Here's The Most Harrowing Unsolved Murder From Every State

Here’s The Most Harrowing Unsolved Murder From Every State


Tracie Jean Hawlett and “J.B.” Beasley (Personal Photos)

In 1999, high school seniors J.B. Hilton Green Beasley and Tracie Jean Hawlett, both 17 years old, were on their way to a party. However, they never arrived. Tracie called her mother from a payphone, telling her mother that they got lost. This was the last time anybody heard from them. The police later found their car, which didn’t appear to have sustained any damage. When searching the car, the police found the two girls dead inside the drunk, who were both shot in the head. A mechanic, Johnny William Barrentine, was charged with the crime but was cleared after his DNA did not match any DNA found at the crime scene. These murders remain unsolved.


Craig, Alaska where the murders took place. (Wikipedia)

In a fishing village in Southeast Alaska, a family and its crew members were enjoying what they probably thought was just an ordinary day on their boat in 1982. What they didn’t expect was a gunman shot eight members on board and returned the next day to set the boat – and the evidence – on fire. 36 years later, no one has been convicted of committing this mass murder.


Personal Photo

Mindi Chambers lived a tragic life and died an equally tragic death. Mindi was only two years old when her mother was found murdered in a bathtub. Her father was a suspect in the murder but was never charged. Three before she went missing, Mindi went to police with allegations that her father molested her in 1982. A body matching Mindi’s description was found in a wooded area near a highway. Her father died in 1994, and he nor anyone else was ever charged with killing Mindi.


Don Henry and Kevin Ives (Personal Photos)

On Sunday, August 23, 1987, at around 4:00 a.m., the bodies of teens Kevin Ives and Don Henry were spotted by the crew of a Union Pacific locomotive near Crooked Creek trestle in Arkansas. The crime lab initially alleged that the boys died from effects of smoking too much marijuana. This was later ignored and a murder investigation went underway, but no one was ever found accountable. Interestingly, four witnesses were killed before they could testify.


Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner at the 1960 Academy Awards (Wikipedia)

This is perhaps one of the most known unsolved murders in American history. Actress Natalie Wood was on a boat with Christopher Walken and her husband Robert Wagner, who was allegedly jealous of Wood’s relationship with Walken. Wood’s body was found in the water, with her having drowned. Wagner has not been charged with her murder, but he has not been charged with her crime and her death continues to be investigated.



In 1954, residents of Boulder were shocked by the brutal murder of an unidentified young woman. After a futile attempt to establish her identity, as well as that of her killer, citizens donated funds for the woman’s burial in Columbia Cemetery. She’s still there today, with “Jane Doe” engraved on her headstone. The police have not found any leads for who committed her murder or who she was.


Personal Photo

On November 20, 2014, 54-year-old mother Melissa Millan was out on a run in Simsbury. She never made it home. Melissa’s body was found by a passerby, and she died from one stab wound in the chest. More than 100 items of evidence have been provided to the State’s Division of Scientific Service, but, four years later, no suspects have been arrested.



John P. Wheeler III was a chairman of the Vietnam Veterans Fund and the CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving before his untimely passing on December 30, 2010. John’s body was spotted by a landfill worker when he saw John’s body on a trash heap. Roughly a month later, the Delaware state medical examiner’s office reported Wheeler’s cause of death as assault, John’s remains were interred at Arlington National Cemetery, and no one has been arrested in connection to his death.



On January 23, 1974, former model, political activist and television personality Athalia Ponsell Lindsley was murdered with a machete by an unknown assailant on the front steps of her home in St. Augustine, Florida. No one has been charged. Later that year, on November 3, 1974, Athalia’s neighbor Frances Bemis was murdered while out on a walk. Like with Athalia, Frances’ murder was never solved.



In the late 1800s, forensic evidence was next to nothing, so many crimes went unsolved. This was definitely the case for Martin DeFoor and his wife Susan. They were found brutally murdered by an axe by their grandson in late July. A killer and a motive were never found, and the two were generally considered to be pleasant.


Victims of The Honolulu Strangler (Personal Photos)

The Honolulu Strangler, also known as the Honolulu Rapist, wreaked havoc in Honolulu between 1985 and 1986, raping and murdering five women. This unidentified murderer is Hawaii’s first known serial killer. A 27-person task force was established, but the killer was never found.



Christopher Reese’s 2014 murder in Notus, Idaho remains unsolved. The 25-year-old store clerk child was gunned down in an overnight robbery. The two masked killers used a handcart to wheel the store safe out of the building and fled in Reese’s car. There is a $100,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the people who killed Christopher.


Barbara and Patricia Grimes (Wikipedia)

On December 28, 1956, sisters Barbara and Patricia Grimes said they were going to the movie theater to see Elvis’ “Love Me Tender.” This was the eleventh time that the sisters planned on seeing the film, but they never made it. This launched one of the biggest missing-person hunts in Chicago history. On 22 January 1957, their naked bodies were found off a road near Willow Springs, Illinois. The police were never able to determine what happened to them.


The Indy Star

Four members of the Burger Chef restaurant – Jayne Friedt, 20, Daniel Davis, 16, Mark Flemmonds, 16, and Ruth Ellen Shelton, 18 – disappeared at some point before their shift ended in late 1978 in Indiana. The police initially thought the four left by choice, so they did not pursue their disappearance. However, a few days later, hikers found their four bodies in the woods. There were no promising leads into who killed these four workers.


Villisca Axe Murder House

On the evening of June 9, 1912, six members of the Moore family and two guests were found bludgeoned two deaths. All eight victims, including six children, had severe head wounds from the axe. Two people were tried for these murders, but both were acquitted. This case has later been referred to as the Villisca axe murders.

For more check out the time three Thought Catalog staffers spent the night in the Villisca Axe Murder House.



Wolf Rimann, a politically connected country club owner, was shot dead in broad daylight on March 24, 1949. Despite at least fifteen people witnessing his death, no one was ever charged nor found guilty. Allegedly, Wolf had been receiving threatening phone calls leading up to his death.



A day before being sworn in as Governor of Kentucky in 1900, William Goebel was shot by an assassin. Governor Goebel died four days into his tenure – he was sworn in on his deathbed. Goebel did make enemies as a politician, with some being critical of his populist rhetoric. No one was ever charged with his murder.



The bodies of eight women, all who had some involvement with drugs or prostitution, were found in swamps and canals in Jennings, Louisiana between 2005 and 2009. Two of the women were found to have their throats slit, and the others were too decomposed to determine their cause of death. A task force was formed after these deaths, and the task force had interviewed witnesses who suspected police involvement. Police have arrested or issued warrants for the arrest of four people in connection with the case, but no one has ever been charged.


Personal Photo

In 2012, Matthew Blanchard had already faced a tragedy himself when his girlfriend, a mother of his children, was killed in a car crash. A month later, Matthew was shot by a gunman in the middle of the night and killed. There have been no leads in his case.



Carolyn Wasilewski, then 14, was found dead in a rail yard near her Baltimore, Maryland home on November 9, 1954. The case generated nationwide media attention, and police allegedly still get calls about the case. However, no suspects have ever been named.


Lizzie Borden (Wikipedia)

Well, this case remains unsolved if you believe that Lizzie Borden was innocent. Lizzie’s father and stepmother were found died from blows from a hatchet in August 1892. Lizzie was arrested for their murders, but she was found innocent in trial. No one has been convicted for their murders.


The Robison family. (Personal Photo)

Six members of the Robison family were found shot in the head in their cabin on July 22, 1968; investigators established that the killings had taken place on 25 June. A lengthy investigation led police to Joseph Scolaro, who may also have been embezzling from the family. There was much circumstantial evidence linking him to the crime, but it was not sufficient enough to charge him with it. The case remains open to this day.



Journalist Walter Liggett was shot and killed in Minnesota while he was investigating any connections between the state’s governor and organized crime in 1935. Isadore Blumenfeld, a crime boss, was tried for the murder but was found innocent. However, due to corruption surrendering Walter’s murder, Isadore may be more involved than it seems.


A cemetery in Copiah County, Mississippi. (NatalieMaynor)

Print Matthew, a white civil rights supporter whose family owned slaves and former sheriff of Copiah County, Mississippi, was shot and killed by a neighbor as he attempted to vote on November 6, 1883, in defiance of threats against his life. The neighbor was subsequently acquitted by an all-white jury. The case remains unsolved.



On July 10, 1981, Ken McElroy was shot in front of a crowd between 30 and 42 people. Before his death, Ken was accused of committing assault, child molestation, statutory rape, arson, hog and cattle rustling, and burglary. No one has ever been charged in his death and none of the many witnesses have spoken up – likely because they’re glad Ken is gone due to the crimes he himself allegedly committed.


Personal Photo

Miranda Fenner, who was eighteen, was working at The Movie Store, a locally owned video rental store in Laurel, Montana on November 15, 1998. That evening, a motorist spotted Miranda crawling out of the store, and her throat had been slit. She died two hours later at a hospital. Over 700 people were interviewed by the police to try and find Miranda’s killer, but no suspects have been named over twenty years later.


Personal Photo

In 1995, Sarah Bognich found her roommate Tina McMenamin in a pool of blood after she came home from work. Tina McMenamin, an 18-year-old University of Nebraska freshman, was stabbed and sexually assaulted, and she had died from her injuries. No one has been convicted in her murder.


Promotional photograph of Tupac Shakur by Albert Watson (Wikipedia)

Rapper Tupac Shakur was shot and murdered in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada on September 13, 1996. Tupac is considered by many to be one of the greatest hip hop artists of all time. No one has been charged with his death, although it is rumored to be gang-related or somehow connected to Notorious B.I.G., Tupac’s rival at the time.

New Hampshire

Personal Photo

On November 1, 2010, Roberta Miller, age 54, was found dead in her home in New Hampshire. Miller had been living alone at the residence and died from gunshot wounds. Her dog was also found shot to death at the scene. No one has been arrested for this crime and the police have not publicly named any suspects.

New Jersey

Find A Grave

Pete Panto, then 28, was a labor leader who had fought Mafia control of the International Longshoremen’s Association. He was found in a Lyndhurst, New Jersey lime pit in January 1941. He had not been seen since leaving his house on July 14, 1939. No one was ever arrested in the case; one suspect who was questioned was found dead a month later.

New Mexico

Las Cruces Bowling Alley (YouTube)

Nearly 29 years ago in February 1982, families were enjoying what could have been just an average Saturday at Las Cruces bowling alley. Then, two gunmen stormed into the bowling alley and killed 26-year-old Steven Teran his 2-year-old daughter, Valerie Teran, his 6-year-old stepdaughter, Paula Holguin and a young woman babysitting two girls, Amy Houser. Investigators pursued leads but were not able to find any probably suspects.

New York

10 guests died in a 26 November 1978 fire at a Holiday Inn in Greece, New York. Investigators found that it was set but were not able to make progress until 2014, when after a three-year reinvestigation of the case they announced they had one suspect, but did not identify that person as of January 2019.

North Carolina


In April 1997, Judy Smith and her husband Jeffrey, a Boston-area lawyer, went on a trip to Philadelphia to attend a conference. During this trip, Jeffrey reported Judy missing. Unfortunately, in September 1997, Judy’s remains were found in North Carolina, and investigators ruled that she had been stabbed to death. Jeffrey was briefly a suspect before his death but was ruled out due to his health issues and this case remains unsolved.

North Dakota


On 27 June 2014, the body of 20-year-old Andrew Sadek was recovered from a river, with a small-caliber gunshot wound and a backpack full of rocks. He had last been seen by a security camera leaving his dorm. He was working for the local police as an informant at the time of his disappearance in exchange for not getting in trouble for dealing marijuana on campus. No suspects have been named in his death.



A body was found in a ditch in April 1981, and it was announced that the woman had suffered trauma to the head and neck, was strangled, and had a lacerated liver. The police were not able to identify the woman until 2018, 37 years after her body was found when they announced that she was then 21-year-old Marcia King. It is suspected that she may have been killed by a serial killer who killed many sex workers and dancers in the area.


Lori Lee Farmer, 8, Doris Denise Milner, 10, and Michelle Heather Guse, 9 (Wikipedia)

On the morning of 13 June 1977, the bodies of three young girls were found at Camp Scott, a Girl Scout camp. They had been beaten, strangled and raped. An escaped prisoner believed to have been involved was taken into custody. He later died after being returned to prison following his acquittal.


Photo taken of bodies discovered in Little Lava Lake, April 1924 (Wikipedia)

Three fur trappers, Edward Nickols, Roy Wilson, and Dewey Morris, were working that season near Little Lava Lake in Oregon. The three were murdered at some point in January 1924 via gunshot and blunt force trauma. Due to the cold weather, their bodies were not found until April of that year. This crime is one of the oldest unsolved murder cases in Oregon history.



Jonathan Luna, then 38 years old, worked an assistant U.S. attorney. On December 4, 2003, he found dead of multiple stab wounds inflicted with his own penknife. The FBI found that Jonathan had financial problems and was facing an investigation over missing money at his office, considered it a suicide or botched attempt at staging a kidnapping. However, the Lancaster County coroner’s office found evidence which suggested that he had been abducted and ruled it a homicide and considers the case open.

Rhode Island

Warwick Police Department

Kathy Perry was a 20-year-old resident of West Warwick who aspired to become a hairdresser. However, her hopes, unfortunately, came to an end in 1986 when her naked body was found in an area of Warwick near an industrial park. Investigators determined that she had been bludgeoned in the head. No suspects have been publicly identified and her case remains open.

South Carolina

.357 Magnum revolvers, the type of gun used for the murders. (Jeff Dean)

On August 9, 1976, two unidentified homicide victims, later nicknamed Jock and Jane Doe, were found in Sumter County. Each of these victims had been shot three times. Despite sketches and having dental information and fingerprints taken, no one had been able to identify the two bodies. The investigation of who committed the murder has been halted until the two victims could be identified.

South Dakota

A memorial erected to honor Henry Weston Smith in Deadwood. (Louisvillejg/Wikipedia)

Minister Henry Weston Smith was found dead on the road near where he was going to give a sermon in August 1876. He was not robbed, and it has never been established who was responsible for his death, and what their motives were. This is a closed case.



Canadian Blair Adams had recently entered the United States for unspecified reasons shortly before he was murdered. On July 11, 1996, Blair’s body was found half-naked and was surrounded by currency – U.S., Canadian, and German – which was worth roughly $4,000. His official cause of death was sepsis, which could have come from being assaulted. It remains a mystery of who may have been involved in Blair’s death.


Facial Reconstruction of the victim (Wikipedia)

A white female murder victim, who had also been sexually assaulted, was found thrown over a guardrail near a highway. She was nicknamed “Orange Socks” because she was wearing orange socks, and her official cause of death was strangulation. Serial killer Henry Lee Lucas falsely confessed to committing the crime, and the real perpetrator remains unknown.


Sonia Mejia and Damiana Castillo (Personal Photos)

The February 9 Killer is suspected to have killed both Sonia Mejia in 2006 and Damiana Castillo in 2008. The nickname comes from the fact that these murders were both committed on February 9, albeit two years apart. The two cases were officially linked through DNA analysis, and a 20-person task force was formed to find the killer.


Orville and his wife. (Trial Evidence)

On December 31, 1957, Orville Gibson, a dairy farmer, left his residence to do chores at the barn around 3 a.m. in the morning. Orville never made it to the barn, and his body was later found in the Connecticut River. Orville was not a particularly liked person in town so he could have been the target of a murder. No one has been arrested for his murder, and people claim that Orville haunts Newbury, Vermont.


A section of Otey St. Today (Google Maps)

18-year-old housewife Bonnie Leslie Sine had been stabbed and beaten to death in a vacant lot on Otey Street in Bedford City. Many people were interviewed, but a suspect was never named.



Thomas C. Wales was a federal prosecutor and gun control advocate. On October 11, 2001, Thomas was at his computer in his basement. Someone shot him through his window, and he became the first federal prosecutor in U.S. history to be assassinated. The FBI announced in 2018 that they suspect that a hitman was paid to kill him.

West Virginia

Personal Photo

On November 18, 1980, Clarence Riffle, a 76-year-old retired coal miner, was murdered at his residence near Jimtown, West Virginia. The perpetrator stole money from the residence as well as a shotgun so this murder could have been financially motivated. The case does not have any leads and remains open to this day.


2012 reconstruction created by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (Wikipedia)

On July 21, 1999, a body was found in Raymond. The victim, who remains unidentified, was between 18 and 35 years old. Investigators believe that she was tortured for weeks before she was found. Her body was exhumed in 2013, but no recent developments have been announced.


Unsolved Mysteries/YouTube

In November 1982, Don Kemp’s SUV was found in the middle of nowhere but Don was nowhere to be seen. Four years after he disappeared, Don’s body was found not too far from his car. Don’s mother believes that he was abducted, meanwhile, the police believe he accidentally froze to death. However, when Don’s car was found, they searched the area for him but could not find him, alive or dead, which makes it seem like something happened to him. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

About the author

Julia Stephanie

Fun fact: I have three citizenships (American, Canadian, and Swiss)