This week’s Blotter is switching things up. Instead of the usual rundown of true-crime-related movie, podcast, and TV news, we’re going to take a closer look at a single story of a singular murder in every state. Well you’re going to take a closer look. Basically, the idea is: I give you a loving push down what could be an internet k-hole of crime. The story of each murder definitely won’t be the state’s most famous or likely its most terrifying, just a snippet of a story I’ve come across and found interesting that you might, too.
One story. One state. 1 like = 1 respect. Actually, forget about the last part. Alabama through Montana, you’re up:
Arizona | The 1978 murder of Hogan’s Heroes star Bob Crane remains unsolved. Take a look at recent surprising developments. For further strangeness, see also the 2002 film about Crane’s life, Auto-Focus.
California | The death of Virginia Rappe—and subsequent murder trial of motion picture star Fatty Arbuckle—has been called Hollywood’s first scandal. The reason for Rappe’s death (which may or may not have been murder) is still debated.
Colorado | It took more than 30 years to identify two bodies found a month apart near a Colorado Navajo Reservation in 1982. The case remains unsolved, but the victims (whose graves were sometimes the recipients of flower by an unknown visitor) have now been identified and the story is remarkable.
Connecticut | In 1886, two young boys on a walk found a discarded shoebox. When they opened it, they discovered the remains of a man’s torso. The Wallingford Shoebox Murder, as it’s known, remains unsolved.
Delaware | The internet has precious little to offer about John Preston Rooks, alleged voodoo practitioner and alleged murderer (since acquitted) whose whereabouts are unknown. If you’re from Delaware, or would like to follow the tantalizingly few clues in the #3 link below, I would love to know more.
Florida | Shot, stabbed, and strangled, the case of wealthy doctor Steven Schwartz gets the 48 Hours treatment.
Georgia | How did a body of water end up on this list? Well, for starters, in 2011, the Lake Lanier played a part in 17 deaths—“many due to freak accidents.” And that’s just part of the story about Georgia’s “cursed lake.”
Hawaii | After reviewing so many horrific stories for this list, I was shocked to learn that Hawaii didn’t have a known serial killer until the 1980s. Known as the Honolulu Strangler, the murderer remains at large.
Idaho | Is it possible the police know the identity of the Lewis-Clark Valley serial killer who terrified the area in the late 1970s? Many people think so, but the person of interest remains free.
Illinois | Illinois is a busy, bustling state. I give you a link to ten murders, with bonus ghost content.
Indiana | 28 fires in a single day of unknown origin? You might have yourself a FIRE POLTERGEIST. (There are so many good links to this story out there, just for the price of a quick Google.)
Iowa | The Sueppel family murders are nothing short of tragic. The perpetrator? The father of the family, who’d been charged with embezzling nearly half a million dollars from the bank where he worked.
Kansas | Technically, Missouri claims “The Butcher of Kansas City,” but this one is too bizarre not to share. And honestly? I’m sure Missouri isn’t eager to claim him.
Kentucky | Did the schoolhouse murders of Elsewhere, Kentucky really ever happen or was a guy on Thought Catalog putting us on?
Louisiana | OK, I’ve shared word about this case before, but it’s too disturbing not to revisit. If you’re interested in further reading, there’s a brand-new book about the case.
Maine | A link to a horrific 1984 murder that typifies the “Satanic Panic” that ran rampant at that time. Was it Satan or just evil?
Massachusetts | Ghosts, UFOs, Thunderbird and Bigfoot sightings—the Bridgewater Triangle packs a lot spookiness into 200 square miles. Let’s tour the sites!
Michigan | The St. Aubin St Massacre, also known as the Evangelist Family Murders took place in the summer of 1929. Six members of the same family were murdered by a killer wielding an axe. It remains unsolved and Reddit fodder to this day.
Minnesota | A delightfully lo-fi look at the Glensheen Mansion Murder.
Mississippi | Yes, technically, only one of these murders was in Mississippi, but why have I never heard of the Smiley Face Murder Theory until now? Yes, it’s probably wrong, but that doesn’t negate the weird.
Missouri | I’ll just give you the title of this story. It was more than enough to get me to click: “Horror in Room 1046: The Beyond Bizarre Murder Case of Ronald T. Owen.”
Montana | Two small towns, multiple brutal murders, and witnesses who possibly saw the murderer each time, yet no convictions. Not even Unsolved Mysteries could crack it. Reddit delves into The Hair Gallery Massacre.
Check back next Wednesday for stories from the second half of the United States. In the meantime, we’re gathering the stories from your town—whether in the States or worldwide. What’s a crime we should hear about? Tell us @wetalkmovies (include a link if you can) and we’ll be sharing your tweets and suggestions in the future!
Featured Image: CBS