Bowen on the River – The Murder of Brenda Bowen

Photo courtesy of our guest blogger, Ian

When Jerry Bowen asked Brenda Breckenridge to marry him in 1976, she eagerly said yes. When he asked her for a divorce 19 years later, a despondent Brenda, knowing the marriage had disintegrated, again said yes.

Two years later, Jerry asked Brenda to take him back, but this time her answer was no. Four days later, Brenda disappeared. Two months later, her body was found floating in the Coosa River, a few miles from the couple’s rural Westover, Alabama, home, approximately 20 miles southeast of Birmingham.

Jerry Bowen was convicted of his wife’s murder, and everyone in the tiny central Alabama town thought that was the end to the saga. On the day he was to be sentenced, Jerry was a no-show in court. He went to extraordinary lengths to conceal his identity, but in the end, he could not outwit forensic science.

Most of Jerry and Brenda’s 19-year-marriage was happy. They had two teenage children, a son Jason and a daughter Jinjer. (Yes, that is how she spelled her name.) The couple was well-off financially; Jerry worked as a contractor and Brenda as a real estate agent.

By 1995, the 42-year-old Brenda knew the marriage was falling apart as the 48-year-old Jerry was having an affair with a younger woman. It was the quintessential midlife crisis, and Jerry decided to quit the marriage. He asked Brenda for a divorce; though saddened, she agreed. The proceedings were finalized just over a year later.

The marriage ending was amicable, and Jerry agreed to give most of the couple’s joint assets to Brenda. They were still on good terms, so much so that they decided o an unusual living arrangement: Brenda would live in the main house while Jerry lived in the smaller guest house on the former couple’s property.

For six months, the arrangement worked out well. But then Jerry realized the young woman he had taken up with might not have been attracted to him for his looks or charisma. Jerry wished he had not been so generous in the divorce settlement as he was in severe financial trouble.

Just as quickly as Jerry Bowen had squandered his marriage, his lover had wasted his money.

Brenda, conversely, had no financial trouble as her real estate business continued to thrive. In desperation, Jerry turned for help to the woman he had turned away.

On January 24, 1997, Jerry asked Brenda that they re-marry to give him some financial relief. Brenda told friends of the request; her decision is not known for sure, but it most likely was no.

Four days later, two of Brenda’s friends came to her home, having not heard from her and concerned that she had not attended her regular prayer meeting. Not finding her there, they called the police.

Shelby County Deputies found some of Brenda’s clothes neatly folded and lying on her bed, her jewelry lying neatly on her dresser, and her curling iron turned on in the bathroom.

That evening, police found Brenda’s car, stuck in the mud, 43 miles away. Inside were her purse, cell phone, and checkbook. Police were struck that the driver’s seat was pushed to the back. Brenda was only 5’2″ tall, and it would have been impossible for her to have reached the car’s pedals with the seat in that position.

At 6’1″ tall, Jerry Bowen would have had the seat in that position to drive.

When questioned by police, Jerry showed no concern for Brenda’s well-being and gave evasive answers to detectives’ questions. The interview took place in the early morning hours, and he fell asleep at one point.

Nothing, however, linked Jerry to Brenda’s disappearance, and he was released.

Two months later, on March 29, 1997, three fishermen saw a body floating in the Coosa River. The Shelby County Coroner identified the remains as those of Brenda Bowen.

Her body was too decomposed for the cause of death to be determined.

A green bed sheet with a nylon rope tied around it covered Brenda’s body. The bedsheet was confirmed as having come from her home.

The rope around the sheet was tied with two specific knots, a bowline and a slip. The ends of the rope were burnt. Bowen’s son Jason recognized the unusual knots as the pattern used by his dad.

In addition, Jason said when his dad cut a piece of nylon rope, he always burned the ends.

Jerry Bowen had no alibi for the day Brenda disappeared. He was arrested and charged with the murder of his ex-wife.

The case against him was entirely circumstantial but strong enough for the jury to convict him. To everyone’s surprise, the judge allowed Bowen bail for $150,000 as he awaited sentencing.

On the day of his sentencing, in March 2000, Bowen emailed a letter to his sister. It read, in part: “This may be a dumb move on my part, sis [sic], but I don’t feel I should serve time for a crime that I didn’t commit. Therefore, I’m running.” Police believed he had fled the area six days before his scheduled sentencing.

On April 28, 2000, Jerry Bowen was sentenced in absentia to life in prison.

A search of Bowen’s home found thousands of violent and sadistic pornographic images on his computer. Among the images found were those of women being tied up, shackled, and tortured. Bowen seemed to have a particular fascination with naked pregnant women.

The disturbing images found on the computer showed that Bowen had disgusting fetishes, but they failed to provide clues to his whereabouts.

Jerry Bowen stayed off the radar for over four years before the public exposure of his flight led to his capture.

The fugitive had been profiled on Unsolved Mysteries twice, America’s Most Wanted three times, and several other national crime shows.

Following the Unsolved Mysteries re-broadcast on December 22, 2004, a viewer from North Charleston, South Carolina, believed she recognized him. A man she knew as Steven Starbuck had been dating her sister on and off for the previous three years.

When police went to the man’s home, he produced a birth certificate and driver’s license identifying him as Steven Starbuck. He agreed to come to the police department for questioning.

The police, confident they had their man, were surprised when his fingerprints did not appear to match Bowen’s. Upon closer examination, however, a crime scene technician saw that although the tips of the fingers did not look alike, the ridges above the first crease on the fingers were a match.

More extensive fingerprint tests were conducted, confirming Steven Starbuck was Jerry Bowen. Bowen confessed his identity and told police he had purposefully poured acid on his hands to alter his fingerprints.

Bowen then told of his life-on-the-run: He initially fled to Reno, Nevada, where he lived for several years before briefly relocating to Salt Lake City, Utah. He worked in construction doing drywall in both cities before heading back east and settling in South Carolina.

Bowen also said he had been able to elude detection by befriending homeless people and assuming their identities; the real Stephen Starbuck was such a person and victim.

Jerry Bowen was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of his ex-wife Brenda. He was also convicted of identity theft.

In a 2010 interview for the show “I (Almost) Got Away with It,” Bowen again expressed his innocence in the murder of his wife. He said he fled because he was told police were going to kill him.

Several family members and friends support Bowen’s claims of innocence. No physical or forensic evidence linked him to Brenda’s murder; he was convicted entirely on circumstantial evidence.

Bowen’s children, however, are not among those who believe he is innocent.

Bowen became eligible for but was denied parole on December 1, 2019.

Now 73-years-old, Jerry Bowen is imprisoned at the Limestone Correctional Center in Harvest, Alabama.


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:

Shelby County (Alabama) Reporter
Unsolved Mysteries


Join Our GUEST BLOGGER’S FACEBOOK GROUP 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.”)


Each week Synova & her team of guest bloggers highlight an obscure cold case. Synova works directly with the victims’ families to give them a voice and to generate leads for law enforcement. The potential viewership currently sits at 500,000!

Help Synova’s team reach a million people with these cold cases. Together we can solve some of these cases.

As a way of saying “Thank You” when you sign up for Synova’s true crime newsletter, you will get her Grim Justice eBook as a free gift! Please help us reach out to more people in our search for truth.

SIGN UP HERE


Check out Synova’s new Podcast, Chasing Justice

Chasing Justice is on PodbeanStitchergoogle podcasts, itunes, and spotify. Listen on you favorite app! Look for the logo above. There is another Chasing Justice podcast out there.


An Athlete Murdered Young – Death of Aimee Willard

Photo courtesy of guest blogger. Check out his FB group here: Ian’s Group

June 20, 1996

Aimee Willard‘s athletic accomplishments earned her a scholarship to play lacrosse and soccer at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. It was in lacrosse that the 22-year-old tomboy particularly excelled; by her junior year, she led the Colonial Athletic Association in scoring and assists. She was designated as one of the top 25 female lacrosse players in the United States, but because of a man described as “pure evil,” she became an athlete who died young.

In the early morning hours of June 20, 1996, Aimee’s car was found abandoned along Interstate 476 near Philadelphia. That afternoon, her badly beaten body was found in the north part of the city.

Three people emerged as suspects in Aimee’s murder, but all were cleared after DNA identified the true culprit. Twenty-four years after Aimee’s murder, her killer remains on Pennsylvania’s death row, his appeals nearly exhausted.

The only mystery remaining in the murder of Aimee Willard is when will the man who took her life pay for the crime?

On June 19, eleven days after her 22nd birthday, Aimee met friends at Smokey Joe’s Tavern in Wayne, just north of Philadelphia. Conversing at the tavern for nearly three hours, the girls had a great time catching up with each other. Aimee drank only a small amount of alcohol and left the bar between 1:30-1:45 a.m. on June 20.

On the day before summer officially started, the warm Pennsylvania morning was about to be marred by a chilling crime.

Shortly after 2:00 a.m., off-duty paramedics found Aimee’s car parked along the shoulder of an Interstate 476 off-ramp. Its engine was running, the lights were on, and the radio was playing. The driver’s side door was open, and a trail of fresh bloodstains dotted the pavement. A bloody tire iron lay by the side of the car, which was later identified as Aimee’s.

Police were summoned and found more blood along the passenger side of the car and the nearby guardrail. Later that morning, they found underwear and tennis shoes at the top of the ramp, also determined to be Aimee’s. Her other clothes were never found.

That afternoon, 17 miles away in North Philadelphia, two children playing in a vacant lot discovered Aimee’s nude body. An autopsy determined she had been sexually assaulted and killed by blunt force trauma that crushed her skull. She had been killed at approximately 7:00 a.m. on June 20.

Three men became suspects in the murder of Aimee Willard. Disturbingly, two of them were in law enforcement, and the third had previously masqueraded as such. 

As police searched the ramp where Aimee’s abandoned car was found, 23-year-old Andrew Kobak approached them, saying he had been on the ramp early that morning and had seen the car. Kobak had once worked five blocks from where Aimee’s body was found. More interestingly, he had previously been arrested for impersonating a police officer.

Kobak allowed police to search his car. They found handcuffs and a flashlight similar to those used by law enforcement. A search of his home-produced police paraphernalia as well as a magazine that could be used to order police equipment. After the searches, Kobak stopped cooperating with authorities.

Police were convinced they had their man, believing he approached Aimee under the guise of a police officer. Two bona fide law enforcement officers, however, also emerged as suspects.

An off-duty Pennsylvania state trooper, who lived only a few blocks from Aimee’s home, claimed to have seen both Aimee’s car and a police officer parked in a squad car behind it. The trooper said he spoke briefly with the officer, offering his assistance. When told he was not needed, the trooper said he drove away.

All of the police officers who responded to the call of Aimee’s abandoned car, however, said no one identifying himself as a state trooper spoke to them. Furthermore, authorities determined the trooper was in a different location at the time. The trooper soon resigned from the Pennsylvania State Patrol.

One week later, a local police officer not involved in the investigation into Aimee’s murder came forward, saying he had come upon her car while the paramedics were on the scene but before the police arrived. The officer said he saw the paramedics parked behind her car and that he spoke with them. The paramedics, however, contradicted the officer’s account, saying they neither saw nor spoke with him. Like the state trooper, the police officer later admitted to lying to his fellow lawmen. He, too, resigned shortly thereafter.

Investigators had three suspects in the murder of Aimee Willard: Andrew Kobak, who pretended to be one of them, and two of their actual own; the Pennsylvania State Trooper and the local police officer. DNA tests, however, exonerated all three men.

The only connection Aimee’s killer had to law enforcement was his multiple arrests. 

In December 1997, one-and-a-half years after Aimee’s murder, semen found on her body was matched to 38-year-old Arthur Bomar, Jr.

Police were led to Bomar after nineteen-year-old Patty Jordan reported an attempted carjacking near Philadelphia. A man had tailed her after she left a local nightclub and purposely struck the back of her vehicle. He tried to get her to pull over, but she refused.

As Patty drove off, she memorized the car’s license plate number. The plate was traced to Bomar. In December 1997, one-and-a-half years after Aimee’s murder, semen found on her body was matched to 38-year-old Arthur Bomar, Jr.

Police were led to Bomar after nineteen-year-old Patty Jordan reported an attempted carjacking near Philadelphia. A man had tailed her after she left a local nightclub and purposely struck the back of her vehicle. He tried to get her to pull over, but she refused.

As Patty drove off, she memorized the car’s license plate number. The plate was traced to Bomar.

Bomar was no stranger to authorities. He had previously been convicted of several assaults on young women and the second-degree murder of a woman in Nevada in 1978. He had been sentenced to life in prison but was granted parole after serving only eleven years. The parole board evidently thought Bomar had been rehabilitated. They would soon be proven deadly wrong.

In 1990, less than a year after he was paroled, Bomar was charged with the attempted murder of a woman named Theresa Thompson; the charges were dropped after she died of a drug overdose in 1991 before the case was brought to trial. He was also believed to be connected to the rape of a Philadelphia college student, though the evidence was not sufficient to charge him.

The evidence, however, was more than sufficient to charge him with the murder of Aimee Willard.

At approximately 8:30 p.m. on the evening of June 19, 1996, Philadelphia police had pulled Bomar over for a traffic infraction only six blocks from where Aimee’s car would be found in the early morning hours of June 20. Police sought to question him but could not initially locate him.

The following week, Bomar was arrested after trying to break into a woman’s apartment. As the three other men emerged as suspects, authorities turned their attention away from Bomar and did not question him then about Aimee’s murder.

After the DNA evidence linked Bomar to Aimee’s murder, his girlfriend told authorities he was at Smokey Joe’s Tavern on the evening of June 20, 1996. It is believed he noticed Aimee at the bar and followed her along Route 476 after she departed.

Due to the damage found on the front of Bomar’s car and the back of Aimee’s car, police believe he purposefully rammed the back of her car to get her to pull over. When Aimee exited her vehicle to exchange information, Bomar is believed to have struck her with the tire iron later found alongside her car.

After knocking Aimee unconscious, Bomar is believed to have taken her to north Philadelphia, where he raped her and killed her with three blows to her head from another large object. Afterward, he is believed to have run over her with his car. A burn pattern found on Aimee’s back was consistent with the oil pan on the bottom of Bomar’s Ford Escort, which was found in a junkyard with slight damage to the front bumper. Its tires matched the impressions found near Aimee’s car.

Furthermore, DNA testing showed blood found on the car’s door was Aimee’s.

In February 2003, six-and-half years after Aimee’s murder, Arthur Bomar, Jr. was convicted of her murder and sentenced to death. He was also convicted of rape, assault, kidnapping, and abuse of a corpse.

At his sentencing, Bomar professed he was convicted only because he is black. He then flipped his middle finger at Aimee’s mother, Gail, and told her to f**k herself. He also threatened to kill her and her two other children.

When Bomar had been arrested for breaking into the woman’s apartment a few days after Aimee’s murder in June 1996, he had a set of keys for a Honda in his pocket. Police learned he had put his Ford Escort’s license plate on the Honda. It was the license plate Patty Jordan had memorized when the car rammed her.

The plate was registered to Bomar, but the Honda belonged to 25-year-old Maria Cabuenos, another Pennsylvania woman who had been reported missing in March 1996, three months before Aimee’s murder. Maria is also believed to have been abducted on Route 476, near where Aimee’s car was found. Dried blood was found in the trunk of her Honda, and both bumpers were slightly scraped, as were the bumpers on Aimee’s car. Moreover, Aimee’s blood and hair were found in Maria’s car.

In January 1998, three months after Bomar’s conviction for Aimee’s murder, Maria Cabuenos’ remains were found in nearby Bucks County. Like Aimee, she had died of blunt force trauma.

Bomar is the prime suspect in Maria’s murder, but he is not likely to be charged because of his death sentence. 

Over 17 years after his conviction for the murder of Aimee Willard, Arthur Bomar, Jr. remains on Pennsylvania’s death row, still exhausting his appeals. In 2014, his appeal was rejected by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. His remaining options are few, but a date has still not been set for his execution.

Bomar maintains he did not kill Aimee and still insists he was convicted only because he is black. No one of any color is supporting his claim.

Authorities continue to investigate Bomar’s possible involvement in other homicides. They believe he may be a serial killer but have not yet been able to link him to any more murders.

The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act, AKA “Aimee’s Law,” was introduced by then-Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum and was signed into law by President Clinton in 2000.

The Act encourages states to keep murderers, rapists, and child molesters behind bars longer and holds a state financially accountable if it fails to do so. In addition, it allows interstate parole violators to be jailed in their state of residence at the expense of the state where the original offense was committed. Furthermore, it permits for offenders to be jailed in another state if circumstances allow it.

A small roadside memorial on the exit ramp from Interstate 476 to southbound U.S. Route 1 marks the site where Aimee Willard’s car was found.

US Lacrosse, the national governing body of the sport in the United States, established the Aimee Willard Award. Created in conjunction with Aimee’s mother, her high school coach, and the Philadelphia Women’s Lacrosse Association, the award is given each year in recognition of the outstanding collegiate athlete participating in the USWLA National Tournament.

George Mason University honors Aimee with the yearly Aimee Willard Commemorative Award, presented to the Mason student-athlete who best exemplifies the standards of quality set by Aimee: intensity, consistency of purpose, achievement, and teamwork. 


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:

• Cold Case Files

• Philadelphia Inquirer

• Unsolved Mysteries

• Washington Post


Join Our GUEST BLOGGER’S FACEBOOK GROUP 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.”)


Each week Synova & her team of guest bloggers highlight an obscure cold case. Synova works directly with the victims’ families to give them a voice and to generate leads for law enforcement. The potential viewership currently sits at 500,000!

Help Synova’s team reach a million people with these cold cases. Together we can solve some of these cases.

As a way of saying “Thank You” when you sign up for Synova’s true crime newsletter, you will get her Grim Justice eBook as a free gift! Please help us reach out to more people in our search for truth.

SIGN UP HERE


Check out Synova’s new Podcast, Chasing Justice

Chasing Justice is on Podbean, Stitcher, google podcasts, itunes, and spotify. Listen on you favorite app! Look for the logo above. There is another Chasing Justice podcast out there.


The Chosen One – The Horrific Kidnapping & Murder of Jacob Wetterling



According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, approximately 800,000 children go missing each year, but 97% are returned unharmed within a few days. The vast majority either run away or are abducted by a relative, generally the non-custodial parent; most of the rest are taken by someone they know.

Every once in a while, though, there is a rare and sensational exception. The kidnapping of 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was one of the oddest on record; the FBI could find no similar abduction in its files, past or present.
For over 27 years, the abduction of Wetterling was one of America’s most infamous kidnappings, and the clues to his fate were few and far between. Jacob Wetterling‘s kidnapping may have been unique, but of the 3% who do not return within a few days, the end result is all too common.

On the evening of October 22, 1989, 11-year-old Aaron Larson stayed overnight at Jacob’s home. It was a Sunday, but because of a teacher’s conference the following day, the boys would not have to go to school and could stay up later than usual.

Shortly after 9:00 p.m., Jacob called his parents, Jerry and Patty, who were attending a dinner party. He asked if he, Aaron, and Jacob’s 10-year-old brother, Trevor, could ride their bikes to the nearby Tom Thumb convenience store to rent a video. The store was only one mile from the Wetterling home.

After a bit of pleading, Jacob convinced his dad to let them go to the store. The boys left home shortly after 9:00 p.m. It was dark, but they all had lights on their bicycles.

Jerry told the boys to be careful and to watch out for cars. The thought of a lurking kidnapper never crossed his mind.

The boys arrived at the store, purchased a video, and headed back to the Wetterling home.

Halfway there, a masked man jumped out in front of them and ordered the boys off their bicycles. The boys laughed, believing it was an early Halloween gag: Aaron even said something to the effect that Halloween was still over a week away. But when the man repeated his instructions, this time brandishing a gun, the chuckles instantly turned to fear.

The masked man ordered the three boys to toss their bikes to the side of the road and lie face down. He then asked each boy his age, and each boy answered. The man ordered Trevor to run into the woods, saying he would be shot if he looked back. The gunman then ordered Aaron and Jacob to turn over; when they complied, he looked at each boy. He then ordered Aaron to run from the scene. Aaron caught up with Trevor, and when the two no longer heard voices, they looked back and saw nothing but darkness. The masked man, and Jacob, were gone.

With their hearts pounding and still in shock over what had occurred, Aaron and Trevor ran to the Wetterling home and summoned neighbor Merlyn Jerzak who called 911. Police arrived within minutes and immediately mounted a search, confident they would find the culprit and Jacob would be home that evening. They were wrong on both counts.

Despite the prompt action of police and the extensive national publicity, the kidnapper was not identified, and Jacob never came home.

As the days passed, police received thousands of tips of possible sightings of Jacob from across America, Canada, and even overseas. None, however, checked out.

Even as the years grew into two decades and then a quarter of a century, Jacob’s kidnapping continued to be periodically profiled on crime shows and news magazines. Despite the continued publicity and the offer of a $200,000 reward, few substantive leads surfaced in the case.

In May 2014, investigators announced they believed Jacob’s 1989 kidnapping was related to the sexual assaults of five teenage boys, which had occurred southwest of St. Joseph in 1986 and ’87. The assaults occurred in and around Cold Spring and Paynesville, 11 and 28 miles, respectively, from St. Joseph.

All of the boys, like Jacob, were kidnapped from the roadside. All of the others, however, were taken in daylight. All were sexually molested and, unlike Jacob, were then released. No arrests were made, and no suspects were publicly named.

One of the Cold Spring’s victims, twelve-year-old Jared Scheierl, had been abducted and sexually assaulted in January of 1989, seven months before Jacob’s kidnapping.

It was not until October 2015 that DNA from his sexual assault was found to match that of Danny Heinrich, a lifelong area resident living in Paynesville at the time of the attack.

Heinrich was interviewed by investigators in December 1989, two months after Jacob’s kidnapping, and again several months later. He bore a strong resemblance to the composite made based on Jared’s description of his attacker. Police, however, could find no evidence linking him to the crime, and Jared did not pick him out of a photo lineup.

Heinrich’s DNA was taken, but it would be nearly 27 years before the technology advanced enough to produce a match to that found on Jared Scheierl.

Heinrich could not be charged with the sexual assault of Jared Scheierl because the statute limitations for the crime had expired. When they searched his home, police found thousands of images of child pornography involving young boys on his computer. Heinrich was arrested on October 28, 2015, and charged with multiple counts of possession of child pornography.

Because of the similarities between Jared and Jacob’s cases, Heinrich was also officially named as a person of interest in the 1989 kidnapping of Jacob Wetterling. With the federal pornography charges certain to imprison him for the rest of his life, Danny Heinrich decided it was time to come clean.

In August 2016, the imprisoned Heinrich, through his attorney, told authorities he was the man in the mask from that October evening of nearly 27 years ago. He agreed to lead them to Jacob’s remains in exchange for a reduced sentence.

On September 1, 2016, Heinrich led investigators to some farmland near Paynesville, approximately 30 miles from where Jacob was abducted. After an hour of digging, Jacob’s clothing was found.

Human remains were discovered a short time later. On September 3, dental records confirmed the remains were Jacob’s.

Under the terms of the agreement, for revealing the location of Jacob’s remains, Heinrich, plead guilty to only one of the 25 federal child pornography charges. He had to testify in court about the sexual assault of Jared Scheierl and give the details of Jacob’s kidnapping and murder but would not be charged with either crime.

In a soft, somber tone far from the demanding and thundering tone of 1989, Danny Heinrich described in chilling detail how he ended Jacob Wetterling’s life.

Heinrich testified that he drove Jacob to a remote location near Paynesville, where he handcuffed and sexually molested him. Afterward, he uncuffed Jacob and told him to get dressed. As Jacob was doing so, Heinrich said he was crying, “What did I do wrong?” and begging, “Please take me home.”

Heinrich claimed he told Jacob he would take him home and planned to let him go, but the sirens of a police car racing to the kidnapping scene caused him to panic. Instead of releasing Jacob, as he had done with his other victims, Heinrich shot him in the back of the head and buried him at the locale near a gravel pit.

A year later, Heinrich says he returned to the site and found that Jacob’s jacket had risen to the surface, becoming visible. He then moved the remains and reburied them on the farmland where they would be found.

In accordance with the plea agreement, Danny Heinrich was sentenced to the maximum prison term of 20 years for the child pornography charge. He will be eligible for parole after 17 years, in 2033, when he will be 70 years old.

State authorities may seek Heinrich’s civil commitment as a sexual predator at the end of his federal prison term, which could prevent him from ever going free. Should he ever be released from prison, he will be required to register as a sexual offender for the rest of his life.

Investigators say they are certain Jacob is the only person Heinrich murdered.

Four months after Jacob’s abduction, his parents, Jerry and Patty Wetterling formed the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, an advocacy group for children’s safety. In 1994, the federal Jacob Wetterling Act was passed. It was the first law to institute a state sex-offender registry.

Patty Wetterling ran for the congressional seat of Minnesota’s sixth district in 2004 and 2006 but was defeated both times. She is the current chair of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.


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:
• ABC News
• Fox News
The Hunt with John Walsh
Minnesota Daily
Minnesota Star Tribune
NBC News


Each week Synova & her team of guestbloggers highlight an obscure cold case. Synova works directly with the victims’ families to give them a voice and to generate leads for law enforcement. The potential viewership currently sits at 500,000!

Help Synova’s team reach a million people with these cold cases. Together we can solve some of these cases.

As a way of saying “Thank You” when you sign up for Synova’s true crime newsletter, you will get her Grim Justice eBook as a free gift! Please help us reach out to more people in our search for truth.

SIGN UP HERE


Order Your Copy Today!

Deep in the heart of Dixie lies a hidden evil. It’s tentacles stretch from state to state, from county to county. The Dixie Mafia has produced infamous outlaws, bank robbers, and murderers. The story contains tidbits from each of their lives and even includes the story of a famous sheriff, but this book is not about them.

Silenced by the Dixie Mafia is about a big sister who has fought for answers for over five decades. It’s about a father who was an ex-alcoholic turned into a gambling addict. A father’s decisions would lead to the death of his disabled son and eventually lead to his own demise. Now left alone to find answers and make sense of the chaos is a brave little southern belle named Phyllis.

Tying back to the ambush of Sheriff Buford Pusser on August 12, 1967, this story will change history as we know it. The world knew nothing about the Dixie Mafia until the murders of Judge Vincent Sherry and his wife Margaret in 1987. This public assassination brought this band of ruthless criminals into view, but the truth was still hidden until the death of the Andersons.

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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

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


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More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

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


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 Secret Service’s First Female Fatality


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


More Info:

Associated Press
United State Secret Service
Unsolved Mysteries


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

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.

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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


Where’s the Line of Culpability? The Margo Freshwater Story


Carrying her young grandchild, Tonya McCarter walked through the parking lot of a local gym in Columbus, Ohio, on the morning of August 13, 2002. Her husband, Daryl, her adult grandson, and his fiance were all there when two men approached the group and asked Tonya for her name. She replied, “Tonya McCarter.” But one of the men, an undercover policeman, replied he had reason to believe she was a woman who had escaped prison over thirty years earlier. Daryl and his son laughed at the question; Tonya, however, remained stoic. Her past had finally caught up with her.

Tonya McCarter’s real name was Margo Freshwater. For 32 years, she had been living a lie, unbeknownst to her friends and family. She was a convicted murderer who had escaped a Tennessee prison after serving only eighteen months of a 99-year sentence.

Margo Freshwater’s life, from naive teenager to escaped inmate to fugitive mother and grandmother, had come full circle.

In the fall of 1966, 18-year-old Margo Freshwater’s world was crumbling. A native of Worthington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, she had dropped out of high school after becoming pregnant. After being dumped by her boyfriend, the penniless Margo gave her son up for adoption and, shortly after that, attempted suicide.

Margo soon had another boyfriend, Al Schlereth, but he had his problems. After several minor brushes with the law, he was arrested for armed robbery in Memphis, Tennessee.

Desperate to free her new beau, Margo traveled to Memphis, where she sought the help of attorney Glenn Nash.

Margo had no money to pay Nash and couldn’t even afford a place to stay. Although he was also broke, Nash agreed to take the case pro-bono and put Freshwater up at a local boarding house.

Glenn Nash had once been a respected attorney. Friends and colleagues described him as extremely bright, and tests would later show he had a genius-level I.Q. Nash, however, was also tormented as his alcoholism was out of control. Although he had been cleared the year before of two federal charges involving theft of money orders and treasury bonds, he was still under investigation by the Memphis Bar Association for other instances of misconduct. Paranoia had overtaken him, and he believed agents from the bar were conspiring against him. Nash’s marriage was crumbling as he descended into perpetual drunkenness, and, many believed, he was losing his grip on reality.

Had Margo Freshwater visited Glenn Nash several years earlier, all would likely have been fine. But when the attractive but troubled teen walked into the equally troubled lawyer’s office in the fall of 1966, it was a recipe for disaster. An immediate spark ignited between the two tormented souls, which soon exploded into a fire that raged out of control. The 18-year-old high school dropout and the married 41-year-old paranoid and alcoholic lawyer began an affair.

Margo’s first boyfriend had left her with an illegitimate child; her second lover was imprisoned, but the third man in Margo’s quest for love was not the charm as he would lead her imprisonment.

On December 6, 1966, Nash told Margo’s landlady the couple was going bowling; they instead went on a killing spree, striking in three states.

The first stop was the Square Deal liquor store in Memphis. After entering the store, Nash pointed a gun at the store clerk, 60-year-old Hillman Robbins, and ordered him to give him the money from the cash register, approximately $600.

Nash then ordered Margo to stay behind the cash register while he took Hillman into the back room. During that time, a customer came into the store and later told investigators that a friendly Margo waited on him and gave no indication that she was in trouble.

As Margo waited on the customer, Nash tied up Hillman with rope in the backroom. He then shot him five times in the head, using two guns, a .22 caliber and a .38 caliber.

Witnesses saw a man and a woman fleeing the liquor store and get into a white Ford Fairlane. Glenn Nash owned such a vehicle.

Whether Margo knew of Nash’s intentions to rob the liquor store and to kill the clerk is still debated, as is her culpability in the subsequent events.

Twelve days later, on December 18, a nearly identical crime occurred over 1,000 miles away at the Jackson Mini Market convenience store in Oakland Park, Florida, a part of metropolitan Fort Lauderdale.

Witnesses reported hearing gunshots and seeing a man and woman fleeing the store and getting into a white Ford Fairlane. When police arrived at the store, they found the body of 44-year-old clerk Esther Bouryea. She had been shot multiple times in the neck and had been bound with a rope just like Hillman Robbins.

Nearby, an abandoned Ford Fairlane was found along a highway shoulder. It was registered to Glenn Nash of Memphis, Tennessee. Inside, police found ropes and shell casings matching those used in the murder of Hillman Robbins. Margo was identified as Nash’s companion, and an All Points Bulletin (APB) was issued for the pair’s arrest.

On December 28, ten days later, the body of 55-year-old cab driver C.C. Suratt was found in a ditch in Mississippi. He had been shot twice in the back of the head. Shell casings matched those used in the murders of Hillman Robbins and Esther Bouyea.

Nash and Freshwater had returned home and resumed killing. Surratt is believed to have been shot after picking up the pair just across the state line in Millington, Tennessee.

After staking out bus stations throughout Tennessee and Mississippi, police spotted Nash and Freshwater at a Greenville, Mississippi station, 150 miles south of Memphis near the southeastern Arkansas border.

The couple was arrested and charged with the murders of Hillman Robbins and C.C. Suratt; only Nash was charged with the murder of Esther Bouyea.

After a psychiatric examination, however, Nash was declared insane and incompetent to stand trial. He was instead sentenced to incarceration in a mental hospital.

Despite never having fired a shot, Freshwater stood trial twice for the murder of C.C. Surratt. She claimed Nash was violent and out of control, believing all three victims were members of the bar association who were “out to get him.” She insisted she was fearful of Nash and participated in the crimes out of fear for her own life.

Both trials resulted in hung juries, and mistrials were declared. The state declined to try her a third time for the murder of C.C. Surratt.

Three years later, in 1969, Margo was tried for the murder of the first victim, Hillman Robbins. Nash was still deemed insane and would not stand trial in the courtroom where he had tried several cases before his descent into madness.

Freshwater again claimed that Nash was holding her prisoner, and she was terrified of him. She testified she had no idea he planned to kill Hillman Robbins when they robbed the liquor store in Memphis and that Nash forced her to participate in the subsequent robbery and murders of Esther Bouyea C.C. Surratt.

Freshwater, however, was fresh out of luck with the Memphis jury. They did not believe her claims of captivity and, although she had not pulled the trigger, found her guilty of the murder of Hillman Robbins. She was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

The state of Florida sought to charge Nash, alone, for the murder of Esther Bouyea, but the insanity ruling prevented them from doing so. Freshwater was never charged in connection with her murder.

Freshwater was incarcerated at the Tennessee State Prison for Women in Nashville. After serving only 18 months of her 99-year sentence, she took it upon herself to make a fresh start.

On October 4, 1970, she and several other inmates were being escorted by an unarmed guard outside the prison. Freshwater and another inmate, Faye Fairchild, scaled the prison’s barbed-wire fence and made a run for freedom. Both women were young and fit; Margo had run track in high school. In contrast, the guard was older and not in good shape. The women quickly ran out of his view and hitched a ride to freedom.

The women made their way to Baltimore, Maryland, where Fairchild had a family. After laying low for several weeks, they were seen on the street saying goodbye to each other.

Fairchild was apprehended; several sources say she was captured two years later in Chicago, but another says it was only a couple of days after being last seen in Baltimore. Yet another source says she stayed at large for over 20 years, not being captured until the early 1990s.

Margo Freshwater stayed off the radar for over three decades.

Authorities eventually came to believe Freshwater was using the names “Tonya” and “Tanya.” In 2002, investigators used police computer databases to check nationwide for anyone named “Tonya” or “Tanya” with Freshwater’s birth date of June 4, 1948.

They found that a woman named Tonya McCarter had the same date of birth. What caught investigators’ eyes was that the woman lived in Worthington, Ohio, a suburb of Columbus, where Margo Freshwater had been born and lived before her life of crime. Employment records showed the woman had not worked from 1966-70, the same time Margo Freshwater was jailed and then imprisoned.

When investigators obtained a copy of Tonya McCartor’s driver’s license, they were astounded by the similarities between the woman and an old photo of a young Margo Freshwater.

Tonya McCarter was arrested as she was leaving the Columbus health club on May 19, 2002. Fingerprints confirmed she was Margo Freshwater.

With her true identity uncovered, Freshwater revealed the details of her three-plus decades as a fugitive. She had avoided detection by not resuming her criminal career and by living a simple life.

Amazingly, Margo Freshwater lived many years undetected in the town where she had grown up.

After escaping prison, Freshwater told investigators she and Fairchild hitched a ride with a trucker to Baltimore. From there, Fairchild took a train to Chicago; Freshwater went to Ashland, Ohio, 80 miles southwest of Columbus. She obtained a driver’s license and social security number under the name Tonya Myers. She found work as a waitress and lived at a boarding house.

Freshwater soon gave birth to a son. She said she was pregnant when she escaped from prison but refused to divulge the father; he is believed to have been a prison guard. She had been imprisoned for 18 months, so Nash could not be the father.

Freshwater began dating Phillip Zimmerman, a man she had met at the Ashland boarding house. She told him she had been raped in a juvenile jail while serving time for petty theft. Although they were never married, Freshwater and Zimmerman raised her son and had a daughter together before parting ways after seven years.

Freshwater then married and had a son with Joseph Hudkins, a railroad worker from Columbus. After he died in 1988, Freshwater, under the name Tonya Hudkins, began working as an administrative assistant for MetLife Insurance. Through her job, she came in contact with many people in her hometown, but she never “met” anyone who recognized her.

Freshwater had cut off all contact with her family. She said she had encountered an aunt and a high school classmate while in public, but neither recognized her.

Freshwater met Daryl McCarter, a long-haul trucker, through a telephone dating service in 1998. When they married within a few months, she quit her job with MetLife Insurance to travel the country together.

Freshwater was returned to the Tennessee State Prison for women, the same prison she had escaped from 31 1/2 years earlier to serve her 99-year sentence. After having served nine years, however, Freshwater’s conviction for the murder of Hillman Robbins was overturned.

Johnny Box, a cellmate of Glenn Nash, wrote a letter in 1969 to the district attorney prosecuting Freshwater. He said Nash told him that he alone had killed Hillman Robbins and confirmed Margo’s claims of being controlled. However, it was learned that the district attorney provided only one page of the letter to Freshwater’s lawyers.

A Tennessee Court of Appeals ruled the full letter should have been turned over to the defense team, and Freshwater was given a new trial. In October 2011, the court accepted Freshwater’s best interest guilty plea, allowing her to plead guilty to the murder of Hillman Robbins while maintaining her innocence.

Margo Freshwater had spent, in total, approximately 10 1/2 years in prison and was given credit for time served. She was released from prison in November 2011. Daryl McCarter took his wife back after her release from prison.

Now 71-years-old and legally named Tonya McCarter, Margo Freshwater lives in Worthington, Ohio, where she was born.

Glenn Nash was released from the mental hospital in 1983, declared fit to re-enter society. Despite efforts to try him for the murders, he was still ruled to have been insane at the time, and the courts have not allowed his prosecution.

Nash returned to his wife, to whom he was married when he had the affair with Freshwater. A 2011 article states he was living in West Memphis, Arkansas. He appears to have stayed out of further trouble.

Freshwater and Nash both say they had no contact with each other after Freshwater’s escape from prison. The 2011 article said Nash was contacted after Freshwater’s release from prison that year, but he refused to comment.

As far as I can tell, Glenn Nash is still alive at age 93-94.

The saga of Margo Freshwater has been compared to that of Patty Hearst, who was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army and subsequently committed several crimes in conjunction with group members. Both women claimed to have committed their crimes out of fear and manipulation.

It is interesting that Freshwater lived as a fugitive under the name “Tonya” and that Patty Hearst went by the name “Tanya” while an SLA member.

Hillman Robbins Jr., whose father was the first person killed by Nash, was a professional golfer who had a successful amateur career, highlighted by winning the 1957 U.S. Amateur. Hillman Jr. died at age 49 in 1981.


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:
• Unsolved Mysteries


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

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.


American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst

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


The Unsolved Homicide of Mary Ann Perez

On the evening of March 25, 1976, 33-year-old Mary Ann Perez went out with a girlfriend for dinner and drinks at the Chalmette, Louisiana, country club, eight miles east of New Orleans. Her friend had left the bar at around 10:00 p.m., and Mary Ann telephoned her daughter Donna at 10:30 p.m., saying she would be home shortly.

Around 1:30 a.m. on March 26, Donna was awakened by a phone call from a woman who said her name was Dorothy. She told Donna her mother was having car trouble but would be home soon. A half-awake Donna thought that was odd; her mom’s car was relatively new and would seem unlikely to have mechanical difficulties. Also, Donna did not know anyone named Dorothy and could not recall her mom ever mentioning anyone by that name.

Nevertheless, Dorothy sounded reassuring, telling Donna there was nothing to worry about and that her mom would be home soon.

“Dorothy” was never identified, and in November 2018, it was confirmed Mary Ann Perez would never come home.

Later that morning, Donna found her mother’s car parked in the Chalmette Country Club parking lot. Three days later, Mary Ann’s purse was found, weighted down with a brick, in Lake Pontchartrain, ten miles away.

No clues to Mary Ann’s fate surfaced for nine years. In 1985, Wichita, Kansas, inmates David and Donna Courtney confessed to a multi-state killing spree. One victim of the husband-and-wife killers sounded as if she might have been Mary Ann. David Courtney told authorities he saw an intoxicated woman as he pulled into a Louisiana bar’s parking lot. After convincing her she was too drunk to drive, he offered to drive her home. He said he picked up his wife, and they took the woman to their trailer, where the woman fell asleep. While she was passed out, Courtney says he and his wife both raped her. When she awoke, they continued making sexual advances toward her, at which point she became irate.

Courtney says he told the woman they would take her home. He says Donna drove while he and the woman were in the back seat. When the woman realized they were not taking her home, she again became hysterical. Courtney says he raped her and then strangled her with a coat hanger. Believing her dead, they dumped the woman’s body in a ditch near the Louisiana-Mississippi state line and did not attempt to hide her body.

On another occasion, Courtney said the woman was having car trouble, which fits in with what “Dorothy” had told Mary Ann’s daughter. He identified the woman as Mary Ann and also identified her car. Donna Courtney admitted throwing the woman’s purse over the side of a bridge, consistent with the area where Mary Ann’s bag was found.

However, New Orleans Police and Mississippi police showed no records of a body found in the area where Courtney said they dumped the woman. Some parts of Courtney’s story suggested the woman was not Mary Ann. Mary Ann was not a big drinker, and her friend said she was not drunk when she saw her at the bar at 10:00 p.m. Also, a mechanic who examined Mary Ann’s car determined it was in perfect running condition.

The district attorney determined there was not enough evidence to charge the Courtneys in connection with Mary Ann’s disappearance. No new leads surfaced for another five years.

In 1990, fourteen years after her disappearance, Mary Ann’s daughter-in-law received a phone call from an anonymous woman. She asked to speak to Mary Ann’s son, but he was not home, so his wife took the call. With fear in her voice, the woman claimed Mary Ann was still alive and implied she did not know who she was and was being held against her will. The caller said she was making the call in hiding, and, before hanging up, said she would not be able to phone again. Her identity is still a mystery, and it was not determined if she and “Dorothy” were the same person.

The bodies of all of the Courtneys’ known victims were found where they said they would be. However, the possibility that Mary Ann could still be alive seemed remote as no confirmed sightings of her surfaced. The case stalled again, staying cold for another 27 years.

Donna Courtney served ten years in prison as an accomplice in her husband’s killing spree. She was paroled in 1990, shortly before the anonymous phone call claiming Mary Ann was still alive, but police could not find any evidence she had made the call. Donna Courtney has since died.

Convicted of three murders, the now 77-year-old David Courtney is serving a life sentence in a Kansas prison. He will be eligible for parole in 2022.

In December 2017, New Orleans Police announced they believe they had found the remains of Mary Ann Perez. A Mobile County, Alabama cold-case investigator, contacted them, saying skeletal remains found by hunters in a cornfield matched Mary Ann’s features. The physical characteristics, the jewelry, and the clothes found on the corpse were consistent with Mary Ann’s stature and what she was wearing when last seen.

The remains were found in November 1976, eight months after Mary Ann’s disappearance, in an area fitting with Courtney’s account except for the remains being just across the Mississippi-Alabama border instead of the Mississippi-Louisiana border. Apparently, the Courtneys’ were having so much fun torturing Mary Ann they blacked out Mississippi.

In May of 2018, investigators announced Mary Ann had been in a car accident shortly before her disappearance and had a partial dental plate on her upper front teeth. This feature matched the dental plate found with the Mobile County, Alabama, Jane Doe. In November of 2018, DNA tests confirmed the remains were those of Mary Ann Perez.

Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi investigators are working together to determine where May Ann was murdered. David Courtney will probably soon be charged with her murder, but it remains to be seen what state and country or parish will file the charges.


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


Further Reading:

The Charley Project
Daily World, Opelousas, Louisiana
The Doe Network
Unsolved Mysteries


This Week’s True Crime Bestseller on Amazon:

The Devil in the White City: A Saga of Magic and Murder at the Fair that Changed America

More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

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


Support Synova’s Cause:

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


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for 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


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


Check out Synova’s Work on Amazon 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

The Death of Roy DeMeo

This is part 2 of a blog series. If you want to read part one then follow this link:

https://mytruecrimestories.com/2020/09/14/roy-demeo/


On May 11, 1979, Roy DeMeo killed his close friend to appease the Cuban drug lords. Although he had killed and dismembered many people, this murder had a profound effect on his psyche. Afterward, the hunter became a victim of his consciousness. Paranoia eventually took over, and the end came quickly. In Roy’s final days, he was seen wearing a leather jacket with a concealed shotgun underneath.

On the night of January 10, 1983, he went to crew member Patty Testa’s house to meet with his men. He later failed to attend his daughter’s birthday party. It was highly unusual for him to miss any important occasion. His family members immediately suspected something happened to him. Ten days later, DeMeo’s Cadillac was discovered in the parking lot of the Veruna Boat Club. His partially frozen body was found in the trunk. He had been shot multiple times in the leg and had a bullet wound to his hand, assumed by law enforcement to be a defensive wound when his killers opened fire on him.

When Anthony “Gaspipe” Casso became an FBI informant in 1993, he said that Paul Castellano ordered DeMeo’s death. Due to the DeMeo Crew’s reputation, the Gotti and DeCicco crew had been unable or unwilling to carry out the hit.

DeCicco supposedly passed the contract to Casso, but many stories would surface. Ralph Scopo, a soldier for the Columbo crime family, was overheard saying DeMeo was killed by his own crime family.

Richard Kuklinski also claimed to have killed DeMeo, telling Philip Carlo he killed him in revenge. In the postscript of a later edition of his Iceman book, Carlo acknowledged, “there is a good likelihood that Kuklinski did not kill DeMeo.”

The remainder of the DeMeo crew was rounded up. Borelli, Joseph Testa, and Anthony Senter were imprisoned for life after two trials saw them convicted of 25 murders, car theft, and drug trafficking. The convictions were secured by the testimony of former members Frederick DiNome and Dominick Montiglio.

Paul Castellano was indicted for ordering the murder of DeMeo and a host of other crimes. He was killed in December 1985 while out on bail during the middle of the first trial.


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

National Crime Syndicate


Recommended Reading:

Murder Machine (Onyx True Crime)


For the Sins of My Father: A Mafia Killer, His Son, and the Legacy of a Mob Life


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

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


Support Synova’s Cause:


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


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

SIGN UP HERE


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


Synova’s Amazon Author Page


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


A Deadly Wild Goose Chase – The Murder of Kyle McElroy

The morning of March 10, 2000, began like any other for Kevin McElroy. He arrived at the plastics factory he owned in Troup, Texas, at about 8:30 a.m. Within the hour, his day, and his life, had been turned upside down.

At 9:20 a.m., Kevin received a phone call from a woman saying his son Kyle had been kidnapped. The caller demanded a ransom. Kevin thought it was a cruel joke, but it soon became clear it was no hoax and that Kyle McElroy was in grave danger.

Instead of another day at the office, Kevin McElroy was forced to embark on a desperate quest to save his son’s life.

Kyle McElroy worked as the night shift supervisor at the plastics factory owned by his father. He was last seen in the early morning hours of March 10, 2000, after his shift was completed.

The woman who called the factory later that morning identified herself as “Sara.” She told Kevin, “We have your son… Do not call the police. We are watching you.” In a terrified tone, his son said, “Dad, do what they say. They mean it, or they’re going to kill me.” Kevin recognized his son’s voice but believed it was a recording.

Despite “Sara’s” warning, Kevin contacted the police. For the remainder of the day, they were thrust into a movie-like scenario, directed to various locations, and finding a note at each one instructing them to another locale. Ultimately, $200,000 was demanded Kyle’s release.

At 8:00 p.m. Kevin, as instructed, returned to his office to wait for a phone call. The caller told Kevin to leave the money behind a local laundromat. Kevin was able to keep the caller on the line long enough for the FBI to trace the location. The call was traced to one of Kevin’s employees at his plastics factory. Kevin knew the man as Victor Feredes, but his real name was David Rios.

The FBI set up surveillance around the laundromat. On the following morning, March 11, two men attempted to pick up the money. As they did so, they were arrested. They were identified as Ernesto Balion and Alfredo Romero. Rios was also arrested. All three men were illegal immigrants.

Under questioning, the culprits told the police where they had been holding Kyle captive. At an abandoned farm in rural Cherokee County, the agents found the teen’s body. The Medical Examiner determined he had been choked to death.

The macabre scavenger hunt had been a wild goose chase. Kyle was likely murdered before the first ransom call was made, and, as Kevin suspected, it was a recording of his son’s voice played during the initial phone call.

All three men were convicted for their roles in Kyle’s kidnapping. Romero was sentenced to 30 years in prison, Baylon received 50 years, and Rios was put away for life.

The kidnappers identified “Sara” as Desiree Perkins, a prostitute known to frequent migrant camps. For four years, they were unable to locate her. In 2004, however, they received information saying she may have fled to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. Mexican police agreed to help attempt to track her.

On October 7, 2004, Nuevo Laredo police on a routine patrol noticed a woman riding on a bicycle. She aroused their suspicion by attempting to lose their trail by weaving in and out of traffic. The police caught her and brought her in for questioning. The woman was identified as Perkins. She had been living in the area under the alias Alejandra Gutierrez.

Perkins was extradited to the United States. She pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to life in prison. She will be eligible for parole in 2044 when she is 75-years-old.


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: 


Amarillo Globe-News
Jacksonville Progress
JUSTIA US Law
KLTV News East Texas
My Plainview
Unsolved Mysteries


Recommended Reading:

Check out this week’s true crime best seller on Amazon

Goodnight Sugar Babe: The Killing of Vera Jo Reigle

More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

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


Support Synova’s Cause:

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


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for 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


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


Check out Synova’s Work on Amazon 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


The Murder Manual: The Murders of Millie and Trevor Horn


Before going to work on March 3, 1993, Vivian Rice stopped as usual at the Silver Spring, Maryland, home of her sister, 43-year-old Mildred “Millie” Horn. This visit, however, would be anything but routine.

Vivian was surprised both garage doors were open, and she became alarmed when the door leading from the garage into the home was also standing open. She called out Millie’s name but received no response. Vivian cautiously entered and came upon a gruesome scene. The lifeless body of her nephew lay in his bed. On the floor was the body of his home care nurse. She had been shot to death. The nightmare continued as Millie ran upstairs to find her sister shot to death in her bedroom.

Vivan suspected someone from the beginning, but he had an airtight alibi, as he was on the other side of the country. Dogged detective work eventually connected the dots and brought the perpetrators to justice. The murders of Millie and Trevor Horn also resulted in a landmark legal ruling.

Larry Horn was a household name in Detroit during the 1960s. He was recognized as one of the top recording engineers and producers for Motown Records. Among his many credits was Junior Walker and the All-Star’s hit “Shotgun.” Horn went with the booming Motown when the company moved to Los Angeles in 1972.

On his flight to L.A., Horn met stewardess Millie Maree. The two began dating and married the following year. The couple had three children, a daughter Tiffani, born in 1974, and twins Tamielle and Trevor, born in 1984.

Both Horn’s career in Los Angeles and his marriage to Millie were rocky. Although Horn did have some initial success in producing records in Los Angeles, the money was not coming in as it had in Detroit. By the mid-1980s, Motown’s fortunes were waning, and Horn was laid off. In 1987, after eight years of on-again-off-again divorce proceedings, Larry and Millie finally made it official.

As his career disintegrated and his debts accumulated, Larry Horn became desperate. How he attempted to alleviate his troubles proved a devil was residing in the City of Angels.

Without much of a fight from Larry, Millie gained custody of their three children following the divorce. They moved across the country to Silver Spring, Maryland, where they lived only a block from Vivian’s sister.

On the evening of March 2, 1993, Tiffani was in her dorm room at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Tamielle was spending the night at a friend’s house. Millie and Trevor were home along with the nurse on duty, 38-year-old Janice Saunders. Trevor required 24-hour care following a botched surgery when he was only two-years-old. The incident left him with severe brain damage and had left him a quadriplegic.

Autopsies on Millie and Trevor showed they were killed at approximately 2:00 a.m. on March 3, 1993. Someone had deactivated the alarm, gained entry to the home, and attempted to make the murders appear to be a robbery gone wrong. Millie and Janice were both shot multiple times in the head. Janice had been a last-minute substitute as Trevor’s regular overnight nurse could not make it that evening. I could not find a picture of Janice Saunders.

The killer had disconnected the tracheostomy tube Trevor needed to breathe. The defenseless child was then smothered to death as the killer placed his hand over Trevor’s nose and mouth.

Larry Horn was painting the town on the evening and morning of March 2 and 3, 1993, and the town around which he was gallivanting was Los Angeles, not Silver Spring, Maryland. Horn made sure every person he came in contact with remembered seeing him. Many felt Horn was going out of his way to make his presence known.

Horn succeeded in proving he was not in Silver Spring, Maryland, on March 3, 1993. But he failed in covering his tracks.

Investigators discovered many phone calls made from payphones to Horn’s old stomping grounds in Detroit. They also found a substantial Western Union payment made under a fake name to James Perry of Detroit. Perry, a former acquaintance of Horn from the music man’s Motown days, had recently been released from prison for committing a series of armed robberies.

After months of painstaking work, detectives established the phone calls, and the payment had been made by Horn. Perry had been careful not to leave a trail, but he made one seemingly fundamental mistake. He believed by paying for his motel room in cash; he would not be asked to show identification. However, the Silver Spring motel required identification from all guests, no matter the method of payment. Perry was forced to show them his driver’s license, proving he was in Silver Spring at the murders’ time.

The felon-turned-minister James Perry was fond of reciting the Ten Commandments. However, he did not always practice what he preached as he had violated the sixth commandment of Thou Shalt Not Kill.

After several lawsuits resulting from Trevor’s botched medical procedure, a $1.7 million malpractice settlement was established in the form of a trust fund. If Trevor died, his parents were the beneficiaries. If Millie were dead as well, Larry Horn would be the sole beneficiary.

Horn’s motive for wanting his ex-wife and son dead were simple; the former Motown millionaire wanted money again, and Millie and Trevor being eliminated provided an opportunity. The former hitmaker turned to hire a hitman.

James Perry and Larry Horn were both convicted in the murders of Millie and Trevor Horn, and Janice Saunders. Perry was sentenced to death, but his conviction was overturned on appeal. He was convicted in a second trial but was spared death, instead of being sentenced to three life terms. He died in 2009.

Larry Horn was also sentenced to three life terms behind bars. He died in 2017.

The murders of Millie and Trevor Horn and Janice Saunders resulted in a unique lawsuit.

Published by Paladin Press in 1983, the book “Hit Man: A Technical Manual for Independent Contractors” is, essentially, a blueprint on how to commit murder. In committing the murders, James Perry had followed the book’s suggestions nearly to a tee.

In “Rice v. Paladin Enterprises,” the Horn and Saunders families sued Paladin Press, claiming the company had “aided and abetted” in the murders (“Rice” is the last name of Millie’s s sister, Vivian.) The families argued that Paladin, by marketing the book as a “How-To” manual, was culpable in that the book could be used for reference by would-be criminals in the solicitation, planning, and commission of murder for hire.

In 1997, an Appeals Court ruled the book was not protected by the Free Speech/Free Press clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution, and thus Paladin could be held liable for a crime committed by one of its readers.

In 1999, Paladin’s insurance company, against the wishes of Paladin Press itself, agreed to an out-of-court settlement with the families. The company agreed to pay an undisclosed amount of money (believed to be several million dollars) to Horn and Saunders families. In addition, Paladin decided to destroy the remaining 700 copies of the book in its possession and surrender any rights it had to publish and reproduce the work. Some praised the ruling, but others criticized it as “economic censorship.”

It is believed nearly 13,000 copies of “Hit Man” were sold, although Reason Magazine estimates there are 20,000 copies of the book still in existence. The book is allowed to be purchased from independent sellers. I also found it available for sale on both Amazon and eBay.


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: 

Washington Post

Murderpedia


Recommended Reading:

The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War

More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

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


Support Synova’s Cause:

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


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for 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


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


Check out Synova’s Work on Amazon Here

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