Ripped From the Headlines: A Look Into the Most Talked About Solved and Unsolved Cases
There have been a lot of murder mysteries and missing people never found over the years. As someone who's saw many specials, made for T.V. movies and read many books about some of the cases on this list, I decided to write about some of those headline-breaking cases. Some are before my time and others were during my childhood when I was too little to comprehend it all. I imagine it might be the same for you. You'll remember some of them and others you might not but with so many new cases popping up every day it never hurts to remember those from the past because they are certainly ones never to be forgotten.
So, here's a look into some of the most talked about cases.
Elizabeth Short aka The Black Dahlia- Murdered, January 15th 1947
The Black Dahlia
Her name was Elizabeth Short and she was given the nickname "The Black Dahlia." She was a waitress whose body was found mutilated in Leimert Park in Los Angeles, CA in 1947. The case has sparked many books and movies because of the mystery surrounding it. However, still to this day the identity of the murderer is unknown.
Martha Moxley- Murdered, October 30th 1975
Martha Moxley was a 15 yr old girl living in Greenwich, CT. She went out on October 30th for what used to be known as "mischief night" but when she didn't return her mother started to worry and sent Martha's brother out to look for her. It wasn't until the next day that Martha's body was discovered under a tree in her family's back yard. She was last seen at the residence of the Skakel family. She was even seen with Thomas Skakel one of the boys that lived there. They spent much time investigating the Skakels but were met with many obstacles. They eventually arrested Michael Skakel for the murder of Martha. He was convicted of the crime in 2002 and given 20 yrs to life in prison.
Update: In 2013 Michael Skakel was granted a new trial and released on 1.2 million dollars bail. In 2016 the Supreme Court reinstated his conviction.
Jose and Mary "Kitty" Menendez - Murdered, August 20th 1989
The Menendez Brothers
Jose and Kitty Menendez were a rich couple from Beverly Hills, CA. They were shot by their two sons Lyle and Erik in what they stated to be self defense from years of physical and sexual abuse from their parents. They feared their parents were going to kill them. Lyle and Erik, after a long trial process and two dead locked juries, were sentenced to life imprisonment without parole.
Nicole Brown Simpson - Murdered, June 13th 1994
Nicole Brown Simpson was a model who married former football player O.J. Simpson. They had a very rocky marriage and there were many reports that he had abused her. So, it's no surprise that he was the number one suspect in her murder. Nicole was found stabbed outside of her home in Brentwood, CA along with her friend Ron Goldman. O.J. went on trial for the murders but was acquitted. However, he was later found liable for the deaths in civil court.
Update: O.J. Simpson's legal troubles didn't end after his acquittal. In 2007 he was arrested for armed robbery and kidnapping in Las Vegas, NV. In 2008 he was sentenced to 33 yrs in prison with a minimum of 9 years without parole. However, in 2017 he was granted parole and released from prison on October 1, 2017.
JonBenet Ramsey- Murdered, December 25th 1996
JonBenet Ramsey was six year old little girl who did beauty pageants but unfortunately she would never see the age of seven. This little girl was reported missing on Christmas day by her mother Patsy and later found dead in the basement by her father John. JonBenet was murdered December 25th or 26th 1996 in her home in Boulder, CO. There are many people who think the Boulder PD didn't handle the case properly because they spent much of the time focusing on the parents and the brother. This is still an unsolved case and the murderer has never been found.
Chandra Levy- Murdered, May 1st 2001
Chandra Levy was an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington D.C. She went missing in 2001 and her remains were found in Rock Creek Park in 2002. They had thought congressmen Gary Condit may have had something to do with it since they were having an affair. However, he was eventually cleared of involvement. In 2009 an arrest warrant was obtained for Ingmar Guandique. He was an illegal immigrant from El Salvador and he had been convicted of assaulting two other women in that same park. He was convicted of murdering her and given 60 yrs in prison, but in 2015 was granted a new trial. In 2016 prosecutors opted not to try him again but instead have him deported.
Elizabeth Smart- Kidnapped, June 5th 2002
Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped from her bedroom that she shared with her sister Mary Catherine at the age of 14 from her home in Salt Lake City, UT. They spent a lot of time focusing on her father as the suspect. It wasn't until nine mouths later that they found her in Sandy, Utah with the man known as Emanuel who had previously worked on their home. His real name was Brain David Mitchell and he along with Wanda Barzee are the ones who had been holding Elizabeth captive.
Update: This is the only one on here that had a happy ending. Despite everything she had to endure in those months with her captors Elizabeth has used her own experience to help other people. She is married with two kids and has written two books, the second one just recently came out.
Laci Peterson- Murdered, December 24th 2002
Laci Peterson was a substitute teacher in Modesto, CA. She was married to Scott Peterson and eight months pregnant with their first child, a boy they were going to name Connor. She went missing on December 24th 2002 and was presumably murdered the same day. Her husband Scott was prime suspect number one especially when they found out he was having an affair with a woman by the name of Amber Frye. Laci's unborn child's fetus was found washed up on shore in April 2003 and a day later the body of a recently pregnant woman was found washed up on shore where the baby's body had been found. Scott was charged and convicted of the murders of his wife and unborn child. He's now on death row in San Quentin State Prison.
Update: Scott Peterson's case is currently on appeal.
Natalee Holloway- Missing, May 30th 2005
Natalee Holloway went missing while on a post high school graduation trip to Aruba. One of the suspects in her disappearance was Joran van der Sloot and two brothers she was last seen with. Van der Sloot once said Natalee died on the morning of May 30th 2005 but later took that statement back. To this day Natalee has not been found but she was declared legally dead by a judge in her home state of Alabama.
Madeleine McCann-Missing, May 3rd 2007
Madeleine McCann is 3 yr old girl who went missing from the hotel room she, her parents and her twin siblings were staying at while vacationing in Praia de Luz, a resort in Algarve, a region in Portugal. She had been left sleeping with her twin siblings on the ground floor apartment alone while her parents were at dinner with some friends just 50 meters away. They would go check on the kids throughout the evening but when the mom went to check on the kids again, Madeleine was gone. They searched high and low, dropped and reopened the case many times but no matter what Madeleine still remains missing to this day.
Stacy Peterson- Missing, October 28th 2007
Stacy Peterson is the fourth wife of Bolingbrook police officer Drew Peterson. Stacy went missing on October 28th, 2007. She was supposed to show up somewhere and never did. So, when her sister didn't hear from her like she was suppose to, she called the police. Drew was the prime suspect in her disappearance though he maintains she's not missing "she's just ran away with another man and they are off on an island somewhere." She had two children with Drew and legally adopted his two children from his marriage to Kathleen Savio. Her family knows she would never leave her children. Stacy is still missing to this day and her husband has never been charged with her disappearance.
Update: In 2012 Drew Peterson was convicted of the murder of his third wife Kathleen Savio and was given 38 yrs in prison for it. Then in a twist he was charged with two more crimes, solicitation of murder and solicitation of murder for hire. Apparently, he sought out someone to kill Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow and was given an additional 40 yrs in prison for it.
Meredith Kercher- Murdered, November 1st 2007
Meredith was a British exchange student from Leeds University, who was murdered in Perugia, Italy. The suspects in her murder were her roommate Amanda Knox and Amanda's boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito. The notoriety of this crime is mainly based on Amanda because she was an American exchange student who was tried and convicted of murder in Italy. Amanda and her boyfriend spent sometime in prison before they were finally acquitted and Amanda was allowed to come home. Someone by the name of Guede who was tried apart from Amanda and her boyfriend was found guilty of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith.
Travis Alexander- Murdered, June 4th 2008
Travis Alexander was a 30 yr old man living in Mesa, AZ who was active in the Mormon church and quite devoted to it. This crime is quite notorious given the brutality of the crime and adult nature of the relationship between Travis and his ex girlfriend Jodi Arias On June 4th 2008, Travis was shot, stabbed and had his throat slit by said ex Jodi. The police were always suspicious of her especially after she lied to them and changed her story of what happened many times. Eventually they did arrest her for the murder. In 2013 Jodi was convicted of first degree murder and 2015 she was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Caylee Anthony- Last seen, June 16th 2008
Caylee Anthony was a little girl from Orlando, FL who was reported missing a month after her mother last saw her. Her grandmother Cindy made the report. The police constantly questioned her mother Casey Anthony about where she was but she claimed not to know and made up many stories of what happened to her, none of which checked out. In December 2008 the remains of little Caylee were found in a wooded area not to far from the Anthony home. Caylee's mother Casey was arrested and tried for her murder but was ultimately found not guilty in 2011.
Skylar Neese- Murdered, July 6 2012
Skylar Neese was 16 yr old girl from PA who was killed by her two best friends Rachel Shoaf and Shelia Eddy, Skylar's body was found in West Virginia. Skylar's two best friends were the last ones to see her before her parents reported her missing but they denied knowing where she could be. Eventually, Rachel Shoaf confessed. She said her and Shelia planned to kill Skylar all along. They lured her out one night and drove her many miles away eventually stabbing her. Shelia plead guilty to first degree murder and was sentenced to 15 yrs to life in prison. Rachel plead guilty to second degree murder and was given a sentence of 10 to 30 yrs in prison.
Update: In light of an Amber Alert not being put out in the wake of Skylar's disappearance, her parents decided to create something called Skylar's law which states that an immediate Amber Alert should be put out when child is reported missing or in danger regardless whether the child had been kidnapped or not.