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10 Famous Cases of Unsolved Murder &


It is estimated that around 32% of all murders in the United States go unsolved each
year.  This statistic varies in all areas of the world.  With the recent advancements in
criminal and forensic technology the percentage continues to drop annually.  Here are the
events and circumstances surrounding 10 mysterious cases of unsolved murder.

10. Harry Oakes (1874-1943)


Harry Oakes was born in Sangerville, Maine.  In 1898 he moved to Alaska at the
height of the Klondike Gold Rush in hopes of claiming a fortune.  He continued to
prospect for gold all over the world for the next 10 years until he "struck gold" at
Kirkland Lake in Northern Ontario, Canada in 1912.  Twenty years later his mine was
the most productive in the western hemisphere, and it ultimately proved the largest gold
mine ever found in the Americas with the exception of the Homestake Mine.  By 1920,
Oakes was thought to be Canada's richest individual.  He took British citizenship and
for tax reasons lived in the Bahamas beginning in 1935. Oakes was created a baronet in
1939 in response to his philanthropic endeavors in the Bahamas and Britain.

On July 8, 1943, Harry Oakes was found murdered in his mansion in Nassau.  His
son-in-law Count Alfred de Marigny, who had eloped with Oakes's daughter was
accused of the crime, but ultimately acquitted.  Oakes's murderer remains unidentified.
The case received worldwide press coverage knocking World War II out of the
headlines.  Conspiracy theories have surfaced that suggest that Oakes had uncovered
corruption during the building of Nassau International Airport and was scheduled to fly
to Miami to make a statement to the authorities the day after his murder.  Another
theory claims that he was murdered by associates of mob boss Meyer Lansky, after
Oakes resisted plans to develop casinos in the Bahamas.  His murder became the basis
of the 1984 Nicolas Roeg film Eureka.

9. Folke Bernadotte (1895-1948)

In 1895, Folke Bernadotte was born in Stockholm, Sweden as part of the House of
Bernadotte.  Count Oscar Bernadotte of Wisborg was his father and King Oscar II of
Sweden was his Grandfather.  Before Folke’s birth his father married without the King's
consent, thus leaving the royal family.  Folke Bernadotte was also stricken from the
royal family and given the title Count of Wisborg.  During his life Folke Bernadotte was
a leader and true humanitarian.  He was heavily involved with educating children and
became the director of the Swedish Boy Scouts Organization in 1937.  During WWII he
worked as chairman and then vice-president of the Swedish Red Cross.


In 1945, Bernadotte attempted to negotiate an armistice between Germany and the
Allies.   He also led several rescue missions in Germany for the Red Cross.  During the
autumns of 1943 and 1944, he organized prisoner exchanges which brought home
11,000 prisoners from Germany via Sweden.   In the last months of the war in 1945
Bernadotte succeeded in rescuing 15,000 people from German concentration camps,
including approximately 8000 Danes and Norwegians and 7000 women of French,
Polish, Czech, British, American, Argentinean and Chinese nationalities.  The missions
took approximately two months and exposed the Swedish Red Cross staff to significant
wartime danger.  They were known for their buses, painted entirely white except for the
Red Cross emblem on the side, so that they would not be mistaken for military targets.

After the war, Bernadotte was unanimously chosen to be the United Nations Security
Council mediator in the Arab-Israeli conflict of 1947-1948.  In 1948, Folke Bernadotte
was shot to death while traveling in the Katamon quarter.  He was stopped at a road
block when he was viciously attacked by four men in military uniforms.  The murder
took place at Ben Zion Guini Square, off Hapalmah Street.  His death remains unsolved,
although all clues point to the militant Zionist group Lehi.

8. Raymond Washington (1953-1979)


Raymond Washington was born in Los Angeles, California.  He grew up on 76th Street,
just west of Wadsworth and Central Avenues.  Raymond had a hard life and was
consistently getting into fist fights, although rarely starting the altercations.  He would
usually finish them.  Youth violence in South Central and Watts escalated dramatically
in the late 1960s, especially in the three housing projects known as the Bricks: Imperial
Courts, Nickerson Gardens and Jordan Downs.  At age 15 Raymond Washington started
a street gang named the Baby Avenues, which soon became the Avenue Cribs and before
long the name evolved into the Crips.  He wanted to start the gang to protect his
territory in South Central and keep separate gangs away. 

Today, the Crips are one of the oldest, largest, and most notorious gangs in the United
States.  The gang spread faster than Washington could imagine and was soon out of his
control.  Raymond Washington held the belief that fist fighting and unarmed combat
was the best way to solve a problem, but could not stop the ramped use of firearms.  In
1979, at the age of 25, Raymond Washington was shot dead on the corner of 64th and
San Pedro Streets in Los Angeles.  He was the victim of a drive-by shooting and was shot
in the face with a sawed-off shotgun.  Like many gang murders his death remains
unsolved to this day. 

7. Chicago Tylenol Murders (1982)


In the autumn of 1982 a sudden outbreak of deaths occurred in the Chicago area.  After
numerous autopsies were performed it was discovered that people were being poisoned.
The cause of death was linked to
Tylenol medicine capsules, which had been laced with
potassium cyanide.  A sudden recall and warnings were broadcasted all over the
country.  An estimated 31 million bottles of Tylenol were stripped from the shelves,
with a retail value of over US$100 million.  The tampered with bottles came from many
different factories, which ruled out the possibility of sabotage during production.
Investigators believe that an unknown murderer entered various supermarkets and drug
stores over a period of weeks, pilfered packages of Tylenol from the shelves, adulterated
their contents with solid cyanide compound at another location, and then replaced the
bottles.  The 1982 Tylenol murders led to reforms in the packaging of over-the-counter
substances and to federal anti-tampering laws in the United States.  Many suspects were
investigated, but the crimes remain unsolved to this day.  A well publicized lead was a
note that James W Lewis sent to Johnson & Johnson Corp. demanding $1 million to stop
the murders.  Lewis could not be linked with the crimes.

6. Jill Dando (1961-1999)


Jill Dando was born in Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset in 1961.  She was an
extremely goal oriented woman and made her name as an English journalist, television
presenter and Newsreader.  She worked at The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)
for 14 years.  On the morning of April 26, 1999, Dando left the Chiswick home of her
fiancé, Dr. Alan Farthing, and returned alone to her house in Gowan Avenue, Fulham,
West London.  As she reached her front door she was attacked by an unknown assailant
and executed.  Forensic study indicated that Jill Dando had been shot by a 9mm
automatic pistol, with the gun pressed against her head at the moment of the shot.  The
killer, a white man aged around 40, was seen walking from the scene of the attack.

After the murder there was massive media coverage and an investigation by the
Metropolitan Police, named Operation Oxborough.  With very few leads the police
concentrated their attention on a man with a history of stalking women and who lived
around half a mile from Dando's home.  His name was Barry George.  George was tried
at the Old Bailey and convicted. On July 2, 2001 he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
However, concerns about this conviction were widespread and on his third appeal the
prosecutor was able to discredit forensic evidence and Barry George was set free.  Jill
Dando’s murder remains unsolved and as mysterious as the day it occurred.

5. Lake Bodom Murders (June 6, 1960)


Lake Bodom is located in Finland, near the suburbs of the city of Espoo.  On the early
morning of June 6, 1960, four teenagers were camping on the shores of Lake Bodom
when they were brutally attacked.  Between 4AM and 6AM, an unknown person or
persons murdered three of the children with a knife and blunt instrument.  It was one of
the most violent and horrifying murders scenes you could imagine.  The crimes remain
unsolved with relatively no leads.  However, the sole survivor, Nils Wilhelm
Gustafsson became a suspect in 2004.  Investigators claimed that new DNA evidence 
implicated him in the murders.  He was acquitted and found not guilty by the district
court in October of 2005.  The murders have proven to be a popular subject in the
Finnish media and commonly have made it back to the headlines.

4. Mary Meyer (1920-1964)


Mary Meyer was a Washington DC socialite, painter, and former wife of CIA official
Cord Meyer.  She was also a close friend of US president John F. Kennedy.  Historians
claim an intimate affair was taking place between Meyer and Kennedy when he was
assassinated.  Mary Meyer and John F Kennedy reportedly had "about 30 trysts" and at
least one author has claimed she brought marijuana or LSD to almost all of these
meetings.  Harvard University psychology professor Timothy Leary has made claims that
Mary Meyer was influencing Kennedy's views on nuclear disarmament and conflict with
Cuba.  It was also widely known by friends that Mary was keeping a person diary
documenting her experiences with Kennedy.

On October 12, 1964, eleven months after John F. Kennedy's assassination and two
weeks after the Warren Commission report was made public, Mary went for a walk
along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath in Georgetown.  A witness heard a
woman cry out for help followed by two gunshots.  The witness ran to a low wall
looking over the path where he saw "a black man in a light jacket, dark slacks, and a dark
cap standing over the body of a white woman."  It was Mary Meyer who had been shot
twice at close range.  Family members reported that her house was ransacked and her
diary was never found.  Raymond Crump was arrested near the murder scene and
accused of Mary’s murder, but was later acquitted and the crime has never been solved.
During the trial Crump’s lawyer would complain that she could not find any information
on the life of Mary Meyer.  It was as if she existed only on the day she was murdered.

3. William Goebel (1856-1900)


William Goebel was a hard-nosed and skilled American politician.  Early in his career he
gained many connections and enemies while practicing politics in the state of Kentucky.
He was an extremely intellectual and intimidating individual.  In 1895, William Goebel
was approached by political rival John Sanford and challenged to a duel.  The men were
carrying guns and fired on each other.  Goebel was uninjured as the bullet passed
through his trousers.  Sanford was hit in the head and killed.  However, Goebel faced no
legal penalty as it was a legal duel.  

In 1900 William Goebel was elected as the governor of the state of Kentucky.  The day
before he was sworn in Goebel was shot by an unnamed assailant while walking on the
streets of Kentucky next to the Old State Capital building.  The shooter fired 6 or 7 bullets
from a nearby building and was never identified.  William Goebel was only hit once, but
died four days later.  Goebel was sworn in as governor while hospitalized and to this day is
the only United States Governor to be assassinated while in office.

2. Stoneman (1985 & 1989)


In 1985, the first hint of a serial-killer who was targeting homeless rag-pickers and
beggars in India came from Mumbai.  The killer would find an unsuspecting individual
sleeping alone in a desolate area and the victim's head would be crushed with a single
stone weighing as much as 30 kg.  In the summer of 1989 in Calcutta the murders began
again.  The cause of death and choice of victims was identical.  Twelve people were
killed in a 6-month period.  All the victims were homeless pavement-dwellers who slept
alone in dimly lit areas of the city.  Panic gripped the city and the world media labeled
the killer Stoneman. 

In most cases a large stone or concrete slab was simply dropped on the head of the
victims as they slept.  Police were deployed in various parts of the city and numerous
arrests were made.  After a spell of arrests in which a handful of "suspicious persons"
were rounded up for questioning, the killings stopped.  The crimes remain unsolved to
this day.  Similar incidents were reported in the Guwahati city of Assam state during
February 2008.

1. The Axeman of New Orleans (1918-1919)


The Axeman of New Orleans is a name that was given to an unidentified serial murder
that was active in the New Orleans area from May 1918 to October 1919.  It is one of
the most terrifying accounts in history, as a man was terrorizing the area by murdering
people with an axe.  In total 8 people were killed during this time, but many other
murders have been attributed to the axe man.  Not everyone attacked was killed.  The
crimes seemed to be completely random and the murderer would usually strike late at
night and enter through an unlocked door or window.  Although on more than one
occasion he simply bashed open the door with his axe.

His victims included a pregnant woman and even a baby killed in the arms of its mother.
The Axeman also seemed to draw direct inspiration from Jack the Ripper.  The killer
wrote taunting letters to city newspapers hinting at his future crimes and claimed to be
a supernatural demon "from Hell".  The murder wave stopped as quickly as it had begun
and it remains a complete mystery, although historians indicate that Joseph Momfre
could have been the killer.  Momfre was shot to death in Los Angeles in December, 1920.

The Life of John Bodkin Adams


John Bodkin Adams was a mysterious man and suspected serial killer, although never
convicted of any murders.  Bodkin’s was an Irish born general practitioner who between
the years 1946-1956 had more than 160 of his patients die under suspicious
circumstances.  132 of these people left him money or items in their will.  He was tried
and acquitted for the murder of one patient in 1957.  Adams was found guilty in a
subsequent trial of 13 offences of prescription fraud, lying on cremation forms,
obstructing a police search, and failing to keep a dangerous drugs registry.  He did not
spend much time in jail.  Scotland Yard's files on the case were closed to the public for
75 years, until 2033.

Some Other Infamous Unsolved Murders

Jack The Ripper

Elizabeth Short: The Black Dahlia

Bob Crane

The Boy in the Box

Elizabeth Short

Óscar Romero

Dian Fossey

Olof Palme

JonBenét Ramsey

Dian Fossey

Tupac Shakur

Notorious B.I.G.

Andrew and Abby Borden

The Zodiac


Cleveland Torso Murderer

Jack the Stripper

Claremont serial killer

Full name:
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Paul - October 1, 2009 at 12:45 AM
Would today's science solve these crimes?

Bryan - October 2, 2009 at 1:24 PM
Paul I think many of these crimes could have been solved if they occurred in modern
times with the criminal technology that we have.  In relation to the older crimes, such as
the axe murderer and Lake Bodom murders, DNA evidence could have helped solve
those crimes.  Camera and survailance technologies that we have today could
have helped identify some of these individuals, especially the tylenol murderer.

The Hunter - February 3, 2010
To The Zodiac: Power without control is dangerous...maybe chaos. You are
in control. Now and after decades, what do you think of what the world has
become?...Greener pastures?  I know you still linger. Maybe we will meet,

Bryan - February 4, 2010
Bit of a creepy message.

Interested - April 20, 2010
Great information, very fun read!

Storm - July 23, 2010

I think the boy in the box is one of the saddest and least known ones.  In St Louis in
the 80's I think... An African American girl’s headless body was found the
basement of an abandoned house no one has either been charged or became a

Copyright The List Blog - Top 10, All Rights Reserved, Posted Sept. 30, 2009