On December 27th in true crime, cold case disappearance, double murder in Iowa, assassination, macabre discovery, and a mystery body.
In Salem County, New Jersey, the skeletal remains of an unidentified black man between the age of 35 to 45-years-old was discovered near a highway. The man had been murdered by an unknown method.
Investigators found that he had been bound and gagged before his death on or around April 1st 1978. As of 2020, the identity of the victim or his killer remains a mystery.
As part of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and Afghanistan, President Hafizullah Amin was murdered. A KGB spy had infiltrated Amin’s staff as a cook and had poisoned him and his cabinet during a lunch at the palace in Kabul.
Amazingly, Amin had survived the initial poisoning and was laying on his bed recovering when phase two went into play. A team of KGB special forces stormed the palace, killing Amin, his family, and many members of Afghan security. To this day, Afghanistan is still bitter about the attack.
In Iowa, the bodies of William Robert Smith and his wife, Kimberly Smith, were found in the bedroom of their home. They had been shot dead by Robert Wayne Odem. William Smith’s two sons from a prior marriage were downstairs at the time, sleeping on a makeshift bed on the living room floor.
They testified that they saw Odem enter the home in the middle of the night and go upstairs, where they heard gunshots. The boys remained out of sight until the morning when they ran to a neighbour’s house for help. Odem was later arrested and sentenced to life in prison.
An appeal in 1982 affirmed the original decision, despite multiple witnesses claiming that Odem was nowhere near the scene of the murders.
In Gardena, California, 17-year-old Gardena High School student Mary Jo Lee Long disappeared under suspicious circumstances. She was originally from Austin, Minnesota, where she lived with her mother.
Against her mother’s wishes, she went to live with her father in California. After spending Christmas in Minnesota, she travelled back to California and vanished a few weeks later. Her school records show that she didn’t graduate with her class.
Mary wasn’t reported missing until 1988 in Minnesota by her mother, seven years after her disappearance. December 27th is listed as the date of last contact. Her mother died in a car crash in 1989 and her father suffered from multiple illnesses.
Mary may have had a boyfriend in California, but he has never been identified. No trace of Mary has ever been found and it is suspected she had been met with foul play. Her case remains unsolved.
In Maricopa County, Arizona, the body of an unidentified man was discovered on Interstate-10. He had been killed in a hit-and-run incident and his body left near the side of the road.
Despite horrific injuries, he had a recognisable face. Yet, he has never been identified and the driver of the vehicle that hit him has never been found.
It remains a mystery why the man had been walking along the Interstate and investigators have long suspected foul play. His case remains unsolved.
In St. Peters, Missouri, American singer Walter Scott disappeared under suspicious circumstances. He was the frontman of rock and roll group Bob Kuban and The In-Men, who were well-known in Missouri in the 1960s.
In April 1987, Walter’s body was found in a cistern. He had been tied up and shot in the chest by James H. Williams Sr., who Walter’s second wife, JoAnn Scott, married in 1986.
Shortly after the discovery, both were arrested. JoAnn was sentenced to five years for withholding information about a murder.
Williams was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of Walter and his previous wife, Sharon Williams. He died of natural causes in prison on September 13th 2011.
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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…