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17 Fucked-Up Murder Cold Cases That Took Decades To Solve


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We asked the BuzzFeed Community to tell us which murder cold cases freak them out. Here are the insane and fucked-up results.

Note: Not all submissions are from Community users.

1. John List

Wikipedia Commons / Fair Use / Sony Pictures / Biography Channel

He killed his family in New Jersey in 1971 and disappeared. Then, in 1989, a woman was watching America's Most Wanted, where they re-created what List might look like now. She noted the image looked like her neighbor, Robert Clark, and soon police learned that Robert Clark was actually John List. He was convicted in 1990.

Years it took to solve this case: 19


2. The death of Roy McCaleb

ABC 7 News

Roy McCaleb was shot to death in his Houston home in 1985, and his wife, Carolyn Sue Krizan-Wilson, claimed a barefoot man broke in, took the gun she kept under her pillow, and fired it. The story was told so convincingly that the case stayed open until 2013, when she finally admitted she did the whole thing herself.

Years it took to solve this case: 28

3. The murders of Richard Phillips and Milton Curtis


One night in July 1957, Gerald Mason was pulled over in Los Angeles for running a red light. When two officers approached him, he shot them to death. No one knew he was the killer until 2003, when a new FBI national database matched his fingerprints to those found at the scene almost half a century ago. He's now serving a life sentence.

Years it took to solve this case: 46

—Jessica Mae, Facebook

4. The murder of Patricia Ann Green

CBS / WLTX News, Flickr Creative Commons / barbaragaillewis / Via

Green was found shot to death in a South Carolina ditch in 1978, and sadly no one was arrested for the crime. Then, in 2017, a man who was already in prison for four other murders was convicted of killing her. The evidence was presented to him and he confessed without hesitation.

Years it took to solve this case: 39

5. The murder of Angela Kleinsorge


Kleinsorge was horrifically raped and killed in her San Diego home in '92, and her family wondered if they'd ever learn who did it. Luckily, DNA testing led to a match in 2017, confirming her neighbor, Jeffrey Falls, committed the crime. He'd already been dead since 2006.

Years it took to solve this case: 25

6. The murder of Wendy Halison

LA Times, Wikipedia Commons / Nminow / Via

Halison was found strangled to death in the trunk of her own car in 1968. The case remained unsolved until 1998, when DNA matched semen found on her clothes to Edwin Dean Richardson. He was sentenced to life in prison in 2006, and at that point had already been convicted of two other murders.

Years it took to solve this case: 38

7. The murders of Minnie and Ed Maurin

ABC News, KIRO TV News

The Maurins' bodies were found on Christmas Eve 1985 in a Washington forest, shot to death. Brothers Rick and John Riffe were connected to the crime in 2012, and though John died before an arrest was made, Rick was given a 103-year prison sentence in 2013.

Years it took to solve this case: 28

—Jessica Ann Rauch, Facebook

8. The Palm Beach Clown Murder

Flickr Creative Commons / Josh McGinn / Via, Washington County Virginia Sheriff's Office

In May 1990, Marlene Warren's doorbell rang in Florida, and a clown shot her in the face. In August 2017, Sheila Keen-Warren, who was supposedly having an affair with Marlene's husband at the time of the shooting, was arrested. It's possible she'll face the death penalty, but the case isn't completely closed yet.

Years it took to crack this case: 27

Anna Kopsky

9. The murder of Susan Schwarz

Fair Use, Flickr Creative Commons / Pixi / Via

In 1979, a woman had told her friend, Susan Schwarz, that her husband had been beating her. When Gregory Johnson learned his wife was talking about their problems, he accused Schwarz of meddling, grabbed her while she was in the shower, and shot her. His crime was kept a secret by his then-wife until 2012, when she finally revealed everything she knew to police. He was only given 24 years in prison.

Years it took to solve this case: 33

10. The murder of Patricia Beard

Fair Use, Flickr Creative Commons / Steve Calcott / Via

Denver resident Patricia Beard was found dead in her one-bedroom apartment in 1981, and no one had any idea who could've hurt her. That is, until 2013, when Hector Bencomo-Hinojos pleaded guilty to another crime and was then connected to Beard's death. He was given almost 50 years in prison.

Years it took to solve this case: 32

11. The death of Joan Harrison

ABC 6 News, Flickr Creative Commons / Scott Meis / Via

Sex worker Joan Harrison's lifeless body was found in a dingy garage in England in 1975, with bite marks on her chest and her jewelry missing. It wasn't until 2011 that DNA linked Christopher Smith to the scene. Police had enough evidence to charge him with murder, but he died in 2008.

Years it took to solve this case: 36

12. The murder of Helen Sullivan

Flickr Creative Commons / Jochen Spieker / Via, Flickr Creative Commons / José Luís Agapito / Via

Helen Sullivan's husband found her body stabbed to death in their home in 1972 in Los Angeles, and police came immediately to grab fingerprints and preserve them. Those preserved prints were revisited in 2012, and matched with a man who'd died in 1990 named Emmanuel Miller.

Years it took to solve this case: 40

13. The murder of Cyrus Jefferson

San Diego Tribune, Flickr Creative Commons / quite peculiar / Via

In October '86, the bloody body of Cyrus Jefferson was found in a field in San Diego. A man named Stacy Littleton was thought to be a suspect, but there wasn't enough evidence to charge him, so he was let go. Last year, a glove found at the scene was tested for DNA and linked to Littleton, and now he's being charged — but the case isn't closed yet.

Years it took to crack this case: 31

14. The murder of Karen Klaas

ABC7, Fair Use

Karen Klaas was famous for her former marriage to a singer from the band Righteous Brothers. She was strangled to death with her own pantyhose in 1976 in her California home. In 2016, DNA proved a serial sexual assaulter, Kenneth Troyer, was guilty of the crime. Troyer had already been dead since 1982.

Years it took to solve this case: 40

15. The death of Jacob Wetterling

Wikipedia Commons / Fair Use, Flickr Creative Commons / Tim Green / Via

In 1989, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was riding his bike when he was molested and shot to death by a masked man in Minnesota. The case was recently reopened, and one of the first men to ever be questioned, Danny Heinrich, finally admitted to the crime. Heinrich was given 20 years in prison starting in 2016.

Years it took to solve this case: 27


16. The murder of Colette Aram


Colette Aram was 16 when she was kidnapped and strangled while walking to her boyfriend's house in Nottingham, England, in 1983. Her abductor, Paul Hutchison, wrote anonymous letters to police until DNA led to his arrest in 2009. He pleaded guilty and overdosed in 2010.

Years it took to solve this case: 26

17. And the murder of Deana Bowdoin

ABC15 News

Arizona college student Deana Bowdoin was found stabbed to death in 1978 with a belt around her neck. In 2007, a detective finally matched the DNA found on her body to Clarence Wayne Dixon, a man who'd lived across the street from her at the time of her murder. Dixon was sentenced to death almost immediately.

Years it took to solve this case: 29

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