Mobster Monday: Salvatore “Sally Bugs” Briguglio

Salvatore “Sally Bugs” Briguglio has been the prime suspect in the Hoffa case since 1985. Who was this man, and what happened to him?
Salvatore “Sally Bugs” Briguglio was a New Jersey loanshark and mafia hitman. He wasn’t tied to the Teamsters at first, but strangely he was given the coveted job of Secretary/Treasurer immediately after the former treasurer’s murder.


Anthony “Three Finger Tony” Castellitto was beaten to death and strangled at his cottage in Kerhonkson, New York. The hit was ordered by Genovese Capo, Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano, and was carried out by the diminutive New Jersy loanshark. Like so many other hits, the killer received a promotion afterward and stepped into the victim’s job.


It’s a well-known fact that Tony Pro had a dispute with Hoffa. They were scheduled to meet up on the day of Hoffa’s disappearance, but Provenzano never showed. The FBI has believed that Sally Bugs was hired to kill Hoffa by Provenzano since the beginning.

By 1978, Sally Bugs was in trouble with both the law and his mobster buddies. He was scheduled to appear in court for the 1961 murder of Castellitto, and rumors were going around that he was working a deal with the Feds.

March 21, 1978, Salvatore Briguglio was standing outside Andrea’s Doria Social Club on Mulberry St in Manhattan’s Little Italy. It was just after 11 pm when two men approached him. Some witnesses claim they saw the three men discussing something, while other witnesses say the two hooded men said nothing.


Whatever the case, Sally Bugs was knocked off his feet and shot. The two men emptied their weapons before fleeing the scene. Four bullets entered his skull, and one hit him in the chest. Salvatore Briguglio was gone.


No doubt, Provenzano breathed a sigh of relief as he heard the news, but it would be short-lived. It is unclear whether Sally Bugs was working with the Feds or not, but there was definitely a snitch in their midst.


Salvatore Sinno was working the law enforcement behind the scenes, and when it came time for trial, Provenzano and his cohorts were all convicted of the hit on Castellitto.


So what happened to Jimmy Hoffa? We may never know for sure, but the FBI still believes the triggerman was Salvatore Briguglio.


Further Reading:

The Mob Museum

https://mafia.wikia.org/wiki/Salvatore_Briguglio


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.

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Come Quick!

The Chase – The Haunting Disappearance of Randy Brosius

Photo courtesy of The Charley Project

He agreed to be the pawn in a drug sting after his mother received threatening calls over the Christmas holidays. Unfortunately, drug stings don’t always turn out like they do in the movies, and Randy’s brothers watched in horror as the car sped away out of the reach of law enforcement. 42 Years later and the family still doesn’t know what happened to Randy Brosius.



Randall B. Brosius, 22, had a rocky past that involved drugs, but he was getting his life together by the Christmas holiday in 1976. Christmas cheer was in the air, the shopping season was in full swing, and everything was bliss. That’s what Christmas is supposed to be, anyway. During the festivities, the Brosius family was being terrorized by an unknown blackmailer.


Randy’s mother received a demand for $500, saying that Randy was involved in a big drug deal. The blackmailer threatened to cut Randy up in pieces and send him to her if she didn’t pay. Terror-stricken, the poor mother, found the money and tried to deliver it to the dropzone in Williamstown, Pennsylvania. She had one hour to get there. Although she made it well within the allotted time, the blackmailer never arrived.


After all of this, Randall went to the police for help. He agreed to a “meet up” with the police waiting in the shadows. His brother and father were there, as well. He had nothing to fear. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned, and somehow by some terrible twist of fate, Randy was taken.


The newspaper accounts make it sound so innocent. They claim Randy was last seen in a car driving away from Mace’s Fountain Blue Motel with two men. Richard Green, 31, and Kenneth H. Lenker, 25. In reality, that was the last time his family or the police ever saw him. The two men were later found in Florida and questioned, but no arrests were ever made.


What happened to Randy Brosius?


INSERT: Disco Dan


A John Doe was found in Hewett, TX, on April 3, 1978. The twenty-something male had been shot in the back of the head and dumped in a culvert. His height and weight closely match that of Randy. The clothing wasn’t a match to what Randy was last seen wearing, but we’re talking 15 months later.


The man’s flamboyant clothes are what lead investigators to call him Disco Dan. Unfortunately, the Hewett police department only had two officers, and the John Doe case went cold rather quickly.

Photo courtesy of Unidentified Wiki

The family wonders if this could be their long lost Randy. There’s a possibility since one of the men he was last seen with ended up in Texas. At the time of his disappearance, Randy had long shoulder-length brown hair and a mustache. He was around 5′ 7,” and his weight was approximately 140lbs. All of these things closely match Disco Dan.

I noticed when comparing the two photos; the nose seems really similar to me. Who knows. We will have to wait for the DNA results. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you know anything about the disappearance of Randall Brosius or the John Doe known as Disco Dan, please call in a tip. These families need answers.


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:

www.newspapers.com

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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

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Come Quick!

Maud Crawford – Guest Post Thursday

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Photo Courtesy of Ian’s Facebook Group



In the 1950s, the stereotypical 65-year-old woman was said to enjoy cooking, knitting, decorating, keeping a clean house, and spending time with her grandchildren. Maud Crawford may have looked the part of an older domestic goddess, but she was instead a woman ahead of her time.

Valedictorian of her high school class, Maud also achieved the highest score on the bar exam despite not attending law school. In 1927, only ten years after women were able to practice law in Arkansas, she became the city of Camden’s first female attorney and later became the town’s first woman to serve on the City Council. The trailblazing Maud was also active in many service organizations, having served as President of the Camden Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, the American Legion Auxiliary, and Pilot Club International, the sister organization of Rotary International before women were admitted. She was also named Camden’s “Woman of the Year” for 1954.

Maud Crawford’s feats were amazing. It is not, however, her accomplishments for which she is remembered. It is instead her disappearance, still a mystery after over 60 years.

For over 40 years, Maud Crawford worked at the Gaughan Law firm in Camden, Arkansas, which later became the Gaughan, McClellan, and Laney law firm. She began as a stenographer but quickly proved she had a great legal mind. After passing the bar, she was a lawyer at the firm for nearly 30 years.

The McClellan in the firm was an inactive partner, Democratic United States Senator John L. McClellan, who had lived in Camden.

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Maud’s area of legal specialty was title work and estate management. One of the estates she handled was that of her neighbor and friend, Rose Berg. Rose’s husband, Henry Berg, was a multimillionaire businessman. When he died in 1950, his estate was valued at approximately $20 million, much of it in oil, timber and land holdings.

Maud had drafted and witnessed Henry’s will, in which he left his entire estate to Rose, with 1/4 of the estate’s interest going to his nephew, Henry Myar “Mike” Berg, upon Rose’s passing. Henry and Rose had no children.

Rose, however, is believed to have later amended the will which was also witnessed by Maud. Rose is believed to have bequeathed the entire estate, then valued at over $25 million, to three nieces. Mike Berg was believed to have been omitted from the will.

In 1957, Rose Berg, plagued for years from symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, was declared incompetent, and Maud was appointed as the executor of her will, as well as her guardian.

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Maud spoke to her cousin on the telephone at about 8:30 p.m. on March 2, 1957. When her husband Clyde arrived home at 11:00 p.m., he found the house and her belongings intact, but no sign of his wife. When Maud had failed to return by the following evening police began a search, but their efforts turned up few clues as to what could have happened to her.

At the time, Senator McClellan was chairing a Senate investigation into organized labor’s alleged links to the Mafia. The investigations were highly publicized and, because of her ties to McClellan, Maud’s disappearance was believed linked to organized crime. Although no evidence was found suggesting such involvement, for nearly 30 years Maud Crawford was presumed to have been one of the many victims killed by the Mafia whose remains were never found.

In 1986, however, a new theory was espoused in the disappearance of Camden’s noted woman.

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In 1986, reporter Beth Brickell wrote a series of articles about Maud’s disappearance. The 19-article investigative series was published in the Arkansas Gazette, now the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the primary newspaper of the Natural State.

The articles, which Brickell later made into a book, turned the focus away from organized crime. Instead, one of Camden’s wealthiest and most powerful men was implicated in the disappearance of the town’s most accomplished woman.

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Brickell’s articles implicated Rose Berg’s nephew Mike Berg, who was the Arkansas State Police Commissioner and a multimillionaire businessman.

If Henry Berg’s will was written as believed, he would have been omitted from 3/4 the fortune. If Rose Berg had amended the will as believed, he would receive nothing. Neither scenario was suitable to the already wealthy nephew as Brickell’s articles contend he believed he was entitled to his aunt’s entire estate. Normally, such a dispute would have been simple to settle. However, when Maud disappeared, Rose Berg’s will did as well.

Brickell found numerous questionable deeds were created for Rose’s estate in 1950, but not recorded until 1954. A deed filed in the Hempstead County Courthouse in Hope, Arkansas, transferred timber assets belonging to Rose to Hugh Moseley, a timber owner who worked for Mike Berg. A second deed with the same date transferred the identical timber holdings from Moseley to Mike Berg.

Several other deeds found in the Ouachita County Courthouse in Camden transferred additional assets over a period of years from Rose Berg to Mike Berg. In particular, one deed with a questionable signature of Rose Berg, conveyed large acreages of timber in fifteen counties, as well as properties in Camden and an estimated 150 active oil royalties to Mike Berg. Between all of the deeds, Rose handed over 21,000 acres of valuable land to her nephew. Rose’s friends and family did not believe she, in her diminished state, could comprehend what she was signing and that the deeds were faulty. They believed Mike Berg had done a dirty deed by tricking his ailing aunt into giving him her fortune.

Brickell’s articles contend that Maud concurred, believing Mike Berg took advantage of his aunt’s incompetence. At the time of her disappearance, Maud was believed to be attempting to make the deeds null and void and to have Rose’s will stand as either originally written or as Rose had amended. The nieces believed to have been named in Rose’s amended will said Maud, shortly before her disappearance, told them she, as executor of Rose’s estate, intended to bring a lawsuit against Mike Berg to expose the fraudulent deeds. Before she could take action, however, she disappeared, as did Rose’s will.

Mike Berg ended up receiving his aunt’s entire fortune after settling a claim with her nieces, by granting each $187,500 in exchange for a relinquishment of all claims to their aunt’s estate. He died in 1975 without ever being charged with any involvement in Maud’s disappearance nor with any sort of financial fraud.

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Thomas Gaughan was a partner in Maud’s law firm and a friend of Mike Berg. Brickell’s articles contend that he and Maud also clashed over Rose Berg’s estate as Gaughan believed Mike was entitled to it all. Brickell believes Gaughan may also have had involvement in, or knowledge of, Maud’s disappearance.

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Brickell’s articles also stated that Odis Henley, the original detective assigned to Maud’s disappearance, found evidence of Berg’s involvement. He claimed when he notified his superiors, he was removed from the case and all of the files he had compiled had vanished. The detective also determined that 1-2 months before Maud disappeared, she went to Berg’s office and accused him of pilfering his aunt’s estate by taking advantage of her diminished mental capacity.

Shortly after the articles were published in 1986, the case was reopened. Investigators sought to interview Mike Berg’s bodyguard, Jack Dorris, whom the lead detective believed was involved with Berg in Maud’s s disappearance. However, ill with cancer, Dorris died before he could be questioned.

Investigators believe Brickell’s findings but the reopening of the case produced no further clues to support them.

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In 1969, the Ouachita County Probate Court ruled “It is the finding of the Court that Maud R. Crawford is deceased and has been dead since March 2, 1957, as a result of foul play perpetrated by person or persons unknown.” Maud’s husband, Clyde, died the same year.

All of the suspected participants, witnesses, and investigators are now also deceased.

No charges were ever filed against anyone and Maud Crawford’s remains have never been found.

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Maud Crawford’s home, 430 Clifton Street, in Camden, Arkansas.


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:
About You Magazine
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Thecabin.net
Camden News (Arkansas)
The Charley Project
“The Disappearance of Maud Crawford” by Beth Brickell


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.”)


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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!

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Come Quick!

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: 

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. 

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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. 

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


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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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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!

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!


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!

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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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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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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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!


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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!