Murders send a chill up our spines and force us to consider our own mortality especially when the murders look like these 25 most shocking murders ever committed. The only thing worse than a murder is an unsolved murder where the killer likely walks free and the family of the deceased has not been able to find closure. Despite DNA testing and advanced crime scene technologies, police still find it difficult to solve some cases, whether due to lack of evidence or lack of leads or other circumstances. The murders in this list remain unsolved mysteries to this day. From ex-lovers to coworkers to complete strangers, the suspects are varied and diverse. Make sure the lights are on when reading this list of the 25 most terrifying unsolved murder mysteries.
A story which could have been F. Scott Fitzgerald’s sequel to The Great Gatsby is that of Camilla Lyman. A well-known clumber spaniel breeder, Camilla was a rich recluse who underwent a physical transformation from woman to man from 1978 to 1985 and took on the name Cam. Cam met George O’Neil in 1981 and hired him as caretaker of his estate and dogs. When Cam failed to send his annual Christmas cards to family in 1987, they knew something was up. Police questioned O’Neil who said he hadn’t seen Cam since the summer, assuming he had gone to Europe to finish the gender reassignment surgery (though he gave no reason why he thought this). Eight years later, Cam was declared legally dead by his family; two years after that, the new estate owner found his body in a sewer. O’Neil was naturally the prime suspect but police could never link him to the death. He was, though, indicted for embezzling money which arrived in Cam’s name and keeping it. If O’Neil was the real killer, he recently (coldly) said, “She’s dead. I don’t know anything about it.”
Mario Amado thought he was taking a leisurely vacation to Rosarito Beach, Mexico, with his brother and their girlfriends. But their beach holiday took a turn for the worst. Arrested for fighting with his girlfriend, Mario was taken to prison where he was found hanging in his jail cell two hours after the arrest. The police officers were thought to have beaten Mario to death and tried to cover up it. After a second autopsy, evidence emerged that proved death by trauma. One officer, Jose Antonio Verduzco Flores, was arrested and sentenced to 8.5 years in prison, only four months of which he served. His sentence was soon overturned and the murder mystery remains unsolved.
The emergency line in Wheeling, Illinois, received a strange call on October 28, 1991. An unknown man called the emergency number, giving the address of an unconscious woman. Before the operator could get more information, he hung up the phone. Paramedics arrived on the scene to find exotic dancer Jamie Santos nearly dead in her home. Jamie appeared to have struggled with her killer and ultimately died from asphyxiation by pillow. (The previous day, Jamie cancelled various appointments, leading police to wonder whether she had expected something odd to happen.) Police believe a former customer may have killed Jamie, but with almost no evidence, the case never progressed.
Dick Hansen and his friend Jean were hanging out together before chatting in his car at the end of the night. A car pulled up and parked behind them on a street where only their two cars remained. As they left, Jean followed Dick as she wasn’t familiar with the area, soon getting the idea they were being following by the other car. Darting across a highway and trying desperately to lose their stalker, Jean and Dick exited the highway and parked their cars, behind which the car rolled up and parked behind them. Dick went to confront the man who mortally wounded him. Jean ran back to help Dick and barely caught a glimpse of the shooter as the car sped away. To this day, the murder has not been solved. Jean thinks, due to the man’s football-like build and her license plate reading “49R HUGS”, the killer may have been a fanatic of a rival team, though the ball still hasn’t been caught on Dick’s killer.
Arnold Archambeau and Ruby Bruguier
The mystery of Arnold Archambeau and Ruby Bruguier’s deaths has yet to be solved. While driving home after a night out drinking, Arnold crashed the car into a frozen ditch for unknown reasons. Arnold and Ruby were nowhere to be found when paramedics arrived, pulling Ruby’s cousin Tracy out of the car. Three months later, police found Ruby’s decomposed body in the ditch and soon after found Arnold’s less-decomposed body. No one knows what happened to the two but foul play has been assumed.
Jack Davis Jr.
Indiana University of Pennsylvania student Jack Davis Jr. was found dead in a campus stairwell in October 1987. Police initially ruled the cause of death as choking, claiming he died by passing out, vomiting, and swallowing the vomit which he then choked on. A pathologist was called in by the family some years later who found no food in his lungs and found his skull fractured in three places. These discoveries led to the opening of the case again but it was soon closed after further information was not found. Some believe Jack was in a fight that night and, after his attackers found he wasn’t getting better, dumped his body in the stairwell once he died.
An anonymous writer only identified as the Circleville Writer wrote to Mary Gillespie in December of 1976. The Circleville Writer claimed to know of her extramarital affair with the school superintendent and threatened violence to get her to stop. Her husband Ron received a phone call many months later after which he drove away from the house with his gun. His body was found nearby with a bullet wound, the car crashed off the road. Mary’s brother, Paul, was arrested for the murder and incarcerated, though the harassing letters continued to arrive. As he was convicted circumstantially and the letters kept coming, Paul was released; the killer has yet to be identified.
Blair Adams was a young Canadian construction worker who feared someone was after him. After a string of erratic behaviors – withdrawing all money from his savings account, trying to get across the American border (he was denied as he had a large sum of money, the sign of a drug trafficker), buying a roundtrip ticket to Germany which he soon returned – Blair managed to cross the border to Seattle in a rental car. He flew one-way to Washington D.C. and drove to Kentucky. In Knoxville, he told a gas station attendant his car wouldn’t start and the attendant told him he had the the wrong keys. Hitchhiking to a nearby hotel, Blair checked in and later left the hotel. His body was found 12 hours later, naked from the waist down and surrounded in Canadian and American dollars and German marks, in a parking lot.
Wil Hendrick was a University of Idaho student in 1999. While attending a friend’s party, Wil mysteriously disappeared. Rumours began circulating Wil had confronted a group of people at an earlier party over his sexuality and that he was killed for it. The following night, his car was found parked outside of his friend’s house and gone the following day, found parked downtown – unlocked and with his portfolio in it. Though there were no signs of tampering, Wil’s partner Jerry thinks a man driving a refrigerated truck who yelled a gay slur at Wil could be responsible. The man was leaving town and no trail has ever been found. Three years later, Wil’s body was found in a rural part of his college town.
Lawton, Oklahoma, played host to the gruesome and unsolved death of Aileen Conway in 1986. Aileen’s body was found in her flaming car in what her husband (Pat) believes was murder. Though the cause of death was initially ruled an accident, Pat found evidence which seems to prove the contrary, including the car which was smothered in gasoline and a few erratic instances at home such as the iron being left on, her purse left behind, and the water hose filling up the pool. The current assumption is that Aileen may have walked in on burglars who were robbing the neighborhood and the burglars kidnapped her and tried to make her death seem like a road accident.
Angie Housman was a normal fourth-grader living in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri. Last seen alive eight houses away at her local school bus stop, Angie mysteriously disappeared. Her limp, ice-dotted body was found nine days later tied to a tree. The cause of death believed to be exposure to the elements, medical examiners found her kidnapper raped and tortured her for a week before duct-taping her live body to the tree. Though police pulled DNA and fingerprints from her body, they have never been able to identify their owner and thus the killer in this murder mystery.
Su Taraskiewicz was a ramp supervisor at Northwest Airlines in the early 1990’s, only the second female ground service worker for Northwest. Though her death by stabbing and assault was ruled a random act of violence when her body was discovered in the trunk of her car, over a year later her mother was flipping through her diary and found a complex tale of sexual harassment and corruption at work. Su filed complaints with the airline for sexual harassment by her coworkers, but the abuse only worsened. The previous summer, baggage handlers were found to be stealing packages of new credit cards sent in the cargo hold and using or selling them. Some of Su’s coworkers are suspected in her murder, but with little information, her murder remains unsolved.
Cleveland Torso Murderer
Twelve people among Cleveland, Ohio’s homeless population were murdered in the late 1930’s and nobody knows who did it. Also known as the Butcher of Kingsbury Run (a suburb of Cleveland), the Cleveland Torso Murderer always beheaded his/her victims and often cut them in half, even castrating most of the males. Some of the victims’ bodies were found so long after (up to a year in one case) that it was impossible to identify them. Though there were two loose suspects, neither was ever truly linked to the murders.
The town of Gormania, West Virginia, was rocked by a yet unsolved murder-disappearance in early 1998. Teenager Cathy Ford was having an affair with a local police officer, Paul Ferrell. The day after speaking to Paul on the phone, Cathy vanished. Paul found her car near her trailer the next day, burnt to a crisp; police wouldn’t find the car until two weeks later. Paul was later arrested and charged as he did not report the car (and sent a fake letter to the police purportedly from Cathy and as blood found in his bedroom was “not inconsistent” with that from Cathy’s parents. Cathy’s body was never found and an investigative journalist found two witnesses who claimed to have seen Cathy long after her supposed death. Paul was released on parole over 15 years later and some believe he was innocent.
Happy newlyweds Su-Ya Kim and Su Young moved from Korea to the U.S. in 1981. After having two children and opening two successful stores, Su arrived home one day and found his wife Su-Ya had not returned and the car engine was cold. The following day, a security guard found a body in a trash dumpster and reported a white man with round glasses had acted strangely around the bin early that morning. Police identified the body as Su-Ya’s but the evidence has not been sufficient enough to find the killer. With the pain of his wife’s death too hard to bear, Su moved back to Korea with his children a few months later.
Rachael Runyan was like any typical three-year-old girl, playing in her front yard one day when she was kidnapped by an unknown man. Exactly 21 days later, her body was discovered in a rural creek near her hometown. Little evidence existed then, but years later the killer left a message in a market bathroom. He or she claimed that Rachael’s murder was part of a Satanic ritual and police believe she was filmed being molested, tortured, and murdered in a snuff film (“a movie in a purported genre of movies in which an actor is actually murdered or commits suicide”, American Heritage Dictionary). No one has ever been charged with her murder and the mystery remains unsolved.
It’s not unusual for couples to fight as Leroy Drieth and girlfriend Patty did one night. What made it unusual was that after the argument, Leroy’s car crashed into a tree upon leaving Patty’s house and his death was initially ruled a suicide. (A witness said Leroy told him he was going to kill himself after the argument.) Still unsure, his family had his body exhumed 25 years later and knife marks were found on his neck. His family believes Patty’s family may be to blame.
A gang of thugs was terrorizing the small town of Rock Creek, Ohio, in the late 1960’s. Newly hired Chief of Police Robert Hamrick vowed to put an end to the gang, arresting several members while his family received death threats. While pursuing a fleeing vehicle, communication between Robert and the radio dispatcher ended when the line went dead. His car was found four hours later stuck in a tree, with most of his skull crushed and the car windows intact, leading some to believe he was beaten after the crash. Though a witness reported hearing gang members brag about murdering the officer, no one was ever connected or arrested.
Philip Frasier, aged 25, was on his way from Anchorage to Washington state in the summer of 1988. On the way, he picked up a hitchhiker at a service station en route. That night, the hitchhiker arrived at the house of Eddie and Pauline Olson in British Columbia, Canada. He said “his” car was having trouble and they offered to let him stay the night. The next morning, the hitchhiker introduced himself as Philip Frasier and tried to sell the car to Eddie so he could buy a plane ticket. Eddie refused, the hitchhiker drove off, and the car was found burnt out over 300 miles away. Philip’s body wasn’t found for six more weeks, dumped off a turnaround on a country road, and the search for his killer remains.
Rae Ann Mossor
According to her ex-boyfriend, Rae Ann Mossor arrived at his house one chilly February night and attempted to fix their crumbling relationship. After she learned the relationship was unsalvageable, her ex claimed she grabbed a rifle and mortally shot herself. Three witnesses supported her ex-boyfriend’s claim that she threatened to take her own life and, with no evidence of foul play, police ruled her death a suicide. Her parents disagreed and after much time, had her death changed from suicide to undetermined. Though they believe her ex-boyfriend was her killer, the evidence for it doesn’t exist. Some believe her ex was a police informant and was being protected by law enforcement, but this is primarily speculation.
Ruth Cooper, Stephen Harkins, Diana Robertson, Mike Riemer
Ruth Cooper and younger boyfriend Stephen Harkins went camping near Tacoma, Washington in the summer of ’85. Four days after they were last seen, Stephen and his dog’s bodies were found dead (by bullet wounds) in his sleeping bag. Ruth’s body was found two months later, decapitated with a tube sock around her neck. Four months later, Diana Robertson’s body was found deep in a Washington forest, murdered the same way as Ruth. Her boyfriend, Mike Riemer, was nowhere to be found though a note in his blood-stained truck nearby read “I love you, Diana.” Police believed Mike was the murder for 25 years, until his skull was found a mile away from where Diana’s body laid. The case is still unsolved and an unknown serial killer may still be on the loose.
An orthopedic surgeon living near Los Angeles, California, Ted Loseff was experiencing marital disputes with his two-year wife, Wilma. On February 23, 1974, Ted was found lifeless in his car, presumably having suffocated to death in his garage from the running car. Police immediately suspected his wife Wilma, even though their prenuptial agreement stated she would not receive anything in the case of his death. A friend identified Ted’s handwriting in a supposed suicide note written by Ted which asked Wilma for compassion but claimed it was written many months before. An autopsy was finally performed four years later which showed Ted had had been involved in a struggle and vomited before death (the remnants of which were found inside). His wife Wilma died almost 10 years after his death without enough evidence to charge her and Ted Loseff’s death remains unsolved.
Leticia Hernandez, a seven-year-old girl from Oceanside, California, was kidnapped while playing in her front yard in December 1989. Afterwards, several people reported seeing Leticia at different places across the United States with a man and woman in their late twenties, but she was never seen with them by authorities. Over a year later, her body was found off a highway near her hometown, believed to have been killed between 1 to 12 months after her abduction. Her mother died in 1998 without ever finding the true killer.
Nineteen-year-old Keith Warren was found hanging from a tree near his Silver Spring, Maryland, home in what was ruled a suicide. Over five years later, Keith’s mother received an envelope with photos that helped her force police (who had been uncooperative) to reopen the case. The photos showed Keith was wearing clothes which weren’t his and had been initially laid on the ground before being raised up on the tree (which was so small a suicide on it was essentially impossible). Keith’s body was exhumed and deadly chemicals were found in it. Almost 20 years after his death, the case was reopened by the Montgomery County Police Department in 2014. They admitted the investigating officer ruled Keith’s death as a suicide based on hearsay from an unknown source. Keith’s sister Sherri is actively pursuing the answer to her brother’s unsolved murder.
Tina Marcotte & Tom Keuter
The disappearance of Tina Marcotte and death of Tom Keuter are one of the strangest unsolved murder mysteries out there. Tina called her friend Vicky for a ride late one night as she was heading home from work as her car had a flat tire (which was later found to have been slashed). Tom, a coworker and the man Tina told her friend on the phone would give her a ride, was the prime suspect after Tina disappeared. He voluntarily went in for police questioning and gave a story which didn’t entirely fit but wasn’t enough to arrest him. Three days after Tina’s disappearance, police told Tom they found blood in his car and, just after the shift change the following day, Tom was found dead, crushed by the rear wheel of his forklift. Police believe he loaded the machine with 2,000 pounds (907 kg) of lumber from the yard he worked at, drove the forklift up an incline, and ran back to lay in its path as it drifted down. Over two years later, Tina’s body was found under a wood pile at Tom’s former employer; the cause of death was blunt force trauma. Neither Tina’s disappearance nor Tom’s death have ever been truly solved.