The Boys on the Tracks – Part 2

Last week we started the story of the boys on the tracks. After a long string of cover-ups, their deaths were finally labeled as homicides. The case is eerily similar to another case out of Oklahoma.

Part Two:

On June 25, 1984, 26-year-old Billy Hainline and 25-year-old Dennis Decker were found lying motionless on a stretch of the Kansas City Southern railroad twenty miles south of Poteau, Oklahoma, approximately 200 miles from Alexander, Arkansas. Like the Arkansas teens, the Oklahoma men were run over by a locomotive and were lying in nearly identical positions.

The Le Flore County coroner ruled the men’s deaths accidental; however, the Oklahoma State Medical Examiner ruled the cause of death unknown.

A month later, a meth lab was discovered just north of the tracks. This discovery led to speculation that the deaths of Billy Hainline and Dennis Decker were drug-related. No one has ever been charged in connection with their deaths.

The similarities are glaring, but nothing connects the men’s deaths in Oklahoma to the boys in Arkansas. Many believe all four deaths are drug-related.

A massive drug-running operation flourished in Arkansas during the 1980s after commercial pilot Barry Seal, a drug smuggler for Columbia’s infamous Medellín Cartel, began using the Intermountain Regional Airport at Mena, a small town in southwestern Arkansas, as a drug transshipment point. A 1986 FBI memo released under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in July 2020 confirms the Mena airport as the headquarters for Seal’s smuggling operation after he moved his enterprise from his hometown of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Seal and cohorts flew planes carrying illicit drugs, principally cocaine, at low levels over predetermined drop sites in remote areas throughout Arkansas. Packages of drugs attached to a parachute automatically opened upon impact, so the recipients could quickly ‘grab and go’ with the illegal cargo.

Although Seal was murdered in 1986, the year before Don and Kevin’s deaths, the drug drops continued. Several of these drops are believed to have occurred in the Bryant-Alexander area, approximately 120 miles from Mena.

Rumors abounded Kevin and Don were killed after stumbling upon an illegal drug drop in the area. Low-flying planes had recently been seen nearby. Rumors also swirled that several government officials were involved in the boys’ deaths.

In March 1990, Jean Duffey, an Arkansas prosecutor for the Seventh Judicial District made up of Saline County and the neighboring counties of Hot Spring and Grant, was appointed to head the newly created Seventh Judicial District drug task force. Its purpose was to investigate drug and corruption problems occurring in Saline and surrounding counties. At the time, federal authorities were investigating charges of drug trafficking and corruption in Saline County.

Duffey’s undercover officers investigated several reports of residents in Saline and surrounding counties disturbed by low-flying airplanes in the late evening or early-morning hours, always under cover of darkness. Several of these incidents occurred in the area where Kevin Ives and Don Henry were found.

The task force determined these planes were used for drug drops, and the boys’ deaths were likely tied to the drug smuggling ring based in Mena. Taskforce investigators determined the airplane drug drops had not been properly investigated, if at all, by any law enforcement agency in the district for the role they may have played in the boys’ deaths.

The investigators’ accusations led to several public officials; the name most frequently found was Dan Harmon. 

Dan Harmon served as an Arkansas state prosecutor from 1978-80. After Don and Kevin’s deaths were ruled homicides, Harmon, then in private practice, was appointed by Judge John Cole as special prosecutor to lead a grand jury investigation of the boys’ deaths. His assistant prosecutor, Richard Garrett, aided him.

Duffey says Harmon asked to be appointed special prosecutor so he could sabotage the investigation. The man investigating the murders was covering-up the inquiry because he was also a drug user.

In June 1990, three months after the task force formation, Harmon was elected as special prosecutor for Saline, Grant, and Hot Springs counties. Duffey says as the task force learned of his drug use and possible involvement in the murders of Don and Kevin, she prepared for federal indictments against him and other public officials.

Harmon used the media to discredit Duffey and dismantled the task force in November 1999 before the indictments could be issued.

Duffey’s team, however, continued to investigate and believed they had enough proof to link Kevin’s and Don’s murders to the Mena-based drug operation involving multiple public officials, including Dan Harmon.

In December 1990, Duffey took the task force findings to Chuck Banks, the United States Attorney overseeing the federal investigation into Saline County’s corruption. She says Banks assured her the federal investigation would continue. However, Banks shut down the probe in June 1991 and cleared all Saline County public officials, including Dan Harmon, of any wrongdoing. He insinuated a federal grand jury made the decision.

Duffey says three grand jurors told her the entire grand jury was ready to indict Harmon and others unanimously but were shut down before being allowed to vote.

In 1993, Linda Ives, Kevin’s mother, requested that the Saline County Sheriff’s Office re-open the investigation into the boys’ deaths. The case was assigned to Detective John Brown. He said most of the pertinent evidence was missing from the file, including crime scene photographs and cigarette butts left at the site.

A confession letter from Sharlene Wilson, dated May 28, 1993, witnessed by three public officials, was discovered in the original case files. It was not made known to Linda Ives until 2015.

In the letter, Wilson said she and several other people were in the field near the train track awaiting a drug drop in the early morning hours of August 23, 1987. Among those she named were her lover, Dan Harmon, Keith McKaskle, and Larry Rushall. She claimed when she made her way to the tracks, the boys were already dead.

A retired police officer and friend of Linda Ives took the letter to her lawyer, David Lewis, in 2015. He asked then-Saline County prosecutor Ken Casady to bring charges, but Casady refused, probably because the letter is rambling and, at times, incoherent.

Wilson admits she was high on cocaine and meth, but Jean Duffey says a twelve-year-old boy, Tom Niehaus, could corroborate her claims. Tom says as he and his friends were playing in the area that morning, they noticed five people on the tracks. He recognized one of them as Harmon because his mother was dating him at the time, even though he was also in a relationship with Wilson.

Tom said as Don and Kevin came upon the tracks, Harmon motioned for them to come to him. The boys hesitated but eventually walked toward the group. As they did so, Tom and his friends hid behind a nearby bush. Shortly after that, Tom said he heard, but did not see, what sounded like a gunshot and saw a flash. He and his friends then ran away.

After both Sharlene Wilson and Tom Niehaus passed polygraph tests, the FBI opened their investigation.

Another witness told the FBI similar stories.

Ronnie Godwin said Don and Kevin arrived at the local Ranchette grocery store with another friend, Keith Coney, shortly after the incident described by Tom Niehaus. Coney left on his motorcycle when two police officers in an unmarked car arrived at the store.

Godwin says he saw the officers beat the boys unconscious in the parking lot. Kevin was probably killed there with the rifle butt blow to the skull. According to Godwin, the officers then loaded the bodies into the car, drove to the tracks, and placed the boys on them. Godwin’s descriptions of the officers matched those of Kirk Lane and Jay Campbell.

Wilson did not mention police officers in her confession letter, but they may not have been at the tracks at the time of the planned drug drop. Wilson says she arrived at the tracks only after the boys had been killed. 

Despite the testimonies, the FBI closed its investigation into the murders of Kevin Ives and Don Henry in 1995, concluding no evidence of a crime had been found. Documents recently released under the Freedom of Information Act tell a different story. One document indicated law enforcement officials were involved in the murders and cover-up.

An FBI file dated February 6, 1995, states in part, “it appears that the special prosecutor appointed in this case, (named blacked out) may have misused his authority and disregarded other leads that may have assisted efforts to bring this investigation to a logical conclusion.” The file also indicates “that certain Saline County officials may have conspired to ‘cover up’ investigation into the deaths of Don Henry and Kevin Ives.”

Another portion says, “the investigation revealed that law enforcement officials in the Little Rock area might have been involved in homicide. . . . Law enforcement officials alleged to be involved in drug trafficking in Saline County include: (names blacked out.)”

It also states, “Since the beginning of the investigation by the special prosecutor, the case has become riddled with rumors and innuendos. Special prosecutor Harmon and assistant Richard Garrett requested assistance from the Arkansas State Police, yet continuously withheld information from them.” 

Garrett is now deceased.

Several people who some believe are connected to the deaths of Don Henry and Kevin Ives also died under mysterious circumstances.

Keith Coney, who was allegedly with Kevin and Don moments before they were murdered, told family members and friends that two cops killed Kevin and Don. In May 1988, he was found stabbed to death.

Keith McKaskle managed a local club on the Saline County–Pulaski County line. Sharlene Wilson said McKaskle was at the tracks that morning with Dan Harmon. McKaskle is believed to have taken aerial photographs of the crime scene. He was also alleged to have been an informant for Dan Harmon. In November 1988, McKaskle was stabbed to death.

Greg Collins, who failed to appear after being subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury, was killed by a shotgun blast to the face in January 1989.

In March 1989, Boonie Bearden, a friend of both Keith Coney and Greg Collins, disappeared. An article of Bearden’s clothing was found in the vicinity where an anonymous caller claimed his murder had taken place. His body was never found.

Jeff Rhodes, a young man who told his family he had information the murders on the murders of Kevin, Don, and Keith McKaskle, was himself murdered in April 1989. Rhodes had been shot in the head, and his remains set on fire in a dump.

In June 1999, Mike Samples, a grand jury witness, was shot to death. Sources claim he was involved in retrieving drugs dropped from airplanes.

The murder of Jeff Rhodes is the only one of these cases in which an arrest has been made. Authorities say none of the murders is related to those of Kevin Ives and Don Henry.

Jean Duffey, Linda Ives, and others believe the FBI investigation was quashed because it would expose the involvement of many high-ranking state and government officials in the Mena drug trade, including members of the CIA and possibly the former Arkansas Governor who had become the nation’s commander-in-chief.

Bill Clinton served as Arkansas Governor from 1979-81 and 1983-92. Although he claimed he “did not inhale” during his presidential campaign, he allegedly used several drugs, including cocaine and marijuana, while heading Arkansas. Sharlene Wilson is known to have had a relationship with Clinton’s brother and drug-user Roger. In one instance, she says the Governor was so high on crack that he fell against the wall and slid into a garbage can.

The headline below is sensationalized; no one is alleging the Clinton’s themselves killed Don Henry and Kevin Ives or that they ordered the boys be killed. Some, however, believe they and other high-ranking government officials covered up the murders to keep their drug use hidden.

In 1997 disgraced District Attorney Dan Harmon was convicted of several felonies, including drug charges and racketeering. After helping prosecutors in a murder case, he was released from prison in 2006.

Harmon was arrested in connection with drugs again in 2010 but was acquitted of the charges.

Jay Campbell, one of the police officers mentioned as having possible involvement in the murders, later became the Police Chief of Lonoke, Arkansas.

In 2006, he and his wife Kelly were arrested on multiple charges of corruption involving drug use, fraud, theft, and, in Kelly’s case, having sex with prisoners. The Lonoke police chief was convicted of multiple charges, including running a criminal enterprise, and sentenced to 40 years in prison.

In 2009, however, the Arkansas Supreme Court reversed Campbell’s conviction on the criminal enterprise charge, which carried the longest sentence. All the other sentences ran concurrently, and he was released. He has not been retried, and his wife Kelly has since been paroled.

The second police officer named as possibly having involvement in the boys’ murders is now the drug czar for Arkansas.

Kirk Lane became Police Chief of Benton and was appointed as the drug director in 2011.

Interestingly, current Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, the man who appointed Lane as drug czar, was the United States Attorney for Arkansas’ Western District from 1982-85 when the Barry Seal drug operations based out of Mena were occurring.

In a July 2020 article, The Arkansas-Democrat Gazette quotes Hutchinson as saying, “I initiated a grand jury investigation concerning money laundering through the Mena airport in 1985. I resigned from the office in November of 1985, and my successor took over the investigation. I started it and pursued it but was unable to complete it because I left the office. No investigation was blocked.”

In 2016 former professional wrestler Billy Jack Haynes came forward saying he had witnessed the murders of Kevin Ives and Don Henry.

In a written and recorded statement, Haynes named three local law enforcement officers, two local attorneys, several politicians, and a bar owner as those being on the scene of the murders. He also mentioned a “criminal politician” who directed the scene via cell phone with an “attorney-politician.” He did not provide their names.

Haynes says in the 1970s and early ’80s, he was, between wrestling bouts, a hired enforcer for drug traffickers who ran large quantities of cocaine throughout the United States.

When he was not wrestling, Haynes says he provided muscle and intimidation in many criminal enterprises. Haynes is 6’3″ inches tall and, at the time, weighed 280 pounds of primarily that– muscle. He was a most intimidating-looking man.

In August 1987, Haynes said he was contacted by the Arkansas criminal-politician and asked to be an enforcer at a drug drop.

The criminal-politician, Haynes says, suspected some drug money drops were being stolen and that Arkansas state and county police officers were involved in the thefts. Haynes says while assisting with security at the drug drop site, he witnessed Don and Kevin’s murders.

Haynes believes the boys were murdered by people working for the same criminal politician. He says he did not come forward sooner out of fear and that his life is still in jeopardy by coming out now.

Haynes met with Linda Ives and her and private investigator Keith Rounsavall. He gave them a statement outlining everything he said he knew about the murders.

Linda initially believed Haynes’ contentions but now says his story does not add up and that she does not believe he was at the train tracks on the morning of the murders. Keith Rounsavall believes Billy Jack Haynes’s claims.

The difference of opinion led to a falling out between the client and the private investigator.

In 2019, Linda Ives and Jean Duffey brought a lawsuit against her former Private Investigator, Keith Rounsavall. Billy Jack Haynes is mentioned in the lawsuit.

The murders of Kevin Ives and Don Henry are probably the most infamous and convoluted unsolved crime from the Razorback state. It’s possible the murders could be something as simple as an owner being upset with the boys for trespassing on their land. Another person also out poaching could have accidentally shot them and, in a panic, placed their bodies on train tracks.

The evidence, however, indicates a cover-up through all levels of government. Many people have been railroaded through threats and intimidation to keeping quiet about the boys on the tracks.


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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.


Recommended Reading:

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.

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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 Boys on the Tracks – Part One

After a fun-filled Saturday evening of hanging with friends at a commuter parking lot and favorite teenage hangout near Little Rock, Arkansas, 17-year-old Kevin Ives and 16-year-old Don Henry returned to Don’s home near the small town of Alexander, approximately 15 miles southwest of Little Rock. Don told his father Curtis that he and Kevin were going “spotlighting” along the railroad tracks behind the Henry home. The boys set out at approximately 12:15 a.m. on the morning of August 23, 1987.

Though illegal in Arkansas, spotlighting is a widespread form of poaching wild game. One person transfixes an animal’s eyes by shining a light on it as another person fires at the animal. Kevin and Don had successfully avoided detection on other excursions. This night would have deadly consequences. When the sunlight came, the spotlight was on Kevin and Don. Their mangled bodies were strewn across the Union Pacific train tracks.

The cause of the boys’ deaths was initially ruled an accident but was later changed to “probable homicide” and then to “definite homicide.” The initial investigation suggested a cover-up; subsequent investigations found evidence of a “probable cover-up,” and later findings concluded a “definite cover-up.”

The scope of the cover-up was alleged to involve multiple Arkansas county and state servants, including, some contend, the state’s top elected official, who was relatively unknown outside Arkansas at the time but who assumed residence in the White House five-and-a-half years later.

A plethora of people are believed to be involved in the murders and the cover-up. No one, however, has been charged in connection with the crime.

Many believe the killers of “the boys on the tracks” are, thirty-three years later, still covering their tracks.

A Union Pacific train made its regular run to Little Rock in the early morning hours of August 23, 1987. Shortly after 4:00 a.m., when it was between Bryant and Alexander, engineer Stephen Shroyer noticed something on the tracks. As the train drew closer, his annoyance turned to horror when he realized the obstruction was two bodies.

Shroyer frantically placed the train into an emergency mode. He promptly blared the horn but received no response. The 75-car, 6,000-ton locomotive traveling at 52 miles-per-hour drug the bodies for a half-mile before coming to a stop.

Shroyer and three other crew members were sure a pale green tarp had been placed over the bodies. Responding local and state police arrived on the scene at 4:40 a.m. The officers say they never heard of the tarp. Yet, the train crew is adamant they repeatedly told the police.

The bodies lay parallel to each other across the tracks, their arms by their sides. A .22 rifle lay beside them.

Dental records later identified the bodies as Don and Kevin. The location where the train had run over them was approximately a half-mile from Don’s home in Alexander.

Neither Kevin nor Don’s parents owned a green tarp. Many believe the missing green cover seen by the railroad personnel is the first suggestion of a cover-up in the boys’ deaths.

The ruling of the state medical examiner as to the cause of death soon further fueled suspicions.

Arkansas State Medical Examiner Fahmy Malak ruled Kevin and Don’s deaths accidental, saying they were alive but unconscious when run over by the train. Malak determined each boy had smoked the equivalent of 20 marijuana cigarettes, rendering them into a deep state of unconsciousness. The boys, Malak contended, were so stoned from excessive consumption of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a component of marijuana, that they were unable to hear the repeated blares of the fast-approaching train.

The boys’ parents did not accept the ruling. Neither did the general public, questioning how the boys could be coherent enough to lie on the tracks in near-perfect symmetry but not hear the train’s repeated blares from a short distance.

Two toxicologists, Dr. James Garriot and Dr. Arthur McBray testified before a grand jury that they had never heard of anyone becoming unconscious from exposure to any amount of THC. They also criticized Dr. Malak for not performing a mass spectrometry, the most effective test for determining the amount of drugs in the boys’ systems.

Responding EMT officers also questioned the ruling, saying the blood found on the boys was dark, as though it lacked oxygen, an indication they were already dead when the train ran over them.

A private investigator hired by the Ives was stonewalled in questioning authorities over the supposedly stoned-boys deaths. The parents of both boys held a press conference in February 1988. They contended their sons had been murdered. The following day, the boys’ bodies were exhumed for a second autopsy to be performed by a different medical examiner, Dr. Joseph Burton of Atlanta.

Dr. Burton’s findings differed sharply from Dr. Malak’s. The former concluded that Kevin and Don had smoked only one to three marijuana cigarettes, far too few to render them unconscious. He also determined that both boys suffered wounds inflicted before being placed on the tracks; Don appeared to have been stabbed, and Kevin’s skull showed significant damage.

Dr. Burton’s autopsy also showed that Malak had mutilated Kevin’s skull by sawing it in several directions, making it virtually impossible to determine where the initial fractures occurred.

Based on Dr. Burton’s findings and the testimonies of Dr. Garriot and Dr. McBray, the grand jury reversed State Medical Examiner Dr. Malak’s finding of accidental death. In July 1988, Don Henry and Kevin Ives’ deaths were ruled as ‘undetermined.’ It was soon changed to ‘probable homicides.’

After learning of Dr. Burton’s conclusions, one of Malak’s assistants said he had discovered what appeared to be evidence of a stab wound during the boys’ original autopsy but was told: “not to worry about it.”

Five additional pathologists examined Don’s t-shirt and concurred with Dr. Burton’s findings. Cuts in the fabric indicated Don had been stabbed in his back before being run over by the train. Kevin’s skull was also confirmed to have been crushed, likely by his own rifle, before his body was placed on the tracks.

All of the additional pathologists concluded Kevin and Don had been killed before being run over by the train.

Based on the findings, the grand jury changed its ruling from ‘probable homicide’ to ‘definite homicide.’

The public called for the firing of Fahmy Malak as Arkansas State Medical Examiner. The doctor, however, was a close friend of Governor Bill Clinton, who resisted the calls to dismiss him.

Many believe, despite his obvious mistakes and incompetence, Malak continued to work in government because of Arkansas’ “good ol’ boy” system and his friendship with Governor Clinton.

Dr. Malak was later found to have falsified evidence in over 20 additional cases during his tenure as Arkansas State Medical Examiner. Among these rulings:

In one instance, he ruled a death an accidental drowning, but it was later discovered the man had been shot in the head. In his most infamous ruling, Malak concluded a man named James Milam had died of an ulcer, even though he had been shot five times, with four of the gunshots in his chest. Milam’s head had also been decapitated from his body. Malak claimed Milam’s dog had bitten off the head, eaten it, and then regurgitated it. He insisted he had tested the dog’s vomit and found traces of Milam’s brain and skull. Unfortunately for flaky Fahmy, Milam’s skull was later found and confirmed to have been cut from his body with a knife.

Members of Malak’s staff also accused him of incompetence. One assistant accused the State Medical Examiner of keeping outdated crime lab stationery on which he allegedly falsified findings in autopsy reports shortly before cases were tried. In another instance, Malak misread a medical chart leading him to wrongly accuse a deputy county coroner of committing murder. In another, he had based court testimony on tissue samples that DNA tests later determined had been mixed up with other tissue samples.

Despite the grand jury ruling, Saline County Sheriff James Steed insisted foul play was not involved in the boys’ deaths and refused to authorize any funds to aid in the investigation.

In addition to Dr. Malak, the Sheriff also proved derelict in his duty. He had not conducted a thorough investigation of the crime scene as Kevin Ives’s foot had been severed from his body and was not found until two days later.

The Sheriff was defeated in his re-election bid.

With the deaths of Kevin and Don ruled as homicides, investigators believed they might have been related to an incident occurring one week earlier.

A man clad in military fatigues was seen walking near the train tracks where the boys were found. When Bryant Patrolman Danny Allen attempted to question him, the man fired at him. Officer Allen was uninjured, but the assailant disappeared into the woods. Police were unable to locate or identify him.

On August 22, several hours before Kevin and Don were found, witnesses again reported seeing a man in military fatigues walking near the train tracks less than 200 yards from where the boys’ bodies would be found. He was sought for questioning after the discovery of the bodies, but the man again successfully stayed hidden.

No further sightings of the individual were reported.

The deaths of Don Henry and Kevin Ives bore a resemblance to those of two Oklahoma men three years earlier. We will dive into that case on our next True Crime Tuesday.


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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.


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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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.


Recommended Reading:

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.

Get Your Copy Here


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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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



As a young priest in Woodstock, Illinois, one of the first couples the Reverend Michael Binsfield married were Ray Ritter and Ruth Ann Raycraft in 1969. Over the following 19 years, Reverend Binsfield became friends with the Ritters and baptized their three children.

In the summer of 1988, Reverend Binsfield left Woodstock when he accepted a position with the Elgin parish. With the two towns only 25 miles apart, he planned to return to Woodstock often. The Reverend didn’t expect to be called back so soon, however, and for such an awful occasion.

In August of 1988, at the same church where he had married the Ritters in 1969, Reverend Binsfield returned to conduct the couples’ funeral. Many of the people who attended the Ritters’ wedding 19 years prior were packed into the church on a muggy August afternoon to say goodbye to the beloved couple.

Ray and Ruth Ann Ritter were the victims of the first double murder in Woodstock’s history. The primary target of their killer, though, was their daughter, Colleen. The Ritters’ eldest child could not attend her parents’ funeral, as she was still in the hospital recovering from her wounds.

As the Ritters were laid to rest, a manhunt was in progress to find their killer. His name, ironically, was Church.

Ray and Ruth Ann Ritter were born and raised in Woodstock, Illinois, 60 miles northwest of Chicago. They were high school sweethearts and had three children, 17-year-old Colleen, 14-year-old Stephen, and 11-year-old Matthew.

Nineteen-year-old Rick Church attended the same high school as Colleen, and the two had been friends growing up. Rick was popular, a good athlete, and had never been in trouble. Colleen was attracted to the seemingly All-American boy, and the relationship blossomed during the 1987-88 school year when Rick was a senior and Colleen a sophomore. However, the romance cooled for Colleen when Church left for college that summer.

From college, Church called Colleen nearly every evening, even if he had nothing to say. Becoming increasingly annoyed, Colleen confided in her parents. Although they had been supportive of the relationship at first, they now encouraged her to end it.

In June of 1988, Church returned home from college an angry young man. He had not earned enough credits to qualify as a sophomore for the upcoming year. Also, his parents had informed him they were going to divorce. But the worst news was yet to come, and it pushed him over the edge.

Colleen told Church she was ending their relationship. Church’s devastation was apparent, but he kept the extent of his anger hidden.

Though Colleen no longer wanted a romantic relationship with Church, she still considered him a friend and regretted hurting his feelings. Church, on the other hand, was determined to hurt Colleen’s feelings and much more.

On August 20, two months after breaking up with Church, Colleen had a friend stay overnight, as was her youngest brother, Matthew. The middle sibling, Steven, was staying with one of his friends.

At 11:30 p.m., Church called Colleen, begging for one last date with her. Colleen declined, saying she was spending the night with one of her girlfriends and that she had begun a relationship with a classmate. Church, angry and depressed, slammed the phone on her.

Around 5:15 a.m. on the morning of August 21, while everyone in the Ritter house was sleeping, Church, armed with a knife, broke into the Ritter home.

The All-American boy was about to become a cold-blooded killer.

Upon gaining entry into the home, Church went to Ray and Ruth Ann’s ground-floor bedroom and began stabbing them as they slept. Upstairs, 11-year-old Matthew heard his parents’ screams and went into the hallway. There, he encountered Church, who stabbed him twice.

Colleen awoke, heard Matthew screaming, and attempted to call 911. At that point, Church broke into her bedroom and grabbed his primary prey. Colleen broke free and ran from the room, but Church caught her and began repeatedly stabbing her. Colleen eventually again broke away and ran out of the house screaming. Church chased after her and caught her in the street, where he stabbed her several more times. Two neighbors heard the commotion. When they came to Colleen’s aid, Church fled.

The injured Matthew had managed to call 911, and police and ambulance crews arrived quickly. Because a neighbor mistakenly believed Church had run back into the Ritter home, police concentrated their search there while medics attended to Colleen. Officers found the bloodied Matthew in shock, huddled with his friend, who was unharmed. Colleen’s friend was also unscathed.

However, in the downstairs bedroom, police found the bloodied and lifeless bodies of Ray and Ruth Ann. Each had been stabbed multiple times.

Church, however, was nowhere to be found.

Instead of running back into the Ritter home, however, Church had run the 12 blocks to his own house and hastily packed his things. At approximately 5:45 a.m., while his mother was sleeping, he threw his belongings into her truck and fled.

Church was spotted the next day at a motel in the Wisconsin Dells. Two days later, he was seen back in Illinois, near Woodstock.

One month later, Church’s mother’s truck was found abandoned 2,000 miles away in Los Angeles. An area search turned up no trace of him.

Matthew sustained minor wounds and was released from the hospital the following day. Colleen was in critical condition, having been stabbed 22 times, mostly in the back of her head.

Colleen’s wounds prevented her from attending her parents’ funeral. As she lay in intensive care, her parents were laid to rest.

Doctors feared Colleen would be permanently blinded and suffer irreversible brain damage. Fortunately, and perhaps miraculously, something good came from the awful incident in Woodstock, Illinois. Colleen was released from the hospital after two months, having made a full recovery.

Rick Church successfully covered his tracks for three years before his luck ran out when he was captured in Salt Lake City, Utah, on November 13, 1991.

Living under the name Danny Carson, Church worked at a fast-food restaurant where he served an off-duty police officer who recognized his picture from a fugitive bulletin. He was arrested the following day.

At the time of Church’s capture, Colleen was engaged. Her dreams of shopping for dresses with her mom and having her dad walk her down the aisle would not happen. Church’s capture, however, was a good wedding present.

Colleen tied the knot in May of 1992, seven months after Church’s capture. Though the pain of losing her parents in such a brutal manner would always be with her, Colleen was relieved of a tremendous burden knowing her attacker could not return to harm her and that he would pay for his crimes with a life behind bars.

In July 1992, Richard Church pleaded guilty to the murders of Ray and Ruth Ann Ritter to avoid the death penalty. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Now 50-years-old, Churhttps://amzn.to/3u20OaNch remains imprisoned in Dixon, Illinois. He still has a relatively youthful look. Perhaps a fellow inmate will make him his “church lady.”

SOURCES:
• America’s Most Wanted
• Chicago Sun-Times
• Chicago Tribune
• Deseret News
• Northern Star Media
Nwi (Northwest Illinois) .com
• Unsolved Mysteries


GUEST BLOGGER’S FACEBOOK GROUP


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 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.


Recommended Reading:

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.

Get Your Copy Here


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


From Victim to Advocate To Published Author:

Now You Can share Your Story With The World Too

Today I spoke with a fellow victim’s advocate who is trying to outline her book. Her greatest desire is to reach the hearts of millions. I won’t say her name, but if she is a powerhouse. Her victim to vitality story will inspire anyone who reads it, and I know she will encourage victims. 

I’m honored to be her writing coach, her mentor, and her friend. I have many coaching clients. I have people who want to write fiction, people who want to write about true crime. I have people who want to write children’s books. But this woman is very near and dear to my heart because I know her story is true. She spent her entire young life a victim of violence and abuse. Now she has emerged as of victorious example for those around her.

Do you have a similar story that you wish you could get into a book? If so, I can help you get it in print. I can show you how to build an audience for it and make a career out of sharing your story with the world. That’s what the “Get Your Book Done Now” course is all about.

 As you know, I’m launching this new course this week, and I’m running specials from now until Valentine’s Day. Not only am I giving away free ebooks for those who sign up for my coaching services, but I’m also giving away free coaching calls. These calls usually cost $500 apiece, but I am giving them away because I want to help you find clarity with your writing.

By the end of our call, you will be inspired and motivated to write your book. I will help you outline a strategy for finishing your project and give you tips on starting your marketing campaign.

 If you would like to take that step and become a published author, follow the link below and sign up for your free coaching session. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek” – Joseph Campbell.

30 Year Mystery Still Unsolved: The Disappearance of Cindy Anderson

Unholy Toledo

As the calendar turned to August in 1981, 20-year-old Cindy Anderson turned in her two-week notice to the Toledo, Ohio, law firm that employed her. A devout Christian fundamentalist, Cindy planned to attend Bible College with her boyfriend.

Cindy, the law firm’s secretary, usually worked alone in the office during the mornings as the lawyers were either in court or meetings. The morning of August 4 was no different. Several clients stopped at the office, and Cindy handled their administrative needs. All said she was in good spirits and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

When two of the lawyers arrived at the office just afternoon, they found Cindy had prepared their desks, as usual, with the mail and meeting schedules. However, they also found several things unusual, chiefly that Cindy was not at the office. When she left the building, Cindy always placed the phones on hold, but this time she had not done so.
Furthermore, Cindy also always left a note on the door telling her bosses where she was going and what time she would return. This time, however, no message was on the door.

Cindy’s car was parked in her usual spot in the firm’s parking lot. The doors were locked, but her keys and purse were missing. Thirty-eight years later, so is Cindy.

At 9:45 a.m., two clients saw Cindy at the office attorneys James Rabbit and Jay Feldstein in Toledo. By 10:00, however, clients calling the office were getting no answer.

Cindy’s disappearance was initially thought to be related to an incident that occurred ten months earlier. In October of 1980, the words “I love you, Cindy, by G.W.” had been spray-painted in large letters on the parking lot wall across the street from the law firm. The graffiti was in a direct line of vision from the law firm, and the incident spooked her. The words were painted over in April of 1981, but a few weeks later, the same message was spray-painted again in larger letters.

Suspicions fell on the law firm’s maintenance man, who had the initials “G.W.” However, he was cleared when police determined a teenage boy had written the message to his girlfriend. The youth had no connection to Cindy Anderson.

On August 3, the day before Cindy disappeared, Larry Mullins, a client at Cindy’s law firm, was in the office paying a bill. While doing so, Cindy answered a telephone call. Larry said she reacted as though the call was a prank and quickly hung up. Several seconds later, the phone rang again. Cindy again answered and, this time, she looked scared and hung up.

Cindy had been receiving a lot of crank calls within the last few days, and that some of them involved obscene language. She assured him, however, that everything was fine. She did not want to discuss the matter any further.

Police never determined who made the calls.

In September 1981, one month after Cindy disappeared, a woman called the Toledo Police Department, saying Cindy was being held prisoner in the basement of a white house in northern Toledo. The caller spoke in low whispers and sounded afraid. She hung up before the police officer could question her.

A few minutes later, she called again. This time, she was more forthcoming, saying Cindy was being held in a house beside another home owned by the same family. She said the family was out of town, but their son was home and that it was he who was holding Cindy prisoner in the basement. When the police officer asked for the caller’s name, however, she again hung up. Police were unable to determine the described adjacent houses and, despite repeated pleas, never heard from the caller again.

Since the anonymous woman’s phone calls in September of 1981, no solid leads have surfaced in Cindy Anderson’s disappearance.

Anthony and Nathaniel Cook are persons of interest in Cindy’s disappearance. From 1973-81, the brothers, both of whom were long-haul truck drivers, murdered at least nine people in and around Toledo. They have denied involvement in Cindy’s disappearance, and nothing has been found connecting them to her.

Anthony Cook is serving a life sentence at the Chillicothe Correctional Institution in Ross County, Ohio. His request for parole was denied in 2015; he will be eligible again in 2025.
Nathaniel Cook was granted parole in August 2018. Besides having to participate in sex offender rehabilitation programs, he must wear a GPS bracelet, and he is forbidden to approach places crowded by children.

Another murderer currently imprisoned in Ohio is also a suspect, but he has not been conclusively linked to Cindy. Authorities have not publicly identified him.

Perhaps the strongest lead to Cindy’s fate involves the law firm for which she worked.

In 1995, drug dealer Jose Rodriguez was convicted on federal drug trafficking charges. Also convicted was Richard Neller. At the time of Cindy’s disappearance, Neller was Rodriguez’s lawyer and worked with Cindy’s law firm.

Rodriguez’s prison cellmate testified Rodriguez told him he had killed Cindy with a 9 mm. handgun because she overheard conversations between Rodriguez and Neller about their drug trafficking. A judge, however, the prisoner’s testimony was unreliable.

Both Rodriguez and Neller remain imprisoned; neither has been charged in connection with Cindy’s disappearance, but both men are considered suspects. I could not find a picture of either man.

No source I found mentioned Cindy’s boyfriend ever being a suspect in her disappearance.

Thirty-eight years after her disappearance, Cindy Anderson is still missing.

Below are computer-aged images showing Cindy at approximately age 30. Further computer-aged photos have not been created because the evidence suggests she was murdered.

Cindy’s bank account and her social security card have had no activity since her disappearance. Both of her parents have since passed away. Her three siblings continue the search for answers.

If you have information relating to Cindy Anderson’s disappearance, please contact the Toledo, Ohio, Police Department at 419-245-3151 or 419-245-3111.

SOURCES:
• The Charley Project
• The Doe Network
• The Toledo Blade
• Unsolved Mysteries

GUEST BLOGGER’S FACEBOOK GROUP


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 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.


Recommended Reading:

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.

Get Your Copy Here


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


From Victim to Advocate To Published Author:

Now You Can share Your Story With The World Too

Today I spoke with a fellow victim’s advocate who is trying to outline her book. Her greatest desire is to reach the hearts of millions. I won’t say her name, but if she is a powerhouse. Her victim to vitality story will inspire anyone who reads it, and I know she will encourage victims. 

I’m honored to be her writing coach, her mentor, and her friend. I have many coaching clients. I have people who want to write fiction, people who want to write about true crime. I have people who want to write children’s books. But this woman is very near and dear to my heart because I know her story is true. She spent her entire young life a victim of violence and abuse. Now she has emerged as of victorious example for those around her.

Do you have a similar story that you wish you could get into a book? If so, I can help you get it in print. I can show you how to build an audience for it and make a career out of sharing your story with the world. That’s what the “Get Your Book Done Now” course is all about.

 As you know, I’m launching this new course this week, and I’m running specials from now until Valentine’s Day. Not only am I giving away free ebooks for those who sign up for my coaching services, but I’m also giving away free coaching calls. These calls usually cost $500 apiece, but I am giving them away because I want to help you find clarity with your writing.

By the end of our call, you will be inspired and motivated to write your book. I will help you outline a strategy for finishing your project and give you tips on starting your marketing campaign.

 If you would like to take that step and become a published author, follow the link below and sign up for your free coaching session. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. 

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek” – Joseph Campbell.

The Strange Disappearance of Laynee Westbrook and Precious


She walked out of her motel room with her little dog precious, was seen at a nearby gas station, and then went to a local Campground with an acquaintance. Laynee nor her dog were ever seen again.


 Laynee Westbrook, is a 41-year-old woman from Anacortes, Washington. She was currently staying at the San Juan Motel on 6th Avenue. Laynee had no children, but she had a rat terrier named Precious that she carried around with her everywhere she went. Just after 7 p.m on September 10th, she was seen on surveillance leaving the motel and getting into a white Dodge Ram. She was seen again at 7:30 at the Swinomish Chevron gas station a mere eight miles away. That was the last time her debit card or her cell phone were used.

 Police have identified the man she was last seen with. He has been questioned, and this is the story he gave. Other than the surveillance camera footage, we have no way to verify this with the information that has been given to the public. To make things simple, I’m going to call this man Mr. J.

 Mr. J picked up Laynee at the San Juan Motel, and then they drove to the gas station in front of the Swinomish Casino. There Laynee picked up some grocery items, and then they traveled further south to the Thousand Trails Campground where Mr. J had an RV. There they had drinks and dinner but around 2 a.m. Laynee decided she was ready to go home. Mr. J then states he took her back to Anacortes. He did not, however, drop her off at her motel door. He dropped her off at the Causland Memorial Park on North Avenue, approximately two blocks from her motel. 

What happened to Laynee and Precious on September 10th? 

Anacortes is a town in Washington located on Fidalgo Island. The city hosts less than 18,000 people, with only a handful of officers maintaining law and order. On the evening in question, several disturbance calls were made to the local park ranger from the Thousand Trails campground. The ranger later verified that he receives 20 to 30 calls a night from that Campground. He did go by the RV where Laynee was supposedly staying, but everything was calm, and he did not go in.

So what happened to Laynee and her dog? In a small community like Anacortes, the conspiracy theories run wild, but it is essential to remember that the facts need to lead the investigation. You cannot let the rumor mill or emotions lead the investigation.

 Laynee Westbrook was last seen wearing a black shirt, blue jeans, and white sandals. She is 5 foot 9 in tall, has big hazel eyes, and weighs approximately 120 lb. If you have any information about Laynee or her dog, please contact the Anacortes tip line. If you are uncomfortable with leaving your name, they will accept your tip anonymously. Please remember any information you have may seem irrelevant in itself, but it may be the final piece to the puzzle.

Please call (360) 299-1985



The Racine County Jane Doe named after 20 years

On July 21, 1999, the body of an unidentified woman was discovered in the town of Raymond in Racine County, Wisconsin, 25 miles south of Milwaukee. The victim was between 18-35 years old. The authorities dubbed her Crystal Rae.

The Racine County Jane Doe, AKA “Crystal Rae,” appeared to have been neglected and even tortured for much of her life. Her death had been caused by multiple injuries, including burns and beatings. She had endured weeks of neglect and abuse.

Crystal Rae had visible bruises and cuts across her body, a fractured nose, and a “cauliflower ear” deformity. Several of her teeth were missing, and most that remained were decayed. Her front incisors also protruded. She had been malnourished and sexually abused. A check with area doctors and dentists failed to produce her identity.

The woman found in Racine County remained a Jane Doe for over 20 years. In November 2019, however, DNA and forensic testing finally revealed her name.

Although she was younger than the projected age, fourteen-year-old Aundria Bowman was believed by many to be Crystal Rae. Aundria was initially thought to have run away from her adoptive parents’ home in Hamilton, Michigan, on March 11, 1989. Shortly before her disappearance, she had accused her adoptive father, Dennis Bowman, of abusing her.

DNA samples from Aundria’s birth mother determined she was not the Racine County Jane Doe.

In November 2019, Dennis Bowman was arrested for the September 1980 murder of 25-year-old newlywed Kathleen Doyle in Norfolk, Virginia. While incarcerated, he confessed to Aundria’s murder, and her remains were subsequently recovered from the family’s property, concealed beneath a layer of concrete.

Bowman has been charged with the murders of Kathleen Doyle and his adoptive daughter, Aundria. Legal proceedings in both cases are commencing.

Twenty-three-year-old Karen Wells disappeared from Carlisle, Pennsylvania in 1994, and 34-year-old Tina D’Ambrosio vanished from Phoenix, Arizona, in 1996.

Both women could be the Racine County Jane Doe, but DNA testing ruled them out as well. Both are still missing.

For many years, some investigators believed the murders of Crystal Rae and 34-year-old Mary Kate Chamizo were related.

Mary Kate disappeared on September 4, 1999, from Forest Preserve, part of Cook County, Illinois, seven weeks after discovering Crystal Rae’s body. Mary Kate’s remains were found on December 9 in Carpentersville, approximately 30 miles away. Her remains were not positively identified until 2006. Her husband confessed to beating her to death, but the confession was later discredited because of his mental illness.

In 2000, a man was convicted of Mary Kate’s murder but was released from prison after testing showed Mary Kate had died earlier than previously believed. This man, who also had a history of mental illness, wasn’t even in Illinois at the time.

The murder of Mary Kate Chamizo was reopened but remains unsolved.

Crystal Rae’s remains were exhumed in 2013 for further study.

In 2016, a chemical isotope test on Crystal Rae’s hair and bone samples suggested she may have been from southern Canada, Alaska, or the northwestern United States.

The findings led many to speculate she may be Nyleen Marshall, who disappeared from Montana in 1983 when she was four years old.

Crystal Rae, AKA the Racine County Jane Doe, was given a funeral at the Holy Family Catholic Cemetery in Raymond, Wisconsin. Over 50 people paid their respects to the troubled young woman they never knew.

Residents hoped a name would one day be placed on her tombstone. That day came last November.

In November 2019, DNA tests identified Crystal Rae, AKA the Racine County Jane Doe, as 23-year-old Peggy Johnson of McHenry, Illinois, a northwest Chicago suburb approximately 40 miles south of where her body was found.

Peggy became the ward of a nursing caretaker after becoming cognitively disabled at age 18. She was last seen at a homecoming dance in Harvard, Illinois, in 1994, five years before Crystal Rae’s discovery. She was never reported missing.

The caretaker who assumed custody of Peggy was Linda LaRoche. She is believed to have inflicted physical abuse on Peggy and allegedly confessed to several friends to have killed her.

LaRoche is charged with first-degree intentional homicide and concealment of a corpse. Authorities state the maximum penalty is life in prison.

When she was charged with murdering Peggy Johnson, LaRoche was facing charges of causing a vehicular accident while intoxicated in Florida, where she had lived since 2013.

After over 20 years, a name was finally engraved on the Racine County Jane Doe’s tombstone.


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:
• ABC News
• Racine Journal Times


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.


Recommended Reading:

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.

Get Your Copy Here


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


Fleeing Las Vegas

On July 13, 1997, a man called a Las Vegas, Nevada, hospital requesting aid. Saying his girlfriend had just given birth in a hotel room, he asked the hospital to send an ambulance. When the receptionist began asking questions, the caller abruptly hung up.

Approximately an hour later, the man called 911 and told the same story. He requested an ambulance but asked that they not involve the police. When he was asked to provide more information, he again hung up.

Suspicious, the 911 dispatcher contacted the police, and within five minutes, a police officer and an ambulance arrived at the Lady Luck Hotel.

When the personnel entered the room, they found a man and woman lying on a bed. Both were calm. The responders were disgusted by where the newborn baby was found. The infant lay face down in the toilet.

The couple was identified as 35-year-old Kevin Woo and his 30-year-old girlfriend, Kristine Westin. They claimed the baby had been born dead while Westin was on the toilet.

Kevin Woo and Kristine Westin were drug addicts and shoplifted expensive merchandise from department stores to finance their addiction. Each had previously served time in prison for theft and had warrants out for their arrest. As repeat offenders, they were looking at significant jail time.

Three days before the baby’s birth, Westin and Woo arrived in Las Vegas and were up to their old tricks. They are believed to have stolen money from several retail stores before spending the next 72 hours doing their usual partying, drinking, and drugs. It was business as usual until the premature birth of their child.

Woo followed in his car as Westin was transported to the hospital. As police questioned him at the hospital, Woo grew nervous and excused himself, ironically, to use the bathroom. He never returned.

When questioning Westin, police were struck by her calm demeanor. She repeatedly inquired about her belongings in the hotel room. However, the woman who had just given birth made no inquiries of her baby and appeared to have no remorse over the death.

With the cause of the baby’s death still undetermined, investigators had no grounds to arrest Westin. Because she was fine physically, the hospital had no medical reason to detain her. That evening, she checked herself out.

A pathologist determined the cause of the male infant’s death was asphyxiation. The air in his lungs and stomach meant he had been born alive. The pathologist wrote, “An effort to breathe, at least a gasp, had to have taken place.” Also, “He [the baby] had to have been outside of the mother to get air.”

Cocaine and a cocaine by-product were found in the baby’s bloodstream, meaning Westin had ingested the drug within 24 hours of the infant’s birth. Investigators could not determine the amount of cocaine in her system and the frequency of her drug use. Nor could it be determined whether the drugs caused the premature birth. However, they did discover that 40 minutes had elapsed from the time the infant was born until Woo called 911.

The pathologist said the baby could have lived had he been removed from the water immediately or within a few seconds. He concluded his report by stating, “By allowing it to stay in the water without any obvious effort to resuscitate it places this in the non-accidental area and is therefore homicidal.”

When Kevin Woo and Kristine Westin arrived in Las Vegas, they were minor league crooks wanted on shoplifting charges. The couple’s sins were more severe by the time they left sin city. Westin and Woo had graduated to charges of carjacking, child abuse, and, potentially, murder.

Two days after the charges were filed, Woo and Westin are believed to have stolen a pickup truck in Henderson, Nevada. It was found abandoned in Los Angeles three days later.

For nearly six years, Kevin Woo and Kristine Westin eluded detection. It was their old habits that led to their downfall.

In March of 2003, Westin was arrested in Lynwood, Washington, for shoplifting. The police then tracked Woo to the motel where the fugitive couple was living. After a thirty-hour stand-off, Woo put a bullet in his head.

In her nearly six years on the run, Westin had been arrested twice in California and Washington on shoplifting and burglary charges. Each time, she produced false identification and was released before authorities learned her true identity.

Kristine Westin eventually plead guilty to felony child abuse and involuntary manslaughter. She was sentenced to twenty-four years in prison but was released for good behavior after undergoing treatment for her drug addiction. She served eight and a half years.

The Las Vegas Chapter of the Knights of Columbus named Woo and Westin’s son Kyle gave him a proper burial.


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:
Las Vegas Sun
Seattle Times
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


Tragedy in the South Pacific

Professional athletes are idolized by many and even worshiped by some. Their talents and riches all too often make fans believe they are immune to the troubles faced by the rest of us. But athletes are human beings, and they are susceptible to dangers such as crime as much as anyone.

Bison Dele was an eight-year veteran of the National Basketball Association (NBA.) His talent had made him a multimillionaire and, eager to pursue new adventures, he quit the game at age 30.

In his eight-year NBA career, Bison had done much traveling, not just of the basketball violation. Most of what he saw, however, were hotel rooms and basketball arenas. He now wanted to travel worldwide and enjoy the natural sights of our beautiful world.

Bison walked away from basketball in his athletic prime. Shortly after setting sail from Tahiti in 2002, he was, most assuredly, murdered in the prime of his life.

Bison Dele was born Brian Williams. His father, Geno Williams, was, for a time, a singer with The Platters, one of the first popular early rock’n’roll bands.

Whereas his dad was a singing star, Brian became a sports star. At California’s Santa Monica High School, he excelled at track and field before a growth spurt led him to the sport, which would ultimately make him millions of dollars. By his senior year, he had grown to 6’10 and was the star of the basketball team. College recruiters were setting a course to Santa Monica.

Brian chose to play college basketball for the University of Maryland, where he had a great freshman season, averaging 12.5 points and six rebounds a game. However, he longed to be closer to home and transferred to the University of Arizona. After being required to sit out the 1988-89 season, Brian played two years for the Wildcats and posted similar averages of 12.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

As the college recruiters had stampeded to Santa Monica, NBA scouts were now trekking to Tucson. Brian Williams had the talent to play basketball at the highest level.

Brian was the 10th pick in the first round of the 1991 NBA Draft by the Orlando Magic. He only played sparingly, however, in two seasons with the Magic.

Brian was traded to the Denver Nuggets for the 1993-94 season. His play improved in his two seasons with the Nuggets, as he averaged eight points and five rebounds per game.

The following year, when he came home to play for the Los Angeles Clippers, his game improved even more, as he averaged nearly 16 points and seven rebounds per game.

Brian sat out most of the 1997-98 season due to a contract dispute. With only nine games remaining in the regular season, the reigning champion Chicago Bulls signed him for the playoff run. Brian proved a valuable reserve in the playoffs, providing solid play coming off the bench.

Brian earned a championship ring as the Bulls won their second of three consecutive NBA titles.

The following season was Brian’s best NBA campaign. As the starting center on the Detroit Pistons, he achieved career highs in averaging 16 points and nearly nine rebounds per game.

After his career season, Brian Williams changed his name to Bison Dele to honor his Native American and African ancestry. He played one more injury-plagued-season with the Pistons, averaging a respectable 10.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game.

To almost everyone’s surprise, the 30-year-old Bison, in the prime of his career, retired from the NBA before the start of the 1999–2000 season. In so doing, he walked away from a remaining five-year contract that would have paid him $36 million.

Life after basketball was not dull. Bison traveled to Lebanon, the Mediterranean, and the Australian outback. He also conquered both the sky and the water as he obtained a pilot’s license and learned to sail. The air and the land were all right, but Bison particularly loved roaming the waters. He purchased a catamaran and planned to sail the Seven Seas.

Bison called his boat the “Hakuna Matata,” after the popular song in the Disney movie “The Lion King.” The Swahili phrase means “No trouble,” but Bison’s ride on his prized vessel proved to be a voyage of the damned.

On July 6, 2002, Bison, his girlfriend Serena Karlan, his brother Miles Dabord (born Kevin Williams), and skipper Bertrand Saldo, set sail from Tahiti aboard the Hakuna Matata. Two weeks later, on July 20, the Hakuna Matata arrived back in Tahiti. Only one person, however, was aboard.

As soon as he hit the land, Dabord, the lone sailor, hit the road before he could be questioned about his missing crewmates. Investigators soon learned why.

Dabord had forged his brother’s signature and used his passport as identification to buy $152,000 (in Unites States money) in gold. Mexican police found Dabord had stayed at a Tijuana hotel in August of 2002, approximately one month after the group set sail. Two days before, the Hakuna Matata, which had been registered in Tahiti under another name, was found off the Tahitian coast with its nameplate removed. Furthermore, the catamaran was riddled with possible patched bullet holes.

On September 5, 2002, Dabord was located in Phoenix, Arizona, miles away from where he had fled from the Hakuna Matata.

Under questioning, Dabord claimed he and his brother had gotten into an argument and that Serena had been accidentally hit and died when her head struck part of the boat. Dabord said a panicked Bison then killed Skipper Saldo as he began to report her death to the Coast Guard. Dabord then claimed his brother attempted to kill him and that he had shot Bison in self-defense. Dabord said he threw the three bodies overboard.

Authorities were not buying Dabord’s tale of the South Pacific, but with no bodies, they didn’t have any evidence to charge him with a crime.

Three weeks later, on September 27, Dabord took his life by overdosing on insulin. With his death, the chances of finding the bodies of the Hakuna Matata crew mates likely died as well.

Because Tahiti, where the Hakuna Matata set sail, is part of French Polynesia, French authorities are assisting the Coast Guard and the FBI in the investigation. The joint efforts have concluded that Bison, Serena, and Captain Saldo were likely murdered and thrown overboard by Dabord or forced at gunpoint by Dabord into the ocean where they drowned.

The law enforcement agencies believe Dabord likely dumped the bodies in the middle, and deepest part of the Pacific Ocean, meaning it will be highly unlikely they will ever be found.

I could not find a picture of Captain Bertrand Saldo.

Further Reading:
ABC News

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 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

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