7 DOUBLE Murder Cases that Remain UNSOLVED

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Double murders are rarer than single murders, but they still happen more than we might think. There have been many double murders throughout history that remain unsolved and here are seven of them from the 1970s and 1980s.

1. Franklin Shumaker and Patricia Doyle

Location: Brevard County, Florida. Date: 9th Jan 1979

The bodies of Franklin Shumaker and Patricia Doyle were found in their motorhome by site workers at the I-95 rest stop near Grant. Staff at the site became suspicious as the vehicle had been parked all day.

Upon entering the van, they found that the Deland pair had been murdered, though exact details surrounding their murders are minimal at best.

Both victims had been met with foul play and despite an investigation into the double murder, the case remains an active cold case to this day.

2. Stephen C. Bender and Michael R. Forness

Location: Allegany, New York. Date: 6th Feb 1978

30-year-old Stephen C. Bender and 29-year-old Michael R. Forness were found murdered at the Wing Hollow Ski Corporation where they were both employees.

They were discovered in the early hours, having been shot multiple times with a .38 caliber revolver. The motive was robbery as a safe had been removed which contained approximately $18,000 in various currencies.

The empty safe was later discovered beneath the Vandalia Bridge in the Allegheny River. Despite an extensive search of the surrounding area at the time of the double murder, they still remain unsolved.

3. Joe Gallagher and Freda Hunter

Location: Manchester, England. Date: 28th Feb 1979

7 DOUBLE Murder Cases that Remain UNSOLVED
CREDIT: GMP Cold Case Unit. Images released to media for appeal.

The murderer became known as the Hallbottom Street Hammer Killer or the Lovenest Killer. The bodies of 30-year-old Joe Gallagher and his girlfriend, 20-year-old Freda Hunter, were discovered in the bedroom of their home by a friend.

They had last been seen four days earlier when Joe had picked Freda up from her bar job. Investigators found that they had been dead for at least three days and had been beaten to death with a hammer.

Joe’s wage packet had been stolen and he was known to have dealt in Marijuana, but no real motive has ever been found. No suspect has ever been caught.

Anyone with information about the murders can call the Cold Case Unit of Greater Manchester Police on 0161 856 5961 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

4. Ricky Merrill and Dori Colyer

Location: Hernando County, Florida. Date: 9th May 1981

7 DOUBLE Murder Cases that Remain UNSOLVED
CREDIT: Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. Released for appeal.

The pair had last been seen drinking at the now defunct Hilltop Lounge in Brooksville, when they left and told friends they would be back shortly.

A couple of hours later, around 2.30am, firefighters were called to what they thought was a bush fire but found a burning vehicle instead with the Ricky and Dori’s bodies inside.

It was later concluded the pair had burned alive inside the car and were only identified through dental records and jewellery items. There is a website dedicated solely to this unsolved case. www.rickanddori.com

5. Margaret and Keith Conable

Location: San Antonio, Texas. Date: 10th May 1980

The bodies of 50-year-old Margaret and her husband, 53-year-old Keith, were discovered in their home by a neighbour who was checking up on them. They had been tied up and beaten to death.

At around 11pm the night before, the same neighbour had reported hearing gunshots and looked out their window to see the Conable’s vehicle driving off at high speed. They had assumed that the Conable’s were on their way to the hospital until they checked the house the next day.

Despite numerous leads, the murders have remained unsolved. Their car, a 1973 Mercury Montego, has never been found. SAPD’s Cold Case Squad is still investigating the murder.

6. Rhonda & Donald Wicht

Location: Los Angeles, California. Date: 11th Nov 1978

7 DOUBLE Murder Cases that Remain UNSOLVED
CREDIT: Simi Valley Police Department 

24-year-old Rhonda Wicht and her 4-year-old son, Donald Wicht, were found dead in her apartment in Simi Valley, Los Angeles. Donald had been smothered and Rhonda had been strangled with a macrame cord and raped.

A suspect named Craig Coley was arrested and sentenced to life, all the while maintaining his innocence. In 2017, after 39 years in prison, new evidence overturned Coley’s conviction and the resulting federal lawsuit saw him receive $21million (USD) as his settlement.

It was the longest prison term to be overturned in California history. The true suspect and motives behind the murders remain a mystery and unsolved to this day. Coley is now offering a $50,000 reward to anyone who comes forward with information related to the case.

7. Kerry Ann Graham and Francine Marie Trimble

Location: Forestville, California. Date: 16th Dec 1978

7 DOUBLE Murder Cases that Remain UNSOLVED
CREDIT: Image used under Fair Use guidelines to illustrate the article.

15-year-old Kerry and 14-year-old Francine vanished while on a trip to a shopping mall in Santa Rosa. Their bodies were discovered half a year later in July 1979.

Their remains were found in rubbish bags, buried in a shallow grave, 80 miles away from where they had vanished. They remained a missing persons case until 2015 when DNA on two Jane Doe’s came back as a match.

Their bodies had been on ice since their discovery in 1979 and were not identified sooner due to the decomposition of the bodies. No suspect has ever been named.


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Response (2)
  1. S
    Sparrow12 July 14, 2022

    Horrible that these remain unsolved. What the hell were the police doing at the time?

  2. H
    Hunter July 28, 2022

    I get why police don’t release too many details but come on, releasing details clearly helps the public get a better idea of what happened so that they could maybe help in solving the case.

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