8 Unsolved Cold Cases in Utah

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There are many cold cases in Utah, some of which are listed here. Utah is in the Mountain West subregion of the Western United States, and people from Utah are known as Utahns!

1. Jack E. Richardson

On the afternoon of 5th Jan 1979, in Salt Lake City, 54-year-old paraplegic Jack E. Richardson was shot dead in his own home.

There was no sign of forced entry and so it was suspected he had answered the door to robbers who pushed past him into his home.

As Jack fought the robbers, he was shot in the chest. Investigators have since privately named two suspects but their whereabouts remain unknown. No photo of Richardson exists.

2. Corazon Frandsen

Corazon Frandsen cold case murder

Another cold case in Salt Lake City, Utah, began on 5th Feb 1978 when 26-year-old Filipino Corazon Frandsen was found beaten to death in the bushes of a church near the parking lot of Cobblecreek apartments.

She died later the same day in hospital and had suffered injuries consistent with blunt force trauma and exposure to the elements. Her killer has never been found.

In a bizarre twist, a month later, Robert Dean Lancaster appeared in court for the murder of 24-year-old Patricia Luann Cobb, who lived in the same apartment block as Frandsen, but the murders were not connected. Could Cobblecreek Apartments hold the secret to the mystery?

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3. James Douglas Odom

James Douglas Odom cold case murder

The urban population of Salt Lake City makes up a third of Utah’s entire population, so it’s not surprising that the city is home to most of the state’s crime.

39-year-old James Douglas Odom disappeared on 25th June 1981 from near Albertson’s Grocery Store. He was found shot dead two days later in an open field by workers at the Kennecott Copper mine, which is now part of the Rio Tinto group.

Still an active cold case in Utah, no suspect has ever been identified.

4. Richard E. Stanley

On the evening of 21st August 1978 in Salt Lake City, 37-year-old Richard E. Stanley was walking alone at the Oakridge Campground in Big Cottonwood Canyon when he came face to face with his killer.

In an unprovoked attack, a lone suspect armed with a knife jumped from the nearby bushes and stabbed him to death before making his getaway.

The motive behind the murder and the identity of the suspect remains a mystery to this day. The case remains open.

In Utah, in 1978, there were a recorded 49 murders.

5. Tony Adams

Known as the gay rights murder victim, African American activist Tony Adams was found murdered in his apartment by his boyfriend in Salt Lake City on 6th November 1978.

Adams had already been dead for at least two days before he was found and had been stabbed in the neck and chest before having his throat sliced with a butcher’s knife.

He was known to have fought for gay rights and it is suggested that his murder was one of many hate crimes in the Utah region in the late 1970s.

6. Linda H. Peterson

Linda H. Peterson cold case murder

29-year-old Linda Peterson, who was six months pregnant, disappeared from her home on 9th September 1978. She was reported missing by her husband, William Peterson, who claimed she had left in a station wagon with friends.

He later suggested she had hitched a ride to Kentucky. She had no known direct family members at the time of her disappearance. Her fate and whereabouts remain a mystery.

In Utah, in 1978, there were 3,552 violent crimes and 299 rapes.

7. Manuel ‘Babe’ Garcia III

Manuel ‘Babe’ Garcia III cold case murder

In Salt Lake City on 12th August 1980, the decomposing body of 45-year-old drug dealer Manuel ‘Babe’ Garcia III, was discovered along a roadside by highway maintenance workers.

He had last been seen on August 6th after partying with friends at Johnny’s Disco Bar. Garcia had been shot in the chest and dumped on the side of the highway.

Despite numerous investigations, no suspect has ever been caught. This cold case in Utah remains an open investigation.

8. Marilee Lee Bruszer

The naked remains of 33-year-old Marilee Lee Bruszer were discovered near Yuba Lake Campground in Utah on 3rd September 1978. She remained a Jane Doe until 2015 when she was identified using DNA technology.

There was also a larger issue that the original investigators had given a confusing description of the body. Her death remains unsolved and is an active cold case in the State of Utah.

READ NEXT: Unmasking Justice: The Role of DNA Technology in Solving Cold Cases

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