True Crime On This Day April 20th

True Crime On This Day April 20th

April 20th

On April 20th in true crime, serial killers, West Haven Jane Doe, robbery, murder, macabre discovery, and unsolved mystery.


The Stocking Killer, Carlton Gary, claimed his final victim. He killed 61-year-old Janet Cofer by strangling her with her own clothing. He is linked to at least seven murders from 1977 to 1978.


In West Haven, Connecticut, the skeletal remains of a female between 18 and 25-years-old was discovered near a water-processing plant.

The only clues to the woman’s identity were a black-lace bra and a folding alarm clock found near the body.

It was estimated that she had died between 1971 and 1978 and may have been the victim of foul play. As of 2022, the identity of West Haven Jane Doe remains a mystery.


In Texas, robber and career criminal James David Autry and his accomplice John Alton Sandifer shot dead 43-year-old convenience store worker Shirley Drouet.

During the robbery, Autry shot Drouet at point blank range in the head. He then shot dead a Roman Catholic priest, who was a witness to the robbery.

Another witness, Greek seaman Anthanasios Svarnas was also shot in the head but later survived, only to suffer from brain damage for the rest of his life. No money was stolen but one single can of beer was reported missing.

Both suspects were arrested shortly after. Autry was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection on March 14th 1984.

Sandifer was initially sentenced to death but in a retrial was re-sentenced to seven years and released on parole in 1983. He was rearrested on a parole violation in 1985.


In Hialeah, Florida, the remains of an unidentified female were discovered. The body remained unidentified for 26 years until 2007 when new DNA technology confirmed that the body was that of 16-year-old Jean Marie Stewart.

She had disappeared in March 1980 while waiting outside a 7-11 convenience store in Miami Lakes. It was the night before she was due to catch a flight to Pittsburgh for a family wedding.

Her friends had arranged a going away party for her and one of her friends was taking her there when he stopped off at the convenience store. He went inside the shop to make a purchase and when he returned to the car, Stewart was nowhere to be seen.

Her personal belongings, including the flight ticket, were still in the car. A murder investigation was opened in 2007 and remains active to this day.


In Johnstown, New York, 22-year-old Paul J. Sekel vanished without a trace. He was last seen by one of his friends wearing jeans and a dark blue nylon zippered jacket.

He had on Size 10 brown suede shoes with laces and was wearing a belt with a large buckle. Sekel’s vehicle was found abandoned on a local rural road the following day.

Investigators believe he was the victim of an abduction and murder but no trace of him has ever been found. His case remains unsolved.


In Washington County, Kansas, 66-year-old Frederick Albert Iwert went missing from his farm under suspicious circumstances. Iwert was last seen by his brother at the farm and was told that Iwert’s neighbour, Ted Garner, was headed over to help with farm chores.

Garner later claimed that Iwert had met a woman who owned a farm in Mississippi and that he was going to move there. Garner also claimed that Iwert had sold his farm to him but the records of the sell had been faked.

In October 1983, with evidence mounting against him, Garner was arrested and charged with Iwert’s murder. In January 1984, he was convicted of murder, attempted theft, and forgery. His motive was the financial value in the land of the farm.

Despite his convictions, Iwert’s body has never been found. Garner is only one of two people convicted of murder in Kansas where the victim’s body has not been present.

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