26 Small Town Citizens Share Their Creepy Local Unsolved Mystery

Dako Huang

1. A Torso In The River

Years ago, a body was found in our local river. More accurately, a torso belonging to a Caucasian female was found in our local river. Her arms, legs, and head were not found. As far as I know, that case is still stone cold. The body was never identified and no other clues have turned up.

There used to be an urban legend that was proven true, too. Rumor had it that there was a train locomotive from the old timber days in the lake. Apparently, there used to be a train bridge and it collapsed and dumped the train in the lake. People used to argue over whether or not it was really there, then the Navy or the Coast Guard (I forget which) decided to use our lake to test some new sonar or radar or something and confirmed that yep, there is, in fact, a train in the lake. That one was an unsolved mystery for decades, though.


2. A Grandmother’s Disappearance, Still Remembered

My wife’s grandmother went missing from her ranch home in Snowflake AZ. There were no signs of struggle, her bowl of cereal was half eaten and nothing was missing from the house. She was a widow and very close to her family and lived on over 10 acres. Her car was at the house.

She was a mail lady and a lot of people speculate that she saw something she wasn’t supposed to on her route to a bad area of town with a lot of meth addicts but no one knows. No leads, no nothing.

It’s a very rural, Mormon town so it was a big mystery and a huge deal, yet, nothing. It’s been over 15 years now. The hardest part for my wife and her family is that there’s never been any closure.

I think probably no one will ever know.


3. A High School FIlled WIth Pipe Bombs

I grew up in a small town of about 2,500. When I was a Sophomore in high school someone broke into the school one night and planted a bunch of pipe bombs. A couple of them actually went off and burned the gym and several classrooms down. They searched the school and found the other unexploded bombs.

This happened in the 1980’s. They never caught who did it. Most people believe it was a student at the school which means there is a very good chance one of my fellow classmates is still out there, an arsonist, who got away with it.


4. Woman Locked In Trailer As It Burns

There are about forty unsolved murders here in a town of 6000 people. But one of the ones that stands out is the trailer fire. Woman burns alive in trailer. It was locked and chained up on the outside. Ruled an accidental death, caused by something she did.

We’ve had lots over the years. I had a friend commit suicide. It turned out, they put suicide on the report to save his family grief. He was 21 and when they found him, he had stretched a rope across the floor, about five inches off the ground. Found him naked, laying face down with his neck across the rope. He’d tried auto erotic asphyxiation and blacked out with the rope cutting off his air supply. His funeral was so sad and no one dared say anything about what really happened.


5. A Serial Killer Mystery Unfolding

Unknown serial killer. They’re still supposedly finding body parts. There’s also a possibility two are out there right now in my region so the parts could be from one of them. I am VERY aware and have a backup system when I go jogging, just in case.


6. The Somerton Man

We’ve got quite a famous one. Adelaide, Tamam Shud/The Somerton Man. Dead guy is found lying on a beach with no identification in 1948. A secret pocket is discovered in his jacket, inside is the final page from the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, which has the words Tamam Shud, meaning ended or finished in Turkish, written on it. The rest of the book was later found, and inside it the police discovered a phone number, another, unidentified number and something that looked like a cipher of some kind. The cipher has yet to be cracked, and nobody knows who the Somerton man is or why he was murdered.


7. Severed Feet on the tide

I live on the coast of BC and the severed feet that keep washing up on the beaches is probably one of the stranger mysteries here.


8. Walter A. Emerick’s Victim

The Gunter Hotel. Room 636. 1960’s. Maid walks in despite the do not disturb sign on the door handle. The guest was passed their checkout time. Opens the door to Walter A. Emerick, standing beside the bed tying a blood-soaked bedsheet. He puts his finger to his lips and tells her to “shhh” as she begins to scream. He runs off into the night with the bloody sack. He hides the evidence in an unknown location. Cops find him checked into a hotel down the street and knock on his door. A gunshot goes off and the cops find him in bed with a gunshot wound in the head. They found blonde hair in the room where the murder took place, a cigar with lipstick and meat stuffed into the drain of the bathtub. They don’t know who he killed, or where he hid the body. There are some details I left out but go ahead and google it. This has always been my favorite ghost story also. They say a woman’s ghost haunts room 636. And Walter haunts the room he died in and the St Anthonys Hotel down the street. They said He asked for room 636, but it was taken. They say he’s not very nice to the living.


9. Corpses On The Tracks

Small town resident here. Population of 1,008.

There’s a spot in town where the railroad runs under one of the main roads at about a 45° angle. It’s about 150 yards long and when it’s day time, it’s pretty well lit. There’s a decent amount of homes near either tunnel entrance and we have a train every 18 minutes(on average).

At some point, during the day and in between neighbors living their lives and trains flowing through the tunnel, someone dumped 22 dismembered animal remains on the tracks. All of them in black trash bags. All of them clearly experimented on by someone who was curious (and in serious need of help). The FBI even took notice.

It’s obvious that at one point during that afternoon, a serial killer in the making was in that tunnel with his very first victims. It’s very unsettling and a lot of people said some very hurtful things in their fear.

Nothing came of it. But its been 2 years and people haven’t forgotten the train tunnel.


10. Disappearance Of Kyron Horman

It happened seven years ago and has never been solved. All of Portland was talking about it, hundreds of people searched for him. Most people I know, myself included, still believe it was the stepmom. She seemed shady as fuck.


11. The Leprechaun Of Crighton

I’m not posting this as a joke. This was, seriously, a “mystery” near where I lived. There were a lot of people who really believed this was a thing, and still think of it as an unsolved mystery.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the case of the Leprechaun of Crighton, Alabama.

It looks like a joke. I’m not shitting you, this happened.


12. The Origin Of The Amber Alert System

Amber Hagerman murder. While Arlington, Texas is hardly a small town, it was a huge deal at the time and the AMBER alert system is named after her.

We were roughly the same age when it happened and she lived only a few miles from where I lived. I was in the same class as her cousin at the time as well. Still crazy to think about it at times.

She was abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered. There are no suspects.


13. The Death Of Kendrick Johnson

Kendrick Johnson case.

Basically a high school senior was found upside down in a rolled-up tube mat with a swollen, puffed up face and his sneakers on top of him. The cops say he fell in looking for his sneaker, got trapped and died whereas the family says he was beaten and stuffed inside one where he then died. Also, his organs were removed after the first autopsy and replaced with newspaper which was only found out after a second autopsy done by the family. The main suspect’s father worked for the FBI so people think that there was a police cover-up.


14. The Final Location Of Rima Traxler

Joseph Kondro. In May 1985 he picked up an 8-year-old girl named Rima Traxler (he was a close friend of her family). She was actually walking down the street past where my house is today. Anyway, he picked her up because he figured out her mom’s “password” for her, and she was never seen again. Her case remained “unsolved” per se, until 1997 when Joseph was charged with another murder and abduction of another little girl, and he confessed to killing Rima. He was sentenced to 55 years and it’s mysterious and unsolved mainly because her body was never, ever found. He even told them presumably where he buried her but they never located her body…it’s been 32 years at this point and her body still hasn’t been found…the case eventually went cold and Kondro died in prison in 2012.


15. A Town Gone To Hell

So there’s been a few, all relatively recently. A few years ago, a local police officer was murdered around 3 am on a local highway while trying to clear a branch out of the road. Then a few months later, a teacher and her teenage daughter were murdered in their home. Then about two years ago, a mother went missing and no one has seen her since. They found her car abandoned on the highway with all her stuff in it. Her boyfriend is a suspect and his brother, who is a cop, had to resign after he was accused of trying to help cover it up. Still, they haven’t proved anything yet and no one has been charged. Then the missing women’s father was shot while hunting and they’re not sure who did it.

There have been rumors about who’s responsible but nobody is sure. The town has gone to hell over the last decade or so which is one of the reasons my family and I don’t live there anymore. So many drugs and it’s destroying lives. Personally, I think one of the Mexican cartels is involved. I knew someone who stole some weed from them and they threatened to kill him and his entire family if they didn’t get their money back.


16. “Everybody Knows it Was Murder”

A little boy’s body was found at the bottom of a ravine, a few miles away from where he was last seen. Cops ruled it an accident.

The thing is, everyone knows it was murder. Our town is so small that we don’t have a forensics lab or anything, so the crime scene photos were printed at Walmart after shutting down the lab. They’d been seen by the technicians and there were several pictures of a bloody rock and this kids body. It was obvious he had been bludgeoned to death. He apparently was also missing his pants.

He was also a little Latino kid, and we live in a white flight county. There’s little doubt that the town thought that ruining our rep as a safe, friendly Great Lakes town over him wasn’t worth it. I’d be shocked if they did a check for sexual assault of the body.


17. The Grim Sleeper

The Grim Sleeper. This guy literally lived 2 houses down from my best friend and a few blocks from my aunt. I have seen him in his yard a few times and he always seemed like a nice guy. He would always wave to me and asked how my day way. Imagine my shock when I saw his face on TV convicted as the longest running serial killer in the state of California. I feel fortunate to never have anything happen to me or my friend, as we fit his victim profile being young African American females.


18. The Murder Of Molly Bish

The disappearance and murder of Molly Bish.

The 16-year-old girl went missing at a pond where she was a lifeguard. Her mother remembers seeing a suspicious person there but didn’t don’t think anything more of it. The next day, her mother dropped her off at the pond, and never saw here again.

Her body was found three years later, about 4 miles away. Her mother has had investigations opened since then, and just this month, information about a possible location of the suspicious person’s vehicle popped up. It is thought that the vehicle was buried underground. Investigators have been searching the area with ground penetrating radar.


19. Beheaded in the park

A man was literally beheaded in a park about 5 years ago. Like, head fully removed from body. The victims family put together like $5000 or something to give to people who can supply information about it and the posters are still up all over town.

I don’t really spend time in parks anymore.


20. The Disappearance of Lauren Spierer

Formerly lived in Bloomington, IN during the time Lauren Spierer disappeared. Her face was posted everywhere and I couldn’t go out without seeing a poster. There was even one posted inside my complex. It was a shit show of a story. An underage girl in a college party town drinking at a popular bar just disappears. She left her phone and shoes in the bar. She was intoxicated, short and blonde, weighing like 100lbs, walking alone in the middle of the night. She had a heart condition as well so they were worried about that. They even had her on camera and it didn’t help. My coworkers and I would speculate what happened to her. I saw her dad in McDonalds one time asking to put up more posters. There’s even a website dedicated to her called Find Lauren. They never did and it’s been 6 years.


21. The Death Of Ken McElroy

Ken McElroy

There has been a good bit of media hype about it over the years and a book written about it. (Called “In Broad Daylight”). He basically terrorized this small town near the one I grew up in. One day, while he was parked in town, someone pulled his wife from the car and he was shot dead. Funny thing, not one person saw what happened. Rumor has it that everyone in town knows who it was. My dad was young when it happened and has hinted that he knows, but won’t confirm or deny.


22. A Woman Dragged From her Home

In my hometown, there was a woman who was friends with my aunt. My aunt worked at the prison and they had a bit of a record for sleeping with the guards. They made plans to go out, but my aunt never got a call from her.

The woman worked nights and lived down a road that I think had three other houses around hers, but they were all spaced fairly far apart. That morning when she returned home, she called her mom and presumably went inside to sleep. Her family was out of the house so no one had contact with her the rest of the day. When her family returned later, they found blood on the pillars of the house where it looked like she had held on for dear life while being carried out. When they went inside, it was said that it looked like a pig had been slaughtered.

Investigations from the local police department started, but it was also said that they were careless on the scene and so it was useless to try and distinguish between what was real evidence and what wasn’t. Some people believed that it may have been a serial killer who was terrorizing towns along the interstate, but everyone I’ve spoken to believes that she was having an affair with a concrete worker and had some conflict with him and that she’s in the foundation of one of the houses. It’s also said that some people in the town know what happened, but won’t speak up.

Whatever happened to her, it puts a sour taste in my mouth to think that she’s still around there somewhere and that this person is possibly still under everyone’s noses.


23. Two Girls From Delphi

In November 2016 we moved to Alabama from Lafayette, Indiana. Delphi is about a 10 minute sometime shortly after we moved people we know in Indiana started posting about two girls that had gone missing in Delphi. It’s a small town and everyone knows everyone else. Not long after they went missing, their bodies were found in such a condition that the FBI was called to help investigate.

People who knew the area were zooming in on photos released that had been taken from one of the girl’s phones and insisting there was a person if you looked closely.

Not long after, a photo was released that had been taken from one of the girl’s phones that actually had a suspicious looking person walking on the train tracks behind them. Sometime later an audio clip was released that one of the girls had managed to record of a man telling them to go “down the hill”

Everyone I know in Indiana shared an article at some point asking people to come forward if they might know the man in the picture.

As far as I know, police have still not found this man.


24. Freight Train Willie

It’s never been “officially” solved, but they’re pretty sure the guy responsible for killing one of my boyhood friends was William Guatney, AKA “Freight Train Willie”. A neighbor friend of mine in the 70’s when we were about 10 just disappeared. At first, everybody thought his family did something to him, because he had development issues and like to run around the neighborhood making sirens sounds like a firetruck. His body was found a few days/weeks later in a train car on the other end of town. Guatney was suspected in the deaths of at least 10 young boys across America in the 70’s. He was an old hobo who would hop trains during the summer months, visiting all the county fairs, snatch little boys, rape/kill them, and then ride a train out of town. My childhood friend was probably one of his victims.


25. The Murder of Jason McQuaker

Jason Mcquaker was the talk of my grade school- speculation and investigation has looked at everything from his father through to the mob/mafia.

“June 11, 1988, Jason, 12-year-old boy, was reported missing around 11:30 pm. He was last seen around 3 pm at the Northend Rec Center in Thunder Bay after watching part of a kids soccer tournament.

In spring 1991 Jason’s remains were located in a shallow grave off Spruce River Road 32 kms north of hwy 11-17 junction after Jason’s father Barry McQuaker admitted he found his deceased son and then burned and buried his body. Barry spent time in jail for charges related to what he did to Jason after his death, but no one has been charged with Jason’s death. Barry was released from Jail November 2009 and currently resides in Thunder Bay.

In the last few months, there has been a story on our local CBC radio station and also in the Winnipeg Free Press.”


26. Redneck Retiree

I grew up in Hawaii on the Big Island. Our downtown wasn’t big so you get to recognize and know everyone. The homeless population in town was pretty friendly, so you get to know them. There was old man ocean aka Freddy aka Dreddy Freddy, there were these two guys that looked like the albino twins from the Matrix fell on hard times, the hat guy trying to sell palm tree frond hats to tourists. Anyway…

This ex-military guy ( we’ll call him GI Jim) moved into town and was as typical white redneck retires in Hawaii as you could get. Bragged about his gun that he always carried and even pulled out in a fight at a bar, hit on all the local girls whilst getting into fights with local guys. He got 86’d from every bar downtown.

So a lot of people hitchhike into town where I’m from, just to get to work quicker or try to hit the beach. My coworker did and got picked up by this guy. As they drove they saw a homeless guy and GI Jim says that it’s disgusting that these homeless people are so common. That they are polluting the place and disrupting the peaceful island and that someone should do something about it. Somebody should clean up the town. Somebody should get rid of them. Somebody should just kill them all because who would care and or notice? My friend asked to get let out immediately.

Flash forward a few weeks and a coworker who had been transient up until a few months before came in asking if anybody had seen Tyler. Tyler was his homeless friend with the dog that would come around and get food and stuff from us behind the kitchen. Nice guy, nothing shady, just a former homeless guy trying to help his friends. Nobody had seen him for a little while. He was found later that week cut in half behind a dive shop.

Throughout the month there were more and more accounts of homeless people being found dead in gruesome manners. Beheaded, mutilated, beaten to a pulp, and just generally horrifying ways to go. At the same time people noticed that GI Jim had taken leave from the island, or at least nobody had seen him. Hawaii is notorious for not reporting these stories as to not deter tourists(one of our economic pillars) from coming to visit. So nobody really got to the bottom of it. But we’re pretty sure it was GI Jim, there’s just no way to be sure.

Ciggy_snacks Thought Catalog Logo Mark

More From Thought Catalog