True Crime On This Day January 17th

Last Updated on September 20, 2022 by Ben Oakley

True Crime On This Day January 17th

January 17th

On January 17th in true crime, Indian bandits, train bombing, serial killer, mystery disappearance, cold case, and TV host murder.


In Lucknow, the capital city of India’s Uttar Pradesh state, 11 dacoits were killed by police. Dacoit is a word used to describe bandits in the Indian subcontinent.

On the same day, eight more bandits were killed by police on the border of the Sitapur and Hardoi districts. A total of 19 dacoits were killed across the country in battles with police.


In Dallas, Texas, 48-year-old Mercedes Mendez was brutally raped and murdered by serial killer Danny Lee Barber. Barber killed four people from 1978 to 1980.

He was arrested in 1980, convicted of all four murders and sentenced to life in prison for three of them including the Mendez murder. He was additionally sentenced to death for the murder of Janice Louise Ingram on October 8th 1979. Barber was executed by lethal injection in February of 1999.


In Dunmurry, Belfast, the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) exploded a bomb on a passenger train travelling from Ballymena to Belfast.

The intention had been to explode the device as they neared Belfast, but the bomb went off prematurely. The explosion killed three people, injured five more and destroyed the train. One of the dead was 26-year-old IRA member Kevin Delaney.

The fire had been so intense that the three dead victims had been burned to ash. One of the injured was IRA member, Patrick Flynn, who was severely disfigured in the explosion. He was arrested and convicted of manslaughter and explosive offences.


In Rockport, California, 24-year-old Christine Langford and her husband, 34-year-old Craig Herrick, vanished without a trace.

They were last seen camping on a remote beach in their motorhome. Two days later, on the 19th, the motorhome was found empty and there was no trace of the couple. Near the shoreline, a small inflatable raft and a wooden oar were found.

An investigation suggested they had faked their own deaths and despite similar names popping up over the years, no evidence suggests they are alive. They are still listed as missing and foul play is suspected.


In Denver, Colorado, 66-year-old retired United States Air Force Major Orville Parks was found beaten to death in his own apartment.

He regularly travelled between Denver and El Paso, Texas, to see family and for business, and owned apartments in both locations. His Denver landlords became concerned as they hadn’t seen him for two days, so they entered the apartment where they found his body on the floor.

An investigation learned that Parks’ 1977 Chevy El Camino had been stolen but it has never been recovered. Despite a large investigation, his murder remains unsolved.


In San Juan, Puerto Rico, 54-year-old television show host, announcer, and producer, Luis Vigoreaux Rivera, was shot dead.

He was reported missing the next morning by co-workers when he failed to show up for work. Police found his burned-out Mercedes with his burned body inside. An investigation learned he had been gagged and stabbed to death before being set alight in the trunk of the car.

He had been killed by two amateur hitmen, Papo Newman and David López-Watts, who had been hired by Rivera’s wife, Lydia Echevarría. She had become jealous of Rivera’s close contact with an actress named Nydia Castillo. The trio were arrested shortly after.

Newman testified against the other two and received immunity against conviction. Lydia and López-Watts were sentenced to life in prison but released 12 years later.

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