford Pusser arrived at the front door and announced himself, Russ started firing as he came through the door. Sheriff Pusser was wounded but returned fire and shot Russ right between the eyes. A lifetime of killing was brought to an end by one bullet. 


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:

Find A Grave

Christmas Day Shootout with Buford Pusser

Pinterest


Recommended Reading:

Read about more Dixie Mafia & State Line Mob stories:


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Synova Ink would like to welcome our newest guest blogger, Revonda Kirby. Kirby was raised among the State Line Mob and the Dixie Mafia. She is currently working on a book about her life.

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


Gunned Down For guns – Thursday Guest Post

All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

Twenty-six-year-old Todd McAfee was a corporate farm manager of a 300-acre tomato farm for the Bonita Packing Company in Myakka City, Florida. A company trailer on the property doubled as his home and office. The nearest neighbors were four miles away.

Todd was an avid outdoors man whose primary recreational activity was hunting. It was common knowledge that he kept his weapons in his trailer. Todd’s gun collection was valuable monetarily, but not nearly as valuable as it was to him personally. He collected guns because he liked them and believed his guns would also serve him as a source of protection in the secluded locale. Instead, they likely led to his murder.

At 6:30 A.M. on August 18, 1987, Bonita farmhands were surprised to find that Todd had not unlocked the gate for them. By 7:00 A.M., there was still no sign of him and fear soon set in as the farmhands observed blood stains in Todd’s truck, parked outside the gate.

Shortly thereafter, two miles away, employees discovered his body in one of the tomato fields he managed. He had been shot four times.

The police concluded Todd had been dead for approximately twelve hours before he was found. They believe his death was the result of a robbery gone wrong. Police believe the burglary was in process as Todd arrived home from the grocery store. As he tried to intervene, the panicked assailants ambushed him with their guns, before absconding with nearly all of his guns. Evidence showed Todd had been shot to death outside of his home shortly after exiting his car, which sustained no gunshot damage. After the initial shots, he attempted to get back into his car, leaving the bloodstains. Todd probably knew the people who killed him.

Todd was a big man, standing 6’5 and weighting 215 pounds. Investigators believe more than one person tossed him into the ditch where his body was found. Locals knew that a swamp by the ditch was the home of an alligator and police believe the killers had hoped Todd’s body would be its supper. However, it was discovered before being gobbled by the gator.

A receipt found in the grocery bag in Todd’s truck helped pinpoint the time of his death to between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. At around 6:15 p.m. on the night of August 17, two of his friends passed by the trailer and noticed an orange van parked next to it. The orange van had been seen earlier at a local gas station where a witness recalled seeing two men and a woman near it. 

Composites of one of the men and the woman are below.

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In 1991, prison inmate Jacob Scott, serving time at the Desoto County Jail, told police he had information about Todd’s murder. Scott had previously been jailed with Ruthie Anderson, who had been Todd’s housekeeper. Her husband Wilbur had also previously worked for Todd.

Scott claimed while he and Ruthie were incarcerated together, Ruthie had told him she had planned the burglary of Todd’s trailer because she believed he kept the company payroll there. Scott went on to say that Ruthie told him Todd was killed after coming upon her, Wilbur, and another man burglarizing his trailer.

Shortly after Scott revealed this information, a man was arrested with a .30-caliber Plainfield semiautomatic rifle which had been stolen from Todd’s home. This man told police he had purchased the gun from Wilbur Anderson. In a Mississippi junkyard, investigators located an orange van matching the description of the one seen at Todd’s home on the night of his murder. The junkyard owner told police Wilbur had sold it to him.

In October of 1994, Ruthie Anderson was charged with the murder of Todd McAfee. Wilbur was charged only with stealing and selling Todd’s guns. However, as the trial was about to begin, Jacob Scott recanted his statements and the case against Ruthie was dismissed. No significant leads have developed since.

Ruthie and Wilbur Anderson later separated. Ruthie is believed to now be living in Mississippi. Wilbur later served a prison sentence in Mississippi for an unrelated robbery case that occurred after Todd’s murder. He was released in 1996 and is now is believed to be living in Alabama. Both have refused any comment about the murder of Todd McAfee.

Police still consider the Andersons persons of interests but have nothing forensically linking them to the murder.

Some of Todd’s stolen handguns were found, but his more valuable shotguns and rifles remain missing.


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.

Sources:
Bradenton Herald (Fl.)
• DeSoto Sun
• Sarasota Herald-Tribune


Recommended Reading:

Read about inspirational stories involving firearms:


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


Sumter County Stumped – Jock & Jane Doe

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

On August 9, 1976, a trucker found the bodies of a young male and female along a remote dirt road in Sumter County, South Carolina. Neither person was carrying any identification. Both had been shot three times, once each in the throat, chest, and back. The murder weapon was believed to be a .357 caliber revolver.

Drawings of the victims’ faces and features, dental information, and fingerprints were distributed across the United States and Canada, but no match was found. Over the years, as DNA technology has progressed, tests have been compared to thousands of unidentified bodies in both countries, but they have also failed to hit pay dirt.

Forty-three years later, Sumter County officials are still stumped, as the identities of “Jock and Jane Doe” remain a mystery.

The couple was believed to have been dropped off on Locklair Road, a secluded dirt road between I-95 and S.C. 341 (Lynches River Road). Investigators believe the pair may have been hitchhiking or were killed by hitchhikers after hijacking their car.

Police found no eyewitness to the murders. However, approximately two hours before the bodies were found, a man said he heard a car driving along the dirt road. Shortly thereafter, he heard gunshots, followed by the sound of a car hurriedly driving away.

A nearby campground employee remembered meeting the couple several weeks before their murders. He spoke with the man whom he thought had said his name was “Jacques.”

The man said he was the son of a Canadian doctor and that he and the woman were on vacation, en route to Florida. The campground employee did not learn the woman’s name.

The man became known as “Jock Doe.”

An examination by a forensic dentist suggested the couple either had money or had come from a family of means.

Jock Doe had had extensive dental work including a unique form of root canal surgery not commonly performed in America. It also appeared he had been midway through a complete dental restoration. The root canal surgery and dental restoration both would have been expensive procedures.

Jane Doe had also had extensive dental work as she had fillings in all of her back teeth. In addition, her front teeth were straight.

Oddly, neither victim was wearing underwear when their bodies were discovered.

Autopsies found no drugs or alcohol in either the victim’s system. Each had recently eaten fruit or ice cream with fruit, and a man believed he saw the couple eating at a local fruit stand shortly before their murders.

Despite the clues, all efforts to identify “Jock and Jane Doe” proved fruitless.

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Jock Doe wore a 14-karat gold ring and an expensive gold Bulova Accutron wristwatch. Using the serial number, investigators determined Bulova had made the watch in 1968.

Bulova, however, destroyed many of its records when the company downsized in the early seventies, and it could not be determined where the watch had been distributed or purchased.

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Jane Doe wore expensive wedge-heeled lavender/pink sandals and three expensive costume jewelry rings made of sterling silver. The sandals were Stride-Rite brand; the rings appeared to be authentic handmade Native American or Mexican costume jewelry. The rings are believed to have originated in the Southwestern United States.

• The first ring had an ornate scrolling feather shape with coral and turquoise stones.
• The second ring was a black, oblong stone embedded with small turquoise chips.
• The third was a metal band with red, white, and blue stones.

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Jock Doe was believed to have been born between 1946-58, meaning he was believed to be 18-30-years-old when he was murdered in 1976. “Jock” is a fitting sobriquet, as he had a lean, athletic build, standing over 6’0 tall and weighing approximately 150 pounds.

Jock Doe had shoulder-length hair, brown eyes, and distinctive bushy eyebrows. The elaborate dental work he received may have been performed outside the United States. In addition to a four-inch appendectomy scar, several scars on his back and shoulders suggested he may have been an athlete as such scars are commonly found on players of contact sports.

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Jane Doe was believed to been born approximately between 1951-58, meaning she was 18-25-years-old when murdered in 1976.

She was 5′ 5″, weighed 100 to 105 pounds, and had a slim build. She had reddish-brown, shoulder-length hair and bluish-gray eyes. Her most distinguishing features were two moles on the left side of her face near her mouth. She also had unusually long natural eyelashes. Unlike her companion, Jane had no surgical scars.

It was also determined Jane Doe had never been pregnant, and her legs had not been shaved in several weeks.

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In 1977, a man was arrested in Latta, South Carolina, for driving while intoxicated. A revolver found in his vehicle was proven to be the murder weapon of the Sumter County Does. Prosecutors, however, deemed the finding insufficient to charge him with the murders.

Serial killer Henry Lee Lucas has been mentioned as a suspect in the murder of the Sumter County Does. Shortly before his death in 2001, Lucas told police he had been in South Carolina on August 9, 1976, and confessed to the murders as well as two other murders in Sumter County, those of an elderly woman in 1975 and of a young man in 1983. Investigators, however, are skeptical due to Lucas’s numerous false confessions of murder. Although convicted of 11 murders, Lucas “confessed” to at least 50 more that were proven he could not have committed.

Most investigators dismiss Lucas’s claims of involvement in all of the Sumter County murders.

Investigators continue to try to identify Sumter County’s “Jock and Jane Doe.” The pair appear not to have been vagrants; in contrast, they appeared to be from upper-class families.

Investigators believe the couple may have been from a country other than the United States, perhaps Canada, and may have been hitchhiking across America. Because the campground employee had thought he heard the man say his name was “Jacques,” police theorize the couple may be of French-Canadian origin.

Because of their similar features and matching olive-colored skin, authorities for many years believed the man and woman were related, possibly having been brother and sister. After the couples’ bodies were exhumed in 2007, however, DNA testing showed they were not biologically related.

If you believe you have any information on the murders of the Sumter County Jock and Jane Doe, or any clues to the victims’ identities, please contact the Sumter County, South Carolina Sheriff’s Office at 803-436-2111.

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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.


SOURCES:
Wikipedia
Doe Network
• Nam Us
• Sumter County Does Website
• Sumter County, South Carolina, Police Department, and Sheriff’s Office


Recommended Reading:

Read about more about Jane Doe Cases in Someone’s Daughter By: Silvia Pettem


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


A Prophet, An Occult, and Murder


The headline case of Lori Vallow – Chad Daybell and their two missing children, 7-year-old “J.J.” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan is perplexing. Lori Vallow’s family and friends believe the trouble began when Lori joined Chad in what is now being called “a cult.”

The International Cultic Studies Association defines “cult” as “an ideological organization, held together by charismatic relationships, and demanding high levels of commitment.” Most recently, the “New Religious Movement” (NRM) is the term used in place of “Cult.”

The case background explains how Lori Vallow could have been drawn into Chad Daybell’s world. In 2006, Lori married her fourth husband, Charles. (Lori already had a daughter, Tylee, by her third husband.) Lori and Charles adopted a boy, “J.J.” In 2015, Lori became obsessed with books written by Chad Daybell, who foresees doomsday. Chad had a wife named Tammy. In 2018, Lori and Chad began podcasting together on “Time To Warrior Up” through a company, “Preparing A People.” After Lori disappeared for 58 days, Charles filed for divorce. Caveats cite that 1. Lori threatened to kill Charles. 2. Lori stole $35,000 from his account. 3. Lori claimed to be, among other things, “a translated being … sent by God to lead the 144,000 into the Millennium.”

In March 2019, Charles dismissed the proceedings; he is shot dead by Lori’s brother Alex three months later. At the same time, Lori’s niece Melani divorces her husband, Brandon, possibly to join Lori and Chad’s “cult.” In October 2019, Tammy Daybell was found dead. Lori and Chad soon marry. Lori’s brother Alex is found dead. In December 2019, law enforcement announced J.J. and Tylee as officially missing and Lori and Chad as “persons of interest.” (Full timeline see Krutzig) Lori and Chad repeatedly lied and stalled the investigation, then fled to Hawaii.

One technique used by a cult to change a person is “Create a Thought-Reform Environment.” This includes “suppressing old behavior and attitudes.” It involves 1. Get the person to reinterpret their life history drastically. 2. Radically alter their worldview. 3. Accept a new version of reality and causality. A potential cult member is at a “Crossroads” in life – the person is questioning their life for some reason; it may be disappointments, social status, or their future; they may be worried about the state of their world: the future of their country. The cult will show this person “a better way of life.” They will use isolation, ego-boosting, and psychological manipulation (“brainwashing”).

J.J.’s grandmother, Kay Vallow Woodcock, said, “Things started changing over the past 18 plus months when Lori began spending all her time with a new religious group, that we refer to as a ‘cult’… she has completely changed into a monster … something happened to her … Once she got involved with that cult with Daybell, she just turned off the person we knew just went away.” (Sheets & Shen).

Another technique in “Create a Thought-Reform Environment” includes “Instilling new behavior and attitudes.” One tactic is to destabilize a person’s sense of self by developing a person’s dependence on the organization. The cult introduces “a new reality”: the person is added to the group’s way of thinking, acting, and living. A “we vs. them” is created (in this case, it may be The Enlightened vs. The Nonbelievers).

Chad Daybell has declared himself a prophet, and the general theme of his books is prepping for the apocalypse – doomsday, the world ending in part due to its “wicked ways.” Daybell was also a member of the Mormon Church (Church of Latter-Day Saints, or LDS) and a “prepper” who stocked up on food, water, and weapons in preparation to survive the end of the world. “Prepping” is something Mormonism once supported, says an expert. And “There are new Mormon groups that start every single day,” Dr. Cristina Rosetti, an expert who has researched fundamentalist Mormons, told Daily Mail. “The Mormon Church is very susceptible to schisms and the starting of new movements” (Gould). Chad Daybell was booted out of The Mormon Church in fall 2019. The Mormon-based “Preparing A People” has made it clear they are not responsible for Chad Daybell. He was affiliated with “Preparing A People,” “a series of lecture events focusing on self-reliance and personal preparation … providing several LDS speakers and authors an educational forum…. (Daybell) spoke at some of the ‘Preparing A People’ events, but had no ownership in it, nor was he a founder.” The www.preparingapeople.com website reads.

Cult leaders are charming individuals, well-spoken, and excellent listeners. Most are narcissists. They can quickly read people, to see their weaknesses and then feed off of and use those weaknesses to their advantage. Leaders will create chaos so that they can stop the confusion, demonstrating their “power.” They will make promises (called “dangling the carrot”) to encourage others to follow; it might be wealth, happiness, eternal life, or a combination. Many cults are splinter groups from religious organizations, and the cult leader may declare himself as a deity, or someone who can receive messages from a higher power.

Are Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell members of a cult? Vallow could have been drawn into Daybell’s world through “Thought-Reform Environment.” After spending time with Daybell, she threatened to kill her husband Charles, stole from him, and made bizarre claims. At least one family member has reported a drastic change in Vallow after she met Daybell. And for someone who is searching for answers, a cult leader will know precisely what to give that individual. By its definition, a “cult” can be anything from a church to a pyramid company to a social club. If it is a cult, Lori Vallow will not break away easily. Cults, by nature, are easy to join, but difficult to leave due to emotional and spiritual attachments.

Judith A. Yates is an award-winning true crime author and criminologist. She is currently researching cults for her fiction book, due out in the summer of 2020. She recently spoke at the 2019 A. Markle Symposium hosted by the Dr. Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science.

Note: This article does not infer that every Mormon (LDS) parishioner subscribes to the same belief system.

Before you say, “I would never…” read this compelling story of one woman’s cult experience here:

https://bestoftruecrime.blogspot.com/2020/01/choicecenter-leadership-university-cult.html

RESOURCES

Cult Research

Janja Lalich,

PMB 905

236 W. East Ave., Ste. A.

Chico, CA 95926

International Cultic Studies Association

http://www.icsahome.com

mail@icsamail.com

P.O. Box 2265

Bonita Springs, FL 34133

Phone 1-239-514-3081

Gould, M. (December 24, 2019). “EXCLUSIVE: Cult leader on the run with a mom whose kids have been missing since September declared himself a ‘prophet,’ wrote 25 books on ‘prepping’ for the apocalypse – and was thrown out of the Mormon church AFTER children vanished.” DailyMail.com. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7823081/Man-run-new-wife-kicked-Mormon-church-declaring-prophet.html

Krutzig, S. (January 7, 2020) “A timeline of the events surrounding the disappearance of J.J. Vallow and Tylee Ryan.” Post-Register. Retrieved from https://www.postregister.com/news/crime_courts/a-timeline-of-the-events-surrounding-the-disappearance-of-j/article_44af7af1-d4ff-5c8e-af39-db1a6b2bad2e.html

Sheets, M. & Shen, M. (December 23, 2019). “Terrified relative says it’s no coincidence there have been four mysterious family deaths and two children now missing after their mom joined ‘dangerous religious cult’ obsessed with the end of the world.” DailyMail.com. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7821133/Family-missing-children-7-17-disappeared-September-say-mom-joined-cult.html


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.

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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.


Scoville Skips: Guest Post Thursday

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

In the 1970s, Raymond Scoville was transitioning from hippie to businessman. As the editor of an underground Chicago newspaper in 1970, he had penned an article entitled “How to Get a New Identity,” geared toward those sought by law enforcement.

In the 1980s, Scoville personally tested his work, as he made another transition, from businessman to murderer. Unfortunately, he has aced the test.

Scoville knew about what he wrote, and, evidently, practiced what he preached as he has been on the lam for over 37 years.

By the latter part of the 1970s, as the counterculture movement was coming to a close, Raymond Scoville was remodeling his Chicago drug paraphernalia shop into a record and videotape shop.

Scoville’s new store was a success, and the hippie-turned-businessman soon opened five more stores in the Joliet, Illinois, area.

Colleen Racich was a bubbly teen hired by Scoville as a part-time clerk at one of his stores. She proved herself a good worker, but Scoville was evaluating more than her job performance. The former deadhead had a thing for redheads. Colleen was flattered by the attention of the “hip” business owner. Soon, the 31-year-old Scoville and his 14-year-old employee were having an affair.

The two continued their romantic relationship as Colleen grew into adulthood. By 1982, as she proved herself a good businesswoman, Scoville made his now 22-year-old trophy girlfriend the part-owner of three of his businesses. Colleen was on the fast track, but she soon discovered her lover and business partner had been off track for several years.

Colleen, the astute young businesswoman, examined the company books and was startled at what she found. For several years, Scoville had been skimping on his responsibilities. Colleen’s lover-partner was heavily in debt, had defaulted on several bank loans, and had not paid taxes for
several years. Colleen immediately ended the romantic partnership and took the first steps toward dissolving the business partnership.

After Colleen alerted the authorities, several of Scoville’s stores were shut down. The former lovers and partners became bitter of enemies as each filed civil suits against each other.

On August 3, 1982, Scoville and Colleen met in one of the record stores to discuss the state of their businesses and partnerships. Several people saw the two engaged in heated arguments. These were the last sightings of Colleen Racich.

Colleen’s family reported her missing the following day. Four days later, police found her car at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital parking lot. Beneath a pile of newspapers in the back seat lay Colleen’s body. She had been shot eight times.

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

When police questioned Scoville, he admitted killing Colleen but claimed it was self-defense, saying she had attacked him with a knife. Under interrogation, however, Scoville broke down, admitting he had struck his former lover on her head with a mallet before shooting her to death. Afterward, he took Colleen’s keys, wrapped her body in a bag and blanket, put it into her car and drove to the hospital parking lot.

Raymond Scoville was arrested on August 10, 1982, and charged with the murder of his former lover and business partner, Colleen Racich. In a written confession to police, he stated he had shot Colleen after she accused him of embezzling funds from their businesses.

Scoville’s mother posted his $50,000 bond. On April 12, 1983, four days after his trial began, a motion to suppress his confession to Chicago police was denied. The following day, Scoville was a no-show in court.

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

On June 20, 1983, nine weeks after fleeing, Scoville was seen by a former employee at a Chicago restaurant. This is the last confirmed sighting of Raymond Scoville.

Scoville’s trial continued without him and in September of 1983, he was convicted in absentia of Colleen’s murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Instead of sitting in a prison cell, however, Scoville has been in hiding for nearly that amount of time.

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

Scoville is also suspected of killing two former girlfriends, one of them being Jill Clark. Soon after Scoville began his affair with Colleen, Jill was found shot to death. Although it was determined the gun that killed Jill belonged to Scoville, her death was ruled a suicide.

I was not able to find a source naming the other ex-girlfriend Scoville is suspected of killing. I also could not find a picture of Jill Clark.

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

In recent years, retro stores have become increasingly popular, and vinyl records have been making a comeback.

Not so, Raymond Scoville. He remains in hiding over 37 years after killing Colleen. Scoville spoke fluent Spanish, and authorities believe he may have fled to central or South America. He may be using the names David Shaw, Robert Branch or Harvey Lnu. Scoville would today be 68-years-old.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Raymond Scoville, please contact the Chicago Police Department at (312) 746-6000 or the Chicago FBI office at (312) 421-6700.

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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.


SOURCES:
• America’s Most Wanted
• Chicago Sun-Times
• Chicago Tribune
The Herald News (Joliet, IL.)
• New Lenox Patch

Recommended Reading:

Read about more cold cases in

The Killer Book of Cold Cases: Incredible Stories, Facts, and Trivia from the Most Baffling True Crime Cases of All Time (The Killer Books)

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