True Crime On This Day December 12th

True Crime On This Day December 12th

December 12th

On December 12th in true crime, John Wayne Gacy, serial killers, a massacre, Amazon mystery, unsolved murder in Hastings.


In Illinois, a teenage stock boy named Robert Piest was reported as missing. Serial killer John Wayne Gacy was the last person to have been seen with him prior to his disappearance.

Investigators discovered that Gacy had previous convictions for raping a teenage boy. With the incriminating information, it allowed investigators to obtain a warrant to search Gacy’s house.

They entered the crawlspace and noticed a rancid smell but didn’t investigate further until 10 days later on December 22nd when Gacy confessed to the murders of 33 boys and men.

28 of the bodies were later unearthed beneath Gacy’s house and garage.


In Sharpes, Florida, 20-year-old prison inmate Charles Edward Collingwood escaped from the Brevard Correctional Institution, a facility that housed mostly teenagers.

He was serving a four-year term for car theft and was carrying out landscape work when he eloped. Then the plot thickens.

John Rodney McRae was a guard at the prison, and it was claimed he was having a sexual affair with Collingwood. McRae had served 20 years in prison for killing and dismembering an eight-year-old boy in Michigan in 1950.

McRae, somehow managed to get a job at the Brevard juvenile prison and worked there from 1976 to 1980. During his time there, five local boys disappeared.

In 2005, McRae was convicted of the murder of 14-year-old Randy Ray Laufer in 1987 and sentenced to life in prison. He died of natural causes just two weeks after his sentencing.

Investigators have long believed that McCrae killed many more, including Collingwood. As of 2022, no trace of Collingwood has ever been found.


In Manaus, Brazil, 28-year-old American John Charter Reed vanished under mysterious circumstances. The last person to have seen him was Tatunca Nara, his guide in the Amazon.

Nara had claimed he was the chief of a tribe that had ruled Akakor, the capital of a lost civilization, for over 3,000 years.

Nara’s story was turned into a book called ‘The Chronicle of Akakor’ in 1976 by German journalist Karl Brugger. Due to his popularity, Nara led tourists into the Amazon, usually by boat along the Amazon rivers and streams.

Reed was one of many people who mysteriously disappeared while with Nara. According to Nara’s statements to investigators, he claimed that Reed had simply walked off into the jungle.

But Reed had left his dog tags and flight ticket back to the United States in his personal belongings. No trace of Reed has ever been found.


In Morazán Department, El Salvador, the El Mozote Massacre which began on December 10th, came to a bloody end. It took place in and around the village of el Mozote.

The Salvadoran Army attacked the village and killed more than 800 civilians. They used assault rifles, grenades, and bombs, before decapitating many of the victims.

They arrived in the village on the 10th with the intention of eliminating a rebel presence in the region. They ordered the villagers to remain in their homes, while they camped in the village overnight.

During the two days that followed, the army tortured and executed the men in various locations around the village. They separated the girls from their mothers and raped them before shooting them dead.

Girls as young as ten-years-old were raped and tortured before having their throats cut. Their bodies were hung from the trees surrounding the village.

One child who suffered this fate was said to have been as young as two. They then raped the mothers and older children before killing them and beheading some. After the entire village had been wiped out, the army set fire to the buildings.

In December 2011, the government of El Salvador apologized for the massacre which is known to have been the largest in Latin America in modern times.


In Denver, Colorado, 26-year-old Corsican Corporation worker Steven Emory, died from a gunshot wound he had received the night before.

He was working on an oil drilling project prior to his murder and it remains unclear if it had anything to do with his death.

He was found unconscious outside of the Creek Side Apartment complex and rushed to hospital where he died from his wounds. Despite a large investigation, Emory’s murder remains unsolved.


In Hastings, England, 25-year-old drug dealer Gary Collins disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Three months later, his decomposing remains were found in woodland in nearby Battle.

He had been beaten and stabbed to death along with his dog, Trudie. Investigators believed he had been killed by a contract killer due to his connections with the drug smuggling trade in Hastings.

His BMW car was found abandoned at Battle Train Station. Fearing a community-wide silence on the killing due to his connections with the drug trade, Sussex Police announced an amnesty for all those who had had dealings with Collins.

They stated informants had nothing to fear coming forward with any evidence but no solid leads came in. No suspect has ever been found, and his murder remains unsolved.

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