True Crime On This Day May 17th

Last Updated on September 23, 2022 by Ben Oakley

True Crime On This Day May 17th

May 17th

On May 17th in true crime, Miami riots, vanished without a trace in California, cold case disappearance in Colorado Springs.


After a five-week investigation, Charlie Chaplin’s stolen remains were recovered. Police arrested two mechanics named Roman Wardas and Gantscho Ganev who subsequently led them to the body.

They were charged with grave-robbing and attempted extortion. They had held the corpse hostage in a bizarre attempt to seek ransom.


The 1980 Miami riots began and lasted four days, resulting in the deaths of 18 people and injuring over 350. The violent race riots began when four Dade County Public Safety Department officers were acquitted of manslaughter for the 1979 death of black salesman, Arthur McDuffie.

The riots began in the neighbourhoods of Overtown and Liberty City. They were the largest riots since the 1960s and remained the largest until the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

By the third day of the riots, over 3,500 National Guardsmen had been deployed to the area.


In Honeydew, California, 56-year-old Edrel Mae Pierce disappeared as she walked down her driveway to mail some letters.

She was last seen by her neighbour but no one knows what happened to her afterwards. Pierce was known to have been in poor health and had spent some time in a psychiatric hospital for an unspecified mental disorder.

However, her disappearance was out of character and no trace of her has ever been found, dead or alive. The case remains open with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department.


In Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs, an emotionally unstable 40-year-old Barbara Jean Baumann vanished without a trace.

She had left her home wearing only a lavender blanket and drove off en-route to Wisconsin. No trace of her or her vehicle has ever been found.

Despite her instability, investigators have long suspected foul play. The case remains open.

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