True Crime On This Day December 31st

True Crime On This Day December 31st

December 31st

On December 31st in true crime, a hotel bombing, New Year’s Eve disappearance, serial killers, New Year’s Eve murders, cop killer, and cold cases.


In Michigan, Rudy Bladel, AKA: The Railway Sniper, shot dead three people at a train depot. Robert Blake, William Gulak and Charles Burton were killed at close range with a shotgun.

Bladel was arrested shortly after but released on a lack of evidence. Three months later, a group of hikers found his shotgun in a park nearby and it was later traced to Bladel.

Bladel was arrested in March 1979 and was linked to four more murders of train workers in 1963, 1968 and 1976. He had been fired from his railroad job in 1959 due to the company moving business from Indiana to Michigan.

His motive for killing train workers was revenge for him having lost his job. He was sentenced to three consecutive life terms in Michigan. He died in prison on November 15th 2006 of natural causes.


On New Years Eve in Salt Lake City, Utah, fugitive and serial killer Donald Eugene Harding continued his campaign of violence when he broke into a room of Salt Lake City Hotel and robbed Phillip Buss.

Harding hogtied and gagged Buss before making off with some personal items and then stealing his car. Harding went on to kill at least six people in late 1979 and early 1980 before his recapture.

He was charged, convicted and sentenced to death for his crimes. Harding was executed in the gas chamber in Arizona on April 6th 1992.


On New Years Eve, in Nairobi, Kenya, a bomb exploded at the Fairmont Norfolk Hotel, killing 20 people, and injuring another 87.

The force of the explosion partially destroyed the hotel. Among the dead were people from at least five nations including the UK and the USA. The owner of the hotel was Jewish and the bombing was said to have been carried out by a Moroccan named Qaddura Mohammed Abd Al-Hamid.

It was suspected to be in retaliation for Kenya providing support to rescue Israeli hostages in Uganda. Abd Al-Hamid took refuge in Saudi Arabia and has never been arrested for the bombing.


In Nashville, Tennessee, 15-year-old high school student Charlie Hall disappeared after leaving his girlfriend’s residence at 37th Avenue North at around 5pm.

Their relationship had recently come to an end. According to his girlfriend, Hall had arrived at her home to convince her to change her mind but she refused, and Hall left in tears. He never returned to his family residence and was never seen again.

According to his family, he was not the kind of person to disappear and kept in constant contact with them. He left his money, clothes, and bicycle at home.

Investigators suspect he was abducted by an unidentified individual. His disappearance remains unsolved, and the case remains open.


In Memphis, Tennessee, 22-year-old Police Officer John Wesley Sykes was shot dead while he and his fellow officer Charlotte Creasy followed a suspicious vehicle.

Unknown to Sykes at the time, the two occupants of the car had just committed an armed robbery at a Post Office. As the suspect vehicle passed the patrol car, one of the suspects opened fire and Sykes was shot in the neck. He was rushed to Methodist Hospital where he died two hours later.

The suspects, 29-year-old Donald Wayne Hopper, and 24-year-old Randall Cole, were arrested two days later. They were convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

On September 5th 1984, both Hopper and Cole were attacked by other inmates and left in critical condition. Hopper died in 2003 and Cole was paroled in 2011.


In France, over the course of 15 minutes, three bombs exploded that killed five people and wounded another 54. Two bombs exploded on a TGV train near Lyon that was loaded with passengers and bound for Paris.

Three passengers on the train were killed, and another 30 wounded. The force of the explosion had blown one of the carriages in half. Pieces of the train were found on the rooftops of buildings hundreds of feet away.

Fifteen minutes later, a bomb detonated at the Marseille-Saint-Charles Train Station. It had been planted in the luggage room of the terminus building.

Two people were killed at the station and another 24 wounded. The bombings went unsolved until December 2011 when Carlos the Jackal was convicted of the bombing.

He was already serving a life sentence for previous attacks. Carlos, whose real name is Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, was a Venezuelan terrorist responsible for at least 16 murders.

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