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.


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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!

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

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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.

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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. Hurry the pre-order sale ends October 31st!

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


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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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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.

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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.

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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

81XSqT-n3BL._AC_UL320_
“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!
41d90mk2i0L
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.

wp-image-675446049
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.”
seriously-stupid-box-set.jpg
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.

When Arson Becomes Homicide

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Photo courtesy of NY State Police

A mother and her son die in a tragic house fire, but the estranged husband escapes. Why was he there violating the restraining order for a second time? And why, has this case gone unsolved for twelve years?


September 9, 2007, around 10:40 pm an explosion rocked the house on Second Street. Neighbors called the fire department, but the entire first floor was engulfed in flames by the time they arrived. A grueling seven hours later the arson had become a double homicide.

Luciana Davey and her 11-year-old son, Frank III were gone. Their bodies were found near the second-floor window. The cause of death was smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Fire investigators quickly ruled the fire as an arson. There were several points of origin and accelerants were detected. Although the authorities haven’t officially named a suspect, there is one obvious suspect in my book.

Luciana and her husband Frank Jr. were estranged, and Luciana had a restraining order against him. Jr. wasn’t allowed on the property, but he had violated that order. He was sentenced to 45 days in jail but was released early on good behavior two days before the fire. Luciana’s family claims they didn’t even know he was out of jail.

On the night of the fire, Jr. claims he was in bed with his wife when they heard the explosion. They ran and got little Frank, and they all gathered around the second-floor window. The father leaned out the window and was pushed by his wife. He reached safety, but his family never followed. Jr. was eventually arrested for violating the protection order and given a year in jail plus a fine.

At his sentencing hearing, Mr. Davey apologizes for breaking the order but asks for leniency since he’s been punished enough by the death of his family. Witnesses say his apology seemed hollow, but until further evidence arises, this case may go unsolved forever.

If you have any information about this case, please contact State Police Troop B Violent Crime Investigation Team at 518-897-2000.


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:

NY State PD

America’s Most Wanted


Recommended Reading:


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

81XSqT-n3BL._AC_UL320_
“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!
41d90mk2i0L
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.

wp-image-675446049
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.”
seriously-stupid-box-set.jpg
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!

Given Taken – Guest Blog Post

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All photos in this post are courtesy of the Facebook group
 “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries”

Guest Post Written by Ian Granstra


During the 1970s and early 1980s, the blue-collar community of East Chicago, Indiana, was run by the local political machine. Political machines run on money, and one of the Windy City’s most powerful rainmakers was Jay Given. The 51-year-old was an adept fundraiser and behind-the-scenes operator who forged alliances by trading favors. The former city attorney was a shrewd manipulator who had mastered the art of quid pro quo.

The evening of May 15, 1981, was business as usual for Jay Given. The business, of course, was politics, as Given was attending a fundraiser at East Chicago’s Elks Club.

Ensconced in the politics of perhaps America’s most corrupt city, it was “given” that the politico pro would have his share of enemies. One of them, apparently, wanted him silenced, turning the Elks Club from a political venue into a crime scene.

Some consider the murder of Jay Given a quintessential “Whodunit.” Others contend the culprit is obvious and question why he was not charged.

In 1970, East Chicago city attorney Jay Given had helped elect Bob Pastrick as mayor. In big-city politics, however, friends are rarely eternal. Given and Pastrick soon had a falling out over a number of political issues and by the decade’s end, Given was bent on unseating the man he helped install in the mayor’s chair.

On the evening of May 15, 1981, a fundraiser was held at the Elks Club for Atterson Spahn, East Chicago’s most prominent black politician who was considering running against Pastrick. Organizers hoped to solidify East Chicago’s white and black voters against the growing political strength of Hispanic-Americans who supported Pastrick’s re-election bid.

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The evening was going well for Given as he worked the room for a couple of hours and won $300 gambling. At approximately 11:00 p.m., he was seen walking from the lobby, heading outside with cigarettes in hand. Within seconds puffs of smoke were in the air, but they were of gunpowder. Before Given could make it through the vestibule, a single gunshot to the back of his head killed him.

Many of the nearly 400 people attending the fundraiser heard the gunshot, but not one of them claimed to have seen Given being shot or who had shot him. In their panic, many of the political patrons fled the Elks Club, trampling over Given’s lifeless body in the process.

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Police found the shell casing of the bullet in the entryway of the club and a spent .45-caliber bullet in the street. Instead of following the standard procedure of placing the items in the evidence vault, an Inspector marked the bullet and locked it in his desk drawer. His stated reason for the unusual action: He was amazed at the condition of the bullet and wanted other officers to observe it.

When the Inspector retrieved the bullet four days later, he found it had been altered. A hole had been made in the primer of the shell casing and cut marks were on the lands and grooves on the projectile. Someone was going to great lengths to alter the gun’s features. The only people with access to the evidence drawer worked in the police department.

Despite the damage, FBI analysts were able to identify the weapon the shell had come from as a Detonics 1911-style Combat Master, a rare handgun. The shell casing was eventually linked to one of only 58 Detonics with a specially modified ejecting mechanism.

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One of the guns was owned by East Chicago Police Department Deputy Chief John Cardona, an active member of a Spanish-speaking political club allied with Pastrick and against Given. Given had made it clear that if his man were elected mayor, Cardona would be given his walking papers.

Cardona attended the Elks Club event that evening and several people reported he was shadowing Given the whole time. Although no one saw Cardona as Given headed toward the exit, one person said that shortly before the shooting, he saw Given in the Elks Club lobby arguing with a man who resembled Cardona. Shortly afterward, the witness went to the restroom and did not see Cardona as Given headed toward the exit.

Cardona said he was at the Elks Club bar when Given was shot. However, several witnesses who knew him were seated at the bar at the time of the shooting and did not recall seeing him there.

In addition, Cardona had access to the evidence drawer housing the tampered bullet. He also owned a similar Detonics handgun but claimed it had been stolen six months earlier. Everyone in the East Chicago Police Department was asked to take a polygraph test. Everyone passed with one exception– Cardona. After refusing to take a second test focusing on his Dectonics gun, Cardona was dismissed from the East Chicago Police Department.

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John Cardona was and still is, the only suspect in Jay Given’s murder. Many investigators believed the evidence against him was strong enough to arrest him, and many lawyers believed the evidence was sufficient to charge him with Given’s murder. Lake County prosecutor Jack Crawford, however, disagreed, as he declined calls to file charges against the deputy police chief. Many contend that charges were not brought against Cardona in the murder of Jay Given for, in a macabre irony, political reasons.

Police believe the case is solvable. Shortly before the shooting, several witnesses reported seeing five people coming down the stairway of the Elks Club. Three of them, all black men, were near the foot of the steps when Given was shot. These men have never been identified. Police believe at least one of them may have seen the killer of Jay Given and hope, even after all these years, someone will come forward.

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Chicago is notorious for instances of “dead men voting” and a running joke is that Jay Given is happier dead than he was alive because, in death, he has more ballots to cast.

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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:

Chicago Tribune
Northwest Indiana Times
Unsolved Mysteries


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:

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


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

81XSqT-n3BL._AC_UL320_
“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!
41d90mk2i0L
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.

wp-image-675446049
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.”
seriously-stupid-box-set.jpg
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!

Mobster Monday: Nick Civella

Photo Courtesy of Mafia Wikia

The FBI initially thought Kansas City was a minor satellite Mafia family with ties to the Chicago Outfit. By the time former FBI agent William Ouseley retired, he had claimed the Kansas City connection was some of the most violent mobsters in the nation. At the helm of the chaos was a polite, very conservative man named Nick Civella, but be forewarned, looks can be deceiving.


Guiseppe Nicoli Civella was born on March 19, 1912, to immigrant parents in Kansas City. His first arrest came at the age of ten, and by the age of twenty, he had amassed quite a rap sheet. In the early 1940’s Civella was a precinct worker for the Democratic Party on the north side of Kansas City. It was here that Nick would befriend the local mob boss, Charles Binaggio.

When Binaggio was killed on April 5, 1950, Civella was the man to step up and take his place as boss. For the next twenty-seven years, the Kansas City political machine was infiltrated by the Civella Crime Family. The gangsters worked for the politicians and bought some protection.

In 1959, this protection scheme became obvious when Civella was summoned before a grand jury and eventually convicted of tax evasion. Although he was convicted, Civella received a fine of $150 for one case, and the other case was dropped completely. This type of power brought on more violence in the streets.


The local political machine might protect Nick Civella from tax evasion charges, but it couldn’t protect him from the FBI. On November 14, 1957, mobsters from around the United States gathered at the home of Joseph “Joe the Barber” Barbara in Apalachin, New York. They were there to discuss various aspects of mob business, and Civella was one of two representatives from Kansas City.


This infamous raid not only ended up in over sixty high ranking mobsters being detained, but it also confirmed the existence of an otherwise secret organization. Up until this event, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had vehemently denied the existence of the Italian Mafia.


Although he was on the FBI’s radar, it would take another twenty years before the boss was brought down. In 1977, Civella was caught by wiretaps. During the Super Bowl, the police now had recordings of his illegal gambling operations. He would be sent to prison this time, and although he didn’t receive a life sentence from a judge, it would turn out to be just that.

Clipped from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Nick Civella was released from the Federal Medical Center in Springfield, Missouri, on February 28, 1983. He died on Saturday, March 12, 1983. He was seventy years old. Civella was one of the few mobsters to die of natural causes.

For more information on the Kansas City Mafia, check out fellow crime writer Gary Jenkins and his Gangland Wire Podcast.

Gary Jenkins, former Intelligence Unit detective with the Kansas City Police Department has produced 4 documentary films, created the Kansas City Mob Tour app, authored 3 books and currently produces and co-hosts his own true crime podcast, titled Gangland Wire Crime Stories

Further Reading:

Wikia.org

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

KC Star

Wikipedia/Apalachin Meeting


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