Tag Archives: cold case

Jerry Elrod was stabbed to death in Fairbanks, Alaska, October 1983.

Jerry Elrod was stabbed to death in Fairbanks, Alaska, October 1983.

Kathy Morris, 23, worked at Fairbanks Hospital, when she was killed along with her friend, Jerry Elrod, in October 1983.

Kathy Morris, 23, worked at Fairbanks Hospital, when she was killed along with her friend, Jerry Elrod, in October 1983.

WATCH FOR STATE BY STATE COLD CASE HOMICIDES IN THE FUTURE

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DOUBLE HOMICIDE IN FAIRBANKS REMAINS UNSOLVED

The double homicide of Kathy Morris and Jerry Elrod in Fairbanks on October 1, 1983 remains open 32 years later.    Both of them were found stabbed to death in her apartment on Slater Drive.   Newer technology and ways of solving crime have been tried by detectives in later years including Fairbanks Police Detective Peyton Merideth.   Their bodies were found by a maintenance worker and the apartment showed signs of a violent struggle although there were no signs of a forced entry.   That led authorities to believe that they probably knew their killer.

Police are still seeking the assistance of the public to help solve their vicious murders.    They are not saying if any new physical evidence has been uncovered with more modern technology.   As is the normal case with such killings, dozens of interviews were done to try and gain more insight into the crimes.    Police still want to talk to anyone who may have known the victims, Kathy Morris and Jerry Elrod, or their friend, Charles Cosper Jr., who spent time with the couple hours before they were killed.

 

Do you pick up a hitchhiker on the Richardson Highway early on the morning of the homicides, October 1, 1983?   If so, the Fairbanks Police want to talk to you.   Maybe you didn’t think about the significance at the time, but if you saw the news reports and now remember picking someone up that day, it could be very important.   Police would also like to talk to the person who contacted them about the case in the early 1990s and provided a great deal of information, in the hopes that that person can help put some of the puzzle pieces together.

Morris had only lived in Alaska about six months when she was killed and she worked at the Fairbanks Memorial Hospital.  She was separated from her husband at the time and her son by a previous marriage went to stay with his grandparents in Missouri at that time.

Elrod was stationed at Eielson Air Force Base and belonged to the honor guard, where he also started a drill team.   He was not married and had met Morris a few weeks before their homicides at Rock Island, a now defunct night club.   The couple and Cosper had been at the non-commissioned officers’ club at Eielson Air Force Base the night they lost their lives, leaving there about 10:30am and arriving back at Morris’ apartment around 1:00 a.m.

When the maintenance worker found their bodies the next morning a little before 10:00 a. m., it was initially reported that a domestic had turned into a knife fight.  This was erroneous.

Cold cases can be solved.   Over the period of years, the killer may have talked to someone about what happened that night.    He may have an estranged spouse or girlfriend who knew that he came home bloody that night without an explanation.   He may have had a friend pick him up near the apartments that night.    Technology is great if there is evidence to be found and analyzed but in the absence of that, the police need someone to come forward who has information that can place a killer at the scene.   They need your help.

1989 Tuscaloosa AL Double Homicide Tied to FL Double Homicide

I am planning to hit the 50 states and possibly a little more in the next few weeks and months.    This will begin with Alabama and proceed alphabetically unless there is some reason that another case needs to take center stage or have an update.    I will add photos as they become possible.

 

The double murder of Acie and Carolyn Worthy struck me because it appeared to be two nice people minding their own business, active in their communties and their only appeal to a killer maybe being that Mr. Worthy was known to carry large amounts of case.   Their murder was tied to a double murder in Florida earlier in 1989 and two skis masks were found at that scene.   Remember that there may be TWO killers when you are running this through your head to see if you might remember seeing something or hearing something or being the confidante of someone who told you about these homicides.

 

The Worthy Homicides

 

Everyone knows that criminals target vulnerable people who may carry cash money, not thinking of themselves as potential victims and believing they live in safe neighborhoods.

 

Acie and Carolyn Worthy lived one mile off Interstate  59/20 on Alabama Highway 216.  Their local volunteer fire department responded to a report of a house fire at their home on October 16, 1989, at 12:43 a.m.   Anyone who has been to a fire scene knows the destruction caused by the fire and also by the efforts  of the fire fighters to quelch the fire and save any residents.   The fire damage and then the water damage and efforts to breach the house are likely just what the killers had in mind.   Both Acie and Carolyn Worthy’s bodies were found in the home and initial investigation showed that they died, not from the fire or smoke inhalation, but from gunshot wounds.

Mrs. Worthy was choir director and the couple had  aarriveed home from a Sunday night church service.   The house had been intentionally torched, with the reasonable assumption made that the fire was set to cover up evidence of the homicides.   Mr. Worthy was an officer at the local VFW post Bessemer.  He was known to carry large amounts of cash on his person.

 

The possibility that this was not the first time this killer or killers had been operating was revealed when investigators in Alabama were contacted by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement about a double homicide in Graceville, Florida in January of the same year.

 

Robert McRae, Sr., and his wife, Katherine, ages 72 and 70, were found murdered in their Graceville, FL, home.   Neighborhood children had gone to their home to visit and found two ski masks lying near the back door.   The frightened children ran to a neighbor who called police and upon entering the McRae home, police found the bodies of the couple.

 

Strangely enough, Mrs. McRae was found thumb-cuffed behind her back.  Both she and her husband had been shot in the head.   When police compared the evidence in both cases, they determined the cases to be linked.

 

The McRae case was nine months prior to the Worthy killings.    Maybe the killer(s) tried to make sure they wouldn’t be leaving any evidence at the Worthy scene.   Remember, there were TWO ski masks found.

 

Anyone with evidence about this case can call the Tuscaloosa Homicide unit at 205-464-8690 or use the Homicide Unit email at Homicide@tuscco.com.

Reward Offered Raleigh County WV Cherice Gwinn Disappearance Homicide

Cherice Gwinn was a beautiful young woman who disappeared under very strange circumstances and is assumed dead.

Cherice Gwinn was a beautiful young woman who disappeared under very strange circumstances and is assumed dead.

Cherice Gwinn's car was probably known by many in the community as she was a student and had a job outside the home.

Cherice Gwinn’s car was probably known by many in the community as she was a student and had a job outside the home.

Did you see Cherice Gwinn's car back in 1993 with someone else driving it?

Did you see Cherice Gwinn’s car back in 1993 with someone else driving it?

 

Sometimes people go missing in such suspicious circumstances that the police treat their disappearance as a homicide and investigate it as such.    That generally means they have a suspect in mind but have not been able to get enough evidence to charge that suspect.    Cherice Gwinn Stephens went missing from Raleigh County (West Virginia) September 29, 1993 in such a situation.

 

For those who don’t know where Raleigh County (WV) is located, you may have heard of Beckley, West Virginia.   It is not far from the New River Gorge Bridge and is near the training facility for federal mine inspectors.

 

Cherice Gwinn (Stephens) disappeared between September 29th and October 1, 1993, although she was not reported missing until September, 1994.   How did that happen, you might ask?   That immediately brings up all kinds of red flags, questions and suspicions.   Read on.

 

At the time of her disappearance, Cherice Gwinn was married to Norman Stephens.    They lived in a small residence on the Harmon property on Brackenridge Road in the Bolt area of Raleigh County.

 

Cherice was a student at The College of WV (Beckley College).   She also enjoyed fitness and joined the L.A. East Gym in Beckley.   Prior to her disappearance she worked at Spartan Sporting Goods in Beckley.

 

Do you have a suspect in mind yet?    There’s more.

 

Cherice drove a 1993 white Dodge Daytona (pictured).   Strangely enough her car disappeared the same time as Cherice but it mysteriously reappeared a month later.   The police are really seeking any additional information relating to the storage or transport of this vehicle during the fall of 1993.    That could help them solve her disappearance and likely murder.

 

Cherice was last seen alive by her husband, Norman Stephens.  Just weeks after her disappearance, Norman Stephens filed for divorce and that divorce was final on Valentine’s Day, 1994.

 

It was not Norman who reported her missing and remember she was not reported missing until September 1994, months after his divorce from her was final.    Norman Stephens never reported Cherice missing and has never fully cooperated with the police.  Norman has never been willing to talk with Cherice’s family about her disappearance despite their many requests for him to do so.

 

At the time of her disappearance, Norman Stephens worked for UPS and not long after her disappearance, he moved to Cherry Hill Apartments in the Beaver area of Raleigh County.   Additionally, in the years immediately following Cherice`s disappearance, Norman Stephens closely associated with Benjamin Williams, who, like Norman, was a graduate of Independence High School   Other associates at the time included Robert Miller (a high school friend who had joined the USAF and was living in Texas and/or North Carolina) and his coworkers from the Beckley UPS.

 

This case is being investigated as a homicide.  If you have ANY information pertaining to the aforementioned facts or circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Cherice Gwinn, even background information that you may not think is important, her family urges you to contact CRIME STOPPERS at 304-255-STOP (7867).    The investigating officers are West Virginia State Police F/Sgt. D. L. Bowles at 304-647-7600 and Sgt. G. D. Williams at 304-256-6700.

 

I don’t necessarily love the idea of people providing information because they want the money but if a reward motivates someone when nothing else does, there is a reward offered for helping bring this case to an end.

 

PLEASE HELP THE GWINN FAMILY HAVE SOME CLOSURE ABOUT THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THEIR DAUGHTER.     IF YOUR TIP ABOUT CHERICE GWINN LEADS POLICE TO MAKE AN ARREST, you will receive a minimum cash reward of $1,000.00 and up to $5,000.00 cash reward, depending on how helpful your information is to the solving of the case.

 

This information is from the Raleigh County (WV) Crime Stoppers website and you can see this case there, as well as other Raleigh County cold cases at http://raleighcounty.crimestoppersweb.com/misc.aspx?p=1.

 

Verify the reward information if that is what motivates you with the Crime Stoppers at the phone number above.   There is someone out there besides the killer who knows what happened to Cherice.   It is likely that someone stored the car for the killer and then it reappeared.   Someone may have helped the killer by driving the car away or by picking the killer up after they took the car somewhere.

 

It is time to step up to the plate and help this family.

Farmington NM Tipster Urgently Needs to Call Police Unsolved Cold Case 1991

 

Patsy Taylor was murdered during her early morning run June 1991.

Patsy Taylor was murdered during her early morning run June 1991.

Patsytaylor

 

Patsy Taylor left her Farmington, New Mexico, home on July 10, 1991 shortly after 5:00 a.m. for her daily morning run.    She was 52 at the time.     Neighbors were awakened by her screaming around 5:30am.    Taylor was found dead and initially police believed it may have been a hit-and-run accident.    When an autopsy was completed, police learned that Taylor had been struck several times in the head and back by a heavy metal object.

It’s been nearly 25 years since the mother of three was murdered, but her family is still looking for answers.

“You try and replace all that pain with the positive things; you basically have to do that to move forward,” Gina Saied, Taylor’s daughter, told KOB.   “It’s very sad and we all feel cheated and robbed of those precious years we would have had with her.”

Saied visited Farmington recently to discuss her mother’s case with a new cold case detective now assigned to it.     Just one week after that visit, Lt. Daryl Noon told the Daily Times that an anonymous tipster phoned in to the county’s crime stopper’s number with a tip that’s been deemed credible.

“This is the best progress we have made on the case in years,” Lt. Noon said.

Police are urging that that tipster come forward to help them solve Patsy Taylor’s murder.      They really need more information to follow up on the lead provided.    Taylor’s family continues to hope justice can be found.

“She has missed out on so much and it grieves us that she missed out; and in turn, we have missed out on so much – just having her presence in our lives,” Saied said.

If you have any information that can help bring justice for Patsy Taylor and her family, please contact the San Juan County Crime Stoppers at (505) 334-8477.

 

Here is the link to the video https://youtu.be/_N37IOSbr-U

 

The case detective has followed up on all tips received. No arrests have been made.    Help make this case be the first laid to rest of Farmington’s twelve unsolved cold cases.

Two Highway Killer Victims Still Unidentified

PLEASE PAY CAREFUL ATTENTION TO THIS POST THAT IS OF INTEREST TO SOUTHERN INDIANA AND ILLINOIS OR EVEN NORTHERN KENTUCKY.

Two victims of the Highway Killer Remain Unidentified, check out Newton County, Indiana, Coroner's Office on Facebook

Two victims of the Highway Killer Remain Unidentified, check out Newton County, Indiana, Coroner’s Office on Facebook

PLEASE HELP IDENTIFY THESE YOUNG PEOPLE.

One of the pics would not load but check out the Coroner’s Office on FB for the other pic.

Newton County, Indiana Coroner’s OfficeOctober 12, 2013 ·
Thirty Years ago on the 18th of this month two mushroom hunters made a very gruesome and sad discovery.
They found the remains of four young men buried in shallow graves in a barn lot just north of Lake Village, IN. They were the unfortunate victims of Larry Eyler, the Highway Killer, a serial killer that worked the Indiana-Illinois area during the late 1970′ and early 1980’s.
Two of these boys were quickly identified and sent home to their families but, two still remain “unidentified” and are now considered “my kids”.
A full Forensic Study has been done and Dental Charts are available along with DNA (Thank You ISP Lowell Post Lab) and attached are the new sketches done by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
I am pretty sure that these boys are from the Southern Indiana-Illinois area (maybe even northern Kentucky), they were picked up by Eyler in the Terra Haute area.
Please take a minute and share these pictures with EVERYONE you know. The more exposure they get the better the chance someone will recognize them.

Thanks Everyone;

Scott

30 Year Old Illinois Homicide Solved Kristina Wesselman

Remember that every small link can help solve cold cases.   Sometimes that one tiny bit of information becomes the link in a chain that joins the handcuffs on a murderer!

Just to show that you really can make a difference:

 

This 30 year old homicide was solved in September 2015.

 

Kristina Wesselman, of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, left her home on July 21, 1985, to go to a store for candy.   She did not return home and her mother reported her missing.  Her body was found hours later in a field near the path that she had last been seen walking on.    She had been sexually assaulted and stabbed multiple times.

 

 

Michael R. Jones, 62, of Champaign, Illinois, was arrested in September and charged with two counts of murder and one of aggravated criminal sexual assault in Wesselman’s death.   This arrest came about after the Sheriff’s Department received new information on September 10 about the cold case that had gone on for 30 years.   Her mother had always believed that someone do the right thing and would come forth with information about Kristina’s death.

 

LISA DAWN CARNES Brutally Murdered Massac County Illinois March 1984

Lisa Carnes was murdered in Massac County Illinois in March 1984.   Her murder remains unsolved.

Lisa Carnes was murdered in Massac County Illinois in March 1984. Her murder remains unsolved.

Lisa Carnes has been gone since 1984.  Can you help find her killer?

Lisa Carnes has been gone since 1984. Can you help find her killer?

 

Maybe time heals but sometimes there are wounds that can’t be healed, as in the case of Lisa Carnes of Karnak, Illinois.    She was murdered more than 31 years ago and maybe this is the year that someone will come forth and say what happened.

 

What does happen over time is that people get divorced, relatives pass away, domestic violence victims leave relationships that kept them so fearful they were willing to keep quiet even about murder.    Maybe someone knows that their ex-spouse or boyfriend was responsible for Carnes’ death, maybe they were a child in the household and heard things no child should hear but they are now adults and not fearful of talking about what they heard.

 

Police solve these long unsolved cases by putting together pieces of a puzzle and you might have that one missing piece of the puzzle that will help a killer come to justice and a family to finally have peace about what happened to a loved one.

 

Murder does not occur in a vacuum.     Most murders are not the result of a psychopathic, brilliant serial killer.    Most of them occur because someone did something stupid at a time of weakness.    These people are not career criminals, they nearly always leave some kind of trail and someone out there knows about it.    Maybe the killer talked to friends over beers, maybe he came home one night covered in blood and distraught, maybe he even asked someone to come pick him up at the murder scene.    SOMEONE KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED TO LISA CARNES.

 

Lisa Carnes’ body was found in a field in rural Massac County (Illinois) near Macedonia Church Road and U. S. Highway 45.   She had been brutally murdered and left to die in a rural field.    Carnes’ truck was later located roughly four miles from the site where her body was located.    Her family tends to suspect that she knew her killer and had some connection with that killer.

 

 

DO YOU KNOW WHO KILLED LISA CARNES?

 

 

Anyone who has information that may be helpful in solving this crime is asked to contact Illinois State Police Sergeant Chad Brown at 618-845-3740, extension 282

 

A Facebook page devoted to Carnes is at:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/LisaCarnes1984/

Lisa Carnes was murdered in Massac County Illinois in March 1984.   Her murder remains unsolved.

Lisa Carnes was murdered in Massac County Illinois in March 1984. Her murder remains unsolved.

Lisa Carnes has been gone since 1984.  Can you help find her killer?

Lisa Carnes has been gone since 1984. Can you help find her killer?

Shocking Child Murder at Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park

Beautiful Harper's Ferry National Historical Park was the scene of a shocking child murder. (See http://www.nps.gov/hafe/index.htm for more on the park).

Beautiful Harper’s Ferry National Historical Park was the scene of a shocking child murder. (See http://www.nps.gov/hafe/index.htm for more on the park).

 

BABY CHRISTIAN FAYETTE COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA 2004

Sheriff Robert “Bobby” Shirley of Jefferson County took up the reins on a cold case very important to his department.   His predecessor, Sheriff Everett “Ed” Boober, had hoped to make an arrest in the case before he left office, but the case remains unsolved.

 

Although West Virginia is one several states with SAFE Haven laws, which allow parents to drop off their unwanted baby at a hospital or health facility within 30 days of the child’s birth, the mother of the child who has been christened “Baby Christian” by police did not take advantage of that resource.

 

The newborn baby, estimated between 8 and 9 pounds, was found by a Harpers Ferry National Historical Park ranger at 2:48 p.m. March 21, 2004.    The autopsy report showed that he was alive when put inside a garbage bag with three 5-pound weights on the bank of the Shenandoah River near the U.S. 340 bridge in Harpers Ferry, WV.   The report found that the baby had been born alive and died from injuries sustained in the fall.  The child’s body was believed to have been lying along the river bank for one to three months before it was found.

 

Baby Christian is estimated to have been born between December 2003 and February 2004.   Remember that he was a large child, 8-9 pounds, and it is likely that the mother would have been noticed by someone to have been pregnant.

 

Baby Christian was wrapped in a pink sheet, then a white sheet, placed into a plastic trash bag which was tied closed and placed inside another trash bag, tied shut and tossed off the bridge landing about 20 feet away from the water’s edge.

The Harpers Ferry National Historical Park ranger thought the bag, which was found on the Harpers Ferry side of the river, probably contained garbage.    He opened it, believing it too heavy for simple garbage and the shocked ranger found the baby with the umbilical cord still attached.

Many leads were received from the public and DNA was obtained, although no matches have been found so far.    Baby Christian was buried on April 3, 2004, with services held by the community and police.   Eackles-Spencer Funeral Home donated its services. He was laid to rest at Edge Hill Cemetery in Charles Town, which donated a burial plot for the child.

 

Anyone with any information about the case or who previously contacted investigators about the case is asked to contact Detective Tracy Harrison with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department at 304-728-3205.

Tammy Zywicki left Evanston IL and was found in Lawrence County MO

zywicki Illinois

 

Tammy J. Zywicki, W/F, born 3/13/1971 disappeared on August 23, 1992 and her body was located September 1, 1992.   She left from Evanston, IL, headed for college in Grinnell, Iowa, where she was expected to arrive later the same evening.   She was ready to start her senior year in college at Grinnell.  Her car was found by an Illinois state Trooper and ticketed as being abandoned the day she disappeared.

 

Her body was located along Interstate Highway 44 in rural Lawrence County, Missouri, which is located between Springfield and Joplin, Missouri.  Zywicki was stabbed seven times, with a small knife, such as a pen knife.    Her body was found about 14’ from the pavement, wrapped in a blanket with duct tape on the ends.  She was dressed in different items than the ones she was wearing when she left Evanston and wearing underwear her mother stated were not hers and that she would never have worn.

 

She was last seen with car on Interstate 80 at mile marker 83, which is in LaSalle County, Illinois, between 3:10pm and 4:00pm on August 23, 1992.   A tractor/trailer was reportedly seen near Zywicki’s vehicle during this time period.   The driver of the semi was described as a white male between 35 and 40 years of age, over six feet tall, with dark, bushy hair.

 

Tammy’s personal items were missing when the car was recovered, including a Canon 35mm camera and a musical wrist watch that played “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on my Head,” with an umbrella on its face.

 

Tammy Zywicki is one of the many women who have disappeared while traveling on the interstate.   Nationwide, many many women have gone missing in this manner and truckers are suspected in some of these crimes, being natural suspects due to the nature of their jobs and in some cases, because a trucker was seen near the crime scene.

 

Tammy didn’t have a cell phone, GPS, nor any of the other safety features that young women might have available today.

 

Tammy was well liked, active in sports and popular in her hometown.  Her cat, Bob, thought the world revolved around her.

zywickicatBob

A now deceased trucker, Lonnie Bierbrodt, was identified as the man who was seen talking to Tammy the day she disappeared but he has not been definitively identified as her killer.  A witness reported seeing a green Datsun pickup parked behind her.   The hood of her car was reportedly up and the previous day her car had overheated.  Bierbrodt was not only a trucker, allegedly on vacation at the time Tammy went missing, but he owned a green Datsun pickup that was found after it had been steam cleaned and sold.

 

Tammy’s car was a white four-door 1985 Pontiac T1000 hatchback.

zywickicar Illinois

The Illinois State Police requests that anyone with information about this case contact Special Agent Jorge Fonseca, 815-726-6377, ext. 286.    If that special agent is no longer available, inquire for the new agent assigned to this case.    It is not unusual for people to get promoted, transferred, retired, etc. and case responsibility for cases can change often.    That lack of continuity can also affect case management.

 

Maybe you were traveling somewhere along her route on August 23, 1992.  That was a busy travel time for college students headed back to school.

zywicki and college friends Grinnell

Maybe you know of similar homicides that occurred in that decade, along a lonely stretch of interstate.

 

It only takes one right tip to lay the case to rest, the right tip.   Newly elected Gov. Rauner of Illinois is being requested to release more information about this killing, with the hopes that it will jog someone’s memory about that fateful day in August 1992.

Colorado Cold Cases Bennett and Smith linked by DNA, others possible

Patricia Louise Smith was the victim of a brutal homicide in Lakewood CO in January 1984

Patricia Louise Smith was the victim of a brutal homicide in Lakewood CO in January 1984

Bruce, Debra and Melissa Bennett were viciously murdered in their home in Aurora, CO,   January 1984

Bruce, Debra and Melissa Bennett were viciously murdered in their home in Aurora, CO, January 1984

 

The murders of Bruce, Debra and Melissa Bennett in January 1984 were preceded days earlier by the death of Patricia Louise Smith.  The Bennett family was killed while living in Aurora, Colorado, and Smith lived in nearby Lakewood.    Both homicide scenes were very close to a large construction area where many new homes were being built, the Alameda Avenue corridor, and someone working construction in that area might have information or have noticed something.

Besides the Bennett and Smith murders, police believed there might be links to other random attacks that occurred that same month along the Highline Canal and Alameda Avenue corridor, including a January 4, 1984, hammer attack in an Aurora home.   There were no more hammer attacks after the Bennett killings.   The attacks were all very violent, vicious unprovoked attacks on family homes.   The perpetrator would likely have been bloodied, especially after the Bennett attack, where the father fought valiantly to save his family.

You can make a difference.    In light of the extreme violence and out of control behavior, someone could very well have seen this attacker leaving one of these homes.    What did you see?