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

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Support Synova’s Cause:

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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

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

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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!

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


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.


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.

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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!



Amarillo Arsonist Heats Up the Gold Market with Counterfeit Krugerrands


Check out the Full Biography of the Amarillo Arsonist HERE

What happens when a local crime boss grows bored with arson, promiscuity, and gambling? A headline in the Wall Street Journal caught the ambitious gangster’s eye. An entire shipment of African gold coins had been stolen in Canada. Sidney Heard didn’t have the stolen ones, but he could counterfeit them. This scheme would eventually wind up in the U.S. Supreme Court, change the U.S. counterfeit laws, and spell the downfall of gangster, Sidney J. Heard.



Sidney Heard was a misplaced Chicago gangster who found himself boss of his own crime family in the Amarillo area. By the early 1980s, Big Sid had his own organization that dealt with everything from hot cars, hot women, and drugs. He had also sucessfully torched twenty-two buildings in his insurance fraud scheme, but the Amarillo Arsonist was growing bored.

Big Sid was a schemer from childhood, and boredom was his primary enemy, whether he was in solitary confinement or out in the free world. By the fall of 1981, the Chicago-native was its clutches once more. He had grown tired of his routine illegal dealings and was eager to find the rush of adrenaline a new con brings. That’s when he stumbled across the newspaper article about stolen Krugerrands.

The African Krugerrand was unfamiliar to Sidney, but after a little research, he discovered the gold coin accounted for 90% of the gold market worldwide. Sidney was instantly struck with gold fever and set out to find a way to counterfeit the coin. He purchased a coin the next day for $700 from a reputable dealer and began to study it under a microscope.

Within a short time, Sidney and his crew had started counterfeiting the coin and using them all over Texas in various nefarious deals. Sidney even used them in Mexico to buy a couple of kilos of cocaine. Every transaction was kept under a specific price point to avoid detection. This kept the crew under law enforcement’s radar, but once this rule was broken, they’d have the FBI coming down on them hard.

Sidney Heard and his crew took out a loan from the president of Tascosa National Bank for ninety grand using 300 of the African gold coins as collateral. The process went without a hitch, so it was repeated three times. The plan was to have the bank robbed if things started getting hot.

In early October of 1980, Sidney waltzed into the Tascosa National Bank clad in a three-piece suit, looking every bit the part of a wealthy businessman. His cool blue eyes watched the bank president count the forged coins, fill out the financial paperwork, and then hand them a check for ninety grand. Although he had been duped by the fake coins, Robert Ringo’s biggest mistake was in agreeing to avoid submitting the necessary paperwork to report the currency transaction.

Federal law states all transactions involving currency totaling more than $10,000 must be reported. Of course, Sidney didn’t want the transaction reported, so he coaxed Ringo into foregoing the process. Ringo would later resign as bank president because of this scandal

This last transaction was being monitored by law enforcement, and Sidney was taken down on the sidewalk as he exited the bank. How did they catch him after 15-months of investigation? Check out Synova’s Unorganized Crime book for the full biography of Sidney Heard today.

“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!

Further Reading:

UPI Article


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.

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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

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Sit back and relax as Synova regales you with tales of master art thieves, bumbling criminals, and multi-million-dollar art heists from around the world. There will be stories of mafia-commissioned heists, of Daredevil art thieves, and of the brave men and women of the FBI Art team who are trying to stop this multi-billion-dollar industry of art crime. Enjoy.

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!

The Fisher Family Murders

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The “Man of the House” is supposed to protect his family not slaughter them and torch the family home.


Guest Post By Ian Granstra

April 10, 2001

When William and Jan Fisher divorced in 1976, their 15-year-old son Robert was devastated. The split was far from amicable and young Robert struggled through his high school years. As he became a young adult, he always believed his life would have been better if his parents had stayed together.

Eleven years later, when Robert married his high school sweetheart, Mary Cooper, he made her two promises: to always be faithful and to never divorce. The first promise he would break; the second he would keep in an extraordinarily heinous fashion.

Robert Fisher is wanted for the murder of his family, but for the past 18 years, he has been a ghost. Even after so much time, his crime is considered so brutal that he still occupies a spot, as the senior member, of the FBI’s Ten Most Wanted list.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

In the home’s remnants, the firemen found the bodies of Mary Fisher and her two children, 12-year-old Brittney and 10-year-old Bobby. Autopsies revealed a gruesome surprise; instead of perishing in the fire, all three victims had had their throats slashed and each had lacerated traumas to their necks. Mary had also been shot in the head.

The fire from a gas explosion is usually not as intense as was the Fisher fire. Robert Fisher, a former firefighter, knew what materials to use to cause such a gargantuan blaze. Robert Fisher, husband, and father, was nowhere to be found.

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Photo courtesy of Murderpedia.org

In the home’s remnants, the firemen found the bodies of Mary Fisher and her two children, 12-year-old Brittney and 10-year-old Bobby. Autopsies revealed a gruesome surprise; instead of perishing in the fire, all three victims had had their throats slashed and each had lacerated traumas to their necks. Mary had also been shot in the head.

The fire from a gas explosion is usually not as intense as was the Fisher fire. Robert Fisher, a former firefighter, knew what materials to use to cause such a gargantuan blaze. Robert Fisher, husband, and father, was nowhere to be found.

C:\Users\CLIENT\Pictures\1.jpg

Several months before the fire, Mary told friends she discovered Robert had had sex with a prostitute and with the massage therapist who was treating him for a back injury. Already disillusioned with her marriage, Mary confided she was considering leaving him.

On the evening before the fire neighbors heard Robert and Mary engaged in a loud argument. Investigators theorize it was related to Mary’s wanting a divorce and they believe she told Robert of her intentions to leave him. For Robert, the prospect of reliving his troubled teen years all over again was too much and, authorities believe, he snapped.

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It is believed that several hours before the fire, Robert slashed the throats of his wife and children because he did not want them, but primarily him, to go through the trauma of a divorce. He then doused the home with the flammable fluid and disconnected the line leading to the gas furnace. As a source of ignition, investigators believed he used a candle and a candle holder as a timing device providing him time to leave. Once a sufficient amount of gas had built up, the candle triggered the explosion and ignited the fire. Investigators believe Robert committed the arson in an attempt to cover up the murders, believing the bodies would be burned beyond recognition. However, the fire did not hide his crime as he hoped.

Robert Fisher was last seen on a Scottsdale ATM machine approximately 1 1/2 hours before his home erupted in fire.

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On April 20, ten days after the fire, Mary’s SUV was found by a hiker 100 miles north of Scottsdale in the Tonto National Forest. The vehicle was clean and underneath pine trees; however, few pine needles were found atop the vehicle, indicating it had been left there within 24 hours of being discovered. The car was in the vicinity of a favorite hunting area of Robert’s but two weeks of searching turned up no trace of him.

The area terrain where the car was found was surrounded by hundreds of caves. Area spelunkers believe the police did not search the subterrane sufficiently, positing that the survivalist Fisher could have hidden there, before either escaping, killing himself, or succumbing to low oxygen levels.

The police, however, believe Fisher left his wife’s SUV in the forest in an effort to divert them. The vehicle was found about ¼ of a mile off a heavily trafficked service road and near several facilities where he could have used a phone or gotten a ride.

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The police were certain they had captured their man in February of 2004. An individual described as a “dead ringer” to Fisher was arrested in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Despite the uncanny resemblance and strikingly similar fingerprints, the man was confirmed not to be the fugitive.

In October of 2014, police raided a house in Commerce City, Colorado, after receiving a tip that Fisher was hiding there. They found two people wanted by law enforcement but failed to reel in their prize catch of Robert Fisher.

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Fisher was featured several times on America’s Most Wanted. Over its twenty-five season run the show helped in the capture of nearly 1,200 fugitives. AMW host John Walsh called Fisher his personal most wanted fugitive. Upon AMW’s ending in 2012, Walsh said his biggest disappointment was not capturing Fisher.

In 2016, Fisher was profiled on Walsh’s new show “The Hunt” on CNN. The FBI said they received several new tips relating to Fisher as a result of the broadcast. They have not commented on the nature of the tips but the information, so far, has not led Fisher’s apprehension.

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Not even the FBI’s famed Ten Most Wanted Fugitives List has produced Fisher’s capture. A $100,000 reward is still offered for information leading to his arrest or confirmation of his remains.

The $100,000 question; is Robert Fisher dead or alive?

The 18 years since the murders have not produced a confirmed sighting of Fisher, leading many to believe he committed suicide in the vast Arizona mountains.

Psychologists generally agree Fisher exhibited suicidal tendencies. However, he was also a loner and an outdoorsman– two attributes useful for someone needing to drop off the radar.

Altered images of Robert Fisher.

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In 2016 the FBI and Scottsdale police released new computer-aged images of Robert Fisher, who would now be 58-years-old. The FBI describes the fugitive as “arrogant. He’s cocky. He’s a know-it-all…and a loner.”

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Authorities have recently sought the medical community’s aid in locating Fisher. When last seen, he was often walking in an odd, erect manner with his chest out due to back pain. If he is still alive, the back problems have likely continued to plague him and he would probably need treatment from a medical doctor and/or chiropractor or massage therapist.

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SOURCES:

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:

ABC News
America’s Most Wanted
AZ Central
Fox News
Phoenix New Times
The Hunt


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!


Corruption or Inexperienced? – The Jennifer Harris Cold Case

Jennifer+Harris

Small town America might be a great place to raise a family, but sometimes it isn’t the best place to die. Many rural communities lack the resources and experience to solve major homicide cases. When you add in the rumor mill of small-town gossip and the loss of major evidence, some people wonder if the case is solvable. Such is the case of Jennifer Harris from Bonham, Texas.



Jennifer Harris was a vivacious 28-yr-old with fiery red curly hair. Everyone around the community loved her including two men; Rob Holman and James Hamilton.


Holman was Jennifer’s childhood sweetheart. They were married shortly after high school and it looked like a happily ever after situation. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the case. The couple had a rocky relationship and some even claim Rob had abused Jennifer. It hasn’t been confirmed whether this was physical or verbal abuse and no police reports were ever filed.


As time passed and Jennifer went to college the couple began to grow apart. Rob enjoyed the laid-back pace of Bonham, Texas while Jennifer was enjoying living in the city. Things began to fall apart even further when Jennifer met James Hamilton in the massage therapy school she had been attending. The two hit it off and decided to open a business together. That wouldn’t be all they did together and soon Jennifer was living in the city and seeing James while Rob moved back to Bonham.


Hamilton was living with the mother of his two children and had a baby on the way but was insisting on marrying Jennifer. Jennifer refused and was quickly losing interest in Hamilton. By early 2002, Jennifer had lost her massage business with Hamilton and was facing bankruptcy. What does she do? She looks up Rob, who had a new girlfriend by this time. It didn’t seem to matter. The couple frequently met and slept together. All this soap opera style drama would lead up to Mother’s Day, 2002 and a mystery that has haunted Bonham, Texas for sixteen years.


Jennifer visits a friend during the early evening hours of May 12, 2002, and leaves around 8 pm. She wouldn’t be seen alive again. A woman takes her dog out for a walk down a lonely country road and notices a dark green jeep abandoned at the side of the road but thinks little of it until she sees it again the next day. She calls the police. The Jeep is quickly identified as belonging to Jennifer Harris. It would be a long six-day search before a fisherman would discover Jennifer’s lifeless body in the Red River.


The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicidal violence but couldn’t determine the exact cause of death. Her body had been severely decomposed, and her uterus was missing. This is where the rumor mill of small towns kicked into overdrive. As soon as that story was released theories ran wild. Friends of Jennifer Harris said she had confided in them about her pregnancy, but there wasn’t any hard evidence to verify it. Could she really have been pregnant, and the murderer removed her uterus to destroy evidence? This is what the townsfolk claimed.

It would be years before her autopsy would be reexamined. After this examination, it is determined that Jennifer’s uterus was indeed missing, but so were other organs and body parts. The latter examiner determined that Jennifer had suffered some sort of severe injury that left her organs exposed to fish and turtles in the river.


Both Rob Holman and James Hamilton were initially interviewed by police and were named as possible suspects, but no arrests were made. Hamilton claimed he was at an Mc Donald’s over an hour away on the May 12th. After reviewing the case files new investigators and consultants are discouraged by the way this alibi was handled. It wasn’t verified properly, and no one ever pushed it. Rob Holman, on the other hand, claimed to be out driving around for over five hours on the night Jennifer disappeared. Hamilton supposedly passed a lie detector test, but Rob was never given one. To make matters worse, most of the evidence, in this case, has either been lost or damaged when the storage pods got wet. The clothing that was found was lost and so was her laptop. Nobody was even sure if the jeans and t-shirt were even Jennifer’s.


This case has more twists and turns than a roller coaster so hold on, there’s more. Jerry Harris took notes on the case from the beginning and was determined to find justice for his daughter. This meticulous record keeping brought up a sinister revelation years later. Two months after Jennifer’s body was found her ex-boyfriend, James Hamilton called the grieving father to ask about Jennifer’s life insurance policy. In all the case files, this is the only reference to an insurance policy. I have many questions about this. Was there actually an insurance policy taken out on the life of Jennifer Harris? If so, who was the beneficiary? Was there money paid out? Who received it? None of this has been reported. If the beneficiary was Rob or James then that would supply the investigators with a serious motive for murder. Who knows if this lead was even followed? The case file for Jennifer Harris is so slim no one knows what leads were followed and which ones weren’t.


A year later, a woman is watching the news when she hears about the Harris cold case. Incredibly, Deborah Lambert hadn’t heard about the case. She quickly called the police and gave a recorded statement. Deborah and her mother had driven across the Red River Bridge on Mother’s Day a year earlier and had witnessed a frightening scene around 5 pm. She vividly recalled a red-headed woman being rough-housed by three men. Deborah said she made eye contact with the woman and saw terror in her expression. Her mother said, “that girl is about to be raped and killed.” Deborah claimed she was too afraid to call the police at the time. Deborah claimed two men were wearing jeans and one man was wearing shorts. Because of the time discrepancy, the original investigators dismissed Deborah’s statement completely. The new team doesn’t dismiss it so quickly. In reality, the time difference can be explained. Most people don’t continuously watch the clock. Deborah and her mother could have traveled across the bridge later than she remembered, and or Jennifer’s friend could be mistaken on the time she left her home.


Jennifer’s younger sister Alyssa and her filmmaker husband Barry has taken up the case along with private investigator Daryl Parker and the new sheriff Mark Johnson. Everyone hopes to find justice for Jennifer. This case was recently highlighted on the show 48 Hours. Hopefully, the renewed interest in the case will generate some leads. If Deborah Lambert’s statement is correct, there could be two other men out there that know something about this case.


At one point, the local D.A. was accused of being involved in the murder of Jennifer Harris. This rumor was completely unfounded but based on the fabricated fact that her uterus was missing. Authorities researched this rumor extensively and found absolutely no connection, but the D.A. still lost his job over this case.

This case was so mishandled that people wonder if it can be solved at this point. I believe it can, but I have many questions. Here are a few of my questions and theories.


– Is it normal for a body to decompose so quickly in the river, or was she partially mutilated before her body was dumped?
– I would like to know what happened to Rob. Did his second marriage fall through? Is his wife/ex-wife still alive?
– Did a forensic team investigate Jennifer’s Jeep?
– Has anyone checked Jennifer’s online footprint? Yes her laptop is missing, but surely her accounts would still be there. Everyone had a MySpace account. If someone remembered Jennifer’s email address then they might be able to reopen the accounts and see who she was talking to at the time of her death.

My suspicion and theory:
Rob Holman claimed Jennifer had called him and wanted to see him on the evening of May 12th. He told the police that he refused to meet her because he had plans with his new girlfriend, but when asked for an alibi Rob said he didn’t have one. He was out driving around for four hours that night.
Ok. What is it then? Was he with his new girlfriend, or was he out driving around? Also, I looked up the historical weather data for that day. It was rainy, overcast, and pop up thunderstorms all evening. Who drives around in thunderstorms? Curious.

I have reached out to Sherriff Johnson and Daryl Parker with questions about this case. I haven’t heard back from them as of this writing, but I will update you all when I get some answers to my questions. As always, if you have any information regarding the murder of Jennifer Harris, please contact the Fannin County Sherriff’s office at (903) 583-2143




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 Post

Texas Cover UPs

Texas Monitor

LawsInTexas.com


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.

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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!

Mob Chairman Taken in Hot Springs, Arkansas


Hot Springs, Arkansas, was known as a safe-haven for gangsters, but one unlucky break would take down the chairman of the mafia in 1936. It seemed Lucky Luciano’s luck had turned.


Salvatore Luciano was born in Sicily on November 24, 1897, and immigrated to Manhattan’s Lower East Side with his family when he was a ten-year-old boy. While the other children tried to learn the English language and pushed hard in school, Salvatore was more interested in street life. By the age of fourteen, he dropped out of school and was running drugs. Officially he worked delivering hats, but this was merely a ruse. The hat boxes also came in handy for hiding his illegal wares.


There are several conflicting stories behind “Lucky’s” nickname. Some tales speak of his outwitting rival gangs, while others tell of his near-death experience at the hands of fellow mobsters. Luciano, himself did little to solve the mystery. Lucky told varying stories througout his lifetime.


After a vicious battle between warring factions of the mob, Luciano devises a bloody scheme to take over the New York Mafia. After killing both of the warring crime bosses, Luciano sets about establishing a “corporation-style” criminal empire.


Luciano, with the help of Meyer Lansky, set up the Commission, which included a representative from each of the five families. This Commission would make joint decisions concerning territory disputes and keep the bloodshed to a minimum. Luciano felts all the violence was getting in the way of making a profit. Don’t be fooled. Luciano was a ruthless and violent as the rest of them, maybe more so. Lucky liked making money and didn’t want anything to get in his way.


By 1936, Lucky Luciano was possibly the most powerful man in America. He ran every type of money-making scheme from drugs and prostitution to bootlegging and murder for hire. One might imagine that Murder Incorporated would have brought down the crime boss, but amazingly it was his lucrative prostitution ring that handed him the Public Enemy #1 status.


New York District Attorney, Thomas E. Dewey set out to take down the mafia kingpin and succeeded in 1936. Lucky Luciano got wind of this and fled New York and headed for the Mafia’s Safe Zone in Hot Springs, Arkansas.


Charles “Lucky” Luciano was hiding in the spa city when he was spotted by a New York detective who happened to be in town on another unrelated case. The mobster was strolling along the promenade behind Bath House Row with the chief of Detectives Herbert “Dutch” Akers. Some sources claim he was behind the Ozark Bathhouse.

I took the following pictures of the great pramanade in my trip to Hot Springs last spring.

The promenade entrance from bathhouse row
Looking back at bathhouse row from the top of the promenade

Dewey was called and a fight began between New York and Hot Springs. Local authorities fought Lucky’s extradition back to the city, but New York finally won and Luciano was shipped back up north. Luciano was sent to prison and eventually deported back to Italy.


Next time you visit the Spa City make sure to check out Robert Raines’ Gangster Museum.

510 Central Ave
Hot Springs, Arkansas
501-318-1717

Further Reading:

Arkansas Online

Wikipedia

NY Daily News

Legends of America

Legends of America #2

 Little Rock Soirée

Luciano On Trial

Encyclopedia of Arkansas

Hot Springs Guest Guide

The Gangster Museum of America


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 Post

Texas Cover UPs

Texas Monitor

LawsInTexas.com


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!