Famous cold cases that were solved

Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (23)
Famous cold cases that were solved. Lack of evidence, witnesses and proper forensic technology are just some of the reasons why criminal cases go cold. However, when new information comes forward or advances in technology [latest forensic DNA technology] are made, these long-unsolved crimes can be cracked. Scroll down to read about the coldest of cold cases and how they were eventually solved.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (22)
A golf course murder: Severed head on golf course
A severed head found on a golf course (where? Severed head found on golf course in Hopewell, New Jersey) in 1989 was finally identified as that of Heidi Balch (see photos), a prostitute who also went by the name Susan Spencer. Police believe her to be the first victim of serial killer Joel Rifkin (pictured), although he might not be tried for the crime. Why not? Joel Rifkin already serving more than 200 years in prison so may not be tried for Heidi Balch murder.
How were the remains finally identified? Severed head on golf course identified by DNA tests
Rifkin said he knocked out Susie’s teeth and removed her fingertips to make identifying the body more difficult.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (21)
Texas home invasion murder of accomplice
It was a case of a home invasion gone wrong when Jermaine Clemons and Alvin Wiltz attempted to rob a house in Texas (where, exactly? Wiltz and Clemons attempted home invasion in Harris County, Texas) in 2006. It ended with Clemons dead from a gunshot wound to his head and Wiltz fleeing the scene. Wiltz (pictured) was arrested for the murder in March this year, in a cold case that lasted seven years. Alvin Wiltz jermaine clemons murder
How was Wiltz identified as Clemons’ killer? DNA evidence identified Wiltz as Clemons killer.
Alvin Wiltz arrested during a traffic stop, Alvin Wiltz just released from prison for delivery of a controlled substance.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (20)
Double murder in Moline, Illinois solved
Laura Brown was found stabbed to death in her home in Moline, Ill., in 1988, a day after her husband, Joe, was found shot to death. Her husband’s killer was identified as Paul Anderson (pictured), but it took 25 years to find out that Anderson killed Laura as well.
Why did it take so long to link Anderson to Laura’s murder? Not enough solid evidence at Moline house to link Anderson to Laura Brown murder in 1988.
Anderson confessed February 19, 2013 to killing Laura Brown, Anderson confessed to killing Laura Brown because he exhausted all appeals, Laura Brown family requests not to prosecute Anderson for her murder because he is already in prison
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (19)
1998 Smyrna, Georgia, rape case
A 15-year-old rape case was finally solved in early 2013 when Miguel Hernandez (pictured) was charged with the crime. Hernandez and his unnamed victim were reportedly acquaintances when he took advantage of her in Smyrna, Georgia, (see on map) in 1998.
Why wasn’t Hernandez arrested back in 1998? Nobody knew Miguel Hernandez name or where he lived so he was never charged with rape.
Miguel Hernandez DNA match evidence collected at scene, Miguel Hernandez was already in jail when he was charged with 1998 rape.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (18)
2002 Haverstock Hills murder
It took over 10 years to find out who killed Cherita Thurman (pictured) in her apartment in Haverstock Hills, an area of Houston known for criminal activity. The 2002 murder went unsolved until January this year, when ex-convict Craig Demetrius Porter was arrested. Haverstock Hills one of Houston’s most dangerous apartment complexes in 2010.
How was Porter identified? Craig Demetrius Porter’s DNA matched DNA in Cherita Thurman case
Craig Demetrius Porter denies murder, Craig Demetrius Porter served a state jail sentence for manufacturing or distributing illegal drugs, Mom pleas for help solving daughter’s cold-case slaying Houston.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (17)
1978 Santa Ana cold case
The murder of Lynda Saunders (pictured) in Santa Ana, Calif., in 1978 went an astonishing 34 years without being solved. A suspect, James Brown, was finally identified in 2012 with help from members of Brown’s family.
How did Brown’s family help solve the case? DNA from James Brown’s brother and son helped link him to Lynda Saunders murder.
James Brown committed suicide so could not be arrested for Lynda Saunders murder, Saunders case is the first homicide investigation ever closed in Orange County using familial DNA.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (16)
1957 Sycamore kidnapping and murder
In September 2012, Jack McCullough was convicted of kidnapping and murdering 7-year-old Maria Ridulph (pictured) in 1957 in what is believed to be the oldest unsolved murder to end in an arrest. The former police officer maintains his innocence in the Sycamore, Ill., killing.
How was McCullough identified as the killer? Jack McCullough unused train ticket and mother’s deathbed confession led to arrest.
Jack McCullough conviction of murder controversial due to no forensic evidence, many potential witnesses are dead and age of case, Jack McCullough sentenced to life in prison.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (15)
1985 Maurin murders
Ed and Minnie Maurin (pictured) were 81 and 83 years of age, respectively, when they were kidnapped and shot to death in Washington state in December 1985. After more than 26 years without an arrest, police finally identified the culprits as brothers Rick and John Riffe (see photos).
How were police finally able to make the arrest? finally enough probable cause to arrest Riffe brothers.
Witnesses did not come forward because they were scared of Riffe brothers, John Riffe died week before sheriff’s office bought tickets to Alaska to arrest him, Victims’ son, Dennis Hadaller, said he promised his parents the killer would be caught.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (14)
Baby kidnapped in Texas found after eight years
Miguel Morin was just a baby (how old? Miguel Morin 8 months old when he was kidnapped) when he was kidnapped by his baby sitter (who also had this relationship with him) in Texas in 2004. Krystle Rochelle Tanner (pictured) was finally caught in 2012, due in part to her having a newborn son. Krystle Tanner was Miguel’s godmother.
How exactly was Tanner found? Krystle Tanner investigated after newborn tested positive for marijuana, led to Miguel being found.
police listed the biological parents lack of cooperation as the reason for closing the case, Krystle Tanner’s mother helped hide Miguel, Krystle Tanner sentenced to eight years, Krystle Tanner’s mother Gloria Walker sentenced to 30 years.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (13)
1986 Long Beach murder
Thirty-eight-year old Leotis Green (pictured) was found shot to death in his apartment in Long Beach, Calif., in June of 1986. The case went unsolved for 25 years until Anthony Ragsdale, one of two suspects, was arrested in 2012.
How was Ragsdale identified? Anthony Ragsdale identified with latest DNA technology.
Leotis Green murder case required advanced DNA technology, Suspect Wallace Johnson died in 2003.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (12)
1978 Omaha stabbing cold case
Sixty-one-year-old Carroll Bonnet (pictured) was found stabbed to death in his apartment in Omaha, Neb., in 1978 and until 2011, the case went unsolved. Two employees of the Omaha Police Department won an award from the FBI [FBI Latent Hit of the Year Award 2012] for their part in identifying Jerry Watson as the one responsible for the crime.
How exactly was Watson identified? Jerry Watson identified with the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS)
DNA from hair in Bonnet’s apartment matched Jerry Watson’s DNA, Jerry Watson sentenced to life in prison for Carroll Bonnet murder.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (11)
Florida mother cold case
Amy Hurst (pictured) had been missing for 29 years until her own son, Jeff Earley, helped solve the case in 2011. He found a description online of a body found in the Gulf of Mexico and realized it could be his mother. It turned out he was right and Amy’s husband, William Hurst, was arrested for the murder.
How did Earley make the connection between the body found and his mother? Jeff Earley recognized afghan Amy’s body was wrapped in.
Lisa Beebe said she knew in her heart who killed mother Amy Hurst, William Hurst sentenced to life in prison.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (10)
1993 murder of Colorado girl
Alie Berrelez was just 5 years old when she was kidnapped and murdered in Englewood, Colo., in 1993. The cold case wasn’t solved until 2011, when neighbor Nicholas Stofer (pictured) was determined to be the killer.
How did police connect Stofer to the crime? DNA from Alie’s underwear matched neighbor Nicholas Stofer.
DNA technology wasn’t advanced enough in 1993 to connect Stofer to murder, Nicholas Stofer died from drug overdose in 2001.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (9)
1982 Salt Lake cold case
Thirty-nine-year-old Dennis Piernick (pictured) was found stabbed to death in his apartment in Salt Lake City in 1982, and until 2011, the murderer was unknown. Rodney VanKomen, a runaway who was 17 years old at the time of the murder, was determined to be the culprit.
How was VanKomen linked to the crime? VanKomen confessed to a friend that he murdered Piernick.
Dennis Piernick was gay and so were some witnesses so were reluctant to come forward at that time, Rodney VanKomen died in car accident in 2005.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (8)
Washington, D.C., intern murder
Chandra Levy (pictured) was 24 years old when she was murdered in 2001. The case made headlines across the nation because she was an intern at the Federal Bureau of Prisons and involved in a relationship with then-Congressman Gary Condit. The murder was finally solved in 2010 when Ingmar Guandique was convicted.
How did police connect Guandique to the murder? Ingmar Guandique was serving time for attacks on other women in the same park around the time Levy disappeared.
Guandique’s jailhouse confession, Gary Condit political career ruined.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (7)
Side table murder cold case
Cynthia Epps was 29 years old when she was brutally murdered in New York (where, exactly? Buffalo, New York) in 1994. Her body was “found” in a side table by James Fountain (pictured), who, 18 years later, was determined to be the killer.
How was Fountain identified as the murderer? James Fountain DNA matched DNA found on Epps.
James Fountain pleaded guilty to second degree murder, James Fountain sentenced to 23 years to life in prison, James Fountain previous convictions of rape and manslaughter.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (6)
1991 Ohio cheerleader murder
Jessica Keen, a high school cheerleader, was just 15 years old when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered in Ohio in 1991. The case went unsolved for years (how long? Jessica Keen case unsolved for 18 years) until Marvin Lee Smith (pictured) admitted in court that he was the killer.
How did police identify Smith as the killer? Marvin Lee Smith DNA matched DNA evidence from Keen case.
Marvin Lee Smith sentenced to 30 years to life for Jessica Keen murder, Marvin Lee Smith served time for attacks on two other women as well, Marvin Lee Smith DNA on record after serving time for other assaults.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (5)
1976 Chula Vista murder
Twenty-year-old Anita Marie Carrier (pictured) was last seen leaving a bar in Chula Vista, Calif., in 1976. Police had one main suspect back in ’76, Charles Edward Manley, but didn’t have enough solid evidence to make the arrest. Fast-forward more than 30 years and the case is solved. It was Manley after all.
How were investigators finally able to solve the case? DNA under Anita Marie Carrier’s fingernails matched Charles Edward Manley.
Charles Edward Manley convicted in 1995 of murdering his girlfriend, Charles Edward Manley died in 2001 so never tried for Carrier’s murder.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (4)
Lil’ Miss murder
Lisa Marie Kimmell was just 18 years old when she was kidnapped, raped and murdered on her way to visit her boyfriend in Cody, Wyo., in 1988. The case went unsolved until 2004, when Dale Wayne Eaton was convicted of the crime.
How was Eaton identified as the killer? Dale Wayne Eaton DNA matched DNA found in Lisa Kimmell.
Lisa Kimmell’s missing car found buried on Dale Wayne Eaton’s property, Dale Wayne Eaton sentenced to death, Dale Wayne Eaton possible Great Basin Serial Killer.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (3)
1969 murder of Texas Ranger’s sister
Twenty-five-year-old Diane Maxwell Jackson (pictured), the sister of Texas Ranger David Maxwell, was raped and murdered while on her way to work in 1969. A clear suspect was never identified until years later (how long? James Ray Davis sentenced 34 years after Diane Maxwell Jackson murder) when, with David Maxwell’s persistence, evidence linked James Ray Davis to the crime.
How was Davis identified as the killer? James Ray Davis fingerprints found on Jackson’s car.
James Ray Davis sentenced to life in prison for Diane Maxwell Jackson murder, 2011 “Latent Hit of the Year” Award.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (2)
1957 El Segundo cop killings
El Segundo, Calif., police officers Milton Curtis and Richard Phillips were shot to death in 1957 after pulling a driver over for running a red light. The driver drove away immediately and was not identified as Gerald F. Mason until years later (when? Gerald F. Mason arrested in 2003).
How was Mason identified as the killer? New fingerprint database identified Gerald Mason as 1957 cop killer.
Gerald Mason sentenced to life in prison, Gerald Mason tearful apology in court.
Famous Cold Cases That Were Solved (1)
Martha Moxley murder
Martha Moxley (pictured) was just 15 years old when she was stabbed to death in 1975. Her neighbor, Michael Skakel, part of this well-known political family[Michael Skakel part of Kennedy family], was indicted for the murder many years later (when, exactly? Michael Skakel indicted for Moxley murder in 2000).
What other high-profile case led to charging Skakel with murder? William Kennedy Smith rape trial in 1991 brought attention back to Michael Skakel.
No physical evidence trying Michael Skakel to Moxley murder, Michael Skakel sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, Michael Skakel denied parole in April 2013.

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