Pages

TOP 15 UNSOLVABLE CRIMES

Number 15. The Antwerp Diamond Heist
Known as the 'heist of the century,' the Antwerp Diamond Heist was at one time the largest diamond heist in history. Ringleader Leonardo Notarbartolo rented an office next to the Diamond Centre for two and a half years before the robbery, and posed as an Italian diamond merchant in order to gain a positive reputation in the community. Investigators believe Notabartolo led a five man team past the highly secure vault of the Diamond Centre, and made off with what he claims to be approximately $8 million euros worth of diamonds during the weekend between February 15th and 16th.

Only days later, Notarbartolo was arrested in connection to the robbery based on circumstantial evidence, and sentenced to 10 years; however, he maintained his innocence for the majority of his sentence, until an interview with Wired, where he detailed the heist in great detail; he claimed in the interview he and the others involved were hired by a diamond merchant as part of an insurance fraud plot, but he remained silent on the identities of his associates and who hired them, and so far nobody else has been detained or charged for the crime. Notabartolo has since been released from prison on parole, but still has not given authorities information on the heist; the diamonds remain missing to this day.

Number 14. Jack the Stripper
No, this name is not a mistake. Most of the world knows of the infamous Jack the Ripper killings in 1888, another little known serial killer again terrorized London during the early to mid 1960s. Eight bodies were found washed up in the River Thames near Hammersmith, London, all whom were female prostitutes. All eight were strangled, stripped nude and were missing certain teeth.

Early in the case, a middle-aged caretaker confessed to two of the murders, but his confession was later dismissed due to inconsistencies with his statement and physical evidence, and due to a thrid victim with the same M.O turning up in an alleyway. The third victim provided the first real piece of evidence in the case, which were flecks of pained motor-car manufactories used during production.

While investigators continued to follow leads, and tips from prostitutes working in the area, no charges ever appeared before the courts. The last victim, Irishwoman Bridget O'Hara, was found in 1965; since then, all killings with Jack the Stripper's M.O ceased, and his or her identity remain a mystery. Just like the historical counterpart, the Jack the Stripper crimes are likely to forever be unsolved.

Number 13. Jimmy Hoffa
The once president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters labour union, Hoffa had an angel on one shoulder, and a devil on the other; he was an outspoken civil rights supporter and made many contributions to the movement, but also had ties with the mafia, and was charged with attempted bribery and fraud and sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Richard Nixon later had Hoffa's sentence commuted to time served and he was released in 1971. On July 30, 1975, Hoffa disappeared from a parking lot in Detroit, and has never been seen again. He was declared legally dead in 1982, and the investigation was transferred to homicide detectives. Many have speculated as to what happened to Hoffa, with the most popular theory being his mafia connections led to his demise, and even belief he was killed by infamous hitman Richard 'The Iceman' Kuklinski.

Crazier ideas have surfaced, including alien abduction and faking his own death  scenarios. To this day, the FBI have followed up leads into the possible whereabouts of Hoffa's body, but all have turned up dead ends. No trace of Hoffa has ever been found, it it appears we'll never know his true fate.

Number 12. The Wheaton Bandit
From early 2002 until late 2006, an unknown man went on a bank robbery spree in Wheaton, Illinois. The masked bandit is thought to have been between 25 to 35 years old, wore heavy clothing and possibly a bullet proof vest; interestingly, the witnesses said the crook would have his trigger finger resting along the slide of the gun and not on the trigger itself, possibly indicating he did not wish to harm anyone.

The bandit's spree was at an all time high in 2003, with a total of seven robberies between January and August; he even robbed two banks twice, belonging to the West Suburban Bank. Police hit a breakthrough when a suspicious man was captured on bank security in December 2004; the man was viewed not making any transactions, as if he was scouting out the location. Two weeks later, the bank was robbed. Two years later, a witness spotted a suspicious person in the parking lot of a Glen Ellyn Bank & Trust an hour before it was robbed, and was able to give sketch artists a possible visual interpretation of the suspect.

After the sketch was released to the general public, the robberies stopped and the bandit seemed to fade from existence. Authorities have continued to offer a $50,000 reward, but the statute of limitation expired on December 7, 2011, meaning even if the identity of the bandit is discovered, there would be no possibility of charged being laid against him. Regardless, the bandit has forever disappeared, and will likely never be identified.

Number 11. The Highway of Tears
This haunting nickname is given to a section of Highway 16 between Prince George and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada. Between 1969 and 2011, 19 women have either gone missing or been found murdered near the road. Most, if not all, of these women were believed to be hitchhiking, and were picked up by the wrong person, leading to their demise.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police have been able to solve several of the murders, and a prime suspect of three murders is one Bobby Jack Fowler, who died in and Oregon State Penitentiary in 2006 while serving an unrelated murder sentence. Racism has been blamed for the lack of progress on the investigations since many of the women are of First Nations decent, similar to the slow investigation to the missing women in Vancouver discovered to have been murdered by Robert Pickton between 1983 and 2002.

Lack of media coverage has also been blamed as a huge part of the lack of witnesses and slow progress in solving all the murders and missing persons. RCMP has confirmed there are prime suspects in most cases, though there is not enough evidence to lay charges as of yet. The Highway of Tears label is set to remain on notorious Highway 16, and signs have been placed along the stretch warning people not to hitchhike along there, in hopes more people will not fall victim to the highway's dark history.

Number 10. Taman Shud
In the early morning of December 1, 1948, a body was found under a street lamp in Somerton Beach, Australia. All identification markings from the man's clothes were removed; it was only after extensive research investigators were able to pin point the man's jacket as being sold in the United States. However, dental records and fingerprints didn't match to anyone living or who had lived in America, or anywhere else for that matter.
An autopsy came up inconclusive, and despite congestion in his brain, consistent with poisoning, toxicology turned up with no trace of poisons in the man's system. A briefcase belonging to the man contained only clothes,which also had all tags removed, and secret pockets in the man's pants, one of which contained a not with the words Taman Shud written on it, meaning “finished” in Persian.

The scrap was torn from a copy of Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, and a copy of the book owned by the John Doe had a strange cypher written on it, five sets of what appeared to be random letters. When the case was reopened recently, it was discovered the letters were not random, but belonged to a cypher no living human was familiar with. The case has been reopened several times in an attempt to identify the John Doe and find a possible cause for his death; speculation includes early-Cold War espionage, a case of unrequited love. No further evidence has been discovered, and it is likely the case will never be closed.

Number 9. The Black Dahlia
Elizabeth Short was a young waitress living in Los Angeles during the mid 1940s. Short became an infamous media sensation when her mutilated body was discovered in a vacant lot in the Leimert Park neighbourhood of LA on January 15, 1947; she was stripped nude and cut in half, with her body completely drained of blood, her mouth slashed open into a Glasgow smile, and various other graphic acts conducted either pre or postmortem.
An autopsy revealed her cause of death to be hemorrhaging and shock from blunt force trauma to the head. The news quickly took an interest in the story, and reporters from the Los Angeles Examiner thuggishly contacted Short's mother claiming Elizabeth had won a beauty contest; it was only after they had gotten the details into Short's life did they reveal to her mother she had actually been murdered.

A major lead came to police in the form of an anonymous person contacting the Examiner editor claiming to be the killer a week after Short's body was discovered; the following day, the Examiner received a package containing Short's birth certificate, her business cards, personal photos, and an address book. As the case gained more and more notoriety, over 50 men and women stepped forward and claimed to be the killer, or giving tips about suspected friends or family.

Detective John P. St. John, one of the investigators on the case until his retirement, later stated “It's amazing how many people offer up a relative as the killer.” The case went cold due to lack of incriminating evidence and from media publicity creating roadblocks in the investigation; no one was ever charged in Short's murder, and the trail is all but gone. People continue to speculate on the identity of the killer, and the case was the subject of crime novelist James Ellroy's book The Black Dahlia in 1987.

Number 8. The Texarkana Moonlight Murders
A serial murderer stalked people in the twin cities of Texarkana, Texas and Arkansas between February 22 and May 3, 1946. Within the short span, the killer managed to fatally shoot five people and injure a further three. The media dubbed him the Phantom Killer, for he was able to sneak up on people seemingly without a sound, and with witnesses unable to give a description of the suspect; he would almost without fail commit a shooting every three weeks, consistent with the full moon thought not always despite popular belief.

Panic struck the cities, and night after night, police were flooded with reports of prowlers outside frightened residents' homes. As mysteriously as the shootings began, they stopped, and no murders with the same MO have occurred in Texarkana since. The only description of the killer given by survivors detailed the assailant as a six-foot-tall man wearing a plain white sack as a mask.

A popular theory of the killer's identity is he was the Zodiac Killer in the early stages of his killings, though there is no physical or circumstantial evidence giving this theory ground. The only suspect in the case was Youell Swinney, who was imprisoned a year later for an unrelated theft charge, and he was never charged for the murders. Calm soon returned to the cities as the killer vanished like the Phantom he seemed to be.

Number 7. The Salish Sea severed feet
Since August 20, 2007, shoes containing severed feet have been washing up in the mainland and islands surrounding the Salish Sea of the West Coast of Canada and the United States. The first foot was discovered on Jedediah Island, British Columbia, by a girl visiting from neighbouring Washington State. Six days later, a second foot washed up on Gabriola Island, with signs it had been taken ashore by an animal. The following year, a total of five feet washed up on islands and the mainlands between February and October, two sets of which were linked to the opposing feet of the same person, but found 4 to 6 months apart and in different locations.

The latest foot was found near the Pier 86 grain terminal in Seattle, Washington, just over two years since the previous foot was found in Vancouver, British Columbia. So far, only the first foot has possibly been identified as belonging to a missing Canadian man suffering from episodes of depression, but the others remain unidentified with no leads. Investigators and the public alike have speculated the feet belong to a varying degree of people, including plane and boat crash victims, murdered persons and suicide victims who have jumped from one of the many cliffs or bridges in the area. Sadly, none of the victims can be accurately identified due to lack of DNA and full bodies to match. There is a long list of missing persons who could possibly belong to one of the foots, but their identities are forever buried beneath the waves of the Salish Sea.

Number 6. The Murder of Tupac Shakur
The mid-1990s saw the peak of a feud between East Coast and West Coast hip-hop fans and artists alike. Two of the focal points of the feud were New York artist Biggie Smalls and Los Angeles based Tupac Shakur. The two released various songs antagonizing one another, including Biggie's “Who Shot Ya?” Who shot ya? / Seperate the weak from the ob-solete / Hard to creep them Brooklyn streets / It's on n*gga, f*ck all that bickering beef and Tupac's “Hit 'Em Up,”

First off, f*ck your b*tch / And the clique you claim / West side when we ride / Come equipped with game / You claim to be a player / But I f*cked your wife / We bust on Bad Boys / n*ggas f*ck for Life both containing mocking and even threatening lyrics pointed at one another. The story took a sudden and tragic twist on the night of September 7, 1996.
Tupac and several friends had attended a Mike Tyson fight at Las Vegas' MGM Grande Hotel and Casino, and were stopped at a red light when a sedan pulled up and its occupants fired several rounds into Tupac's car, before speeding away. Driver Suge Knight, despite being severely injured, managed to drive a mile up the road to a nearby police bike patrol, who radioed for paramedics.

By the time he reached the hospital, it was too late and Tupac died six days later. Witnesses claimed to not know who shot Tupac, with Knight saying he wouldn't tell authorities even if he did. There is much speculation in the possible involvement of Biggie Smalls and/or members of his entourage, though there is no definitive evidence to suggest such a link. In 2014, a retired police officer who witnessed Tupac's death claims he asked Tupac if he had seen who shot him, but whispered “F*ck you,” as a reply. Six months after Tupac's murder, Biggie Smalls was killed in a drive-by shooting, and his murder is also unsolved.

Number 5. The Stanley Park children
On January 14, 1953, a gardener discovered the skeletal remains of two children in Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada, along with an axe and a woman's shoe. Medical examiners determined one child was male, and the other was female. The only lead police found was from a truck driver, who told police he had picked up a woman and two boys in 1949, and even described one of the boys as wearing an aviator's helmet, which was one of the items found at the scene.

He also said the woman was in trouble for vagrancy, another term for prostitution during that time. Sadly, the driver's  statement was ignored because investigators were looking for a boy and a girl. Finding no further evidence, and because of the lack of forensic technology at the time, the case quickly ran cold and was shelved by police due to lack of evidence. In 1998, a retired detective decided to reopen the case and conducted DNA analysis on the remains.

To the surprise of investigators, it was discovered both remains were male, meaning the truck driver's statement could have solid foundation. By then, it was well too late and any traces of the mother were long washed away. To this day, the identity of the boys and the mother have never been uncovered.

Number 4. The Bone Collector
In February 2009, an Albuquerque, New Mexico resident was walking dogs in the West Mesa neighbourhood, when one of the dogs uncovered what appeared to be a human bone. Investigators arrived at the scene and to their surprise, unearthed the largest crime scene in American history. In total, the remains of eleven women and one fetus was excavated from the scene. Forensics determined the women were killed between 2001 and 2005.
All the women were identified as know prostitutes who frequented the area for clients, and disappeared somewhere within the killer's spree. Unfortunately, no valuable piece of evidence was discovered, not a murder weapon, DNA, nothing. Sex workers till working in the area continue to live in fear of becoming the Bone Collector's next victim, even though no further murders have been linked to this mysterious string of murders.

Despite police failing to bring charges in relation to the deaths, they have stepped in at providing better protection to sex workers in West Mesa, by actively pursuing  accusations of rape and beatings against women in the area, and a Bad Date List was created and actively monitored and updated. While unsolved, the legacy of the discovery has lead authorities to prevent any such atrocities from occurring in the future; Albuquerque Police are still offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who can give testimony relating to the crime that results in an arrest.

Number 3. The Alphabet Murders
Between November 16, 1971 and November 26, 1973, three young girls were found raped and murdered around Rochester, New York; the strange connection between the victims is their first and last names began with the same letter: Carmen Colon, age 10, Wanda Walkowicz, age 11, and Michelle Maenza, age 11. After Maenza's murder, the killings in Rochester ceased, and the main suspect was cleared posthumously by DNA evidence in 2007.

Strangely enough, a series of similar murders began in 1977, with 18 year old Rocene Roggasch, followed by Pamela Parsons, Tracy Tofoya and oodly enough, another woman named Carmen Colon. These murders were later linked to a man named Joseph Naso, a photographer from New York; he was found guilty of the California murders and sentenced to death.

While Naso is considered a person of interest to the murders in Rochester, his DNA has not been matched, and followers of the story have pointed out the M.O.'s are different, with the California victims being prostitutes, and the New York victims children still in elementary school. The true identity of the killer, or whether or not Naso was involved remains unknown, and it appears the case has permanently gone cold.

Number 2. The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist
In the early hours of March 18, 1990, Boston citizens were still in the midst of St. Patrick's Day celebrations when two men posed as police officers tricked security at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum to let them in. The assailants tied up the guards and began gathering various art pieces, until leaving with 13 paintings worth $500 million worth of art. The guards claimed the two men said “You'll be hearing from us again in a year,” but a year came and went, and still no word from the thieves.

Works from famous painters, including Rembrandt and Manet, were taken in what the FBI believes to be the work of a criminal organization. Investigators continue to search for the missing paintings, but so far, they have vanished without a trace. In March 2013, the FBI announced they knew who the thieves were, but no names were  released at that time. The U.S Attorney's Office released a video two years later of what is believed to be a dry run of the theft; days later, FBI officials announced the previously mentioned suspects were now deceased; since then, there has been no further information on the case, and whether or not it is moving along remains unknown. The paintings remain missing, the suspects now dead, and the criminal organization is yet to be identified.

Number 1. The Zodiac Killer
The San Francisco Bay Area, along with the city of Vallejo, and counties of Napa and Solano found themselves terrorized by a mysterious killer between December 1968 and October 1969. In a letter sent to newspapers in San Francisco, the killer dubbed himself The Zodiac, and continuously sent letters to the media with various claims and threats, including hijacking a school bus and kill the children on board.

The Zodiac has a confirmed kill count of 5, with a a possibility of having up to 28 victims, and a personal claim of 37, though many of his claimed murders were later disproven. The investigation was met with problems due to the murders occurring across county lines and the respective police departments finding difficulty coordinating evidence. The final Zodiac letter was sent in to The SF Chronicle on January 29, 1974, which he taunted the police by ending with “Me = 37, SFPD = 0.” Afterwards, The Zodiac went silent, and his murders appeared to stop, leading to much speculation as to what happened.

Author Robert Graysmith, who wrote the critically acclaimed book Zodiac, was convinced the identity of the Zodiac was a man named Arthur Leigh Allen based on circumstantial evidence, including a letter written on a typewriter model Allen owned, him owning a Zodiac brand wristwatch, and him living in Vallejo, minutes away from where the first victim lived. However, DNA evidence in 2002 attempted to match saliva of Allen's to that on the Zodiac letters envelopes, though it was found to not be a match. Today, the identity of the Zodiac remains unknown, and it has become more apparent whoever he or she was will remain a mystery.