True Crime On This Day May 1st


Last Updated on January 23, 2023 by Ben Oakley

True Crime On This Day May 1st

May 1st

On May 1st in true crime, missing nun, cold case mystery, aircraft hijacking, assassination, unsolved disappearance, unidentified bodies.


In Sonoma County, California, 14-year-old Cheryl Schille Wyant walked out of hospital after a car crash and vanished without a trace.

At the time of her disappearance, she was living in a group home for orphaned children, but she never returned there. She had also spent time at a foster home in Clark County.

Investigators believe that Wyant was met with foul play as no body has ever been found. As of 2022, her disappearance remains a mystery and is an active cold case in the State of California.


In Swansea, Wales, Irish nun Christina Nuala Bracken went missing on her way to the shops. Also known as Sr Jacinta Bracken, she had left the Stella Maris Convent in the morning and was never seen again.

It is suspected that she may have been a victim of serial killer Peter Tobin but as with most cases of this era, allocating a disappearance to Tobin became a matter of course. No trace of Bracken has ever been discovered.


Shortly after take-off from Stockton Municipal Airport in California, Pacific Southwest Airlines Flight 818 was hijacked.

The aircraft was headed to Los Angeles and was hijacked by a 25-year-old Iranian man who wanted to be taken back to Iran. He had jumped a fence at the airport and boarded the plane where he took flight engineer Alan Romatowski hostage at gunpoint.

Six hours later, Romatowski overpowered the hijacker and disarmed him. The hijacker’s father later confessed that his son had written a screenplay about hijacking a plane and travelling to Iran. The hijacker was later sentenced to 15 years in prison.


In Vienna, Austria, leader of the Austrian Socialist party and president of the Austrian-Israeli Friendship League, Heinz Nittel, was shot dead outside of his home.

He had been killed by Iraqi-born Hesham Mohammed Rajeh, who would go on to take part in the 1981 Vienna synagogue terrorist attack on August 29th.

Rajeh was a member of the Palestinian group Fatah, the Revolutionary Council also known as ANO, who along with Marwan Hassan, tried to storm the synagogue building but were stopped by security forces.

Two people were killed and 21 others injured in the attack. They were both arrested the same day and Rajeh was also charged with the murder of Nittel.


In Big Spring, Texas, 21-year-old Mark Allen Merritt walked out of the Big Spring State Hospital and was never seen again. He was reported missing shortly after.

Despite a local search, no trace of Merritt has ever been found. Investigators have long suspected foul play and have since ruled out numerous John Doe’s in connection with Merritt’s case. His disappearance remains unsolved.


In Blythe, California, the skeletal remains of an unidentified female between the ages of 18 to 30-years-old were discovered in the open desert of Riverside County. The hands were missing and there were no identifiable features.

On the same day, in Los Angeles, California, the body of an unidentified female between the ages of 55 to 70-years-old was discovered on the beach near the south side of Santa Monica Pier.

She had died or been killed just days earlier but her cause of death has never been released. Both bodies have never been identified.


At 8.30pm on 1st May 1989, Christopher Phillips’ wife returned to their home in Victoria, Australia, to find him beaten and stabbed to death.

The back door had been broken into and the house had been ransacked but nothing had been stolen. It appeared that Christopher had walked in on a robbery. The case remains unsolved.

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