Tag Archives: murder

The Unsolved Murders of the Jennings 8

            On May 20, 2005, retiree Jerry Jackson was fishing from a bridge over the Grand Marais Canal on the outskirts of Jennings, Louisiana when he saw the outline of a human body in the water. At first, he remembered seeing reports of mannequins being stolen and assumed that was what he was seeing. What changed his mind was a simple fact: mannequins generally don’t attract insects. Jackson immediately called authorities to the bridge, which was quickly inundated with over a dozen investigators and law enforcement agents (Brown).  Loretta Lynn Chaisson Lewis, 28-years old, was pulled from the canal shortly after (Ott), wearing a white short-sleeved blouse, blue jeans, and blue underwear. Unfortunately, Lewis’s remains were heavily decayed and no evidence was found of injury beyond some blood under her scalp. She was identified through her fingerprints (Brown).

            Lewis was the first of eight known sex workers who’s remains would be found on the outskirts of Jennings, Louisiana from 2005 to 2009. That June, the remains of Ernestine Marie Daniels Patterson, 30, were found in another canal, south of Jennings (Ott). Two men were briefly taken into custody in relation to her murder, Byron Chad Jones and Lawrence Nixon. Nixon was related to another victim, Laconia “Muggy” Brown. Jones and Nixon were charged with second degree murder in the case of Ernestine Patterson, but the charges were dropped. Several witnesses were known to have implicated a specific crime scene, but authorities failed to examine the scene for more than a year after Patterson’s murder. When they finally investigated the scene, they reported no evidence of blood was found on the scene. It is likely that the lack of proper investigative work relating to the crime scene investigation contributed to the case against Jones and Nixon falling apart (Brown).

            In mid-March of 2007, 21-year old Kristen Gary Lopez was found in a canal outside Jennings, just as the two previous victims were (Ott). Frankie Richard, a 58-year old ex-oil worker and strip-club owner known to work as a pimp in Jennings (Brown), and his niece Hannah Conner were arrested in relation to the case, but as before the charges were dropped. The lack of evidence in the case led to their release. Witnesses would later claim to have seen Lopez in a truck the day she disappeared. This would likely have not been unusual, considering the work she did, but the truck in question was bough by a chief investigator from an inmate known to have been friend with one of the victims. By the time these witnesses came forward, the truck had been washed and resold, making it impossible to get any evidence from the vehicle. The investigator in question was removed from the case and fined, but placed in charge of the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s office evidence. Sergeant Jesse Ewing became aware of the truck when two inmates told him, on tape, what they knew about the truck. Ewing sent the tape to the local FBI office, which then relayed the information to the taskforce supervisors. Soon after, Ewing lost his job (Ott).

            Four more known sex workers were found in or near Jennings between the discovery of Lopez’s remains and the formation of a task force in December of 2008. Whitney Dubois, 26, Laconia “Muggy” Brown, 23, Crystal Shay Benoit Zeno, 24, and Brittney Gary 17, were all found with virtually no signs of trauma. Most of their remains were heavily decomposed by the time they were found and the coroner marked the deaths as possible asphyxiation (Ott). Of the victims up to this point, Patterson and Brown were the only ones with a discernable cause of death: their throats had been slit. All the victims were known to have lived in poverty and struggled with mental illnesses, and all had ties to each other (Group) and law enforcement. Several of the victims were known police informants, Brown even being interrogated by investigators in 2005 in relation to Patterson’s murder. She reportedly saw Lewis, the first victim, floating in the Grand Marais Canal before Jackson found her. Lopez was also interviewed by detectives, in 2006. Her mother, Melissa Daigle, believes Lopez knew what was going on. Victim’s Lopez and Gary were cousins, and Gary lived with Benoit in South Jennings before her 2008 murder. The victims all worked from the Boudreaux Inn, a well known inn in Jennings that was central to the drug and sex trade in the area. Not only did the victims all work from this hotel, all but Patterson were known to have worked or been associated with Frankie Richard (Brown).

            The taskforce formed in December 2008 was formed of Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies (Ott). At the time, seven of the eventual eight victims were already dead and a reward of $35,000 was being offered for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrator. When the taskforce was formed, the reward was increased to $85, 000. From the moment the taskforce was formed, the focus was put into the theory of a serial killer (Brown)(Group). Unfortunately, the taskforce’s formation was not enough to prevent another death and in August of 2009, Necole Guillory, 26, was spotted off I-10 near Acadia Parish (Ott). The investigators had been warned by other Jennings sex workers at the end of 2008 that they believed Guillory was possibly in danger of being the next victim. Guillory was the mother of four children, who lived with other family members, and was known to have been paranoid. Before her death, she was noted as having been hesitant of going out alone, and a witness supports the claim that she was scared of someone and likely knew who killed the other victims. Guillory had the same ties to the other victims, and had even been seen by Patterson’s father right before her death. He was possibly one of the last people to see her alive. Her mother had filed a missing persons report on August 19, 2009, the same day she would be found. Like other victims, Guillory had seemingly known what was happening in Jennings. She frequently told family that police were responsible for the murders, but would not name who was involved out of fear. Brown’s sister, Gail, had a similar story about her sister, who reportedly told her family that she was investigating a murder with an officer. The officer had told her she would receive $500 to tell him what happened, and Gail Brown believed this officer killed her sister. A witness would later claim that Brown, like Guillory, seemed to know she was going to die. She had told the witness before her death that three officers were going to kill her (Brown).

            In fall of 2009, Sheriff Edward’s of the Jefferson Davis Parish Sheriff’s Office acknowledged publicly that a serial killer may have been operating in the area. However, Ethan Brown’s investigation brought this into question (Ott). According to FBI criminal profilers, serial killers usually aren’t visibly connected to their victims. Many times, the victims have little to do with each other. In retrospect, it is clear that the local law enforcement was heavily corrupted and often operated questionably. The crime rate in the area says much about this, as there were nearly 20 unsolved murders in the small area since the 1990s as of 2014, when Brown wrote his Medium article. This is an abnormally low clearance, unacceptable in most normal Sheriff’s Departments across the country, and an abnormally high murder rate for an area so small (Brown). Ethan Brown, a New Orleans-based writer and author of the book, Murder in the Bayou: Who Killed the Women Known as the Jeff Davis 8?, came to know about the case from an article in the New York Times detailing the frustrations of family members of the victims. In mid-2011, he began investigating the murders after heading to Jennings himself. He held extensive interviews with family members, known suspects, and even members of the taskforce. He was able to examine public records and uncovered evidence that pointed away from the serial killer theory being pushed by local law enforcement. He began to theorize that the killings were a complex cover-up, orchestrated by authorities. The victims knew each other well, had similar life stories, and relatives claimed many of the victims had seemed abnormally frightened or anxious before their disappearances. He learned in his interviews that family members believed the victims couldn’t rely on police protection, despite working with police as informants (Ott).

            A member of the sheriff’s office, David Barry, was pointed to by multiple witnesses. He was known by witnesses to have taken his wife and gone around the south side looking for sex workers, whom they would drug with spiked drinks and bring home to a sex room in their house. Barry died in 2010 and was only sat down for one interview, no charges ever being brought against him. Frankie Richard remained a suspect for many following the case, as he was known to have had sexual relationships with multiple victims (Ott).

            After Brown published his article on Medium, he got a deal for a book, which would be published in 2016. A contact told Brown during this time that they had heard, more than once, that he would never get the book out. Understandably, Brown was hesitant to continue investigating in Jennings for some time after. In the end, his book was published and dropped a major bombshell: then Louisiana Congressman Charles Boustany owned a hotel in Jennings with a less-than-respectable reputation. He was known to have had sex with three of the Jennings Eight victims at this hotel. Boustany sued Brown and his publisher for defamation, but dropped the charges in December of 2016 after he lost the senate election (Ott).

            To this day, the case of the Jennings Eight, also referred to at the Jeff Davis Eight, remains unsolved. What happened to these eight women will remain only known to the perpetrators until such a time as the case is solved. Is there a serial killer out there that was operating around Jennings, Louisiana from 2005 to 2009? Was it a police cover-up? Did the victims know something that resulted in their deaths? Did Lawrence and Dixon have something to do with the murders? Or perhaps Frankie Richard? Until further notice, the answers will remain unknown.

Group, Rebel. “Unsolved Jeff Davis 8 Case Blamed On Unknown Serial Killer–But The Solution Is Closer To Home”. Prnewswire.Com, 2019, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/unsolved-jeff-davis-8-case-blamed-on-unknown-serial-killerbut-the-solution-is-closer-to-home-300946446.html

Brown, Ethan. “Who Killed The Jeff Davis 8?”. Medium, 2014, https://medium.com/matter/who-killed-the-jeff-davis-8-d1b813e13581#.f5oc6bevp.

Ott, Tim. “Jeff Davis 8: The True Story Of The ‘Murder In The Bayou’ Killings”. Biography, 2020, https://www.biography.com/news/murder-in-the-bayou-jeff-davis-8-true-story.

Bureau of Investigation, Federal. “MURDER VICTIMS | Federal Bureau Of Investigation”. Federal Bureau Of Investigation, https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/seeking-info/murder-victims?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=5dc2f92522fae1accb396a6945367315de05008e-1622430899-0-AROSuL8tOYs1HvgQJsO-WPsk_nCqYAisYqOQwUTy_MpEf30pah1CQ7p3mM0Puu5G_W-w15K7XFrHYc9oB9wwtanhm8TkGTdckn5eUSyHMzc4JYZ6Yfu3_DXIy0PpI4JQVQY-eRfeca2iObszqSx8bgvtK6_WmqFN6V783mKCGaB7Ypo8v0X3mDqRZPIU56vlTiT4pFUfYoZHhwnCJ6sXnkGK6Qb3B-iivvz7Q9bW4MZlzPiVN_uFTawf5TmtAH5cM14kFhvoDG45gZmjP4j8wPEQlmuf0dItEVV2m66F35_kbs0bPZjbk9CwedXMKuOsla-RczgvRLQTKRaJavr247L4BOWcUI43QE2RP4AYVQLTJXtwO1F3V1K3B6Ft-pY2dLJ9ZcnaKqO18gRPgoMLp6SlwpooNb1LKo-mac5_vQ0zwcR50JiSz4LTmpNyn-ftQCh1qGauDHevEhrPuWBbNxoUBi0jJBrj_Z3E7UtgIdFQO7I3sbZzQjIqQXagBZss3w.

The Tragedy of Tori Stafford

            On April 8, 2009, eight-year old Victoria “Tori” Stafford left Oliver Stephens Public School, in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada, a little later than the rest of her classmates. She had run back inside to retrieve her butterfly earrings (“Timeline: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford Murder”). As she headed home, down Fyfe Avenue past the high school, the last video of her was taken. She was wearing a black Hannah Montana jacket with white fur lined hood over a green shirt, a denim skirt, and black and white shoes, carrying her purple and pink Bratz bag. She was walking with a young woman dressed in tight black jeans and a white puffy jacket (Blanco). The woman on the video was described as being aged 19-to-25-years old, standing at approximately five feet two inches tall and estimated to weight between 120 to 125 pounds. She had black hair held up in a ponytail (“Timeline: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford Murder”).

            Tori never made it home that day, and never any day after. No Amber alert was called, a choice criticized to this day. A member of the Oxford Community Police claimed an Amber alert was never called because they didn’t have what was required to call one. The video was released, showing Tori walking with the woman and not struggling. She seemed to be going with her of her own free will (“Timeline: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford Murder”). It would be revealed by her killer years later that Tori believed she was going to see a Shih Tzu puppy (DiManno). The search for Tori was one of the largest searches to ever occur in Ontario, including the Woodstock fire department sending out rescue boats to search for signs of her. A Facebook group, Find Victoria Stafford, was established and within just a few days, by April 11, 2009, the group was at 10,000 members. The little girl’s disappearance captured international media attention, ending up on America’s Most Wanted on April 15th . A vigil was held on April 12th in Woodstock at 8 PM; hundreds attended to show solidarity with her family. During the vigil, Tori’s mother, Tara McDonald, appealed for her daughter to contact her. The search was called off by investigators on April 13th, one constable stating the general feeling among investigators was that Tori was alive (“Timeline: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford Murder”).

            It was nine days after Tori was taken, on April 17th, that investigators reclassified the case as an abduction instead of a missing persons case. In a statement to the media, McDonald said she believed Tori was still alive. In the days that followed the case being reclassified, a composite sketch of the woman in the video was released as well as a video of a dark station wagon being driven on the street Tori was taken from (“Timeline: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford Murder”). The car was identified as a dark blue 2003 Honda Civic, with parts of it spray painted black (“‘I Believe Victoria Was Targeted’: Stafford’s Father”).

            Arrests were finally made in the case on May 20, 2009. 28-year old Michael Rafferty, and 18-year old Terri-Lynne McClintic, who had met that February at a pizza shop. Both were being charged with child abduction. Rafferty was being charged with Tori’s murder and McClintic was being charged as an accessory  (“Timeline: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford Murder”).  The two had come to the attention of investigators earlier, Rafferty being interviewed on May 15th. McClintic went to police on May 19th, where she confessed to what happened. She told investigators that Rafferty had raped and murdered Tori, though her assertion of who killed her has since changed (Blanco). She would later, during Rafferty’s trial in 2012, say that she was the one who killed Tori, not Rafferty (DiManno).

            On July 19th, a veteran investigator was out doing a search on his own when he came upon human remains, approximately 500 meters (1,640 feet) from Concession Number 6, east of Mount Forest, Ontario and approximately 130 km (80 miles)  from Toronto. Two days later, investigators announce that the remains were positively identified as those of Tori Stafford (“Timeline: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford Murder”). She was found naked from the waist down, wearing only a Hannah Montana t-shirt and her butterfly earrings. By the time she was found, her lower half had decomposed significantly. The autopsy would reveal that she had been beaten badly enough to cause damage to her ribs and liver, and the cause of death was determined to be a beating to the head with a claw hammer (Blanco). While on the stand as a witness during Rafferty’s trial, McClintic would reveal the horrific details of what happened to Tori.

            The day Tori was taken, McClintic found Rafferty waiting for her. He had told her he was planning on going to Guelph, Ontario, and wanted to know if she would come. Instead of going to Guelph, however, he parked the car in front of the Oliver Stephens Public School, and asked McClintic if she would “really do it.” At first, she wasn’t sure what he meant, which lead to him accusing her of being “all talk, no action.” She remembered months earlier, when he had asked her if she would kidnap someone for him. After becoming defensive, McClintic left the car with the intention of telling Rafferty she couldn’t find anyone. His specific instructions were to find a younger female, because younger people are easier to manipulate. McClintic found Tori, who was leaving the school grounds at approximately 3:30 PM. The two began to talk, Tori telling the young woman that she had a Shih Tzu at home. This opened the door for McClintic to lure her to the car, asking her if she wanted to see the Shih Tzu puppy she had in her car (DiManno).

            McClintic pushed Tori into the car when she leaned in to see the nonexistent puppy. Rafferty drove off to where Tori’s remains would be found 103 days later, stopping along the way for some Percocet’s and sending McClintic into a store for garbage bags and a hammer. As they drove, McClintic talked with Tori, calming the young girl and telling her nothing would happen to her and she would get to go home soon. Once they stopped, McClintic walked away from the car and looked out over the field at a silo, away from what was happening in the car. She didn’t want to see what he was doing, believing she was planning on raping the little girl. Unfortunately, that was exactly what happened. Rafferty stopped his assault long enough for McClintic to take Tori somewhere to go to the bathroom, where Tori asked her not to let him hurt her again. McClintic claims that after this, she began to beat Tori, kicking her. The attack was not motivated by anything happening to Tori, but by the rage McClintic felt about her own childhood. She believes she is the one who put the garbage bag over Tori’s head before beating her with the hammer and putting the rest of her body in the garbage bags. The two then buried her under a pile of rocks by a tree (DiManno).

            On April 30, 2010, McClintic plead guilty to first-degree murder (“Timeline: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford Murder”), though this would not be known to the public until the publication ban on the case was lifted in December 2010 (Blanco). McClintic apologized to Tori’s family and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. The Rafferty trial would wait nearly two more years before starting. It was decided that Rafferty wouldn’t be able to receive a fair trial in Woodstock, so the trial was moved to London, Ontario. The pre-trial hearings began on January 17, 2012, another publication ban automatically in effect. Rafferty was set to stay in the prisoner’s dock for security reason in February, and the judge decided to allow the jury to visit the site Tori’s remains were found to put the evidence they would see into context. The site was not being viewed as evidence. Rafferty plead not guilty to charges of kidnapping, sexual assault, and first-degree murder on February 29, 2012 (“Timeline: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford Murder”).

            The trial was heavily emotionally charged, including testimony from Tori’s teacher about her going back for her earrings, during which her teacher was crying, and an investigator involved in the case crying on the stand while describing the moment he found out Tori had been found dead. McClintic took the stand in mid-March 2012, where she changed her story of Rafferty raping and killing Tori to Rafferty raping Tori and her killing her. She told the court she would, “take the fall” if the evidence brought investigators to her. On the stand, she admitted that they made several stops after disposing of Tori’s remains, including a car wash where they washed and shampooed the car (“Timeline: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford Murder”). Despite the changes to her story about who killed Tori, her details of Tori’s rape remained the same. The place it happened, how it happened, even the detail of Rafferty washing his genitals with water from plastic bottles after has remained the same (Blanco).

            Rafferty’s defense argued that McClintic was the mastermind behind Tori’s abduction and Rafferty was the accessory. The story they told was that McClintic had a drug debt and had kidnapped Tori and offered as a sexual “gift” to Rafferty, who they said denied the “gift.” Their story didn’t work and Rafferty was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years. A final detail that was given to the jury: Rafferty had a poster of Tori hidden in a kitchen draw (“Timeline: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford Murder”). Evidence that never made it to trial, because it was determined not to be admissible, was the evidence found on Rafferty’s laptop. Searches relating to child pornography and rape, and videos; this shows that Rafferty had pedophilic tendencies. One of these searches was made the day before Tori was taken (Blanco).

            Tori’s father, Rodney Stafford, believed that Tori had been targeted after she went missing. It’s understandable why. Usually Tori would walk home with her 11-year old brother, Daryn, so her being alone was unusual. It appeared as if someone had been watching her. It’s possible that Tori was comfortable with McClintic because she had met her before, with her mother. McDonald had struggled with substance abuse at the time and had met McClintic on a couple occasions (“‘I Believe Victoria Was Targeted’: Stafford’s Father”). While we may never know if Tori did know McClintic, we know the horrible things that happened to her. She would have turned 20 in 2020.

DiManno, Rosie. “Tori Stafford Murder Trial: Terri-Lynne Mcclintic Describes Killing Little Girl”. Thestar.Com, 2012, https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2012/03/14/tori_stafford_murder_trial_terrilynne_mcclintic_describes_killing_little_girl.html.

“Timeline: Victoria ‘Tori’ Stafford Murder”. Global News, 2013, https://globalnews.ca/news/216561/timeline-victoria-tori-stafford-murder/.

Blanco, Juan. “Terri-Lynne Mcclintic | Murderpedia, The Encyclopedia Of Murderers”. Murderpedia.Org, https://murderpedia.org/female.M/m/mcclintic-terri-lynne.htm.

“‘I Believe Victoria Was Targeted’: Stafford’s Father”. CP24, 2009, https://www.cp24.com/i-believe-victoria-was-targeted-stafford-s-father-1.401610.

The Tragedy of Sid and Nancy

               On the morning of October 12, 1978, employees at the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan were called up to room 100. The initial reports called in by other guests at 7:30 AM about the room were in concern: a woman could be heard moaning presumably in pain from the room. At 10 AM, the inhabitant of the room called down for help himself (“Sid And Nancy: A Punk Rock Murder Mystery”). The occupant was ex-bassist of the broken up Sex Pistols, Sid Vicious. Upon investigating the call, workers find 20-year old Nancy Spungen dead from a single stab wound to the abdomen in the bathroom, clothed only in her underwear, and Vicious wandering the hall in an apparent drug induced haze. At the time, he was wailing that he had killed Spungen (“Sid Vicious And Nancy Spungen: Their Turbulent And Tragic Love Story”).

               Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen came from different, yet somehow similar, backgrounds. Vicious was born to a single mother, Anne Beverly, who struggled with substance abuse just as her son would later in life (“Sid Vicious And Nancy Spungen: Their Turbulent And Tragic Love Story”). He spent time in Ibiza, Kent, and London throughout his childhood and was used by his mother to smuggle marijuana between Spain and England. At 16, Vicious was kicked out by his mother (Maloney). Vicious played the drums for Souixsie, the Banshees, and Flowers of Romance before joining the Sex Pistols as their bassist in 1977, despite not knowing how to play the bass. By the mid-1970s, Sid Vicious was a fixture of the punk scene in Londo (“Sid Vicious And Nancy Spungen: Their Turbulent And Tragic Love Story”).

               Spungen was born in Philadelphia, PA, and reportedly suffered some form of brain trauma at birth. She is said to have been incredibly intelligent, but also a violent child. In one noted instance, she allegedly attempted to kill a babysitter with a pair of scissors (Maloney). Some sources report that she graduated high school at 16-years old (Shelton), while others report that she was expelled from school and diagnosed with schizophrenia at 15-years old (Maloney). Regardless, she is known to have attended the University of Colorado for a time, before either dropping out (Shelton) or being expelled after being arrested. She was arrested for possession of stolen property and either dealing to or buying marijuana from an undercover police officer (“Sid And Nancy: A Punk Rock Murder Mystery”)(Shelton). At the age of 17, Nancy Spungen ran away from home and to New York City, where she found work as a sex worker (“Sid Vicious And Nancy Spungen: Their Turbulent And Tragic Love Story”)(“Sid And Nancy: A Punk Rock Murder Mystery”). She found her way to London in early 1977 and became a well-known groupie, though she was unliked by many other groupies of the time. She was known to have been loud and obnoxious, only tolerated by the musicians because of her ability to obtain drugs for them. She met Vicious after her initial attempt at gaining Sex Pistols front man Johnny Rotten’s attention and being spurned. She turned her eyes to Vicious, and their lives were set from there(“Sid Vicious And Nancy Spungen: Their Turbulent And Tragic Love Story”).

               The two quickly became inseparable. Where Sid went, Nancy followed, and if Nancy was there, Sid was never far behind. Compared to Nancy, who was more experienced in both sex and drugs and was known for her loud behavior, Sid was shy. He seemed interested in what she knew about the world, while she was looking for the kind of affection he offered her. They moved into a loft in West London together, where they could fall further and further into their substance abuse. Their relationship was a frustration to the rest of the band and their management. Spungen’s behavior and personality was grating to the other members of the band, to the extent that they banned her from their US tour in 1978. The band’s management even admitted to trying to have her “kidnapped” and sent back to New York City at one point, which was impossible to do thanks to the inseparable nature of the couple. During the tour in 1978, Vicious’s behavior was even more erratic than before, likely in retaliation for Spungen’s banning from the tour. He went as far as breaking his bass over a fan’s head during this time, and the band broke up during the tour. After the band broke up, Vicious went on a spree that ended with an overdose that landed him in a hospital in Queens, New York City. Spungen reunited with him after his discharge and the two moved to Paris, France, to take part in a mockumentary on the Sex Pistols, The Great Rock ‘N’ Roll Swindle. Spungen’s presence turned out to be detrimental to the production, as the two rarely left their room, Spungen faking a suicide attempt on one of the rare occasions Vicious did go to set (“Sid Vicious And Nancy Spungen: Their Turbulent And Tragic Love Story”).

               Eventually, this turbulent and dependent relationship was likely destined to end in tragedy. The end began in August of 1978, when the couple moved into Manhattan’s Chelsea Hotel. From room 100, Spungen acted as Vicious new manager and the two lived in the world they had made for themselves. Just two short months later on October 11, 1978, they would host a party. Vicious reportedly took Tuinal, a known powerful barbiturate mix, in a high dose. The 30 or so pills caused Vicious to spend most of the party in a drug-induced stupor, nearly comatose while various people filtered through the party. By the morning, his life would be over as he knew it (“Sid Vicious And Nancy Spungen: Their Turbulent And Tragic Love Story”).

               On the morning of October 12, 1978, Sid Vicious found the woman he loved dead on their bathroom floor. When police arrived, Vicious was in a stupor still from the Tuinal he took the night before and confessed to killing Spungen, but later redacted this statement. He gave multiple stories about what happened that night. He said they had fought that night and, while he had stabbed her, he hadn’t meant to kill her. Later, he claimed she actually fell on his knife before finally saying he couldn’t remember the night at all. The knife used to kill Spungen was found to be identical the the “007” flip knife Vicious owned, bought down on 42nd street (Shelton). Vicious was released on bail the same day and attempted suicide, using broken shards of a lightbulb (“Sid Vicious And Nancy Spungen: Their Turbulent And Tragic Love Story”)(Shelton). He was taken in to Bellevue hospital for observation after his attempt, where he attempted to jump out one of the hospital windows. According to witnesses, he was saying, “I want to be with my Nancy” (Shelton).

               In the months leading up to Sid Vicious’s deaths, he did interviews and partied. During one such interview he talked about Spungen’s death and how he felt it was meant to happen. According to Vicious, Spungen had spoken about how she would die before 21 many times. In the same interview, Vicious talked about wanting to be “under the ground,” a statement that likely gives insight into his mental state at the time. In December of 1978, Vicious got in a fight with Todd Smith, the brother of Patti Smith, and ended up spending 55 days in Riker’s prison for detox (Shelton).  In February of 1979, Vicious was released from Riker’s and decided to throw a celebration. It was meant to be a celebration of his freedom, but in the end it was more of a going away party. Vicious sent his mother to get the heroin he wanted for his celebration, and on February 2, 1979, Sid Vicious was found dead from a heroin overdose (“Sid Vicious And Nancy Spungen: Their Turbulent And Tragic Love Story”).

               Anne Beverly claimed that she found a letter from Vicious after his death, stating, “We had a death pact, and I have to keep my half of the bargain. Please bury me by my baby. Goodbye.” Debbie Spungen, Nancy’s mother, also received a letter from Vicious after her daughter’s death that spoke of a death pact between the two. According to the letter, the two had planned to due in each other’s arms, Vicious promising Spungen he would kill himself if anything ever happened to her (Maloney). Beverly claimed that Spungen’s death was actually suicide, and Vicious’s death was the completion of their pact, and she isn’t the only one who feels this was part of the story. Howie Pyro, Vicious’s friend and the guitarist for D Generation, has also spoken about the death pact. He believes that Spungen stabbed herself, though not necessarily in a suicide attempt. As she had faked a suicide attempt before for Vicious’s attention, he has stated he believes she stabbed herself in an attempt to get his attention again. Unfortunately, if this is the case, Vicious was far too drugged to have come to her aid (“Sid And Nancy: A Punk Rock Murder Mystery”).

               There are more theories about what actually happened that night. The obvious one is that Vicious did kill Spungen, though whether by accident or on purpose is up for debate. Other theories state that Spungen was a victim of a robbery gone wrong, possibly from drug dealers. A friend noted that large amounts of money were missing from room 100 after the party that fateful night, but this has never been confirmed by investigators. Phil Strongman proposes in his book, Pretty Vacant: A History of Punk, that Rockets Redglare was the killer (Shelton). Strongman isn’t the only person who believes this, despite the fact that Redglare insisted until the day he died in 2001 that he was not involved in Spungen’s death. Redglare sometimes worked as Vicious’s bodyguard and was known to have gotten the couple drugs on occasion. The theory goes that he was at the party that night and Spungen asked him to get more drugs and he found the couple unconscious when he returned. At the time, Vicious had a lot of money coming in from royalties related to a cover of Frank Sinatra’s My Way he had released, which could have been tempting to take when the couple were both out cold. Those who believe Redglare was involved believe he had decided to take some of this money and gotten into a fight with Spungen when she woke up during the burglary, resulting in her death. Redglare blamed another dealer, known only as “Michael,” who was never followed up on, and maintained his innocence from both the murder and the burglary until his death (“Sid And Nancy: A Punk Rock Murder Mystery”). Those who believe Vicious wasn’t the killer point to his physical state at the time, wandering in a drug-induced stupor. They believe he couldn’t have possibly killed Nancy Spungen (“Sid Vicious And Nancy Spungen: Their Turbulent And Tragic Love Story”).

               After Sid Vicious’s death, the investigation into Nancy Spungen’s death was dropped by investigators as they believed he was the killer. To this day, many in the punk scene believe he was set up and that someone else, perhaps even an officer, was holding the knife the night Spungen died (Shelton). At the time of his death, Sid Vicious was 22-years old, and Nancy Spungen was only 20 at the time she died. Spungen’s family did not give Anne Beverly permission to spread her son’s ashes on Spungen’s grace, but some claim she did so anyway. Others claim she dropped his urn in a Heathrow terminal, where his ashes were sent into the air vents and throughout the terminal (Maloney).

               Officially, the story of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen is a tragedy with a mysterious end. It is likely that we will never have answers as to what really happened that night in room 100. Those who were there either won’t talk, can’t remember, or are no longer able to talk. Sid and Nancy will always be remembered as one of great couples of the punk scene in the 1970s. They will always be remembered in romanticized songs and movies, viewed as an almost Romeo & Juliet style romance. Perhaps they even saw themselves as such. What will always be remembered is their whirlwind romance and the haunting words, “I want to be with my Nancy.”

“Sid Vicious And Nancy Spungen: Their Turbulent And Tragic Love Story”. Biography, 2020, https://www.biography.com/news/sid-vicious-nancy-spungen-love-murder.

Shelton, Jacob. “Did Sid Vicious Kill Nancy Spungen? Everything We Know…”. Groovy History, 2020, https://groovyhistory.com/did-sid-vicious-kill-nancy-spungen-sex-pistols.

Maloney, Alison. “How Death Pact Of Sid And Nancy Led To Overdoses, Suicide & Murder In Hotel Room”. The US Sun, 2021, https://www.the-sun.com/entertainment/tv/2537924/sid-vicious-nancy-spungen-sex-pistols-murder/.

“Sid And Nancy: A Punk Rock Murder Mystery”. Crime+Investigation UK, https://www.crimeandinvestigation.co.uk/article/sid-and-nancy-a-punk-rock-murder-mystery.

The Lake Bodom Murders

          In the 2016 film, “Lake Bodom”, a group of teenagers set out to recreate a gruesome unsolved murder by camping in the site it occurred and recreating the night as it was known. While the movie is fiction, the crime they were recreating is unfortunately very, very real (Grey). The murders, known as both the Lake Bodom murders and the Bodominjärvi Murders (“Lake Bodom Murders”), were horrific and remain unsolved.

          The murders occurred on June 5, 1960, at Lake Bodom, near Espoo, Finland. The group of four was composed of two 15-year olds, Maila Björklund and Anja Mäki, and two 18-year olds, Nils Gustafsson and Seppo Boisman. Reportedly, the two young men were dating the two 15-year old girls. What started as a normal camping trip became a nightmare by early morning hours, as three of the four campers were murdered somewhere between four AM and six AM. The single survivor was Gustafsson, who was found unconscious lying on top of the tent with a concussion and fractured jaw (Grey). The bodies were found by Risto Siren at 11 AM, who raised the alarm on the situation. Investigators arrived around noon (“Lake Bodom Murders”).

          The tent was torn from the attack, the three teenage victims bludgeoned and stabbed to death inside. The attack likely occurred from the outside of the tent, explaining the damage done to it. The killer likely never entered the tent at all (“Lake Bodom Murders”). Several objects were taken from the scene, including the murder weapons and the keys to the teenagers’ motorcycles, though the motorcycles were still at the scene (Grey). Among the missing items was also the wallets of the victims and their clothes (“Lake Bodom Murders”). While one murder weapon has been identified as likely being a knife, the weapon that caused the bludgeoning damage is unidentified and neither weapon was ever found. Unfortunately, the initial investigation was botched during efforts to retrieve the missing objects, many of which were never retrieved (Grey).

          The investigators that handled the case were not on the scene until six hours later, and the scene was never cordoned off as it should have been. Soldiers were called in to help search for the missing items, helping to find the clothing missing from the victims as well as Gustafsson’s missing shoes some ways away from the scene. While this was helpful in finding some of the missing items, it lead to contamination of the evidence (Grey).

          An unidentified blond man was seen leaving the scene of the murders by birdwatchers that morning, but who this man was has never been officially identified (Grey). A local fisherman also reported seeing a blond man near the scene, but due to the description being so vague, neither account was followed up on (“Lake Bodom Murders”). There have been other suspects, however. A man who ran a kiosk for camping, who reportedly hated campers and was known to throw rocks at campers and break peoples’ tents, Karl (also named as Valdemar (Eckmeier)) Gyllström, was one of the first suspects. Some of the witnesses identified him as the blond man seen that morning, and Gyllström had reportedly confessed to the murders on several occasions over the years in varying states of inebriation (Grey). According to a neighbor to whom he had confessed, he disposed of the murder weapons by throwing them into a well, which he had filled not long after the murder. Police did investigate the well (“Lake Bodom Murders”). Gyllström was never linked to the crime with evidence and investigators have stated they felt he was an unstable individual and that his confessions couldn’t be taken seriously (Grey). His wife gave an alibi for the night of the murders, but redacted her story on her death bed (“Lake Bodom Murders”). Gyllström died in 1969, drowning in Lake Bodom in what many felt was a suicide due to guilt for the murders (Grey). Officially, Gyllström was never charged and never named officially as a suspect.

          Hans Assmann, a former Nazi and rumored to have once been a KGB agent (Grey), though there is no evidence to prove this (Eckmeier), is another suspect that many point to. Assmann lived near the lake and, on the morning of June 6th, was at a hospital in Helsinki covered in red-strained clothing and with dirty nails. Doctors at the hospital identified the red stained as blood, and later one of the doctors, Dr. Jorma Palo, would write books about Assmann possibly being the killer (Grey). At the hospital, Assmann was reportedly acting suspiciously, aggressively, and anxiously, and even tried to use a fake name (Eckmeier). Assmann was found by one detective to possibly be connected to the murder of Kyllikki Saari in 1953. Despite these things, investigators never seriously investigated Assmann, reportedly because he had an alibi for that night. Some believe his political connections are actually why he was never investigated (Grey). Assman is also suspected in other murders, including a young girl who was run over and two girls who were out camping just like the Lake Bodom victims (Eckmeier).

          Over 40 years after the horrific murders occurred, investigators arrested survivor, Nils Gustafsson. It was a shocking turn of events. New evidence, including DNA and bloodstain analysis, reportedly pointed to Gustafsson, as well as a witness who apparently came forward after 40 painful years of silence (Grey). This witness, however came forward for a television interview, but would not speak with police and the account was not taken as being 100% reliable (“Lake Bodom Murders”). Gustafsson’s trial commenced in August of 2005, where a life sentence was on the table. The prosecution argued that his target that night had been his girlfriend, Maila Björkland, and that the other two victims were murdered to get rid of any witnesses. His injuries that night, according to the prosecution, were due to a fight with Boisman that night and that some had been self-inflicted to deflect suspicion. The story argued by the prosecution also included a half-mile long hike to hide Gustafsson’s shoes as well as the clothing of the victims. This, the defense argued, made no sense when the severity of Gustafsson’s injuries were taken into account. He was too injured to commit the murders, or hike so far (Grey). Unfortunately for Gustafsson, he was initially sentenced, but a year later was acquitted of the charges brought against him (“Lake Bodom Murders”) and received pay from the government for the time he spent in prison during the trial and the emotional damage he sustained during the proceedings (Grey).

          As of now, the case has remained open and unsolved since Gustafsson’s acquittal in 2005 (“Lake Bodom Murders”). Most likely, this case that still divides residents of Finland to this day, will forever remain unsolved.

Grey, Orrin. “Lake Bodom Murders: 60 Years Later, Finland’S Infamous Killings Remain A Mystery”. Https://The-Line-Up.Com, 2020, https://the-line-up.com/lake-bodom-murders.

“Lake Bodom Murders”. Unsolved Crimes, https://solvedandunsolvedcrimes.wordpress.com/2019/08/11/lake-bodom-murders-1960/.

Eckmeier, Allison. “True Crime: Lake Bodom Murders”. Medium, 2017, https://medium.com/@allisoneckmeier/true-crime-lake-bodom-murders-c9070a197de9.

Los Feliz Murder Mansion

               For over 50 years, the mansion at Glendower Place in Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California, has been left almost entirely untouched. Since the events of December 6, 1959, the home has gained a reputation well known among true crime enthusiasts and paranormal investigation groups across the country. The fact that the mansion remained essentially untouched for decades, with the exception of the new owners moving some items into the home, has spurred public imagination. Many claim the mansion is haunted, while others are obsessed with the things left in the home presumed to belong to the previous owners. The home was bought in 1960 by the Enriquez family, Emily and Julian, who’s son, Rudy, inherited the home in 1994 after his mother’s death. Rudy Enriquez died in 2015 and the mansion was  emptied of the long term contents and sold twice in 2016, in March for  $2.75 million and in July for $2.3 million on probate (“Los Feliz Murder Mansion”).

               In the years leading up to the murder-suicide that the mansion has become known for, the Perelson’s were in financial difficulty. Dr. Harold Perelson, cardiologist, had been in a long term legal battle with ex-business partner, Edward Shustack, who allegedly stole the device Perelson had been working on after offering to make it market-ready. Shustack had, reportedly, offered to partner with Perelson on a device he was working on that would allow syringes to be injected from small glass capsules, which would allow for safer injections and lower chances of contamination. The two were partnered for 11 years before Shustack allegedly betrayed Perelson and potentially cost him thousands of dollars, all of which Perelson had put into inventing the device.  Perelson sought $100,000 in damages, the equivalent of $1 million today, and sunk even more money into the two year long legal battle (Mahon). In the end, Perelson was rewarded less than half of what he sought, a measly $23, 956. On top of this painful blow to Perelson, two years before the murder-suicide his children were in a car accident when then-16-year old Judye Perelson was driving. He sued the other driver, but only received enough money in compensation to cover the children’s medical expenses. Reportedly, Judye wrote an aunt expressing that her parents were in a bind financially (Glick Kudler).

               While Perelson’s motivations are officially unknown, these financial woes may be part of why he took the actions he did on December 6, 1959. At approximately 4:30 AM, he got up and took a ball-peen hammer to his wife, Lillian’s, head (Glick Kudler). While the blow didn’t kill her, it made an inch-wide hole in her skull (Mahon). As she lay in bed, drowning in her own blood, Perelson went after 18-year old Judye in her bedroom. He struck her, but had missed and she woke up. It’s reported that she asked him not to kill her, to which he responded with “lay still” and “keep quiet”. Luckily for Judye, her younger siblings, Debby and Joel, woke up and distracted her father, allowing her time to escape. While he was telling his younger children that they were just having a nightmare, Judye managed to get outside and to a neighbor’s house. As the neighbors called an ambulance and the police, Perelson took Nembutal and 31 pills that could have been tranquilizers or possibly codeine and lay down with his wife. By the time the ambulance had arrived, the two were dead (Glick Kudler)

               The Perelson children were sent to live with an aunt on the east coast after the awful events, and the house was put on the market. It is known that the Enriquez bought it in 1960, but there are rumors that the house was rented for a time after the murder-suicide. The rumor states that another family lived in the home for a short while before fleeing the house on the anniversary of the events, claiming the tree and presents in the home were actually their’s and not the Perelson’s. This rumor also claims that the Perelson’s were Jewish, and therefor would not have celebrated Christmas (Glick Kudler). While it is known that Perelson was the child of Jewish immigrants, whether or not he and his family practiced the religion is debated.

               Why did Dr. Harold Perelson choose his actions that night? Perhaps it was the financial pressures he was reportedly under. Other proposed theories pointed to his mental health – he was known to have had multiple coronaries, which the family publicly said were stress related. Now it’s known that these coronaries were caused by suicide attempts using powerful drugs, and that Lillian Perelson had talked about having her husband committed for a time (Mahon). Whether or not this is related to what happened that night, it is proof that Perelson had a history of suicidal thoughts. It doesn’t point to the murder-suicide he committed that night in 1959, however. We will never truly know what his motivations were that night, but we are left to wonder. Perhaps he tried to give some form of an answer, as Dante’s Divine Comedy was found open on his bedside table when paramedics arrived, opened to the excerpt:

               “Midway upon the journey of life, I found myself within a forest dark, for the straightforward pathway had been lost…” (Mahon)

“Los Feliz Murder Mansion”. Atlas Obscura, https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/los-feliz-murder-mansion.

Glick Kudler, Adrian. “The Real Story Behind LA’s Most Famous And Mysterious Murder House”. Curbed LA, 2015, https://la.curbed.com/2015/9/21/9920706/los-feliz-murder-house.

 Mahon, Chris. “Los Feliz Murder House: The Dream Home That Turned Into A Nightmare”. https://The-Line-Up.Com, 2019, https://the-line-up.com/los-feliz-murder-house.

The Lawson Family Murders

               In 1911, Charles Lawson married his wife, Fannie, and the two had eight children together. Their third child, William, died in 1920 at six from illness (Blanco). Six of their seven remaining children died in the horrific murders that became a spectacle in 1929. In later 1929, at Christmas time, Charles Lawson, 43, took his family for a studio photo, an unusual thing for people of their standing to do. Taking a family studio photo was akin to taking a sudden trip to someplace like Disney in modern times – it was expensive, and generally not done by people in the working class. He bought his family new clothes specifically for the occasion (Sutton). At the time, it was unknown as to why he was getting something so expensive done.

               The morning of December 25, 1929, Marie Lawson, 17, woke up early to make her family a Christmas cake. The cake would never be eaten and for years after that Christmas morning, it would be on display and protected under a glass cover after tourists stole raisins from the top of the cake (Sutton). The oldest son, Arthur, 16, was not home, as he had been allowed by Charles to walk to Walnut Cove with a friend to buy ammunition for a rabbit hunt, a popular past time (Spear).  While Arthur was away and Marie was making the infamous cake, the middle daughters, Carrie, 12, and Maybell, 7,  headed out to the home of their Aunt and Uncle, but the two would never arrive (Sutton).

               Charles Lawson was waiting outside by the tobacco barn, a 12-gauge shotgun in hand, and as his daughters passed by he shot them both. To ensure the two were dead, he bludgeoned them before hiding their remains in the barn. From there, he headed to the porch where his wife, Fannie, 37, was sitting. He shot her as well before heading inside where Marie had screamed and his two youngest sons, Raymond, 2, and James, 4, tried to hide. He shot Marie just as he shot his wife and other two daughters before hunting down his sons, bludgeoning them to death as well as their infant daughter, Mary Lou, who was only four months old. An autopsy would later reveal that Mary Lou’s cause of death a skull fracture. Charles maneuvered the bodies, laying them with rocks under their heads and arms across their chests (Sutton).

Following the murders, Charles took the family dogs, Sam and Queen, and retreated into the woods nearby the farm, where he reportedly washed the blood from his hands in a stream (Spear). While people had discovered the murders and were flocking to the scene, Charles was in the wood, pacing around a tree for what could have been hours. A gunshot was heard from the forest by those at the home, and soon after Charles body was found by the tree he had been pacing around (Sutton). In his pocket they found two letters, one saying, “Trouble can cause…” and the other, “Nobody to blame,” written on receipts from a tobacco auction. These letters gave no answers as to why Charles would massacre his family the way he did, leaving 16-year old Arthur alone. Some believe Charles allowed Arthur to leave because Arthur was likely the only one who could have stopped the massacre from continuing (Spear).

At the time, rabbit hunting was a popular past time, which would explain why the sound of gunshot wouldn’t necessarily be alarming in the area. The weather conditions were bitterly cold, the ground covered with deep snow (Spear). Winter is generally harder for people, especially when it is a particularly cold winter. Could the level of cold and snow around at the time have contributed to the actions Charles Lawson took those days? Nearly 100 years later, we likely will never truly know, but speculations abound. In the months leading up to the massacre, Charles was reportedly exhibiting erratic behavior. He had been to his doctor, Dr. C.J Helsabeck, for insomnia as well as severe headaches. Dr. Helsabeck would be in charge of the death inquiries, along with the brother to Sheriff John Taylor, Dr. Spottswood Taylor, who was home for the season from his internship at John Hopkins in Baltimore. The two removed Charles’ brain, which was noted as being smaller and having an underdeveloped central region. Dr. Taylor took the brain, which was preserved in formaldehyde, back to Baltimore for further examination. The current location of the brain, if it is still around somewhere, is unknown (Spear). Charles had also sustained a head injury while digging a ditch several months before he killed his family, which some claim changed him. Despite this, the examinations done on his brain showed no abnormalities (History).

Another speculation, though uncorroborated, is that Charles was a witness to something major. Organized crime has been suggested (Blanco), and it is known that at least one well known member of an organization visited the home after the murders occurred (Spear). This theory claims that Charles didn’t commit the murders or die by suicide. Instead, Charles was framed for the murders and set up after he was killed as well (Blanco).

In the 1990s, decades after Arthur Lawson unfortunately died in a car accident in 1945, the possible motivation behind the murders was finally revealed. Stella Lawson Boles, cousin of the Lawson children, published a book about the murders. She claimed that her mother and other Lawson women had been heard at the funeral discussing something that Fannie had come to them with concerns of before that Christmas – she was concerned that Charles and Marie may have been engaging in an incestuous relationship (Sutton). Not only had there been discussions among the Lawson women at the time, but Jettie Lawson, who died in 1928, had spoken about the possibility before her death. This points to the possibility that Fannie suspected an incestuous relationship long before the massacre (Blanco).  Furthermore, Marie’s friend, Ella May Johnson, came forward with a claim that Marie was pregnant at the time. She claimed that Marie confided in her that she was pregnant with her father’s child (Sutton). According to Ella May, Charles and Fannie knew that Marie was pregnant with Charles’ child at the time (Blanco). A neighbor, Sam Hill, also came forward with supposed knowledge of incest, though he claimed that Charles had forced himself upon his daughter, and threatened Marie, after she became pregnant, that “there would be some killing done” should anyone find out (Sutton). Despite these claims, however, there are no records showing a pregnancy in her autopsy (Spear).

Charles brother, Marion Lawson, opened the house as a tourist attraction shortly after the murders, claiming the money was going to Arthur to pay the mortgage on the farm. The cake Marie made that Christmas was put on display, a macabre reminder of what should have been a normal Christmas morning. After the raisin decorations on the cake began to be taken by tourists, the cake was protected with a glass cover (Blanco). The rooms were left as they were when the murders occurred – bloody and dirty – for the authenticity (Spear).

The family was buried in a mass grave, dug by family and friends, in seven caskets, despite there being eight victims. The youngest victim, four-month old Mary Lou, was buried in her mother’s casket, wrapped up in her mother’s arms (Spear).  

History, Unmasked. “Bloody Christmas Of 1929: The Lawson Family Massacre”. Unmasked History Magazine, 2019, https://unmaskedhistory.com/2019/12/22/bloody-christmas-of-1929-the-lawson-family-massacre/.

Sutton, Candace. “Lawson Family Christmas Day Massacre Photo Tells Secret Behind Slaughter”. Newscomau, 2016, https://www.news.com.au/news/secret-behind-photo-in-lawson-family-christmas-day-massacre-when-seven-people-died/news-story/080cd6dcee54a210d70098ca45dc3851.

Blanco, Juan. “Charles Davis Lawson | Murderpedia, The Encyclopedia Of Murderers”. Murderpedia.Org, https://murderpedia.org/male.L/l/lawson-charles-davis.htm.

Spear, Susie. “Lawson Family Murders: A Look Back After 90 Years”. Greensboro, 2019, https://greensboro.com/rockingham_now/lawson-family-murders-a-look-back-after-90-years/article_16aeaae1-5ded-57e8-bde0-35e0d3e69466.html. Accessed 22 Feb 2021.

The Seguin Murders

                On the morning of April 29, 1992, the body of Mary Ann “Polly” Seguin, 34, was found in the Sudbury River, in Southborough, MA. She had been bludgeoned to death by what was later determined to be an ax (Croteau). Her body had been wrapped in towels and linens before being left in the river (Globe). Her husband, Kenneth, 35, was found staggering around about a mile from where she was found by two fishermen, his wrists, ankles, and neck slashed in a manner that suggested a suicide attempt (“Divers Find Bodies Of Children Of Suspected Wife-Killer”).  Their two children, Danny, 7, and Amy, 5 were missing and it took no time at all for a search to begin (Croteau). The question was, what had happened to the Seguin family?

                Kenneth Seguin, a software marketing executive, was held at the Bridgewater State Hospital, the corrections psychiatric hospital, under suspicion of his wife’s murder. During the days following the discovery of her remains, his lawyer, Thomas Giblin, was his main go between with investigators and press. According to Giblin, Seguin was suffering memory lapses, severely depressed, and not in a state of mind to help search for his missing children. At the time, they claimed Seguin had no knowledge as to his children’s whereabouts or safety (Globe).

                Unfortunately, the town of Hopkinton, MA, where the family lived and had moved into a new $220,000 house just the weekend before the murders, got the answer to their questions on May 2, 1992. At 8 AM that day, divers recovered the remains of the two children from Beaver Pond in Franklin, MA (“Divers Find Bodies Of Children Of Suspected Wife-Killer”). It was determined that the children had been drugged with sleeping pills before having their throats, and in the case of Amy, her wrists, slashed and being hidden in Beaver Pond by their killer. The killer had used leaves, sticks, and other debris from the area to try and hide the remains of the two young children (Croteau).

                At the time that Seguin was eventually questioned, he made the claim that two men had broken into the house, attacked him and Mary Ann, and drugged the children. At first it would seem that the autopsies of the children agreed, as they had sleeping pills in their systems (Croteau). The truth eventually came to light. On April 28, 1992, Seguin took his children for a drive, during which he gave them the sleeping pills found in their systems. Once they fell asleep, he slit Danny’s throat and Amy’s throat and wrists. He hid their bodies in Beaver Pond before returning home, where he slept next to his wife for approximately two to three hours before taking an ax and killing her with one swift blow to the head. He disposed of her body in the Sudbury River before attempting suicide himself (“Executive Gets Life Term In Killing Of His Family (Published 1993)”).  

                Seguin’s lawyers argued that an insanity defense at trial. According to them he was under immense pressure at the time of the murders due to the death of his father-in-law, his failure to have the family’s dream home built in a timely manner, and pressure from work, that caused him to develop a delusion. He believed that the only way he could save his family was by killing them and himself, and reuniting in heaven once they were all dead. Assistant District Attorney David Meier disagreed, claiming the act was premeditated. Seguin had left an unusual, evasive but coherent, voicemail on his wife’s answering machine while he was taking the children away. He cleaned up after the crime, flipping the bloody mattress over (Croteau), and lying to the police with his continually inconsistent answers to questions (“Executive Gets Life Term In Killing Of His Family (Published 1993)”). He had also made anonymous calls to the children’s schools to inform them that the kids would not be attending the day they died (Croteau).

                To the surprise of everyone, the jury found him guilty on three counts of second-degree murder. Many felt that the verdict would either be first-degree murder or not guilty by reason of insanity, but the jurors felt that while he was mentally impaired at the time of the murders, he understood the actions he was taking were wrong. He was sentenced to life in prison with no hope for parole for 30 years (“Executive Gets Life Term In Killing Of His Family (Published 1993)”).

                Since the time of the murders and his conviction, Seguin has applied for parole on multiple occasions. Each time he has been denied. During his parole hearings, he has made several claims. He had planned suicide after killing his wife and children. Mary Ann had said she was going to leave him. He was depressed and having financial problems. Each claim fell on deaf ears, as the board decided his attempts to cover up the murders proved the act was premeditated (Croteau). It has been almost 30 years since the horrific murders happened, and it seems he will remain in prison for his crimes, regardless of what his state of mind was at the time. The facts remain, no matter what he claims: a 7-year-old and a 5-year-old died at the hands of someone who was meant to protect them, and a 34-year old died at the hands of someone who was supposed to love her.

“Divers Find Bodies Of Children Of Suspected Wife-Killer”. UPI, 1992, https://www.upi.com/Archives/1992/05/02/Divers-find-bodies-of-children-of-suspected-wife-killer/6780704779200/.

Globe, Boston. “MAN CHARGED WITH KILLING WIFE; 2 KIDS MISSING”. Orlandosentinel.Com, 1992, https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1992-05-03-9205030259-story.html.

“Executive Gets Life Term In Killing Of His Family (Published 1993)”. Nytimes.Com, 1993, https://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/07/us/executive-gets-life-term-in-killing-of-his-family.html.

Croteau, Scott. “Kenneth Seguin Denied Parole In Brutal Killings Of His Wife, 2 Children”. Masslive, 2017, https://www.masslive.com/news/2017/08/kenneth_seguin_denied_parole_i.html.

Lizzie Borden Took An “Axe”

            If you grew up in the United States, or at least in Massachusetts, you’ve probably heard the old rhyme. Even if you don’t know the story of Lizzie Borden, at some point in time, probably on the school yard or in a classroom, you’ve most likely joined in.

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks,
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one

            The rhyme may change a bit, depending on who you’ve heard it from, but the overall theme is still there, though the facts aren’t quite right.

            The murders occurred on August 4, 1892, in Fall River, MA. Andrew and Abby Borden, the wealthy parents of the now infamous Lizzie Borden, were found separately in their home. Andrew had been attacked so viciously that his face appeared to have nearly been split in half. Abby was found upstairs, dead from a similar attack, and later determined to have been murdered first (History.com Editors 2010). Lizzie raised the alarm, calling for the family maid, Bridget “Maggie” Sullivan, whom had just finished washing the outside windows and laid down. Lizzie had found her father, beaten nearly beyond recognition, on their living room couch. Authorities were quickly alerted, and approximately a half an hour after they arrived and began to investigate, Abby Borden was found. Abby, Lizzie’s step-mother, was found upstairs by a neighbor who had come to comfort Lizzie. Her body was cold, which lead to the belief that she had been killed first, since Andrew was still warm (Linder). We know now, more than a century later, that the rooms in the house had different microclimates that could have explained this. The room Abby was in was several degrees different in temperature from the room Andrew was murdered in, and could have caused Abby’s blood to coagulate faster. The initial estimate of the time window was made based more on the blood coagulation than anything else, and we now know that instead of one-to-two hours, the time window could have been as small as 15-20 minutes (Lizzie Borden: The Curious Life And Death Of…).

            It was reported at the time that, while the murder was gruesome, there was no signs of a struggle in the room where Andrew was found. Supposedly a man who worked for Andrew Borden, referred to as a “Portuguese laborer” at the time, was seen visiting the residence the morning of the murder to get his pay. It was believed that Andrew had told the man he couldn’t pay him at the time and to return another time, leading to the murder. Newspapers reported that medical evidence suggested a tall man had attacked Abby Borden from behind, placing suspicion in the man who visited that morning (Linder).

            It didn’t take long for suspicion to fall on Lizzie Borden, who was 33-years old at the time. Only two days after the murders, a clerk at the local drug store S.R. Smith’s, Eli Bence, came forward with information: Lizzie had been at the shop the day before the killings looking to buy prussic acid, also known as cyanide. Lizzie claimed to have little knowledge of her step-mother’s whereabouts after 9 AM, at which time she claimed Abby went upstairs to fix the pillows. She also gave the investigators a story about looking for lead sinkers for a fishing trip in the barn in the backyard during the short period of time Andrew Borden was murdered in. This was considered unlikely, however, as the barn was dusty inside and there were no signs that anyone had been inside recently. It didn’t take long for the intruder theory to be brought into question and for a “leading physician” to speak out. He claimed that the hacking action the Borden’s were subjected to was a sign of a woman who was acting without consciousness (Linder).

At the same time, the Boston Herald began to report on the murder. While the family insisted that Lizzie had a good relationship with Abby, the Herald reported that they frequently fought and hadn’t been speaking for some time. Strangely, while the Herald seemed to be pointing suspicion her way, the writers there seemed to also feel that she was above reproach as she had no history of being unkind in a deliberate manner. Despite this, Lizzie seemed the most likely suspect. Bridget Sullivan was outside washing the windows and her sister, Emma Borden, was not even at the home at the time of the murder. On August 9th, Lizzie, Bridget, and a house guest, John Morse, were questioned in front of the local magistrate Josiah Blaisdell by District Attorney Hosea Knowlton (Linder). Morse had a seemingly strong alibi – he was visiting relatives fairly far from the Borden residence and left early that morning, traveling on a horse car with six priests. The driver of the car was questioned, but couldn’t remember Morse despite remembering the priests. Morse’s relatives confirmed, however, that he was visiting them at the time (Lizzie Borden: The Curious Life And Death Of…). Lizzie did so poorly on examination that, two days later after the inquest ended, she was arrested by Police Chief Hilliard. She was taken from Fall River to Taunton, approximately eight miles north of her home town. While she plead “not guilty,” after her preliminary hearing on August 22nd Judge Blaisdell found it likely that she was guilty and she was ordered to appear in front of a grand jury.  (Linder). It is worth noting that Lizzie was under the influence of a double dose of morphine during the inquest, which could explain why she had conflicting answers during her four-hour examination (Lizzie Borden: The Curious Life And Death Of…).

The trial was a spectacle. It convened in November and initially the jury was reluctant to bring an indictment, but were reconvened when new testimony was to be given. Family friend Alice Russel, who had stayed with the Borden sisters in the days following the murders, testified that she had seen Lizzie burning a blue dress, which Lizzie claimed was due to the dress being covered in paint. Bridget had testified earlier that Lizzie had worn a blue dress the morning the deaths occurred, and these testimonies combined resulted in an indictment being brought down upon Lizzie Borden. The trial began on June 5, 1893, Lizzie represented by a team of lawyers including Andrew Jennings and George Robinson, who was once the governor of Massachusetts. Representing the state was District Attorney Knowlton and Thomas Moody, who undoubtedly had a case ahead of them proving a woman was capable of such a crime in the Victorian Era (Linder).

The trial began with a show: Moody exposed the skulls of Andrew and Abby Borden accidentally while giving his opening speech, which reportedly caused Lizzie to go “into a feint” which is illustrated in one of the most famous images from the trial (Linder). A hatchet found in the basement, with the handle broken off, was presented as the possible murder weapon by the prosecution. The defense argued that without a handle, the hatchet could not be used as a weapon, and the handle was never found. The hatcher was also sent to Harvard University for analysis, along with a hair on it, but nothing came of it. The hair was from a cow, and when the remaining wood on the hatchet was soaked for blood evidence none was found. One of the judges, as it was a three-judge affair, found Lizzie’s testimony from her inquest was inadmissible, as her attorney wasn’t present at the time she was questioned. Despite this set back, the prosecution was sure they could still win with the testimony from Alice Russel on seeing Lizzie burn the dress. That is, until the defense put Emma Borden on the stand, where she testified that she had told Lizzie to burn an old raggedy dress (Lizzie Borden: The Curious Life And Death Of…).

             In total, the trial lasted three weeks. The famous rhyme came to life during those three weeks, and largely framed the case for the public despite the falsities in it. The morning of the final day, Lizzie wept, along with some men in the crowd and possibly even the judges, as she was found not guilty. While the upper class of Fall River seemed relieved that she was acquitted, the working class felt that she had gotten away with murder. Indeed, over a century later most people still believe she got away with the crime (Lizzie Borden: The Curious Life And Death Of…). The question remains: what really happened to Abby and Andrew Borden?

            Andrew was known to be a shrewd businessman and was not over well-liked. One speculation is that one of his business contacts could be responsible. Others who feel that Lizzie truly is the murderer have theories of her motives: money, freedom, and hatred. Andrew was a traditional Victorian man and had a great amount of control over Lizzie and Emma, who were both unmarried. He had no known will, meaning Abby would get his fortune should he die before her, and it was known that Lizzie and Emma both wanted to live a more lavish life that they did have the money for. They likely feared Abby getting all of his money if he were to die. After the trial was over, the sisters moved to a house in an area they had desired for some time and lived the lavish life they had wanted (Lizzie Borden: The Curious Life And Death Of…).

            There have been other speculations as well, over the years. In recent years people became aware of an unusual thing: on the morning of the murders, the front door was locked from the inside. The door had three locks on it, and usually two of the three locks were left unlocked for Andrew to come home for his morning nap, but on the day of the murders the door was locked. Bridget testified that she remembered hearing Lizzie laughing at her from the stairs as she struggled with the locks, and she was seen leaving the house that night with an unidentified bundle. She was never questioned on this and what the bundle was is unknown. Some believe Bridget may have been involved in the murder, but this is not provable (Lizzie Borden: The Curious Life And Death Of…).

Over a hundred years later, we likely will never know if Lizzie really did commit the murders, or if it was an intruder. What remains is the rhyme we’ve all come to know, and the spectacle left behind still revisited on a regular basis.

History.com Editors. “Lizzie Borden’s Parents Found Dead”. HISTORY, 2010, https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/borden-parents-found-dead.

Linder, Douglas. “Lizzie Borden”. Famous-Trials.Com, https://famous-trials.com/lizzieborden.

“Lizzie Borden: The Curious Life And Death Of…”. Smithsonian Channel, 2020.

The Death of JonBenét Ramsey

            JonBenét Ramsey was 6-years old at the time of her unexpected death on December 26, 1996. She was the daughter of John and Patsy Ramsey, and younger sister of Burke Ramsey. John ran the computer systems company Access Graphics, which was later absorbed by Lockheed Martin. Patsy was a previous beauty queen, which was why she so excitedly got JonBenét involved in the child beauty pageant world (Mack, 2020). JonBenét was well known, thanks to her mother, and her death caused a media frenzy.  

            That morning, the Ramsey’s woke up to get ready for the day and Patsy found an unusually long ransom note on the staircase. The note was nearly three pages long and full of superfluous language that is unusual for a ransom note. According to the note, the group who kidnapped JonBenét was a “small foreign faction.” The note claimed she was in their possession and safe, but that they would require the Ramsey’s to follow their instructions in order for JonBenét to live to see 1997. The kidnappers asked for $118,000, $100,000 in $100 bills and $18,000 in $20 bills. They were instructed to put the money in a brown paper bag and wait for a phone call between eight and 10 AM the next day, and to rest well as the delivery would apparently be exhausting. The letter writer claimed that, should they not follow their instructions to a T, JonBenét would be immediately executed and the family would never get her remains for a proper burial. The men reportedly watching her apparently did not like John Ramsey, as warned by the letter writer. They were instructed not to interact with the police or to tell anyone what was happening, including stray dogs and bank authorities. If anyone was contacted or the money was marked in some way, JonBenét would die. The writer signed off the letter, S.B.C.T (CNN 2006).

            Despite what the letter said, Patsy Ramsey immediately called both the police and family friends to assist in the search for her younger daughter. By six that morning the police had arrived; reportedly they found no evidence of forced entry upon their arrival. Mistakes were made, however, in preserving he crime scene. While JonBenét’s room was closed off, the rest of the house was open for friends and family to go through, resulting in the crime scene being contaminated. By one that afternoon, the family was understandably getting agitated and an officer suggested that John Ramsey search the house with a family friend to look for any possible evidence. The two immediately headed to search the basement, where they made the brutal discovery of JonBenét’s dead body. She was found with duct tape over her mouth and white cord wrapped around her neck and wrists in a makeshift garret with part of a paintbrush, and some reports say she was found with a white blanket over her torso (Crime Museum 2020).  John brought her body upstairs, where he removed the duct tape from her mouth and, according to some, covered her body with the white blanket against the officers’ orders. This contaminated her remains, compromising any evidence that may have come her. For many, this was seen as extremely suspicious and fueled rumors that JonBenét was being abused by her parents (Mack 2020).

            JonBenét’s cause of death was determined to be asphyxiation from strangulation and a small fracture was present on her skull. While it is believed that she was likely sexually assaulted before or after her death, no seminal evidence was found but her genitals had been wiped clean. There was, however, drops of blood found on her underwear. She had pineapple in her stomach that must have been eaten that night, and while Patsy and John didn’t remember giving her any, a bowl was found in the kitchen with pineapple and Burke’s fingerprints on it. It is worth noting here that, while fingerprints can tell us someone was there, we cannot attach a timetable to fingerprint evidence the way we can other pieces of evidence, so the time that Burke got the pineapple can’t be determined. The Ramsey’s maintain that Burke was asleep in his room the entire night (Crime Museum 2020).         

            The case gained national attention. The family quickly came under suspicion, and their behavior unfortunately fueled much of the suspicion. The initial interviews with the immediate family members of JonBenét were delayed, allowing time for a story to be developed should they have been involved in the crime.  Many believed, and some still do, that the ransom note was staged, partially due to the unusual length of the note. It was determined that the stationary used belonged to Patsy, as did the pen used to write it. Handwriting samples were taken from each family member, but the results remain murky. While some believe that Patsy Ramsey had to have been the writer, others believe the handwriting analysis was inconclusive or entirely exonerated her. The note drew more suspicion to the family when it was learned that the amount asked was the exact amount that he received in a bonus that year. The family was fairly reluctant to work with the police during the investigation, later stating that they were hesitant to work with police out of fear that they would be framed just to have the case solved (Crime Museum 2020). The paint brush used in the makeshift garret was from Patsy’s art kit. Some theorize that Patsy, either from jealousy over JonBenét’s success in beauty pageants or anger over the fact that she was a chronic bed wetter, may have lost her cool and smashed her head into a hard surface. Burke was enough older and bigger than his younger sister and would have been able to overpower her, and if he had accidentally killed his sister, it would explain the somewhat unusual behavior of his parents (Mack 2020). The Ramsey’s refused to submit to more interviews in January of 1998 unless they could view the evidence police had collected (Research 2020). In 1999, a Colorado grand jury voted to indict the Ramsey’s on child endangerment and obstruction of a murder investigation charges, but the case was never prosecuted. The prosecutor felt the evidence in the case did not sufficiently meet the reasonable doubt standard and chose not to go through with the case (Crime Museum 2020). Patsy Ramsey died of ovarian cancer in 2006, never knowing who killed her daughter (Research 2020). CBS aired a special in 2016, The Case of JonBenét Ramsey, which led many to believe that Burke was the one that killed his sister. He brought a $750 million defamation suit against CBS that was settled out of court in 2019 (Crime Museum 2020).

            Some theorize that the killer was an intruder, who’s footsteps were disguised by the rugs in the house. A boot print that could not be linked to any of the family members was found next to her bed, leading to the belief that she was likely taken from her bed. When the basement was searched and investigated, a broke window was found that is thought to have been an entry point for an intruder. On top of that, the blood drops in her underwear belong to an unknown male, not the men in her family (Crime Museum 2020). Gary Oliva was arrested in Boulder, Colorado on drug charges in 2000.  Oliva was a known sexual predator, but DNA cleared him of the Ramsey murder. He continued to terrorize Boulder after his release until he was arrested again on two counts of exploitation of a minor, specifically child pornography. In 2006, school teacher John Karr confessed to the murder while in Thailand. While his confession was vivid and horrific, it became quickly clear that it was nothing more than fantasy concocted based on what information available to the public. Karr was not the killer, though he was a pedophile obsessed with JonBenét (Mack 2020). He claimed that her death was an accident, caused after he drugged. His claims were discarded when it was learned that there were no signs of drugs in her system at the time of her death and his DNA was found not to match the DNA from her underwear, which was added to CODIS in 2003 (Crime Museum 2020). The Santa that worked the Ramsey party the night before the murder has also been suggested by some, but was never formally accused of the murder. He claimed to have a special relationship with JonBenét, referring to her as his “special friend.” He had a tube of gold glitter that she gave him as a gift, which is presumed to have been mixed into his ashes when he passed away in 2002 (Mack 2020).

            In 2006, a new district attorney, Mary Lacy, was appointed to the case. DA Lacy made a public apology to the Ramsey’s in 2008 when she was profiling the DNA evidence. The case was officially reopened in 2010, with a focus on DNA evidence this time. The DNA evidence was sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation with hopes that newer, stronger methods would yield better results in 2016 (Crime Museum 2020). As of now, no new evidence has been made public. JonBenét’s death still remains a mystery, and the noise surrounding her murder has only made it harder for investigators to figure out what happened. The trial by media the family had to endure convinced many that they must have been at fault, while the evidence points towards the actions of an intruder in the household on the night of her murder. As it stands, only the evidence that may someday come from the DNA sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation may finally give the family and the public the answers being looked for since 1996.

Crime Museum. 2020. Jonbenét Ramsey – Crime Museum. [online] Available at: <https://www.crimemuseum.org/crime-library/cold-cases/jonbenet-ramsey/&gt; [Accessed 24 December 2020].

Research, C., 2020. Jonbenet Ramsey Murder Fast Facts. [online] CNN. Available at: <https://www.cnn.com/2013/08/29/us/jonbenet-ramsey-murder-fast-facts/index.html&gt; [Accessed 26 December 2020].

Mack, E., 2020. Jonbenét Ramsey’S Death Is Still An Unsolved Mystery. [online] Rare. Available at: <https://rare.us/people/jonbenet-ramsey/&gt; [Accessed 26 December 2020].

“CNN.Com – Text Of 1996 Jonbenet Ransom Note – Aug 17, 2006”. Cnn.Com, 2006, https://www.cnn.com/2006/LAW/08/16/ramsey.ransom.note/.

The Allenstown Four

In Allenstown, New Hampshire, in 1985, a group of young boys found a 55-gallon metal drum near the local mobile home park, and rolled it around while playing. About 100 yards from where they found it, the drum broke open and the boys left it where it was (Landman 2018). Sometime later on November 10, 1985, a hunter came across the drum in Bear Brook State Park. Upon opening the drum, he found a horrific scene: two bodies, wrapped in plastic and decomposing in the drum. It was a horrific discovery that seemed to get worse as the years went on (Sweeney 2019).

            The bodies recovered from the drum were of an adult woman and a young girl, both determined to have died from blunt force trauma. The woman had wavy brown hair and extensive dental work, including both fillings and dental extractions. The girl was estimated to be between the ages of 5 and 11 years old. She was found with earrings and showed signs of having had pneumonia. The girl also had a gap in her teeth. It was determined that the two died between 1977 and 1985, but the exact year could not be pin pointed. After 18 months waiting for someone to identify the two victims, they were laid to rest in May of 1987. This seemed like it might be the end of the story, as no one had come forward and there seemed to be no leads. However, that changed 15 years later in the year 2000 when another 55-gallon drum was found (Sweeney 2019).

            A detective was examining the original crime scene in 2000, as the case was officially still open, and found the second barrel (Sweeney 2019). This drum had the remains of two young girls, one between one and three years old, and the other between two and four years old. The two were too badly decomposed for a cause of death to be determined (Landman 2018). Through DNA analysis it was determined that the woman was likely the mother of the oldest girl and the youngest girl, but the middle girl was not related to them. Investigators turned to the Bear Brooke Gardens Mobile Home Park near where the bodies were recovered, hoping leads would pop up. What they found was that 476 people had been through the 115-lot park during the years they believed the murders took place, and most of the residents were ex-convicts from the nearby New Hampshire State Prison or transient (Sweeney 2019). Any case with this many people involved becomes increasingly more difficult to solve.

            The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children released new facial reconstructions of the victims in hope that someone would come forward with their identities (Sweeney 2019). Tests were performed on tissue that was able to be extracted from the victims, looking for signs of the environment they had been living in at the time of their deaths. Three of the four victims, the mother and her children, showed signs of living in the area around Allenstown, NH for approximately three months before their deaths, while the fourth victim, the middle girl, showed signs of living further north (Landman 2018) (Sweeney 2019). This was further confirmed in 2015, when Senior Assistant Attorney General Ben Agati stated that it was believed they lived in the Allenstown area sometime before their deaths. That same year new sketches were made by forensic artists that better represented what they believed the victims looked like in life (Sweeney 2019).

            Laura Jenson connected the mysterious case to the disappearance of her mother in 1981, Denise Beaudin, in 2016. Her mother had been dating a man who went by Gordon Jenson. Jenson was abandoned in the mobile home park as a child but Gordon Jenson after her mother went missing (Boston 25 News 2019). Investigators reported a suspect, who went by Robert “Bob” Evans while in Allenstown, NH, and had once gone by the alias Gordon Jenson, in 2017. Evans/Jenson died in jail in 2010, after being sentenced for the murder of his wife at the time, chemist Eunsoon Jun. At the time, Evans/Jenson’s actual name was not known, but the renewed interest in the murders of the Allenstown Four eventually lead to his DNA being tested. Surprisingly, this led to the fourth victim being at least partially identified: Evans/Jenson was her biological father. Outside of the DNA, circumstantial evidence also connected him to the Allenstown area. As Robert Evans, he had worked as an electrician at the local mill at the time of the murders, for a man who owned property near where the drums were discovered. The drums could also have been sourced from that mill (Sweeney 2019).

 It was August of 2017 that investigators were able to release his real name: Terrance “Terry” Rasmussen (Sweeney 2019). Rasmussen is known to have used at least three aliases – Robert Evans, Gordon Jenson, and Curtis Mayo Kimball (Boston 25 News 2019). It is believed that Rasmussen killed at least six people – Beaudin, who is officially still missing, Jun, and the Allenstown Four.  Rasmussen is known to have had a disturbing pattern, and may have been a true serial killer. Rasmussen would pose as a single father to attract women, particularly women with children. He would start dating the women he would find, molest their children, then possibly murder them (Landman 2018).

There was a major break in the case in 2019. On June 6th, investigators announced that three of the four victims had been successfully identified. The woman and her daughters were identified as Marlyse Elizabeth Honeychurch and her daughters, Marie Elizabeth Vaughn and Sarah Lynn McWaters. The family was last seen alive at family Thanksgiving in 1978, in La Puenta, CA. At the time, Honeychurch had been reportedly dating Rasmussen and he had joined her and her children for the trip. That night Honeychurch got into an argument with her mother, and after leaving with Rasmussen and her children, none of them were seen again (Sweeney 2019).

The true identity of Rasmussen’s daughter, the fourth victim, remains unknown. Her mother has not been found, and some speculate that she may be another of Rasmussen’s victims. If you or anyone you know believes you may know who this poor child was, or perhaps know who her mother may have been, please reach out to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST or email the state cold case unit, coldcaseunit@dos.nh.gov (Sweeney 2019). Any credible information could help investigators finally have a name for the poor little girl likely murdered by her own father.

Landman, Hugh. “Mysterious Facts And Theories About The Allenstown Four.” Ranker. N.p., 2018. Web. 28 Nov. 2020 . <https://www.ranker.com/list/facts-and-theories-about-the-allenstown-four/hugh-landman&gt;.

Staff, Boston. “Allenstown, NH Murder Victims Identified After Nearly 40 Years.” WFXT. N.p., 2019. Web. 27 Nov. 2020 . <https://www.boston25news.com/news/allenstown-nh-murder-victims-identified-after-nearly-40-years/955952833/&gt;.

Sweeney, Gary. “Allenstown Four: The Decades-Long Mystery Of The Bear Brook Murders.” https://the-line-up.com. N.p., 2019. Web. 27 Nov. 2020 . <https://the-line-up.com/bear-brook-murders-allenstown-four&gt;.