Since the development of DNA profiling, getting away with a crime has become a lot less common. Despite this, even in recent times there have been crimes committed with no solid suspects. There are many high profile murderers that police believe to still be at large. This is very unsettling information and yet we are all fascinated by the fact that it’s possible to get away with murder.
The Murder of Dorothy Jane Scott
Dorothy had been receiving horrifying anonymous phone calls prior to her death. Her stalker would be able to recite every move Dorothy made during a day, he also made threats about wanting to cut up her body. Dorothy told her mother that she recognised the voice but that she was unable to place where from.
On 28th May 1980 in Anaheim, Dorothy drove two coworkers to the hospital as one had suffered a spider bite. The last time she would be seen was leaving the hospital to bring the car around. Her coworkers had seen the car speeding away and the headlights turned off. The car was found burning in an alleyway hours later.
Dorothy’s parents began receiving phone calls from the anonymous man. He would tell them he ‘had her’ or that he had killed her. The police had attempted to trace these calls but they were always too brief.
Dorothy’s remains were discovered four years later at the side of a road.
The Hijacking of Flight 305
On November 24th 1971, a well dressed man used a fake name (Dan Cooper) to purchase a ticket for flight 305. Once in the airspace between Portland, Oregon and Seattle, he demanded $200,000, a refuelling stop and four parachutes after claiming to have a bomb in his briefcase. When the 727 landed and the cash had been brought onboard, he freed the passengers. Under very strict restrictions he instructed the pilots to fly towards Mexico. At some point during the flight, the mysterious man jumped from the plane and has never been seen again.
The passengers from the flight claim that he was a calm and well mannered man throughout the hijacking, contrary to a stereotypical flustered and often violent hijacker.
Lady of the Dunes
The remains of a murdered, unidentified woman were found on July 26, 1974 in the Race Point Dunes, Provincetown, Massachusetts. She had been almost decapitated from strangulation and was missing an arm, hands and some teeth. There were signs of sexual assault and a catastrophic head injury was determined as the cause of death. Her body has been exhumed several times in an attempt to crack the case now that technology has improved but this has been unsuccessful.
Joe Hill, author and son of Stephen King, has speculated that she may be an extra from the movie Jaws. Pictures of her compare very closely to recent reconstructions and police were made aware of this in 2015.
The murder of Elizabeth Short is a very well known mystery. She was found dead in LA, California in 1927 at just 22 years old. Elizabeth’s body was found by a passer by who thought at first her body was a mannequin. She had been completely severed at the waist into two pieces and all her blood had drained. Her body had then been washed by her killer. Her mouth had been cut into a Glasgow smile, a method of wounding that had become popular in English and Scottish street gangs just a few years prior to her death. Her corpse had been deliberately posed by the killer, making the scene incredibly traumatising for those who investigated.
The Murder of Betty Shanks
Betty Shanks was savagely beaten and killed on the 19th September 1952 in Queensland, Australia. The body of the 22 year old was discovered the next morning in the garden of a house by a nearby police officer.
There are several theories, such as involvement from the police officer that lived nearby, or a case of mistaken identity in which the killer was looking for a Doctor’s receptionist that walked the same route. A newer theory is that she was hit by a motorcyclist that returned to kill her when she didn’t die instantly. To this day, there is still an appeal for information with a $50,000 reward.
Chicago Tylenol murders
In September and October of 1982, seven were killed due to drug tampering. Extra-strength Tylenol capsules from several different factories were effected, meaning that they were tampered with in store rather than during manufacture. The capsules were found to be laced with cyanide, sparking a nationwide recall of Tylenol products. Nobody has ever been found guilty of the poisonings and unfortunately, the crime has influenced several copycat criminals since.
Torso in The Thames (Adam)
The torso of a young boy was found in the River Thames near to Tower Bridge in Central London on 21st September 2001. A postmortem examination of the remains found that he had been poisoned, the blood had been drained from his body via the throat and that his head had been ‘expertly’ removed. This suggested that his killer had almost definitely killed before. An examination of the boy’s stomach confirmed that he had only been in the UK for a few days and established that he had come from southwestern Nigeria.
It is believed that ‘Adam’ as he was named by investigators was killed as part of a ritual killing. Witch doctors use body parts of children to make medicine and the area of Nigeria they believe Adam to be from is known to be the birthplace of Voodoo.
Due to the killing taking place so close to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, media coverage was initially insufficient. In 2002, UK police took the investigation to South Africa where former President Nelson Mandela addressed the entire continent. His speech was translated into all African languages in an urgent appeal for information. Unfortunately, the efforts remain unsuccessful.
Metropolitan police believe that the efforts and media coverage has deterred ritual child killings in Europe.