True Crime On This Day August 31st

Last Updated on September 27, 2022 by Ben Oakley

True Crime On This Day August 31st

August 31st

On August 31st in true crime, parole officer murder, the Highway Killer, serial killing Vampire, mystery disappearance, unsolved cold cases.


Harold Shipman, AKA; Doctor Death, ended the life of 73-year-old Mary Ellen Jordan. It would be his second victim in August 1978 alone. He would be convicted of 215 murders but linked with 250.

Shipman killed himself in prison before his sentencing could begin. With 215 convictions of murder to his name, he is the most notorious serial killer by the number of convicted murders in history.


In Erie, Pennsylvania, an apartment fire killed Deborah Sweet’s two children and a man named Eugene Pitts. After she had put her children to bed the night before, Sweet smoked marijuana and drank with an upstairs neighbour and a friend called Louis DiNicola.

In the early hours, they were awakened by a raging fire. Heavy smoke prevented anyone from getting to the children’s room where they both died, along with Pitts who was trapped in the upstairs apartment.

Investigators allowed Sweet to be hypnotised to refresh her recollection. She then claimed that DiNicola had caused the fire using a flammable liquid.

DiNicola was charged and convicted of arson and triple murder, despite maintaining his innocence.

In 1994, following new evidence and a new trial, DiNicola was exonerated of the crime and found innocent. The three deaths were later listed as accidental.


In Podlaski, Poland, serial killer Julian Koltun, AKA: The Podlaski Vampire, claimed his first victim. She was an unnamed Russian female who was raped at knife point and bitten multiple times.

She went on to survive the attack which occurred at the Polish-Soviet border. Koltun was a railroad worker who was later arrested for raping seven women, killing two of them and drinking their blood.

On September 17th, he brutally murdered a teenage girl named Dorota. She had been so badly mutilated and beaten that the killer was labelled a vampire by the Polish press.

Koltun was active from 1980 to 1981 and has since been linked to at least six other disappearances in the region. He was arrested in January 1981 and sentenced to death in August of 1982.


In Hazel Park, Michigan, 24-year-old Carolyn Sue Martin and her two-year-old son Mark, disappeared as they were travelling to San Antonio, Texas.

They were last seen by Carolyn’s mother, before they embarked on the journey to be with Carolyn’s fiancé and Mark’s father, Hamparsoum ‘Harry’ Kirezian. The young mother and her son were reported missing the following Spring.

During the investigation, Kirezian claimed that Carolyn had changed her mind and decided she didn’t want to go to Texas anymore.

He stated he dropped them off in Ohio and left them with $4,000 (USD) in cash, never seeing them again. Since their disappearance, Harry changed his name twice and refused to take a polygraph test. He is known now as Harry Kzirian.

Despite being a prime suspect there is no evidence to connect him with any crime. The circumstances surrounding the Martin’s disappearance remain a mystery.


In Miami, Florida, parole supervisor Bjorn Svenson was shot dead in the parking lot of the Parole and Probation building.

He had been shot twice in the chest but managed to run away from his killer before being shot more times in the back and head.

His killer was parolee Harry Franklin Phillips who had killed Svenson in revenge for a minor parole violation that saw him return to prison for a 20-month sentence.

Phillips was arrested shortly after and sentenced to death on February 1st 1984. Despite many appeals, with one as recently as May 2020, Phillips remains on death row in Florida.


In Lake Forest, Illinois, the body of 28-year-old gay man Ralph Calise was discovered in a field by walkers.

He had gone missing one day earlier and was found with 17 stab wounds, along with his trousers pulled down around his ankles, with suggestions he had been brutally raped.

He was confirmed to have been killed by American serial killer Larry William Eyler, AKA: The Highway Killer. Eyler confessed to the murders of 21 teenage boys and young men between 1982 and 1984.

He was captured on August 21st 1984 and sentenced to death. He later died of AIDS-related complications on death row in 1994.

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