My Favorite Unsolved Cases

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The Tamam Shud case: In 1948 the body of a man is found on a busy beach in Adelaide, Australia. A few months later, a suit case is found in a bus station and is believed to belong to the man. All the tags of the clothes inside had been purposefully removed. Hidden in the dead man’s pants is a piece of paper from a book reading, “Tamam Shud,” meaning “ended” or “finished.” To this day, he has never been identified.

Who Put Bella in the Wych Elm?: In 1944, a woman’s skull is found stuffed in a hollow trunk of a Wych Elm in Hagley Wood, Worcestershire. A piece of Taffeta had been stuffed down her throat and her hand had been cut off, only to be found buried not far from the tree. Years later, graffiti pops up around the town, reading, “Who put Bella in the Wych Elm?” The graffiti persists to this day, though we still do not know who ‘Bella’ was or what happened to her.

The Keddie Murders: A grisly 1981 unsolved quadruple homicide in Keddie, California. A mother, her son and her son’s friend were bound, beaten and stabbed to death, while three other boys slept in another room unharmed. The next day, the 12 year old daughter is missing. Three years later, her skull is found 63 miles away from Keddie. The case is still active.

Tara Grinstead Disappearance: Tara, a 30 year old high school teacher, disappears from her home in Georgia in 2005. The case goes cold, and eleven years later (February 2017) one of her students is arrested for her murder, followed by another arrest. The case is being closely followed by the “Up and Vanished” podcast.

The West Memphis 3: Arkansas, 1993: three 8 year old boys go missing, only to be found brutally murdered. Three teens are found guilty for the crime, but many believe they are innocent. HBO follows their story from the initial trial to their subsequent release in 2011 in a series of 3 documentaries (see: Paradise Lost). Who really killed the three boys and how did our system fail the West Memphis 3 so terribly? (I recommend the True Crime Garage podcast episodes about this case)

Brandon Lawson Disappearance: In 2013, Brandon Lawson is driving down a deserted road in Texas in the middle of the night. He runs out of gas and makes numerous phone calls, one of which is a bloody chilling 911 call that even experts have not been able to fully decipher. He was never seen again, and his body has never been found.

The Bizarre Death of Olivia Mabel:  Olivia Mabel lost her son in 1990. Two years later, police respond to a series of silent 911 calls from her residence. They find Olivia dead in a chair, in front of an “alter” for her late son. They discover she has been dead for months. Who killed her and who placed the phone calls?

The Indiana Dunes Disappearances: In 1966, three young woman from Chicago drive to the Indiana Dunes for a day on the beach. They are reportedly seen getting into a boat with a man. After that, they are never seen again, nor have their bodies ever been recovered. Strangely, they have distant ties to a serial killer…

Archambeau & Bruguier Disappearance: A young couple disappears in the middle of a midwest winter after being in a car crash with a friend. The two reportedly leave the vehicle overturned, with their friend still inside, and disappear. Months later, their bodies are discovered, but it only raises more questions.

The Disappearance of Andrew Gosden: In 2007, Andrew, a British teen with perfect attendance, ditches school, empties his bank account (while leaving plenty of cash at home) and takes the train to London. CCTV catches him walking out of King’s Cross, and after that, he is never seen again. Did he run away or did his plans go horribly wrong?

The Murder of Martha Moxley: In 1975, A 15 year old is found blunged and stabbed to death with a golf club near her home in Connecticut after a night of hanging out with friends. In 2002, her friend and neighbor is convicted of the crime. The conviction is still highly debated and there have been several appeals and even a retrial, though he still remains behind bars. Did he really kill Martha? And if he didn’t- who did?

The Death of Morgan Ingram: A college student and her family claim she is being stalked, specifically at home. After four months of calling the police and installing security cameras, Morgan is found dead in her room from an apparent overdose. The police rule it a “natural death” but her parents suggest it’s actually a murder.

The Disappearance of Brian Shaffer: A medical student at Ohio State University disappears during a night out in 2006. The last video footage of him shows him entering a bar who two women, but never leaving, though there was only one exit/entrance. He was never seen again and no body has ever been found.  What happened to Brian Shaffer?

Murder of Lindsay Buziak: In 2008, a 24 year old realtor is lured to a house she is selling and is murdered. Her boyfriend finds her body inside just 15 minutes later, and he sees two figures fleeing the house. To this day, the murder remains unsolved.

The Eriksson Twins: In a truly bizarre tale, Swedish twins try to jump in front of moving cars on a motorway in the UK while police try to stop them, and it’s all caught on camera. One is successfully run over by a vehicle, but she survives. The next day she stabs a stranger to death. What cause the sisters to act so strangely and then commit a murder?

The Grimes Sisters: Two young teen sisters disappear on a December night in 1957 after seeing a movie at their local theater. In the month that follows, reported sightings of them pop up all over Chicago and the midwest. Finally, their bodies are discovered recently dumped near the side of a road. Did the girls die the night they disappeared or were the reported sightings true?

The Springfield 3: Two teenage girls, fresh off graduation, decide to spend the night at one of their houses. The next morning, no one can find the two girls or the mother that was watching them. Their clothes and purses are set up as if they were getting ready, but there is virtually no evidence of a crime… they simply disappear, and no one has seen them since, nor found any remains.


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