THE MURDEROUS MISSIONARY

Photo courtesy of FBI.gov

November 29, 2004:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Further Reading:

Wikipedia

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


Support Synova’s Cause:

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


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


The Racketeer Restaurateur: Guest Post Thursday

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All Photos courtesy of Guest Blogger

June 16, 1991

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Recommended Reading:

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


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

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


Support Synova’s Cause:

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


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


Snatched From Her Lover’s Grasp – The Angela Hammond Story

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She was kidnapped while on a pay phone talking to her boyfriend. Jumping in his truck and tearing down the street towards the payphone, Rob sees Angela in the kidnapper’s truck. Dropping a U-turn in the middle of the road the hero tries to chase down the kidnapper, but tragically this story is still looking for it’s happy ending 28 years later.


The disappearance of Angela Hammond, 20 has tormented Rob Shafer for nearly three decades. In April 1991 Shafer was a high school senior engaged to the beautiful Angie Hammond. She was four months pregnant and they were both looking forward to their life together. Both the Shafer’s and the Hammond’s families were eagerly awaiting the marriage and the birth of the new grandbaby. Life was going to be great.


Reality struck hard, however, on the night of April 4, 1991. Angie and Rob spent the evening at a BBQ before Rob had to return home to babysit his younger brother. The couple planned on meeting up again later. Angie promised she would call in an hour and left Rob on his doorstep. Back in the day before cell phones, Angie would call her fiancé from a local payphone. Today with all the crime shows on TV, no woman in her right mind would be alone at 11 pm talking on a payphone, but things were different in the rural town of Clinton, Missouri.


The entire community population was less than 8,000 people. Most were farmers, factory workers, or owned a small local business. Teenagers would cruise around the town square for fun and hang out in the parking lots of the local grocery store. The police station was only two blocks away and violent crime was unheard of. This naïve environment would be shattered before Angie and Rob’s phone call was completed.


Standing in the grocery store parking lot, the 20-yr-old Angie was chatting with her fiancé. She mentioned to Rob that a strange truck kept circling around the square. It was a late 60’s early 70’s model Ford F-150. Being a native of Clinton, she knew most of the vehicles that usually cruised the square. Neither caller thought much about it and their conversation continued. Angie stated that she was getting tired and decided to go on home instead of waiting around for Rob. Moments later Angie described the strange man that emerged from the two-toned truck. She said he was a dirty looking old white guy with a white beard and mustache. He had used the phone next to her and then returned to his truck, but he didn’t leave. This made Angie nervous. Suddenly the man returned, and Rob hears Angie scream. Dropping the phone in a panic, Rob runs out to his car and barrels down the road the seven blocks to the payphone. As he approaches the scene the old Ford pickup passes him on the road. Angie screams “Robbie” and Rob shoves his car into reverse and spins around in the road to give chase.


The hero saves the girl, beats down the bad guy, the police come and arrest the kidnapper, and everyone lives happily ever after, right? No. Reality is grim, and those sudden spins you see cars do in the movies are not real. When poor Robbie slammed his car into reverse and spun, it also destroyed the car’s transmission. The older model car gave chase for about two miles but died in the middle of the street. Robert Shafer was left to watch the truck disappear down the dark rural lane. Helpless and alone he made his way back to the police station to report what happened.


It is here that Rob discovered the sad truth about an inexperienced police department. With the low crime rate, the police had little experience dealing with violent crime. This would stall the process, but the case went forward. Of course, Rob was the first suspect, but after a week-long investigation, he was cleared. They ran checks on all the trucks in the area that might fit the description, but that too came to no conclusion. Rob was able to add to the truck’s description the fact that it had a window decal covering the back glass. The decal was of a fish jumping out of the water. Still, with this added info the truck seemed to vanish into the night.
Rob gave details to the police sketch artist about the truck’s driver. This is where details seem to differ from Angie’s description over the phone. This discrepancy caused some people to look narrowly at Rob, but investigators came to a different conclusion. Below is pictured the composite sketch of the driver as remembered by Rob.

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You can clearly see that this man does not have a white beard and mustache. I would argue that the facial hair was fake. I will give you my theories later.


Almost immediately after Rob Shafer was ruled out as a suspect, the officials began to try to link this disappearance with two other missing women from Missouri. One woman was Trudy Darby from Macks Creek, Missouri. Darby worked at a local convenience store. On January 19, 1991, she had been robbed, kidnapped, and murdered. Her body was discovered two days later.


The second woman was Cheryl Ann Kenney. Like Darby, Kenney was robbed, kidnapped, and presumed murdered, but her body hasn’t been found as of this writing. Kenney was kidnapped from Nevada, Missouri.
Now it’s time for a geography lesson. It is 69 miles from Clinton, MO to Macks Creek, and 74 miles from Clinton to Nevada, MO. If you were to plot out a giant triangle on a Missouri roadmap the final side would be 83 miles from Macks Creek to Clinton. Although these aren’t great distances to travel, the way in which these crimes took place it makes me think they are not connected.

Two years later the case of Trudy Darby was solved. Two brothers, Jesse Rush and Marvin Chaney confessed to robbing, raping, and murdering Darby. After intense investigations, they never found any links between Angie Hammond and the brothers.

So who could have taken Angie Hammond from the phone booth that night in Clinton, Missouri? Some wondered if a serial killer was on the loose in rural Missouri. Although these cases weren’t necessarily related there was indeed a serial killer hiding out only 70 miles up the interstate. This brutal slayer of women was wanted by Texas authorities and was flying under the radar by using the alias of Richard Fowler. His name was Kenneth McDuff. This serial killer was featured on America’s Most Wanted in April 1992. He was recognized by a coworker and arrested on May 4, 1992. Some say that McDuff was responsible for many more victims than he was given credit for. Others wonder if those reports are inflated. Below is a mugshot of McDuff.
Could this be the man behind the disappearance of Angela Hammond? There’s a good possibility. He was in the area. He had a habit of picking random women and brutally killing them. And if you look at the specific details of the composite sketch you will find eerie similarities.

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Ok now, look at the individual characteristics of the face. Look at the bridge of the nose. Notice the small indention? It is visible in both photos. Notice the marking under the left eye and the dark brows. What do you think? Could this be the man behind Hammond’s disappearance? Could he have worn a fake beard and during the struggle to get Angela into his truck it came off somehow?

I would like to see investigators check out his alias, Richard Fowler to see if he owned a pickup like the one witnesses seen in Clinton, MO. We may never know for sure. McDuff was executed for his heinous crimes on November 17, 1998. If Hammond’s body could be found and DNA extracted then there might be a chance of tying it back to him, but after nearly three decades finding the DNA of a killer on the bones of a victim might be impossible.

As with every case I highlight, if you have any information on the disappearance of Angela Hammond please contact the Clinton Police Department at (600) 885-2679.


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


Further Reading:

The Charley Project

Unsolved Mysteries


Recommended Reading: This Week’s Amazon Best seller

Support Synova’s Cause:

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


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

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Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one. 

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Come Quick!

The Fisher Family Murders

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The “Man of the House” is supposed to protect his family not slaughter them and torch the family home.


Guest Post By Ian Granstra

April 10, 2001

When William and Jan Fisher divorced in 1976, their 15-year-old son Robert was devastated. The split was far from amicable and young Robert struggled through his high school years. As he became a young adult, he always believed his life would have been better if his parents had stayed together.

Eleven years later, when Robert married his high school sweetheart, Mary Cooper, he made her two promises: to always be faithful and to never divorce. The first promise he would break; the second he would keep in an extraordinarily heinous fashion.

Robert Fisher is wanted for the murder of his family, but for the past 18 years, he has been a ghost. Even after so much time, his crime is considered so brutal that he still occupies a spot, as the senior member, of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

In the home’s remnants, the firemen found the bodies of Mary Fisher and her two children, 12-year-old Brittney and 10-year-old Bobby. Autopsies revealed a gruesome surprise; instead of perishing in the fire, all three victims had had their throats slashed and each had lacerated traumas to their necks. Mary had also been shot in the head.

The fire from a gas explosion is usually not as intense as was the Fisher fire. Robert Fisher, a former firefighter, knew what materials to use to cause such a gargantuan blaze. Robert Fisher, husband, and father, was nowhere to be found.

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Photo courtesy of Murderpedia.org

In the home’s remnants, the firemen found the bodies of Mary Fisher and her two children, 12-year-old Brittney and 10-year-old Bobby. Autopsies revealed a gruesome surprise; instead of perishing in the fire, all three victims had had their throats slashed and each had lacerated traumas to their necks. Mary had also been shot in the head.

The fire from a gas explosion is usually not as intense as was the Fisher fire. Robert Fisher, a former firefighter, knew what materials to use to cause such a gargantuan blaze. Robert Fisher, husband, and father, was nowhere to be found.

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Several months before the fire, Mary told friends she discovered Robert had had sex with a prostitute and with the massage therapist who was treating him for a back injury. Already disillusioned with her marriage, Mary confided she was considering leaving him.

On the evening before the fire neighbors heard Robert and Mary engaged in a loud argument. Investigators theorize it was related to Mary’s wanting a divorce and they believe she told Robert of her intentions to leave him. For Robert, the prospect of reliving his troubled teen years all over again was too much and, authorities believe, he snapped.

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It is believed that several hours before the fire, Robert slashed the throats of his wife and children because he did not want them, but primarily him, to go through the trauma of a divorce. He then doused the home with the flammable fluid and disconnected the line leading to the gas furnace. As a source of ignition, investigators believed he used a candle and a candle holder as a timing device providing him time to leave. Once a sufficient amount of gas had built up, the candle triggered the explosion and ignited the fire. Investigators believe Robert committed the arson in an attempt to cover up the murders, believing the bodies would be burned beyond recognition. However, the fire did not hide his crime as he hoped.

Robert Fisher was last seen on a Scottsdale ATM machine approximately 1 1/2 hours before his home erupted in fire.

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On April 20, ten days after the fire, Mary’s SUV was found by a hiker 100 miles north of Scottsdale in the Tonto National Forest. The vehicle was clean and underneath pine trees; however, few pine needles were found atop the vehicle, indicating it had been left there within 24 hours of being discovered. The car was in the vicinity of a favorite hunting area of Robert’s but two weeks of searching turned up no trace of him.

The area terrain where the car was found was surrounded by hundreds of caves. Area spelunkers believe the police did not search the subterrane sufficiently, positing that the survivalist Fisher could have hidden there, before either escaping, killing himself, or succumbing to low oxygen levels.

The police, however, believe Fisher left his wife’s SUV in the forest in an effort to divert them. The vehicle was found about ¼ of a mile off a heavily trafficked service road and near several facilities where he could have used a phone or gotten a ride.

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The police were certain they had captured their man in February of 2004. An individual described as a “dead ringer” to Fisher was arrested in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Despite the uncanny resemblance and strikingly similar fingerprints, the man was confirmed not to be the fugitive.

In October of 2014, police raided a house in Commerce City, Colorado, after receiving a tip that Fisher was hiding there. They found two people wanted by law enforcement but failed to reel in their prize catch of Robert Fisher.

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Fisher was featured several times on America’s Most Wanted. Over its twenty-five season run the show helped in the capture of nearly 1,200 fugitives. AMW host John Walsh called Fisher his personal most wanted fugitive. Upon AMW’s ending in 2012, Walsh said his biggest disappointment was not capturing Fisher.

In 2016, Fisher was profiled on Walsh’s new show “The Hunt” on CNN. The FBI said they received several new tips relating to Fisher as a result of the broadcast. They have not commented on the nature of the tips but the information, so far, has not led Fisher’s apprehension.

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Not even the FBI’s famed Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List has produced Fisher’s capture. A $100,000 reward is still offered for information leading to his arrest or confirmation of his remains.

The $100,000 question; is Robert Fisher dead or alive?

The 18 years since the murders have not produced a confirmed sighting of Fisher, leading many to believe he committed suicide in the vast Arizona mountains.

Psychologists generally agree Fisher exhibited suicidal tendencies. However, he was also a loner and an outdoorsman– two attributes useful for someone needing to drop off the radar.

Altered images of Robert Fisher.

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In 2016 the FBI and Scottsdale police released new computer-aged images of Robert Fisher, who would now be 58-years-old. The FBI describes the fugitive as “arrogant. He’s cocky. He’s a know-it-all…and a loner.”

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Authorities have recently sought the medical community’s aid in locating Fisher. When last seen, he was often walking in an odd, erect manner with his chest out due to back pain. If he is still alive, the back problems have likely continued to plague him and he would probably need treatment from a medical doctor and/or chiropractor or massage therapist.

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SOURCES:

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


Further Reading:

ABC News
America’s Most Wanted
AZ Central
Fox News
Phoenix New Times
The Hunt


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra

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.”)

Recommended Reading:

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


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“One of the few books written that gives the reader an insight into the criminal mind” – Retired FBI Agent Egelston Raised in a mob-controlled suburb of Chicago, Sidney Heard grew up wanting to be a gangster. He was on probation by the age of thirteen and continued building his criminal resume over the next half a century. He was a professional arsonist for nearly twenty years; escaped from jail twice; ran a gold scandal grossing over a quarter of a million dollars, and that’s just to name a few of his illegal escapades. To top it off, he played a role in one of the most important Supreme Court Decisions of all time (Gideon vs. Wainwright).Sidney’s underworld connections ran from the Chicago-based Italians to the Mexican Mafia. He even worked undercover for the Federal Government at one point in his life. However, all of Sidney’s so-called glory would come with a price. While working undercover for the F.B.I. D.E.A., Sidney became hooked on drugs. He soon found himself staring at 125 years of jail time , a massive criminal record, and pushing his fiftieth birthday. Can a career criminal change? Frank Abagnale’s criminal career lasted ten years and was featured in the movie Catch Me If You Can. Sidney Heard’s criminal career spanned five decades!
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Sit back and relax as Synova regales you with tales of master art thieves, bumbling criminals, and multi-million-dollar art heists from around the world. There will be stories of mafia-commissioned heists, of Daredevil art thieves, and of the brave men and women of the FBI Art team who are trying to stop this multi-billion-dollar industry of art crime. Enjoy.

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It’s a tale of two judges; one a well-liked defender of the law, and the other a cold-blooded manipulator. Judge C.E. Chillingworth was by all accounts a man of honor, so why were he and his wife taken from their home on June 15, 1955, in the wee hours of the morning, bound, gagged, weighted down, and thrown into the ocean?

When the Chillingworths disappear it would take nearly five years and one drunken hitman to finally uncover the truth behind West Palm Beach’s “crime of the century.”
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Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one.

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Committed to Kill – Tatjana “Tanya” Kopric

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Guest Post by Ian Granstra

September 18, 1980

Thirty-five-year-old Tatjana “Tanya” Kopric had accomplished a lot during her short time in America. Five years after emigrating from the former Yugoslavia to study medicine, she was a practicing resident at the Truman Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Dr. Kopric was dedicated to her profession and was greatly liked and respected by patients and colleagues. They, along with friends, believed the intelligent and attractive career woman had only one flaw: her choice of suitors.
Tanya fell in love with Richard Bocklage, a college student ten years her junior. The couple was a study in contrast. Whereas Tanya worked hard and was dedicated to her profession, Richard had little ambition and was barely making the grade.
Richard Bocklage could not accept responsibility for his failures, nor could he commit himself to his studies. Instead, the struggling collegiate became committed to killing.

A gynecologist who worked with Tanya introduced her to his cousin Richard, a University of Missouri Pharmacy student, in March of 1980.
A whirlwind romance ensued during which Richard lavished Tanya with gifts and compliments. Within a month, he moved into Tanya’s apartment; two months later, the doctor and the pharmacy student were engaged.
Tanya was bubbling with excitement at the prospect of spending her life with the dashing younger man and future pharmacist.

Many of Tanya’s friends, however, had misgivings about Bocklage. Though he showered her with praise, those closest to Tanya believed he was sponging off her financially. Tanya was making a good living, and Bocklage was the proverbial “starving college student.” He was using Tanya’s credit cards more for purchasing toys such as hunting and fishing gear instead of buying college materials. Bocklage told Tanya he was committed to her, but he was clearly not as committed to his education. As he was spent more time with Tanya, he spent less time in class. Unbeknownst to Tanya, midway through his sophomore year at Missouri, her beau was on the brink of flunking out.

The skipping of classes finally caught up to Bockalge on July 19, 1980. That afternoon, he opened a letter from University of Missouri officials informing him that he was academically ineligible.
A desperate Bocklage pleaded for Tanya to use her connections in the admissions department to get him re-admitted. She refused, saying the matter was his responsibility.
Tanya tolerated Bockage’s mood swings for three weeks, hoping her fiance would get his life in order. When it became apparent that that was only wishful thinking, Tanya finally conceded defeat. She knew she had made a mistake and realized her friends and colleagues were right when they said that she could do better in her choice of men.
Part of what had attracted Tanya to Richard was what she thought was a shared love of the medical field and of helping others. She looked forward to her fiance, working in a field related to her chosen profession. It was now clear, however, that Richard did not have the work ethic to be a pharmacist.
On September 2, 1980, Tanya broke off the engagement and ordered Bocklage out of her apartment.

Increasingly desperate, Bocklage wrote a letter to University of Missouri administrative officials, begging them for one more chance. On September 18, however, the admissions committee unanimously denied his appeal. The committee’s secretary called to tell him of the decision shortly after 3:00 p.m.  At 3:45 p.m., two professors saw Bocklage driving toward the Dean’s office. He was then seen by several people inside of the building, carrying a large manila folder as he anxiously roamed the hallway. Although he was told that the Dean was out and likely would not be returning that day, Bocklage insisted on waiting for him. He did so for nearly an hour before leaving.

Three hours later, Tanya returned to her apartment after work. A woman saw Bocklage walk up to her as she exited her car and shoot her point-blank in the head three times. By the time police and paramedics arrived, she was dead. The witness had taken cover behind a parked car, and Bocklage did not see her. She recognized him as the man who had dated Dr. Kopric. The gun used to kill Tanya was determined to be a .45 automatic. Police found that Bocklage had purchased such a gun several days earlier, but it was not found in his apartment. Some believe the gun was the object which Bocklage concealed under the manila folder, and that he had planned to kill the University of Missouri Dean of Admissions as well.

A warrant was issued for Bocklage’s arrest, charging him with the first-degree murder of his former fiance. Six days later, on September 24, Royal Canadian Mounted Police found Bocklage’s car in Thompson, Manitoba, Canada, over 2,000 miles from Kansas City and over 1,100 from International Falls, the northernmost point of Minnesota. Two area residents saw Bocklage before he dropped out of sight. In the ensuing 39 years, there have been few leads to his whereabouts.

Two months after Tanya was murdered, her parents in Yugoslavia received a letter postmarked September 16, 1980, two days before their daughter’s murder. The letter was typed, but the address had been written in Bocklage’s handwriting. The letter was a vengeful diatribe written in the tone of a manifesto. It read in part, “Dear. Kopric family. Your daughter Tanya Kopric has been executed in Kansas City, Missouri. She has caused so much grief, anguish, and turmoil to so many Americans that this act was necessary. Her execution was inevitable.”

Some believe Bocklage may have committed suicide in the rugged terrain near where his car was found in Canada, but searches failed to find any evidence. Bocklage is a native of St. Louis and his parents have both died. A person on “Websleuths” says the FBI was at both of his parents’ funerals to see if he would show, but with no luck. The Websleuth writer also says Bocklage has a sister who still lives in St. Louis.

Richard Bocklage has eluded detection for nearly 40 years and remains one of Kansas City’s longest sought fugitives. Richard Bocklage would today be 63-years-old. If you have any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Kansas City at 816-234-5000 or the Kansas City FBI office at 816-512-8200.



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

Further Reading:

Unsolved Mysteries

Websleuths

America’s Most Wanted


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra

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.”)

This week’s Recommended Reading:


I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer

Exploding the Phone


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

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SIGN UP HERE


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online or can be verified by the guest blogger. Any participation or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states, an individual is innocent until PROVEN guilty. I do not own the photos used in this post. All photos are used under the fair use act. No copyright infringement intended. Any and all opinions are that of the guest blogger and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Synova Ink©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


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

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Synova’s Swag Store is now open check out her new merchandise by clicking on the Shop! link at the top of this page!

Come Quick!


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