There are many killers down through history that have eluded the long arm of the law, however disconcerting that fact may be. Read on for a bloody bit more about some of the world’s most notorious unsolved crimes.
Jack The Ripper (1888)
Perhaps the most celebrated unsolved mystery concerns the identity of the knife-wielding maniac who murdered six White chapel prostitutes in the summer of 1888. Although some evidence of his bloody rampage was left behind, the lack of forensic science made prosecution impossible. The world of cinema and crime fiction keep the Ripper legend alive, but thankfully he no longer is, albeit he escaped prosecution.
William Desmond Taylor (1922)
The second most notorious unsolved crime in Los Angeles history was the murder of film director, William Desmond Taylor. He was found shot dead in his palatial home with no signs of robbery or forced entry. There seems little doubt that someone he knew well murdered him, but no one was ever arrested for the crime. Screen star, Mabel Normand, (who had a crush on him) and her mother were prime suspects as they were the last to have seen him alive. There were several other suspects as well, but no one was every charged with the crime.
The Hall-Mills Murder (1922)
This unsolved murder involving two married lovers found shot on a New Jersey roadside might have been committed by an heiress of Johnson and Johnson, namely, Francis Noel Stevens, who was the angry spouse of one of the victims. The bodies were found lying next to each other with torn up letters and cards scattered between them The male victim, Edward W. Hall, was the pastor of a church in New Brunswick where his lover, Eleanor Mills, was a singer in the church choir!
Thelma Todd (1935)
Thelma Todd was a successful film actress who was found dead in her garage on a December morning in 1935. She had appeared in over forty movies including several with Laurel and Hardy and the Marx brothers. Her car was running and her death was ruled as accidental, but there were many rumors that she had been murdered. Suspects included her former husband, former business partner and Lucky Luciano.
Elizabeth Short aka The Black Dahlia (1947)
This 1947 mutilation murder case is perhaps the most infamous in Los Angeles history. No other murder in the United States ever produced more confessions (38 fully written and more than 200 over the telephone). The inspiration for several movies over the years, the killer of the unfortunate Elizabeth Short was never apprehended. Despite decades of investigative work, the case remains unsolved. One Steve Hodel, a retired LAPD homicide detective turned investigator has alleged that his own father, Dr. George Hodel, was the deranged killer.
The Sam Shepherd Murder Case (1953)
In 1953, Dr. Samuel H. Sheppard, a prominent Cleveland osteopath, was charged with the bludgeoning murder of his pregnant wife, Marilyn. Sentenced to life in prison, his case was retried in 1966 and he was acquitted of all charges. His accounts of waking to his wife’s screams and seeing a bushy-haired stranger fleeing from the scene was the inspiration for the television series, The Fugitive. In 1997 DNA tests of evidence from the crime scene clearly indicated the presence of a third unknown person, Richard Eberling, who had been hired to wash windows at the Shepherd home. Although he denied any connection to the crime, a ring belonging to Marilyn Shepherd was found in his possession.
Mary Pinchot Meyer (1964)
She was a 43–year-old Washington, DC, artist who was gunned down along a Georgetown towpath. Her death brought much criticism towards Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department for its inability to protect the public, but in Jim Marrs’s book, Crossfire: The Plot That Killed Kennedy, Mary Pinchot Meyer’s murder is listed as one of the mysterious deaths associated with the John F. Kennedy assassination.
Bob Crane (1978)
Best known for the television series, Hogan’s Heroes, actor, Bob Crane, was brutally murdered at the Winfield Place apartments in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1978. Authorities believe that former friend, John Carpenter, killed Crane in a fit of jealous rage. The weapon was never found but was believed to be a camera tripod. Due to a lack of evidence the case was dismissed, reopened again in 1992 and Carpenter was acquitted of all charges. He maintained his innocence until his death in September of 1998.
Chandra Levy (2001)
The death of the young Washington intern who had been involved with politician Gary Condit remains unsolved to this day. Chandra Levy logged onto her computer, left her home and was never heard from again. Her body was later found in an isolated section of Rock Creek Park, but no one has ever been named as her killer.
These unfortunate victims represent just a handful among many unsolved murders. Perhaps with the rapid strides being made in the world of forensic medicine, these crimes will one day be solved.