Retired Lawman Blames Fellow Officers for Attack – The Doyle Wheeler Story


It is often said that an attack on one policeman is an attack on all policemen. Law enforcement officers usually support one another when a perpetrator targets one of them. When such instances occur, the brethren in blue are generally unanimous in their support of their fellow lawman.

Such was not the scenario, however, for a former San Diego Police Lieutenant. When Doyle Wheeler was attacked in his Suncrest, Washington, home in April 1988, many of his former colleagues dismissed the incident, believing it a farce orchestrated by, in their view, a disgraced former lawman.

Doyle Wheeler had been a decorated Lieutenant with the San Diego Police Department. But he was forever changed by one of the most infamous incidents in southern California history.

On July 18, 1984, sniper James Huberty killed 21 people. He injured nineteen others at a San Ysidro McDonald’s restaurant, immediately north of the United States-Mexican border and about 12 miles from downtown San Diego. The San Ysidro Massacre was, at the time, the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.

Wheeler was one of the first police officers on the scene, in charge of the SWAT team. He ordered officers to fire on Huberty, and they ultimately did so, but not before a deadly delay. For reasons that are still unclear, Wheeler’s order to fire was not executed until 26 minutes after it was issued. Wheeler believes four teenagers were shot to death by Huberty during this delay.

The San Ysidro massacre had such a traumatic effect on Wheeler’s emotional health that he attempted suicide in March of 1985. He recovered, but in October, he was forced to retire from the San Diego Police Department because of a stress-related disability. In June of 1986, Wheeler and his family moved to Suncrest, Washington, a suburb ten miles north of Spokane.

On April 19, 1988, Wheeler said two men broke into his home, tied him up with a rope, and held him at gunpoint. The men then dragged him to an upstairs office where they beat him and burned him with cigarettes. The former lawman says the assailants then threatened to harm his family and forced him to write a note: 

“To the San Diego Police. I lied at the trial about Donovan Jacobs and the Police Department. I’m sorry. I make this statement of my own free will. Doyle F. Wheeler.”

On April 24, 1986, Wheeler was subpoenaed to testify at the murder trial of Sagon Penn, a 22-year-old black man charged with killing San Diego Police Officer Thomas Riggs and wounding officer Donovan Jacobs. Penn claimed Jacobs had beaten him with a nightstick after pulling him over for a traffic violation. Penn said he grabbed Jacobs’ gun and fired the shots in self-defense against both officers.

Wheeler testified for the defense. He described Jacobs as a “hothead” and accused him of previously being “overly aggressive” in using excessive brutality on minorities. Several San Diego Police Officers corroborated that Jacobs had exhibited racist overtures, with one officer going so far as to say that Jacobs was “the most prejudiced white person I’ve ever known.” Other officers, fellow lieutenants, and administrative personnel, however, turned against Wheeler.

Penn was acquitted largely due to Wheeler’s testimony. After his acquittal, Penn was in and out of jail for the rest of his life. He committed suicide in 2002.

Donovan Jacobs soon left the San Diego Police Department.

Two months after his testimony at Sagon Penn’s trial, Wheeler moved to Suncrest, Washington. Shortly after relocating, he allegedly received death threats because of his testimony. Ten months later, in April of 1988, Wheeler was attacked.

Wheeler told Spokane investigators that after he was beaten and forced to write the note, one of the perpetrators dragged him to his family room, where he was placed on the floor with his hands and feet tied. Simultaneously, he could hear the other man ransacking his downstairs bedroom. While one man made a phone call, the other assailant shot Wheeler in the left side of the head. Wheeler played dead until he heard the men drive away. He then managed to free himself and summon help.

Phone records confirm a call was made from the Wheeler home at the time of the attack to the Narcotics Unit of the San Diego Police Department. The 30-second phone conversation, automatically tape-recorded, confirmed a male voice asked for Donovan Jacobs. However, before the call could be transferred, the caller hung up. The results of a voice analysis were inconclusive, with experts determining the voice was likely not Wheeler’s, but it was possible he “made the call and tried to disguise his voice.”

Two witnesses, however, seem to corroborate Wheeler’s account. A couple of hours before the attack, a neighbor noticed a blue Toyota, possibly an unfamiliar Celica hatchback parked across the street from Wheeler’s house. The neighbor saw the same car speed away several minutes before the ambulance arrived in response to the 911 call. The day before the attack, another neighbor noticed a car similar to the Celica hatchback parked 12 miles from Wheeler’s home. Four men were talking around the vehicle.

Suncrest investigators ultimately dismissed the San Diego Police Department’s suggestion that Wheeler had staged the attack on himself. The Suncrest Police are confident Wheeler was truthful in his accounts of his beating.

The two men who attacked Wheeler have never been identified. Wheeler thought he recognized the dark-haired assailant as an informant with the Narcotics Unit of the San Diego Police Department. Because the man worked undercover, his identity was protected.

In 1988, the dark-haired assailant was in his late 20s, 6’0″ to 6’2″ with a slender, athletic build, crooked teeth, and one large pockmark on his left cheek. The blond-haired man was also in his late 20s, 6’0″, thin, wore a gold earring in his left ear, and had a tattoo of a double lightning bolt (a Nazi symbol) on his left hand. He also a pockmarked face.

The men may have been driving a dark blue Toyota Celica hatchback. They would today likely be in their late 50s.


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


SOURCES:

• Los Angeles Times

San Bernardino County Sun

Seattle Times

• Unsolved Mysteries 


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

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


Support Synova’s Cause:

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

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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 Jean Moore Disappearance

Laughlin, Nevada, lies at the Silver State’s southern tip, straddling both the California and Arizona borders. Though its population totals just over 7,000 people, Laughlin is always packed with tourists because of Nevada’s gambling industry. Casinos fill the small town described as a scaled-down version of Las Vegas. Laughlin is the perfect locale for those who like to gamble but not deal with the hustle and bustle of Las Vegas.

Fifty-nine-year-old Jean Moore looked forward to a fun-filled few days in Laughlin in April of 1992. Instead, she became the center of a mystery, as she has not been seen in 28 years.

What happens in Vegas is said to stay in Vegas. Little brother Laughlin, however, has a secret of its own.

Al Henderson and Jean Moore were divorcees who had been dating for the better part of 20 years. They became engaged in December of 1991. Both were successful business people; Al had a multimillion real-estate business, and Jean was an escrow officer for a retail bank.

On April 6, 1992, Al and Jean left their home in Apple Valley, California, for a vacation in Laughlin, Nevada, approximately 200 miles away. The couple liked to play the slot machines at the Flamingo Hilton casino.

A waitress recalled serving Al and Jean at a coffee shop in Laughlin later that morning. From there, the chain of events is cloudy.

Al says he and Jean had a great time playing the machines on April 6, 7, and 8. The following is his account of the events of April 9.

Jean, Al says, wanted to play her lucky slot machine one last time before checking out on the afternoon of April 9. He says he left Jean at a side entrance of the casino and went to find a parking place. Unable to find one, he drove to the valet parking, where he told the valet he would give Jean the ticket and that she would pick up the car later.

Al entered the casino where Jean was waiting. He believes she had $600-$700 in cash in her purse, her winnings from the day before at her “lucky” machine. After giving her the valet ticket, Al claims he left the casino at 9:30 a.m. They planned to rendezvous at their hotel room at 11:45 a.m. Checkout time was 12:15 p.m.

After waiting for a few minutes and not finding a cab to take him back to the hotel, Al says he returned to the casino to play the slot machines with Jean. Because another person was using Jean’s favorite machine, he thought she might have gone shopping.

After searching the casino’s gift shops, Al returned to the casino’s slot machines to find Jean’s favorite game unoccupied. Al says he played that specific machine until approximately 10:15, believing Jean would return.

After Jean did not return, Al says he continued searching for her, unsuccessfully. He then returned to the hotel at 11:45 p.m. to meet her and check out. Not finding her there, he took a cab back to the casino to continue searching for Jean. Upon arriving, Al found the car still parked in the valet area; the valet said no one had brought a ticket for the vehicle.

Al says he then re-searched the casino’s lobby, the shops, and the gambling area, but again found no trace of his fiancee. He then reported her as missing.

Over the following few days, Al distributed thousands of missing person fliers of Jean in the Laughlin area, offering a $25,000 reward.

Al also paid $1,200 to charter a helicopter to fly over the desert area surrounding Laughlin. The chopper failed to turn up any leads.

Jean’s children from her first marriage, Joe Hamilton and Connie Christie, were skeptical of Al’s accounts. Joe pointed out the differences in Al’s statements. At first, Al claimed he dropped Jean in front of the casino and gave her the valet ticket there. Later he said he left Jean at a side entrance to the casino and gave her the ticket inside. I could not find anything from the police to verify or dispute Joe’s claim.

Her kids also found it strange that their mother left most of her jewelry, her engagement ring, and her purse behind in her hotel room. While she probably wouldn’t want to carry her bag around, why would she leave behind her engagement ring?

Jean’s children did not like Al, saying he often put their mom down in public. They had tried to dissuade her from marrying him, believing he did not love her. Joe and Christie were clearly biased against Al. Soon, however, an impartial witness would also cast doubt on Al’s statements.

Police viewed the Flamingo Hotel casino’s surveillance cameras, which monitored activity inside the casino nearly 24 hours a day. The cameras confirmed Al’s account of pulling into the parking lot at around 9:15 a.m. and record his entry into the casino.

From this point onward, however, the cameras seem to contradict Al’s claims.

One camera shows two views of the area where Al says he gave Jean the valet ticket and where he says they walked around. Neither camera showed any image of Jean. Besides, if Jean had been in the casino, four other cameras should have picked up pictures of her as she walked around the casino, but she was not seen on any of them.

None of the casino cameras showed Jean in the casino on April 6-8. The footage on these cameras is not great, but authorities believe it is good enough for them to have seen and recognized Jean if she had been in the casino.

The only person other than Al, who reported seeing Jean in Laughlin, was the waitress at the coffee shop on April 6, the day Al and Jean left their Apple Valley, California, home and arrived in Laughlin. No one else could recall seeing Jean in Laughlin or surrounding areas afterward.

One of Jeanne’s friends says she saw both Jean and Al at a gas station back in Apple Valley at approximately 4:30 p.m. on April 8, the day before Al reported Jean as missing. Al says the friend is mistaken, insisting he and Jean were in Laughlin at that time.

Phone records verify Al’s claims that calls were made from his Colorado Belle hotel room in Laughlin on April 8; one call was made at 3 p.m. and another at 7 p.m. Al says no one, other than he or Jean, was in their hotel room during their stay. The calls seem to confirm it was impossible for either he or Jean to have been in Apple Valley when Jean’s friend believes she saw them.

Al’s bookkeeper, Geraldine Fender, said Al and Jean called her from Laughlin on the evening of April 8. She says she spoke to both of them and that Jean was elated because she had a string of good luck on a poker machine. The call to Geraldine was less than 24 hours before Al reported Jean as missing.

The casino surveillance cameras seem to dispute Al’s account of events of April 9. Jean’s children believe Al was not being truthful in his intentions and suspect he killed their mother.

If Al did kill Jean, it seems odd that he would have done it before they were married. It would have been easier to obtain Jean’s assets or any insurance claims after tying the knot. Although Jean had sizable financial holdings, she was not as wealthy as Al. It seems as if money wouldn’t have been a motive in this case. Perhaps there wasn’t a pre-planned motive. She could have been killed in the heat of the moment during an argument.

Al Henderson died in 2001. Although he was never charged in his fiancee’s disappearance, he remains the primary person of interest.

The Flamingo Laughlin is now known as the Aquarius Casino Resort.

An attendant handles winnings over a certain amount. The winner has to go to the cashier window to present an ID for tax purposes and receive a W-2G form to claim the winnings. I do not know what the set amount would have been in 1992, but it seems that $600 would have been a large enough amount to have to do so. Jean was last seen in Laughlin by the coffee shop waitress on April 6. If she had won the $600-$700 on April 8 at the casino, I would think the casino would have had a record of her claiming the winnings, and that would confirm she was in Laughlin on April 8.

Jean Marie Moore has been missing since April of 1992. At the time of her disappearance, she was 59-years-old, 5’2″ tall, and weighed 125 lbs. She had a scar on her abdomen. Jean would today be 87-years-old.

If you have any information relating to the disappearance of Jean Moore, please contact the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department at 702-828-2907.


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:
Charley Project
Nevada Missing Persons Directory
Laughlin Nevada Times-Mohave Daily News
Reddit
Unsolved Mysteries


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.

Get Your own Fedora!

Amscan 390156 White Pinstripe Fedora Black Fabric Hat

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


Unlocking a Deadly Secret


Dinosaur bones were found on a Thermopolis, Wyoming, ranch in 1993. While this would typically be a big deal, the locals were still abuzz about the bones found the previous year.

The bones that diminished the dinosaur story had been unearthed on March 31, 1992, when Thermopolis resident Newel Sessions opened a long-forgotten footlocker. To his shock, a scattering of bones lay inside. Tests determined the bones in the footlocker were of a Caucasian male.

The footlocker had been left with Newel by former Thermopolis resident John Morris who moved to Texas in 1986. When contacted, Morris claimed only vague recollections of the chest, saying he thought he had bought it at a garage sale in Iowa in 1973. Morris also claimed he never opened his purchase because he did not have the right tools, and denied any knowledge of the man’s identity.

A rotted plastic bag bearing the Hy-Vee logo found in the trunk gave credence that the footlocker could have been in Iowa, the state in which the Hy-Vee Food Store chain was founded. The remains remained unidentified for a quarter of a century until his identity was finally confirmed in 2017.

Tests determined the bones were of a Caucasian male in his mid-50s to mid-60s. John Doe was approximately 5’8. Both of the man’s lower leg bones and one hand were missing. X-rays showed he had been killed shot. A bullet was still lodged in his skull, and he also appeared to have been shot in the chest. A three-dimensional clay figure was constructed depicting how the man may have looked.

After reading a newspaper article about the discovery, Des Moines, Iowa, resident Shelley Statler contacted the Hot Springs County Sheriff’s Office in 2017. She believed the man’s reconstruction bore a resemblance to several relatives. After obtaining a DNA sample from Shelley’s mother, the Wyoming state crime lab determined John Doe was Shelley’s grandfather, Joseph Mulvaney.

The circumstances of his murder will likely be an eternal mystery. Shelley and her mother suspect he was killed in Des Moines and initially buried in his back yard. Shelley believes her grandfather was either murdered by his wife or stepson, John Morris, who would have been sixteen-years-old at the time.

When Morris moved to Wyoming, he allegedly dug up Joseph’s remains and placed them in the footlocker. When he moved to Texas several years later, Morris left the footlocker with his neighbor, Newel Sessions.

John Morris’s fate is unclear. Some sources say he later moved to Mississippi, where he committed suicide, but in a 2019 Des Moines Register article, reporter Daniel Finney thinks he may still be alive and in his late 70’s.

Joseph Mulvaney was born in Illinois in 1921. In the 1930s, his family moved to Decatur, Iowa, where he attended high school. He enlisted in the National Guard in 1941 and served in Australia and the Philippines during World War II.

After the war, Joseph worked for several railroads that took him across America. In California, he married Des Moines native Mary McLees, and they had three children together. Mary also had a son, John Morris, from a previous relationship. The Mulvaneys moved to Des Moines in 1963, but Joseph disappeared shortly after that. Shelley’s mother was approximately six-years-old when she last saw her father. For reasons unclear, no one ever reported him as missing.

Joseph Mulvaney’s bones were cremated before his funeral on March 29, 2019, in Cody, Wyoming. He was laid to rest with full military rites, including a 21-gun salute.


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:

Des Moines Register
Doe Network
Hot Springs County, Wyoming, Sheriff Department


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 Hit on the Hot-rodder

Photo courtesy of Guest Blogger

Mickey Thompson achieved the fast track to success literally– it was the fast track that brought him success. Viewed as an almost godlike figure in the auto racing world, he lived and loved life in the fast lane. Among his many innovations to the sport were the “slingshot” dragster and the home-built “Challenger 1,” which in 1960 became the first automobile to break the 400 mph barrier. Mickey’s pioneering designs changed the face of racing, and he also proved he was an adept businessman as he created a successful indoor stadium-racing venture.

Mickey Thompson was considered unbeatable in a race car. The king of the motorway, however, was killed in his driveway by men riding bicycles.

On March 16, 1988, police responded to calls of shots coming from the Thompson’s home in the predawn hours. Upon arriving, they found Mickey and his wife Trudy lying dead on their driveway. Each had been shot to death.

Despite a massive investigation, the case grew cold.

Mickey and Trudy Thompson lived in a wooded mountainous area near Bradbury, California, an affluent city in the San Gabriel Valley region of Los Angeles County, approximately 20 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

At approximately 6:00 a.m. on March 16, 1988, area residents awoke to the sounds of gunshots. One resident ran to his window and heard Mickey screaming, “Please don’t hurt my wife. Please don’t hurt my wife.” The neighbor then heard another series of shots followed by silence. He grabbed his gun as his wife called the police. When he returned to the window, he saw two black men on bicycles speeding from the Thompson residence. He yelled at them and fired several shots, but the men did not flinch one iota.

By the time police arrived, Mickey and Trudy were both dead. Trudy lay at the bottom of the driveway while Mickey had been killed near the garage. Trudy was shot as she backed their van out of the garage, and Mickey was shot as he walked out.

Trudy was wearing over $70,000 worth of jewelry, and, between them, the Thompsons were carrying about $4,000 in cash. The house was undisturbed. The crime clearly couldn’t be classed as a robbery gone wrong. Police believe the killers had hidden in the woods, waiting for the Thompsons to come out of their home.

Several people saw the shooters racing from the murder scene on bicycles. Composite sketches were created based on witness descriptions.

The men are both black and about 6’0 tall. In 1988, they were in their 20s or 30s, in good physical shape, although one was slightly stockier than the other. They were wearing dark-colored jogging suits and were skilled at riding bicycles. The perpetrators may have made their getaway in a 1988 white Mazda, perhaps driven by a third man who was white.

Multiple people reported seeing two men resembling the composites across the country in Pensacola, Florida, in the weeks after the murders. The men, however, have never been identified.

When police asked friends and acquaintances of anyone who would want the Thompsons dead, one name was repeatedly mentioned.

Michael Goodwin was Mickey’s former business partner in their indoor stadium racing venture. After their relationship soured and the business encountered financial difficulties, the two men were at each other’s throats. The partnership dissolved, with each man filing a civil lawsuit against the other. In the end, Goodwin’s case was dismissed, and he was ordered to pay Mickey Thompson $514,000. Following the decision, several friends said they heard Goodwin say he was going to kill Mickey. Knowing Goodwin was a hothead, they assumed he was blowing smoke. Authorities wondered if the hothead had followed through with his treats.

For 13 years, Goodwin remained the prime suspect in the Thompson murders, but no physical evidence connected him to the crime. In 2001, a witness came forward saying he had seen two men in a parked car in the secluded Bradbury neighborhood looking through binoculars at the Thompson home. The witness and his wife both identified Goodwin, and the other resembled one of the gunmen. Goodwin also owned a stun gun similar to one found at the crime scene and presumed to have been left by the killers, though it was not used. Police theorize the two men were learning the Thompsons’ daily routine. Still, with nothing directly linking Goodwin to the murders, the Los Angeles County prosecutor chose not to indict him.

In 2006, a new prosecutor reviewed the evidence and deemed it sufficient to charge Goodwin. In 2007, he was convicted of the Thompsons murders as he was found to have hired the hitmen to kill his former business partner and his wife.

Michael Goodwin’s appeal of his conviction was denied in 2015. He maintains his innocence.

Even with Goodwin’s conviction, the murders of Mickey and Trudy Thompson remains open as the hunt for the hitmen continues.

Shortly after the Thompson murders, Goodwin flew to the Caribbean for an extended stay. Police believe the killers may be Caribbean and that Goodwin paid them for the murders on the trip.

Police describe the Thompson murders as a classic professional hit. The calm demeanor of the killers led investigators to believe they could be professional hitmen.

The killers of Mickey and Trudy Thompson would likely be in their 50s or 60s today. Rumors say they are still working as hired guns in the Caribbean.

A $1 million reward is being offered for each man’s identification and apprehension.


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:

• America’s Most Wanted
Car and Driver Magazine
48 Hours
Fox News
Los Angeles Times
Motorsport .com
• Mickey Thompson Website
• Unsolved Mysteries


Recommended Reading:

Mickey Thompson: The Lost Story of the Original Speed King in His Own Words
Mickey Thompson

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

Mobster Monday: Roy DeMeo Part 1

FBI mugshot, July 14, 1981

Some mobsters do the work required of them but only because they have to as part of The Life, but others enjoy the violence. Roy Albert DeMeo got off on the violence and would lead one of the most brutal murderous teams in mob history.


DeMeo was born on September 7, 1940, in Bath Beach, Brooklyn. He was drawn to the street life at an early age and began assisting in loan sharking operations while still in high school. He would later be brought into the Gambino crime family by Mini Gaggie.

Roy DeMeo started building a specialized crew. Each member had their specialty, and together they made a ruthless team. When they turned to murder, the team was nearly unstoppable. The DeMeo crew became infamous for the number of murders they committed and how they disposed of the bodies. It became known as the “Gemini Method.” They would take the target into the Gemini lounge, kill them, cut them up and dispose of them. The authorities claim they allegedly committed an excess of 100 murders with the majority carried out by DeMeo himself. The crew also became famous for car thefts across the city.

DeMeo joined a Brooklyn credit union in 1972 and gained a position on the board of directions shortly afterward. He utilized his position to launder money earned through his illegal ventures. He also introduced colleagues at the credit union to a lucrative side-business, laundering drug dealers’ money. DeMeo also built up his loansharking business with funds stolen from credit union reserves. DeMeo’s collection of loan shark customers, while still primarily those in the car industry, soon included other businesses such as a dentist office, an abortion clinic, restaurants, and flea markets. He was also listed as an employee for a Brooklyn company named S & C Sports Wear Corp. and frequently told his neighbors he worked in construction, food retailing, and the used car business.

In late 1974 a conflict erupted between the DeMeo crew and Andrei Katz. Katz was a young auto repair shop owner who was partners with DeMeo in a stolen car ring. In May 1975, DeMeo was informed by a crooked police officer that Katz was cooperating with authorities. In June, Katz was lured to a place where he could be confronted. After being abducted, he was stabbed to death and dismembered. An accomplice who helped bait Katz later confessed to her role. Joseph Tested, and Henry Borelli were both arrested, but they would secure an acquittal at trial in January 1976. This hit was his 1st known murder committed by the DeMeo crew, and for years it was thought to have been the 1st occasion where DeMeo or members of his crew had dismembered a body for disposal. In 2003, however, new information was provided to the FBI by Bonanno underboss Salvator Vitale. Vitale claimed that in 1974 he was ordered to deliver a corpse of a murder victim to a garage in Queens so it could be disposed of by DeMeo.

In 2011 former Gambino associate Greg Bucceroni alleged that during the late 1970s and early 1980s, DeMeo utilized his henchman Richard Kuklinski on behalf of Robert “DB” DiBernardi & the Gambino family’s pornography establishments in New York, New Jersey, and Philadelphia. Here Kuklinski would traffic illegal pornography, collect debts, and carry out contract killings.

In the latter half of 1975, DeMeo became a silent partner in a peep show/ prostitution establishment in New Jersey after the business owner was unable to pay his loansharking debts.DeMeo also began dealing in illegal pornography. When Gaggi found out about DeMeo’s involvement in such taboo films, he ordered him to stop. However, DeMeo defied Gaggi and continued the practice. Gaggi didn’t retaliate. According to his nephew Dominick Montiglio, the subject was never brought up again as long as DeMeo continued making payments to Gaggi. DeMeo also dealt in narcotics despite the Gambini family strictly forbidden such activity.

As 1975 drew to a close, DeMeo was the subject of IRS investigations into his income. Months earlier, the Boro of Brooklyn credit union had been pushed insolvency due to DeMeo’s plundering of its finances. Before an indictment could be handed down against him, he uploaded false affidavits from businesses owned by friends and aquaintances claiming he was on their payroll as an employee. These affidavits served to account for some of his income, allowing him to settle with the IRS.

DeMeo’s sources of income, as well as his crew, continued to grow. By July 1976, he added and automobile firm by the name of Team Auto. Mathew Register also purchased stolen vehicles from the crew and sold them at a New Jersey car lot he owned. He also involved himself in hijacking delivery trucks from the JFK national airport. His team now included Danny Grillo, a hijacker who had just been released from prison. In the fall of 1976, the Gambino family went through a massive change when it’s boss Carlos Gambino died of natural causes. Paul Castellano was named the boss, with Aniello Dellacroce retaining the position of underboss.

The implications of this were twofold for DeMeo. Gaggi was elevated to the position of caporegime, taking over the crew of men Castellani previously headed. This promotion was beneficial to DeMeo who’s mentor was now even closer to the family leadership. Another advantage was that new associates would be eligible for membership in the family. Castellano didn’t immediately “open the books” for new members, opting to promote existing members and shuffle around the crew’s leaders. He also allegedly opposed the idea of DeMeo being made.

Castellani involved himself in white-collar crime and looked down on street level members such as DeMeo. Additionally, Castellano felt DeMeo was uncontrollable. Gaggi’s attempts at persuading Castellano to make DeMeo were continually rejected. By 1977 DeMeo became distraught by this and searched for opportunities to ensure larger returns for his superiors.

The Westies Alliance and Rosenberg:

DeMeo secured his induction into the Gambino family by allying with the Irish-American gang known as the Westies. The leader of the Westies, Mickey Spinner, was causing delays for the construction of the Jacob K Javits Convention Center, much of the frustration of Gambino boss Paul Castellano who had a part in the project. After the unsolved murder of Spillane in May 1977, James Conan assumed control of the gang.

Shortly afterward, Coonan and his second-in-command Mickey Feather stone were called to a meeting with Castellano. They agreed to become a de facto arm of the Gambino family and share 10% of all profits. In exchange, the Westies would be privy to several lucrative union deals and take on murder contracts for the family. It was the pivotal role in the Westie/Gambino alliance that reportedly convinced Castellano to formally induct DeMeo into the family.

He was ordered to get permission before committing murder, and he was told to avoid the drug dealing scene. The DeMeo’s crew didn’t obey and continued to commit unsanctioned killings. One such case was the homicide of Johnathan Quinn, a car thief suspected of cooperating with law enforcement, and Cherie Golden, Quinn’s 19 yr old girlfriend. DeMeo’s crew dumped the bodies in locations where they would be discovered to serve as a warning against the cooperation with authorities.

In 1978 Frederick DiNome, previously DeMeo’s chauffeur, joined the crew. November 14, 1978, Edward Grillo was killed. He had fallen into massive debt with DeMeo and was believed to be becoming susceptible to police coercion. Grillo, who was dismembered and disposed of like many other victims, was the 1st known internal crew discipline occurrence. The next member to be killed was Rosenberg, who set up a drug deal with a Cuban man living in Florida, and then murdered him and his associates when they traveled to New York to complete the sale.

This murder raised the possibility of violence between the Gambino family and the Cubans unless Rosenberg was taken out. DeMeo was ordered to kill Roseburg and stalked him for weeks during this period. In a fit of paranoia, DeMeo committed his most public murder. The victim was an innocent college student named Dominick Ragucci, who was paying for his tuition by working as a door to door salesman. DeMeo saw him parked outside his house and assumed he was a Cuban assassin.

DeMeo and crew member Joseph Guglielmo pursued Ragucci and then shot the student. After returning home and gathering with his family, DeMeo drove them out of New York and left them at a hotel for a short time. According to DeMeo’s son Albert, he started crying when he discovered he had murdered an innocent boy. Gaggi was infuriated by the murder of Ragucci and ordered DeMeo to kill Rosenberg before there were any more innocent victims.

On May 11, 1979, Rosenberg reported to the Gemini clubhouse for the crew’s usual Friday night meeting. Shortly after his arrival, DeMeo fired a bullet into Rosenberg’s head. The usually ice-cold DeMeo hesitated when the still living Rosenberg managed to rise off the floor to 1 knee, but Anthony Senter moved in and finished him off with four shots to the head. Unlike Grillo, Rosenberg’s body was not dismembered or made to disappear.

The Cubans demanded that his murder make the papers. DeMeo’s men placed his body in his car on Cross Bay Boulevard (near Gateway National Wildlife Refuge) to be found. Albert DeMeo later recounted that Rosenberg’s murder affected his father profoundly and that when DeMeo came home after the killing, he went to his study room and didn’t come out for two days. TO BE CONTINUED.


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 Prime Target: The Murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme


A Prime Crime

The nation’s Chief Executive is shot while in public and is rushed to the hospital. Doctors work feverishly but are unable to save him. A shocked nation goes into mourning. Years after the assassination, conspiracy theories abound as to who was responsible.

Such an occurrence describes the globally known assassination of United States President John F. Kennedy over 56 years ago. It also describes a murder occurring in 1986, which, outside of Scandinavia, is lesser-known.
The Prime Minister of Sweden is the Nordic country’s equivalent of the President of the United States. Thus, the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme can rightfully be compared to President Kennedy.
A cornucopia of conspiracy claims continues to surround both crimes. One huge factor, however, separates the two assassinations. History has officially closed the book on the Kennedy assassination, but the murder of Prime Minister Palme is still open.

Olof Plame became Prime Minister of Sweden in 1969, a position he held until his murder 17 years later. He was the leader of the left-wing Swedish Social Democrat Party.

Palme’s reign coincided with the escalation of Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. He adopted a policy of non-alignment with both superpowers and spoke critically of both countries’ foreign policies.

Palme drew the particular ire of the United States when he became the first Western head of state to visit Cuba following the 1959 revolution that brought Fidel Castro to power. His speech praising the revolutionaries was not well received by Cuba’s neighbor to the north.

Prime Minister Palme valued his independence and was determined to live as ordinary as possible for a head of state. He was often seen in public without any bodyguard protection; the evening of February 28, 1986, was one such occasion.

Despite protests from his entourage, the Prime Minister gave his protectors the evening off as he looked forward to a night at the movies with his family.

That evening Palme and his wife Lisbet met their son Marten and his girlfriend at Stockholm’s Grand Cinema, where they watched the comedy “The Mozart Brothers.” After the movie ended at approximately 11:00 p.m., the foursome chatted for fifteen minutes before the two couples headed their separate ways. Olof and Lisbet Palme began walking toward the Hötorget metro station.

After crossing the street, the Palmes briefly stopped to gaze at some displays in a shop window before continuing past a corner deli.

Several minutes later, officially at 11:21 p.m., according to Swedish authorities, a man approached the couple from behind and twice shot the Prime Minister in his back at point-blank range. After firing a third shot that grazed Mrs. Palme, the perpetrator jogged into the darkness.

Paramedics quickly arrived on the scene and rushed Sweden’s first couple to Sabbatsberg Hospital. The shots had severed the Prime Minister’s spinal column and aorta, and he was pronounced dead. Lisbet Palme was not seriously wounded.

Multiple people witnessed the shooting but could provide only vague descriptions of the assassin. He was generally described as between 30-50 years-old, 6″-6’2″ tall, 185-200 pounds, and wearing a dark jacket or coat. The descriptions varied so much that police deemed them insufficient to develop a composite sketch of the suspect.

The shots were determined to have probably been fired from a Winchester-Western .357 Magnum 158 grain metal piercing revolver. The two bullets recovered from the street were the only forensic evidence as such weapons do not automatically eject cartridge cases.

Based on the bullets’ lack of certain characteristic deformations, investigators concluded the shots had been fired from a barrel not shorter than 4 inches, meaning the murder weapon would have been a conspicuously large handgun.

Thirty-three-year-old Victor Gunnarsson, a right-wing extremist who hated Palme’s polices, was immediately declared the prime suspect in the murder of the Prime Minister. He matched the general description of the assassin. A witness placed Gunnarsson at a bar near the Grand Cinema that evening, voicing his discontent about the Swedish leader to anyone who would listen.

Gunnarsson was arrested but soon released after no one picked him out of a police lineup. Nothing linked him to the killing, but he was guilty in the eyes of public opinion.

Ostracized and unable to find work in his home country, Gunnarsson moved the United States, settling in Salisbury, North Carolina, a town of approximately 33,000 people in the west-central part of the Tar Heel state. In January 1994, Gunnarsson’s near-naked body was found in a wooded area about 90 miles from his home. He had been shot twice in the head with a .22 caliber firearm.

Olof Palme’s murder has been called the Swedish equivalent of President Kennedy’s assassination. Gunnarsson was not the likely assassin, and he was not silenced for the same reason many believe Lee Harvey Oswald was killed. Instead, he was shot to death by a jealous former boyfriend of the woman he had recently begun dating.

Regardless, many in Gunnarsson’s homeland still believe his murder was poetic justice. Despite his disdain for Olof Palme, no evidence has been found linking him to the assassination.

In December 1988, almost three years after Prime Minister Palme’s murder, an alcoholic and drug user named Christer Pettersson was charged with the murder after Lisbet Palme picked him out of a lineup as her husband’s killer. Pettersson, who had previously been convicted of manslaughter, was convicted of Palme’s murder, but the verdict was overturned on appeal the following year.

The Swedish appellate court cited several reasons for reversing the lower court’s decision.

• Failure of the prosecution to produce the murder weapon;
• Lack of a motive for the murder;
• Doubts about the reliability of Mrs. Palme’s identification of
Pettersson and her testimony; and
• “extremely gross errors” by the police in arranging the lineup.

In the late 1990s, several people came forward saying Pettersson had confessed to killing the Prime Minister. He allegedly told associates it was a case of mistaken identity. He had intended to kill fellow drug dealer Sigvard Cedergren. Cedergren resembled Olof Palme and often walked along the same route the Prime Minister was walking that evening. However, the claims were made by petty criminals who altered their stories, and officials deemed the contentions uncredible.

Pettersson was awarded about $50,000 in compensation for defamation by the police and wrongful imprisonment. He quickly squandered his windfall on alcohol and drugs but augmented his income through media interviews.

In 1998, the Swedish Supreme Court rejected an appeal to retry Pettersson. He died from a cerebral hemorrhage in 2004, legally declared not guilty in the assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme.

As with the assassination of President Kennedy, no shortage of conspiracy theories exist regarding the murder of Prime Minister Palme. Some of the opinions are listed below.

• He was silenced by the CIA for his support of communist Cuba
• As the U.N. mediator seeking an end to the Iran-Iraq war, he was
assassinated because he fell afoul of Iran-Contra
• He was taken out by an operative of the former Yugoslavian security service.
• He was killed by the South African Cooperation Bureau for speaking out against Apartheid.
• His murder was linked with arms trades to India.

• He was killed by Chilean Fascists for granting asylum to leftist
Chileans following the overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973.
• He was killed by a conspiracy among Swedish right-wing extremist police officers.
• He was killed by the PKK (Kurdish Worker’s Party) for the arrests of Kurds living in Sweden.

Olof and Lisbet Palme had been married for thirty years at the time of his assassination.

Lisbet did not remarry. She died in October 2018 at age 87, still believing Christer Pettersson was the man who had murdered her husband.

On February 18, 2020, Krister Petersson, the Swedish chief prosecutor in charge of the investigation into the assassination of Prime Minister Olof Palme, announced a likely assassin had been identified and that further information will be provided at a later date.

Petersson, (different spelling and no relation to Christer Pettersson) also announced that if prosecutors are denied the opportunity to try the suspect, they will close the investigation into the murder of the Prime Minister.


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:
Dagens Nyheter
Los Angeles Times
New York Times


Recommended Reading:

Blood on the Snow: The Killing of Olof Palme

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 Oliver Munson Disappearance

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup, text that says 'OLIVER MUNSON'


A man’s love for restoring cars leads to his disappearance. What happened to Oliver Munson after he unknowingly stepped into the middle of a chop shop ring?


A neighbor thought nothing as he waved to Oliver Munson on the morning of February 13, 1984. The 39-year-old bachelor was presumably on his way to the middle school, where he taught Industrial Arts. Little could the neighbor have known, he likely was the last person to have seen Oliver alive. When Oliver rounded the corner, he drove into oblivion.

Oliver Munson disappeared the day before Valentine’s Day, and his story involves love, not the love of another person, but the love of a hobby which likely led to his death. The beloved shop teacher may have been done in by a man running a different kind of shop.

Oliver Munson was an industrial arts teacher at the now-defunct Ellicot City Middle School in Catonsville, Maryland, 13 miles west of Baltimore. His colleagues respected him, and “Mr. Munson” was well-liked by his students.

Oliver’s hobby was buying and restoring run-down cars. In January of 1983, he eagerly bought a fully-loaded used, but classic, 1973 Datsun 240Z, from a man named Dennis Watson.

As a teacher, Oliver was strict about his students doing the homework he assigned, but he didn’t do his homework on Dennis Watson.

Dennis Watson had not sold the Datsun to Oliver in good faith. Watson was the ringleader of a car theft ring, and he had stolen the Datsun three months earlier, in October of 1982. The car garage Watson owned was a cover for his “chop shop,” where cars were dismantled for parts, or resold with fake papers. Watson had done the latter with the Datsun he sold to Oliver.

For several weeks, police had been gathering information and building a case against Watson. On March 16, 1983, they raided his shop and arrested him and his associates.

In searching the shop, police discovered illegal car titles, partially dismantled autos, and stolen vehicle I.D. tags. Oliver Munson’s name was found in the confiscated records.

Police confiscated the Datsun Oliver had purchased from Watson. After speaking with Oliver, the police were convinced he had no part in the operation and believed he had purchased the car, thinking it was legitimate.

Oliver reluctantly agreed to testify against Watson. Legal wrangling delayed the trial for eleven months, but it was finally set to begin on February 16, 1984.

On February 13, the neighbor saw Oliver, driving his regular Ford Pinto, depart from his home at 7:50 a.m. He turned onto the road leading to the Ellicot City Middle School, never to be seen again.

Three days later, on the day he was to testify at Watson’s trial, Oliver’s car was found parked on another road two blocks from his home. The right front tire was flat. Oliver’s touring cap, school papers, and a sack lunch were found on the front seat, but there was no evidence suggesting what had happened to him.

Dennis Watson became the focal point of the investigation into Oliver’s disappearance, and authorities discovered an ominous similarity to two other people associated with Watson.

Ten years earlier, in 1973, a man named Clinton Glenn was scheduled to testify in an armed robbery trial against Watson. The day before the trial, Glenn burned to death in a car registered to Watson.

Based on the testimony of another witness, Watson was indicted for the murder. That witness, however, soon died of a drug overdose investigators called “suspicious.” The murder charges against Watson were dropped.

On February 27, 1984, two weeks after Oliver disappeared, a man named Hilton Solomon contacted police. His car had been stolen only a few hours before Oliver vanished on February 13, and he happened upon it parked on a residential street.

The car was returned to Hilton, and while cleaning it, he found a hat that did not belong to him. It was determined to have been Oliver’s. Hilton also found several receipts from a video rental store that were signed in Oliver’s name.

Investigators examined the car and found a spent cartridge case beneath the track of the right front seat. They also found a red-brownish stain on the driver’s side and red smudges on one of the video store receipts. Tests revealed the stains were human blood, type O Positive. These findings suggested Oliver had met with foul play, but with no records showing his blood type, and no other hard evidence, the investigation stalled.

Police say despite the advances of DNA technology, the blood sample is now too deteriorated to be tested for a potential match.

Clinton Glenn was murdered the day before he was to testify against Dennis Watson. Oliver Munson disappeared and was likely murdered three days before he was to testify against Watson. Authorities did not think either event was a coincidence but could not make a case against Watson in either instance.

The witness who fingered Watson in Clinton Green’s murder was himself murdered, and Watson refused to talk to police about the disappearance of Oliver Munson. The only thing on which Watson could be charged was on running the auto theft ring.

Oliver’s disappearance had no apparent effect on the outcome of Watson’s trial. He pled guilty and was sentenced to ten years in prison. He was paroled in 1989, after serving half of his term.

Though his body has never been found, Oliver Munson was declared dead in 1985, ruled the victim of a “presumptive homicide.” Investigators believe the man who taught shop was murdered by those who ran a chop shop.

Oliver Wendell Munson has been missing since February 13, 1984, when he was 39-years-old. At the time of his disappearance, he was 5’10” tall and weighed 160 lbs. He had black hair and brown eyes. He would today be 75-years-old.

If you have any information on the disappearance of Oliver Munson, please contact the Baltimore County (Maryland) Police Department at 410-887-3943.


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


Further Reading:

Unsolved Mysteries

Baltimore Sun

The Charley Project


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.

Gifts For All Those True Crime Fans:

SignsAndTagsOnline Insured by Mafia You Hit Me We Hit You! License Plate Funny Mafia Auto Tag


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.

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


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Something Afoot – The Disappearance of Bryan Nisenfeld

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Something Afoot

Steven Nisenfled was puzzled by his son’s report card after he returned home for the winter break of the 1996-97 school year. Eighteen-year-old Bryan had been an honors student in high school, but his grades after his first semester of college were a different story. Bryan told his dad he was changing his major from Architecture to English and assured him he would do better in the second semester.

Steven was concerned by his son’s struggles. That concern soon escalated into panic and then into horror. Something other than the rigorous academic material was weighing on Bryan’s mind, and it may have led to his death.

Bryan grew up in New Jersey. He was well-liked, although he was an introvert who had few close friends. He preferred writing poetry over attending parties and proms.

Bryan had done well in high school, but his first semester at Roger Williams College in Bristol, Rhode Island, was a different story. The classes were more challenging, but Bryan’s struggles may have been compounded by another problem, the nature of which is unknown.

Shortly after midnight on January 30, 1997, an agitated Bryan called his father Steven and, with his voice trembling, said that another student was harassing him and threatening to beat him up.

Steven telephoned the Roger Williams campus security; they then called the student adviser in Bryan’s dormitory. When the adviser went to Bryan’s room, Bryan had calmed but again said he had received a threatening telephone from a former student he refused to name. Bryan assured the adviser he was alright. Bryan then called his dad again and assured him he had overreacted and did not need to come to Rhode Island.

Eight days later, on February 6, 1997, Bryan attended his afternoon literature class. He was not doing well in the class, and the professor attempted to speak to him regarding his struggles. Bryan, however, brushed her off. The professor said something appeared to be weighing heavily on him.

The following day, a Friday, Bryan failed to attend any of his classes. The weekend passed with no word from him, and he was a no-show for classes on Monday and Tuesday of the following week. On February 12, six days after Bryan was last seen, the college notified Steven of his absence.

Steven searched Bryan’s dormitory room. Other than being uncharacteristically messy, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Steven thought it appeared as though Bryan had stepped out briefly intending to return.

Six months passed with no sign of Bryan until a very troubling and puzzling clue surfaced.

On Labor Day weekend, as Lori Vales and her daughter walked along Hog Island Beach, only three miles from Roger Williams University, they noticed a shoe on the sand at the beach’s high tide line. After picking up the shoe, Lori was astounded to discover a human foot inside. Another bone lay nearby. Tests determined it was a human shinbone.

The boot was consistent with a pair owned by Bryan that was not among the items found in his dorm room. DNA tests identified the foot and shinbone as his. No other remains were found, but the finding all but assured that Bryan was dead.

The remains found were not enough to determine how Bryan had died or how his foot had become separated from the body.

Reporter Jody Ericson wrote a series of articles about Bryan’s disappearance.

After talking to Bryan’s parents and reading some of his poetry, she concluded he was questioning his sexuality and detected undertones of a homosexual relationship with Josh Cohen, a former Roger Williams University student.

Jody says whatever the nature of the friendship was between Bryan and Josh, it abruptly ended in late 1996 or early 1997. She believes the falling out may have occurred because Josh was going to expose their relationship, and Bryan did not want anyone to know he was gay.

Josh admitted he had made the harassing phone calls to Bryan, but claims they were only made in jest and that Bryan had made similar calls to him. He also said they were only friends and that there was no homosexual relationship between them.

The police are satisfied Josh had nothing to do with Bryan’s disappearance and likely death. I could not find a picture of Josh.

Jody Ericson theorized that anti-homosexuals might have learned that Bryan was gay and killed him. Authorities say there is no evidence to support that theory.

Bryan spent many hours alone, writing his poetry while sitting on the Mount Hope Bridge at Hog Island Beach, only a few miles from his campus dormitory.

Investigators have found no evidence of foul play in Bryan’s probable death and believe he either took his life by jumping from or accidentally falling off the 285-foot-high bridge.

Bryan’s parents do not believe he would have committed suicide, but they concede he may have accidentally fallen from the bridge. However, they lean toward believing their son was murdered and that Josh Cohen knows more than he is saying.

Bryan’s mother, Marianne Brown, said she received an anonymous phone call saying a Roger Williams University Administrator and two faculty members were withholding information about Bryan’s case.

The University denies the claim, and authorities found no evidence the college officials were not forthcoming.

Unless the rest of Bryan’s remains are found, the cause of death may never be discovered.

The chances of finding his remains are remote as they likely long ago decomposed in the Mount Hope Bay.


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:
48 Hours
websleuths
Facebook
Unsolved Mysteries 


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.

Gifts For All Those True Crime Fans:

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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.

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


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Poisoned Son


In rural Chester County, Tennessee, in the town of Mifflin, lies the New Friendship Cemetery. It is the final resting place for those who lived as long ago as the early 1800s. I have always found cemeteries interesting, but there are five graves there that hold a mystery. Five young siblings are buried there, all with tombstones with a one-word, ominous message, poisoned

In 1840, before Chester County was created, Silas Vestal and his son, Enos, made a round trip, on foot, to a settlement called Mifflin. At that time, it was a part of Henderson County. Plans were made for the family to resettle in this area, and gradually, over the next several years, members of the Vestal family began relocating. Silas moved before Enos and his family and, unfortunately, died in the Spring of 1846, just before their arrival. Enos had sold his farm in Chatham County, North Carolina, and he and his family started their journey to their new home on Christmas Day 1845. They had one wagon, pulled by three horses, Dowdy, Nell, and Mack. Enos was less than enthusiastic about the journey and wanted to turn back. One can understand why he might have wanted to do so. It was an arduous journey that included crossing the Appalachian Mountains during the winter’s cold and snow. His wife, Milly, encouraged him to proceed and reminded him that they had family expecting them. They arrived in Mifflin in late April 1846, and Enos purchased a 400-acre farm about three miles south of Mifflin.

According to the 1850 U.S. Federal Census, Enos and his family lived in District 3, Henderson County, Tennessee.

According to family folklore, in 1857, Enos had a dispute over a land purchase with a Widow Brower. Soon after, the children became sick. Solomon died at the age of 20, Jesse at 19, and John succumbed at the age of 16. Their sister, Catherine, was only 15 at the time of her death. Brother Daniel also became sick, but lingered on for some time, joining them in death in 1858. Allegedly, a local doctor diagnosed the problem as arsenic poisoning. Widow Brower was accused of poisoning their water source.

Who was Widow Brower? Why did the family think that she poisoned the children? Did she ever pay for her crimes?

I recently began doing some research and discovered that there was only one Brower family in this area during that time. Leander Brower and wife, Barbary Ward, originally came from North Carolina and settled in Henderson County in the early 1820s. Leander Brower, born in 1808 in Randolph County, North Carolina, and married to Barbary Ward, who was born in 1810 in Randolph County.

They moved from North Carolina to the unsettled area of West Tennessee very early in their young marriage. By the time of the U.S. Federal Census of 1830, we find them in Henderson County, Tennessee. The Leander household consists of two males, ages 15-20, one male, age 20-30, one female, age 15-20, and one female, age 50-60. So, we can deduce that other family members settled with them.

According to the 1837 Henderson County, Tennessee tax list, three Browers are listed in District 4, Leander, Jacob, and John.

By the time of the 1840 U.S. Federal Census, Leander’s family consists of two males, ages 0-5, one male, age 5-10, one male, age 30-40, one female, age 0-5, one female, age 5-10 and one female, age 20-30. So it appears that the Browers have three sons and two daughters.

By 1850, Leander and Barbary had ten children and, according to the U.S. Federal Census, were residing adjacent to a couple, Enos and Milly Vestal, and their ten children.

According to family records, Leander died in 1855, at the age of 47. (The alleged poisoning occurred in 1857). Perhaps the dispute was over property left to the widow?

As if we did not have enough questions, in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census, five years after her husband’s death, we find Barbary has married Francis A. Hite (born in Indiana and seventeen years her junior). They are residing on the property that presumably passed to her upon her husband’s death. Also in the household live Wesley, age 15, Mary Ellen, age 13, James; age 11, Leander Columbus, age 6, John Hite, age 5, and Franklin .J. Hite, age 3.

Enos Vestal and his family are still living on the adjacent property, although his wife, Milly, may be deceased.

The next ten years bring many changes, though we can only hypothesize about all of the details. By the 1870 U.S. Federal Census, we find Barbary (age 59) living with her daughter, Elizabeth, son-in-law, Hayden Bailey, and eighth-month-old grandson, Prentice, in Dublin, Graves County, Kentucky. Her husband, presumably, her ex-husband, Francis, is residing in District 13, Gibson County, Tennessee, with his two sons, John and Franklin.

In 1877, Francis Hite married Sallie C. Reeves. He did not pass until 1915. Barbary died on December 4, 1882, at the age of 72, in Dent County, Missouri.

In 1870 and 1880, Enos was still residing with his family in Henderson County. He did not pass until 1885.

So, we have a partly solved mystery, with many questions left unanswered. What happened to Enos’ wife, Milly? What was the cause of death for Mr. Brower? What was the dispute between Widow Brower and Enos? Why would she kill the children? Why was she never brought to justice? Who is this Mr. Hite from Indiana? Where is the mother of his children? Why did they divorce? (Were they ever actually legally married?) Most interestingly, why can we find no recorded information about these deaths?

There will be information to come if my research reveals any new details.

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.


Recommended Reading:


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

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

Support Synova’s Cause:

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


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

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


Justice Still Bare


On the night of January 15, 1984, Sherry Hart, a 24-year-old single mother, was stood up for a date. It would be the last time she would be stood up because she never made it home. Thirty-six years later, her killer still walks free.

A witness came forward, claiming to have seen Hart joyriding with two former schoolmates on the night of her disappearance, Richard Bare and Jeffrey Burgess. Both men had several brushes with the law and were known as local troublemakers.

Police questioned Bare and Burgess separately about the events of the evening. Bare was evasive and provided little information, but not Burgess. He spilled the story, and it didn’t match Bare’s account.

Based on eyewitness accounts, as well as what Burgess told police, the death of Sherry Hart was ruled a homicide. Police now believed they knew how the young mother died on that chilly evening in January 1984.

Burgess told police he and Bare encountered Sherry at the restaurant. Because she was upset over being stood up, they offered to take her for a night of drinking to forget about it. It seemed like a nice thing to do.

While the three were riding through the rural countryside, Sherry needed to stop and go to the bathroom. They pulled to the side of the road, approximately a quarter of a mile from the “Jumping Off Place,” where she went into the woods to relieve herself.

According to Burgess, he remained in the car as Bare followed Sherry into the woods, where he attempted to have sex with her. Bare became irate as Sherry rejected his repeated attempts. When he became violent, Sherry fought him off and, screaming and crying, ran back to the car. Burgess said Bare followed Sherry and struck her on her head with the back of a handgun, leaving her bleeding and semi-conscious. Burgess said Bare then shoved Sherry into the car and ordered him into the car. Bare drove to the “Jumping Off Place,” where he forced Sherry from the vehicle, and ordered Burgess to drive away but to return in five minutes.

Burgess contended he was afraid for Sherry and at first refused to leave. However, he claimed Bare threatened to kill his family if Burgess didn’t comply. Burgess said he drove away because he feared Bare would make good on his threats.

Police believe Bare dragged Sherry to the edge of the “Jumping Off Place” and pushed her over the cliff. When Burgess returned, he asked Bare where Sherry was. Bare said she was gone and again warned Burgess to say nothing.

On March 29, 1985, Richard Bare and Jeffrey Burgess were both arrested and charged with the murder of Sherry Hart. Both were denied bail and were held in the Wilkes County Jail awaiting trial.

On July 18, deputies found the cell bare of one of the prisoners. Police subsequently discovered Richard Bare’s sister Linda was in a relationship with one of the department’s deputies. It is believed she convinced the deputy, who had gone to high school with Bare, to help her brother escape.

Over thirty-four-years later, Richard Bare remains at large.

After several months passed without Bare’s being captured and thus delaying the trial, an arrangement was made in which Jeffrey Burgess was released on bail, pending Bare’s re-capture. That day never came.

Jeffrey Burgess died at age 47 in 2012, without ever standing trial for the murder of Sherry Hart. It may be challenging to make a case against Bare if he is captured because what Burgess told police might now be considered hearsay.

Some people believe Burgess understated his involvement in the crime and could have been the one who pushed Sherry off the cliff. Unfortunately, it is likely impossible to tell which man did the actual act.

Richard Bare was nearly captured in Delaware in 1993, but good fortune, unfortunately, was on his side. He left only hours before FBI agents converged on the home of a relative where he had been hiding.

In June of 2002, Bare was believed to be living under the name Richard Presnell. The real Richard Presnell was located and determined not to be Bare. Bare may have stolen his identity and lived under the name for several years before changing identities again.

Over approximately the last 15 years, Bare has been rumored to have returned, incognito, several times to North Carolina to attend the funerals of friends and relatives. Police have also received reports that Bare is living similarly to another notorious North Carolina fugitive, Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph. He eluded capture for six-and-a-half years by living in the area’s vast mountainous terrain.

Some sources say Bare is disguising himself by dressing as a woman. The computer-aged image of Bare below was done in 1996 when he would have been 32-years-old. I have not been able to find any more aged-enhanced images.

Richard Lynn Bare is wanted on a charge of murder. He is 5’8″ tall. When he escaped from jail in 1985, he weighed 175 pounds and had shoulder-length brown hair. He may have a tattoo of a panther on his right forearm. Bare hated the smell of smoke and refused to be in the company of people who lit up.

Richard Bare would today be 56-years-old. If you have any information on his whereabouts, please contact the Ashe County, North Carolina Sheriff’s Department at 336-846-5633 or the FBI’s Charlotte, North Carolina, Field Office at 704-672-6100.


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
America’s Most Wanted
• Unsolved Mysteries
Wilkes Journal-Patriot, Wilkesboro, North Carolina
Winston-Salem Journal


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

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


Support Synova’s Cause:

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



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

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SIGN UP HERE


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


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