Mobster Monday: Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran

Photo Courtesy Of Pinterest

He was a known mafia hitman, but did he kill Jimmy Hoffa? While the new movie says he was the triggerman, investigators say he was only a witness. Who was the real Irishman?


Frank Sheeran was born in Darby, Pennsylvania, on October 25th, 1920. As a young man, he fought in World War II, and he served four times as long as the average soldier. He later claimed that this gave him a callousness towards death.

Upon his return from war, Sheeran found it hard to re-enter society as many veterans do. PTSD was it heard of at the time, and there weren’t any programs available for our veterans. Sheeran went on to find a mentor named Russell Bufalino.

Bufalino was a mob boss of the Bufalino crime family. This Italian crime family operated in northeastern Pennsylvania. Although publicly Sheeran was a truck driver, he began taking on side jobs for the mob. His ruthlessness made him the perfect hitman.

His connections with a local mob ended up paying off when he was set up with the Teamsters Union. He would eventually become a high-ranking official with the teamsters and would become the right-hand man for the infamous Jimmy Hoffa.

Although Sheeran’s name pops up in the investigations into Hoffa’s disappearance, he wasn’t a prime suspect for the actual murder until his deathbed confession. Some websites claimed that he was a major suspect from the beginning, but I have not found any proof of this.

The mafia has a strange code when it comes to murder. They want you dead, and they are going to get your best friend to do it. This led a lot of people to believe that Sheeran was the Hitman, but many investigators believe he may have witnessed a murder and may have set Hoffa up, but few investigators believe he pulled the trigger.

Frank “the Irishman” Sheeran was dying of cancer and would succumb to this illness December 14th, 2003, but not before he spilled his guts to his lawyer Charles Brandt. In the last five years of his life, Sheeran confessed to Brandt about his experience with the mob. His family claims to have no knowledge of this, and some people wonder if his confession is credible.

It isn’t unusual for an organized crime figure to hide his true identity from his family, but it is uncommon for them to confess on their deathbeds.

Dan Moldea has been a journalist working on this Hoffa disappearance since day one. He has always claimed that Salvatore Briguglio killed Hoffa. He did say that Sheeran most likely drove Hoffa to his death, but he does not believe Sheeran pulled the trigger.

Why would a man falsely confess to killing someone? The answer is a strange mix of infamy, money, and legacy. Over a dozen people have “confessed” to murdering Jimmy Hoffa. There are hundreds of stories about his disappearance, his murder, and the current location of his remains.

The daily mail ran an article that Sheeran claimed to witness the burial of Hoffa. It goes on to state that the FBI dug up someone’s driveway because they believed his story. Later he claimed that the body wasn’t buried. Instead, it was taken to a crematorium and burned. Which one is it? Was he buried or cremated?

This is just one of many of Frank Sheeran’s conflicting stories. So why would Hollywood produce a massive movie about this man when they cannot prove that his confession is genuine? Robert De Niro played the lead role in the film. When Moldea ran into him in 2014, he tried to warn the movie star against taking on the role. 

“You’re being conned, Bob,” Moldea told the Daily Beast of his encounter with De Niro.

The movie was solely based on a book by Charles Brandt titled, “I heard you paint houses.” This book goes into detail, explaining the author’s theory. He claims all of the information was given to him by Sheeran personally. Why then, aren’t the investigators convinced? Is it a nonfiction book? Or, is it merely based on a true story?

To make matters worse, the three-page confession was supposedly signed by Frank Sheeran before he died. Unfortunately, it has been proven that the signature on this document was a forgery. So who wrote his confession?

When the book was published in 2004, publishers weekly had this to say. 

“(This book) is long on sensational claims and short on credibility.”

No matter what really happened, Hollywood has released a new mob hit film call the Irishman. It will gross millions of dollars, and I’m sure it’ll be a group big hit. Anyone who really follows the case of Jimmy Hoffa will know that it is full of fictionalized facts, but I’m sure it makes a good movie.

Will go to see this movie? No. It is a three and a half-hour-long film that in itself should say something. If their facts were reliable and their story true, they should be able to tell it in an hour. Instead, they spent three-and-a-half grueling hours trying to persuade the viewers to agree with their theory.

This isn’t the only claim of Frank Sheeran. He also claims to have played a minor role in the Kennedy assassination, and he claims to have been the trigger man in the murder of Crazy Joe Gallo. Did the Irishman really do all of these things? Or, is he trying to generate an income for his family before he leaves this Earth? Who knows.

To be fair, I will post two links to both sides of the story. Then, you can read them all and decide for yourself. In the meantime, if you want to waste three and a half hours of your life, go watch the Irishman.


Further Reading:

Orlando Sentinel

Frank Sheeran Interview

http://www.historyvshollywood.com/video/frank-sheeran-interview/


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Recommended Reading: 

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Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one. 

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Come Quick!

Dana Bruce – A Mother Taken

Photo courtesy of Sedalia Democrat

She was a disabled single mother snatched from her children and family, first by him, then by drugs, and finally physically. What happened to Dana Bruce from Sedalia, Missouri?


October 4, 2008, a single mother broke away from her typical pattern and decided to take a night off. She leaves her toddlers at a babysitter’s house and goes out for a much-needed break. Dana Bruce, 23, was a devoted mom. She had no hobbies and no significant social life. Her life quite literally revolved around her two children.


Dana was once a fun-loving, somewhat mischevious teenager, but once she was introduced to Nathan Dotson, her life changed. She became a mother, and she was introduced to a drug-filled world. While Dana was disabled with multiple learning disabilities and blind in one eye, she had two little people who loved her unconditionally. Those two babies meant the world to her, and they were always with her.


Her relationship with the babies’ father was abusive and complicated, so Dana eventually ended up getting herself an apartment. Alienated from her family and many of her friends, Dana, became a target. Who targeted her? Eleven years later, we aren’t sure. Someone took the 98-lb woman, and she was never seen again.


September 2008, Dana broke down and called her stepmom, Rebecca. Although they weren’t blood-related, no one called her a step-mother. Everyone knew Dana as Rebecca’s daughter. Dana and her mother had lost touch a bit after Dana met Nathan, but she knew she could call mom if she got into trouble. That is exactly where she found herself in September. Her disability check had been stolen. She was out of diapers, her ex had broken her apartment window, and now she was being evicted. The worried mother had no idea that ten days later, her sweet Dana would disappear forever.

Public Timeline: October 4, 2008

  • Dana leaves her children at a babysitter’s house and heads out for a few drinks
  • She is seen leaving Malone’s Night Club around 11:30 pm
  • She leaves with a man in a RED Ford F-150
  • Dana stops by the babysitter’s house and asks if the kids can stay the night. She pays the sitter the extra fees and leaves with the man in the red truck
  • She is never seen again

Dana was seen with a man named Joe Rich from Atlanta, Georgia, at one point during the evening. He would become a “person of interest” after her disappearance. Police would even travel to Atlanta to question him, but nothing ever came of it. It was later revealed that Rich drove a WHITE truck. He claims he parted ways with her BEFORE she returned to Malone’s.

The rumor mill claimed she was with two local boys, and one was driving a borrowed red truck. Although law enforcement has followed dozens of leads, it seems they are no closer to solving this case than they were back in 2008. The rumor mill in the rural town has produced a horrific tale surrounding this mother, however.

Theory:

Dana Bruce was supposedly at a woman’s house with several other individuals. She had a few drinks with people she thought were her friends. A group of guys came in and shot her up with drugs inadvertently overdosing her. In a panic, they rolled her up in a carpet and threw her out by the road to die.

Although this is a very plausible story, family and law enforcement officials haven’t been able to find this poor woman. Where is Dana? All she wanted was to fit in and to be loved. Was she taken by drugs and then disposed of by people she thought cared about her?



Missing in Missouri is a podcast produced by a husband and wife team. They are from St. Louis County, MO and they are doing a great job digging into this case. I highly recommend everyone to listen to this podcast series if you’re interested in the case of Dana Bruce’s disappearance. Keep up the good work Zack & Morgan!

Listen to the series of podcasts here:

Missing In Missouri Podcast on Podbean


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Further Information:

Youtube

Cached Site

Charley Project

Missing In Missouri Podcast

Missing In Missouri Facebook Page

Reddit

Recommended Reading: This Week’s Amazon Bestselling True Crime Books

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EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


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Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one. 

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Come Quick!

Mobster Monday – Stefano “Steve the Truck Driver” Vitabile

Photo courtesy of Mafia Wiki

The New Jersey mobster who once killed his boss for being bisexual was released from prison in 2013. He served as consigliere for three decades before being ratted out by his cohorts. Where is Stefano “Steve the Truck Driver” Vitabile now? 


Stefano Vitabile joined the New Jersey DeCavalcante crime family as an associate in the early 1970s and would rise in the ranks until he reached the rank of consigliere. He would hold this position for a staggering thirty-five years. Steve The Truck Driver started out as a soldier in a crew ran by Giovanni Riggi. When the family boss, Sam DeCavalcante retired to Florida, Riggi was promoted to boss. Vitabile became consigliere and Girolamo Palermo became the capo. This hierarchy would stand for the next fifteen years. 

In 1990, Riggi was convicted of racketeering and sentenced to 15 years in prison. This shook up the long-standing organization and ended up seeing Gaetano Vastola becoming the “acting boss,” but the consigliere remained Vitabile. This wouldn’t last a year before Vastola was convicted of extortion and sent away. This time John D’Amato was named acting boss. There was one problem with this, however. 

Although the acting boss was constantly being changed, one thing remained the same. Stefano Vitabile remained in his position as consigliere. When rumors began to fly about the new acting boss, it would be Vitabile who would call for a hit. D’Amato’s girlfriend had revealed a grave secret about the new boss. D’Amato was a bisexual male and this would not be allowed in La Cosa Nostra. The New Jersey mafia already had an inferiority complex when it came to the big New York families. How would it look to the big dogs if New Jersey had a gay mob boss? Vitabile decided D’Amato had to go. 

After D’Amato’s death, Giacomo Amari was named as acting boss, but this was also doomed to failure. Amari came down with stomach cancer became disabled to the point that he could no longer run the family. In a desperate attempt to end the constant upheaval, Vitabile got permission from Risso to completely restructure the family.

Vitabile named three captains to rule on a committee. This committee would work together as the acting boss of the family. Their consigliere would remain the same. The three capos were Vincent Palermo, Charles “Big Ears” Majuri, and Girolamo Palermo. This sounded like a good idea, but in reality, there was a future rat among them. 

In June 2003, the Decavalcante family was hit hard by law enforcement and mobsters started turning stool pigeons right and left. Vincent Palermo would turn state’s evidence and testify against the family. Up until this point, Vitabile hadn’t been in the limelight. He always stayed in the shadows and law enforcement bypassed him. 

After a seven-week trial, StefanoVitabile and two capos were convicted of racketeering charges and murder. He was convicted of four murders including D’Amato. Vitabile received life in prison on October 17, 2003. Five years later he would win the right to a new trial due to some technical errors in the trial. Vitabile would be released from prison in 2013.

Where is he now? That’s a good question. He’s sort of fallen off the map. Is he dead? Is he keeping a low profile? Is he still consigliere? I guess time will tell.


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Further Reading:

Caselaw.com

U.S. District Attorney Press Release

Mafia Wiki


Recommended Reading: Books About The New Jersey Mafia


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


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Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one. 

Order your copy of Synova’s New Casefiles book HERE!


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Come Quick!

Snatched From Her Lover’s Grasp – The Angela Hammond Story

angela hammond

She was kidnapped while on a pay phone talking to her boyfriend. Jumping in his truck and tearing down the street towards the payphone, Rob sees Angela in the kidnapper’s truck. Dropping a U-turn in the middle of the road the hero tries to chase down the kidnapper, but tragically this story is still looking for it’s happy ending 28 years later.


The disappearance of Angela Hammond, 20 has tormented Rob Shafer for nearly three decades. In April 1991 Shafer was a high school senior engaged to the beautiful Angie Hammond. She was four months pregnant and they were both looking forward to their life together. Both the Shafer’s and the Hammond’s families were eagerly awaiting the marriage and the birth of the new grandbaby. Life was going to be great.


Reality struck hard, however, on the night of April 4, 1991. Angie and Rob spent the evening at a BBQ before Rob had to return home to babysit his younger brother. The couple planned on meeting up again later. Angie promised she would call in an hour and left Rob on his doorstep. Back in the day before cell phones, Angie would call her fiancé from a local payphone. Today with all the crime shows on TV, no woman in her right mind would be alone at 11 pm talking on a payphone, but things were different in the rural town of Clinton, Missouri.


The entire community population was less than 8,000 people. Most were farmers, factory workers, or owned a small local business. Teenagers would cruise around the town square for fun and hang out in the parking lots of the local grocery store. The police station was only two blocks away and violent crime was unheard of. This naïve environment would be shattered before Angie and Rob’s phone call was completed.


Standing in the grocery store parking lot, the 20-yr-old Angie was chatting with her fiancé. She mentioned to Rob that a strange truck kept circling around the square. It was a late 60’s early 70’s model Ford F-150. Being a native of Clinton, she knew most of the vehicles that usually cruised the square. Neither caller thought much about it and their conversation continued. Angie stated that she was getting tired and decided to go on home instead of waiting around for Rob. Moments later Angie described the strange man that emerged from the two-toned truck. She said he was a dirty looking old white guy with a white beard and mustache. He had used the phone next to her and then returned to his truck, but he didn’t leave. This made Angie nervous. Suddenly the man returned, and Rob hears Angie scream. Dropping the phone in a panic, Rob runs out to his car and barrels down the road the seven blocks to the payphone. As he approaches the scene the old Ford pickup passes him on the road. Angie screams “Robbie” and Rob shoves his car into reverse and spins around in the road to give chase.


The hero saves the girl, beats down the bad guy, the police come and arrest the kidnapper, and everyone lives happily ever after, right? No. Reality is grim, and those sudden spins you see cars do in the movies are not real. When poor Robbie slammed his car into reverse and spun, it also destroyed the car’s transmission. The older model car gave chase for about two miles but died in the middle of the street. Robert Shafer was left to watch the truck disappear down the dark rural lane. Helpless and alone he made his way back to the police station to report what happened.


It is here that Rob discovered the sad truth about an inexperienced police department. With the low crime rate, the police had little experience dealing with violent crime. This would stall the process, but the case went forward. Of course, Rob was the first suspect, but after a week-long investigation, he was cleared. They ran checks on all the trucks in the area that might fit the description, but that too came to no conclusion. Rob was able to add to the truck’s description the fact that it had a window decal covering the back glass. The decal was of a fish jumping out of the water. Still, with this added info the truck seemed to vanish into the night.
Rob gave details to the police sketch artist about the truck’s driver. This is where details seem to differ from Angie’s description over the phone. This discrepancy caused some people to look narrowly at Rob, but investigators came to a different conclusion. Below is pictured the composite sketch of the driver as remembered by Rob.

angela_marie_hammond_10

You can clearly see that this man does not have a white beard and mustache. I would argue that the facial hair was fake. I will give you my theories later.


Almost immediately after Rob Shafer was ruled out as a suspect, the officials began to try to link this disappearance with two other missing women from Missouri. One woman was Trudy Darby from Macks Creek, Missouri. Darby worked at a local convenience store. On January 19, 1991, she had been robbed, kidnapped, and murdered. Her body was discovered two days later.


The second woman was Cheryl Ann Kenney. Like Darby, Kenney was robbed, kidnapped, and presumed murdered, but her body hasn’t been found as of this writing. Kenney was kidnapped from Nevada, Missouri.
Now it’s time for a geography lesson. It is 69 miles from Clinton, MO to Macks Creek, and 74 miles from Clinton to Nevada, MO. If you were to plot out a giant triangle on a Missouri roadmap the final side would be 83 miles from Macks Creek to Clinton. Although these aren’t great distances to travel, the way in which these crimes took place it makes me think they are not connected.

Two years later the case of Trudy Darby was solved. Two brothers, Jesse Rush and Marvin Chaney confessed to robbing, raping, and murdering Darby. After intense investigations, they never found any links between Angie Hammond and the brothers.

So who could have taken Angie Hammond from the phone booth that night in Clinton, Missouri? Some wondered if a serial killer was on the loose in rural Missouri. Although these cases weren’t necessarily related there was indeed a serial killer hiding out only 70 miles up the interstate. This brutal slayer of women was wanted by Texas authorities and was flying under the radar by using the alias of Richard Fowler. His name was Kenneth McDuff. This serial killer was featured on America’s Most Wanted in April 1992. He was recognized by a coworker and arrested on May 4, 1992. Some say that McDuff was responsible for many more victims than he was given credit for. Others wonder if those reports are inflated. Below is a mugshot of McDuff.
Could this be the man behind the disappearance of Angela Hammond? There’s a good possibility. He was in the area. He had a habit of picking random women and brutally killing them. And if you look at the specific details of the composite sketch you will find eerie similarities.

angela_marie_hammond_10
mcduff003a

Ok now, look at the individual characteristics of the face. Look at the bridge of the nose. Notice the small indention? It is visible in both photos. Notice the marking under the left eye and the dark brows. What do you think? Could this be the man behind Hammond’s disappearance? Could he have worn a fake beard and during the struggle to get Angela into his truck it came off somehow?

I would like to see investigators check out his alias, Richard Fowler to see if he owned a pickup like the one witnesses seen in Clinton, MO. We may never know for sure. McDuff was executed for his heinous crimes on November 17, 1998. If Hammond’s body could be found and DNA extracted then there might be a chance of tying it back to him, but after nearly three decades finding the DNA of a killer on the bones of a victim might be impossible.

As with every case I highlight, if you have any information on the disappearance of Angela Hammond please contact the Clinton Police Department at (600) 885-2679.


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Further Reading:

The Charley Project

Unsolved Mysteries


Recommended Reading: This Week’s Amazon Best seller

Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

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Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one. 

Order your copy of Synova’s New Casefiles book HERE!


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Come Quick!

FBI vs Hazel Head – Guest Post Thursday

Guest Post by: Ian Granstra

In 1991, Head fled Lincoln, Nebraska, after she was charged with burning down her former boyfriend’s mobile home. Seven years later, she was believed to have shot another boyfriend to death and absconding with his money.

Unfortunately, one more alliterative label can be placed on Hazel Head; she has proven to be street smart. The wandering woman’s nomadic lifestyle has enabled her to stay one step ahead of the law for nearly three decades. An investigator descried the vagabond as “nearly impossible to track.”

Charles Barker was devastated when his wife was of ten years was killed by a drunk driver. After a couple of months of mourning, however, he snapped out of his funk and again began doing what he enjoyed: hunting, fishing and traveling. When the 69-year-old retired Benton, Louisiana, truck driver received a large insurance settlement from his wife’s death, he decided to use the money for a little fun. Charles began frequenting area casinos where he would forget about life for a while.

Charles was coming out of his shell, but he was still lacking one thing which he desired: companionship. He was ecstatic when a bubbly, younger woman engaged him in conversation at the Red River Casino.

The woman introduced herself as Deianna Ray and Charles was immediately smitten. The encounter at the casino led to a whirlwind romance and less than a year after losing his wife, Charles moved Deianna into his home.

Deianna Ray’s real name, however, was Hazel Head, and she was wanted in Nebraska for the arson seven years earlier.

Charles Barker, the lonely and vulnerable widower, had caught Hazel’s Head’s eye; the large amounts of cash he flaunted at the casino had turned Hazel’s literal head. Hazel Head, alias Deianna Ray, had latched onto her next prey.

Charles thought he had hit the jackpot at the casino; instead, he would soon be robbed of his money… and his life.   

After living together for only a couple of months, Charles confided in his two adult daughters that he and “Deianna” were having problems, but he did not elaborate.

In August of 1998, Charles’ daughter Jennifer Spoonts grew concerned after being unable to get a hold of her father for over a week. Jennifer lived nine hours away in Austin, Texas, and asked her aunt June, Charles’s sister, who lived in the area, to check on him. When June and her husband arrived at Charles’ home on September 2, they found him slumped over the bar of his home with dried blood on the back of his head.

Police believed Charles had been killed by a single bullet to the back of his head as he was reading the newspaper. He had been dead for at least five days. No signs of a struggle were found in the home, leading police to believe he probably had not seen the attack coming and had no chance to react.

Ballistic tests determined the shot came from Charles’ own gun, which he kept in a safe in his bedroom. Police found the safe open and all of the money, believed to be approximately $45,000, missing.

Also missing was Deianna Ray.

Police soon identified Deianna Ray as Hazel Head and learned she had operated several similar scams across the country of befriending men then swindling them. This was the first instance, however, in which Head is believed to have put a bullet in one of her lovers’ heads.

The following day, Charles’s car was found near the Shreveport airport, 15 miles from his home. Inside, investigators found pieces of clothing belonging to Head, as well as physical evidence, including DNA, linking her to the car.

Hazel Head was charged with first-degree murder. She, however, had nearly a week’s head start, which, for her, was an eternity.

Head is known to have robbed large amounts of money from several men and likely has committed other scams that have not been reported due to victim embarrassment. The Lethal Lady often lures her male victims by taking out personal ads in newspapers and lounging at truck stops.

Hazel Head is the typical “lot lizard” with one exception: she can be lethal. Because most truck companies have policies against picking up hitchhikers, police believe many truckers have not reported giving her rides.

For many years, Head was believed to be prostituting herself for rides and money, but the practice may no longer be as lucrative as she has aged.

Hazel Leota Head is now 69-years-old, the same age as Charles Barker when he was murdered. She has used at least a dozen different aliases and is believed to have married at least ten times.

The last confirmed sighting of Head was in December of 1998, at a truck stop near Wheat Ridge, Colorado, where she applied for a job as a waitress. She did not get the job, but she did get out of the town before authorities could nab her.

Over the years, sightings of Head have been reported in all 48 contiguous states. Police have never been able to locate a domiciled address for the fugitive, and it is possible she has not had one in her adult life.

Hazel Head is still singing hooray as she remains in hiding. Authorities are confident, however, there is a time a-comin’ when they’ll be able to say… they got Head.

If you believe you have any information on the whereabouts of Hazel Head, please contact your nearest FBI office or the Benton, Louisiana Police Department at 318-965-0579.

Charles Barker’s daughter, Cindy Barker Jefferson, is a member of Ian’s FB group. She believes another person aided Hazel Head in the murder of her father and that this person was not thoroughly investigated by the police.

Cindy also says she was told that Head, using an alias, was arrested in Oregon for public intoxication approximately seven years ago. She was released, however, before the police learned her true identity.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDEaD READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

FBI

Unsoved Mysteries

Unsolved.com


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Recommended Reading: This Week’s True Crime Best Seller On Amazon

Need Synova’s Fedora? Get your’s here!


Support Synova’s Cause:

Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause, please check out the affiliate links on this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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SIGN UP HERE


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

Synova’s Amazon Author Page


Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one. Hurry the pre-order sale ends October 31st!

Preorder your copy of Synova’s New Casefiles book HERE!


Synova’s Swag Store is now open check out her new merchandise by clicking on the Shop! link at the top of this page!

Come Quick!

Mobster Monday – Sammy “The Bull” Gravanno

Mugshot courtesy of Wikipedia

He was the hightest ranking mafia member to turn state’s witness against his boss, now he’s back out of prison and putting the record straight with his new podcast.


He was the highest-ranking mafia member to turn state’s witness against his boss, now he’s back out of prison and putting the record straight with his new podcast.

Salvatore Gravano was born on March 12, 1945, to loving parents. Why would this boy grow up to be a mafia hitman? We are told that serial killers and murderers usually have a terrible childhood with parents that mistreat them. This is one excuse Sammy couldn’t claim. He had two loving parents, but he did have a big problem. He had Dyslexia in a time when there weren’t any programs for children with learning disabilities.

In his recent interview with Patrick Bet-David, Gravano claims this as one of the major factors that led to his life choices. He struggled in school, and as the aggression grew within him, he found his outlet in violence. Could this really be the reasoning behind his entrance into the street life? Who knows? We can only speculate on the young Gravanno’s motivations.

I watched the entire interview with Gravano and Bet-David at midnight the day it was released on Youtube. I had to admit I was curious. What would he say? Would he try to justify himself? Would he denounce the Mafia? I had to find out.

For those who don’t know, I started writing true crime by writing the biography of an ex-gangster named Sidney Heard. Although Heard was more of a want-to-be compared to Gravano, I learned a lot about how the criminal mind works. Heard wasn’t Italian, so he grew up emulating the mob and ended up creating his own “family” in Amarillo. Sidney had a brilliant mind when it came to scheming, conning, and avoiding the law. I often asked him why he chose the criminal path. He, too, claims it was his environment, but I’m not sure.


While watching Gravano’s interview, I was looking for certain things. I noticed he was a brilliant criminal mastermind and wondered what he could have done for humanity if he had chosen a different path. How many world-changing entrepreneurs have dealt with Dyslexia? Henry Ford, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet are just a few names that come to mind. They all had this learning disability; over came it and made their mark on the world in a positive way. Steve Jobs and Sir Richard Branson changed the world despite Dyslexia. What separates Branson and Gravano?

On November 13, 1991, Salvatore Gravano agreed to turn state’s evidence against his former boss John Gotti, Sr. This wasn’t a simple decision that Sammy decided to take the high road and turn his life around. No, it was because his best friend and boss, Gotti, had turned on him and was trying to pin everything on him. At that moment, Gravanno learned what the Mafia was all about. It was about greed, violence, and betrayal.

To this day, Gravano hasn’t denounced the Mafia. In fact, he said in his interview that he still had a passion for it. To him, it was a lifestyle that only Italians could understand. This brings me back to my time with Sidney Heard. I learned a lot about the La Cosa Nostra during the six years I spent researching that book. It’s an entire subculture with its own rules, laws, and law enforcement personnel.

In America, if you are accused of a crime, you have a right to a fair trial of your peers, and if you are found guilty, you will serve jail time. For extreme cases, you may receive the death penalty, but then you are automatically guaranteed twenty years’ worth of appeals. None of this is true in La Cosa Nostra. If you are accused of breaking a rule, you will die. Oh, there are a few minor infractions that you will receive a warning. Warnings usually consist of a brutal beating.

In the interview, Gravano said something that would startle most law-abiding citizens. I was actually waiting for it. Sidney taught me that the majority of career criminals will justify their actions in one form or another.

“You made me kill you,” Gravano talks of standing over a friend’s grave and saying those words to the headstone.

In his twisted mind, the man deserved death because he broke the Mafia’s rules. It didn’t matter to Gravanno that he killed the man; it was the man’s fault. He caused his own death, and he caused his family to suffer this pain. While this would shock most, I was prepared for a comment like this. This type of mentality is what separates the Steve Jobs type and the Gravanno type. I really don’t think the learning disability had much to do with it.

Jobs wasn’t raised in a sub-culture with little regard for human life. It goes back to the age-old question of “Nature vs. Nurture.” While I cannot speculate on his motivation, I can tell you that Sammy “The Bull” will be starting a podcast. Will it be successful? Yeah probably. Time will tell if he’s really trying to go legit this time around. I’ll keep you posted.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

Interview with Patrick Bet-David

Wikipedia

LATimes


Recommended Reading:

Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

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SIGN UP HERE


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

Synova’s Amazon Author Page


Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one. Hurry the pre-order sale ends October 31st!

Preorder your copy of Synova’s New Casefiles book HERE!


Synova’s Swag Store is now open check out her new merchandise by clicking on the Shop! link at the top of this page!

Come Quick!

Shirley Hyman- Hickman


She went missing from the Park Ave Cafe Bar in Philadelphia thirty-eight years ago. Now, her family wonders if this beloved mother fell victim to one of America’s most prolific serial killers.


Shirley Hyman-Hickman, 31, was last seen leaving the Park Ave Cafe Bar in Philly on August 28, 1981. Witnesses claim to have seen her getting into a blue van with two men. Both men were questioned by family members years later, but both claim they dropped her off safe and sound. Could they know more, or was a predator lurking nearby waiting to take her?

Samuel Little was born on June 7, 1940. There’s a little dispute over his birthplace, but many believe he was born in an Oklahoma jail. His mother worked as a prostitute and left her son behind to be raised by his grandparents. As an adult, he became a drifter.

Mugshot courtesy of Wikipedia

Little was known to wander across the United States, getting in trouble with the law often. In fact, he was arrested over 50 times. The FBI has a timeline with his various mugshots over the years. Most of his arrests were for petty crimes, but some were more serious. Somehow despite his arrest for sexual assault charges, he never stayed in jail very long.

Photo courtesy of FBI.gov

September 5, 2012, Samuel Little was arrested in a Kentucky homeless shelter after DNA testing linked him to three unsolved murder cases from the 1980s. Carol Elford was killed on July 13, 1987, Guadalupe Apodaca was killed on September 3, 1987, and Audrey Nelson was killed on August 14, 1989. All three women were prostitutes from the L.A. area. All three women were strangled and found on the street.

Two years after his arrest, Little was found guilty of those three murders and sentenced to life in prison without parole. There were a few other cases that investigators suspected Little, but no one had any evidence until one Texas Ranger got ambitious.

Texas Ranger James Holland had a hunch that Little was responsible for the murder of a Texas woman. Holland spent 650 hours over 16 months interrogating the serial killer. During that time, Little confessed to 93 killings across America. As of this writing, the FBI has confirmed 50 of those murders making Samuel Little the worst serial killer in American History.

Many of the murders weren’t initially filed as a homicide. Little had a specific way of strangling his victims, and many times it wouldn’t leave a mark. While most of these women were drug users, it was often documented as an overdose instead of a homicide.

The Texas Ranger noticed that Little liked to sketch, so he brought in some art supplies and gave them to the killer. Incredibly the murderous fiend began to sketch the women in startling detail. He could tell investigators what she was wearing, what her last meal was, where he’d picked them up, and if they were unfound where to find their body.

Little began sketching the women’s faces and giving them to Holland. Now investigators from around the country are pouring in to see the killer in an effort to try to solve cold cases. Surprisingly, Samuel Little has a photographic memory, and he can tell the investigators if the woman was “his” or not. He has denied many but also confessed to 93.

When I use the word “his” I’m not referring to his crime. When Samuel Little says a woman was “his,” he means those women belong to him after he killed them. Somehow this sick and twisted man believed the women were his possessions upon their death.

Was Shirley Hickman one of “his” women? Although he has not confessed to any Philly murders, there is documented proof he had been in the area. He was even arrested in Philly a few years before Hickman’s disappearance. In all my research, I couldn’t find substantial evidence that the preditor was in Pennsylvania on August 28, 1981. Still, I also didn’t find any evidence of him being elsewhere on that date.

A friend of Hickman’s daughter approached her with one of Little’s sketches, and now the family wonders if the woman pictured is Shirley. Could it be possible, or does it go back to those two men in a blue van? The rumor mill claims Little was in town for a Chuck Berry show.

I contacted the FBI tip line and gave the details on this case. Maybe they will be able to verify it with Samuel Little. I will keep you updated as this case unfolds. In the meantime, if you have any information on the disappearance of Shirley Hyman-Hickman, please contact the Philadelphia Police Department at 215-686-3013.


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

NBC News

Fox News

YouTube


Recommended Reading:

Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON THIS PAGE. BY PURCHASING ONE OF HER BOOKS, OR USING THESE LINKS YOU WILL BE SUPPORTING SYNOVA’S WORK ON COLD CASES AND WILL ENSURE HER ABILITY TO CONTINUE TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VICTIM’S FAMILY.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

2ndDIYpackage-templates

SIGN UP HERE


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

Synova’s Amazon Author Page


Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one.

Preorder your copy of Synova’s New Casefiles book HERE!


Synova’s Swag Store is now open check out her new merchandise by clicking on the Shop! link at the top of this page!

Come Quick!

Kaile’s Cries – Guest Post Thursday

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The murder of Polly Klaas on October 1, 1993, made national headlines. The 12-year-old was kidnapped at knifepoint from her Petaluma, California, home and ultimately strangled to death.

Three months earlier, a similar crime occurred across the country. On July 11, thirteen days after she turned three-years-old, Kaile Lynn Lee was abducted from her Knoxville, Tennessee, apartment. Her body was found later that day. She had been killed in a particularly heinous manner by a man she trusted.

Polly and Kaile Lynn were both kidnapped from their homes and strangled to death. Unlike Polly’s murder, however, Kaile Lynn’s case did not draw national attention.

I was honored to be asked by Kaile’s aunt, Buffy Lee, to write about her beautiful niece. 

This is the sad story of a beautiful little girl whose life was brutally taken as it was just beginning.

Kaile Lynn’s mother Donna befriended 22-year-old James Julian in early 1993. Julian went on several trips to a lake with Donna, her husband, and their three children, of whom Kaile Lynn was the oldest. In May, however, Donna began distancing her family from Julian after learning of his drug abuse. Shortly, thereafter, Julian would carry out a more heinous form of abuse.

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On the evening of July 10, 1993, shortly after separating from her husband, Donna and a friend attended a party while the friend’s sister babysat the children. After returning home at a late hour, Donna allowed the babysitter to sleep on the couch for the evening.

At approximately 6:30 a.m. the following morning, the babysitter heard a knock at the door. When she asked who it was, a man replied, “Jim.” After he mentioned the names of several family members, the babysitter let him into the apartment.

“Jim” was James Julian and he was noticeably inebriated. As he guzzled a glass of bourbon and coke, Julian rambled on about nothing in particular for nearly 45 minutes before the babysitter asked him to leave. He did so, but approximately 15 minutes later, as the sitter was drifting back to sleep, he pounded on the door again.

As Julian sounded even more drunk, the babysitter did not want to let him in. Kaile Lynn, however, had also awakened and, recognizing Julian’s voice, asked that he be let in. The sitter then allowed Julian back into the apartment. He and Kaile sat on the couch together and talked for a few minutes before appearing to fall asleep. Shortly thereafter, the babysitter also dozed off. Kaile’s mother was still in her room sleeping.

A few minutes later, the sitter awoke to find Julian carrying Kaile out the door. Donna awoke between 8:30-9:00 a.m. When the babysitter told her about “Jim,” Donna believed Julian had probably taken Kaile to the store. By 11:00 a.m., however, after they had still not returned, Donna called the police.

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Julian’s car was found at his place of employment, Colvin and Sons Heating and Air. Police learned he was on a business trip to Georgia and had called his grandmother from a payphone in Chattanooga saying he was in trouble.

Police called Julian’s grandmother. After being told of the situation, she arrived at Colvin with a key to the car and gave the police permission to open it. Inside the car’s trunk, police found a child’s outfit and a green towel covered in blood, feces, sticks, and leaves. The clothing was confirmed to be Kaile Lynn’s.

As authorities searched for him, Julian returned to Knoxville. He called his father from a payphone; then he called the police. While he was talking to them, officers arrived and placed him under arrest. Under questioning, Julian confessed to having raped and murdered Kaile Lynn and agreed to lead them to her body. He also detailed the awful last moments of her short life.

After carrying Kaile Lynn out of the apartment between 8:30-9:00 a.m. Julian said he took her to a remote area of Tellico Lake. He parked his car near a stand of pine trees secluded from the view of area traffic. Julian said he then removed his clothes and took a still-clothed Kaile Lynn into the lake. After they swam for a few minutes, Julian said he took her into the woods where he undressed, raped and sodomized her. Kaile Lynn was screaming and bleeding, and as her cries became more desperate, Julian choked the three-year-old to death.

After he was convinced Kaile Lynn was dead, Julian returned to the lake where he cleaned himself and washed her lifeless body. He then carried her body into the woods and placed her in the underbrush. Julian put Kaile Lynn’s clothes and the towel on which he had performed his lewd acts into his car’s trunk. He then returned home and prepared for his work trip.

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James Julian was convicted of felony murder, aggravated rape and the rape of a child. Prosecutors asked for the death penalty, but the jury spared his life, sentencing him to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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Kaile Lynn with her cousin when she was one-year-old. (Photo courtesy of Kaile Lynn’s aunt, Buffy Lee.) 

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(Photo courtesy of Kaile Lynn’s aunt, Buffy Lee.)

Kaile Lynn Lee would have turned 29-years-old on June 29. Buffy says when her niece laughed she sounded like Woody Woodpecker and that she had the most beautiful blue-violet eyes. All the photos of Kaile Lynn were supplied by Buffy.

I wish to thank Kaile Lynn’s aunt, Buffy Lee, for asking me to do a write-up of Kaile’s story. It was heartbreaking to write, but I hope more people will now know the tragic tale of her beautiful niece.

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(Photo courtesy of Kaile Lynn’s aunt, Buffy Lee.)


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Further Reading:

Find A Case

TNcourts.gov

Facebook


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Recommended Reading: This Week’s True Crime Best Seller On Amazon

Need Synova’s Fedora? Get your’s here!


Support Synova’s Cause:

Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause, please check out the affiliate links on this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.

If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free.

2ndDIYpackage-templates

SIGN UP HERE


ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


If you’d like to check out Synova’s true crime books follow this link to her Amazon Author Page.

Synova’s Amazon Author Page

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“One of the few books written that gives the reader an insight into the criminal mind” – Retired FBI Agent Egelston Raised in a mob-controlled suburb of Chicago, Sidney Heard grew up wanting to be a gangster. He was on probation by the age of thirteen and continued building his criminal resume over the next half a century. He was a professional arsonist for nearly twenty years; escaped from jail twice; ran a gold scandal grossing over a quarter of a million dollars, and that’s just to name a few of his illegal escapades. To top it off, he played a role in one of the most important Supreme Court Decisions of all time (Gideon vs. Wainwright).Sidney’s underworld connections ran from the Chicago-based Italians to the Mexican Mafia. He even worked undercover for the Federal Government at one point in his life. However, all of Sidney’s so-called glory would come with a price. While working undercover for the F.B.I. D.E.A., Sidney became hooked on drugs. He soon found himself staring at 125 years of jail time , a massive criminal record, and pushing his fiftieth birthday. Can a career criminal change? Frank Abagnale’s criminal career lasted ten years and was featured in the movie Catch Me If You Can. Sidney Heard’s criminal career spanned five decades!
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Sit back and relax as Synova regales you with tales of master art thieves, bumbling criminals, and multi-million-dollar art heists from around the world. There will be stories of mafia-commissioned heists, of Daredevil art thieves, and of the brave men and women of the FBI Art team who are trying to stop this multi-billion-dollar industry of art crime. Enjoy.

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It’s a tale of two judges; one a well-liked defender of the law, and the other a cold-blooded manipulator. Judge C.E. Chillingworth was by all accounts a man of honor, so why were he and his wife taken from their home on June 15, 1955, in the wee hours of the morning, bound, gagged, weighted down, and thrown into the ocean?

When the Chillingworths disappear it would take nearly five years and one drunken hitman to finally uncover the truth behind West Palm Beach’s “crime of the century.”
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Now you can own all Synova’s best-selling Seriously Stupid Criminals Series in one box set!

Shattered: behind every story is a shattered life

Every year Synova compiles the most popular blog post from the previous year into a case files book. In 2018, Synova Ink was filled with serial killer cases, cold cases, famous cases, and many obscure unsolved missing persons’ cases. Don’t miss this one.

Preorder your copy of Synova’s New Casefiles book HERE!


Synova’s Swag Store is now open check out her new merchandise by clicking on the Shop! link at the top of this page!

Come Quick!

You’re invited to Synova’s Book Launch party!

This is an ONLINE book launch party that starts on Monday Oct 28th and ends Halloween night. Invite everyone you can. Every time you participate in a game, like, comment, or share you will get another entry in the grand prize drawing.

Join the party here!

No Mobster Monday post this week

Sorry guys. No Mobster Monday post today due to scheduling issues. We will be back in a big way next Monday with an article about Sammy “the bull” Gravanno.