True Crime On This Day July 4th

True Crime On This Day July 4th

July 4th

On July 4th in true crime, killed by a robot, people smuggling, murder, missing person, Yorkshire Siege, killed in the line of duty.


In Santa Clara County, California. 20-year-old Gus Henry Hoffman vanished without a trace.

Gus was well known for restoring vintage motorcycles and had spent eight months restoring a 1966 Harley Davidson that he planned to sell on. After he finished it, he took the bike for a ride on the afternoon of July 4th and never returned home.

Witnesses had seen Gus with two other bikers who were threatening him for some unknown reason.

Gus’s mother worked tirelessly for years to discover the truth of her son’s disappearance, even going as far as staking out biker hangouts and hiring a private investigator.

Investigators discovered that Gus had been forced into the garage of a motorcycle gang leader where he had been tortured to death.

10 years later, three suspects were charged with murder and sentenced to life in prison, despite no trace of Gus ever having been found.


In Mineral County, Montana, 40-year-old Peggy Jo Decoteau vanished from her hometown and was never seen again.

There were no witnesses to her disappearance and no evidence of what may have happened to her. The Montana Sheriff’s Office are still looking for information regarding the mystery.

Decoteau is officially listed as a missing person, but it is suspected she may have been a victim of foul play.


In the Yuma Desert, on the border of Mexico and the United States, 26 illegal immigrants from El Salvador were smuggled across the border.

When they got to United States territory, they were robbed by their guides and left abandoned in the desert. One of the survivors reached the town of Ajo in Arizona, and an alarm was raised.

A search was then carried out by members from Pima County sheriff’s office, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Customs Service, and the National Park Service.

They found 13 bodies scattered around the desert and 12 other survivors. The deceased had died of dehydration. The guides were never caught.


In Japan, factory worker Kenji Urada was killed by a malfunctioning robot. He was working at the Kawasaki Heavy Industries Plant in Akashi when the robot malfunctioned.

He jumped over the safety barrier which was designed to shut down power to the machine. While he was working on it, the robot inadvertently restarted and pinned him against another machine, crushing him to death.

Other workers in the factory where unable to shut down the machine as they had not been sufficiently trained with them.

The death remained private until the result of an internal inquiry. It concluded that the robot had not acted as a sentient being and that the death was caused by insufficient regulation and staff training.

Urada was the first person in Japan to be killed by a robot. The first worldwide death caused by a robot occurred on January 25th 1979, when American factory worker Robert Williams was killed by a machine at the Ford Motor Company Flat Rock Casting Plant.


In Yorkshire, England, electrician and serial killer Barry Peter Prudom, AKA: The Phantom in the Forest, was shot dead by armed police after a three-week long rampage that left three people dead and many more injured.

With support from ex-SAS members, police tracked Prudom to a makeshift shelter near Malton Tennis Club. Stun grenades were thrown, and police opened fire when Prudom refused to give himself up.

At some point during the siege, Prudom shot and killed himself. It remains one of Yorkshire’s most infamous criminal cases and was at the time the largest armed police operation the country had ever seen.


In Oklahoma, 33-year-old Chief of Police and Vietnam veteran Richard Oliver was killed during a vehicle pursuit.

He and another officer were on patrol in their car when a truck went through a red light. They chased after the vehicle for three miles before the truck turned around in the distance and headed straight for them.

Just as the vehicles met at the top of a hill, the truck veered into them, striking the patrol car head on at speed. Chief Oliver and the other officer were killed instantly in the collision.

The suspect was rushed to hospital but he survived. He was convicted of two counts of first degree manslaughter and sentenced to ten years in prison.

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