True Crime On This Day September 25th

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True Crime On This Day September 25th

September 25th

On September 25th, throughout true crime history, there have been serial killers, mystery disappearances, and prison escapes.

1979

Near Tiburon, California, 17-year-old Tammy A. Vincent was beaten and stabbed to death then set on fire. Her body was found on a beach the following morning.

The body remained unidentified until 2007 when DNA led to Tammy’s family. Tammy was exhumed 2002 as part of a cold case investigation.

Her murder has never been solved but she is believed to have been a suspect of brutal serial killer Gary Ridgway, AKA: The Green River killer.

1980

Serial killer Joseph Paul Franklin, AKA: The Racist Killer, was caught after a campaign of violence that left between seven and 22 people dead from the late 1970s to 1980.

Franklin fitted the Drifter Killer personality and used the newly constructed highways and interstates to roam up and down the East Coast of the United States. He had attempted to incite a race war and had failed.

Over the years, Franklin had covered himself in racist tattoos and it was not long until the FBI discovered he had been visiting blood-banks. They put out a nationwide alert and a Florida-based blood-bank worker recognised the tattoos which led to Franklin’s capture.

Franklin was sentenced to death for some of the murders and subsequently executed by lethal injection in November of 2013.

1981

In the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, on the border of Tennessee and North Carolina, 58-year-old Thelma Pauline ‘Polly’ Melton, vanished without a trace. She had been hiking with two friends on the Deep Creek Trail and was last seen in the middle of the afternoon.

She had walked ahead of her friends and vanished from sight over a small hill. The friends simply assumed she had returned to the campground where her trailer was parked.

When the friends returned to the trailer, Melton’s 78-year-old husband was inside but there was no sign of Melton herself.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

She was reported missing to the park ranger a couple of hours later and a search got underway. Many theories have arisen over time.

Melton was familiar with the trail and had been to the region on many occasions, even becoming known by the park rangers, who claimed she could not have got lost.

Due to the speed of her walking ahead over the hill and the fact she may have been in an unhappy marriage, some have suggested she simply eloped, never to be seen again.

Another theory suggests she may have committed suicide due to depression as she had taken her husband’s bottle of Valium with her but left her own medication.

However, some investigators believed she may have been involved in an accident or had been met with foul play.

In 1982, a check was cashed under her name but the shop worker could not describe the woman. Regardless of which theory is believed, no sign of Polly Melton has ever been found since.

1982

In Wilkes-Barre and Jenkins Township, Pennsylvania, former Camp Hill prison guard George Emil Banks, shot dead 13 people and injured at least one more. Five of the victims were his own children, their mothers and some of their relatives.

The evening before, he had been drinking heavily in his home while taking a large amount of prescription drugs. On the morning of September 25th, he killed eight people in his house using an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Banks dressed himself in military clothing and exited the residence, shooting a bystander across the street. He then went to Heather Highlands mobile home park where he shot and killed four more people, including a former girlfriend and her children.

He was arrested shortly after and subsequently sentenced to death for the rampage, despite claiming insanity. In 2010, the death sentence was overturned due to Banks’ deteriorating mental state.

1983

In County Antrim, Northern Ireland, 38 IRA prisoners escaped from the maximum security Maze Prison. The event became known to the IRA as the Great Escape.

HM Maze Prison was considered to be the most escape proof prison in the whole of Europe and mostly held prisoners who were involved in paramilitary campaigns in the country.

One officer died of a heart attack during the escape and another 20 were injured. Prisoners had been planning the escape for many months beforehand, with some members of the IRA having infiltrated the prison’s staff, to identify security weaknesses.

This enabled them to smuggle guns and knives into the prison, ready for the escape, which took place in the middle of the afternoon. Many of the escapees ended up wearing guard uniforms as they eloped across nearby fields.

15 prisoners were re-captured on the same day, including four who were hiding underwater in a river, using reeds to breathe. Four more were captured over the next few days.

The remaining 18 escaped to IRA strongholds. The escape was seen as positive propaganda for the IRA and a failure by the British Government.

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