9-1-1 Victim or Missing Person? Sneha’s Story – Guest Post Thursday

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Photo courtesy of Guest Blogger’s Facebook Page

September 11, 2001

In the aftermath of the September 11th terrorist attacks, Sneha Philip’s image was one of the thousands on flyers plastered around New York City’s Ground Zero. Surrounded by so many missing-person photos, it was easy to miss the detail that differentiated the 31-year-old Indian-American physician from the others. The flyer of Sneha Philip read, “Missing since Monday, September 10th.”

As with many victims of the World Trade Center bombings, the remains of Sneha Philip were never found. It isn’t clear if she was in the vicinity of the World Trade Center when the twin towers came tumbling down. In fact, no one saw Sneha on September 11; the last confirmed sighting of her was on the evening of September 10.

Sneha was ruled legally dead in 2004 but was not declared a victim of the terrorist attacks. That decision, however, was reversed on appeal, and today, she is officially listed as a victim of the September 11 attacks, and her name appears on the National September 11 Memorial.

Sneha Philip and her husband Ron Lieberman lived in the Battery Park City section of New York City, four blocks from where the World Trade Center stood.

Both Ron and Sneha were physicians. Ron was a doctor at Jacoby Hospital while Sneha was in her third year of residency at St. Vincent’s Hospital, now Richmond University Medical Center.

Ron left home for work at 11:15 a.m. on September 10, 2001; Sneha had the day off, but it would hardly be a day of relaxation.

That morning, Sneha had been arraigned in court on a charge of filing a false complaint to the police. She had accused an intern at work of grabbing her inappropriately, but police found no evidence supporting the claim. Sneha was charged with filing the false report after refusing to recant her claim.

When Ron returned home at 11:15 p.m., Sneha was still gone. He assumed she had spent the night with either a brother or a cousin who lived nearby; she often did so when he worked late.

Sneha, however, still had not returned home the following morning, September 11, when Ron left for work at 7:30. After an airplane hit the first tower at 8:46 a.m. (EST), Ron called home to check on Sneha but received no answer. At 10:30 a.m., Ron phoned home again, shortly after the second plane crashed into the second tower. Due to the burgeoning chaos, however, the phone lines were dead.

After the lines were restored several hours later, Ron phoned home but again received no answer. He was able to reach Sneha’s brother and cousin, but Sneha had not spent the evening of September 10 with either of them. Ron was soon able to reach other relatives and friends who also knew nothing of Sneha’s whereabouts. When Ron was finally able to return to the couple’s apartment, he learned no one who had been in the building that morning had seen Sneha.

Ron filed a Missing Person report with the New York City Police Department. The police were inundated with such reports and didn’t have the manpower to thoroughly investigate all of them.

When Ron returned home at 11:15 p.m., Sneha was still gone. He assumed she had spent the night with either a brother or a cousin who lived nearby; she often did so when he worked late.

Sneha, however, still had not returned home the following morning, September 11, when Ron left for work at 7:30. After an airplane hit the first tower at 8:46 a.m. (EST), Ron called home to check on Sneha but received no answer. At 10:30 a.m., Ron phoned home again, shortly after the second plane crashed into the second tower. Due to the burgeoning chaos, however, the phone lines were dead.

After the lines were restored several hours later, Ron phoned home but again received no answer. He was able to reach Sneha’s brother and cousin, but Sneha had not spent the evening of September 10 with either of them. Ron was soon able to reach other relatives and friends who also knew nothing of Sneha’s whereabouts. When Ron was finally able to return to the couple’s apartment, he learned no one who had been in the building that morning had seen Sneha.

Ron filed a Missing Person report with the New York City Police Department. The police were inundated with such reports and didn’t have the manpower to thoroughly investigate them all.

Gallant initially theorized Sneha may have stopped for a drink and/or supper at the nearby Millennium Hotel and that something may have happened there that led to her disappearance.

The hotel was closed down after the attacks, and the entire area where Sneha was last seen was in ruins. If something happened to her at the hotel, it would be virtually impossible to prove.

However, five days after the attacks, a clerk at the Century 21 Department Store contacted police after seeing Sneha’s missing person flyer. The clerk recognized Sneha and recalled her being with another woman in the store on the evening of September 10. Her companion appeared to be of Indian descent. Sneha told the clerk the woman was a friend.

Ron and Ken viewed the tape again and could see two women leaving the department store together. They believe Sneha to be one of the women but cannot say for sure. None of Sneha’s friends or relatives could identify the woman.

The woman who may be Sneha was carrying two large bags of merchandise which were not found at her apartment, suggesting she never returned home.

This possible sighting of Sneha with another woman led Ron and Ken to speculate she may have stayed at this woman’s home on the evening of September 10. The woman could also have been visiting the city and staying at a hotel. They theorize the woman may have been an old friend whom neither Ron nor Sneha’s inner circle knew. If this were the case, Sneha might have been heading home at the approximate time of the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Sneha’s friends and family believe if she were in the area at the time of the attacks, she, as a doctor, would have tried to help the wounded. Had she done so, she most likely died in the attacks.

Police initially believed it possible that Sneha disappeared of her own accord.

In addition to her legal troubles related to the alleged false complaint, Sneha had been reprimanded at work several times for arriving late and for a drinking problem. She was on thin ice; one more screw up and she would be fired.

Several acquaintances alleged Sneha had a substance abuse problem, that she and Ron were having marital troubles, and that she had engaged in several lesbian affairs. Those contentions are denied by both Ron and Sneha’s families.

Despite the initial suspicions, most investigators came to the conclusion that Sneha perished as the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed on that awful day.

Police could never identify either woman seen on the department store video. They believe if it is Sneha on the tape, the other woman is the key to learning her fate.

The second woman was described as possibly being of East Indian descent, approximately 5’2, 115-120 pounds, with short black hair.

In 2002, Ron Lieberman petitioned to have Sneha declared a victim of the September 11 attacks.

A Circuit Court declared Sneha Philip legally dead in 2004 but also ruled evidence to conclude she had died in the September 11 attacks was insufficient. In January of 2008, an appeals judge agreed there was no proof Sneha had perished in the Twin Towers but concluded it was the most likely explanation for her disappearance.

Sneha Philip is now officially listed as a victim of the September 11 attacks. Her name is located on Panel S-66 of the National September 11 Memorial’s South Pool.

The September 11 victim’s fund closed in 2003, and Ron never collected any monetary compensation from it.


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:


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 “beaglelover.”)

This week’s Recommended Reading:


I Survived the Attacks of September 11th, 2001 (I Survived 6)


The 9/11 Commission Report: Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (Authorized Edition)


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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Tammy’s Terrible Trek – The Tammy Zywicki Case

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Photo courtesy of Murders, Missing People, and more Mysteries Facebook Group

Guest Post By Ian Granstra:

The July 2018 disappearance of 20-year-old Mollie Tibbetts made national headlines. When the University of Iowa student’s remains were discovered shortly over a month later, people across Iowa and America were devastated. It is still hard to fathom how an All-American girl in the prime of her life was killed by a man she had never met. Sadly, Mollie’s was not the first horrific murder involving an Iowa coed.

On September 1, 1992, 21-year-year Grinnell College student Tammy Zywicki met a similar fate. Nine days after she was last seen, her remains were found in southwest Missouri. Both girls attended colleges in Iowa, and they were petite, attractive women in their early twenties. Each victim was stabbed, and neither knew her assailant. There is one significant difference between the brutal deaths of these two young women. A suspect has been arrested and is awaiting trial in the murder of Mollie Tibbetts. After 27 years, no one has been charged with the slaying of Tammy Zywicki.

 Zywicki hailed from New Jersey but was attending college in Grinnel, Iowa. Her brother Darren was a student at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. On Sunday, August 23, 1992, Tammy drove her brother to his dorm room. She departed Evanston that afternoon en route to Grinnell where her classes for the 1992-93 school year began the following day. The distance between the two schools is just under 300 miles, and Tammy planned to arrive in Grinnell that evening. 

 In the late afternoon of August 23, an Illinois state trooper found a 1985 Pontiac T1000 abandoned at the side of Interstate 80 near LaSalle, Illinois, approximately 100 miles southwest of Evanston. He assumed the car had mechanical difficulties and that the occupant had pulled to the side of the road to fix them. The following day, after finding the car still sitting beside the highway, the Illinois State Police towed the vehicle. The car with New Jersey license plates turned out to be Tammy Zywicki’s.

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Photo courtesy of Murders, Missing People, and more Mysteries Facebook Group

The Illinois police soon received a call from a concerned woman in Marlton, New Jersey. JoAnn Zywicki told them her daughter had not arrived in Grinnell as planned. A sinister scenario was unfolding. An attractive college girl was missing, and her car abandoned along the side of a busy highway. Authorities feared the worst. Nine days later, those fears were confirmed.

 On September 1, Tammy’s body was found in a ditch off Interstate 44 just east of Sarcoxie in Lawrence County, Missouri, 22 miles east of Joplin. She was bound in duct tape and wrapped in a red blanket. An autopsy determined Tammy was sexually assaulted and stabbed eight times. The location of Tammy’s remains was approximately 500 miles from where the car was discovered.

 Several motorists traveling along Interstate 80 on August 23 came forward saying they saw Tammy standing near her car at mile marker 83 near LaSalle in north-central Illinois. These sightings were all believed to have been between 3:10 and 4 p.m. The witnesses also recalled seeing a white tractor-trailer parked near Tammy’s car. It was described as five-axle with rust-colored diagonal stripes on the trailer and cab. A logo was juxtaposed over the lines, but no one could recall from which company.

One witness recalled seeing Tammy standing beside her car on the shoulder of the Interstate. The car’s hood was open, and an agitated Tammy appeared to be struggling to fix the problem. A man was standing near the vehicle, watching as Tammy played mechanic. He was described as 35-40 years old, white, and at least six feet tall with dark, bushy hair. 

A September 1992 Des Moines Register article stated the witness who reported seeing the man was a male trucker, but later reports say the witness was a female nurse. The nurse also reported that a woman came for a blood test to the medical facility where the nurse worked that same day of August 23. The patient said her husband was a trucker and that he had recently given her a musical watch. The description matched that of a watch Tammy possessed when she left Evanston and which has not been found. 

 The long-haul truck driver and possible serial killer Bruce Mendenhall is a person of interest in Tammy’s murder. 

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Photo courtesy of Murders, Missing People, and more Mysteries Facebook Group

In 2007, Mendenhall was arrested for the murder of 25-year-old Sara Hulbert in Tennessee. Subsequently, his truck was examined, and the blood of several murdered or missing women was found in it. None of the blood, however, was determined to be Tammy’s. 

Mendenhall was convicted of Sara Hulbert‘s murder In 2010. He has also been charged with the murders of three other women at truck stops in Indiana, Tennessee, and Alabama. He is also a suspect in the murders of women in New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Georgia, and his native Illinois. Mendenhall is currently imprisoned in Tennessee. 

One source I found says Mendenhall has been ruled out as a suspect in Tammy’s murder because it was proven he was not in the midwest at the time. Other sources, however, say he has not been officially cleared.

 The name  that is mentioned most frequently as the possible killer of Tammy Zywicki is that of another long-haul trucker, Lonnie Bierbrodt. He had been sentenced to three concurrent twenty-year terms in prison for two armed robberies and attempted murder but was somehow paroled in 1990. 

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Photo courtesy of Murders, Missing People, and more Mysteries Facebook Group

In addition to his violent past, many investigators consider Bierbrodt the prime suspect in Tammy’s murder because he had been visiting family who lived only a few minutes from where Tammy was last seen in Illinois, and he lived near where Tammy’s body was discovered in Missouri. Also, the red blanket covering Tammy’s body bore a Kenworth logo; Bierbrodt drove a Kenworth truck which he had steam-cleaned and sold shortly after Tammy’s murder. 

Articles state authorities identified Beribrodt as the man seen with Tammy, that he was questioned, and that he provided blood and hair samples. Bierbrodt died in 2002 at age 41. Several newspaper articles state that the nurse at the medical facility identified the man she saw as Bierbordt, and that police determined he was the man seen with Tammy along the side of the Interstate. 

Robert Kotlarek is a member of our group and also operates the Facebook group, “Who Killed Tammy Zywicki.” He clarifies this point below. This information was told to him by Martin McCarthy, the now-retired lead detective in investigating Tammy’s murder, and Tammy’s mother, JoAnn: 

“The bushy-haired, semi-truck driver has gotten conflated with Bierbrodt over the years. Like the old “telephone” game children play (or once played), the information has gotten distorted. The nurse witness reported seeing a green pick-up truck and a man with “short brown hair” that was possibly “thinning on top.” She later (December of 1992) thought that Lonnie was the man she saw on the side of the road. Bierbrodt’s wife Carrie did own a blue pick-up that was sold after Tammy was murdered. The nurse witness never mentioned a semi-truck in her initial interview with police, and as far as we can tell Bierbrodt was not driving a semi in Illinois on August 23, 1992. So basically, the “bushy-haired” truck driver and the nurse witness’ description of the man that matched Lonnie Bierbrodt are from (at least) two separate accounts.” 

Join Robert’s group, “Who Killed Tammy Zywicki.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/71031476920/?hc_location=ufi

 

The FBI still features Tammy’s case on its website and continues to offer a $50,000 reward for information leading to the identity of her killer. Also, a separate $100,000 reward is being provided by an anonymous person or group from Tammy’s hometown of Marlton, New Jersey. The FBI has DNA evidence obtained from Tammy’s body, which they believe will lead to the killer’s identity. 

If you have any information about the murder of Tammy Zywicki, please contact the Illinois State Police at (815) 726-6377 or the Chicago FBI Field Division Office at (312) 421-6700.


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:

IowaColdCase

Chicago Tribune

Reddit


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 crime 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 “beaglelover.”)

 


This week’s Recommended Reading:


The Face of Evil: The True Story of the Serial Killer, Robert Black


The Happy Face Murderer: The Life of Serial Killer Keith Hunter Jesperson


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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A Strange Suicide – The Controversy Surrounding the Autopsy & Death of Lt. Dan Anderson

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A very tidy 80-yr-old trudges out through his grassy lawn in his sock feet with his pants undone, shoots himself in the head, falls backward leaving an abrasion on the back of his head, and then flops over cutting his shin and bruising the top of his toes. If that wasn’t enough to question the suicide ruling then hold on, there’s more. Why did he have gun powder residue on BOTH hands when the hairpin trigger on his service revolver was easily manageable? Why did the blood splatter on his pants look as if he were kneeling? Why were the bullet casings destroyed a few days later WITHOUT the consent of family? Why was the daughter’s name forged on the consent form?


April 18, 2003:
Around 4:30 pm, Lt. Dan Anderson supposedly walked out to his driveway and shot himself in the head with his service revolver. Anderson lived on a busy street, yet there weren’t any witnesses during rush hour traffic. Years later the police somehow drag up two people who say they heard a gunshot sometime in the afternoon, but no one can find these witnesses to re-question them. It seemed they appeared just in time for the FOIA request but disappeared again afterward. Who knows? All of that is merely speculation. I will let you speculate on your own time. Here are the facts of this case as I can prove from interviewing the victim’s family and working through the official autopsy.
Ms. Learn told the police that Dan had sent her to the store to buy cigarettes, and when she returned, she found him in the driveway. The FOIA documents clearly state what she told the police. Learn told the investigator that she parked right behind Dan Anderson’s Cadillac and she confirmed that this car was still there when she moved out of the house later that day after the death of Anderson. I will tell you why that is significant later.
Around midnight Phyllis received a phone call from her father’s attorney stating that Dan Anderson had committed suicide. She fell to the floor, devastated and screamed, “not again.” She packed up and went to Gulfport. When she got there the coroner, Gary Hargrove wouldn’t allow her to see her father’s body. Instead of showing some compassion for the grieving family, he chose to be rude and arrogant. Since she wasn’t getting anywhere with the coroner, Phyllis drove over to her father’s house. She expected to see some evidence of a crime. Instead, the house looked like nothing had happened. There wasn’t any crime scene tape, the driveway was clean, and there weren’t any bloodstains. She walked into the house looking for evidence of violence but found none. It was as if time had stopped, and this was a bad dream.
Dan liked to keep everything neat and tidy, but the house looked as if it had been detailed. There wasn’t a speck of dust in the place. To make matters worse, Learn had lived there for a month, and there wasn’t any evidence of her left. Phyllis said she couldn’t even find a bobby pin. In the FOIA papers MS. Learn said she only lived there four days, but Phyllis had received a phone call about her two weeks before her father’s death, so we know that’s a lie.
As Phyllis slowly took in her surroundings, she noticed something odd. On the nightstand by her father’s bed was a carton of cigarettes with four packs in it. She walked into the den where her father spent a lot of time, and there were two more packs on the end table. One pack was full, and the other was only missing four cigarettes. Why had Learn gone out for cigarettes when there were so many packs laying around the house?
She also noticed that her father’s valuables had been taken. He was a 33rd degree Mason and had beautiful rings, but they were nowhere to be found. All the china and crystal in the house had been thinned out and the remaining pieces spaced out on the shelves so their removal wouldn’t be apparent. The more she looked, the more she noticed things missing. Also, the Cadillac wasn’t in the driveway anymore. Police would later claim that it had been sold months before her father’s death but remember the FOIA papers said that it was IN THE DRIVEWAY on the day of Anderson’s death.
Now let’s move on to the autopsy report. If you aren’t already questioning this case and its suicide ruling the first few lines of the autopsy report will force you to question it.
The autopsy diagnoses dated 4-19-2003 states the following:

  1. One recent gunshot wound of the head entering the right temple, contact, exiting the left temple through the brain (no bullet in the wound)
  2. blood spatter and powder particles on BOTH HANDS

Ok. It also states that his pants were unbuttoned and the zipper down. His socks were covered in dry plant material. It also indicates that his fingernails and toenails were neatly clipped and clean.
Ok. Here goes the rant…
Dan Anderson was a tidy person, and I’ve been told that wouldn’t go outside in his sock feet. If he wanted to, there was a driveway and a sidewalk to walk on. He was particular enough to have nice nails, but he ran outside with his pants undone?
The documents say one hammerless Smith & Wesson 38 service revolver, four bullets, one shell casing, and one leather holster was recovered from the scene. No one recovered the spent bullet. The autopsy said it was a through and through wound, so why wasn’t it recovered in the grass? No ballistics testing was done to prove that this gun was the weapon used to kill Anderson. To make it even worse, the FOIA request shows the police department destroyed the bullets and shell casing four days after Anderson’s death. They sent Phyllis a copy of this release that she supposedly had signed. Phyllis swears she has never seen the paper before and the signature on the bottom of it was not hers.
Who signed Phyllis’ name?
Dan Anderson was 80, but he was a strong man and didn’t suffer from Parkinson’s disease. Why then would he have to use both hands to fire his service revolver? Remember the autopsy said there was gunshot residue and blood spatter on BOTH hands. Anderson showed no signs of suicidal tendencies.
Now here comes the outline of the wounds found on Dan Anderson’s body, excluding the gunshot wound. To reconstruct these wounds, I got help from my son. I drew all the markings on his hands and legs with a washable marker and photographed them. This is what I found.
Left index fingertip anteriorly (meaning the palm side) there was a fresh wound. The left middle finger dorsally (meaning the backside of the hand) over the proximal Phalanx was another wound. Proximal Phalanx means the backside of the hand down between the base of the finger and the first knuckle.
The autopsy also states he had a large wound on the FRONT of his RIGHT shin and on the top of the right big toe. Lastly, it says he had an abrasion on the back of the left-hand side of his head just above the hairline. Dan Anderson had male pattern baldness.
If Lt. Anderson somehow shot himself with both hands and fell BACKWARD, that would account for the wound on the back of his head. If this is the case, then why the scrape down his right shin and his right toe? If he fell FORWARD, he might receive a small abrasion on his knee, but not a large scrape, and he wouldn’t have a wound on the back of his head.
My armchair conclusion is Lt. Anderson’s death should not be ruled suicide. It is highly unlikely that this man would suddenly decide to send off his housekeeper, undo his pants, walk out in his front yard and shoot himself using both hands on his snub-nosed revolver. He wasn’t drunk. He wasn’t suicidal, and he cared about neatness enough to keep both his fingernails and toenails groomed.
The officials would like to make you believe this is what happened, and to add to the fairytale, he must have shot, then fell forward, dragged himself around the yard scrapping his leg up, then dropped down upon his back hitting the back of his head. If all of that makes sense to you, then I must add all the details of the missing items and the missing Cadillac. If you believe all of that, then I have some oceanfront property in Kansas that I would like to sell to you.
After writing about this case a year ago, Phyllis has been blessed to find a forensic investigator willing to take on her case. This investigator has found many new details about this case, and witnesses have come forward to clear up some missing links. Now, there is some indication that the original autopsy might have been manipulated to bolster the suicide claims. Unfortunately, those details must be held close until after the trial, but you can bet your bottom dollar I will be writing more about it when I get the green light.


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.

More Information On This Case:

BlogTalkRadio

ForeverMissed

Slabbed

Murdered In Mississippi


This week’s 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.©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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wp-image-675446049

seriously-stupid-box-set.jpg

Click on the pictures to read more about each title and order your copy!


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

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Battered, Bruised, and Betrayed: The Terry Brooks Rewis Story

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Photo courtesy of the Is There No Justice For Terry Brooks “Bubba” Rewis Facebook Page

He went to a street festival in Midville, GA, with a group of friends. Some say he walked home after a fight broke out, and others say he was riding the back of a truck with a few other people. Either way, he ended up dead on the highway. What happened to this young man? Was this a fatal hit and run accident, or a vicious murder? Seventeen years later, the files are missing, and no one is sure what happened to Rewis.


Terry Brooks “Bubba” Rewis, 23 was a jokester and enjoyed spending time with his family. He had a rough childhood and found himself jumping from one foster home to another. His sister remembers he tried to make everyone laugh despite the difficult circumstances. By 2002, Rewis was living in Nunez, Georgia and was trying to get his life back together after a few run-ins with the law.
April 21, 2002, was the annual Ogeechee River Redbreast Festival in Midville, a town twenty-five miles north of Nunez. Rewis attended the festival with a friend named James Kirby and a few others. At some point, a fight broke out, and the police were called in to break it up. At this point in the narrative, the reports begin to vary. Some people say, Terry Rewis was asked to leave, so he took off walking towards home. This might be feasible if he lived in town. To make it back to Nunez, Terry would have to walk 25.7 miles south along HWY 56 in the dark. If you race down this highway on Google Earth, you will see there isn’t one street light to be found until you get down to Swainsboro.
Another witness claims, Terry and a group of people piled into a pickup truck and headed south. Terry and a few others were riding in the back. This witness also claims a fight broke out while the vehicle sped down the highway towards Swainsboro. During the scuffle, Terry Rewis was thrown from the moving vehicle and subsequently ran over. This was the story that circulated around the small town of Nunez according to the woman.
Whatever the case, two hunters would find the mutilated remains of Terry Rewis the next morning. It appeared his body had been drug several yards down the highway at a high rate of speed.
Of course, the rumor mill kicked into high gear feeding information to the family and friends, but no physical evidence could be found to help them get justice for their beloved Terry. To make matters worse, it seemed as if the investigation wasn’t high on the priority list. A lot of times during investigations, the police are working quietly behind the scenes, and the family becomes frustrated because they don’t see any results. We may never know if this was the case because, in 2017, the new investigator informed the family that the original files on the case had been lost.
If this were the end of the story, I would tend to believe that this might just be a terrible accident, and the crime was abandoning the scene of a crash. Basically, the case seems to scream vehicular manslaughter, but some unusual things have come out in the 17-year fight for justice.
Four months later another young man was found dead beside the road only a few streets over from HWY 56. His name was James Felton Williams. He was only 19, and it isn’t clear if he had any ties to Terry Rewis. The location, the timing, and some of the accident details seem to parallel Terry’s case.
In 2016, NBC did a write up about Terry’s case, and in 2017, Terry’s sister hosted a “Keeping Memories Alive” event in Swainsboro. Shortly beforehand, James Kirby had spoken with Terry’s sister for over an hour. He didn’t offer any details about that fateful night, but repeatedly expressed his condolences and told her how much he cared for Terry. Several days after the event, Kirby was dead. Investigators are torn on the cause of death. Some say it was an overdose others say it was a brain aneurism. We may never know what happened on that night in 2002 between these two best friends. If you happen to have information on this case, please come forward. You can contact the Emanuel County Sherrif’s Department at (478) 237-7526.


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This week’s Recommended Reading:

Terry’s story is part of the award-winning Grief Diaries series featuring true stories about real-life experiences, Project Cold Case is a portable support group for people who have lost a loved one to an unsolved kidnapping or murder. Filled with answers to poignant questions, the stories invite readers into a world where they’re surrounded by warmth and compassion as they seek comfort and understanding in the aftermath of their own loss.


Grief Diaries: Project Cold Case

Grief Diaries: Project Cold Case


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.

Further Reading:
NBC News
Podcast about Terry
Terry’s Facebook Pg
Youtube


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. 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.


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


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!


terrybrooksrewis

Deadly Secrets: The Death of A Father

D4E5C044-3733-42CE-BF29-F9A2DD6C73D9 Photo courtesy of the Murdered In Mississippi Facebook Page

A gambling addiction got him mixed up in something too big to handle, but impossible to escape. He held his tongue after the ambush of Buford Pusser although his car may have been used without his knowledge. He kept their secrets despite them killing his crippled son, and he fought valiantly to keep his daughter safe. Now, it was time to pay the piper and Lt. Dan Anderson knew it. 


If you have been following my Mobster Monday posts, then you have heard the name Lt. Dan Anderson before. His story is interwoven throughout the entire series on the Dixie Mafia going all the way back to Buford Pusser up at the state line. By this point, it has been established that Anderson’s Cadillac was most likely the one used in the ambush of Buford Pusser and his wife on New Hope Rd. on August 12, 1967. Strangely, this car disappeared right after the death of Ronnie Anderson, Dan’s son.

For years, Phyllis, Dan’s daughter called the Gulfport police department begging them to look into her brother’s mysterious suicide case. They always refused to re-open the case and within minutes of her call to the police, Dan would call her and tell her to back off. This was the game for over thirty years until the fragile house of cards began to crumble one day in the fall of 2002. The sweet and sassy southern bell always visited her father over the holidays to celebrate his birthday. It was a tradition to go to the local waffle house and this year was no different. A chance encounter during this trip would bring down the house and culminate in the death of Dan Anderson.

During the meal, Phyllis noticed her father’s demeanor change drastically as he looked past her into the booth behind them.

“That Son of a $&%$%” he mumbled.

Startled, Phyllis started to turn and look but received a quiet rebuke from her father. A few minutes later the man strolled past the table glaring at Dan Anderson and his daughter. Dan waited a short while before speaking and then asked his daughter if she knew who the man was that just left the building? Of course, she had no idea.

“That’s the ol’ boy who killed Ronnie.”

Shocked, Phyllis sat watching her father as he visibly withdrew into a shell of a man. After 36 years her father had finally admitted what Phyllis had believed all along. She was shocked to find out that the killer was the roommate her brother had trusted and shared a house with. Dan Anderson had been constantly intimidated by the man for over three decades. What changed? Why would Dan finally drop such a bombshell? Was his son’s killer threatening to kill Phyllis too? We may never know.

After the holidays things began to escalate quickly. Late February or early March Dan’s attorney found a housekeeper to help around the house. He was always a tidy person who hated to have a cluttered space. A woman came to help out, but strangely never really cleaned anything. Aggravated by her, Dan called Phyllis and asked if she would come to throw out the housekeeper. Phyllis happened to have her leg in a cast all the way up to her hip but promised to come as soon as she could get it off. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be soon enough.

A few days later, Phyllis speaks with the housekeeper and tells her to ship out because she would be coming to Mississippi soon. Within days she would travel back to Gulfport, but not to throw out a housekeeper. She would be attending to her father’s final affairs.

April 18, 2003, around midnight Phyllis would receive the call that would tear her heart out. Dan Anderson was dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

“Not again!” was all Phyllis could think.

The official story:

Dan Anderson, 80 had sent the housekeeper out to buy cigarettes because they were out. She found him when she returned dead at the end of the driveway. His pants were undone and he was in his sock feet. The subsequent autopsy was full of strange details and discrepancies and recently more information has come out leading us to wonder if the entire report was fabricated. We will wait until next week to dive into the conspiracy surrounding the death of Dan Anderson and why Phyllis believes her father was a victim of a gangland-style slaying. Stay tuned folks. This ride’s not over yet.


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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. THE SOURCE LINKS ARE PLACED WITHIN THE BODY OF THE TEXT.

This week’s Recommended Documentary:


Moonshine and the Dixie Mafia

This week’s Recommended Reading:


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. 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.


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


D4E5C044-3733-42CE-BF29-F9A2DD6C73D9

Silenced Witnesses – Disgraced Cop – Ex-cop linked to two murdered women

5afb5fe99a4b4.image Photo courtesy of Jacksonville Progress

He pled guilty to tying his belt around her neck and trying to drag her to his van to keep her from testifying against him. The belt broke, and she escaped, but two other women witnesses against former cop Larry Pugh wound up dead. Why then is Pugh out of jail after eight years? What happened to Terri Reyes and Shunte Coleman?


These types of cases are the hardest ones for me to write. I bleed blue for the police officers who are gunned down in the line of duty, but it seems like the ones who deserve a bullet between the eyes get off scot-free. Read on, and you’ll see what I mean.

Larry Pugh joined the Jacksonville Police Department in January 2003 and was suspended in October 2005 after the accusations arose. In 2006, former Jacksonville Police Officer, Larry Pugh was arrested by the FBI and facing multiple charges of sexual assault. Eight women came forward accusing Pugh of rape and sexual assault. Larry Pugh was given bond and released. The Longview News-Journal reported on Wednesday, July 25, 2007, that during this time, two of the women on the witness list disappeared. To make matters even worse, he found one of the witnesses and bound his belt around her neck. Then he proceeded to drag her to his van. The belt snapped, and she was able to escape with her life. Pugh would plead guilty of this in September 2006.

53cbf15eb306e.image Photo courtesy of Jacksonville Progress

Terri Reyes, 38 of Athens was last seen on May 21, 2006. Like many others, she was scheduled to testify against the ex-lawman. Her body would be found later in a wooded area in San Augustine County, Texas. Reyes had three children.

59ef85123b896.image

Photo courtesy of Tyler Morning Telegraph

Shunte Coleman, 24 was last seen on July 2, 2006. Her grandmother was worried about her because of the case with Pugh. Coleman’s body wouldn’t be found until March 2014 and it wouldn’t be officially identified until June 2014. She was found by a forester in a heavily wooded area near San Augustine not too far from where Terri’s remains were found eight years earlier.

It seemed that officer Pugh had been targeting women who were in legal trouble and using that as leverage for his sexual gratification. When he was allowed to release a statement he adamantly denied the charges claiming they were unwarranted allegations made by “crack heads.”

When did someone with addiction problems suddenly deserve to be sexually assaulted? When did our laws change to say that a person with a minor criminal history deserved to be strangled to death?

Surely the strange disappearance of two witnesses, the testimony of the woman who escaped his wrath, and the other 25-30 witnesses against Larry Pugh would be enough to see this man spend the rest of his life behind bars. That’s not what happened. Larry Pugh was released in May 2018. Yes, I said RELEASED!

Even with all the circumstantial evidence, Pugh’s confessions, and the bodies found, law enforcement claims they have no evidence to link Larry Pugh to the corpses. What else do they need? This is one case where I found so much information online that I couldn’t put all the links within the text of my blog post. Scroll down and read the several articles sited below for more details on this disturbing case.


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

Further Reading:

KTBS News

CBS News

Porchlight USA

Jacksonville Progress

Larry Pugh’s Statement

websleuths

Texas Public Corruption

KTRE Channel 9

Corruption In Cherokee County, Texas

KLTV

daily sentinel


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. 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.


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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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.

VIPERTEK VTS-989 – 58 Billion Heavy Duty Stun Gun – Rechargeable with LED Flashlight

How To Be Your Own Bodyguard: Self Defense for men & women from a lifetime of protecting clients in hostile environments.

Synova’s True Crime books are also available on Amazon.com

Unorganized Crime: Journey to Redemption

Snatched: The FBI’s Top Ten Art Crimes and more (Synova’s Case Files)


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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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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Synova’s True Crime Books are also available on Amazon

Unorganized Crime: Journey to Redemption

Snatched: The FBI’s Top Ten Art Crimes and more (Synova’s Case Files)


Ashton Kutcher Look-Alike Slaughtered By Dixie Mafia

Gambling with the Mafia – Paul Douglas Cappo Mystery

paul_douglas_cappo_1 photo courtesy of The Charley Project

Gambling addict leaves for Vegas in fear and is never seen again. What happened to Paul Douglas Cappo in June 1980? Between his ties with organized crime and his $75,000 gambling debt, Cappo knew his life was at stake. Why in the world would he go to Las Vegas if he knew death was near?


Paul Douglas Cappo, 28 told his wife goodbye on June 10, 1980, and drove off into the horizon. Cappo was nervous about his trip to Vegas and told his wife that his friends would rather “stab you in the back than look at you.” Mrs. Cappo was to contact his attorney immediately if her husband missed a scheduled call.

In hopes of taking care of his family, Paul took out a $50,000 life insurance policy with an additional $50,000 accidental death clause. Why was this poor man so nervous? The answer might lie in his organized crime contacts, or perhaps it could be the $75,000 gambling debt he owed to the Tropicana Casino? Who knows?

Cappo was last seen driving a dark blue 1977 Plymouth 4-door car. The car had Kansas City license plates and had a damaged front fender. Perhaps the gambler had a premonition, but whatever the case neither Paul Cappo nor his car was ever seen again. Unfortunately, no one knows who he was going to meet in Sin City, and very few leads have come in on this case over the past 39 years.

If you have any information on this case, please contact Sgt. Benjamin Caldwell with the Kansas City Police Department at (816)234-5136.


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

Further Reading:

The Charley Project

The Doe Network 


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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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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paul_douglas_cappo_1

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.


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

NY State PD

America’s Most Wanted


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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First Alert Fire Extinguisher | Standard Home Fire Extinguisher, Red, 1038789


 

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Murdered Under The Christmas Tree – Cheryl Springfield

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Her body was found under the Christmas tree on Christmas morning 1980. Cheryl L. Springfield had been beaten, sexually assaulted, and strangled with the cord from a clothing iron. When her ex showed up with presents for their child, he found the toddler crying in the other room and a horrid scene under the tree. Who would do such a thing to this young mother?


Cheryl Springfield, 21 was recently divorced and lived in a house with three other girls, her child, and one other baby. One of Cheryl’s roommates was a woman named Cindy, who happened to be the sister of her ex-husband. On Christmas Eve, Cheryl attended a family Christmas party before returning home with her son. Her mother dropped them off at the house on Whitter street, never knowing the horrors that lay ahead for the young mother.

Around 6 am Christmas morning, Scott Springfield arrived at the home with presents for his child. The couple had recently divorced but were on friendly terms. They had married at a very young age, and the strains of parenthood and financial woes were more than Scott could take. They divorced, and shortly after Scott would regret the decision to end their union. The couple were working on things and had planned to make Christmas morning special for their child.

As Scott entered the house, he noticed someone lying under the Christmas tree but thought one of the girls had just gotten drunk and passed out. What immediately drew his attention were the cries of his child from the bedroom. He entered the room to find his son sitting in bed alone and his ex-wife not there with him. Dread began to wash over the man as he walked back into the front room. Nearing the body, his fears were realized. It wasn’t a drunken woman. It was the beaten corpse of his lovely Cheryl.

She had been beaten, sexually assaulted, and strangled with a cord from a clothes iron. Her nude body had been left near the foot of the Christmas tree. Sick with grief, Scott hurried back to the bedroom and called the police and family members. Friends came and took the toddler out of the house while the police conducted their search.

Of course, in these cases, the ex-husband is always a suspect, but Scott Springfield was quickly cleared. Who then, could have done such a thing? The family believes they know the answer. Barry Dean Kelly.

Barry was Cindy’s boyfriend and to say he was a predator would be an understatement. Barry and Cheryl couldn’t stand each other, and the family began to suspect the man rather quickly. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough evidence to charge the man. No one could even place Barry Kelly at the scene of the crime. Standing for her man, Cindy found herself alienated from her own family when she chose to marry Barry a few years later. This mistake would eventually make Cindy question herself on many levels.

The marriage was built of turmoil and would end within a year of its beginning. During this time, Cindy began to fear her husband and reports of one instance where he forced her to let him tattoo his initials on her hand. She claims he didn’t put the gun to her head, but it was sitting on the table next to him as he branded her with a homemade tattoo.

Shortly afterward, Cindy filed for divorce and ran to her mother for help. She then found herself hiding out in her mother’s house out of fear. One October day in 1980, Cindy makes a quick run to the store only to be followed by her ex. He grabs the poor woman and forces her into his car. Barry took her to a wooded area nearby and terrorized her for a few hours. When Cindy finally convinces him to let her go, she runs to the police.

Cindy was unaware of Barry’s recent activities when the police showed up on her door, asking questions. She would later learn that Barry had kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered an elderly woman. Her name was Melva Teems. He had stolen her truck and drove it for a while. He also pawned some of her jewelry to get enough cash for a down payment on a vehicle. Later he abandoned her truck.

When the police found Melva Teems’ body, they found she had been strangled with a piece of cloth torn from her shirt. Investigators noted the knots used to kill Teems were the same type of knots used in the murder of Cheryl Springfield seven years earlier. Barry was seeing Melva’s daughter on the side, and Cindy wasn’t aware of the affair. It is unclear if this relationship was active during his short marriage, or if he had picked up an old flame after Cindy filed for divorce.

Barry Kelly was eventually convicted of the murder o Melva Teems and the kidnapping of Cindy. He would receive life in prison. Unfortunately, the police still couldn’t pin Cheryl’s murder on the known killer. Barry meanwhile vehemently declared his innocence in both cases despite overwhelming evidence in Melva’s murder. Strangely 37 years after Cheryl’s murder Barry reached out to cold case detectives saying he had information that would solve the case. Investigators traveled to his location to interrogate the inmate. Come to find out, Barry wanted a few jailhouse amenities, and when the officers couldn’t provide them, he refused to talk to them.

What was Berry Kelly going to tell the investigators? If he has proclaimed his innocence for nearly four decades, why would he re-insert himself into the murder investigation? What happened to Cheryl Springfield?

If you have any information that would help solve Cheryl Springfield’s case, please contact Fort Worth Police Department’s Crime Stoppers Hotline at 817-469-8477.


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Further Reading:

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All photos were taken from Cheryl Springfield’s Facebook page with permission from the Administrator.

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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.


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