“I Was Stolen As A Baby” – The Infamous Baby Snatcher Georgia Tann

tannbaby copy.jpg The only photo of Barbara Jean Haggerty as a child with her adoptive mother Alveretta (Riley) Childs – Photo of Barbara Jean Haggerty as a baby: used with permission

Barbara Jean Haggerty doesn’t know when to celebrate her birthday. She has no idea how many candles should be placed on her cake. Only one baby photograph of her exists. There are no momentoes, such as hospital records or newborn photographs. Barbara Jean was one of the thousands of children stolen and sold through the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, a black-market baby business operating from the 1920s to 1950 by Memphis murderer, child molester, and baby thief Georgia Tann.

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Photo courtesy of Wikipedia: Georgia Tann

Memphis, Tennessee, is famous for the music, the food, and the crime. In the last few years, FBI data has consistently placed Memphis in the top 20% in United States cities with the highest crime rates. Along with good barbeque, tours of Graceland, and Beale Street, murder, robbery, and gang activity have become a natural part of the scrappy city’s landscape, its history. In the late 1940s, crooked politicians and questionable law enforcement tactics greased the city’s financial wheels. It was a setting that welcomed someone like Georgia Tann. And Georgia Tann loved Memphis.

Beulah Georgia Tann (1891-1950) a matronly, smiling woman, created the unlicensed, Memphis-based Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Behind its facade, the Society was nothing more than a black-market baby operation. One of the babies who came through that door was Barbara Jean Haggerty. Like so many others, Tann stole the child when she was about two days old. Haggerty considers herself “a lucky baby” because she was sold quickly. Babies who did not sell were murdered.

The local newspapers were filled with adoption advertisements. People ordered children as if they were ordering furniture, and Tann gladly supplied the demands, charging astronomical figures.

“(We have) the merchandise in hand and in stock to deliver to you” a 1944 Tennessee Children’s Home Society letter read to a prospective client. “We can never tell when we can fill an order,” another letter explained to parents waiting to purchase a child.

Tann employed “spotters” to scout for children to steal and parents to scam. A Tann spotter walked into an elementary school, playground, or low socioeconomic neighborhood and would leave with a child, both never to be seen again. A Tann spotter, disguised as hospital staff or a visitor, would casually stroll into a maternity ward, scoop up a newborn, and disappear out a door. The spotter might visit an unwed mother to make a deal.

“We’ll take care of your baby for you, save you the expense and shame… and pay you.” In desperation, the women would allow the exchange. Barbara Jean Haggerty believes the latter scenario may have been her case.

Georgia Tann hired a crew for the children’s home, eschewing background checks, and any personnel paperwork. Molesters, parolees, and abusers were employed at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. Tann also sexually abused her charges; behind that matronly appearance laid an evil mind that was abusive and cold. Barbara Jean is thankful she did not stay at the children’s home for long.

TN_Child_Society The building that housed the Tennessee Children’s Home Society still stands today – onlyinyourstate.com

Tann sold or exchanged babies, as well as monetary gifts, between law enforcement, media, judges, movie and music stars, and elected officials for political favors and legal protection. Her political connections, including the Mayor of Memphis, assisted in skirting adoption laws or creating legal loopholes from which to operate. Tann’s lover, Judge Camille Kelly, was a high-ranking official of the Shelby County Family Court in Tennessee. Kelly looked like anyone’s kindly grandmother. Both Georgia Tann and Judge Kelly were well known in the Memphis area. Tann was a national figure. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt publically praised her. Tann sold children to mobsters, child molesters, abusers, and for hard labor (one child toiled in a field at 18 hour days, eventually running away from the adoptive family). The repercussions of her work have caused a ripple effect lasting decades.

Besides high ranking officials and the wealthy, Georgia Tann assisted private clientele who wanted children, married couples desperate to adopt who scraped together the funds to do so. One of those families was Alveretta (Riley) and Jesse Aubrey Childs, both in their late twenties and living in Shelby County, Tennessee. Barbara Jean (Haggerty) was sold to the Childs family.

Alveretta and Jesse owned a popular diner called “Mamma Child’s.” This restaurant was one of the favorites of Judge Kelly; “I can remember, as a little girl, seeing Judge Kelly at the restaurant, laughing and talking and visiting with my mother,” Barbara Jean recalls. Even at that age, she has no doubt who Judge Kelly was; everyone knew.

Barbara Jean believes Alveretta confided in Judge Kelly; unable to conceive, and she longed to be a parent. Arrangements were made. The $5,000 Tann charged Alveretta and Jesse to “adopt” Barbara is a low sum, considering her client list included Joan Crawford, Pearl Buck, and Lana Turner.

As in all the adoption cases, Judge Kelly forged legal paperwork for Barbara Jean’s transfer. Kelly also assisted by destroying legal documents and creating a new history for Barbara Jean. Barbara Jean now had a new birth certificate bearing Judge Kelly’s signature. (Some years ago, a private investigator “borrowed” the document for research and never returned it.)

camille-kelly.jpg Judge Camille Kelly: painting, Memphis TN courthouse

Alveretta and Jesse then adopted Barbara Jean. With the falsified birth certificate in hand, they strolled out cuddling their newly “adopted” child.

“I was a ‘bestseller’ because of my blonde hair and blue eyes. And (the Home Society) only dealt in white children.”

In her later years, Alveretta would admit to her family, “I purchased Barbara Jean for $5,000 off the black market.” In Barbara Jean’s early years, Alveretta would amend or outright lie about everything else in Barbara Jean’s past. “She didn’t want to hurt my feelings, so sometimes she lied, or changed the story a bit,” Barbara Jean explains. She is not angry with her parents, nor does she hold grudges against them for the lies and deception. Barbara knew she was loved.

“My mother was a wonderful woman,” Barbara explains. As a teen, she had suffered a stroke. The specialists told her “mother” that Barbara would never be able to walk again. Alveretta refused to believe them and set about rehabilitating the girl. Against the odds, and with her mother’s love and patience, Barbara Jean did regain the use of her limbs.

Barbara Jean Haggerty is one of the thousands of children from Tennessee Children’s Home Society who were stolen and sold. At least 40-50 children died in less than four months while housed in the illegally operated home in 1945 alone. Children were starved, beaten, molested, mentally abused, and never received medical attention. Unwanted babies were left outside on the lawn in their cribs in the hot Tennessee summers to wither away slowly.

Barbara’s granddaughter is assisting her with trying to unearth her past, but the digging is slow. There are names and dates, but little more:

Alveretta Riley (1917-1997) was born in Arkansas to Thomas O’Riley and Willie Rogers. Alveretta married several times:
She divorced her first husband (name unknown) and moved to the Shelbyville, Tennessee area in 1940 at 23 years of age.
Jesse Aubrey Childs (05-20-09 to 12-28-75), an electrician, was her second husband. Alveretta’s third husband was Dalton Marshal.

Besides Mama Child’s, Alveretta and Jesse owned “Top Hat” (which later became Sonic Drive-in), a third restaurant, and three nightclubs. Records indicate Alveretta also worked as a “caseworker.”

Barbara’s real name may be Belinda Diane Bullard, born October 2 or in July around 1945; she is now approximately 68 years old. Barbara was adopted after Alveretta’s first two babies died. One baby picture exists of Barbara (see above photo). Barbara may have three siblings: a sister who died in a car wreck and two brothers who were lost in the Vietnam War. Barbara’s siblings include Winnie Lee, Sidney F., and Thomas R.

Tann was never prosecuted and died a very wealthy woman. A plaque commemorating Judge Camille Kelly hangs in the Memphis courthouse. Their legacy continues. There’s corruption in the Memphis Youth Courts, laws created to protect wrongdoings, and people who have no idea of their true heritage like Barbara Jean Haggerty.

grandmother0019)_09.14.16 copy.jpegPhoto of Barbara Jean Haggerty today: Judith a yates used by permission

“I’m not bitter or mad. I just want to know if I have brothers and sisters,” she says wistfully. “I want to know my real birthday and how old I am. I’d like to know about my blood relatives.” She shrugs. “I guess some people may think it’s silly, or too late. But I just want to know: who am I?”


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:

All That’s Interesting

Unsolved Mysteries

NYPost

Youtube


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:
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J. A. Yates  is an award-winning author and criminologist who has appeared as a guest speaker, lecturer, and instructor for organizations across the United States for almost 30 years, to include Dallas Area Paralegal Association, PFLAG (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians & Gays), Texas Association of Licensed Investigators, Tennessee Correction Association, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and many more.
Her resume lists loss prevention, the Sheriff’s Department, the federal prison system (minimum to maximum, male & female),  investigations, and criminal justice professor/instructor. She is the only journalist who is continually investigating the disappearance of Tabitha Tuders, Nashville’s most baffling missing child case.
Not only is she an author, but she is also an investigator who carefully researches each book. A percentage of each book benefits nonprofit organizations and is made in the victim’s name.
Ms. Yates is Texas-born, Irish/Native American/Kentucky – bred; a left-handed Taurus. She volunteers in animal rescue and locating missing/murdered. Hobbies include horseback riding, perusing flea markets, and video gaming. She is addicted to bottled Coca-colas. She has a phobia of clowns, dental offices, and alligators (not in that particular order)

Check her out here: www.judithayates.com


This week’s Recommended Reading:


The Baby Thief: The True Story of the Woman Who Sold Over Five Thousand Neglected, Abused and Stolen Babies in the 1950s.


Books by Yates:

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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.©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


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tannbaby copy.jpg

Ashton Kutcher Look-Alike Slaughtered By Dixie Mafia

Ashton Kutcher Look-Alike Slaughtered By Dixie Mafia

Photo courtesy of NeimanLab.org

A disabled boy is used as a pawn in a sadistic game and then slaughtered. A suicide is staged. Fifty-one years later, his sister still cries out for justice.


Unlike his handsome Hollywood look-alike, Ronnie Anderson was tragic from the beginning. At the age of three, Polio ravaged his legs, leaving him dependent on leg braces to stand and move. He was a beautiful boy looking for love and acceptance but found it hard to find friends. While they were all outside playing, he would sit in the window and watch. This picture of him crying for fellowship with his peers still haunts his sister five decades later.

At the age of 17, Ronnie decided to move out of his father’s house and share expenses with an older boy. He got his first job working at McDonald’s, and it seemed as if life were about to begin for this lonely polio victim. If he could have only seen into the future a few months, he would have stayed home with his dad.

Unfortunately, the poor guy was in such need of approval; he became an easy target for malicious predators.

A phone rang at Sheriff Buford Pusser’s house in the early hours of August 12, 1967. It was a simple drunk and disorderly call, but his wife Pauline didn’t want him to go alone. Ever since Buford killed Louise Hathcock, he had been receiving threatening calls. One caller claimed, “the sheriff would be hunted down like a dog and shot.” An article in the Daily News would go into more detail about those threats. Unfortunately, by then, the slaughter had already begun.

Buford & Pauline Pusser drove out to the scene expecting a few drunks to be causing a ruckus. What waited for them in the shadows behind the church was more violent, and Pauline Pusser was the target. (This wouldn’t be known until recently when an anonymous witness came forward with information.) The sheriff had stepped over a line when he killed Hathcock and now Towhead White was going to avenge the death of his lover. White was in prison, but he had plenty of associates to handle the job. One such associate was Kirksey Nix, and another happened to be the roommate of Ronnie Anderson.

The original plan was to have “the little crippled boy” (or so he was referenced to by this witness) to knock on the door and lure Pauline out of the house. The crew of killers would take care of the rest. Of course, Ronnie had no way of knowing what would happen. The plan was changed when they saw Pauline get in the car with her husband.

Once the sheriff’s car passed the church, the murder-wagon pulled out behind them. (Some reports claim there were two dark-colored cars, and others claim there was one. I could not find definite proof of two cars although I have a pretty good idea what happened to that dark-green Cadillac a few weeks later.) As the car of thugs caught up to the sheriff, a passenger opened fire upon the Pussers with a .30 caliber automatic rifle.

Pauline was hit in the head and slumped down in the seat next to Buford. He ducked instinctively and slammed on the gas pedal. The car lurched forward, and he struggled to keep it between the ditches. The firing squad followed hard, but a couple of miles down the road it looked like the rugged sheriff had lost his tail. He was wrong. Buford had pulled over to check on his wife when the firing squad emerged out of the darkness and the onslaught of ammunition peppered the police car once again.

A bullet slammed into Buford’s jawbone, causing it to explode, and he slumped over in the seat. The mighty 6′ 6″ former wrestler was down for the count. Silence filled the pre-dawn air around the car. His attackers were gone. As mental clarity returned to the dying man, he mumbled a call for help into the police radio. Blinded by blood and fueled by rage, the sheriff drove himself to the nearby hospital, but it was too late for his beloved Pauline.

Life in McNairy County would never be the same.

Bloodlust was in the air, & revenge was coming.

Buford Pusser was wheeled into the emergency surgery. He would undergo a dozen of them over the next 18 days of torment. His detractors railed on him for missing his wife’s funeral, and they still do to this day. The original newspaper articles claim he was still in the hospital during the funeral. Buford Pusser was a roughneck, backwoods, in your face type of sheriff, but something changed within him during those weeks in the hospital. He went in a controversial lawman, but he came out looking for blood.

Can you blame the man for wanting to avenge the slaughter of his wife?

At first, Buford claimed to know his attackers and even named a few names, but by the end of his recovery, he had changed his story. Was the trama too much for him, or was he going to exact his own revenge outside the confines of the law? Lost in this cruel game of vigilante justice was the murder of the pawn.

Back at home in Gulfport, Mississippi, Ronnie Anderson had gotten an invitation to stay a few days with his older sister Phyllis. He was excited to go and desperately wanted to get away from the terrors of his roommate. He was last seen packing and ironing his clothes. Within an hour, he was dead.

Who killed the sweet Ashton Kutcher look-alike?

Dan Anderson got notified almost immediately after returning home from visiting Ronnie.

“Ronnie tried to kill himself.”

Dan rushed to the hospital only to be met in the waiting room by his ex-wife. (Rose also happened to be the roommate’s aunt.) She explained that Ronnie had died from a gunshot wound to the face. It didn’t make any sense. How could all of this happen within an hour or so?

Story #1:

Ronnie fought with his girlfriend Cathy, so he walked upstairs and shot himself in the face with a .410 shotgun.

Story #2:
Ronnie and his roommate had just returned from buying Ronnie some “deck shoes” when a friend stops by with two guns. The .410 was supposed to be missing a firing pin and was inoperable. Somehow this was a terrible mistake, and Ronnie’s death was from an accidental shooting.
Problems with both theories:

As you know, Ronnie was a polio victim in a bulky leg brace. This disease also left him with one leg quite a bit smaller than the other one. So, buying shoes was a complicated process. First, he had to purchase two separate pairs in different sizes, and then they had to be sent to his doctor to have them fitted with special plates to hook to his braces. There was no way Ronnie could wear so-called “deck shoes” in the first place.

Also, supposedly, Ronnie placed the gun between his feet and pulled the trigger to shoot himself in the face. With his reduced strength in his legs and feet and the brace, this would be impossible. Ronnie couldn’t hold anything between his feet.

Another strange issue:

Why didn’t anyone call the police? Instead, the roommate called his aunt, who washed Ronnie, got rid of the weapon and then took him to the hospital. Of course, the poor boy died in route. He never had a chance.

The night before the funeral, Phyllis was so distraught with grief her doctor prescribed sleeping pills to help her rest, but the nightmares continued. A once beautiful boy stood headless outside her bedroom window banging trying to get in. Phyllis tried desperately to pry open the glass, but it wouldn’t budge. This reoccurring dream would haunt her for years.

During her tormented slumber, a woman calls the house frantically asking to speak with Phyllis. Her husband refuses to wake her and ask to take a message. The woman refuses but finally, she breaks down and says her name is Cathy.

“They killed him. They killed him,” she gasps into the phone just before the line goes dead.

After the funeral, Phyllis took all her theories to law enforcement, but they refused to class the case as anything other than suicide. Her father, Dan Anderson worked as a deputy in the area and knew of the corruption, but found his hands tied. What was he to do? They had killed his son; now, his daughter was in their sights if he dared to fight it. Every time she called into the police department, Phyllis would receive a call from her dad immediately afterward.

“Leave it alone before you get someone else killed,” he demanded on one such call.

At this time no one, including Phyllis, had even heard of the Dixie Mafia. Fifty years later, a witness stepped forward, claiming to know the truth about Ronnie’s death. In reality, he was lured to the docks, beaten to death by a group of guys, and his roommate shot him in the face to stage a suicide.

When will his blood be avenged?

Next week we will dive deeper into Buford Pusser’s revenge as the Dixie Bloodbath continues.


The following links are for the benefit of Synova’s readers and are not an all inclusive source listing.

Further Reading:

Daily Journal

Wikimapia

Synova’s Youtube Video


This Week’s Recommended Dixie Mafia Book:

Wrath of the Dixie Mafia


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. 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. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


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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Ashton Kutcher Look-Alike Slaughtered By Dixie Mafia

Murder Mystery – Room 1046 – Part 2

 

room-1046

 

Roland T. Owen walked into the Kansas City hotel carrying a comb, a brush, and a tube of toothpaste. After several strange encounters with hotel staff, Owen would be carried out on a gurney a few days later. Blood covered the walls and bed in room 1046, and investigators say it was already solidified leading them to assume Owen had been bleeding for over six hours. Who tortured and killed this man? Why was his door always locked from the outside? Who were the anonymous benefactors that paid for his burial?

 

Last week I quickly highlighted this Alfred Hitchcock style murder mystery for my readers. This story was so strange and mysterious; I knew it would take more than one post to cover it. If you haven’t seen that post, you can follow this link to read Part One of the mystery.

 

Strange Sighting: (Thursday, January 3, 1935 – 11 PM)

Robert Lane was driving down 13th Street when he saw a man dressed in trousers and an undershirt. The man’s attire seemed strange in the cold winter weather of January. He was running and waving frantically. Robert Lane pulled over, and the stranger ran up to the door. He looked surprised.

“I’m sorry. I thought this was a taxi. Can you take me to where I can find a cab?”

Lane agreed, and the man climbed into his back seat. The man looked as if he’d been in a scuffle and Lane made a remark about this. The man mumbled, “I’ll kill that__________ in the morning.”

While all the newspapers were too proper to write the actual word that was uttered, 84 years later it could have helped investigators if there was some sort of record of this remark. Was the stranger talking about a male or a female? Who knows?

Lane noticed the man had a large cut down his arm and was cupping his hands trying to catch the blood. As the car reached a nearby intersection, the passenger jumped out and ran across to a parked cab. Seeing the driver wasn’t with his car, the stranger honked the horn. Presently, the cab driver rushed out of a nearby, and that was the end of Robert Lane’s interaction with the stranger.

Police disputed this story since no one noticed Owen leaving his room. Police would discount this and take the investigation in different directions. I find this odd because no one ever saw Owen coming or going from his room. Who was locking the door from the outside if Owen was still sitting inside? At one point the housekeeping staff walked into the room thinking it was empty to find Owen laying across the bed fully clothed and staring into the darkness.

To understand this story, you must understand the hotel’s door locking mechanism. The door could be locked from the inside and could not be opened externally. It could also be locked from the outside with a key, and the hotel staff could use the passkey to open the door and clean. On more than one occasion this outer lock was used while Owen was still inside the room.

By Friday morning the staff noticed the phone was off the hook in Owen’s room. The first contact that was made by the hotel staff was around 7 am. Evidence would later show that Owen was already beaten, stabbed and bloody by this time. That’s when the bellboy heard a voice call through the door and say, “Come in. Turn on the light.” Was this Owen trying to get the man to come in and help him? We’ll never know.

To make the story, even more, perplexing the second time a bell boy was sent to the room that morning, he opened the door with the hotel passkey. This, of course, means that between the bell boy’s first contact and second contact someone had left that room and locked it from the outside. The attendant used his key and opened the darkened room. He noticed the side table was knocked over, and the phone was on the floor. A shadowy figure of a naked man lay sprawled across the bed. The bellboy would later note that there were dark shadows on the sheets around the man, but he didn’t turn on the light. Instead, the bellboy replaced the phone, closed the door, and reported that the guest was drunk on the bed. Could this man have saved Ronald T. Owen if he had taken a moment to check on him?

An hour and a half later the phone was still off the hook, and finally, the bellboy had lost his patience. He opened the door and switched on the lights to discover a horrific scene. Owen was two foot from the door and naked with a rope tied around his neck, wrists, and ankles. He was on his knees and elbows. His bloody head was in his hands. When police asked who did this Owen replied, “Nobody.” He would slip into a coma on the way to the hospital and die shortly after midnight on January 5th.

Strange Clues:

The police immediately began searching for evidence in Room 1046 but found it had been stripped. Owen’s clothes, all of his belongings, even the hotel’s shampoo and soap were missing. The only things found in the room were: a hairpin, a safety pin, a label from a tie, a bottle of undiluted sulfuric acid, and two glasses. One broken glass was in the bathroom sink and was missing a shard of glass. Four little fingerprints were found on the lampshade leading the investigators to believe they could have been from a woman.

Anonymous Benefactor:

Investigators quickly realized the name Roland T. Owen was an alias and began digging for the man’s identity. In the meantime, the body was transported to the local morgue where it was placed for public viewing in hopes of getting a definite identification on the man. Many people came forward thinking they knew the victim, but all were dismissed. This is when Robert Lane came forward and confirmed the man in the morgue was the man he had picked up on that Thursday night. Authorities claim they can’t prove this, but I find it the most credible. Owen didn’t look overly normal. With his height and scars, he was a rather imposing figure which would make him hard to forget.

After much ado, the papers announced the unknown victim with the alias Roland Owen would be buried in a pauper’s grave since no one claimed him. This prompted another series of strange events. Before the body could be buried the funeral director received an anonymous call from an unknown male. He asked them two wait a little longer in burying Owen and he would send money for a proper burial. A few days later the funeral home received an envelope filled with cash wrapped in newspaper. The donor requested the body to be buried in Memorial Park Cemetary so he could be next to the donor’s sister.

“Love Forever, Louise”:

The florist received an anonymous phone call around the same time from an unknown male. He requested 13 roses to be sent to the grave of Ronald T. Owen and the card should be signed, “Love forever, Louise.” The florist tried to ask a few questions, but the man simply stated that he was just doing this for his sister.

Another phone call:

After the newspaper article about this case was printed, the editor received a phone call from a woman. She said the report was wrong and Roland’s funeral arrangements were paid.

Searching for Don:

During one of the interchanges with the hotel staff, Owen was heard speaking on the phone to a man he called “Don.” Another time the housekeeper saw a note with the same name. Was Don a friend? Was he a Mafia Don? Investigators searched for years and couldn’t find the true identity of Don.

Artemus Ogletree:

Eighteen months after the newspaper article about this mystery a woman saw the pictures and claimed Roland T. Owen was her son Artemus Ogletree. Although original reports claimed he was in his mid-20’s, Ogletree was 17 at the time of his death. To make matters more mysterious, Mrs. Ogletree had received three separate letters from her son. They were all typewritten which she thought was strange since her son didn’t know how to type. Also, these notes used a lot of slang terms Mrs. Ogletree had never heard her son use. After researching this story, she realized those three letters could not have been from her son. Someone out there not only knew what happened Roland T. Owen in that hotel room, but they also knew his real name and his mother’s address.

One More Mysterious Caller:

If that wasn’t enough of a mystery for you, there was a new chapter to this tale that happened to a Kansas City Librarian in 2003. John Horner spent a lot of time researching this case and writing it up for the library’s blog. One day he too received a strange phone call. It was an out of state caller claiming to be going through a deceased relative’s belongings. They found a large box of newspaper articles from about the Roland T. Owen case and in the box was a specific object that had been referenced in the original newspaper article. Then, the line went dead. What was in the box? Who were the mysterious caller and their relative? Was it the woman Louise? Was it Don? Like all good mysteries. We may never know the truth in this strange tale.

Despite spreading this case across two blog posts, there are even more details I couldn’t include here. Below are some links for further reading on this strange tale.

Reddit
KC Library Archives

Retired Fireman Vanished in Texas

This week we have a guest post by blogger Giselle M. For those of you who don’t know, Synova suffered a serious injury and landed in the hospital. She appreciates all the support she has received during her recovery. Thank you, Giselle, for providing this story. 

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Retired Firefighter vanishes. Locals wonder if his wife’s affairs could have pushed him over the edge. Blood in the workshop proves otherwise. Where is Michael Chambers?

Michael Chambers, 70, disappeared in 2017 from his Hunt County home in Quinlan, about 40 miles east of Dallas. Deputies said they believe he may have been taken against his will after they found blood in his shop outside his home. A short time later they say he may have committed suicide.

Deputies say whatever happened to him most likely occurred between noon and 3 p.m. that Friday. His truck was at the house along with his keys and wallet. But police say Chambers and his cell phone and drivers’ license disappeared.

Chambers was last seen March 10 entering and then leaving the Quinlan Walmart alone. Surveillance video shows Chambers entering the store, paying for a couple of items, walking out to his truck and driving away.
Hunt County Sheriff Randy Meeks says Chambers and his family have been close friends for many years. He stated it his opinion Meeks committed suicide. The evidence shows a different story.

“I was his Sunday school teacher for several years,” the sheriff said. “I’ve never known a more devout Christian man than Michael Chambers. I trust him with my life.”

“This is absolutely unlike him. He’s not a person that just disappears,” said Cherri Hanes, Chambers’ daughter. “Someone knows something, and we plead and entreat you if that person is here, call the Hunt County Sheriff’s Department.”

The suicide theory states that this man with bad knees rode his bike twenty miles to a bridge on 9’ above the water and jumped off. No one has found the bike. No one can prove he had another bike besides the old one that still hangs in the garage.

Chambers is 6 feet 3 inches tall with balding gray hair. He has surgical scars on his right knee and both shoulders. He often wears a Dallas Fire & Rescue t-shirt. There is a $25,000 reward for specific information leading to his whereabouts.

The family has suspicions regarding his disappearance. A petition was started asking the Texas Rangers Company B to take over the investigation into the disappearance of Michael Chambers.

Simple Timeline:

– Mr. Chambers was last seen at Walmart in Quinlan at approximately 11:00 am.
– Neighbors came home around 3 PM and spent the entire afternoon working outside in the yard. (Noticed nothing unusual at the Chambers’ house)
– Later that evening Mrs. Chambers returns home to find her husband missing

Strangely, Mrs. Chambers left work around 2 PM, and her phone went off for over an hour after speaking to her boyfriend.
Some wonder if her husband found out about her affair and committed suicide. This is not the case. His wife’s infidelity was known to him for a long time.

Mrs. Chambers alleges to have arrived home from work and found her husband gone. His truck was parked at their house. The workshop on the property was found locked with Mr. Chambers’ keys, and wallet inside. Missing were his cell phone, and his Texas driver’s license. It is unconfirmed whether a small amount of cash was missing from his wallet. A large amount of money was still in the workshop, so robbery couldn’t be the motive.

Mrs. Chambers claims to have observed several “quarter” sized blood droplets on the floor of the workshop where he housed his classic cars. She stated to a family friend that she “thought it was transmission fluid.” (Samples of the blood were collected, and DNA analysis later confirmed that the blood belonged to Mr. Chambers. The Private Investigator claims there was a large amount of blood)

Mrs. Chambers called Suzy Losoya, daughter of Mr. Chambers, who told her to contact law enforcement. Mrs. Chambers called 911 at approximately 6:55 pm and reported to dispatch that she was unable to find Mr. Chambers at their home.

Mrs. Chambers then contacted a family friend, Penny Edwards, and asked her to come over to the residence because Mr. Chambers was missing. Mrs. Chambers called the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 7:45 pm. Before police arrived, Mrs. Chambers told Ms. Edwards that she needs her to “be on my side.”

Hunt County Sheriff’s Office initially dispatched a single deputy. Two others joined him after it was apparent that Mr. Chambers was in fact missing. The deputies and neighbors searched the 10 acres of the Chambers property but did not find any trace of Mr. Chambers.

Mr. Chambers’ phone was last pinged near Lake Tawokoni shortly after he disappeared.

On Wednesday, March 15, 2017, the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office searched a five-acre area near the Chambers’ property. They had the help of more than 75 volunteers. Despite the search, investigators found zero evidence.

On or around March 20, 2017, Rebecca Chambers canceled/suspended the cell phone service for two of the lines on the Chambers’ family account with Verizon. She dropped the phone numbers and turned off the service that belonged to her husband’s phone, and her son’s phone, leaving only her phone service active.

Mrs. Chambers sold Mr. Chambers’ pickup truck soon after his disappearance. It is unknown if Mr. Chambers’ vehicle financing included a credit life option which would have paid off the truck in the event of his death. On June 28, 2017, the Texas Department of Transportation issued a new title on the 2014 Dodge Ram truck that had belonged to Mr. Chambers. Rather than the new owner’s name, the title listed “Michael Chambers Rebecca Lynn Chambers” as the vehicle owner. There was no lien holder listed on the new title.

According to the Will filed, Mrs. Chambers is the sole heir to Mr. Chambers’ property at this time. Per the proceedings, Mrs. Chambers is required to deposit 50% of any proceeds she receives as a result of all community property assets sold into an escrow account to be left untouched for at least three years. Any assets that are not community property, Mrs. Chambers is allowed to keep 100% of the proceeds. A Notice to Creditors on Mr. Chambers apparent death was published in area newspapers on June 26, 2017. Also, on June 26, 2017, the Hunt County District Clerk received an Inventory, Appraisement, and List of Claims from Mrs. Chambers. (Many items appear to be undervalued in this Appraisement compared to the current market values.)
Why was this allowed? Why would she hurry to have her husband declared deceased?

On June 8, 2017, Texas EquuSearch conducted a ground search in the area of the 7000 block of FM 2101 in Quinlan. Although the search was thorough, no sign of Michael Chambers was found.

Mrs. Chambers obtained a Protective Order against her son, Justin Chambers, through the Hunt County District Court system on July 13, 2017. The exact reason is unknown. The Protective Order is in place for the next two years.

During a birthday party celebration on June 27th, Mrs. Chambers was at the home of family friend, Penny Edwards. She stated to Ms. Edwards that Mr. Chambers “was not coming back.” Ms. Edwards claims that Becca Chambers was stoic and adamant about her statement.

A red 1966 Mustang red convertible was sold to an out of state buyer on July 7, 2017. Mr. Chambers had given it to his wife as a gift at the end of 2016. The vehicle was in the name of a Chambers family member.

Mrs. Chambers expressed financial hardship soon after Michael’s disappearance. After a family discussion, it was decided that Mrs. Chambers would sell the 1966 Mustang. The other alternative was for Mrs. Chambers to file for a Death Certificate through the court system, and probate Mr. Chambers’ Will.

The family was made aware of the Death Certificate filing when Suzy Losoya, Mr. Chambers’ daughter, received a call from one of his former Dallas Fire Department coworkers asking about Chambers being deceased. When the Death Certificate was filed, the Dallas Fire Department pension board was notified. Until that time, the family had no idea that Mrs. Chambers had filed for the Death Certificate. They were under the impression that selling the Mustang was the route that she was going to take.

In the days previous to July 14, 2017, a local resident, Bradley Marion Dunn, made claims on social media that he had information on the Chambers’ case. Chambers family members spoke with Mr. Dunn during this time. He was encouraged to contact the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office.

On July 14th, Bradley Dunn met with deputies from the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office at a location near the intersection of Farm to Market Road 2101 and Rancho Road in Quinlan. Mr. Dunn, a career criminal, was said to be jittery and under the influence of some mind-altering substance. Mr. Dunn was arrested on scene by Hunt County Sheriff’s Office for having a handgun on his person. He was booked into the Hunt County Detention Center. He was also charged with a Motion to Revoke Probation. Mr. Dunn is currently in the custody of the Hunt County Detention Center, awaiting disposition of his charges.

The afternoon of August 25, 2017, law enforcement retrieved swabs from the floor of Mr. Chambers’ shop for control sample analysis processing at an independent lab. The results have not yet come back.

A realtor was observed taking photographs of the Chambers home on August 26th. The house is presumed to be on the market for sale.

Several searches for Mr. Chambers have been held since his disappearance. The Texas Department of Public Safety conducted an aerial helicopter search of the Chambers property and surrounding areas. Also, dogs were brought in from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Bonham. The dogs picked up Mr. Chambers’ scent, and trailed it to the roadway, but were unable to follow it any farther. Also, a sonar search was used on the pond across the road from the Chambers house, and even at Lake Tawakoni by TEQ.

At least two male subjects who acquaintances of Mrs. Chambers have been questioned by area law enforcement.

The Hunt County Sheriff’s Office has only responded to phone calls or emails from Mr. Chambers’ family sparingly. Despite numerous inquiries by family members, the Hunt County Sheriff’s Office has failed to request the iMessages for Mr. Chambers’ phone account from Apple. The call logs were previously given to HCSO by the family soon after Chambers’ disappearance. HCSO is refusing to deem the case as criminal, saying that no criminal acts have been committed. A private investigator was hired by the Chambers children soon after he went missing.

This retired fireman needs justice. It is unfathomable that this man was injured in his garage, then found a bike that no one can verify he owned and ride the grueling 20 miles to the bridge to commit suicide. He knew about his wife’s affairs, and there’s documented proof of it. What happened to Michael Chambers?

If you have any informtion about this case please contact the Hunt County Sheriff’s Department at 903-453-6800.

Further Information:

Reddit

Interview with P.I.

All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. 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. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.

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The Strange Case of Jayme Closs

800JaymeCloss-FBI

Someone burst into a rural home in Barron, Wisconsin in the early morning hours of October 15, 2018. Neighbors heard something that sounded like two gunshots, and twenty minutes later 911 received a garbled emergency call from Mrs. Closs’ cell phone. When police arrived, the mother was deceased, and the father died shortly after the police arrived. Thirteen-year-old Jayme Closs was missing. Where can this quiet, well-mannered teen be?

There’s a ton of online theories on this case, but the evidence released thus far doesn’t point to any of them. As of today, the parents are deceased, and Jayme is considered missing and endangered. The murder weapon wasn’t found on the scene, and the police are quick to say that Jayme is in no way a suspect in this case.

It’s been eleven days, and hundreds of tips have poured in, and the authorities are checking every one of them. The FBI is offering a $25,000 reward for information that leads to the whereabouts of Jayme.

The family members made an emotional plea for information on October 24th proclaiming their love for their missing loved one. The authorities are looking for two vehicles. Surveillance videos picked up a red or orange Dodge Challenger or Charger and a Black SUV believed to be a Ford Edge or an Acura MBX.

In a small town of 3,500 people, 2,000 volunteers gathered to search for the missing teenager. Unlike other cases, the authorities have kept the searches well organized in hopes of finding the one clue that could save a child’s life. Unfortunately, the searches haven’t yielded the smoking gun everyone was hoping for. Citizens are left to wonder why this happened and how could it have happened in their otherwise safe community.

If you have any information, please contact 1 (855) 744-3879

jayme.png

Vanished – The Amber Wilde Story

amber wilde

 

Amber Wilde was a 19-year-old student at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay working on becoming a pediatrician. Amber kept a detailed diary throughout her life and this chronical is now giving the police hope that this case can be solved. Clues in this diary lead to a suspect, but 20 years have passed with no arrests. What happened to Amber and why does her aunt believe she’s buried somewhere under the asphalt of Hwy 29?

Wednesday, September 23, 1998:

Amber is in a car accident on her way to school. Amber had re-ended the car in front of her. Although the accident was minimal, she hit her head hard on the windshield and complained of an intense headache. The drivers exchanged phone numbers and the day continued for both. Unfortunately, this would be Amber’s last day.

Amber checks in with the medical staff at the school and they advise her that she may have received a concussion. She called her father and relayed the events to him and he promised to call periodically throughout the day to check on her. The last call he received from her was around 7 pm. He was scheduled to call her first thing in the morning to make sure that she was ok before she went to class. That call went unanswered as well as several others. A worried father went to her apartment to check on her and although he found nothing obviously disturbing, he knew something was wrong. His daughter was pregnant and she had been having issues with the father of her child.

A few days pass without any word before the police find Amber’s abandoned car parked in the parking lot of Lambeau Field. Strangely, the car was unlocked, the phone was still charging on the front passenger seat, and her purse was locked in the trunk. Nothing looked odd or out of place until her father looked closer. Amber Wilde is reported as 5′ 2″ – 5′ 4″. (Some people fuss over this discrepancy, but as a short girl myself, I find my height determined by my stilettos.) The father noticed the drivers’ seat was pushed all the way back. There was no way his daughter could have driven the car with the seat in that position. Was this a clue or was this an intentional diversion?

To make things even worse, two days before her disappearance Amber’s car had been serviced and the mileage had been noted at that time. Now an extra 900 miles were on the odometer. Where had this car been?

In Amber’s diary, she outlined the love affair she had been having with a gentleman named Matthew Schneider. When she became pregnant this narrative changed drastically. She began to document their phone conversations. Schneider didn’t want his fiance or his family to find out about Amber and he didn’t want a baby. He even tried to convince her, according to Amber, to have an abortion. She refused. Could this be the motive behind Amber’s disappearance? Or, could she have run off to start a new life? Her family says it’s not possible and the police tend to agree.

When police interview Schneider he denies everything claiming that he never touched her. His fiance claims Amber was nothing more than a lovestruck teenager that had an infatuation with her man. Unfortunately, the phone records indicate that there were over 60 phone calls between Schneider and Wilde. Was he fighting for his innocence against a determined teen, or was the love affair a reality?

When Crime Watch Daily approached Schneider about this case he refused to talk. I’m sure that’s what his attorneys want him to do. What I find even more disturbing about this case is the comments by online skeptics. Some vilify the man before he can be proven guilty, but most vilify the victim claiming she had no right to approach Schneider’s family. She was a teenager that had been in love with an older man. Was he promising her the world? Who knows? But, whatever the case may be, it is never ok to murder someone.

As with all my cases, if you have any information please contact the

Green Bay Police Department (920) 448-3200

 

More information on this case:

FBI.gov

Crime Watch Daily Part 1

Crime Watch Daily Part 2

Crime Watch Daily Part 3

 

All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. 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. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.

Without a Trace

John Lee Hamilton

This week’s blog post is a guest post from fellow blogger Shurlock Holmes. More of his work can be found on the Crimeblogger1983.blogspot.com website.
By the “Consulting Detective” for the Hamilton Family:
Before I start with the entry, I want to thank Johnathan’s mom Angie for talking with me regarding her son’s case. I want to say ahead of time that I personally do not agree with many of her theories regarding her son’s disappearance. And that is ok. We both can agree to disagree. One thing I’d like to make clear is that even if we don’t agree I understand she is a mother who is in pain searching for her son. Law Enforcement should be more sympathetic to her plight. The persons named in this entry are not guilty of anything. I am simply naming the people involved to the best of my knowledge. I did try and contact Justin Edward Earls in advance. But was unable to get a hold of him. Also, I want to thank Marissa from The Vanished for making this entry a little easier. I’ll probably continue with updates to this entry whenever I have new information. So keep checking this entry if you are interested in this case.
In a recent development, Bastrop PD is checking for any connection between Jonathan’s disappearance and Centerville Texas which is located in Leon County and along Interstate 45.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Bastrop Police Department at (512) 332-8600 or (512) 332-8603

NOTE: The entire timeline of this case is open to interpretation. It’s like a puzzle. We know he left his home in Houston on the 2nd, and his car was found on the 4th in Bastrop. Bastrop Police make contact with him on the 4th. The rest is open to interpretation. I urge the readers to listen to the 2nd part of the Vanished episode. Marissa did a great job obtaining info regarding this case.

Bastrop Police Department Case Number: 2015-0560
NAMUS Case Number: 33350
Doe Network Case Number: 5173DMTX
Charley Project
The Vanished Ep-Part 1
The Vanished Ep-Part 2

JOHNATHAN LEE HAMILTON

DATE OF BIRTH: 5/28/1988
HEIGHT & WEIGHT: 6’2 210 LBS
EYE AND HAIR COLOR: BROWN
LAST SEEN: 5/4/2015 Best Buy Parking lot in BASTROP, TEXAS
WEARING: LSW denim shorts, T-Shirt “EZEKIAL” written on the front, tennis shoes (BROWN SUEDE, COLEMAN LIKE-BRAND SIZE 12.5 TO 13)
MEDICAL CONDITIONS: TYPE 1 DIABETIC, suffered from BIPOLAR DISORDER. Recently hospitalized before disappearance INSULIN DEPENDANT.
PARENTS: ANGIE SIMS-HAMILTON & MICHAEL WAYNE HAMILTON
DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS: After an accident in 2012, Johnathan has a scar on his right eye after facial reconstruction surgery. He also has a plate and screws in his hip.
HABITS: was known to drink alcohol, smoke Marlboro American Spirits

  • Jonathan lived with his parents in Houston, TX
  • was disabled on a fixed income
  • Completed his welding classes a few days before his disappearance
  • On the 27th & 28th of April, he was rushed by ambulance to two different hospitals suffering from complications of Diabetes. (EVENTUALLY DISCHARGED)
  • May 2, 2015: He left his home driving his father’s vehicle (2008 GMC ENVOY) His parents haven’t seen him since.
  • 2 days later the 2008 GMC Envoy was found in Bastrop. It was parked in a handicapped parking spot. (PARKING WAS DESCRIBED AS HAPHAZARDLY)
Bastrop is approximately a 2-hour drive from Houston

The white spot is where the car was parked. Second spot second row. However, it could have been the 1st spot of the second row as well. Either way, it was one of those two parking spaces.

  • The Bastrop PD was alerted to the car as well as a man who was “acting strangely” in the Best Buy parking lot
  • Officer Jason Pierson and Officer James Altgelt made contact with Johnathan. (THERE IS AN ISSUE ON HOW THEY VERIFIED HIS IDENTITY. ONE OF THE OFFICERS STATES HE DID SO VIA DRIVER’S LICENSE. WHICH COULDN’T HAVE HAPPENED. HE LEFT IT AT HOME. I BELIEVE THE OFFICER LIKELY FORGOT AND ASSUMED THAT HE VERIFIED WITH THE DL SINCE THAT IS PROB WHAT HE DOES THE MAJORITY OF THE TIME.)
  • The officers discovered the Missing Persons’ report filed by his parents and notified them by phone. The Hamiltons made the 2-hr drive to the Bastrop Police Dept.
  • While on the drive, Johnathan called his dad stating that he didn’t need to be picked up. He was going to leave the keys in the car which was out of gas.
  • The call was made from a cell phone from a good Samaritan. The good Samaritan’s name is JUSTIN EDWARD EARLS.
  • He apparently also called his ex-girlfriend. He told her that he had been robbed. Justin denies the robbery ever happened or was even mentioned.
  • Angie asked the Bastrop P.D. to detain Johnathan until they arrived, but they told him they couldn’t since he hadn’t broken any laws.
  • The Hamiltons even called a family member that lived nearby to ask him to pick up Johnathan since the police couldn’t hold him.
  • When the Hamiltons arrived they found the car parked where it was reported. One of the windows was rolled down and the car was ransacked. Papers from the glove box were scattered all over the floor. A bottle of perfume had been dumped in the passenger seat and the keys were missing. Johnathan’s insulin was in the car, but his meter was not.
  • THEY THEN PROCEEDED TO LEAVE TO GET GAS AND GET SOMETHING TO EAT. WHEREUPON THEY MEET JOHNATHAN’S DAD’S COUSIN. A KENNETH ERIC HAMILTON. ACCORDING TO THE ANGIE AND HER HUSBAND. KENNETH ADVISED THEM TO SEARCH THE WOODS TO FIND JOHNATHAN. AND IF HE WAS HIS KID HE WOULD “TAKE HIM INTO THE WOODS, TIE HIM TO A TREE, AND BEAT HIM.” (YEAH WOW, BUT PUT THAT IN CONTEXT OF HIM SAYING THAT IN REGARDS TO JOHNATHAN TAKING THE CAR FOR 2 DAYS AND SHOWING UP IN BASTROP AND NOT LEAVING THE KEYS TO THE CAR. THIS IS BEFORE HE HAD BEEN MISSING FOR A PROLONGED PERIOD.)
  • Kenneth E. Hamilton apparently took a call from the Bastrop P.D. on the 4th.
  • Kenneth Eric Hamilton (the family member that lived nearby) said he never made contact with Johnathan.
  • Later, he told the family that Johnathan wanted to purchase a new car for his dad and wanted Kenneth to take him to the dealership. (HE DIDNT HAVE THE MONEY FOR GAS LET ALONE A NEW VEHICLE) Besides this, the dealership was only across the street from Best Buy. Why would he need a ride?
  • There was a theft reported around the time of Johnathan’s visit. Nothing of value was taken, but some of these items were later found in the car Johnathan abandoned
COVERT CHEVROLET DEALERSHIP
  • The Hamiltons have had no contact with the cousin since 2015
  • Later that day the Hamiltons made contact with a few officers from Bastrop P.D. According to the Hamiltons, they felt intimidated by the officers. The officer began running checks on the Hamiltons and searched both cars. ONE OFFICER STATED “IF I WASN’T ON DUTY. I’D TELL YOU A STORY.” (?)
  • apparently sometime that day a police officer gave Johnathan a courtesy ride to Walmart to get money.

One of the routes he could’ve taken to get to the address. I know this is showing the driving route. Google’s walking route is the same, it just takes more time. (36 minutes)

  • Johnathan appeared at a residence located at 313 FARM TO MARKET 969 at around 11 pm.
  • He came upon the residents of the house and told them he came out of the Colorado River while canoeing but lost the oars. (SOME OF THE WITNESSES SAID HE WAS WET. OTHERS STATE HE WAS DRY. EVERYONE AGREES THAT JOHNATHAN WAS NOT IN HIS RIGHT STATE OF MIND)

313 FARM TO MARKET 969 AERIAL VIEW

  • After making contact with the residents he left the area with Justin Edward Earls who according to him to Walmart where he purchased a gift card, a bushel of bananas, and coffee. (IN ANOTHER VARIATION OF THE STORY HE BOUGHT HIM A BUSHEL OF BANANAS, A $25 GIFT CARD, AND A PACK OF WINSTON CIGARETTES. NOTE THAT THIS ISN’T THE BRAND HE USUALLY SMOKED.)
  • After that, Justin took him to Taco Bell where he ordered plain chicken tacos. Then after he had eaten he started acting normal again.
  • Justin and Johnathan then parted way and agreed to meet back up at a Taco Cabana. While at the taco place he called his grandma and told her he was sick and ended the call by throwing up.
  • In one variation of the story, Justin drops him back off at the Best Buy parking lot. The other has them parting ways at the Taco Cabana and agreeing to meet back up there.
  • Justin claims when he showed back up he couldn’t find Johnathan. Justin claimed he slept in his car all night hoping Johnathan would return, but he never saw Johnathan again.

Vietnam War Hero Killed – Where’s the Justice?

jack l robinsonJack was one of the lucky ones to survive Vietnam. He retired from the Air Force as Technical Sergeant and went on to work at the Moncrief Army Health Clinic. At 65, Jack Robinson lived a tranquil life spending his retirement volunteering. It was what most Vietnam Vets wanted. Peace. Why then was this war hero murdered near an obscure boat ramp on the edge of the Congaree River? Twenty-two years later his daughter is still asking this same question.

Jack L. Robinson was born on July 24, 1931. Jack spent 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, and upon his retirement, he went to work at the local army clinic. Jack would eventually retire from the clinic as well. He had one daughter from a former marriage named Tammy. By 1996, Jack was newly retired and spent his time volunteering with his local democratic party, and at the local homeless shelter.

Three weeks after his 65th birthday on August 17, 1996, Jack Robinson drove ten miles to the Rosewood Boat Landing. This obscure boat ramp was nothing more than a concrete slab jutting down into the Congaree River. Even most locals didn’t know of its existence. A wooded area surrounded it, and there was a rock quarry nearby. There was a gravel parking lot of sorts and here is where three witnesses were parked waiting for a nearby concert to begin.

Rosewood boat ramp pic 2

This wooded area is where Jack Robinson headed on his last day. He parked his car and witnesses said that he spoke to a Hispanic man. The two men walked off into the woods together. A moment later they heard a loud argument. They heard Jack say, “I can get you money,” and, “What do you want from me?”

Rosewood boat ramp pic 1

A moment later Jack stumbled from the woods clutching his stomach. He had been stabbed in the stomach three times and was bleeding profusely. An ambulance arrived and took him to the hospital, but he would pass away a short time later.The three witnesses gave their statements to the police, and together they came up with a composite drawing of the murderer.

According to the eyewitnesses, the man was a short, Hispanic male only about 5’5” tall. He wore aviator sunglasses, had olive colored skin, had a mustache, and was between the ages of 25-35. By all accounts, he was a small man weighing around 150-180lbs.

jack l robinson - suspect sketchDespite three reliable witnesses, the police are at a loss trying to find suspects. A year later a suspect is handed to them on a silver platter. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the right one and years would be spent trying to chase leads that didn’t exist.November 1997, Max Knoten sexually assaulted and killed a family friend named Kimberly Brown, 30. Kimberly’s sister was having problems and so Kim was caring for her niece indefinitely. Knoten put Kim’s body in the trunk of the car then took her three-year-old niece, Layla with him to “look for your aunt.” Investigators would find the bodies of the two along the Congaree River.Knoten was arrested relatively quickly after his alibi fell apart and he admitted to seeing the victim the night she went missing. He also immediately became a suspect in the Jack L. Robinson murder case. Admittedly there are a few coincidences, but there is very little in the way of evidence to link the two cases.

Links between crimes:

  • Knoten dropped the bodies off in the Congaree River.
  • Kimberly Brown had worked at the same army health clinic as Jack Robinson
  • The scent dogs led investigators from the spot of Jack’s murder to a nearby business. Knoten happened to work there.

Discrepancies between crimes:

  • Knoten is not Hispanic. He is a lighter-skinned African American
  • Knoten wasn’t 25-30 at the time of Jack’s death. He would have been 19.
  • He didn’t have a mustache at the time of Jack’s murder.
  • He is 6’ 1” and has a large build
  • Although his victim may have known Jack Robinson, there is no evidence to tie Knoten to Jack.

Despite these discrepancies, the authorities ran with this lead for years and even let Jack’s daughter, Tammy think that if Knoten ever got out of prison, they would put him on trial for her father’s death. Tammy believed this and went on with her life the best that she could. Years would pass, and in the mid-2000’s she was internet surfing trying to find some relatives when she came across her father’s case. Instead of showing it as solved, it was plastered all over the cold case page. His case was classed as “victim killed by the unknown suspect, no motives determined.”Tammy was in shock. She felt as if she was transported by to 1996 and was starting all over. After researching further, she found the charges against Max Knoten had been dropped three years after his arrest. Cold case investigators now think the man was in this country illegally and think that’s why they are struggling to find him.A little information on the area in 1996:Up the road from where Jack was killed was a large open-air vegetable market. These markets tended to employ a lot of illegal aliens, and the owners would house and shelter them. This was a well-known fact, but it also clouds the investigation drastically. I contend, if the murderer was an illegal alien and was being sheltered by locals, then someone knows this man. Although investigations have been ongoing, no one has been to the market to spread flyers or interview the market owners.Jack was also a volunteer at the local homeless shelter. Could the man have been from the homeless shelter? No one will ever know. It seems while the investigators were distracted with Knoten that no one ever visited this shelter to inquire about Hispanic males staying there. A lot of these shelters don’t keep excellent records, and most wouldn’t have those records 22 years later.

Another possible wild goose chase?It would seem that once the investigators stopped focusing on Max Knoten on this case they turned their focus to the gay community. While the daughter is out doing interviews and trying to get media attention, the police are saying that her father was killed by a jilted lover. No one can verify this, but that’s the theory the investigators seem to be stuck on now.My thought is whether the man was gay or not the investigators need to question the nearby business that hired illegal Hispanic males. That’s the first obvious step. Then question those that worked at the homeless shelter. Whatever this man’s sexual preference every avenue needs to be checked out.

What can be done now?It’s a well-known fact that most cold cases are solved one of two ways. New advances in DNA testing will sometimes lead to the perpetrator. Unfortunately, DNA testing, in this case, has brought no answers. The other way to solve a cold case is to have new witnesses come forward. That is our best hope with this case. People don’t come forward for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they are afraid. Sometimes they don’t realize the information they have is valuable. In reality, they may hold the one tiny piece that fits the entire puzzle together. Somebody knows this man. Please come forward.

Jack L. Robinson was willing to sacrifice his life in Vietnam for your freedoms. Don’t let this man’s death go unsolved. Where is the justice for this hero?

jack l robinson - military pic 2

If you have any information, please contact the Richland County Sherriff’s Department(803) 576-3000 or 1-888-CRIME-SC

More information on this case:http://www.blogtalkradio.com/unresolved/2018/01/21/jack-robinsonhttps://www.fugitive.com/2015/09/25/jackson-robinson-murdered-on-south-carolina-boat-ramp-in-1996-sheriffs-detectives-release-suspect-sketch-on-this-cold-case/http://news.midlandscrimestoppers.com/2015/03/cold-case-jack-robinson.html


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. 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. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


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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 below and on the sidebar of 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.

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Black Gold Runs Blood Red in Texas: Finale

Last week we left wondering who in the world owns Janice Willhelm’s 7-acre farm just outside of Centerville, Texas. Her husband, Gerald Willhelm, had died mysteriously less than a week after he gave an interview to the media. While there is no one left to contest his sudden heart attack and cremation, Janice’s family still fights for justice in this greedy land grab.

Although, the lawsuits were still pending Gerald’s will was quickly probated and pushed through the system. He left his wife’s farm to a blond banker from town and one of the witnesses that signed off on Janice’s forged will. While the banker’s mother swears her daughter just had a “Father/Daughter” type relationship with Gerald Wilhelm, Janice’s family refuse to believe such a thing. It will be proven in court one way or another, but in the meantime, Janice’s children are still fighting.

Janice Willhelm’s will was a blatant forgery, and this has been verified by two different handwriting experts. The will was pushed through without the children’s knowledge. This is one battle for the Robeson family, but sadly, there is more.

Morris and his wife Mable raised their grandson as their own child and treated him accordingly. Unfortunately, this seems to have driven a wedge between their eldest son and their unofficially adopted one. Before Morris’ murder, the uncle began to wage war on the grandson, and it continues to this day. After the death, Mable sold her grandson a part of the property on the contingency that she could live out her days in the home. Of course, he agreed. This, unfortunately, drove the wedge deeper causing the uncle to file lawsuit after lawsuit trying to pry the property from his nephew’s hands. The vindictive man even used his own mother’s name to file a lawsuit. When contacted, however, Mable was shocked by it and demanded that it be dropped. If I went into every detail of this family feud, this blog series would last for another year. After reviewing all the evidence, I am left with one question that I will relate to you.

Was this uncle so greedy that he would cause, or allow the murders of his own father and his sister?

When his daughter was caught talking, she was suddenly found dead in her home from an overdose. Yes, she was an addict, but it seems strange nonetheless. Everyone that crosses the uncle seems to end up in endless litigation or six feet under the Texas dirt.

This case continues and continues to fight for justice. This case has been appealed all the way up to the Texas Rangers only to hit a brick wall there as well. The only hope at this point may be the FBI and the media. If you have been a victim of corruption in Leon County, Texas, you can visit http://texaspubliccorruption.com/ and submit your story anonymously.

Don’t let the saying “Texas Justice” stand for bullying by corrupt officials. Let Texas Justice stand for truth and the good ole’ American way. 

Black Gold Runs Blood Red in Texas: Part 4

Janice Willhelm

Part four of this saga leads us back to the beginning of this tragic tale; the strange death of disabled, Janice Robeson Wilhelm. Just to recap, Janice was found dead from a gunshot wound to her neck. She was sitting up in her recliner with her hands tucked neatly under her lap blanket.

The .45 caliber bullet entered the back left-hand side of her neck and traveled downward passing into her lungs and severing her spinal cord. This caused instant paralysis. Despite this, the authorities would have you believe that she threw the gun six foot away from her chair, and tucked her hands back under her blanket.

Below are two pictures of the crime scene. The only changes that were made to these photos are the addition of the blacked out portions hiding the graphic details of the deceased’s wounds.

Notice the following:

  • The gun is laying 6 – 8 feet away from the deceased. If this had been a suicide, then the weapon would have fallen directly beside the chair, not six foot away in front of the couch.
  • The shell casing is found several feet away behind the couch. Again, this wouldn’t be the case in a suicide. The casing would have landed in the chair or amongst the blankets.
  • It has been reported that the blood under the recliner was already coagulated. Why? If this happened as Gerald claimed, then the police arrived 12 – 15 minutes later then there is no way that blood would be in such a state.
  • A gunshot residue test was done on Janice Wilhelm’s hands but was somehow lost in transit between the Dallas Medical Examiner’s office and the Leon County Sherriff’s office.

Blatant Lies:

Gerald claims in the 911 call that Jan killed herself because she was out of pain medication and they couldn’t afford more. This was proven false. The crime scene photos clearly showed Janice’s medication sitting on the table beside her chair, and the toxicology reports state she had pain meds in her system at the time of her death. Also, the children were able to prove that not only were Janice’s medicines mostly covered by Medicare, and the small remainder only amounted to a $5/month copayment.

The report states that Janice left a suicide note. It was later determined that the so-called note was nothing more than a diary of her symptoms and the medications she had taken. These standard nursing notes were what they claimed to be a suicide note.

Final Proof of Homicide:

July 2001:

Janice Wilhelm was admitted to the Baylor Richardson Medical Center surgery. A large tumor measuring 4″ x 4 3/4″ x 3″ was removed from the upper portion of her left arm leaving the muscular tissue and tendons severely damaged. This surgery saved her life but left her dominant arm nearly useless. Janice would no longer be able to lift her arm above her chest.

June 2015:

Vincent J.M. Di Maio, M.D. a forensic pathologist out of Dallas, reviewed Janice Wilhelm’s medical records and determined that it would be impossible for her to have committed suicide in such a manner. 

Aftermath & Motives Revealed:

The family waited for word of a will but were repeatedly told that Janice didn’t leave one. Then, suddenly within a couple months of her death, Janice’s will was quietly pushed through probate court.

After fighting to get a copy of her mother’s will, Janice’s daughter was surprised at the supposed signature of her mother. It wasn’t even close to her mother’s signature, and yet there it was, and two people had witnessed it.

Finally, it was determined that both so-called witnesses had not seen Janice sign the documents at all. They were pre-signed before being presented for a witness signature. 

Why would anyone want seven acres of farmland in this area? Oil

Despite the will being a blatant forgery and the lawsuits pending, Gerald Wilhelm signed off, and the oil companies came in. An oil well and a gas well were fully functioning within a year of Janice Wilhelm’s death. The Clayton #1H well generated $400,000 worth of royalties within the first eight months of its existence. Can we say motive?

Cold Case did a segment on this case in 2010, and Gerald Wilhelm actually agreed to an interview but refused to let it be recorded because of the pending lawsuits. Strangely, he was dead within a week after the show aired. He supposedly died of a heart attack, but there was no autopsy, and he was cremated before anyone could request one.

I wish I could say that was the end, but there are a few more twists in this homicidal tale. I will leave you with one question.

Who owns that land and oil wells now?

I will give you a hint. It’s a toss-up between a blond banker, a ranch hand, and a false witness. Mix that with an extramarital affair, a vindictive family member, and big oil, and you will have the tale coming next week.


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. 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. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


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


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 below and on the sidebar of 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.


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Janice Willhelm