Unsolved murder mysteries are always intriguing, not only to people who are drawn to the grim but to every person out there. Death is a part of life, but when a life is taken away in a sudden and horrific manner like murder, it becomes inevitable that such events will gain attention from a gamut of people; the media, the cops, the laymen.
The penalty for committing a first degree is a death sentence or life imprisonment, but it does not stop certain people from committing an unlawful act of taking away someone’s life. Homicidal or murder cases are thoroughly investigated, every evidence is crucial to solving the case, people even remotely connected to the case are questioned and put through investigations by the system. Despite all these measures and laws governing murder cases, there have been numerous people who have gotten away with murder. From time immemorial, human beings have killed each other. They have slaughtered people out of anger, resentment, and sometimes out of sheer pleasure of snuffing out the life out of someone. Sometimes an act of murder is committed for revenge or greed. And, sometimes murders are committed for no rhyme or reason, making such cases the most famous and unresolved murder mysteries of all time.
10. The Beer Man
He killed his victims and left a beer bottle next to them. This was the only evidence that linked seven murders committed by a serial killer between October 2006 and January 2007 in Mumbai, India. Though the police had a suspect in the case, the lack of concrete evidence and witness rendered this case unsolved.
9. JonBenet Ramsey Murder
At a young age of 6, JonBenet Ramsey was a beautiful child and had been named a queen after winning an American child beauty pageant contest. Then, on one fine morning, she was found missing by the mother with a ransom note left behind. But, the kidnapping case quickly turned into a murder case when her lifeless body was found in the basement of her own house. So, obviously the parents became the prime suspect. Yet, critical mistakes made by the police rendered this as one of the unsolved murders. The crime scene was not preserved, no thorough search of the house was conducted prior to the discovery of her body, no forensic evidences were available and to top it off, the crime scene has not been sealed off and people were allowed to come and go as they pleased. Any number of people could have committed this heinous crime, yet the police focused their entire attention only on the parents; John and Patsy Ramsey, rendering the trail to the real killer cold.
8. Highway of Tears Murders
A long stretch of a desolated highway, a girl hitches a ride from a stranger, and the night ending in blood, screams and a murder. Sounds like the perfect plot for a horror slasher movie, doesn’t it?
Well, Canada’s Highway 16 is a real setting for real life crimes that are seen commonly in thriller movies. Over 40 women have lost their lives hitchhiking on this highway and though there have been numerous suspects, no one has ever been convicted of the murders and it still remain an unresolved case.
7. The William Herbert Wallace Case
Julia Wallace, wife of William Herbert Wallace, was found dead by her husband on 20 January, 1931. The prime suspect was the husband himself, who was convicted and was sentenced to death by hanging. But, in an interesting turn of events, he was acquitted of the crime during the appeal mostly due to circumstantial evidences.
Julia had been brutally to death in her own sitting room, while her husband was apparently off on a wild goose chase, looking for a place that did not exist. The letter had been sent by a man who identified himself as “R.M. Qualtrough” but who never came forward during Wallaces’ trial.
Was Julia’s murder committed by this mysterious man or was it due to a spat between her and Wallace? No one will never know because the only suspect walked away and the case remains officially unsolved.
6. Tamam Shud
The identification markings of his clothes had been painstakingly removed, his clothes found in the suitcase had met the same fate as all the tags had been taken off, his dental records and fingerprints did not match anyone in the system. He was dead and it was like he never existed; he had no name, no identity, no history, no past, and no nothing. He was found dead under a streetlamp at Somerton Beach, Australia at 6.30 am in the morning of 1 December, 1948.
To make things even more confusing the autopsy revealed that the man was in perfect health and neither was there any trace of poison to be found in his system. The police then found a scrap of paper in a secret part of the victim’s pants taken from a very specific and rare translation from a collection of poems called The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. It had the words ‘Tamam Shud’ printed on it which means ‘ended’ or ‘finished’.
Further investigations lead to a library book which had the words ‘Tamam Shud’ missing from one of its pages. But, the book did not reveal the name of the victim instead there were five sets of random letters, out of which the second one had been crossed out. Recent investigations show that these letters were not random but a mysterious cipher.
Someone had gone through a lot of trouble for hiding the man’s identity. Why was he killed? Where did he come from? Why did he tear out those words from a library book? Maybe the answers are all in the cipher, but more than sixty years have gone by and no one is close to decoding it.
5. America’s Unknown Boy
On February 25, 1957, the body of a young boy is found in a cardboard box in the Fox District of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His body was damaged and in a pitiable condition. Despite the case gaining a lot of attention from the authorities and the media alike, it remains an unsolved case to this day. The perpetrator was never caught, neither was the young boy ever identified. He was a victim of a brutal murder yet, he still remains a nameless child, with no identity and no past.
4. The Doodler
Homosexuality is still a big issue and considered as unnatural by many people to this day and in 1970s being homosexual was not only considered to be a disease of the mind and a defiance to the ideas of an ideal society but a shameful way of life, defying the natural order of things. So, it is not surprising that a person who opposed homosexuality took his hate one step too far.
The Doodler was a serial killer infamous for sketching his victims and then stabbing them to death. But, what was most striking about this case was that all the victims were gay. Between January 1974 and February 1975, he killed over fourteen young homosexual men. After taking so many lives, he was still never caught mostly due to the fact that the surviving victims refused to disclose their orientations to society at large by testifying against the prime suspect of the case.
3. The Black Dahlia Case
A young, beautiful woman comes to Hollywood, in dreams of achieving stardom but her hopes are quickly dashed in the face of the harsh realities of life. It is the plot of so many books and movies. Elizabeth Short was one such aspiring starlet but she faced a fate that was so cruel and unlike anything the world had seen that she remains one of the most famous victims of an unsolved murder.
Elizabeth Short had her fair share of disappointments; poverty, an absentee father and the loss of a lover that forever changed her. It was like she was almost marked for disaster as she sought solace in the arms of strangers, using her beauty to entice men. Her favourite types of men were those who had a heavy wallet. Men for her were a means to an end; they paid for her meals, her drinks and sometimes even for her lodgings. So when she was found dead on the morning of January 15, 1947, there were a horde of suspects.
Her body was found cut into two, drained of blood and the intestines tucked under her buttocks. Yet, these were not the most horrifying images of all. Her mouth had been slashed three inches on each side, lending her the look of a grotesque, grinning clown, the likes of which that exists only in people’s nightmares. And, to this day, it remains one of the most famous unresolved murder cases.
2. The Zodiac Killer
The Zodiac Killer continuously taunted the Californian police force through cryptic letters and phone calls while repeatedly killing people from late 1960s to early 1970s. One of the letters titled ‘The Confession’ he writes that he is insane and subtly challenges the police to stop him if they can. His letters signed with a crossed circle symbol, included ciphers that have not been decoded to this day except for one out of a total of four such ciphers.
The cracked 408-symbol cipher sent by the Zodiac Killer reveals facts that clearly reveal that he was psychologically unstable. He writes that he kills people because it is so much fun killing and when he dies he will be reborn in Paradise and the people he has killed will be his slaves. In addition, he also writes that he will not reveal his name as that will slow down his work of collecting slaves for his afterlife. These facts substantiates the arguments that the work of the Zodiac was that of a clearly unhinged mind, yet no one has ever been able to catch this maniac or crack the remaining ciphers.
1. Jack the Ripper
To this day, Jack the Ripper remains the most famous serial killer, known across the world for his killing spree in the Whitechapel section of East London. He killed at least five victims between August 31, 1888 and November 9, 1888 and chose his victims specifically; all of them were female prostitutes.
His modus operandi was to strangle his victims and slash their throats before removing their vital organs leading to his moniker “Jack the Ripper”. He defiled the body of his victims beyond recognition like that of Mary Jane Kelly, holding true to his name. The Ripper is also known to have sent a part of his victim’s kidney along with his ‘From Hell’ letter to the head of the Whitechapel Vigilante Committee, clearly mocking the system and proving his evil wit. The Ripper continued to elude arrest and even over 125 years later and the case being subjected to lot of scrutiny and investigations, the identity of Jack the Ripper still remains unknown.