Shot in Savannah – The Brandon Tyree McCullough Cold Case

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He stepped outside of his apartment to smoke his last cigarette. No, he wasn’t quitting the habit. He would be shot and killed with the lit cigarette still hanging from his mouth. Who would kill the beloved Brandon Tyree McCullough? Why was he beaten up the week before his death? Who was the man seen fleeing the scene? Most importantly, why has this case gone unsolved for nine long years?


Brandon T. McCullough was the eldest son of Audry McCullough, and like all mothers, she had high hopes and dreams for his future. Unfortunately, those dreams would be destroyed when she got the news that her son had been shot in the head outside his apartment building.

On December 27, 2009, Tyree, as he was lovingly called, stepped outside of his apartment to smoke a cigarette never knowing that it would be his last. A lone gunman walked up to the man and shot him point blank in the head with a .38 caliber weapon. The police report stated there were powder burns on Tyree’s hat. Tyree slumped against the wall and witnesses reported seeing a tall, slender black male with dreadlocks fleeing the scene. Witnesses also describe seeing a two-toned Ford F150 pickup with the driver matching the previous description.

Tyree was taken to a nearby hospital but died a few hours later. During the investigation, another witness claimed she had witnessed a Gray Gallant with four black males before the shooting. She found it odd because as soon as she stepped out into the breezeway, the car hurried away. This witness also reported an incident that happened a week before the death of Tyree. She saw a tall black man running from the breezeway just moments before Tyree stumbled down the stares with a torn shirt and a shoulder injury.

Could this man be the shooter? Who were the four men in the gray Gallant and why did only one of them return?

If you have any information, in this case,, please contact the Crime Stoppers Tip Line (912) 234-2020


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.


Don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter and recieve her popular e-book, Grim Justice for 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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brandon tyree mccullough

The Strange Case of Jayme Closs

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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

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Black Gold Runs Blood Red in Texas: Finale

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Black Gold Runs Blood Red in Texas: Part 4

Janice Willhelm

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

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

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

Notice the following:

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

Blatant Lies:

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

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

Final Proof of Homicide:

July 2001:

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

June 2015:

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

Aftermath & Motives Revealed:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who owns that land and oil wells now?

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


All information used to create this content is a matter of public record and can be easily found online. Any participation, or alleged involvement of any party mentioned within this site is purely speculation. As the law states an individual is Innocent until PROVEN guilty. ©2017-2019. All rights reserved.


If you enjoy this content don’t forget to sign up for Synova’s Weekly True Crime Newsletter. You will receive exclusive content directly in your inbox. As a gift for joining you will also receive the Grim Justice ebook free. 

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Each week Synova highlights obscure cold cases on her blog as a victim’s advocate with the Missouri Missing organization. She never charges for her services. If you’d like to help support Synova in this worthy cause please check out the affiliate links below and on the sidebar of this page. By purchasing one of her books or using these links, you will be supporting Synova’s work on cold cases and will ensure her ability to continue to give a voice to the victim’s family. Thank you.


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Janice Willhelm

Black Gold Runs Blood Red In Texas: Part 3

 

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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.

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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?

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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.

 

Silenced by the Dixie Mafia – Part 1: Buford Pusser Story

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Photo courtesy Wikipedia: fair use

The movie Walking Tall tells the Hollywood version of the real-life story of Sherriff Buford Pusser’s war with the Dixie Mafia. A two-hour film cannot possibly explain the entire story, nor can it relate the stories of all the secondary characters. Unfortunately, the story of murder, betrayal, and cover-ups didn’t end with the death of Sherriff Pusser. I will try to relate this massive tale to you, but it may take more than one post.

1967:
The Dixie Mafia was known as the State Line Mob and was led by Carl Douglas “Towhead” White. White was in prison when his lover, Louise Hathcock pulled a gun on Sherriff Pusser and was killed. Upon hearing the news, White called his friend Kirksey Nix, Jr and ordered the hit on Sherriff Pusser and his wife, Pauline.

August 12, 1967:
Sherriff Pusser received a disturbance call in the wee hours before dawn. Pauline Pusser decided to ride along with her husband as she had done on many occasions. The pair drove out to New Hope Road to check it out. The disturbance was a ruse to ambush the young sheriff and his wife.
Pusser passed the New Hope Methodist church looking for the reported disturbance but continued driving when he found the place quiet. A black Cadillac pulled out from behind the church and followed the sheriff with its lights off. As the two cars reached a narrow bridge, the Cadillac flashed on its headlights and came racing up beside the officer’s car.
The Cadillac’s passenger opened fire hitting Pauline in the head. The sheriff ducked stepped on the gas. The engine roared to life, and the car lurched ahead of the assassins. He sped up the road a couple of miles until he was sure he had lost his tail, and then pulled over to check on Pauline. Moments later the assassins again found their mark and gunshots rang out hitting Sherriff Pusser in the face and jaw blowing it apart. Somehow the sheriff would survive the attack, but Pauline was killed.
At first, Pusser declared he knew precisely who was responsible and named Towhead White, George McGann, Gary McDaniel, and Kirksey Nix. After 18 days in the hospital and a dozen surgeries to repair his face, Pusser declared he couldn’t tell who had shot him.

 

Was it the trauma that caused his amnesia or was the hard-nosed police officer going to exact his own revenge?

 

Time would witness the deaths of three of the conspirators, but Kirksey Nix would remain on the loose. Legends would be told about the great Buford Pusser, but the story didn’t end with his death in a 1974 car wreck. Kirksey Nix continued and became the head of the Dixie Mafia. By 1987, Nix would be embroiled in another major hit.

Here is where the side stories start creeping into this case. The Dixie Mafia and the State Line Mob were prevalent in the area due to the payoffs of local officials and the coverups by local police departments. This allowed the mob to rule without much interference. Although a few shady officers corrupted the police departments, other lawmen were threatened into silence. At this point in the story, I would like to interject one officer named Lieutenant Dan Anderson of the Harrison County Sherriff’s Department.
Six weeks after the ambush of Sherriff Pusser on New Hope Rd, Lt. Dan Anderson’s son, Ronnie Anderson was shot and killed in his apartment. The case was immediately ruled suicide despite massive evidence to the contrary.

What happened to this 17-yr-old polo victim in leg braces?

What kind of threat could he really have been?

I will dive deeper into the case of Ronald Anderson next week and follow up with the murder of his father, Dan. Along the way, we will highlight the nationally publicized case of the slaying of Judge Sherry and his wife. All these bizarre murders are tied together with a delicate string. That string is the Dixie Mafia. Find out more next week when this cold case story continues.

 

New Father Gunned Down in Cold Blood – The Unsolved Murder of Danny King

danny king - crime stoppers flyer

He was a 20-yr-old newlywed with a three-day-old baby. Daniel W. King was also the son-in-law of a prominent local judge in St. Louis County, MO. He was working as an apprentice pipe fitter at Honeywell, Inc., and life seemed to be starting off on the right foot, unfortunately, this would come to a screeching halt on June 18, 1982.

Danny went to the local hospital to have dinner with his wife and new baby before heading out to his weekly softball game with the Pipe fitters Local 562. At the game, the ecstatic new father handed out pink cigars to all his teammates. After the game, a few of the guys went to a local bar to celebrate. Danny drove two of his teammates home around 2 am and was heading to his home in Florissant, MO.

For some unknown reason, Danny pulled his 1976 Ford Futura to the side of the road. It is unclear if a vehicle was already parked there, or if one pulled over in front of him. Whatever the case, a shooter exited the other car and begins shooting Danny King through the passenger side window. Tire tracks show that the wounded man threw his car into reverse and tore up the road backward. The car careened up the grassy embankment before crashing back down across the road only coming to a stop when the car hits the concrete median.

The autopsy showed three of the five shots hit King in the side and arm. No one knows who would have wanted the young man dead. He had no known enemies. Police quickly ruled out robbery since his wallet was undisturbed. While everyone was asking questions, it seemed the investigators didn’t ask enough. Danny’s brother, Jim has gone back and talked to all his brother’s close friends and even his wife. None of them had been interviewed by police. Why? What happened?

When the news was reported, ten different witnesses called into the police to report what they had seen. Every one of them said there were two men standing outside of Danny’s car that night. Who were these men? Why did he pull over in the first place? There wasn’t anything wrong with his car. Why weren’t these leads followed up? All these questions would haunt the King family.

This case sat dormant for over thirty years until Jim King finally caught the attention of the local authorities. St. Louis County Police officially reopened the case in November of 2016. Maybe now the family will find answers.

If you have any information on this case please call the St. Louis Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS (8477). Reference case #82-1179