On August 6th in true crime, female murderer Betty Beets, robbery, tourist disappearance, macabre discovery, cold case missing person.
In Yuma County, Arizona, the bodies of John Lyons, Donnelda Lyons and their son Christopher were discovered by state employees near the abandoned Lincoln Continental.
An investigation then uncovered a fourth body, Theresa Tyson, who was the niece of the Lyon’s. All four had been shot dead.
Just a few days earlier Randy Greenawalt and Gary Tison had escaped from Arizona State Prison with the help of Gary’s sons, Ricky, Ray and Donnie.
The day after their escape they kidnapped the Lyons family and shot them dead. Tison eventually evaded capture but died in the desert of dehydration. Greenawalt was subsequently executed by lethal injection in Arizona in 1997.
In Los Angeles, California, 21-year-old English tourist Keith Anthony Jackson disappeared under suspicious circumstances. He was in the Los Angeles area for a six-week holiday.
Four weeks into the holiday, he phoned home and told his family he was going to Disneyland and would be home in two weeks. He was never heard of or seen again.
His father later travelled to Los Angeles to display missing person posters in the area. As of 2022, no trace of Jackson has ever been found.
In Via Cavour, Palermo, Chief Prosecutor of Palermo Gaetano Costa, was shot dead by two gunmen on motorcycles as he stood outside of a bookstore.
Costa had recently signed arrest warrants on 55 Spatola-Inzerillo-Gambino heroin-trafficking gang members. Costa had been assigned a bullet-proof car and an escort but had refused them, claiming it would endanger the lives of others.
No suspects were ever arrested for the murder. After his death, Costa’s pledge to break up organised crime was carried on by Rocco Chinnici, who was assassinated by the Sicilian mafia on 29th July 1983.
In Rosemead, California, 17-year-old Michael Ray Askren disappeared under suspicious circumstances. He was last seen at his grandmother’s home where he lived, due to his parent’s separation.
Askren had left in the early evening to go for a ride with a friend. The friend claimed he dropped Askren back at his home and was the last person to see him alive.
Askren left all his belongings behind, including cash, and new clothes that were gifted to him two days earlier for his Seventeenth birthday.
Despite the friend being a suspect at one point, no trace of Askren has ever been found, dead or alive. His disappearance remains unsolved.
In Harris County, Texas, 33-year-old Dairy Maid restaurant owner Kosmas Prittis was shot dead during a robbery at the premises.
When Prittis and his family were closing up for the night, Raymond Landry Sr. held them up at gunpoint. Prittis was robbed of almost $2,500 (USD) before Landry shot him in the head at point blank range.
Witnesses claimed he then slapped Prittis’ wife around the head before mimicking shooting her children. Landry was arrested three days later at his home where police found a bank bag belonging to the restaurant.
He was convicted of the murder and subsequently sentenced to death. He was executed by lethal injection in Texas on December 13th 1988.
In Henderson County, Texas, Jimmy Don Beets was shot dead by his wife Betty Lou Beets. Jimmy was Betty’s fifth husband when she shot him dead in their home in the early evening.
Her son, Robert Branson, walked in on the murder and decided to help his mother hide the body. They buried the body in the front yard of the property and then created an elaborate plan.
They put Jimmy’s heart medication into his fishing boat and pushed it out onto Cedar Creek Lake. Betty then reported her husband missing shortly after.
The boat was found washed ashore near the Redwood Beach Marina six days later. The police then spent the better part of a month looking for Jimmy’s body.
Two years later, in 1985, investigators were issued a search warrant for Betty’s property, where they unearthed two bodies.
Jimmy’s was found in the front yard, and the body of another former husband, Doyle Wayne Barker, was found buried in the garage. He had been shot with the same gun used to kill Jimmy.
Police charged Betty with both murders, but she was convicted of Jimmy’s when her son testified against her. Betty was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection on February 24th 2000.
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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.
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I think this was no way an accident or a case of getting lost, this was murder. If they got…