The Tangled Tale of Tina and Tom

Tina Marcotte disappeared in June 1994 after completing her work shift in Rapid City, South Dakota. Four days later, Tom Kueter, the last person believed to have seen her, was found dead at his place of employment. A year-and-a-half later, the remains of Tina were found buried on the same premises.

In 2016, Rapid City police officially closed both cases. The official determination is that the latter killed the former and later took his own life. If the account is correct, it is one of the more unique murder-suicides.

Thirty-year-old Tina Marcotte and 29-year-old Tom Kueter knew each other through their employment with Black Hills Molding, a company on the outskirts of Rapid City that made and supplied kitchen cabinet parts to manufacturers.

Tina was last seen in the early morning hours of June 24, 1994, after completing her late-night shift at the processing plant. At 12:30 a.m., she called her friend, Vicky Riddle. Vicky said Tina was distraught and apologized for waking her. Tina explained she had a flat tire and asked Vicky to pick her up at the plant. As Vicky agreed to do so, Tina told her someone had pulled up to the factory door, and she was going to see who it was. When she returned to the phone, she told Vicky it was “Tom,” who used to work at the plant, and that he had offered to give her a ride home. Tina apologized for disturbing Vicky, thanked her, and hung up.

When Vicky awoke later that morning, she called Tina’s home to inquire about her friend. Tina’s live-in boyfriend, Patrick Gleason, who had just awoken, told Vicky that Tina had not come home the previous evening. Vicky told Patrick about the conversation. The only “Tom” either knew to have previously worked at Black Hills Molding was Tom Kueter. Patrick called Tom, inquiring of Tina’s whereabouts. Tom agreed to meet him at Vicky’s home.

Both Vicky and Patrick said Tom became defensive when Vicky implied that he was the “Tom” Tina had mentioned in the phone call. Tom denied being at the factory and giving Tina a ride. At Tom’s urging, he and Patrick went to the police station and reported Tina as missing.

When police checked Tina’s car, still in the Black Hills Molding parking lot, they confirmed it had a flat tire, which had likely been slashed with a knife.

When police questioned Tom Kueter, he again denied giving Tina a ride from the factory. Tom claimed he had played in a softball game the previous evening and had given a friend a ride home. Tom said his car had broken down on his way home, and he had spent nearly three hours under a street light fixing it, finally arriving home around 3:30 a.m. He said he did not call his wife, Nancy, to say he had been delayed because he did not want to awaken her or their two children.

Fellow softball players confirmed Tom had played in a game that evening. The friend also confirmed Tom had given him a ride home. The game ended a little before 11:00 p.m., and the friend said Tom dropped him off at his home at approximately 11:30 p.m. Nancy told investigators that Tom washed all of his softball clothes, including his shoes and shoelaces, immediately upon arriving home.

During a formal interrogation, Tom named the location where he said he spent nearly three hours trying to fix his car. However, police could find no one who could corroborate his claim.

Police scheduled another interview with Tom. Three days later, just after the 9:00 a.m. shift change at the Forest Product Distributors lumberyard, several employees discovered Tom’s body. His head had been crushed beneath the rear wheel of his forklift. I don’t know too many suicidal people who have the wherewithal to lay behind a forklift and wait until it crushes their skull.

In October 1995, sixteen months after her disappearance, Tina’s body was found buried beneath some woodpiles on Forest Product Distributors’ property. She had died from a blow to her head from a heavy object.

Police believe Tom slashed her car tire with a knife in the Black Hills Molding parking lot to prevent her from leaving. Tom then offered to give Tina a ride home. Once she was in his car, police theorize Tom made sexual advances told her. When Tina rejected them, an enraged Tom murdered her.

His plan went awry, police believe, because Tina had called Vicky and mentioned his name to her, which ultimately led to his being a suspect in her disappearance. Police theorize that, as the net was closing in on him, Tom Kueter killed himself in a bizarre manner to make his death appear accidental.

The police believe Tom Kueter committed suicide because he feared he would soon be arrested for Tina’s disappearance. His life insurance policy would pay a substantial amount to his wife if his death were accidental, but it would pay nothing if his death were a suicide.

Therefore, police believe Tom tried to make his death look like an accident. They contend he loaded at least a ton of lumber onto the forklift, which he set on an incline to make it appear it had fallen on him accidentally. Instead, police believe he jumped from the cab and positioned himself in the machine’s path.

Police ruled Tom’s death a suicide instead of an accident because they found nothing indicating a struggle and say the absence of drag marks indicates he purposefully placed himself in front of the forklift. A court, however, did not confirm the police’s determination.

In 2000, four-and-a-half years after Tom’s death, his widow Nancy was granted insurance death benefits after a judge ruled the evidence was insufficient to prove Tom had committed suicide.

In 2016 the Rapid City police closed their investigation into the deaths of Tina Marcotte and Tom Kueter. Despite the judge’s finding, the official ruling of law enforcement is that Tom murdered Tina then committed suicide.


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 Info:
• Unsolved Mysteries


More photos for this case can be found on Synova’s Patreon page! Check them using the button below Synova’s Patreon Page

Synova’s Patreon

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.


Check out My Friend Ori Spado’s new book!

The Accidental Gangster: From Insurance Salesman to Hollywood Fixer

In this revised edition of The Accidental Gangster, author Orlando “Ori” Spado honestly recounts his humble beginnings from the small town of Rome in upstate New York to becoming known as The Mob Boss of Hollywood. This candid account documents his fall from the life of a well-known Hollywood fixer who mixed with A-List celebrities to serving 62 months in a federal prison and ultimately making a determined comeback. The Accidental Gangster: From Insurance Salesman to Hollywood Fixer includes personal letters, new photos, additional text and corrected material from The Accidental Gangster: From Insurance Salesman to Mob Boss of Hollywood.

Get Your Copy Today!


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for The Racketeer, 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.

SIGN UP HERE


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.”)


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©2017-2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Death in the Desert

On June 18, 1977, the body of 39-year-old businessman Charles Morgan was found in the desert approximately 40 miles west of his Tucson, Arizona, home. He had been shot once in the back of his head. The investigation into his death would prove one of the most complicated in Arizona history. Morgan himself emerged as a murky figure who may have literally been running for his life.

The life and death of Charles Morgan and the investigation into his murder sounds like a story concocted by Hollywood screenwriters. But this movie does not yet have an ending.

Who was Charles Morgan is a hard question to answer. Who killed Charles Morgan is a question that may never be answered.

Tourism is one of Arizona’s biggest industries as it attracts some of America’s wealthiest people. It is important for the economy, but it also brings some unsavory characters.

During the 1970s, Tucson became a favorite mafia haven as more than five-hundred racketeers moved to “The Old Pueblo,” including former New York crime boss Joseph Bonanno. The warm climate was pleasant, but for the dons, the best feature of the Grand Canyon State was its criminal justice system. One particular state law allowed the mafia leaders to buy land through numbered blind trust accounts, allowing them to remain anonymous as they laundered money.

Charles Morgan was the President of his own real estate escrow agency in Tucson. He is known to have done escrow work for at least one Mafia “family,” and he was a potential witness in a land fraud case involving an organized crime boss.

After driving two of his daughters to school on March 22, 1977, Morgan disappeared. At 2:00 a.m. on March 25, he stumbled into his home, discombobulated and unable to speak. He was missing one shoe, had one plastic handcuff around his ankle, and both hands cuffed. He could not talk but managed to write a note to his wife, Ruth, saying his throat had been doused with a hallucinogenic drug.

Morgan wrote if the drug didn’t kill him, it could drive him terminally insane or destroy his central nervous system. He adamantly conveyed to Ruth that she was not to call the police because, he said, if she did, “they” would kill them both, along with their four daughters. Morgan refused to say who “they” were.

For the next week, Ruth nursed her husband back to health. Before his voice returned, he alluded to a secret identity. Ruth said her husband wrote, “They took my treasury identification.”

Morgan explained that he had been secretly working for the United States Treasury Department for 2-3 years.

Two months later, in May, Charles Morgan disappeared again. Nine days later, Ruth received a phone call from a woman who said Charles was all right and would be home soon. The woman, who refused to identify herself, quoted the Bible passage Ecclesiastics 12: 1-8.

12 Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;

While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain:

In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened,

And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low;

Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets:

Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern.

Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.

Three days later, Morgan again returned home, this time he was uninjured. He refused to say where he had been and insisted the authorities not be contacted.

Three weeks later, Charles Morgan disappeared for the last time. He came home in a coffin.

On June 18, 1977, Morgan was found shot to death in the desert approximately 40 miles west of Tucson. He had died from one gunshot wound to the back of his head. The bullet had come from his own .357 magnum, which was beside him. No fingerprints were found on the gun. Morgan was also wearing a bulletproof vest and a belt buckle, which concealed a knife and holster.

Items found inside Morgan’s car indicated the businessman was preparing for war. Besides containing a cache of ammunition and weapons, Morgan’s car had been modified so it could be unlocked from the fender. Also found inside the vehicle were several CB radios and a pair of sunglasses not owned by Morgan.

The crime scene had the appearance of suicide. Still, investigators had a hard time fathoming that a successful businessman and happily married father of four would have put on a bulletproof vest to drive 50 miles from his home to the Arizona desert in the middle of the night and, once there, shoot himself in the back of the head. The Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Morgan’s death a murder.

As the medical examiner removed the clothing to conduct an autopsy, he found a $2 bill clipped inside Morgan’s underwear. Seven Spanish names, numbered 1-7, were written on the front of the bill.

Written above the names was the same Ecclesiastics biblical reference the unknown female had quoted to Ruth.

On the back of the bill, the Declaration of Independence’s signers were numbered 1-7.

On the back of the bill was a crudely drawn map of several roads between Tucson and the Mexican border. All roads led to a place called Robles Junction. From there, they headed south to the town of Sasabe and ultimately to a ranch with landing strips likely used for drug smuggling.

On June 20, two days after Morgan’s body was found, an anonymous woman calling herself “Green Eyes” phoned the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. She told them Morgan had met her at a motel shortly before his death and that she was the same woman who had contacted his wife, Ruth. “Green Eyes” claimed Morgan had shown her a briefcase containing what she guessed was between $50,000-$100,000. Morgan told her the cash would buy him out of a contract that had been put on his life.

“Green Eyes” has never been identified, and her relationship with Charles Morgan has never been learned.

Phoenix investigative journalist Don Devereux began investigating the Morgan murder in 1986. He found Morgan lived a double life as he was on the edges of a couple of large crime families at his death.

Morgan was known to have done real estate escrow work for at least one mafia family, but Devereux believes that was only the tip of an illicit iceberg. Devereux concluded the Mafia was using Morgan for escrow work for gold bullion purchases and platinum, convenient means to launder money. These transactions existed only on paper. The money changed hands by changing escrow accounts in Los Angeles and Atlanta banks.

Devereux believes organized crime, worried about Morgan’s testifying against them in an upcoming trial, put out a contract on his life. Devereux theorizes a hitman told Morgan about the deal referenced by “Green Eyes,” and Morgan acquired the money to pay him off. However, when the two men met in the desert, the hitman double-crossed Morgan by killing him and taking the money. In a perverse way, Devereux believes Morgan paid for his own death.

Devereux concluded Morgan was working for someone in the government who blew his cover. Using the Freedom of Information Act, Devereux contacted the FBI to get more information on the Morgan case. He said the FBI denied knowing who Morgan was, even though agents had interviewed his lawyer.

Devereux’s investigation determined Morgan was extensively involved in money laundering activities through his escrow company. From 1973 until his murder in 1977, Devereux says Morgan facilitated illegal gold and platinum transactions in excess of $1 billion. Much of the loot appeared to be coming from southeast Asia, beginning at the end of the Vietnam War.

Devereux contends many intelligence community operatives appear to have been involved, including renegades in the CIA and Defense Department. Perhaps they were operating undercover for the agency, but they were more likely lining their own pockets. Devereux says exiled Vietnamese officials may also have been involved.

The case of Charles Morgan was profiled on Unsolved Mysteries on February 7, 1990. Don Devereux was interviewed in the segment, and his articles about his investigation into Morgan’s death were soon published.

Three months later, just after midnight on May 15, Doug Johnston of Phoenix was found dead in his car in the company parking lot of ICM Inc., the computer graphics company where he worked. He had been shot once behind his left ear.

Similar to the Charles Morgan crime scene, Doug’s death appeared to be a suicide at first glance. However, no gun was found, and his hands contained no residue. The only evidence at the scene was a .25 caliber bullet casing. The murder weapon has never been found. Johnston’s death, ruled a homicide, is still unsolved.

Devereux’s office was across the street from ICM Inc. He was struck by several similarities between Doug Johnston and himself. The men resembled each other, and they drove similar Toyotas. Devereux’s home and Doug’s work address differed by only one number.

Six months later, in November of 1990, Devereux was contacted by a fellow investigative journalist who told him he had heard from a “high place” CIA source that Devereux’s suspicions were correct; the bullet that killed Doug Johnston was meant for him. According to the journalist, the “source” said there was still a contract out on Devereux’s life because of his investigations involving the CIA and organized crime, i.e., the Charles Morgan case.

Devereux says two other sources, one from the CIA and the other from Israeli intelligence, later confirmed the death threats. He has the warnings from the sources on tape.

In August 1991, Devereux was contacted by Washington, D.C. investigative journalist Dan Casolaro. Casolaro told Devereux that he had uncovered information about Charles Morgan’s illegal gold transactions while researching another story. Casolaro agreed to share the information with Devereux. Shortly after that, Casolaro was found dead under strange circumstances.

Devereux believes the same network of people, including the mob and the renegade intelligence community officials involved in the 1970s money laundering transactions, killed Dan Casolaro and tried to kill him for his investigation into Charles Morgan’s murder.

Charles Morgan claimed he was working against organized crime, but it appears he was instead involved with the mob. He probably started legitimately but could not resist the bribes and temptations. Perhaps he tried to go straight but was coerced into staying in the Mafia’s pocket. By the time he tried to get out, it was too late.

Charles Morgan was in way over his head, and for that, he got a bullet in his head. Forty-three years later, his murder remains unsolved, and no suspects have been named.


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:
Unsolved Mysteries

Verses taken from Bible Gateway


More photos for this case can be found on Synova’s Patreon page! Check them using the button below Synova’s Patreon Page

Synova’s Patreon

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.


Check out My Friend Ori Spado’s new book!

The Accidental Gangster: From Insurance Salesman to Hollywood Fixer

In this revised edition of The Accidental Gangster, author Orlando “Ori” Spado honestly recounts his humble beginnings from the small town of Rome in upstate New York to becoming known as The Mob Boss of Hollywood. This candid account documents his fall from the life of a well-known Hollywood fixer who mixed with A-List celebrities to serving 62 months in a federal prison and ultimately making a determined comeback. The Accidental Gangster: From Insurance Salesman to Hollywood Fixer includes personal letters, new photos, additional text and corrected material from The Accidental Gangster: From Insurance Salesman to Mob Boss of Hollywood.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for The Racketeer, 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.

SIGN UP HERE


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.”)


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©2017-2020. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


The Disturbing Disappearance of Shirley Hyman-Hickman

Shirley Hyman – Hickman

A young single mother goes missing from a local bar in Philadelphia 38 years ago. Her daughter was a teenager who couldn’t understand why no one was actively pursuing this case. Why didn’t anyone care about her mother?

 Shirley Hyman-Hickman Was last seen leaving the Park Avenue Cafe Bar in Philly on August 28th, 1981. Witnesses say she was upset and crying and left with two men in a Blue Van. She had been at the bar playing pool with friends and family members, but they ended up leaving the bar before Hickman. Police found the two men when they were questioned, but both claimed to have dropped Shirley off safe and sound.

 She lived only a short distance away and could have walked home. Why did she get into the van with these men? How did she know them? Did she know them? Why was she upset?

Shirley was raised in a big family with many siblings, but her lifestyle didn’t match that of her loved ones. She had trouble with men and was now an unmarried single mother. Back in the 80s, this wasn’t overly accepted, and life was challenging, to say the least. Her daughter went to stay with her family, fully expecting to see her mother in a day or two. When she didn’t show up, she never could understand what happened. She couldn’t understand why the police weren’t bringing her mother home. She couldn’t understand why no one seemed to actively pursue this case. To this day, she is still not sure why no one seemed to help her mother.

 Very little is known on this case, but we know that 38 years have passed without Shirley. For a while, the family wondered if Hickman had been a victim of the infamous serial killer Samuel Littles. she resembled some of his drawings, but when they reached out, Little verified that she wasn’t one of his victims. Now, after four decades, they’re right back at the beginning.

 If you have any information on this case, please reach out and contact someone. You can submit a tip anonymously if you so choose. But please reach out this family needs answers. I recently interviewed the family for my YouTube show. Check out the video for more information. And please share this story so we can bring some answers to this family.

Award-winning crime writer, Synova Cantrell interviews the family of Shirley Hickman about her disappearance nearly four decades ago.

If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for The Racketeer, 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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The Secret Service’s First Female Fatality


The United States Secret Service is synonymous with the protection of the President. The legislation creating the agency was on Abraham Lincoln’s desk when he was assassinated on the evening of April 14, 1865, and the organization was formally established ten weeks later.

The Secret Service, however, was not initially given the task of protecting the President; that responsibility came thirty-seven years later following the assassination of President William McKinley.

As the Civil War ended in April 1865, a currency war was still being fought. Over a third of the currency in circulation was believed to be bogus. The Department of the Treasury established the Secret Service to combat the counterfeit currency crisis. Though it is now under the Department of Homeland Security, investigating counterfeiting crimes is still one of the Secret Service’s primary responsibilities.

Twenty-six-year-old Julie Cross was one of the few female Secret Service Special Agents in 1980. While investigating a counterfeiting operation on June 4, she became the first female Secret Service Special Agent to be killed in the line of duty.

Julie Cross seemed destined for a law enforcement career, first in her community and then serving her country. Her interest in police work started when she was young. She lost both of her parents by age ten and was raised by her brother, a reserve police officer.

After graduating with a Criminal Justice degree from San Diego State University, Julie became an officer with the San Diego Police Department. Three years later, she was accepted by the United States Secret Service.

On June 1, 1980, Julie was assigned to a team of agents investigating a man suspected of producing counterfeit currency in Los Angeles.

Three days later, on June 4, eight Secret Service Agents were scattered in a section of Westchester, an area of Los Angeles near the International Airport. The agents were staking out the apartment complex of the suspected counterfeiter.

Julie and her partner, Special Agent Lloyd Bulman, were in an unmarked car at the street’s end. They were assigned to follow the suspect if he exited the apartment and entered his vehicle. Another Secret Service Agent sat in an unmarked van across the street from the residence.

The agents were awaiting word that the warrant had been signed to arrest the suspect. Agents Bulman and Cross noticed a brown vehicle, either an early ’70s Buick or Pontiac, drive past them and turn a corner. Approximately five minutes later, they saw the same vehicle drive past them again, but this time the driver parked 100 feet in front of them. Two black men exited the vehicle and went into a different apartment complex from the one under surveillance.

Approximately five minutes later, the agents saw the men exit the apartment complex, enter their vehicle, and drive off again.

Five to ten minutes later, after darkness had fallen, Agent Cross, sitting on the passenger side of the surveillance car, noticed a man with a gun approaching from the rear. Another armed man approached the driver’s side of the vehicle. Julie was able to exit the car and get her gun drawn on her assailant. She had him place his hands on the vehicle, but the second gunman got the drop on Agent Bulman and held a gun on him before he could get out. A standoff ensued.

With his gun aimed at Bulman, the driver’s side assailant ordered Agent Cross to let his partner go; she refused. Bulman tried to reason with his assailant; the gunmen seemed surprised and panicked when he told them he and Cross were Secret Service Agents.

Agent Cross’s assailant came to the driver’s side of the car, took the key out of the ignition, and removed a shotgun from inside. Agent Bulman did not see what occurred, but the assailant had somehow freed himself from Agent Cross.

What happened next is also not clear. The next thing Agent Bulman noticed, his partner jumped into the front of the car, and three gunshots rang out. As Bulman then fought with his assailant outside the car, Agent Cross’s assailant shot several times but did not hit him. Bulman pretended he had been hit and feigned being dead. As he did so, the assailants made their way to their car and fled.

Bulman ran back to his car to radio for help. None of the other Secret Service agents had heard the gunshots, which were drowned out by the roar of low-flying jets.

Police and ambulances arrived quickly, but not in time. Special Agent Julie Cross was pronounced dead three days after beginning her assignment in Los Angeles.

She was the first female Special Agent to be killed in the 115-year history of the Secret Service.

The attackers made off with two weapons from the agents, a Smith and Wesson .357 Magnum Revolver and a Remington Model 870 shotgun.

Under hypnosis, Agent Bulman recalled details enabling composite sketches of the suspects to be developed. Both assailants were black. One stood around 6’2″ and the other around 5’10”. Each weighed approximately 180-190 lbs.

The men were driving a brown 1970-72 Buick or Potomac two-door car.

In 1992, twelve years after the murder of Julie Cross, Andre Alexander was arrested for a 1978 triple murder in Palms. The victims, coincidentally, were involved in counterfeiting.

Alexander was operating a money-order forgery scheme and had not paid his cohorts. After they threatened to go to the police, he murdered them. Alexander was convicted of the triple murder.

In their investigation of Alexander, authorities found evidence suggesting his involvement in the murder of Julie Cross twelve years earlier. He bore a resemblance to the composite of one of the suspects, and a pair of prescription glasses found at the scene was identical to a pair he wore in 1980.

Lloyd Bulman identified Alexander as the passenger-side assailant from a photo line-up. Vehicle records showed Alexander drove a medium-sized faded brown car at the time of the murder.

At his trial, Alexander’s former girlfriend testified a blood-splattered Alexander arrived at her house on the evening of the murder carrying a shotgun in a blood-soaked bag. She also said he told her he had murdered someone near the airport but pressured her not to say anything.

Terry Brock, a long-time friend of Alexander, was identified by Special Agent Bulman as the second gunman. At the time of the shooting, Alexander’s girlfriend was Brock’s sister.

Andre Alexander was convicted of the murder of Secret Service Special Agent Julie Cross in 1996 and was sentenced to death. His final appeal was exhausted in 2010. He remains on death row and is incarcerated at California’s infamous San Quentin prison.

I could not find any source stating what punishment Terry brock received.

Investigators are certain the murder of Secret Service Agent Julie Cross was a random act unrelated to the counterfeit operation she was investigating.

It was only a coincidence that Andre Alexander was later involved in counterfeiting. I found nothing indicating he was associated with the counterfeiter Special Agents Cross and Bulman were staking out on the evening of her murder.


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.


More Info:

Associated Press
United State Secret Service
Unsolved Mysteries


More photos for this case can be found on Synova’s Patreon page! Check them using the button below Synova’s Patreon Page

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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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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.”)


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