The Racketeer Restaurateur: Guest Post Thursday

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All Photos courtesy of Guest Blogger

June 16, 1991

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Recommended Reading:

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


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

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


Support Synova’s Cause:

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


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


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


Guest Post Thursday: Bishop’s Sins

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Photos courtesy of Guest Blogger

Brad Bishop seemed to have a life most people would envy, having lived in three different continents, he was Yale-educated and had a high-paying job as a United States Foreign Service officer. Married with three sons, and living in a beautiful home in Bethesda, Maryland, Bishop appeared to be living the American dream. But appearances are all too often deceiving.

Brad Bishop was a ticking time bomb and he exploded on March 1, 1976. That evening, the respected government employee committed an act that would make him one of the government’s most wanted. The man who seemed to have it all traded his life of envy for a life on the lam. In some respects, the horrific crime Bishop is said to have committed has been overshadowed by his eluding capture. Bishop is one of the FBI’s most frustrating cases as a global manhunt now into its fourth decade has failed to produce his capture.

William Bradford Bishop II grew up in Pasadena, California. After graduating with a history degree from Yale University in 1959, he married his high school sweetheart Annette Weis. Three years later, Bishop earned a Master’s Degree in African Studies from UCLA.

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Bishop then joined the Army and spent four years working in counterintelligence. He also learned to speak four foreign languages fluently: Italian, French, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish.

After leaving the Army, Bishop joined the U.S. State Department and served in the Foreign Service. He received his Master’s degree in History while stationed in Italy, and he also served overseas in Ethiopia and Botswana. In 1974, somewhat to his disappointment as he loved living abroad, Bishop was brought back home to work at the State Department Headquarters in Washington, D.C. as an Assistant Chief in the Division of Special Activities and Commercial Treaties.

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By 1976, life seemed complete as the 39-year-old Brad and 37-year-old Annette had three sons; 14-year-old Bradford III, 10-year-old Brenton and 5-year-old Geoffrey.

Brad’s 68-year-old mother Lobelia lived with them as she had helped them purchase their upscale home in Bethesda, Maryland.

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Bishop had become the State Department’s Director of Commercial Practices and Trade. He worked as an assistant chief in the Division of Special Activities and Commercial Treaties. He was rising through the state department ranks but not, in his opinion, quickly enough.

On the afternoon of March 1, 1976, Bishop’s colleague Roy Harrell encountered him outside of the State Department. Bishop was upset over not getting a promotion he had sought. He told Roy he was not feeling well and was leaving work early. As Roy hailed Bishop a taxi, he told him to get some rest and to return only when he was healthy. Bishop nodded in agreement.

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On the following day, March 2, a State Park Ranger in Columbia, North Carolina, 282 miles south of Bethesda, Maryland, responded to a report of a brush fire in a remote wooded area. As the flames were suppressed, he saw the calling cards of an arsonist—an empty gas can and a shovel. Those discoveries, however, were only the beginning.

As the smoke cleared and the heat subsided, the Ranger made a chilling discovery. Interred in the ashes were the remains of five partially charred bodies buried in a shallow grave. The bodies were those of three young boys and two women. Two articles of the victims’ clothing bore the labels of department stores in Bethesda, Maryland. The shovel was also shown to have been purchased at a hardware store in Bethesda.

The Bethesda Police Department were baffled as they had no reports of missing persons report of which they could link to the bodies. Six days later, however, a gruesome discovery would provide the answers.

On March 8, Bethesda police responded to call from one of the Bishops’ neighbors. She was worried because she had not seen any member of the family for over a week. The Bishops traveled frequently and often for extended periods of time. When doing so, they told the neighbor so she could pick up their newspapers, mail, and water their plants. This time, though, they had not contacted her.

When police arrived at the home, the neighbor gave them the key to gain entrance. As a detective approached the home, he saw no signs of forced entry. However, he did see several newspapers lying outside of the door, some nearly a week old. Upon seeing several blood drops leading out of the door and into the driveway, he realized this was not going to be a routine check on a missing person. Several blood drops leading out of the door and into the driveway suggested that bodies had been dragged out of the house.

Upon entering the home, the detective saw more blood drops leading from the doorway through the foyer to the stairs leading to the upper bedroom. The upstairs wall and ceiling were also coated with blood. Bloodstains of all members of the Bishop family were found. The detective described the house as the most gruesome crime scene he had ever seen.

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On March 18, almost three weeks after the murders, a Ranger at Tennessee’s Great Smokey Mountains National Park discovered an abandoned station wagon. The ranger saw what appeared to be dried blood in the back of a car parked at the Elkmont Campground near Jakes Creek Trailhead. It appeared as though the car had been abandoned for several days. A check on the license plate showed the car was registered to Brad Bishop of Bethesda, Maryland.

When police searched the car, they found a blanket and spare-tire well in the trunk. Each was covered in blood. They also found dog biscuits. Bishop’s dog Theo had disappeared along with his master.

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Bethesda police now knew the identities of the charred remains. The five bodies found the previous week in North Carolina were those of Annette, William III, Brenton, Geoffrey, and Lobelia Bishop. Noticeably missing among the discovered bodies was one William Bradford Bishop II.

The following day, a grand jury indicted Bishop on five counts of first-degree murder, and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

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Investigators believe they have pieced together Bishop’s activities leading to the murders. On March 1, after leaving the State Department saying he was not feeling well, Bishop withdrew several hundred dollars from his bank account in the Foggy Bottom area of Washington, D.C., the neighborhood where he worked at the U.S. State Department Headquarters. Bishop is then believed to have gone to a local hardware store where he purchased a small sledgehammer, shovel and gasoline can. His next stop was a gas station where he filled the can.

Police believed he returned to his home, arriving between 7:30-8:00 p.m. Probably around 9-10 p.m., after the children had gone to bed, police believe Bishop began committing familicide. Annette was probably killed first as she was bludgeoned to death with the sledgehammer as she was reading a book. Bishop then proceeded upstairs to slaughter his children as they slept. Last on the killing list was his mother Lobelia, who was beaten to death when she returned home from walking the dog. All five victims were beaten to death with the sledgehammer and none had an opportunity to defend themselves. The dog’s life was the only one spared by Bishop.

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After slaughtering his family, police believe Bishop loaded the bodies into the back of his Chevy station wagon and drove the 282 miles south to the sparsely populated countryside of Columbia, North Carolina, where he dug a shallow grave, tossed the remains inside and set them on fire.

Using his credit card, Bishop then purchased a pair of tennis shoes at a sporting goods store in Jacksonville, North Carolina, 145 miles southwest of Columbia. A witness said he had his dog with him and may have been accompanied by a woman he described as “dark-skinned.”

Brad Bishop was not seen for two years. In July of 1978, a Swedish who had collaborated with Bishop while he was stationed in Ethiopia, reported she had spotted him twice in a public park in Stockholm during a span of one week. However, the sightings were not reported until several months afterward because she did not know at the time that he was wanted for murder in the United States.

The following year, a nearly surreal chance encounter occurred. Roy Harrell, the last person to see Bishop before the murders, was vacationing there was vacationing in the tourist town of Sorrento, Italy. He had gone to the Piazza Tasso Square to board a train bound for Rome but first went to the men’s room. As he was washing his hands, he saw a bearded, disheveled looking man enter the restroom. He is certain the man was his former State Department colleague, Brad Bishop.

Upon seeing Roy, the man he believed to be Bishop ran from the restroom and disappeared in the landing where the boats went to Capri. As unlikely as the chance encounter seems, the FBI believes the sighting is credible because Bishop and Annette had previously visited Sorrento and he was known to be very fond of the area and had spoken of wanting to live there.

The next and last sighting deemed credible of Bishop was 15 years later in 1994, when a former neighbor vacationing in Basel, Switzerland, believes he saw a clean-shaven Bishop getting into a car.

Bishop had a week’s head start from the time the murders were committed to when the bodies were identified. Police believe he may have had one or more false identities secured before the murders enabling him to get out of America and travel between countries. As a State Department employee, he would have known how to create false papers. Obtaining and using fabricated documents to hop from country to country was a lot easier in the 1970s that it is today.

Approximately a month before the murders, in early February of 1976, Bishop traveled to northern Italy on business. Several people reported seeing him at a ski lodge in the company of a dark-skinned, possibly Caribbean woman. Shortly after the murders, a similarly-described woman was seen with Bishop in a Jacksonville, North Carolina, clothing goods store and several other sightings of Bishop and the woman were reported in the Jacksonville area in the days after the murders but before the bodies were identified.

Whether the woman seen with Bishop in Italy and North Carolina are one and the same is not known. She has never been identified.

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In 2010, the FBI announced that prior to the murders, Bishop had been corresponding with Kenneth Bankston, a federal prison inmate in Marion, Illinois. In total, police believe there six letters exchanged between Bishop and Bankston. In the last letter, dated March 15, 1976, two weeks after the murders, Bankston references a woman about Bishop had apparently inquired. Bankston says he is almost positive the woman is in the North Carolina state prison system but he does not name her. Investigators believe the woman mentioned in the letter could be the same unidentified woman seen with Bishop on two separate occasions on two different continents. However, a check of the women incarcerated in North Carolina at the time has failed to produce any legitimate possibilities.

The FBI does not know how Bishop and Bankston knew each other. Bankston worked in the oil industry prior to his incarceration. Bishop’s father had owned an oil company, but police have not been able to find any evidence that Bankston worked for him.

Both Bankston and Bishop served in the military, but in different branches; Bankston served in the Air Force and Bishop served in the Army. The two men were never stationed near each other.

The letter also mentions a second inmate named David Allen. His involvement, as well, is a mystery. Both Bankston and Allen had died before the discovery of the letters.

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In October of 2014, authorities received a tip that an unidentified man killed in a hit-and-run accident in Alabama in 1981 bore a strong resemblance to Bishop. DNA testing determined the man was not the long-sought fugitive. The Alabama man remains a John Doe.

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In April of 2014, the FBI placed Brad Bishop on their Ten Most Wanted List. It was an unusual move to place a fugitive on the Top Ten list so many years after the crime had been committed. Bishop was removed from the list in June of 2018 to make room for a “dangerous fugitive.” Despite the removal, the FBI considers the apprehension of Bishop to still be a “major priority.”

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Brad Bishop’s motive for murdering his family has been debated almost as much as where he may be hiding. Some State Department workers, including Roy Harrell, said Bishop was constantly chastised by Annette and Lobelia as being inadequate and not advancing fast enough in his career.

Friends of the couple say Bishop was unhappy with his desk job and wanted another foreign post but that Annette did not want to live abroad again. She had begun to study art at the University of Maryland and was seeking work despite, friends say, for her husband’s desire for her to remain a stay-at-home mom.

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In the 43 years since the slaughter of his family, sporadic sightings of Brad Bishop have been reported across Europe. Among the countries believed to have been visited by one of America’s longest and most infamous fugitives are Belgium, England, Finland, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Spain, and the three most credible sightings mentioned earlier in Sweden, Italy, and Switzerland. His fluency in four languages would allow him to blend into any of those countries.

The FBI says they have no evidence that Bishop is dead and they are continuing the global search for him. William Bradford Bishop II would today be 82-years-old.


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

Further Reading:

America’s Most Wanted

Baltimore Sun
Bethesda Beat
FBI


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.”)

Recommended Reading: 


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.

2ndDIYpackage-templates

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


Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

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

Order your copy of Synova’s New Casefiles book HERE!


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Come Quick!

Mobster Monday: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran

Photo Courtesy Of Pinterest

He was a known mafia hitman, but did he kill Jimmy Hoffa? While the new movie says he was the triggerman, investigators say he was only a witness. Who was the real Irishman?


Frank Sheeran was born in Darby, Pennsylvania, on October 25th, 1920. As a young man, he fought in World War II, and he served four times as long as the average soldier. He later claimed that this gave him a callousness towards death.

Upon his return from war, Sheeran found it hard to re-enter society as many veterans do. PTSD was it heard of at the time, and there weren’t any programs available for our veterans. Sheeran went on to find a mentor named Russell Bufalino.

Bufalino was a mob boss of the Bufalino crime family. This Italian crime family operated in northeastern Pennsylvania. Although publicly Sheeran was a truck driver, he began taking on side jobs for the mob. His ruthlessness made him the perfect hitman.

His connections with a local mob ended up paying off when he was set up with the Teamsters Union. He would eventually become a high-ranking official with the teamsters and would become the right-hand man for the infamous Jimmy Hoffa.

Although Sheeran’s name pops up in the investigations into Hoffa’s disappearance, he wasn’t a prime suspect for the actual murder until his deathbed confession. Some websites claimed that he was a major suspect from the beginning, but I have not found any proof of this.

The mafia has a strange code when it comes to murder. They want you dead, and they are going to get your best friend to do it. This led a lot of people to believe that Sheeran was the Hitman, but many investigators believe he may have witnessed a murder and may have set Hoffa up, but few investigators believe he pulled the trigger.

Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran was dying of cancer and would succumb to this illness December 14th, 2003, but not before he spilled his guts to his lawyer Charles Brandt. In the last five years of his life, Sheeran confessed to Brandt about his experience with the mob. His family claims to have no knowledge of this, and some people wonder if his confession is credible.

It isn’t unusual for an organized crime figure to hide his true identity from his family, but it is uncommon for them to confess on their deathbeds.

Dan Moldea has been a journalist working on this Hoffa disappearance since day one. He has always claimed that Salvatore Briguglio killed Hoffa. He did say that Sheeran most likely drove Hoffa to his death, but he does not believe Sheeran pulled the trigger.

Why would a man falsely confess to killing someone? The answer is a strange mix of infamy, money, and legacy. Over a dozen people have “confessed” to murdering Jimmy Hoffa. There are hundreds of stories about his disappearance, his murder, and the current location of his remains.

The daily mail ran an article that Sheeran claimed to witness the burial of Hoffa. It goes on to state that the FBI dug up someone’s driveway because they believed his story. Later he claimed that the body wasn’t buried. Instead, it was taken to a crematorium and burned. Which one is it? Was he buried or cremated?

This is just one of many of Frank Sheeran’s conflicting stories. So why would Hollywood produce a massive movie about this man when they cannot prove that his confession is genuine? Robert De Niro played the lead role in the film. When Moldea ran into him in 2014, he tried to warn the movie star against taking on the role. 

“You’re being conned, Bob,” Moldea told the Daily Beast of his encounter with De Niro.

The movie was solely based on a book by Charles Brandt titled, “I heard you paint houses.” This book goes into detail, explaining the author’s theory. He claims all of the information was given to him by Sheeran personally. Why then, aren’t the investigators convinced? Is it a nonfiction book? Or, is it merely based on a true story?

To make matters worse, the three-page confession was supposedly signed by Frank Sheeran before he died. Unfortunately, it has been proven that the signature on this document was a forgery. So who wrote his confession?

When the book was published in 2004, publishers weekly had this to say. 

“(This book) is long on sensational claims and short on credibility.”

No matter what really happened, Hollywood has released a new mob hit film call the Irishman. It will gross millions of dollars, and I’m sure it’ll be a group big hit. Anyone who really follows the case of Jimmy Hoffa will know that it is full of fictionalized facts, but I’m sure it makes a good movie.

Will go to see this movie? No. It is a three and a half-hour-long film that in itself should say something. If their facts were reliable and their story true, they should be able to tell it in an hour. Instead, they spent three-and-a-half grueling hours trying to persuade the viewers to agree with their theory.

This isn’t the only claim of Frank Sheeran. He also claims to have played a minor role in the Kennedy assassination, and he claims to have been the trigger man in the murder of Crazy Joe Gallo. Did the Irishman really do all of these things? Or, is he trying to generate an income for his family before he leaves this Earth? Who knows.

To be fair, I will post two links to both sides of the story. Then, you can read them all and decide for yourself. In the meantime, if you want to waste three and a half hours of your life, go watch the Irishman.


Further Reading:

Orlando Sentinel

Frank Sheeran Interview

http://www.historyvshollywood.com/video/frank-sheeran-interview/


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.


Recommended Reading: 

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.

2ndDIYpackage-templates

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


Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

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

Order your copy of Synova’s New Casefiles book HERE!


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

Come Quick!

Murder Mystery – Room 1046 – Part 2

 

room-1046

 

Roland T. Owen walked into the Kansas City hotel carrying a comb, a brush, and a tube of toothpaste. After several strange encounters with hotel staff, Owen would be carried out on a gurney a few days later. Blood covered the walls and bed in room 1046, and investigators say it was already solidified leading them to assume Owen had been bleeding for over six hours. Who tortured and killed this man? Why was his door always locked from the outside? Who were the anonymous benefactors that paid for his burial?

 

Last week I quickly highlighted this Alfred Hitchcock style murder mystery for my readers. This story was so strange and mysterious; I knew it would take more than one post to cover it. If you haven’t seen that post, you can follow this link to read Part One of the mystery.

 

Strange Sighting: (Thursday, January 3, 1935 – 11 PM)

Robert Lane was driving down 13th Street when he saw a man dressed in trousers and an undershirt. The man’s attire seemed strange in the cold winter weather of January. He was running and waving frantically. Robert Lane pulled over, and the stranger ran up to the door. He looked surprised.

“I’m sorry. I thought this was a taxi. Can you take me to where I can find a cab?”

Lane agreed, and the man climbed into his back seat. The man looked as if he’d been in a scuffle and Lane made a remark about this. The man mumbled, “I’ll kill that__________ in the morning.”

While all the newspapers were too proper to write the actual word that was uttered, 84 years later it could have helped investigators if there was some sort of record of this remark. Was the stranger talking about a male or a female? Who knows?

Lane noticed the man had a large cut down his arm and was cupping his hands trying to catch the blood. As the car reached a nearby intersection, the passenger jumped out and ran across to a parked cab. Seeing the driver wasn’t with his car, the stranger honked the horn. Presently, the cab driver rushed out of a nearby, and that was the end of Robert Lane’s interaction with the stranger.

Police disputed this story since no one noticed Owen leaving his room. Police would discount this and take the investigation in different directions. I find this odd because no one ever saw Owen coming or going from his room. Who was locking the door from the outside if Owen was still sitting inside? At one point the housekeeping staff walked into the room thinking it was empty to find Owen laying across the bed fully clothed and staring into the darkness.

To understand this story, you must understand the hotel’s door locking mechanism. The door could be locked from the inside and could not be opened externally. It could also be locked from the outside with a key, and the hotel staff could use the passkey to open the door and clean. On more than one occasion this outer lock was used while Owen was still inside the room.

By Friday morning the staff noticed the phone was off the hook in Owen’s room. The first contact that was made by the hotel staff was around 7 am. Evidence would later show that Owen was already beaten, stabbed and bloody by this time. That’s when the bellboy heard a voice call through the door and say, “Come in. Turn on the light.” Was this Owen trying to get the man to come in and help him? We’ll never know.

To make the story, even more, perplexing the second time a bell boy was sent to the room that morning, he opened the door with the hotel passkey. This, of course, means that between the bell boy’s first contact and second contact someone had left that room and locked it from the outside. The attendant used his key and opened the darkened room. He noticed the side table was knocked over, and the phone was on the floor. A shadowy figure of a naked man lay sprawled across the bed. The bellboy would later note that there were dark shadows on the sheets around the man, but he didn’t turn on the light. Instead, the bellboy replaced the phone, closed the door, and reported that the guest was drunk on the bed. Could this man have saved Ronald T. Owen if he had taken a moment to check on him?

An hour and a half later the phone was still off the hook, and finally, the bellboy had lost his patience. He opened the door and switched on the lights to discover a horrific scene. Owen was two foot from the door and naked with a rope tied around his neck, wrists, and ankles. He was on his knees and elbows. His bloody head was in his hands. When police asked who did this Owen replied, “Nobody.” He would slip into a coma on the way to the hospital and die shortly after midnight on January 5th.

Strange Clues:

The police immediately began searching for evidence in Room 1046 but found it had been stripped. Owen’s clothes, all of his belongings, even the hotel’s shampoo and soap were missing. The only things found in the room were: a hairpin, a safety pin, a label from a tie, a bottle of undiluted sulfuric acid, and two glasses. One broken glass was in the bathroom sink and was missing a shard of glass. Four little fingerprints were found on the lampshade leading the investigators to believe they could have been from a woman.

Anonymous Benefactor:

Investigators quickly realized the name Roland T. Owen was an alias and began digging for the man’s identity. In the meantime, the body was transported to the local morgue where it was placed for public viewing in hopes of getting a definite identification on the man. Many people came forward thinking they knew the victim, but all were dismissed. This is when Robert Lane came forward and confirmed the man in the morgue was the man he had picked up on that Thursday night. Authorities claim they can’t prove this, but I find it the most credible. Owen didn’t look overly normal. With his height and scars, he was a rather imposing figure which would make him hard to forget.

After much ado, the papers announced the unknown victim with the alias Roland Owen would be buried in a pauper’s grave since no one claimed him. This prompted another series of strange events. Before the body could be buried the funeral director received an anonymous call from an unknown male. He asked them two wait a little longer in burying Owen and he would send money for a proper burial. A few days later the funeral home received an envelope filled with cash wrapped in newspaper. The donor requested the body to be buried in Memorial Park Cemetary so he could be next to the donor’s sister.

“Love Forever, Louise”:

The florist received an anonymous phone call around the same time from an unknown male. He requested 13 roses to be sent to the grave of Ronald T. Owen and the card should be signed, “Love forever, Louise.” The florist tried to ask a few questions, but the man simply stated that he was just doing this for his sister.

Another phone call:

After the newspaper article about this case was printed, the editor received a phone call from a woman. She said the report was wrong and Roland’s funeral arrangements were paid.

Searching for Don:

During one of the interchanges with the hotel staff, Owen was heard speaking on the phone to a man he called “Don.” Another time the housekeeper saw a note with the same name. Was Don a friend? Was he a Mafia Don? Investigators searched for years and couldn’t find the true identity of Don.

Artemus Ogletree:

Eighteen months after the newspaper article about this mystery a woman saw the pictures and claimed Roland T. Owen was her son Artemus Ogletree. Although original reports claimed he was in his mid-20’s, Ogletree was 17 at the time of his death. To make matters more mysterious, Mrs. Ogletree had received three separate letters from her son. They were all typewritten which she thought was strange since her son didn’t know how to type. Also, these notes used a lot of slang terms Mrs. Ogletree had never heard her son use. After researching this story, she realized those three letters could not have been from her son. Someone out there not only knew what happened Roland T. Owen in that hotel room, but they also knew his real name and his mother’s address.

One More Mysterious Caller:

If that wasn’t enough of a mystery for you, there was a new chapter to this tale that happened to a Kansas City Librarian in 2003. John Horner spent a lot of time researching this case and writing it up for the library’s blog. One day he too received a strange phone call. It was an out of state caller claiming to be going through a deceased relative’s belongings. They found a large box of newspaper articles from about the Roland T. Owen case and in the box was a specific object that had been referenced in the original newspaper article. Then, the line went dead. What was in the box? Who were the mysterious caller and their relative? Was it the woman Louise? Was it Don? Like all good mysteries. We may never know the truth in this strange tale.

Despite spreading this case across two blog posts, there are even more details I couldn’t include here. Below are some links for further reading on this strange tale.

Reddit
KC Library Archives

The Strange Case of Jayme Closs

800JaymeCloss-FBI

Someone burst into a rural home in Barron, Wisconsin in the early morning hours of October 15, 2018. Neighbors heard something that sounded like two gunshots, and twenty minutes later 911 received a garbled emergency call from Mrs. Closs’ cell phone. When police arrived, the mother was deceased, and the father died shortly after the police arrived. Thirteen-year-old Jayme Closs was missing. Where can this quiet, well-mannered teen be?

There’s a ton of online theories on this case, but the evidence released thus far doesn’t point to any of them. As of today, the parents are deceased, and Jayme is considered missing and endangered. The murder weapon wasn’t found on the scene, and the police are quick to say that Jayme is in no way a suspect in this case.

It’s been eleven days, and hundreds of tips have poured in, and the authorities are checking every one of them. The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the whereabouts of Jayme.

The family members made an emotional plea for information on October 24th proclaiming their love for their missing loved one. The authorities are looking for two vehicles. Surveillance videos picked up a red or orange Dodge Challenger or Charger and a Black SUV believed to be a Ford Edge or an Acura MBX.

In a small town of 3,500 people, 2,000 volunteers gathered to search for the missing teenager. Unlike other cases, the authorities have kept the searches well organized in hopes of finding the one clue that could save a child’s life. Unfortunately, the searches haven’t yielded the smoking gun everyone was hoping for. Citizens are left to wonder why this happened and how could it have happened in their otherwise safe community.

If you have any information, please contact 1 (855) 744-3879

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Black Gold Runs Blood Red in Texas: Finale

Last week we left wondering who in the world owns Janice Willhelm’s 7-acre farm just outside of Centerville, Texas. Her husband, Gerald Willhelm, had died mysteriously less than a week after he gave an interview to the media. While there is no one left to contest his sudden heart attack and cremation, Janice’s family still fights for justice in this greedy land grab.

Although, the lawsuits were still pending Gerald’s will was quickly probated and pushed through the system. He left his wife’s farm to a blond banker from town and one of the witnesses that signed off on Janice’s forged will. While the banker’s mother swears her daughter just had a “Father/Daughter” type relationship with Gerald Wilhelm, Janice’s family refuse to believe such a thing. It will be proven in court one way or another, but in the meantime, Janice’s children are still fighting.

Janice Willhelm’s will was a blatant forgery, and this has been verified by two different handwriting experts. The will was pushed through without the children’s knowledge. This is one battle for the Robeson family, but sadly, there is more.

Morris and his wife Mable raised their grandson as their own child and treated him accordingly. Unfortunately, this seems to have driven a wedge between their eldest son and their unofficially adopted one. Before Morris’ murder, the uncle began to wage war on the grandson, and it continues to this day. After the death, Mable sold her grandson a part of the property on the contingency that she could live out her days in the home. Of course, he agreed. This, unfortunately, drove the wedge deeper causing the uncle to file lawsuit after lawsuit trying to pry the property from his nephew’s hands. The vindictive man even used his own mother’s name to file a lawsuit. When contacted, however, Mable was shocked by it and demanded that it be dropped. If I went into every detail of this family feud, this blog series would last for another year. After reviewing all the evidence, I am left with one question that I will relate to you.

Was this uncle so greedy that he would cause, or allow the murders of his own father and his sister?

When his daughter was caught talking, she was suddenly found dead in her home from an overdose. Yes, she was an addict, but it seems strange nonetheless. Everyone that crosses the uncle seems to end up in endless litigation or six feet under the Texas dirt.

This case continues and continues to fight for justice. This case has been appealed all the way up to the Texas Rangers only to hit a brick wall there as well. The only hope at this point may be the FBI and the media. If you have been a victim of corruption in Leon County, Texas, you can visit http://texaspubliccorruption.com/ and submit your story anonymously.

Don’t let the saying “Texas Justice” stand for bullying by corrupt officials. Let Texas Justice stand for truth and the good ole’ American way. 

Silenced by the Dixie Mafia Part 3: A Judge is Murdered

Dixie Mafia

According to an article on the FBI’s website, in 1983, federal authorities designated the entire Harrison County Sherriff’s office as a criminal enterprise. Sheriff Leroy Hobbs was hand in hand with the Dixie Mafia. In 1987, a prominent judge and his wife were murdered in their home and some of the local corruption would be exposed. Now 30 years later the rest of this story will be told. Judge Vincent Sherry and his wife Margret were murdered in their home on the evening of September 14, 1987. The official report states that Pete Halat and Charles Lager “discovered” the bodies on the morning of September 16th. The popular tv show “The FBI Files” even states this as fact. This, however, is merely another coverup perpetrated by this group of people. One lone woman knew the truth for decades and now everyone will know. Pete Halat had been to the house the day before with one honest cop bound by a gambling addiction and his name is Lt. Dan Anderson.

Can someone be honest and be a gambler? Yes. Can someone be bound by an addiction to gambling? Of course. We see this every day. Is it too far-fetched to assume this man could be forced into silence because of his addiction? What if his son had already died of suspicious circumstances? I will let you ponder those questions as I relate to you the story of September 15, 1987.

Lt. Dan Anderson worked as a court bailiff for Judge Vincent Sherry and considered him a friend. On the morning of September 15th, Anderson arrived early to the courthouse to get the building ready for the day’s legal wranglings. He turned on all the lights and adjusted the thermostat and made the coffee. Strangely, the judge never arrived. Judge Sherry hadn’t missed one court date in his entire career. As the clocked ticked past his first appointment his bailiff began to worry. Anderson made a phone call to the judge’s house but there wasn’t any answer. Finally, Anderson called the judge’s legal partner Pete Halat and asked if the judge happened to be in the office with him. The answer was negative. Concerned, Anderson told Halat that he wasn’t waiting any longer. He was going to drive over to the judge’s house and see what was going on. Halat immediately told the bailiff that he would meet him at the judge’s house.

Together they approached the door of the house and Dan Anderson noticed it was partially opened. He called out “Sherry,” a nickname for the judge and there wasn’t a response. Anderson carefully pushed open the door and found the body of the 58-year-old man lying on the floor. Continuing through the house, Anderson found the body of Mrs. Margret Sherry in the bedroom.

Struggling to keep his emotions in check, Dan Anderson told Pete Halat what he found. This is where the case gets even stranger. Instead of calling for backup, Pete Halat sends the bailiff home claiming that he would handle the situation. Supposedly, he didn’t want the media to find out about this until he could get the police on site and figure out what happened to the judge.

Lt. Anderson returns home distraught after seeing the corpses of his friends. Before he could get himself together, his daughter Phyllis happened to call. On this rare occasion, Dan Anderson poured out his emotional story to his daughter giving details of the crime scene. Phyllis listened and tried to console her father and promised to call and check on him later that evening. When evening came, her father was back to his tight-lipped self and refused to speak of it again. Phyllis had no way of knowing that her father was being forced into silence. She assumed it was his quiet way of dealing with trauma.

The next day Pete Halat makes a big deal of the judge being late for court and persuades his junior law partner, Charles Lager into driving out the judge’s house with him. This is where the “official” report begins. Halat barely steps into the house and steps back out onto the porch to report the two were dead. Later in trial Lager would confess that Halat didn’t seem shocked by their death. Also, he stated that Halat didn’t go all the way into the back of the house where Margret’s body lay. How did he know they were both dead? Well, you and I know the truth.

An investigation was launched and eventually, a partial truth came out. Pete Halat and a few others had been in league with the infamous Kirksey Nix, Jr on a big money-making scam. The FBI labeled it “The Lonely Hearts” scam. Basically, Nix had found a way to con hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the local gay community. He would post pictures of good-looking men in the paper along with a tear-jerking ad. This poor handsome gay man was looking for love, was being wrongfully accused, and needed money to help with his legal fees. Trying to help out, these victims would send in their money and their love letters. Then the criminal scumbags would turn around and blackmail these good-hearted men. In the 1980’s most of these men weren’t open about their sexuality and Nix found it easy to blackmail them.  By September they were raking in six figures. This is when Halat begins to get greedy. Why did he have to put all the money back in a safe deposit box for Nix? Instead, he transferred $100,000 to a safe deposit box he shared with Judge Sherry. When Nix found out about the theft, Halat blames it on the judge. Nix hires a hitman to kill the couple and Halat wins all the way around. You see, Halat wanted to run for mayor and one of his biggest political rivals was Margret Sherry. Now Halat had the money, the Sherrys were gone, and two years after their death he becomes the mayor.

The FBI investigators had to keep the case close to the chest for fear of tipping off the corrupt mayor, but in October 1996 Halat’s charade was over when he was arrested and tried for his involvement in the murder of Judge Sherry. Nix and the hitman would get life in prison, but Halat only received 18 years.

Phyllis knew about the case, but her father tried to keep her from paying too much attention to the news. Living two states away in Georgia, it was easy to get distracted by her own life and not follow the case too closely. It would take a chance meeting in a restaurant before Phyllis would get her father to speak of the case again.

Fast forward to 1997. Phyllis and her husband were having dinner when she overheard the people behind her say something about the Sherry murders. Phyllis being a good ‘ole southern gal has never met a stranger and can talk to anyone. She turns around and innocently asks the man if he were talking about the murder of Judge Vincent Sherry and his wife Margret. To her surprise, the man glared at her and without saying a word he stood up with his woman and left the restaurant. Phyllis was taken aback and glanced at the table and noticed they hadn’t even eaten their dinner. When she returned home she phoned her dad and told him about the strange encounter.

Dan exploded on the phone demanding to know what the man looked like. Phyllis described him not understanding her father’s outburst.

“That was John Ransom. He’s the S.O.B. who killed Sherry and Margret.” Dan also told of Pete Halat’s involvement and then demanded that she never speak of this case to anyone again.

I wish I could say that this is the end of this story, but we have one more murder to cover next week. Lt. Dan Anderson would be killed. Guess what? His death was ruled suicide. Surely, by this point in this story, you won’t believe that for a moment. Below I have listed a few links to more information about the case of Judge Sherry and his wife.

More info:

https://www.sunherald.com/news/local/crime/article173225801.html

The Misidentified Serial Killer

cleophus cooksey jr

Photo courtesy of Arizona Police Department

Cleophus Cooksey Jr, 36 was released from prison in July of 2017 only to kill nine people four months later. Cooksey was immediately labeled a serial killer, but I tend to disagree. The FBI defines a serial killer as someone who kills three or more people with a cooling-off period in between. Serial killers tend to kill for sexual gratification and chose victims according to their fetish desires. Spree killers, on the other hand, tend to kill two or more people in a short period of time. These killers escalate quickly and don’t have a cooling-off period between the murders. I argue that Cooksey would fall into the spree killer category. I will present the facts as they are available and let you decide.

Cooksey was the grandson of an Arizona civil-rights leader Roy L. Cooksey. The civil rights activist opened the state’s first black-owned daycare center in Tucson and helped to establish the Afro-American Coordination Committee in 1960. Surely his children and grandchildren would follow in his footsteps and become pillars in their community, right? Unfortunately, that’s not the case here. Cleophus Cooksey, Jr. would have continuous run-ins with Arizona law enforcement during his teenage years and was imprisoned by the age of 18 convicted of manslaughter. He would be behind bars for 16 years.
Cooksey was released from prison in early 2015 even after being charged with 22 infractions while behind bars. Freedom would last ten months before he was arrested for a DUI. After his release from the DUI, he would again be arrested in May 2016 on another parole violation. This hopping in and out of jail continued until he was finally released under supervision on July 28, 2017. This time he would go on to kill nine people four months after his release.

victims of cleophus cooksey jr

Photo courtesy of Arizona Police Department

November 27, 2017:
Andrew Remillard, 27 and Parker Smith, 21 were found shot to death in a Phoenix parking lot.
December 2, 2017:
Salim Richards, 35 was robbed and shot. He would die at the scene before paramedics could get him stabilized.

December 11, 2017:
Jesus Bonifacio Real, 25 was shot and killed. Mr. Real was the brother of Cooksey’s ex-girlfriend.

December 13, 2017:
Latorrie Beckford, 29 was killed

December 16, 2017:
Kristopher Cameron’s remains were found discarded in a field. He was only 21.
Later the same day, Maria Billanueva, 43 was kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and killed.

December 17, 2017:
The police were called when neighbors heard shots fired. The authorities arrived to find Rene Cooksey and Edward Nunn shot and killed. Cleophus Cooksey, Jr. was arrested for the death of his mother and stepfather the same day. It would take a little while before ballistics would link the other slayings with Cooksey. It is unclear what set off Cooksey, or what his motive was in the slayings. I will keep you posted as I follow the case.

Synova’s Rantings:

I contend that the media uses the word “serial killer” a little too much. A spree killer doesn’t seem to draw the same attention. I will let you draw your own conclusions, but I feel the media uses “click bait” titles to draw attention. I wish we could go back to reporting the facts of cases and stop muddying the water with sensationalized news. The suspected crimes of this man, if proven true are heinous enough without the dramatizing of headlines.

 

Serial Killer or Psychotic Windbag?

Arthur Ream

“Art had a thing for little girls,” said Arthur Ream’s ex-wife. Unfortunately, this information wouldn’t be taken seriously for 22 years after the disappearance of Cindy Zarzycki. Now nearly forty years from her death the authorities wonder if this serial pedophile and child killer could actually be a serial killer. I will let you decide.

Who is Arthur N. Ream?

Art Ream is a 68-yr-old convicted pedophile, child molester, and child killer. His lengthy criminal record extends back to the early 1970’s. He was arrested in 1975 for taking indecent liberties with a child and served five years. By 1986, Ream was living in East Detroit, Michigan. (The town would be later renamed as Eastpointe)
Cindy Zarzycki, 13 was madly in love with a boy named Scott. He was her dreamy first crush and he was all she could talk about. In April of 1986, Cindy had been grounded for disobeying her father and was supposed to stay home. The single father had his hands full raising a family on his own, but he had to keep an eye on his teen girl and the rebelliousness that comes with adolescence. Knowing the world for what it was, he had one rule that must be obeyed. It was simple. “Do not walk home alone.”
Cindy disobeyed and walked home from the local mall and was grounded for it. This simple rule, had it been followed could have saved the young girl’s life. Puppy love is blinding, however, and Cindy found herself sneaking out to go to her “boyfriend’s” surprise birthday party. She was to meet Scott’s father at Dairy Queen at 11 am. There was one piece of critical information hidden from sweet Cindy. Scott’s father was none other than the convicted child molester, Arthur Ream. There wasn’t a birthday party. Scott wasn’t even in the state at the time. Cindy headed towards the Dairy Queen on April 18, 1986, and was never seen again. The case was viewed as a runaway and overlooked for several weeks before falling into the cold case files.
Years later cold case detectives notice Linda Bronson’s statement about her ex-husband and reached out to her. That coupled with witness statements from childhood friends made Arthur Ream the prime suspect. Finally, in 2008, the family watched Arthur Ream receive a life sentence for the murder of their innocent little Cindy. Eventually, with some physiological wrangling, the detectives convinced Ream to lead them to Cindy’s body. Buried with her was her favorite denim purse filled with the mixtape she made for her beloved Scott’s birthday.

Fast forward to 2018 and now Ream is in the headlines again when investigators have possibly linked up to six more cold cases to the child killer. Evidence led them to believe that the bodies of several other young girls had been buried near Cindy’s gravesite in the early 1970’s. Here is a brief synopsis of each of the possible victims.

• Cynthia Coon, 13
Coon was last seen in Ann Arbor, Michigan on January 19, 1970. This was just before Art Ream’s first prison sentence. Cynthia Coon loved to walk the one mile to school every morning. She was on her way to the Forsythe Junior High School building on the morning of January 19th but never arrived.

This case was unusual because she actually contacted her parents three months later in April 1970. She was afraid and couldn’t tell her parents her location. The police wondered if it was another runaway situation, but this theory was dispelled when the parents received an extortion phone call a month later. After that horrifying call, there has been no contact from the missing thirteen-year-old.

Police are still looking for possible links between the missing girl and Arthur Ream and wonder if they will find her remains in Ream’s morbid cemetery in Macomb Township.

• Nadine O’Dell, 16

Nadine was a quiet teenager that frequently babysat other children. August 16, 1974, she was on her way to meet her boyfriend to babysit for his young siblings. He was planning to meet her at the halfway point so she wouldn’t have to walk alone the entire way. She never made it to the rendezvous point. The cold case remains unsolved 44 years later.

• Kim Larrow, 15

Kim was visiting her friend who worked at an ice cream shop in Canton, Michigan. The girls were making plans to meet at Haggerty Field that evening, but the teenager was never seen again. Unfortunately, a child of divorced parents Kim had become a bit rebellious and found herself experimenting with drugs. This was the excuse that was given later when it was discovered that the family didn’t file a missing person’s report for several days. Whatever the reasons, Kim’s case has remained cold since June 8, 1981.

• Kellie Brownlee, 17

On May 20, 1982, Kellie Brownlee had hitchhiked to the Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, Michigan where she planned on submitting several job applications. She applied at a few locations and was even spotted by a family friend, but never returned home.

• Kimberly King, 12

The youngest of Ream’s possible victims was a 12-yr-old named Kimberly King. September 15, 1979, Kim was supposed to go to the movies with her friends, but when plans changed she called them from a local payphone. Kimberly never showed up to meet her friends.

So, is Arthur Ream a serial killer, or was he merely bragging to other inmates to bolster is jailhouse persona? The FBI and Michigan authorities don’t think so. They spent a week out digging the wooded area trying to find human remains. Unfortunately, the area is huge. The team finally closed the dig site and is currently restructuring the dig. I will continue watching this case and will let you know what they find out. As always if you have any information on this case please contact the FBI at 1-800-CALLFBI


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. 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. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


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FBI’s Top 10 ART Crimes #2: Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist

ISGardnerMuseum

 

The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Heist has been labeled “The Crime of the Century,” but although the crime itself was rather remarkable, the fact that the case has gone unsolved for more than 27 years is unthinkable.

On March 18, 1990, two armed police officers knocked on the gates of the museum claiming to be responding to a disturbance call. The guards let them in thinking that there must be a mistake. Neither man had called the authorities. When they tried to explain this to the uniformed men, the guards were informed of the truth. They had given entry to two disguised art thieves. The guards were marched down to the basement at gunpoint and handcuffed to the water pipes. Their hands and feet were bound with duct tape and their mouths taped shut.

The thieves then took their time and stole thirteen pieces of art with an estimated value of over $500,000,000. These pieces included Rembrandt’s only seascape The Storm on the Sea of GalileeVermeer’s The Concertand a Chinese bronze gu from the Shang Dynasty. Other pieces were stolen, but the strangest item was a bronze finial that sat atop a Napoleonic Flag. This bronze bird has brought on many unanswered questions. If this was a professional job orchestrated by an art connoisseur then why did they steal this bird?

isabella stewart gardner museum heist

Motion censors indicated the movement of the thieves, their trips to their awaiting vehicle to load their stolen goods, and their final exit. The entire operation took an amazing 81 minutes. 27 years later the case is still unsolved and not one of the stolen pieces have been recovered.

Recently there has been a stirring in this cold case in the news. A Boston gangster named Robert Gentile has been making headlines. This aging criminal has claimed, officially, to have no knowledge of the matter. However, privately he has told people he knows where the artwork is located. FBI investigators are hot on the trail of this and has searched his home twice. I will keep you posted on leads as they are reported.

As always if you have any information on these missing pieces please call

1-800-CALLFBI. 

YouTube Video about the heist.

(I do not own the rights to this video. I am merely sharing it for public use)

 

Photo credits:

Museum Picture: By Biruitorul – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4004123

Federal Bureau of Investigation Art Crime Team, Public Domain, via Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) @ https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/5-million-reward-offered-for-return-of-stolen-gardner-museum-artwork