Tag Archives: murder

Illinois Has Many Cold Cases, Check These Out? Was a Serial Killer at Large?


Every state has someone or several someones maintaining a list of cold cases. This means different things to different people. I’m always surprised at the varying numbers of listed cold cases, depending on the site visited. Part of that is because some sites count cases of missing persons among the cold cases; some are statewide and some are regional. Sometimes I’m not sure why all the known cases are not listed, when it is a governmental body who is maintaining the list. One site that seems to really go all out to cover everything in Illinois is: http://ilcoldcases.blogspot.com/ There is also a site maintained by the Illinois State Police at http://www.isp.state.il.us/crime/unsolved.cfm.

I didn’t know about many of the cases listed on the http://ilcoldcases.blogspot.com/. The administrator of that site has shown great dedication and done a tremendous amount of work searching for all the missing, unsolved homicides, unidentified dead and others. You will be shocked when you check out this site at the number of entries. It is doubly heartbreaking because there are pictures in most cases. These are all people who have met with violence or trauma or the unknown and all of them left people behind who seek justice or just simply the knowledge of what happened to a loved one. You can help them with that.

Rather than list one cold case per state, I am going to take a broader view. I will be dealing only with cold case homicides at this point, but feel free to bring up other cold cases if you have a particular interest, where there are missing persons, suspicions of foul play or other unusual cases. Maybe someone’s death was labeled an accident, a suicide or something else and you think it is a homicide or maybe even a homicide related to another crime. I don’t encourage wild speculation and won’t tolerate character assassination without any basis in fact but if you present a good case and try to remain respectful, I will see what I can do.

Just because I am only listing some of the cases for each state does not mean that all of the other cases are not equally important. It simply is not possible to go into every case in detail, especially in a state with large urban populations, such as Chicago. Again, feel free to discuss other cases.

Please review the Illinois cold case homicides below:

The Lane Bryant homicides are horrifying. Five women died Feburary 2, 2008, in Tinley Park, IL. They included Store Manager Rhoda McFarland, 42, of Joliet; Jennifer L. Bishop, 34, of South Bend, Indiana; Carrie Hudek Chiuso, 33, of Frankfort; Connie R. Woolfolk, 37, of Flossmoor; and young Sarah T. Szafranski of Oak Forest, only 22.

Six women were shot — five fatally — inside the Lane Bryant store at the Brookside Marketplace shopping center at 191st Street and Harlem Avenue. Ten years later, there have been no arrests and no charges filed. The murderer is at large. Investigators hope to finally locate their suspect. Police released a 3D image of a suspect.

This suspect is 6’- 6’ 2”, with a husky build and broad shoulders. He was 25-35 at the time of the murders, making him an estimated 35-45 now. His hair was braided that day, with with three to five puffy cornrows pulled toward the back of his head and a single braid with four light-green beads on its end dangling down his right cheek. He was wearing a charcoal gray ski or skull cap with a dark-colored, waist-length jacket and black jeans that had embroidery on their back pockets resembling a cursive letter “G”.

This is the suspect in the Lane Bryant homicides. Note his distinctive hairstyle.

This is a solvable case. The suspect was very distinctive and someone out there knows him. If you have information, call the tip hotline at 708-444-5394 or email lanebryant.tipline@tinleypark.org.

Dalton Mesarchik

Child homicide cases are the most distressing for investigators. No one has forgotten about this child. On March 26, 2003, seven-year-old Streator resident Dalton Mesarchik was reported missing from the front yard of his home. The following day, Dalton’s body was located in the Vermillion River. An intense, multi jurisdictional investigation ensued. Agents from the Streator Police Department, Livingston County Sheriff’s Department, and Illinois State Police interviewed dozens of people and followed up on hundreds of leads in an attempt to identify the person responsible for Dalton’s murder. Physical evidence from Dalton’s body and the body recovery site was sent to the ISP Crime Lab for processing. The Dalton Mesarchik Task Force was set up to try to find the person(s) responsible. The crime is still unsolved.

Anyone with information of Dalton’s murder, the hammer used in the murder, or the location where Dalton’s body was found may contact: Illinois State Police – Dalton Mesarchik Task Force by telephone at 1-815-844-1500 (ext.2321) or email at daltonm@isp.state.il.us
Visit this ISP website for a photo and contact information: http://www.isp.state.il.us/crime/unsolveddetails.cfm?ID=47#WaitingforJustice

Keith Brown

Keith Brown’s homicide remains open in Southern Illinois. Keith Brown lived in Buckner, a small town in Franklin County. His wife reported him missing February 3, 1993 and he has now been gone 25 years. His blue 1989 Plymouth hatchback, (IL. Reg. KWA682) was discovered two days later in a remote area near Crab Orchard Lake in Williamson County.

Keith Brown’ skeletal remains were found near Crab Orchard Lake in Williamson County in June 1993 in a different location than his car, months after he turned up missing. His remains were discovered when a farmer bailing hay in the field encountered skeletal remains and reported it to the Williamson County Sheriff’s Department. Keith died from gunshot wounds.

Keith worked as a nurse at local nursing homes. Did he anger someone with whom he worked? Did he fire someone who sought revenge? Keith enjoyed fishing at Crab Orchard Lake. Did he encounter some at that isolated area near the lake who killed him at random?

There were other killings in the Crab Orchard Lake area around that time. Someone or several someones were targeting unaccompanied men found in the area and there were other vicious murders. So, it is not out of the question that the killer(s) targeted Keith because he was found alone in the area.

Although time has passed, there’s someone out there who has the information needed to solve this case. Maybe they were married to someone who talked about the murder or maybe they heard something at a gathering of family or friends. It’s time to get it off their chest and help solve this crime which left a family devastated.


LISA DAWN CARNES Brutally Murdered Massac County Illinois March 1984

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. Her nude body was found March 30, 1984, near Macedonia Church Road and U.S. 45. Three decades after her body was found in a rural Massac County field, the murder of Lisa Ann Carnes remains unsolved.

Her pickup truck was found U.S. 45 and Illinois 169. Her clothes were found between the truck and a rural county road. A large amount of blood was found on the back porch of an unoccupied farmhouse. Her body was found about a quarter mile away. She died from a bullet to the back and the theory was that she ran to the farmhouse for help and finding no one there, fled through the field. Someone may have been afraid to talk at that time but maybe now their circumstances have changed and they can help bring a vicious murderer to justice.

Over time people get divorced, relatives pass away, domestic violence victims leave relationships that kept them so fearful they are 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. 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.

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

Kimberly Mabry
On April 14, 1995, the dismembered body of Kimberly R. Mabry, of Rockford, Illinois, was found in a creek, in a remote, rural area of Whiteside County near Coleta, Illinois. Kimberly was last seen alive on September 1, 1994, in Rockford, Illinois. The victim worked as an exotic dancer; she may have visited the Broadway Street and Grand Hotel areas in Rockford, Illinois.

Anyone with any information regarding Kimberly’s associates, areas she frequented, persons who frequent “crack” houses; and/or solicits prostitutes in the Rockford, Illinois area is urged to contact Sgt. Jerome Costliow, Illinois State Police at 815-632-4010 ext 283; or Analyst John Roman, Illinois State Police, Field Support Section at 888/375-9611, or romanjo@isp.state.il.us.

Unidentified White Female, Collinsville

On July 20, 1990, at 1:25 p.m., an unidentified, white female body was found in a bean field approximately 40 feet north of Lebanon Road, 1/10th of a mile west of the Troy and O’Fallon Road in Jarvis Township, Collinsville, Illinois. The victim’s death resulted from multiple cutting and stab wounds to the neck and torso; her fallopian tubes, uterus and ovaries were missing. Evidence of surgical removal could not be determined. No defensive wounds were found on the victim. The body appeared to have been placed at the site two to three days prior to discovery.

Anyone with any information regarding the identification of the unidentified victim is urged to contact Detective Leonard Suhre, Madison County Sheriff’s Department at 618/692-4433 or 618/ 692-0871.

Four Unidentified Black Females in 2002:

Could these be the work of a serial killer?

While the case on the Will-Kankakee County line is geographically not close to the others mentioned, serial killers often travel and that may be why these women have not been identified. Note also that two of the women were found near interstates and the others near other highways.


Unidentified black African American female
January 30, 2002
Near Mile Marker 22 Interstate 64

This unidentified black female was found in rural Mascoutah.

On Wednesday, January 30, 2002, at approximately 4:30 p.m., the Illinois State Police responded to a complaint concerning the discovery of skeletal remains near mile marker 22 on Interstate 64. The complaint originated from workers of the Illinois Department of Transportation who were working in the vicinity and discovered the remains. The skeletal remains were situated off the roadway on the east side of the Silver Creek overpass in rural Mascoutah, Illinois. At the direction of the St. Clair County Coroner’s office, the remains were transferred to St. Mary’s Hospital, East St. Louis, Illinois, where an autopsy was performed. The autopsy, performed by Dr. James Petterchak, revealed the following information about the deceased: believed to be an African-American female, approximate age 20-30 years, with two rings on the left hand (one (1) 14 ct. small gold band (size 7 1/4) and one (1) costume style ring (size 6 ½) with a light blue colored tear shaped stone), wearing a black colored sleeveless one-piece Jason Matthews brand jumpsuit. The autopsy could not determine the cause of the death and it is believed that the victim has been deceased for several months. Additional forensic examinations will be conducted to determine the identity of the woman.

Anyone with information concerning the identity of the victim or the circumstances surrounding her death are urged to contact Illinois State Police Sergeant Kurt Sachtleben at 618/346-3788 or 618/346-3781.

Madison County

Unidentified Black Female Adult
Near the Silver Creek overpass, in rural Madison County at mile marker 23 on eastbound I-70

This unidentified African American female was found in Madison County.

Illinois State Police released a computer generated image of a black female victim on June 18, 2002. The remains had been discovered on March 11, 2002 near mile post 23 on I-70 (eastbound). The image reflecst how the victim may have looked prior to her death. The skeletal remains of the victim were originally discovered by Illinois Department of Transportation workers near an underpass in rural Madison County. A subsequent autopsy could not determine the cause of death and it is believed that the victim had been deceased four to six months. That means that she died around September-October 2002.
Anyone with information concerning the identity of the victim or the circumstances surrounding her death are urged to contact ISP Sergeant Kurt Sachtleben at (618) 346-3788 or (618) 346-3781.

Unidentified black female
Found March 28, 2002
Near Gall Route on IL Route 3

This unidentified female was found near Columbia, IL.

The Columbia Police Department and Major Case Squad started an investigation of skeletal remains on March 28, 2002, that were found on a creek bed on Route 3 near Gall Road in Columbia. Investigators located a size XL green shirt with a large “M” and the word “Mavericks”, in orange or yellow lettering, across the front of the shirt. The shirt also had two buttons at the top similar to a softball jersey. Also at the scene were a pair of khaki colored size 3 “Chazzz Credentials” shorts.

This African American female was aged 33-50, 5’ 1”, give or take three inches, and she was believed to have delivered a child or children. The forensic examiner believed she had been deceased at least six months but not more than a year. That would mean she went missing somewhere between about March 2001 and September 2001. Someone had to have missed her. Anyone with information is asked to call Sgt. Joe Edwards of the Columbia Police Department at (618) 281-5151.

Will-Kankakee County
Unidentified African American female
Found October 1, 2002

Unidentified African American female found near the Will-Kankakee line in Illinois.

Will-Kankakee County Line, near Route 45
The skeletal remains of an African-American female were found October 1, 2002 near the Will-Kankakee County Line, near Route 45.

The ISP, in cooperation with the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office and the Coroner’s Office, is looking for information that may help identify her. She was approximately 30-40 years old at the time of death and stood around 5’3″ tall. She is thought to have died in 2001. A forensic artist provided this sketch and the hairstyle is only an estimate.

If you can provide any information about the possible identity of this person, or the circumstances of her death, please contact Trooper Darrin Devine or Master Sergeant Ruben Bautista, ISP, Zone 3 Investigations in Ashkum, (815) 698-2672. All information will be treated as confidential upon request.

Lisa Uzzle
The case of Lisa Uzzle isn’t as cold as many and maybe there is someone out there willing to come forth and talk about what happened to her. She was a well know postal worker with a mail route through Marion. She was found in late 2014 in what remained of her burning home and she died from a gunshot wound. The fire was probably set to destroy evidence and it did a lot of that. Her contacts could be tracked down from her cell phone by using her phone and text messages and internet usage for the day of her death.

Jefferson County

This case is particularly interesting because the victim had a condition that would have been obvious and surely there is someone out there would might suspect the person they knew with this issue might be this unidentified person. Obviously, at least to me, since only the head was located, this was most likely a homicide and the rest of the body concealed somewhere, maybe even nearby in Jefferson County. Someone out there can solve this case.

Unknown female in Jefferson County
Found January 24 or 27 (both dates found in unsolved listings), 1993
Wayne Fitzgerald State Park in Jefferson County

The head of a white female was found in a wooded area in the Wayne Fitzgerald State Park in Jefferson County. Postmortem examination revealed the victim had approximately shoulder length reddish-brown hair.

Analysis by the University of Illinois Anthropology Department indicated the victim’s age ranged between 30 to 50 years. Unusual skeletal characteristics of the skull and upper front cervical vertebrae indicate the victim suffered from chronic spasmodic torticollis, or wryneck, a condition which causes stress on the muscles which are responsible for maintaining upright head posture. Evidence of a healed traumatic lesion on the skull suggests this condition may have been preceded by head trauma; this would have resulted in the victim maintaining a leftward tilt of the head.
Anyone with any information that would help identify this unidentified victim is urged to contact Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department at (618) 242-2141 or ISP at (618) 542-1137.

Does Hawaii (Kauai) have a serial killer who is still at large?

Does beautiful, idyllic Hawaii have a serial killer? Investigators believe that may be the case, with three victims that fit the same profile and have similar physical characteristics. One victim was able to survive her attacker’s attempt to take her life.

Maybe this 2000 attacker has left the area or is in prison for something else. While the attacks occurred in an isolated area, it was near the beach and probably had people who regularly went to the area for surfing. Your information could change the direction of investigators or let them know they are on the right track. Women in the area still feel fear because of the assailant, who is still at large.

Lisa Bissell and Darren Singer weren’t as fortunate as the second victim, who was left seriously injured. Both of them faced an attacker with a knife and were sexually assaulted and killed. Bissell was believed to have been taken to the isolated Polihale Beach Park on the west end of the island after being attacked elsewhere. On April 7, 2000, 38 year old Bissell was found in a ditch, stabbed to death, off a roadway leading to Polihale.

Lisa Bissell was the first victim of the Kauai serial killer who is still at large.

The lone survivor, a 52 year old woman, was attacked doing yard work in Kekaha. She suffered a broken arm and was stabbed in the abdomen during an attempted sexual assault.

Daren R. Singer, 43, was found at Pakala Beach, partially clad, another victim of stab wounds. There were signs indicating she was also a sexual assault victim and cash was located at her campsite, suggesting robbery was not the motive for the killing. She was similar in appearance to the 38yo Bissell. Singer was a local craftsperson and reported a Krishna devotee. Pakala Beach is located in a remote area of Kauai but popular with surfers. Bissell was killed only a few miles away and the location was also near where the third surviving victims was seriously injured during an attempted sexual assault.

Daren Singer, Kauai murder victim. Found at Pakala Point Beach.

Lisa Bissell was killed April 7, 2000.

The unknown victim was assaulted and injured in a sexual assault attempt in a yard at Kekaha on May 22.

Daren Singer was killed August 30.

Each victims was sexually assaulted.

The weapon used in each case was a knife.

The victims were all Caucasian.

Each victims was 5’ 2” to 5’ 5” tall.

Each victims weighed about 100 pounds.

The victims were all alone at the time of their attacks.

The attacks were all on the west side of Kauai near the beach.

Each victim appears to have suffered at the hands of a single assailant.

The victims were all middle aged, from 38-52.

Police have been very active in this case, interviewing as many as six suspects. They also located a vehicle they suspect may have been used to move a victim’s body. DNA results are pending. The surviving victim was able to provide information for a composite.

The surviving victim provided information for a composite of her attacker.

Forward any information related to this crime to Special Investigator John Burgess at 808-241-1734 or Special Investigators Joe Adric or Paul Kanoho at 808-241-1757. You may also send information to the Kauai County Office of the Prosecuting Attorney at 808-241-1888 or via email:coldcase@kauai.gov

University of Georgia Student Shot and Killed

Kelvin was a 2nd Lt. in the U. S. Army Reserve and University of Georgia student.

Kelvin McDuffie was a young man with a future.   He had a girlfriend he wanted to marry, had plans to have his own business and own a home.   He was a student at the University of Georgia and a 2nd Lt. in the U. S. Army Reserves.    His dreams and life were cut short on January 16, 2003 when his bullet-riddled body was found by a delivery driver in a remote area of the 1500 block of Olympic Drive in eastern Clark County, GA in the early morning hours.

The Criminal Investigation Division of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation are asking the public to contact them if they have any information that might lead to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for McDuffie’s murder.   Anyone who might have heard or seen anything from the hours of dusk on Wednesday, January 15, and 5:30 a. m. January 16, 2003, are requested to call.    Anyone who was well acquainted with McDuffie or had spoken with him in the weeks before his death are also encouraged to call investigators.


From the last information I received, a reward is available in this case.


A REWARD is available for information leading to an arrest and conviction. If you have any information, please, contact any of the following:

Athens-Clarke County Police Department – (706) 613-3888 ext. 305
E-mail: jameswilliams@co.clarke.ga.us

Georgia Bureau of Investigation – (706) 542-7901
E-mail: steve.baxley@gbi.state.ga.us

For further information, visit:http://www.accpd.org/UNSOLVED/mcduffie.html

Norwalk, Connecticut Double Homicide Rackita Smalls and Iriquois Alston

Iriquois Alston was shot execution-style in a car with his girlfriend Rackita Smalls in Norwalk, CT

Iriquois Alston was shot execution-style in a car with his girlfriend Rackita Smalls in Norwalk, CT

Rackita Smalls had her life in front of her and was murdered in Norwalk, CT, along with her boyfriend Iriquois Alston

Rackita Smalls had her life in front of her and was murdered in Norwalk, CT, along with her boyfriend Iriquois Alston

Iriquois Alston – Rackita Smalls – Norwalk – August 6, 2011 – $50,000 REWARD
Iriquois Alston, age 27, and Rackita Smalls, age 22, were found shot to death in a parked car in Norwalk on August 6, 2011.    This execution-style murder happened in the back seat of the black Honda sedan in which they were parked in front of 4 Avenue B in Norwalk shortly before 8 a.m. on August 6, 2011.   Both were shot in the head.


Rickita, a 2007 graduate of Bassick High School worked at the bakery at Stop and Shop in Westport.   The couple had been dating and Alston also was the father of a son and daughter.   Rickita’s family reported that she was family oriented and a hard worker.   She enjoyed drawing, art and baking and was going to return to college.


Alston had recently been released from prison after serving an eight-year sentence for armed robbery.

Police are offering $50,000 to help catch the killer — or killers.   Their deaths remain unsolved.


Anyone with information is asked to call Norwalk Police Detective Justin Bisceglie at 203-854-3181. Anonymous tips can be submitted to the Norwalk Police Department Tipline at 203-854-3111, submitted online on the NPD website or via text by sending “NPD” and the information to CRIMES (274637).

Jennifer Lueth and Diana Shawcroft

Jennifer Lueth left in a blue truck with her best friend and was found dead three months later in an isolated location.

Jennifer Lueth left in a blue truck with her best friend and was found dead three months later in an isolated location.

Diana Shawcroft was found dead, along with her friend, Jennifer Lueth.

Diana Shawcroft was found dead, along with her friend, Jennifer Lueth.


We never expect to never see our loved ones again when they to do some simple, routine, thing like going to the store.   Diana Shawcroft and Jennifer Lueth did exactly that on May 24, 1996, telling Diana’s older sister, Kristina Frigoin, that they were going to the store and would be returning in a little while.   They did not take anything with them that suggested they wouldn’t be returning, such as their makeup that Kristina said they never went anywhere without taking.   Diana, age 20, and Jennifer, age 19, were best friends and had moved from Colorado to stay with Diana’s sister. Diana and her sister had had a spat before they left for the mini-mart.

The mini-mart was only a few blocks away but since the girls were adults and known to be adventuresome, Kristina was not immediately alarmed.   The girls were seen at the min-mart around 7 p.m. where they bought cigarettes and soda and sat outside drinking it.   The girls had been there for a couple of hours when a blue truck arrived.   According to witnesses, the girls talked to a man in the truck for quite a while and then got into the truck with him.   That was the last time anyone saw the girls alive.


Investigators concentrated on finding the man in the blue truck (see the picture).    It was believed likely that the girls knew the man previously and the girls had been to a number of parties and nightclubs where they met a lot of people in the short time they had been in Glendale.   The girls were known to be naïve and Lueth’s mother believed they would have been easy targets.   Young people that age believe they are bullet-proof and these young ladies were not an exception.


Nothing was heard about or from the girls until three months had passed.    Two men hunting in a remote desert area 100 miles north of Phoenix found the girls in an extremely isolated area 16 miles from the nearest highway.   Access was possible only by pickup truck or four-wheel drive.    The girls had been murdered, their cause of death withheld by police, and Diane Lynne Shawcroft lay on top of Jennifer Sue Lueth.


The police believe that due to the very isolated and hard to reach area, the killer knew the area well.   Lueth’s father also stated that Jennifer was strong and a scrapper and he did not believe that one assailant would have been able to control and kill both girls.


The families erected two wooden crosses with pictures of the girls at the site where the girls were found and only the police and the families knew exactly where this was located.   Police monitored the site occasionally in case the girls’ killer decided to visit their graves.    The police found evidence of that four years later on September 29, 2000.  The girls’ memorial pictures were stolen from their frames.  Nothing else had been disturbed and it would seem like a strange thing for anyone other than the killer to take.


The families are looking for justice for their loved ones.


Witnesses can be helpful in two ways or rather at two locations.  The girls talked to the man in the blue truck for an extended time and it would be unusual for people not to notice two pretty young women in a public place for an extended time.     Someone may have known the man in the truck or seen him well enough to give the police a description.


People familiar with the desert area near Phoenix might know of someone with a blue truck who visits there.    We know it is likely that he has returned there to take the pictures of the girls.


These women were seen by many people and likely lots of people saw them talking to the man in question.    Think back to that fateful day and ask yourself if you might have seen the girls and later learned that they had been found dead and maybe your mind wandered to seeing two girls talking to a man in a blue truck.    Any time the police receive information, it provides a vital link that allows them to find the entire picture.


There was one final strange twist to this case. The families erected a shrine where the bodies were found. Pictures of both girls were placed at the foot of two wood crosses.  Police decided to occasionally survey the sight, hoping to find evidence of a visit from the killer. Four years later, on September 29, 2000, they found it. Both photos of the girls had been removed from their frames. Only police and the victims’ families knew the exact location where the girl’s bodies had been found. Diane’s father:

“Nothing else seemed to be disturbed and it definitely raised questions as to who would want the pictures, who would go to that much effort to go back in as far as it is, get the pictures, and take them.

killer. Four years later, on September 29, 2000, they found it. Both photos of the girls had been removed from their frames. Only police and the victims’ families knew the exact location where the girl’s bodies had been found. Diane’s father:

“Nothing else seemed to be disturbed and it definitely raised questions as to who would want the pictures, who would go to that much effort to go back in as far as it is, get the pictures, and take them. Hard to even imagine who it would be, or why they would do it, unless it was the perpetrator.”

No evidence that might identify the murderer has ever been found. Authorities would like to question the man in the blue pick up who was the last person seen with the girls.


On the day they disappeared Diana and Jennifer were seen at the mini-mart at approximately 7:00 p.m. According to the cashier, the girls bought cigarettes and soda. But instead of going home, they lingered outside the store. The cashier later saw a man pull up in a blue truck. The girls conversed with the driver and then got into the truck. The driver of the truck drove off. That is the last time the girls were seen alive. Family members believe the girls knew the driver or they would not have left with him.

Three months later two men were hunting in a remote desert 100 miles north of Phoenix. Both Diana Shawcroft and Jennifer Lueth had been found murdered. But the location of the girl’s bodies offered several clues as to who the killer or killers might be. The area is extremely isolated some sixteen miles from the nearest highway and accessible only by pick-up truck or four-wheel drive. Authorities believe that the killer has frequented the area or has some personal knowledge of the area. Authorities also believe the killer was either very strong or there was more than one person involved in the killings.

The search for Diana and Jennifer’s killer or killers continues. Authorities would especially like to question the man who was the last person seen with the girls. He may be driving a blue pick-up truck. Please complete the form below to submit a tip online.


Drawing of the man seen talking to the girls

This blue Chevrolet truck resembles the truck of the man who drove the girls away.

This blue Chevrolet truck resembles the truck of the man who drove the girls away.


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.

Two Highway Killer Victims Still Unidentified


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


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;


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).



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.


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.