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Sumter County Stumped – Jock & Jane Doe

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

On August 9, 1976, a trucker found the bodies of a young male and female along a remote dirt road in Sumter County, South Carolina. Neither person was carrying any identification. Both had been shot three times, once each in the throat, chest, and back. The murder weapon was believed to be a .357 caliber revolver.

Drawings of the victims’ faces and features, dental information, and fingerprints were distributed across the United States and Canada, but no match was found. Over the years, as DNA technology has progressed, tests have been compared to thousands of unidentified bodies in both countries, but they have also failed to hit pay dirt.

Forty-three years later, Sumter County officials are still stumped, as the identities of “Jock and Jane Doe” remain a mystery.

The couple was believed to have been dropped off on Locklair Road, a secluded dirt road between I-95 and S.C. 341 (Lynches River Road). Investigators believe the pair may have been hitchhiking or were killed by hitchhikers after hijacking their car.

Police found no eyewitness to the murders. However, approximately two hours before the bodies were found, a man said he heard a car driving along the dirt road. Shortly thereafter, he heard gunshots, followed by the sound of a car hurriedly driving away.

A nearby campground employee remembered meeting the couple several weeks before their murders. He spoke with the man whom he thought had said his name was “Jacques.”

The man said he was the son of a Canadian doctor and that he and the woman were on vacation, en route to Florida. The campground employee did not learn the woman’s name.

The man became known as “Jock Doe.”

An examination by a forensic dentist suggested the couple either had money or had come from a family of means.

Jock Doe had had extensive dental work including a unique form of root canal surgery not commonly performed in America. It also appeared he had been midway through a complete dental restoration. The root canal surgery and dental restoration both would have been expensive procedures.

Jane Doe had also had extensive dental work as she had fillings in all of her back teeth. In addition, her front teeth were straight.

Oddly, neither victim was wearing underwear when their bodies were discovered.

Autopsies found no drugs or alcohol in either the victim’s system. Each had recently eaten fruit or ice cream with fruit, and a man believed he saw the couple eating at a local fruit stand shortly before their murders.

Despite the clues, all efforts to identify “Jock and Jane Doe” proved fruitless.

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Jock Doe wore a 14-karat gold ring and an expensive gold Bulova Accutron wristwatch. Using the serial number, investigators determined Bulova had made the watch in 1968.

Bulova, however, destroyed many of its records when the company downsized in the early seventies, and it could not be determined where the watch had been distributed or purchased.

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Jane Doe wore expensive wedge-heeled lavender/pink sandals and three expensive costume jewelry rings made of sterling silver. The sandals were Stride-Rite brand; the rings appeared to be authentic handmade Native American or Mexican costume jewelry. The rings are believed to have originated in the Southwestern United States.

• The first ring had an ornate scrolling feather shape with coral and turquoise stones.
• The second ring was a black, oblong stone embedded with small turquoise chips.
• The third was a metal band with red, white, and blue stones.

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Jock Doe was believed to have been born between 1946-58, meaning he was believed to be 18-30-years-old when he was murdered in 1976. “Jock” is a fitting sobriquet, as he had a lean, athletic build, standing over 6’0 tall and weighing approximately 150 pounds.

Jock Doe had shoulder-length hair, brown eyes, and distinctive bushy eyebrows. The elaborate dental work he received may have been performed outside the United States. In addition to a four-inch appendectomy scar, several scars on his back and shoulders suggested he may have been an athlete as such scars are commonly found on players of contact sports.

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Jane Doe was believed to been born approximately between 1951-58, meaning she was 18-25-years-old when murdered in 1976.

She was 5′ 5″, weighed 100 to 105 pounds, and had a slim build. She had reddish-brown, shoulder-length hair and bluish-gray eyes. Her most distinguishing features were two moles on the left side of her face near her mouth. She also had unusually long natural eyelashes. Unlike her companion, Jane had no surgical scars.

It was also determined Jane Doe had never been pregnant, and her legs had not been shaved in several weeks.

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In 1977, a man was arrested in Latta, South Carolina, for driving while intoxicated. A revolver found in his vehicle was proven to be the murder weapon of the Sumter County Does. Prosecutors, however, deemed the finding insufficient to charge him with the murders.

Serial killer Henry Lee Lucas has been mentioned as a suspect in the murder of the Sumter County Does. Shortly before his death in 2001, Lucas told police he had been in South Carolina on August 9, 1976, and confessed to the murders as well as two other murders in Sumter County, those of an elderly woman in 1975 and of a young man in 1983. Investigators, however, are skeptical due to Lucas’s numerous false confessions of murder. Although convicted of 11 murders, Lucas “confessed” to at least 50 more that were proven he could not have committed.

Most investigators dismiss Lucas’s claims of involvement in all of the Sumter County murders.

Investigators continue to try to identify Sumter County’s “Jock and Jane Doe.” The pair appear not to have been vagrants; in contrast, they appeared to be from upper-class families.

Investigators believe the couple may have been from a country other than the United States, perhaps Canada, and may have been hitchhiking across America. Because the campground employee had thought he heard the man say his name was “Jacques,” police theorize the couple may be of French-Canadian origin.

Because of their similar features and matching olive-colored skin, authorities for many years believed the man and woman were related, possibly having been brother and sister. After the couples’ bodies were exhumed in 2007, however, DNA testing showed they were not biologically related.

If you believe you have any information on the murders of the Sumter County Jock and Jane Doe, or any clues to the victims’ identities, please contact the Sumter County, South Carolina Sheriff’s Office at 803-436-2111.

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THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


SOURCES:
Wikipedia
Doe Network
• Nam Us
• Sumter County Does Website
• Sumter County, South Carolina, Police Department, and Sheriff’s Office


Recommended Reading:

Read about more about Jane Doe Cases in Someone’s Daughter By: Silvia Pettem


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON 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.


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


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


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


5 Tips for the Beginning Writer:

Do you want to write a book, but you don’t know where to start? Here are five basic tips to help you reach your goal of becoming a published author.

#1 Write EVERY Day.
Start a daily writing habit. Writing daily will naturally sharpen your writing skills, it expands your vocabulary and clears out writers’ block.

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper” – E.B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web

#2 Dive In – Be Scared Later
Don’t let fear keep you from reaching for your dreams. Set fear aside and be afraid later.

#3 KISS – Keep It Simple Sweetie
Don’t use 10 words if 5 will suffice.

#4 Show Don’t Tell
A book is a painting made with words.

#5 The Best Writing Serves The Reader; not the writer
Keep the reader in mind while you write. If you want to write cathartically then do so in a journal.

#authorcoaching #5tips4beginningwriters #synovaink #synova’ssimplybiz

A Prophet, An Occult, and Murder


The headline case of Lori Vallow – Chad Daybell and their two missing children, 7-year-old “J.J.” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan is perplexing. Lori Vallow’s family and friends believe the trouble began when Lori joined Chad in what is now being called “a cult.”

The International Cultic Studies Association defines “cult” as “an ideological organization, held together by charismatic relationships, and demanding high levels of commitment.” Most recently, the “New Religious Movement” (NRM) is the term used in place of “Cult.”

The case background explains how Lori Vallow could have been drawn into Chad Daybell’s world. In 2006, Lori married her fourth husband, Charles. (Lori already had a daughter, Tylee, by her third husband.) Lori and Charles adopted a boy, “J.J.” In 2015, Lori became obsessed with books written by Chad Daybell, who foresees doomsday. Chad had a wife named Tammy. In 2018, Lori and Chad began podcasting together on “Time To Warrior Up” through a company, “Preparing A People.” After Lori disappeared for 58 days, Charles filed for divorce. Caveats cite that 1. Lori threatened to kill Charles. 2. Lori stole $35,000 from his account. 3. Lori claimed to be, among other things, “a translated being … sent by God to lead the 144,000 into the Millennium.”

In March 2019, Charles dismissed the proceedings; he is shot dead by Lori’s brother Alex three months later. At the same time, Lori’s niece Melani divorces her husband, Brandon, possibly to join Lori and Chad’s “cult.” In October 2019, Tammy Daybell was found dead. Lori and Chad soon marry. Lori’s brother Alex is found dead. In December 2019, law enforcement announced J.J. and Tylee as officially missing and Lori and Chad as “persons of interest.” (Full timeline see Krutzig) Lori and Chad repeatedly lied and stalled the investigation, then fled to Hawaii.

One technique used by a cult to change a person is “Create a Thought-Reform Environment.” This includes “suppressing old behavior and attitudes.” It involves 1. Get the person to reinterpret their life history drastically. 2. Radically alter their worldview. 3. Accept a new version of reality and causality. A potential cult member is at a “Crossroads” in life – the person is questioning their life for some reason; it may be disappointments, social status, or their future; they may be worried about the state of their world: the future of their country. The cult will show this person “a better way of life.” They will use isolation, ego-boosting, and psychological manipulation (“brainwashing”).

J.J.’s grandmother, Kay Vallow Woodcock, said, “Things started changing over the past 18 plus months when Lori began spending all her time with a new religious group, that we refer to as a ‘cult’… she has completely changed into a monster … something happened to her … Once she got involved with that cult with Daybell, she just turned off the person we knew just went away.” (Sheets & Shen).

Another technique in “Create a Thought-Reform Environment” includes “Instilling new behavior and attitudes.” One tactic is to destabilize a person’s sense of self by developing a person’s dependence on the organization. The cult introduces “a new reality”: the person is added to the group’s way of thinking, acting, and living. A “we vs. them” is created (in this case, it may be The Enlightened vs. The Nonbelievers).

Chad Daybell has declared himself a prophet, and the general theme of his books is prepping for the apocalypse – doomsday, the world ending in part due to its “wicked ways.” Daybell was also a member of the Mormon Church (Church of Latter-Day Saints, or LDS) and a “prepper” who stocked up on food, water, and weapons in preparation to survive the end of the world. “Prepping” is something Mormonism once supported, says an expert. And “There are new Mormon groups that start every single day,” Dr. Cristina Rosetti, an expert who has researched fundamentalist Mormons, told Daily Mail. “The Mormon Church is very susceptible to schisms and the starting of new movements” (Gould). Chad Daybell was booted out of The Mormon Church in fall 2019. The Mormon-based “Preparing A People” has made it clear they are not responsible for Chad Daybell. He was affiliated with “Preparing A People,” “a series of lecture events focusing on self-reliance and personal preparation … providing several LDS speakers and authors an educational forum…. (Daybell) spoke at some of the ‘Preparing A People’ events, but had no ownership in it, nor was he a founder.” The www.preparingapeople.com website reads.

Cult leaders are charming individuals, well-spoken, and excellent listeners. Most are narcissists. They can quickly read people, to see their weaknesses and then feed off of and use those weaknesses to their advantage. Leaders will create chaos so that they can stop the confusion, demonstrating their “power.” They will make promises (called “dangling the carrot”) to encourage others to follow; it might be wealth, happiness, eternal life, or a combination. Many cults are splinter groups from religious organizations, and the cult leader may declare himself as a deity, or someone who can receive messages from a higher power.

Are Lori Vallow and Chad Daybell members of a cult? Vallow could have been drawn into Daybell’s world through “Thought-Reform Environment.” After spending time with Daybell, she threatened to kill her husband Charles, stole from him, and made bizarre claims. At least one family member has reported a drastic change in Vallow after she met Daybell. And for someone who is searching for answers, a cult leader will know precisely what to give that individual. By its definition, a “cult” can be anything from a church to a pyramid company to a social club. If it is a cult, Lori Vallow will not break away easily. Cults, by nature, are easy to join, but difficult to leave due to emotional and spiritual attachments.

Judith A. Yates is an award-winning true crime author and criminologist. She is currently researching cults for her fiction book, due out in the summer of 2020. She recently spoke at the 2019 A. Markle Symposium hosted by the Dr. Henry C. Lee Institute of Forensic Science.

Note: This article does not infer that every Mormon (LDS) parishioner subscribes to the same belief system.

Before you say, “I would never…” read this compelling story of one woman’s cult experience here:

https://bestoftruecrime.blogspot.com/2020/01/choicecenter-leadership-university-cult.html

RESOURCES

Cult Research

Janja Lalich,

PMB 905

236 W. East Ave., Ste. A.

Chico, CA 95926

International Cultic Studies Association

http://www.icsahome.com

mail@icsamail.com

P.O. Box 2265

Bonita Springs, FL 34133

Phone 1-239-514-3081

Gould, M. (December 24, 2019). “EXCLUSIVE: Cult leader on the run with a mom whose kids have been missing since September declared himself a ‘prophet,’ wrote 25 books on ‘prepping’ for the apocalypse – and was thrown out of the Mormon church AFTER children vanished.” DailyMail.com. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7823081/Man-run-new-wife-kicked-Mormon-church-declaring-prophet.html

Krutzig, S. (January 7, 2020) “A timeline of the events surrounding the disappearance of J.J. Vallow and Tylee Ryan.” Post-Register. Retrieved from https://www.postregister.com/news/crime_courts/a-timeline-of-the-events-surrounding-the-disappearance-of-j/article_44af7af1-d4ff-5c8e-af39-db1a6b2bad2e.html

Sheets, M. & Shen, M. (December 23, 2019). “Terrified relative says it’s no coincidence there have been four mysterious family deaths and two children now missing after their mom joined ‘dangerous religious cult’ obsessed with the end of the world.” DailyMail.com. Retrieved from https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7821133/Family-missing-children-7-17-disappeared-September-say-mom-joined-cult.html


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

J. A. Yates is an award-winning author and criminologist who has appeared as a guest speaker, lecturer, and instructor for organizations across the United States for almost 30 years, to include Dallas Area Paralegal Association, PFLAG (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians & Gays), Texas Association of Licensed Investigators, Tennessee Correction Association, Federal Bureau of Prisons, and many more.

Her resume lists loss prevention, the Sheriff’s Department, the federal prison system (minimum to maximum, male & female), investigations, and criminal justice professor/instructor. She is the only journalist who is continually investigating the disappearance of Tabitha Tuders, Nashville’s most baffling missing child case.

Not only is she an author, but she is also an investigator who carefully researches each book. A percentage of each book benefits nonprofit organizations and is made in the victim’s name.

Ms. Yates is Texas-born, Irish/Native American/Kentucky – bred; a left-handed Taurus. She volunteers in animal rescue and locating missing/murdered. Hobbies include horseback riding, perusing flea markets, and video gaming. She is addicted to bottled Coca-colas. She has a phobia of clowns, dental offices, and alligators (not in that particular order)

Check her out here: www.judithayates.com


EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON 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.


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


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


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.


Scoville Skips: Guest Post Thursday

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

In the 1970s, Raymond Scoville was transitioning from hippie to businessman. As the editor of an underground Chicago newspaper in 1970, he had penned an article entitled “How to Get a New Identity,” geared toward those sought by law enforcement.

In the 1980s, Scoville personally tested his work, as he made another transition, from businessman to murderer. Unfortunately, he has aced the test.

Scoville knew about what he wrote, and, evidently, practiced what he preached as he has been on the lam for over 37 years.

By the latter part of the 1970s, as the counterculture movement was coming to a close, Raymond Scoville was remodeling his Chicago drug paraphernalia shop into a record and videotape shop.

Scoville’s new store was a success, and the hippie-turned-businessman soon opened five more stores in the Joliet, Illinois, area.

Colleen Racich was a bubbly teen hired by Scoville as a part-time clerk at one of his stores. She proved herself a good worker, but Scoville was evaluating more than her job performance. The former deadhead had a thing for redheads. Colleen was flattered by the attention of the “hip” business owner. Soon, the 31-year-old Scoville and his 14-year-old employee were having an affair.

The two continued their romantic relationship as Colleen grew into adulthood. By 1982, as she proved herself a good businesswoman, Scoville made his now 22-year-old trophy girlfriend the part-owner of three of his businesses. Colleen was on the fast track, but she soon discovered her lover and business partner had been off track for several years.

Colleen, the astute young businesswoman, examined the company books and was startled at what she found. For several years, Scoville had been skimping on his responsibilities. Colleen’s lover-partner was heavily in debt, had defaulted on several bank loans, and had not paid taxes for
several years. Colleen immediately ended the romantic partnership and took the first steps toward dissolving the business partnership.

After Colleen alerted the authorities, several of Scoville’s stores were shut down. The former lovers and partners became bitter of enemies as each filed civil suits against each other.

On August 3, 1982, Scoville and Colleen met in one of the record stores to discuss the state of their businesses and partnerships. Several people saw the two engaged in heated arguments. These were the last sightings of Colleen Racich.

Colleen’s family reported her missing the following day. Four days later, police found her car at Chicago’s Northwestern Memorial Hospital parking lot. Beneath a pile of newspapers in the back seat lay Colleen’s body. She had been shot eight times.

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

When police questioned Scoville, he admitted killing Colleen but claimed it was self-defense, saying she had attacked him with a knife. Under interrogation, however, Scoville broke down, admitting he had struck his former lover on her head with a mallet before shooting her to death. Afterward, he took Colleen’s keys, wrapped her body in a bag and blanket, put it into her car and drove to the hospital parking lot.

Raymond Scoville was arrested on August 10, 1982, and charged with the murder of his former lover and business partner, Colleen Racich. In a written confession to police, he stated he had shot Colleen after she accused him of embezzling funds from their businesses.

Scoville’s mother posted his $50,000 bond. On April 12, 1983, four days after his trial began, a motion to suppress his confession to Chicago police was denied. The following day, Scoville was a no-show in court.

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

On June 20, 1983, nine weeks after fleeing, Scoville was seen by a former employee at a Chicago restaurant. This is the last confirmed sighting of Raymond Scoville.

Scoville’s trial continued without him and in September of 1983, he was convicted in absentia of Colleen’s murder and sentenced to 40 years in prison. Instead of sitting in a prison cell, however, Scoville has been in hiding for nearly that amount of time.

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

Scoville is also suspected of killing two former girlfriends, one of them being Jill Clark. Soon after Scoville began his affair with Colleen, Jill was found shot to death. Although it was determined the gun that killed Jill belonged to Scoville, her death was ruled a suicide.

I was not able to find a source naming the other ex-girlfriend Scoville is suspected of killing. I also could not find a picture of Jill Clark.

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

In recent years, retro stores have become increasingly popular, and vinyl records have been making a comeback.

Not so, Raymond Scoville. He remains in hiding over 37 years after killing Colleen. Scoville spoke fluent Spanish, and authorities believe he may have fled to central or South America. He may be using the names David Shaw, Robert Branch or Harvey Lnu. Scoville would today be 68-years-old.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Raymond Scoville, please contact the Chicago Police Department at (312) 746-6000 or the Chicago FBI office at (312) 421-6700.

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THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


SOURCES:
• America’s Most Wanted
• Chicago Sun-Times
• Chicago Tribune
The Herald News (Joliet, IL.)
• New Lenox Patch

Recommended Reading:

Read about more cold cases in

The Killer Book of Cold Cases: Incredible Stories, Facts, and Trivia from the Most Baffling True Crime Cases of All Time (The Killer Books)

More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON 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.


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

2ndDIYpackage-templates

SIGN UP HERE


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


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


Missing In Vegas

fravel_amanda4 Photo courtesy of The Charley Project

A beautiful young woman disappears from Vegas in 1986. Her roommate seems to have fallen off the map. What happened to Amanda Fravel, and what was her roommate’s real name? You can’t find a guy if you don’t know his name. Maybe that was the plan.


Amanda (Mandy) Lee Fravel, 20 was an all American child of the ’80s. With big hair and an even bigger smile, she loved musicians and rock music. Although her home life was difficult, Mandy found refuge in Las Vegas, NV in the fall of 1985. At first, she moved in with a friend from high school, but Cammi was a newlywed with a new baby, so it was just a temporary arrangement. Mandy stayed about a month, but quickly found a place of her own. She lived by herself for a short time before answering an ad in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. A man named Lew Frank needed a roommate to share expenses. Mandy applied and was approved.

During her time in Vegas, Mandy ran into a musician named Xavier. The couple hit it off and began dating. Soon they found they were better friends, so they parted ways. The two remained close, but not close enough for Mandy to introduce him to her new roommate. It wasn’t until after her disappearance did anyone close to Mandy actually meet Lew Franks. And every one that met the guy was immediately uneasy about him. No one is even sure that is his name, and since no one can find the guy, Lew Frank was likely an alias.

On Friday, June 13, 1986, Mandy Fravel was supposedly last seen by her roommate. She reportedly left the apartment to go to her job at Taco Bell to pick up her paycheck. Then she planned to go to Xavier’s house. This story is corroborated by Xavier who said he had spoken to her on the phone and was expecting her to show up, but she never did. Despite the troubles at home, Mandy’s mother had sent her airfare to travel back to California. No one was sure if it were for a few days, or indefinitely. Xavier waited around for her to show up, but thought nothing of it when the hours past without seeing her. Perhaps she had changed her mind about stopping by. For you millennials out there, this was before the days of cell phones, and this type of thing was common. Xavier never thought anything about it until a few days later when Mandy’s mother called from California saying she never arrived. Mandy was gone.

Mandy’s parents flew in from California to begin searching for their daughter. They spoke to Cammi and Xavier and even visited the apartment Mandy shared with Lew Frank. Mandy’s stepdad, Tom took notes about his visit to Vegas. He was the one who wrote Lew’s name down. He was the person who chose the peculiar spelling. Now, over time, he cannot remember why he spelled it L-E-W. Tom was even put off by the man in his mid-forties. Why was he living with a 20-yr-old, and more disturbingly, why did he randomly mention that he wanted to move to a nearby county and start a brothel? Who says that during a missing person investigation?

When Tom visited the apartment, all of Mandy’s things were packed in boxes by the door as if they were waiting for someone to pick them up. Did Mandy pack them to move back to California? Did Lew pack them to give to her parents? From what I can gather by reading in between the lines, Lew didn’t even know her parents were coming, so how could he pack her stuff?

To make the mystery more unusual, no one has seen or heard from Lew Frank since Mandy’s disappearance. Internet sleuths have gone over all the online records looking for everyone named Lew, Lou, Lewis, and Louis, but nothing has been found. If he were in his late 40’s – early 50’s in 1986, he would be in his 70’s by now. He may not even be alive. Either way, no one can find the guy. This is where my love of Sherlock Holmes stories really kicks in. Lew Frank doesn’t sound right to me. Who would name their kid Lewis Frank? To me, it seems reversed. What if his name was Frank Lewis? This could provide the reason for the odd spelling of Lew. Maybe I’m wrong, but a quick internet search dug up three different men named Frank Lewis in the Las Vegas area. All the men were mid-late 70’s. Maybe you armchair sleuths out there can keep digging for me, and perhaps we can find Mr. Vanishing Act.

Whether Lew Franks is a suspect or a person of interest, he is still the last person to see Mandy Fravel alive. If you have any information, in this case, please contact the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (702) 828-3111 or 1-800-492-6565.


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

Further Reading:

Unfound Podcast

Charley Project

Websleuths

Youtube


This Week’s Recommended True Crime Book:

The Battle for Las Vegas: The Law vs. The Mob


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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Awful Irony – Guest Post Thursday

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

In July of 1994, 21-year-old Angel Maher was about to begin her senior year at Creighton University. Before doing so, however, she made the 1,300 mile drive from Omaha, Nebraska, to her Scottsdale, Arizona, home to celebrate her mom’s birthday. It was supposed to be a joyous occasion, but instead it became one of tragic and awful irony.

Around 10:00 p.m. on the evening of July 29, a friend phoned Angela, asking for a ride home from a neighborhood bar. Angela had told her friend to call her if she had had too much to drink. As Angela left to pick up her friend, she told her mother not to wait up for her.

Half an hour later Rose Maher heard a knock on her door. She at first thought Angela had returned and had forgotten her house key. When she answered the door, however, her heart sank.

Standing on the doorstep was a policeman with a look of dread on his face. He informed Rose that her daughter had been killed in a car accident.

The awful irony of Angela’s death was soon learned. The young woman who took it upon herself to be the designated driver had, tragically, been killed by a drunk driver. The ultimate injustice, however, is that her killer remains in hiding over a quarter of a century later.

As Angela departed her home, 31-year-old Gloria Schulze stumbled out of a local bar, egregiously inebriated. Moments later, the two women’s vehicles engaged in a violent crash.

Paramedics arrived quickly on the scene, but by the time they were able to cut Angela from her car, it was too late. She was dead from massive blunt force trauma to her head resulting from the injuries sustained in the accident.

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Schulze, however, survived the accident relatively unscathed, suffering only a broken jaw.

When police arrived at the scene, she was lucid enough to be questioned and admitted to having drunk alcohol. Later tests showed her blood-alcohol level to be nearly double the legal limit for driving in Arizona. A urinalysis also detected traces of marijuana, although it could not show definitively whether Schulze had been stoned at the time of the accident.

As inebriated as Schulze was, she had had the sense to put on her seat belt. Angela had not been wearing hers. 

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In high school, one of Angela’s friends had been killed while driving drunk. Afterward, Angela established her high school’s S.A.D.D. (Students Against Drunk Driving) program. She organized several fundraisers and presentations at which she talked about drunk driving accidents.

Furthermore, Angela resolved to be a “designated driver.” When she and her friends painted the town, Angela always refrained from drinking to ensure that everyone would get home safely. She also insisted her friends promise her that if they had had too much to drink, they would call her to give them a ride home. 

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The phone call Angela received on the evening of July 29, 1994, was from a friend who knew she had had too much to drink. She remembered Angela’s order and called her.

Gloria Schulze didn’t have much sense. In a bitterly “sad” irony, Angela, the crusader against drunk driving, had become a drunk driving victim.

 On May 13, 1995, the day Angela would have graduated from college, Creighton University awarded her a posthumous honorary diploma. Her mother Rose accepted the diploma on her behalf.

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Gloria Schulze was charged with manslaughter and reckless endangerment. At her arraignment, she was represented by a prominent attorney experienced in handling drunk driving cases. The attorney persuaded the judge to release Schulze under her own recognizance. The judge stipulated that Schulze was to submit to pretrial drug testing three times a week and report to the court by telephone once a week. Schulze, did not, however, have to post bond or surrender her driver’s license.

Schulze’s attorney asked, and was granted, six postponements for her trial over the next eight months. In addition, the prosecutor and judge originally given the case were reassigned.

In August of 1995, just over a year after Angela’s death, Schulze was offered a plea bargain. If she waived her right to a trial and plead guilty to reckless endangerment and manslaughter, she would serve a reduced sentence. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for September 15, 1995.

But Gloria Schulze had other plans.

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Because of the drunken Gloria Schulze’s decision to get behind the wheel of her car, Angela Maher is now only ashes. Even the sobered Schulze’s decisions, however, stayed shameful.

Schulze was a no-show for her court date in September of 1995 and has been a no-show for nearly a quarter-century. In 2001, she was convicted in absentia of manslaughter with sentencing to be imposed upon her capture. Eighteen years later, the sentence has still not been enforced.

Schulze comes from a family of means, and police believe relatives have helped her elude capture. Authorities believe Schulze lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for several years after fleeing. In the last 17 years, reports have placed her with family in California, Michigan and even abroad in Turkey. Despite the sightings, Schulze has managed to stay one step ahead of the police.

Gloria Schulze remains at large a quarter-of-a-century after claiming the life of Angela Maher. She is now 55-years-old.

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If you believe you have any information on the whereabouts of Gloria Schulze, please contact the Scottsdale, Arizona, Police Department at 480-312-5000.

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The obvious lesson of this awful story is to not drink and drive. The secondary lesson is that a motorist should always wear a seat belt. As inebriated as Gloria Schulze was, she had the wherewithal to put on her seat belt and it probably saved her life.

Angela was not wearing her seat belt; wearing it may have saved her life.

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SOURCES:
America’s Most Wanted
Phoenix New Times


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Recommended Reading:

Show your support for the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving by checking out their products on Amazon today.


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON 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.


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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


Mobster Monday: Albert Anastasia

Albert Anastasia Pic Courtesy of Wikipedia

He changed his name so he wouldn’t bring shame to his mother as a criminal, but he didn’t think twice about brutally slaying Joe Turino in front of a dozen people. Witnesses say the fury in his face while he stabbed and strangled Turino was terrifying. With the Mafia’s help and the disappearances of four main witnesses, Albert Anastasia was set free.


Umberto Anastasio was born on September 26, 1902, in Parghelia, Italy. His parents were Raffaelo Anastasio and Louisa Nomina De Filippi. Tragedy struck young Anastasio’s life early on. At the age of ten, Raffaelo died, leaving his wife and a dozen kids behind. Life was tough on the family, and soon, the older boys left home to find work elsewhere.


Umberto and his brother Antonio took jobs working on a ship. When the ship docked in New York, the two brothers jumped to shore and never looked back. The docks may have offered the brothers a place of employment, but it was back-breaking work run by the mob. It wasn’t long before Umberto’s temper overtook him in an argument with a fellow dock worker.


The young Italian brute slew Torino with fury. Witnesses say it was terrifying to watch the slaying. Torino was stabbed repeatedly and strangled in front of a dozen people. Umberto didn’t seem to care. It was almost as if he enjoyed the entire process. He was arrested and sentenced to death.


Unwilling to bring shame to his mother, Umberto changed his name to Albert Anastasia. It’s incredible how someone so vicious and brutal could care about such a thing. While Albert changed his name, his brother Tony did not. Tony would continue to rule the docks for the majority of three decades, although he never gained the notoriety of his psychopathic brother.


This murderous escapade landed the young illegal alien in Sing Sing prison. While there, he grabbed the attention of a fellow inmate with mob connections. Those connections would end up winning Albert a new trial. Unfortunately, by the time the new trial came around, four of the main witnesses had disappeared.

Anastasia now had connections with the likes of Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lanski, and Frank Costello. When Luciano wanted to take out his boss, he called in Anastasia as part of the hit squad. After Luciano re-structures the mob, Anastasia is set up as the head of the Mafia’s hit squad; Murder, Inc.


Anastasia ruled the elite team of assassins alongside Jewish mobster Louis “Lepke” Buchalter. Their headquarters was in the most unlikely of places. Down on the corner of Saratoga and Livonia Ave in Brooklyn sat a 24-hour candy store called Midnight Rose. This place was owned by a pleasant little elderly lady named Rosie Gold. Along the back wall of the shop was a row of payphones.


The team of mafioso killers would hang around the candy store, waiting for the next hit to be called in. Anastasia would take the call, make a plan, and send out a hit team. By the end of this decade of bloodshed, the FBI estimates the body count of this team was well over 1000.
Unlock most mob bosses, Anastasia wouldn’t pass off the dirty work to an underling. Anastasia enjoyed taking part in the actual murder. It wasn’t enough to plan it; he wanted to be involved. If he weren’t a part of the squad, he would witness the event from across the street. His bloodlust was disturbing and seemed to be growing.


1935: Dewey Wages War:
Special Prosecutor Thomas Dewey declared an all-out war on organized crime in New York. He took down the powerful Lucky Luciano, and then no one was safe. The next on his list was Louis “Lepke” Buchalter. Anastasia tried to hide his friend from the feds, but his attempts were futile. Dozens of witnesses were killed during this process, and now the mafia commission was wondering if Buchalter was worth the trouble
Finally, Anastasia received word from the commission. It was Buchalter or the Mob. Anastasia chose the mob and played a pivotal role in the double-crossing of Lepke Buchalter. During this time, one of Murder, Inc’s hitmen were arrested.


Abe “Kid Twist” Reles decided to turn state’s evidence in an attempt to save himself from the chair. Reles began telling everything he knew about Murder Incorporated. His testimony would send seven mobsters, including Lepke, to the electric chair. This landed the FBI’s target square on the back of the “Mad Hatter.”


Mad Hatter? Let me explain this nickname. When Lucky Luciano took over the Mafia, he structured it like a giant corporation and put down some basic ground rules. Breaking these rules came with the penalty of death.


The commission was supposed to sanction the hits before anyone was killed, but Anastasia had his own ideas about that. Public figures and civilians were off-limits. If they were killed, they would bring too much publicity. There was one more rule that Albert would break. You weren’t supposed to kill your boss. Anastasia would break all of these rules. His blood lust would give him the name The Mad Hatter, and his complete disregard for mob rule would sign Albert Anastasia’s death warrant.


On October 25, 1957, Anastasia walked in to see his barber at the Park Sheraton Hotel. His driver parked the car and went for a stroll. While the Mad Hatter had his face covered in a warm towel, three gunmen barged into the room. Albert Anastasia was hit with ten bullets and died on the floor next to his barber chair.


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:

The Candy Shop

Here are a few books about Albert Anastasia on Amazon.


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON 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.


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

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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


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THE MURDEROUS MISSIONARY

Photo courtesy of FBI.gov

November 29, 2004:

It was a quiet Monday morning at a local mall in Phoenix, Arizona. The employees were recovering from the mad rush of Black Friday events, and the busy shopping season was well underway. An armored truck was busy making its rounds picking up the weekend’s receipts when it pulled into the parking lot of the AMC movie theater. Robert “Keith” Palomares, 24 was the truck’s “hopper” so he jumped from the vehicle and headed inside never realizing this would be his last day on Earth.

As the guard exited the theater a hooded thief pulled out a .45 semi-automatic Glock and shot six times hitting the unsuspecting guard in the head with five of the six rounds. He was down immediately without a chance to defend himself. As the young man lay bleeding to death the thief mounted a blue and silver mountain bike and took off down the alleyway. Palomares died on the scene. He was a newlywed of only 15 months.

The police had little to go on in this case in the way of forensic evidence until the gunman’s bike was found stashed under a bush only half a mile away. The man had forgotten to wipe the handles for fingerprints, but this evidence would bring even more questions.

Witnesses had described the shooter as a Hispanic male in his mid-twenties, but the evidence showed a 35-year-old Mormon surfer boy. Jason Derek Brown wasn’t your typical street thug. By all accounts, he was raised in a good, financially stable, family in Laguna Beach. His family was active Mormons. Brown spent two years as a missionary in France after high school. He got married and then enrolled in the master’s program at the Monterrey Institute of International Studies. It seemed like he had a good life ahead of him, but somewhere in the 1990s, he changed.

Brown divorced his wife and took his party life on the road. He collected lavish cars, ATVs, and toys, but no one ever seen him go to work. Somehow, he always had a boatload of cash. Over the next ten years, Brown traveled around the U.S. creating various scams to fund his lavish lifestyle. Still, how does a Mormon missionary turn into a scheming conman and then into a cold-blooded killer? Perhaps it was his financial troubles. We may never know, but in Phoenix, Arizona Brown had morphed into a murderous killer stalking his prey. He went out and purchased a handgun and took his conceal and carry course that day. He stayed at a friend’s house for a week and stalked the armored truck to learn its routes. The day before the murder, Brown left his friend without explanation and rented a hotel room. The day before the murder, Brown took his gun out to the desert for some target practice.

During this practice session, he inadvertently shot a man’s vehicle and promised to pay for the damages. Brown gave Max Newton his name, address, and phone number and promised to send a check if Newton would get an estimate of the damage. Fast forward within a few hours of the shooting and Brown gets the phone call from Newton. Again, Brown calmly promised to send Newton a cashier’s check. The price of the repairs was $1300.

Before the robbery, Brown parks his BMW a mile from the movie theater and pulls out his mountain bike. Witnesses at his hotel remember him trying to fit the large bike into the two-seater. Brown takes out across the alleyway and ends up at the theater and waits. He kills the guard, takes the money, hops on his bike and is well out of the area before the police arrive on the scene.

With all the evidence one would think Jason Brown would be rotting in a jail cell somewhere, but that’s not the case. After his picture is seen on the news, Brown takes off towards Mexico leaving an electronic trail of credit card purchases along the way. The FBI is in hot pursuit until the trail goes cold. Somehow his Cadillac Escalade is found abandoned not at the Mexican border, but in Portland Oregon. The FBI believes he crossed over into Canada and no one has seen him since. Strangely, Max Newman received a cashier’s check in the mail for $1,300 just as promised.

It’s been almost 16 years. Brown speaks fluent French, and some speculate that he could have returned to Paris. Others wonder if he is hiding in the Mormon community. Whatever the case, Jason Brown has not paid for his crimes and was placed on the FBI’s Top 10 Most Wanted list on December 8, 2007. As always if you have any information regarding Jason Derek Brown please contact your local FBI office. 1-800- CALLFBI


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:

Wikipedia

Or watch this episode of American Greed for more in depth info on Jason Derek Brown.


Support Synova’s Cause:

EACH WEEK SYNOVA HIGHLIGHTS OBSCURE COLD CASES ON HER BLOG AS A VICTIMS’ ADVOCATE WITH MISSOURI MISSING ORGANIZATION. SHE NEVER CHARGES FOR HER SERVICES. IF YOU’D LIKE TO SUPPORT HER IN THIS WORTHY CAUSE, PLEASE CHECK OUT THE AFFILIATE LINKS ON 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.


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

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ALL INFORMATION USED TO CREATE THIS CONTENT IS A MATTER OF PUBLIC RECORD AND CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE OR CAN BE VERIFIED BY THE GUEST BLOGGER. ANY PARTICIPATION OR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT OF ANY PARTY MENTIONED WITHIN THIS SITE IS PURELY SPECULATION. AS THE LAW STATES, AN INDIVIDUAL IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. I DO NOT OWN THE PHOTOS USED IN THIS POST. ALL PHOTOS ARE USED UNDER THE FAIR USE ACT. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED. ANY AND ALL OPINIONS ARE THAT OF THE GUEST BLOGGER AND DON’T NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF SYNOVA INK©2017-2019. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Taken At the Ballgame

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All Photos Provided by Guest Blogger

On the evening of June 9, 1995, Colleen Nick and her six-year-old daughter Morgan traveled to Alma, Arkansas, to watch the children of friends play in a Little League baseball game.

As darkness fell, Morgan and two friends lost interest in the game. Instead of watching young boys catch fly balls, the children wanted to catch fireflies. They asked their parents if they could go play in a nearby field. The play field was within eyesight of the ball field, near where the cars were parked. With reluctance following Morgan’s persistent begging, Colleen let her go with her friends. A grateful Morgan thanked her mom, hugged her and gave her a big kiss before setting off on her quest to nab the glowing critters. As the game wound down, Colleen periodically glanced to the field and saw Morgan playing. The last images she has of her daughter is of her gleefully playing in the sand.

At the ballgame that evening, far more than bases were stolen. In an instant, someone stole a child, and the ripple effect would be stolen innocence, stolen memories, and a stolen life. Morgan, who dreamed of performing in the circus when she grew up, had disappeared. News of her presumed abduction spread beyond Alma, through all of Arkansas, and then all of America. Twenty-four-years later, however, Morgan remains missing.

When the ball game ended at approximately 10:45 p.m., the children began walking from the playing field to the ball field. Morgan stopped at her mom’s car to clean the sand from her shoes. She told her fiends she would meet them at the ball field, but she never arrived.

By the time Colleen reached her car, Morgan was gone. The police were summoned and conducted a search of the area but found no trace of her.

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Morgan’s friends remembered seeing a man they described as “creepy” talking to Morgan in the playfield. Several people recalled seeing a man matching the girls’ description watching Morgan play on the field earlier in the evening. While Morgan was playing with a different group of children, the man approached them and asked a question. Police have not released any details about what was asked. The man was in a red pickup truck. By the time police arrived to search for Morgan, the truck was gone.

Earlier that day in Alma, the same man is believed to have attempted to entice a four-year-old girl into his vehicle. Her mother saw it happen and screamed. The man heard her, saw her running toward his vehicle, threw the girl out of the vehicle, and sped away– in a red pickup truck.

The following day in Fort Smith, 15 miles southwest of Alma, the same man is believed to have tried to entice a nine-year-old girl into a men’s restroom at a convenience store. He stopped when the girl resisted. The girl said the man was driving a red truck.

Because the man in both instances resembled the man believed to be Morgan’s abductor, and because the truck involved in both incidents resembles the one seen at the ball field that evening, police believe they are linked to Morgan’s abduction.

Police believe the man is a loner, with few friends. He had a scruffy beard and salt-and-pepper hair. He is Caucasian, and in 1995 was between the ages of 23-38-years-old and spoke with a “hillbilly” accent. He weighed approximately 180 pounds and stood about 6’0 tall.

The truck the man was driving was a low wheelbase, red Ford pickup with dulled paint and a white camper shell with curtains covering the windows. Witnesses noted the shell was too short for the bed and the rear passenger side was damaged.

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In 2002, seven years after Morgan’s kidnapping, police received a tip that she may be buried on a private piece of land in Booneville, Arkansas, 53 miles southeast of Alma. However, after digging on the property, authorities found no trace of Morgan or any evidence that she had ever been there.

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In August of 2012, seventeen years since the last trace of Morgan Nick, Tonya Smith was arrested for computer fraud after attempting to assume Morgan’s identity. She was sentenced to six years’ probation and fined $2,500.

Police believe Smith was not involved in or has any knowledge of Morgan’s disappearance.

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Acting on another tip, on November 15, 2010, investigators searched a vacant house in Spiro, Oklahoma, 35 southwest of Alma, for DNA evidence that Morgan had once been in the house. At the time, the property was vacant, but a former occupant who once rented a mobile-home on the property had recently been convicted of the sexual molestation of a child and was considered a person of interest in Morgan’s disappearance. The search produced nothing relative to Morgan.

Granted permission by the new owner, on December 18, 2017, investigators returned to the house to conduct another search after receiving another tip. This search proved deja vu as no evidence was found suggesting Morgan had ever been there.

The previous occupant, now jailed in Oklahoma for the rape and molestation, remains a person of interest in Morgan’s abduction.

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One year after Morgan’s abduction, Colleen Nick established the Morgan Nick Foundation, a non-profit organization that aims to prevent children from going missing and offers a support system to families who are facing the hardships of a missing child. The foundation has helped bring several children home safely, but its namesake child remains missing.

The state of Arkansas renamed its Amber Alert system after Morgan Nick.

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It is rare, but not unprecedented, that a child is found alive years after being kidnapped by a stranger. The rescues of Elizabeth Smart, Jaycee Dugard, and the Cleveland children Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight give hope, however faint, that Morgan could still be alive and will one day come home.

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Beginning with her establishment of the Morgan Nick Foundation, Colleen Nick has become a crusader in searching for missing children. She relentlessly searches for her daughter, confident her efforts will not be in vain.

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Police say over the years there have been hundreds of reported sightings of Morgan across the country, but none could be confirmed.

At the time of her disappearance, Morgan’s teeth were crowded and she would have needed orthodontic braces in adolescence. Police hope if she were kidnapped to be raised as another person’s child, a worker in the dental field will have recalled doing the procedure.

Morgan Nick would today be 31-years-old.

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Further Reading:
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
• Arkansas Times
Charley Project


THIS LIST OF LINKS IS NOT AN ALL-ENCOMPASSING SOURCE CITING. ALL OF THE INFORMATION USED IN THIS ARTICLE CAN BE EASILY FOUND ONLINE. LINKS BELOW WERE USED AS SOURCES AND ARE RECOMMENDED READING FOR SYNOVA’S READERS. SYNOVA STRIVES TO CITE ALL THE SOURCES USED DURING HER CASE STUDY, BUT OCCASIONALLY A SOURCE MAY BE MISSED BY MISTAKE. IT IS NOT INTENTIONAL, AND NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT IS INTENDED.


Recommended Reading:

For more stories of famous kidnappings check out these books on Amazon today.


More About Our Wonderful Guest Blogger:

Ian Granstra is a writer and a native Iowan now living in  Arkansas.Growing up, he enjoyed watching real-life crime shows and further researching the stories featured. He wrote about many of them on his personal Facebook page, and several people suggested he should start a group featuring his writings. Ian founded the Facebook group “Murders, Missing People and More Mysteries” in August of 2018 he writes about many cold cases. The group also features many current criminal cases in the news. When Ian isn’t writing, he enjoys exercising, traveling and collecting sports cards. He’s also a big animal lover (his Facebook nickname is “beagle lover.”)


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