Last Updated on January 23, 2023 by Ben Oakley
On April 29th in true crime, crime family enforcer, serial killer William Bonin, mystery disappearance, murder, and bombers from Silesia.
Killer and rapist, Michael Allen Hersh, stabbed to death 47-year-old Norma Simerly in her home in Vancouver’s Lincoln neighbourhood.
Blood splattered throughout the kitchen, hallways and master bedroom showed evidence of a drawn-out struggle. Simerly was stabbed four times and bludgeoned in the face with a piece of firewood.
She was found naked in her bedroom with her hands bound and a vodka bottle lying on her body.
Hersh was convicted in a cold case trial in April 2010, whilst serving time for another 1978 attack on Joy Fletcher. He was sentenced to an additional 33 years for Simerly’s murder.
In Los Angeles, enforcer for the Los Angeles Crime Family, Thomas Louis Ricciardi died of apparent heart disease. Known as Tommy Fingers, he was a crime family soldier and enforcer for the Colombo Crime Family in New York before moving to California.
On May 16th 1978, Ricciardi was sentenced to 14 months in prison for extortion. He was later charged for the 1977 killing of FBI informant Frank Bompensiero.
Before he could go on trial for the murder, he died. Upon his death, all other defendants in the murder case were acquitted.
In the parking lot of a supermarket in Stanton, California, 19-year-old Darin Lee Kendrick was abducted by serial killer William George Bonin and accomplice Vernon Butts.
Kendrick had been collecting shopping carts and was lured into Bonin’s van by the offer of free drugs. During the night, he was raped, tortured, and strangled to death.
He had been forced to ingest an acid which left him with internal burns and had an ice pick inserted into his ear that severed his upper spinal cord. His nude body was found the next day in an industrial park.
Bonin became known as The Freeway Killer. He was known to dump his victim’s bodies on the side of freeways. Bonin killed at least 21 people from 1979 to 1980 and was sentenced to death.
He was executed in February 1996. Vernon Butts, who helped Bonin kill some of his victims, took his own life in 1981 while awaiting trial.
In Castle Rock, Colorado, 83-year-old Maurice Gordon Dametz disappeared from the Devil’s Hand area of Pike National Forest while he was collecting rocks with a friend, David McSherry.
He was last seen approximately 50 metres away near the Topaz Point picnic area. In the mid-afternoon,
McSherry went to check on him, while he was digging for Topaz, just fifteen minutes after last seeing him. But Dametz had vanished.
When investigators arrived, they noted the area Dametz vanished from was undisturbed with no signs of a struggle and no blood. Just before midnight, the first search and rescue teams arrived, and the following week they combed the area.
The disappearance became even stranger when search dogs failed to pick up any scent. He was declared dead in 1990 after being missing for nine years.
Many theories have arisen over the years. Suicide was ruled out because Dametz was a former pastor and devout Christian.
One theory suggested McSherry had murdered him beforehand and never actually went rock digging but gave the story as a cover-up, yet there was no motive to do so.
Dametz may have wandered off and got lost but he had medical conditions which inhibited him from too much physical exertion, there were also hills either side that would have been difficult for him to climb.
Another theory suggests he was abducted by aliens! Despite a large search and wild theories, no trace of Dametz has ever been found. It’s as if he simply disappeared.
In Silesia, Poland, local miners planted a bomb and blew up a monument dedicated to Soviet soldiers who had liberated Poland from the Nazis in 1945.
The bombers became known as the Bombers from Silesia. The miners were arrested and jailed shortly after but the operation was deemed a success as the monument was never reconstructed.
The attack happened during Martial Law in Poland which lasted from December 13th 1981 to July 22nd 1983. The Communist government of the Polish People’s Republic introduced martial law in an attempt to weaken political opposition.
Over the 19-month period, thousands of opposition activists were imprisoned without charge with an estimated 90 killed. Many political prisoners were not released until a general amnesty in 1986, which included the Bombers from Silesia.
In Kirkland, Washington, 13-year-old Patrick ‘Pat’ Cress, disappeared after a sleepover at a friend’s house.
His father went to pick him up outside a shop the next day but Pat never showed up. He was reported missing the same day but it was claimed the police at the time assumed he had run away.
18 days after his disappearance, Pat’s body was discovered by a construction worker in a small body of water not too far from his friend’s house.
He had been beaten to death with a blunt force trauma to the head. A few days before the discovery, rumours circulated at Pat’s school that he had been beaten to death but investigators never found the source of the rumours.
Pat’s murder has never been solved and no suspect has ever been found.
Mandy Lee Yodgee was 17-years-old when on she left her home in Victoria, Australia, on 29th April 1984 to visit her boyfriend’s apartment.
She went out drinking with a different male who said she got into a taxi at 1.30am after leaving his apartment. She was reported missing two days later and missed her birthday celebrations.
One week later, her body was discovered near the mountainous Dandenong Ranges. It appeared she had been thrown from a moving vehicle down an embankment and died from her injuries.
The case remains open.
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I think this was no way an accident or a case of getting lost, this was murder. If they got…
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I'm honoured. Thank you and stay safe.
I really enjoy reading your short clips about the crimes committed. I like the books you write too.
The number of victims is always contentious.
Why not Jack the Ripper? He could have had different MO's.