A Lie, An Alias, & the Other Woman: The Sandra Bertolas Story

bertolas

On April 24, 1988, Sandra Bertolas left her family’s home in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin to confront her ex-boyfriend. Not only did he give her an alias, but he was hiding the fact he was in a long-term relationship with another woman. Frustrated, she told family members that she was going to meet him in West Allis. The 20-year-old was never seen again. Her car was found a few days later abandoned in a bowling alley parking lot.

Sandra Bertolas was pretty, spunky, and smart. She loved makeup, fashion, and was studying cosmetology at the Waukesha County Technical College. Sandra was the youngest of eight children and seemed to have everything going her way until April 1988. She attended the wedding shower of a friend earlier in the day. There, she confided to friends that her boyfriend was cheating on her. To make matters worse he had also given her a fake name.

Family members say she left home around 7 pm. Her boyfriend had called and begged her to meet with him. She finally agreed and told her family that she was going to meet him before she left. When she hadn’t returned by midnight, her father became worried and started calling the local hospitals. Perhaps she had been in an accident. Sandra always called home.

The following June, a tip came in that lead the authorities to Mount Olivet Cemetery. Search dogs were brought in and focused on a 12-foot area around a grave that had been open at the time of Sandra’s disappearance. after getting permission the authorities opened the grave and searched in hopes of finding the missing woman. She was not there.

While many families keep hoping that their missing relatives will be found alive, the Bertolas family firmly believes that their beloved Sandra is deceased. They have a grave plot reserved for her in Saint Anthony’s Cemetery right next to her father’s grave. Her father died in 2010 never knowing what happened to his sweet Sandra.

The family hopes after 30 years someone will come forward with some information that will lead to the remains of their loved one. If you have any information please contact:
Menomonee Falls Police Department
Lt. D. Mueller
262-532-8700

Agency Case Number: I88-1528

More information on this case:

Missing Thirty Years

Charley Project

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.

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

Missing or Murdered? – The Madeline Edman Mystery

madeline edman

Madeline Edman, 15 – picture taken in  2005

Madeline Edman, 15 went missing from La Crosse, Wisconsin on July 29, 2005. Madeline and her mother were doing laundry at the local laundromat on the corner of St. James & Calendonia St. Madi decided to leave before her mother was finished and walked out the door. Her mother thought nothing of it but began to get worried when the teenager hadn’t returned home by that evening.  Kathy Edman filed a missing person’s report for her daughter, but no clues ever emerged.

Some reports say her grandmother thinks the teenager isn’t missing at all. She thinks the girl wanted to disappear. Due to her troubled childhood, and her mother’s arrests perhaps this is the case, but as a child, someone needs to care and look for her. It’s not like she’s an adult and made this decision. The local police agree with my point of view on this case. Her case is classed as a “possible endangered runaway,” but the police haven’t ruled out homicide, or human trafficking. The authorities have created an age progression photo hoping to generate leads. If Madi is still in the area of La Crosse, there hasn’t been official sightings to verify it.

I find it strange that a teenager can go missing and yet her own family assumes she ran away. If you travel down Calendonia street you will come across a Catholic church. Could this troubled teen have sought refuge there? Has any investigation gone in this angle? I don’t know, but I think it would be a good place to start. Maybe someone felt sorry for her and helped her disappear.

Two months after her daughter’s disappearance, Kathy Edman was arrested and charged with encouraging or contributing to the delinquency of a child, drug possession, and distribution to a child under 17.

In 2008, a body was recovered only 172 miles away from the laundromat that closely resembled the missing teen. It was later ruled out and Madeline Edman’s case remains unsolved.

Here is a brief description:

Missing Since: Jul 29, 2005
Missing From: La Crosse, WI
DOB: Apr 27, 1990
Age Now: 28
Sex: Female
Race: Biracial
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: One eye Brown – One eye Blue
Height: 5’4″
Weight: 100 lbs

If you have any information, please contact: WISCONSIN CLEARINGHOUSE FOR MISSING & EXPLOITED CHILDREN & ADULTS  1-800-THE-HOPE (1-800-843-4673)


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

More info on this case:

Web Sleuths

News 8000

National Center for Missing & Exploited Children

La Crosse Tribune 


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.

Blog sign up

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.


SABRE Red Lipstick Pepper Spray for Women – Pink, Maximum Strength OC Spray Used by Police Globally, Fashionable and Small, Safe and Easy to Use, Great Gift for loved ones, 12 Bursts, 10 Foot Range

Unorganized Crime: Journey to Redemption

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


madeline edman

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.


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.

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.

Stun Master® Red Lipstick Stun Gun Women’s Home Self Defense Weapon


Black Gold Runs Blood Red In Texas: Part 3

 

FB_IMG_1533943268040.jpg

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the series, here is a quick rundown. The family patriarch, Morris Robeson is found dead from a single gunshot wound to the back of the head. (Date of Death: 11/20/2000) Oil will be discovered on Morris’ property in the future. Who will cash in? That will depend on who survives.

22.jpg

Morris’ neighbor is a highway patrol officer who stopped by the crime scene. Joe Weaver was off-duty and told the family the other officers were surprised to see him. He immediately noticed the scene wasn’t being handled as a homicide, but rather a suicide. Weaver was suspicious and began his own separate investigation.

Morris and his wife Mable had raised their grandson, Wayne Robeson as their own and would treat him as their third child. Weaver spoke with Wayne and wanted to know the whereabouts of one Gerald Willhelm. Gerald has a strange story to tell, but his story will be coming later.

Morris Robeson was a veteran of WWII and had been struggling with neck and upper back pain associated with degenerative disks in his spine. This had reached the point to where he was no longer able to trim his own hair with an ear/nose trimmer. This trimmer was weighed recently to give the reader a reference point. The trimmer weighed less than 2 ounces. Yet, despite the V.A. records to prove Morris Robeson’s disability, the authorities continue to label this case a suicide. To further plant doubt in your mind, the gun used to kill Robeson was a .38 Colt revolver with a 6-inch barrel. This weapon was weighed as well. Its weight was just under 1lb.

If a man cannot lift 2 ounces, how can he lift a 1lb-object, twist it up behind his head, and pull the trigger?

20180816_210633.jpg

After the death of his neighbor, Joe Weaver continues his investigation over the course of several months, but his truth-seeking venture was cut short late in September 2001. If the Morris Robeson case wasn’t strange enough, here are the facts of the alleged suicide of Joseph Weaver.

On the day before his death, Joe’s wife picked up her daughter and their son from school. Joe’s step-daughter reported to her guidance counselor that Joe had molested her. (There has never been any proof of this claim, and it seems to just come out of the blue.) The wife tells her son to call Joe and ask him to leave the barn and go into the house. Yes, this is what it states in the report. Why was he in the barn? Why were these allegations brought up just now? Why was Joe’s young son the one who had to call his dad and tell him to leave the barn? Could Joe not decide to walk to the house on his own?

Why was he “holed-up” in his barn in the first place?

If that wasn’t unusual enough, the wife then calls Sherriff Price to go to the house and check on Joe. Price states he arrives just in time to see Joe Weaver walk slowly out of his barn and toward the house. He supposedly stopped before getting to the house, pulled out his service revolver, and killed himself. To this day the authorities have denied all FOIA requests stating there wasn’t a police report written. No crime scene photos were taken.

This is proven false, however, when an anonymous witness sends a picture of the first page of the police report on Joe Weaver’s death to the family.

Why did Joe Weaver want to talk to Gerald Wilhelm? Why would all of this occur just a few years before the big oil boom in Centerville, Texas? Who has the farm now? How would Wilhelm con his way into the Robeson family? Why would his father-in-law be killed less than a year later? Hold on, guys. Chaos has settled down upon the Robeson farm like a tornado.

 

Black Gold Runs Blood Red in Texas: Part 1

 

you are lovely

Janice Willhelm

One suspicious suicide in a small town may not be unusual, but five deaths within a square mile of each other? Within a year an oil boom hits Centerville, Texas and the deaths are all swept under the rug. While a hand full of people get rich, the family members of the murder victims are left with nothing but questions. Usually, when someone writes a story they start at the beginning of the tale. This bloody tale starts in the middle and expands exponentially in every direction. This case will take a few weeks to tell, so hold on for this Texas-sized tale of murder, forged wills, and oil wells.

December 8, 2010:

911 dispatch receives a call from Gerald Willhelm of Centerville, Texas. A strangely calm husband reports that he believes his wife has shot herself and that blood is pouring from her neck. One article states a distraught husband calls 911. I have listened to the call and he does not sound upset at all. He says they were asleep in their recliners and at some point, she woke up and shot herself in the neck. The authorities arrive and quickly rule the death as a suicide. Case closed. Investigation complete. Not really.

 

The .45 caliber bullet traveled into the neck at a downward trajectory, passing through the lungs, and immediately severing the spinal cord through the 7th vertebrae. This would cause instant paralysis, so why do the crime scene photos show Mrs. Willhelm’s hands neatly tucked under her lap blanket? Where did the gun land? Six feet away the gun was laying on the floor pointing away from her chair. The spent casing landed behind the sofa.

 

If Janice was a physically capable woman, she would have to hold the gun upside down, press it to her neck with her elbow wrenched out above her head. This might be possible IF you omit one very important fact. Janice Willhelm had a tumor on her left arm the size of an orange removed. This surgery took much of her muscle tissue and damaged the nerves in her arm making it impossible for her to hold her arm above her chest, much less over her head. This is not conjectured on the part of grieving family members. This fact is corroborated by medical documentation. Janice could not have held that gun. Her daughter claims that Janice had a life-long fear of guns and wouldn’t be holding one at all.

 

Gerald Willhelm claims his wife was out of pain meds and killed herself because they couldn’t afford to get more. Crime scene photos show her medications are clearly sitting within arms reach of the deceased. To further dispel this accusation, UPS had recently billed the couple for their prescription delivery service. She was on disability and this covered most of her medications and she had worked out a co-pay deal with the drug companies for the remainder of the fees. Janice Willhelm was not out of pain medication and if anyone doubts this, they can refer to the toxicology reports that clearly shows medications in her system at the time of death.

 

Black Gold:

Almost immediately after his wife’s murder, Gerald Willhelm quickly pushes his wife’s will through probate and quickly leases his wife’s land to a large oil company for drilling. Reports state the royalties of this well accounted for nearly half a million dollars within the first eight months. Strange, but not necessary a crime, right? Wrong!

Janice had two children; a daughter, and a son. Both children had been suddenly written out of their mother’s will several months before her death. After fighting to get a copy of this will, the kids were surprised to see their mother’s name. It was nothing like her signature. A child could see the differences. They send this document and several handwriting samples to two different specialists. Both adamantly claim this will to be a forgery. Not only do they claim Janice did not sign this document, they say the handwriting looks like Gerald’s.

 

If that isn’t enough to make you wonder about this case, then next week I will jump into the suspicious death of Janice’s father and the money Gerald conned from his first wife before she died. See you next week. In the meantime, I will be wading neck deep in this case of greedy oil men and corrupt officials.

 

When Rumors Destroy Cold Cases – The Jennifer Harris Story

Jennifer+Harris

Small town America might be a great place to raise a family, but sometimes it isn’t the best place to die. Many rural communities lack the resources and experience to solve major homicide cases. When you add in the rumor mill of small-town gossip and the loss of major evidence, some people wonder if the case is solvable. Such is the case of Jennifer Harris from Bonham, Texas.
Jennifer Harris was a vivacious 28-yr-old with fiery red curly hair. Everyone around the community loved her including two men; Rob Holman and James Hamilton.
Holman was Jennifer’s childhood sweetheart. They were married shortly after high school and it looked like a happily ever after situation. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the case. The couple had a rocky relationship and some even claim Rob had abused Jennifer. It hasn’t been confirmed whether this was physical or verbal abuse and no police reports were ever filed.
As time passed and Jennifer went to college the couple began to grow apart. Rob enjoyed the laid-back pace of Bonham, Texas while Jennifer was enjoying living in the city. Things began to fall apart even further when Jennifer met James Hamilton in the massage therapy school she had been attending. The two hit it off and decided to open a business together. That wouldn’t be all they did together and soon Jennifer was living in the city and seeing James while Rob moved back to Bonham.
Hamilton was living with the mother of his two children and had a baby on the way but was insisting on marrying Jennifer. Jennifer refused and was quickly losing interest in Hamilton. By early 2002, Jennifer had lost her massage business with Hamilton and was facing bankruptcy. What does she do? She looks up Rob, who had a new girlfriend by this time. It didn’t seem to matter. The couple frequently met and slept together. All this soap opera style drama would lead up to Mother’s Day, 2002 and a mystery that has haunted Bonham, Texas for sixteen years.
Jennifer visits a friend during the early evening hours of May 12, 2002, and leaves around 8 pm. She wouldn’t be seen alive again. A woman takes her dog out for a walk down a lonely country road and notices a dark green jeep abandoned at the side of the road but thinks little of it until she sees it again the next day. She calls the police. The Jeep is quickly identified as belonging to Jennifer Harris. It would be a long six-day search before a fisherman would discover Jennifer’s lifeless body in the Red River.
The medical examiner determined the cause of death to be homicidal violence but couldn’t determine the exact cause of death. Her body had been severely decomposed, and her uterus was missing. This is where the rumor mill of small towns kicked into overdrive. As soon as that story was released theories ran wild. Friends of Jennifer Harris said she had confided in them about her pregnancy, but there wasn’t any hard evidence to verify it. Could she really have been pregnant, and the murderer removed her uterus to destroy evidence? This is what the townsfolk claimed. It would be years before her autopsy would be reexamined. After this examination, it is determined that Jennifer’s uterus was indeed missing, but so were other organs and body parts. The latter examiner determined that Jennifer had suffered some sort of severe injury that left her organs exposed to fish and turtles in the river.
Both Rob Holman and James Hamilton were initially interviewed by police and were named as possible suspects, but no arrests were made. Hamilton claimed he was at an Mc Donald’s over an hour away on the May 12th. After reviewing the case files new investigators and consultants are discouraged by the way this alibi was handled. It wasn’t verified properly, and no one ever pushed it. Rob Holman, on the other hand, claimed to be out driving around for over five hours on the night Jennifer disappeared. Hamilton supposedly passed a lie detector test, but Rob was never given one. To make matters worse, most of the evidence, in this case, has either been lost or damaged when the storage pods got wet. The clothing that was found was lost and so was her laptop. Nobody was even sure if the jeans and t-shirt were even Jennifer’s.
This case has more twists and turns than a roller coaster so hold on, there’s more. Jerry Harris took notes on the case from the beginning and was determined to find justice for his daughter. This meticulous record keeping brought up a sinister revelation years later. Two months after Jennifer’s body was found her ex-boyfriend, James Hamilton called the grieving father to ask about Jennifer’s life insurance policy. In all the case files, this is the only reference to an insurance policy. I have many questions about this. Was there actually an insurance policy taken out on the life of Jennifer Harris? If so, who was the beneficiary? Was there money paid out? Who received it? None of this has been reported. If the beneficiary was Rob or James then that would supply the investigators with a serious motive for murder. Who knows if this lead was even followed? The case file for Jennifer Harris is so slim no one knows what leads were followed and which ones weren’t.
A year later, a woman is watching the news when she hears about the Harris cold case. Incredibly, Deborah Lambert hadn’t heard about the case. She quickly called the police and gave a recorded statement. Deborah and her mother had driven across the Red River Bridge on Mother’s Day a year earlier and had witnessed a frightening scene around 5 pm. She vividly recalled a red-headed woman being rough-housed by three men. Deborah said she made eye contact with the woman and saw terror in her expression. Her mother said, “that girl is about to be raped and killed.” Deborah claimed she was too afraid to call the police at the time. Deborah claimed two men were wearing jeans and one man was wearing shorts. Because of the time discrepancy, the original investigators dismissed Deborah’s statement completely. The new team doesn’t dismiss it so quickly. In reality, the time difference can be explained. Most people don’t continuously watch the clock. Deborah and her mother could have traveled across the bridge later than she remembered, and or Jennifer’s friend could be mistaken on the time she left her home.
Jennifer’s younger sister Alyssa and her filmmaker husband Barry has taken up the case along with private investigator Daryl Parker and the new sheriff Mark Johnson. Everyone hopes to find justice for Jennifer. This case was recently highlighted on the show 48 Hours. Hopefully, the renewed interest in the case will generate some leads. If Deborah Lambert’s statement is correct, there could be two other men out there that know something about this case.
At one point, the local D.A. was accused of being involved in the murder of Jennifer Harris. This rumor was completely unfounded but based on the fabricated fact that her uterus was missing. Authorities researched this rumor extensively and found absolutely no connection, but the D.A. still lost his job over this case.

 

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

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

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

Supposed Suicide – No Investigation **WARNING: Graphic Crime Scene Photos**

Joshua Robinson was found hanging from the swing set in Amsler Park on February 16, 2006. Just shy of his 20th birthday, this man hadn’t shown any suicidal tendencies, wasn’t on medication for depression, and although he had been a drug user in the past, wasn’t on anything. Toxicology reports would prove this.

Why would this man commit suicide? His family and friends vehemently declare he wouldn’t. After viewing the crime scene photos it would seem impossible for him to end up in such a peculiar position.

I’m getting ahead of myself. Backing up. What are the particulars in this case?

First, you have a 19-year-old man who ends up dead. He is 5′ 8″ tall and weighs a 185 pounds. Joshua Robinson lived with his mother Cynthia and his brother Michael in McGregor Texas. He had been dating a woman named Kayla for a while now but her family was not happy about it. On many occasion, Kayla’s grandmother would refuse to let Joshua see her granddaughter at all.
The night before Josh was death a woman appeared at Cynthia’s home and threw a fit wanting to talk to Joshua. He was not home but when Cynthia mentioned the possibility of Kayla being pregnant the woman became irate and threatened to have Josh were arrested for statutory rape. Cynthia would later discover that this woman was none other than Mary Casareza; Kayla’s aunt.

When Joshua made it home that evening his mother related the story to him. He immediately went out to visit Kayla’s family and to smooth things over. When he came back he vented his frustrations on his mother and decided to go for a walk to cool off. This was a standard practice for him. It was not unusual for Joshua and his mother to have a row, nor was it unusual for him to choose to walk around the perimeter of the nearby Amsler park.

When Joshua didn’t return home in the morning Cynthia was worried, but that fear became a panic when her neighbor found a man hanging from the swing set in the park and made a frantic call to 911.

Here is where things become even stranger. When one hears of a person hanging from the swing set one automatically pictures the victim hanging from the crossbar above his head, but this is not the case. Viewing the crime scene photos, one is struck by the strange position of the body.

(ATTN READERS: If you have the stomach for it, scroll to the end of this blog and you will see the crime scene photo.)

For those who can’t handle the crime scene photos at the end of this post, I will try to explain them. First of all, he is on his knees, the chain is partially wrapped around his neck, and oddly the seat of the swing is flipped upside down upon his back. He is not facing forward as one would assume. His body is angled towards the swing next to him with his feet turned inward and angled towards the exterior poll of the swing.

In order to land in this position, this man would have had to climb up on to the cross beam on the end of the swing and dive inwards towards the swing. At 5′ 8″, this would be very difficult to do. After obtaining pictures of the swing set, I am startled to realize that the A-frame crossbar is missing. (Also strange: shortly after this event, the city removed the swing completely)

If this were the only discrepancy, in this case, one could assume that gravity and physics could have played a trick upon us, but this is just the beginning of the discrepancies.

Here is the timeline for this case:
5:15 a.m. – A jogger sees the body hanging from the swing set and in a panic dials 911
5:35 a.m. – The police were dispatched to the scene
5:36 a.m. – The police radio into dispatch that they are on site

Former officer Walter Kirby claimed to be the 1st officer on the scene. His report states that he ran to the body to check for a pulse and found none. The only problem is there is no record of his car being dispatched to Amsley park until 6:48 a.m.

According to their own statements all 4 officers that were on site claimed to not have known the victim and yet 8 minutes later they called in and ran a “Wants & Warrants” check on the victim. How could they have run this check if they had no idea of the victim’s identity?

If this where the end of the discrepancies one might excuse this case, but this is only the beginning.

At the autopsy, one would figure the medical examiner would label the cause of death as “Death by Strangulation.” Instead, the M.E. found something unusual about the cause of death. The bruises from the chain around the victim’s neck were only surface deep.
There was no damage to the tendons and muscles in the neck and the neck itself was not broken. The victim was not strangled by the chain around his neck. Therefore, the M.E. initially ruled the cause of death as “Undetermined.”

This ruling was changed when the medical examiner received a report from Detective, Kory Martin. It contained three things.

1. The victim was a drug user
2. He had a fight with his mother the night before
3. It was an apparent suicide (chain vs. neck)

Somehow this was enough to change the medical examiner’s report from an undetermined cause of death to suicide.

Cynthia’s arguments on these points:
1. Although Joshua had been arrested as minor for possession of marijuana, his toxicology reports came back clean he had no drugs or alcohol in his system. (For the record: I have seen the toxicology report)

2. As for the argument with his mother, this was a common occurrence but they had a very loving relationship otherwise.

3. The chain only left surface bruising, not enough to cause strangulation.

Another strange twist, in this case, was the odd bruising that appeared upon the body after death. The victim had bruising to the tips of his fingers on his left hand, and bruising upon his right bicep and shoulder as if he had been clawing at the chain. If he were choking, why didn’t he stand up? That was all that was required to release the pressure.

Studying the autopsy reports:

5’8″  male – 185 lbs.
The neck was not broken, no obstructed airway. No damage to the strap muscles in his neck.

What caused this man’s death?

Here’s a little anatomy lesson for you:

The lungs are covered with a thin membrane, called parenchyma, this is where the Alveoli are. Alveoli are tiny lung capillaries covering the lungs. These tiny vessels burst, causing ‘reddish-purple spit to drip from mouth. The chest cavity fills with blood causing congestive heart failure, or as in this case, death by suffocation. The official diagnosis: Red-purple parenchyma with pulmonary edema

How does this happen?

When a person is lying face down and a heavy object is placed between the shoulder blades, this puts pressure on the diaphragm. If the pressure is too great the Alveoli burst causing suffocation.

Could a knee have been placed in the middle of his back?

This would have been my first question as an investigative journalist and armchair detective. Why then, wouldn’t the authorities investigate this as a possible homicide until proven otherwise?

What follows appears to be a small town police force refusing to investigate a murder. Maybe they were understaffed? Maybe they had already come to their own conclusions because the victim had been labeled by his criminal record? Who knows, but what follows is even stranger than the story so far.

All four on scene officers were forced to resign within three months of this event. No public reasons were given. To make things look even worse, the interim chief of police resigned within the year. Why? We may never know.

Synova’s two cents:

While I was raised to respect law enforcement, I find all of these discrepancies hard to swallow. I fall short of thinking there was a massive police cover-up, but I find it strange that no one investigated Kayla’s family. Could there have been an irate brother or cousin that resented Joshua? She certainly had an aunt that did.

Twelve years a poor mother has struggled and fought to have this case investigated. Her emotions have run wild, she has spent years trying to drink away her sorrow. Sure her son wasn’t perfect and he had a criminal record, but does that mean he deserved to die without the basic rights of all Americans? Did he deserve to be labeled as a thug and therefore he gave up his right to have his death investigated? I think not.

If someone reading this has compassion for a grieving mother, and possesses the ability to get this case reopened I think it is your responsibility to do so.

 

F83EBBC9-8C64-41D4-9F28-15296A0F7021

 

**Warning: Graphic crime scene photo below**

 

 

 

391451C6-4EBB-4695-9AF6-DEA2981EB735