True Crime On This Day February 13th

Last Updated on September 21, 2022 by Ben Oakley

True Crime On This Day February 13th

February 13th

On February 13th in true crime, bomb attack, cinema fire, radio station bombing, child murder, macabre discovery, and cold cases.


A bomb in a garbage bin exploded outside the Hilton Hotel in Sydney, Australia, killing three people and injuring many others. Two garbage collectors emptied the bin into the truck which set off the device, killing them instantly.

There were 12 foreign leaders staying in the hotel at the time. The bombing has never been solved but conspiracies abound to this day.


In Polk County, Georgia, James Messer Jr. raped and murdered his own eight-year-old niece, Rhonda Joan Tanner. She had been stabbed multiple times in the chest and was so severely beaten that she was unrecognisable.

Messer was arrested the same day and offered no motive for the murder aside from the fact he had gotten carried away while left alone with her.

He was sentenced to death and executed in the electric chair in Georgia, on July 28th 1988.


In San José, Costa Rica, a large explosion ripped through the Radio Noticias del Continente (radio news station) causing thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.

The bombing had been carried out by the Fifteenth of September Legion (Legión Quince de Septiembre) who were an anti-communist guerrilla group founded in Guatemala.

Their mission was to overthrow the Sandinista National Liberation Front government. No one was killed in the explosion and no suspects were ever caught.


In Atlanta, Georgia, the body of 12-year-old Patrick Baltazar was found dumped beside a wooded slope behind an office park.

He had been strangled to death six days earlier and was a victim of the Atlanta Murders. They were a series of murders committed in Atlanta from July 1979 to May 1981 and included the deaths of at least 28 children and adults.

Later in 1981, Wayne Williams was charged with two of the adult murders and sentenced to life in prison.

Over the years, police have attributed 22 of the murders to Williams, including Baltazar’s, but he has never been charged with them and has maintained his innocence ever since.

Investigators still believe that Williams was responsible for most of the murders but there are some that remain unsolved.


In Pembroke Pines, Florida, the skeletal remains of an unidentified white adult male in his twenties or thirties were discovered.

They had been found by hikers under a pile of brush and weeds near the Hollywood Sportatorium, which closed down in 1988.

He was wearing blue Calvin Klein jeans, a white-t-shirt with orange stripes and a Western style brown belt. He had died approximately two months earlier.

Investigators have long suspected foul play but the man has never been identified. The case remains unsolved.


In Turin, Italy, the Cinema Statuto movie theatre caught fire during a showing of the 1981 comedy film La Chèvre. 64 people died as a result of the fire and smoke inhalation.

It was caused when an old curtain caught alight and the fire quickly spread through the auditorium.

When the cinema-goers tried to escape, they found the exits closed and locked and they suffocated from Hydrogen cyanide fumes which were caused by the combustion of fire-resistant fabric chairs.

The owner of the cinema, Raimondo Capella, was arrested shortly after for negligence and poor safety implementation.

He was sentenced to eight years in prison and ordered to pay the sum of approximately $1million (USD) to the families of the victims.

The blaze changed fire safety laws in Italy which made fireproof materials and firefighting equipment mandatory for every public space.

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