We’ve reached the end of the road. The culmination of our murder journey. 50 states, honestly way more than 50 murders. Today, I offer up intriguing stories from the latter half of the alphabet.
Remember—we’re still looking for stories from your home. So if you know of a notorious murder that happened in your hometown, home state or country, we want to hear about it. DM us at @wetalkmovies and we’ll be sharing your links.
Nebraska | In 2006, a well-liked math professor at a state college went missing. He wasn’t found for 95 days, his body nearly completely burnt and tied to a tree on the outskirts of town. What makes this story even stranger? It may have been a suicide.
Nevada | So if you get a bunch of visitors from around the world coming to a city known for vice and decadence, the odds of murder or crime visiting a Las Vegas seem so likely as to be unremarkable. OK, but counterpoint, the stories about The Luxor—just a few are collected here—and the sheer number of them, are bizarre.
New Hampshire | To prove how quickly cold case murders can move once new evidence is uncovered, first read this story from 2015 about the remains of a woman and her daughters found buried in oil drums near a state park. Hope for a resolution with so little to go on seems fruitless. Now check out this update from this year. It’s quite an update.
New Jersey | There’s no doubt that 16-year old Jeannette DePalma was murdered, but was she the victim of an occult ritual?
New Mexico | Vice looks at the West Mesa Bone Collector.
New York | The bodies of young girls, Carmen Colon (found near Chili), Wanda Walkowicz (found in Webster), and Michelle Maenza (found in Macdeon), were all young victims of a series of homicides in the Rochester area in the 1970s known collectively as The Alphabet Murders, for obvious reasons. Though there is a strong suspect, he has never been charged—in New York state. But there were other victims.
North Carolina | So many terrible crimes seem to happen around Christmas, and North Carolina’s infamous Lawson Family Murders are just one more. Read up here, or listen to an episode of the always terrific Criminal podcast.
North Dakota | Four words: True. Fargo. Crime. Stories.
Ohio | I’m from Ohio, and even I had never heard of the Kirtland Cult Killings. I dig deep for you.
Oklahoma | A nightmare come to life: three young girls murdered in their tent at a Girl Scout Camp. Even more tragic, the case has not—and looks like cannot—be solved.
Oregon | I don’t know why I feel this way exactly, but I think wilderness crime is the most terrifying true crime out there. And Oregon being Oregon, there are going to be some outdoorsy murders.
Pennsylvania | A personal perspective on a double-murder on the Appalachian Trail. (Yes, you sense a pattern)
Rhode Island | Christopher Hightower was a very unlikely murderer. But it was the ferocity of his 1991 crimes that lingers in the public’s imagination.
South Carolina | One small South Carolina town has survived both a notorious serial killer, and more recently, a spree killer.
South Dakota | “Murders in 2017 have already topped the total from 2016 and we are only 24 days in.” What’s going on in Rapid City?
Tennessee | Twists, turns, and countless theories you could sift through for hours—the Lillelid murders.
Texas | Just read any single story on crime from Texas Monthly. There are no bad choices so I refuse to choose for you.
Utah | If you’re not familiar with the story of Gary Gilmore, here’s a primer. His brother Mikal, a journalist for Rolling Stone, wrote a moving memoir of their childhood I’d recommend to anyone interested in understanding the cyclical patterns of violence.
Virginia | The New Yorker looks at a 1985 murder case that has become a cause.
Washington | “The Wah Me Massacre” sounds like something from another era. In fact, Seattle’s worst mass killing took place in 1983 and involved gambling, gangsters, and guns in the heart of the city’s Chinatown.
West Virginia | The disappearance of several members of the Sodder Family has been covered in countless articles and podcasts. Yet it remains unsolved, largely unknown—and always fascinating. If you haven’t heard the story, you could start here, here, here, or here.
Wisconsin | From Netflix’s Making a Murderer, to Ed Gein and Jeffrey Dahmer, and even onto the Slenderman stabbing, Wisconsin—wholesome, virtuous Wisconsin—has played host to a slew of disturbing crimes. But you likely know about those. Instead, let’s take a closer look at a man who turned himself in for murder, more than 30 years after the fact, because he believed the teenage girl he killed had been haunting him.
Wyoming | Some remarkable writing about one woman’s 39-year search to find her sister:” Mixed with Christine’s bones were those of her unborn child — tiny, unidentifiable pieces of a life that would never be. It was a small miracle among a large horror that so many bones had been recovered after a serial killer left her body on the windswept plains of southwest Wyoming, not to be identified for decades.”
Alabama – Montana | Nevada – Wyoming
Featured Image: CBS