True Crime On This Day June 27th

Last Updated on September 26, 2022 by Ben Oakley

True Crime On This Day June 27th

June 27th

On June 27th in true crime, hen house arson, spree killer Justin May, serial rapist fugitive, air disaster, mystery disappearance, cold cases.


In Brazoria County, Texas, Justin Lee May began a rampage that killed five people. On today’s date, Frank and Jeanetta Murdaugh were murdered while working at their Western Auto store in Freeport, Texas.

Those murders went unsolved for over five years. It wasn’t until 1984 that Justin Lee May and an accomplice were arrested for both murders.

May was linked to three more murders over a two-week period in June 1978. He was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection on May 7th 1992.


In Massachusetts, 18-year-old Gary Alan Irving was awaiting sentencing for three violent rapes when he eloped. He raped three women from Cohasset, Weymouth and Holbrook.

Despite an extensive manhunt, Irving remained a fugitive for 35 years until 2013 when he was extradited from Maine after being caught.

While on the run, Irving had been living a normal life in Maine with a family and a job, going by the name of Gregg Irving. He was later convicted of the rapes and received two sentences of 18 to 20 years, to run consecutively.


A passenger airplane en-route from Bologna to Palermo crashed into the Tyrrhenian Sea between the islands of Ponza and Ustica, killing all 81 people on board.

The crash of Itavia Flight 870 was not an accident but the cause has been disputed for years. The Italian Prime Minister at the time, Francesco Cossiga, claimed that the plane had been shot down during a dogfight between Libyan and NATO fighter jets.

In 1994, an investigation claimed that the cause of the crash was a terrorist bomb but no culprits were found. In 2013, another investigation found evidence that the flight had been shot down by a missile.

Over 40 years later, no one has been arrested in connection with the downing of the aircraft and no one has claimed responsibility.


In Douglas County, Colorado, 25-year-old Cynthia Atterbury and her 30-year-old boyfriend, Oscar Joseph McNear Jr. disappeared without a trace.

They had last been seen near Pike National Forest in Castle Rock. Both of them were originally from Springfield, Illinois, and never contacted their families to let them know where they were.

Working on a tip in 1985, investigators were led to believe the couple were shot dead in an argument with two other men from Springfield.

The men disposed of their bodies in empty oil drums and buried them in the Rocky Mountains. Despite a search of the area, no trace of the couple or drums were ever found. Their disappearance remains a mystery.


In Sioux City, Iowa, in what appeared to be a routine fire call, fire crews responded to the Hen House fire on West 7th Street.

Six firefighters became trapped in the basement of the structure when the floor collapsed. Four were rescued but the other two died of their injuries.

An investigation discovered that the Hen House owner had hired two men to start the fire for an insurance scam.

The owner and the two arsonists were convicted of arson but not manslaughter and were given light sentences. The then Senator, Chuck Grassley, sponsored a bill to ensure harsher penalties for the crime of arson.


In Boca Raton, Florida, 20-year-old aspiring model Shari Lynne Ball vanished while on her way to be photographed by a then unidentified man.

Her decomposed body was found by a hunter in Shelby, New York, on October 29th 1983, but she was not identified until 2014.

Due to her decomposition, a cause of death could not be ascertained but she was suspected to have been murdered by Australian serial killer Christopher Bernard Wilder, AKA: The Beauty Queen Killer.

Ball’s body was found just 30 miles from the body of 16-year-old Tammy Alexander, who was also linked to Wilder.

Wilder was a serial killer known to have raped and killed at least eight young women and girls in 1984 but was linked to another 10 victims from 1981.

He was also linked to the Wanda Beach murders of two teenage girls in Sydney, Australia, in 1965. He was killed in a shoot-out with police on April 13th 1984, taking his secrets to the grave.

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