Last Updated on September 21, 2022 by Ben Oakley
On February 25th in true crime, armed robbery by a nine-year-old, missing persons, war retaliation, double murder, and serial killers.
In Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, 24-year-old Stephanie Hunsberger and her new husband vanished. Stephanie had married Edward Hunsberger the year before and fell into his heroin addiction, she also sometimes worked as a prostitute in the area.
Both Edward and Stephanie were due for an appointment at a local methadone clinic but failed to show.
In August 1978, police arrested Dr. Jay Smith in the parking lot of a local mall with four loaded guns and a syringe filled with knockout drugs.
A search of his home turned up a library of BDSM and bestiality pornography, substantial amounts of drugs and security guard uniforms that were connected with armed robberies.
Smith claimed the drugs belonged to the missing Hunsberger couple.
After various sightings of the Hunsberger couple in 1979, the trail went dead and no trace of them has ever been found since. As of 2022, the disappearances remain an active cold case in the State of Pennsylvania.
In response to the February 12th shooting down of Air Rhodesia Flight 827, the Rhodesian Air Force launchedOperation Vanity.
The operation had help from the South African Air Force, with the intention of carrying out a retaliatory bombing of a Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) camp, near Livingstone, in Zambia.
Flight 827 was a passenger airline that ZIPRA had brought down with missiles, ending the life of all 59 passengers and crew.
The downing of the aircraft and the resulting bombings were part of the Rhodesian Bush War. It was a civil conflict involving three sides, that lasted from 1964 until December of 1979.
In Harris County, Texas, 30-year-old Robert Banks and 26-year-old Bob Skeens were strangled to death in Banks’ apartment.
The night before, Banks had picked up three hitchhikers, James Michael Briddle, Briddle’s ex-wife and their friend, Pamela Perillo.
The following morning, on the 25th, the three of them robbed and killed Banks and Skeens. They were arrested shortly after and convicted of multiple crimes.
Perillo was sentenced to five years for robbery. Briddle’s ex-wife was sentenced to death which was commuted to life when she testified against Briddle.
Briddle was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection in Texas on December 12th 1995.
In Manhattan, New York, a nine-year-old boy known only as Robert, walked into a branch of the New York Bank for Savings with a toy gun and robbed the place.
Using a replica .22 calibre pistol, Robert escaped with $118 (USD). He surrendered to the FBI two days later after saying that he was playing a game. Robert was convicted of armed robbery in June 1981 but due to his age could not be jailed.
Instead, he was remanded to the custody of his father. His parents faced charges of neglect shortly after. Robert spent the money on a watch and some junk food.
In Rogate, West Sussex, two pigeon shooters discovered the partial skeletal remains of eight-year-old Vishal Mehrotra.
He had been abducted from a crowded street near his home in Putney, London, on July 29th 1981. Over the next seven months, an investigation interviewed an estimated 14,000 people and investigated hundreds of sightings.
Shortly after the discovery, Mehrotra’s father received a phone call in which the caller claimed his son’s disappearance was connected to a paedophile ring who frequented Elm Guest House in Barnes.
Despite a huge investigation, no suspect has ever been charged with the murder.
Serial killer Sidney Cooke, AKA: Hissing Sid, was linked to the murder at one point but was never charged. The murder remains a cold case to this day.
In Naperville, Illinois, 10-year-old Jeanine Nicarico was abducted in front of her home. Her body was found two days later, six miles away from the residence.
She had been raped and beaten to death by American serial killer and rapist Brian James Dugan. He was arrested on June 3rd 1985 for the rapes and murders of an adult woman in 1984 and a young girl in early 1985.
He subsequently confessed to Nicarico’s murder. On November 19th 1985, Dugan was sentenced to two life sentences plus 215 years in prison for the 1984 and 1985 murders.
In 2009, after a lengthy trial that was only possible with modern advances in DNA technology, he was sentenced to death for the murder of Nicarico.
Yet, in 2011, Illinois governor Patrick Quinn abolished the death penalty, which meant Dugan’s sentence was commuted to life in prison.
Dugan also claimed that in 1972, when he was 12-years-old, he was sexually abused and raped by infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
After he had seen Gacy’s face on the news, following his arrest in 1978, Dugan recognised him as the man who had abused him. The connection has never been confirmed either way.
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I think this was no way an accident or a case of getting lost, this was murder. If they got…
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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.