Last Updated on September 27, 2022 by Ben Oakley
On July 11th in true crime, tanker explosion, armed robbery, cold case missing person, unsolved homicide, Dadeland Mall massacre.
In Spain, 217 tourists died in a tanker truck explosion at a campsite in Costa Daurada. It was one of the worst disasters in the country for decades.
The Los Alfaques Disaster was an accident caused by a blown tire on the truck which caused some of the gas to seep out from the tanks.
The gas had combined with the air across the campsite, and when it sparked, it sent a fireball throughout the area, exploding vehicles and people, leaving 157 dead instantly. The disaster also left over 200 with severe burns.
Although most deemed it to be an accident, an inquiry later discovered that the company were deliberately overloading their trucks to save money on motorway tolls.
In 1982, six employees were convicted of criminal negligence and were sentenced for between one to four years in prison.
In Los Angeles County, California, armed robbers Melvin Turner and Teague Hamilton Scott shot dead 35-year-old doctor George S. Hill Jr. and 44-year-old Joella Champion during a robbery.
They were robbed at gunpoint after entering a private airplane hangar where Champion’s light aircraft was sitting. Turner and Scott lined up the two victims in front of a wall and shot them at close range, killing them instantly.
They were arrested three weeks later after using Hill’s credit card. Turner was sentenced to death in 1980 and Scott was sentenced to life in prison.
On the same day
In Miami, the rising cocaine business was leading to widespread murders that would lead to the Miami Drug Wars of the 1980s.
Despite numerous murders leading up to July 11th, it was the Dadeland Mall Massacre that tipped it over the edge. In the middle of the day, two Colombian drug cartel members walked into the mall and shot dead two men at a liquor store.
They were dubbed the ‘Cocaine Cowboys’ by the police and press. After the massacre, violence rose in Miami and led to almost 600 murders in the year that followed.
In El Paso County, Colorado, 24-year-old Amadeo Vigil vanished without a trace. He had last been seen hitchhiking on the I-25. He had told friends that he was headed to Fort Garland, just under 100 miles away.
Between the towns of Pueblo and Fort Garland, Vigil disappeared. During the 1970s and 1980s, many hitchhikers were murdered by serial killers who roamed the newly built highways and interstates.
The investigation into Vigil’s disappearance concluded that he had been met with foul play. Over 40 years later, no trace of Vigil has ever been found.
In Denver, Colorado, the body of 40-year-old Mary Apodaca, was discovered at the 2400 Block of Stout Street.
She had been stabbed and strangled to death by an unknown assailant. Despite a wide-reaching investigation, no suspect has ever been caught and Apodaca’s murder remains unsolved.
At International Falls, Koochiching County, Minnesota, 18-year-old Kevin Lee Ellsworth disappeared under suspicious circumstances.
Shortly before his disappearance, he was involved in a disruption at the local Union Hall before leaving to head towards a bowling alley.
He had been sleeping in the basement room of the Rex Hotel where he worked as a janitor for his father. In the early hours of the morning, the hotel was set alight and burned to the ground.
Luckily, no one had been injured but when the smoke settled, Ellsworth’s remains were nowhere to be seen. His car was parked across the street from the hotel.
A key to the hotel was later found nearby but it has never been confirmed it could access the basement room. The next day, a witness claimed to have seen Ellsworth walking away from the Falls but it has never been confirmed.
Despite an investigation and search of the area, no trace of Ellsworth has ever been found. Some investigators have suggested he was abducted and murdered, with the hotel set alight to cover it up.
Another suggested he had set the hotel alight himself and ran away to another State. Despite the theories, his disappearance remains unsolved.
In Hillsborough County, Florida, Fred Lewis Way hit his wife, Carol, over the head with a hammer multiple times. Their daughter, Adrienne, walked in on the scene and Fred chased her and hit her over the head with the same hammer.
He had beaten his wife and daughter hard enough to fracture and dislodge part of their skulls. He then poured gasoline on their bodies and set them alight. Fred’s youngest daughter saw the flames and called police. They arrested Fred at the scene and charged him with double murder.
Both victims had suffered 100 percent burns over their bodies. Way was sentenced to death in 1984 and died in prison on May 15th 2006.
Check out the Mega List of True Crime Podcasts
Prolific Multi-Genre Author | True Crime Anthologist | Real-Life Writing Machine #writetheplanet #stillthewaves
I think this was no way an accident or a case of getting lost, this was murder. If they got…
Hey! It seems the TripAdvisor review has been deleted within the past month. Their deleted reviews don't appear on the…
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.