Most recently published stories in Criminal.
The Bloody Benders
Southeast Kansas had its very own serial killer family -- possibly the first serial killer family of the United States. The Bender family has long been a subject of gruesome lore in the area where I was raised, and over the decades, the interest has never waned. With the advent of websites that share newspaper archives, the depth of knowledge about this bizarre family as well as the spread of conjectures, misinformation, and hypothetical circumstances has only increased the mystery.
Unsolved mystery of JonBenet Ramsey
When it comes to crime and true crime at that I have always been a massive nerd and have always been interested on what exactly goes through the people that cause these crimes brains. In fact I have always been so into true crime and peoples brains I recieved a double major in both psychology and criminal justice. The story that has always had me obssessed is the mysterious death of the child beauty queen-JonBenet Ramsey.
It was the summer of 1992 and my 12-year-old little brother was on a mission to win a grand adventure to visit Yellowstone National Park in the winter. All he had to do was be in the top five to enroll the most subscribers to the newspaper he delivered for, the Idaho State Journal, before fall. We all figured it would be an impossible feat considering our town only had around 300 people in it, and he was already delivering the paper to most of them. Of course, there was no way he could compete with employees in a large city, so it was a massive shock when we learned he had indeed won and would get to go on an amazing adventure.
Imagine being a hotel maid in San Antonio, Texas in 1965. You're going about your work, cleaning rooms. It's an average day, cleaning bathrooms, changing sheets, and vacuuming carpets. It's towards the end of your shift, and you happen not to notice the "Do Not Disturb," sign hanging on the door. You use your key and enter the room without knocking because several rooms in a row you've knocked and no one has answered. When you open the door, you see the room covered in blood. There's blood on the ceiling, the floor, the walls, the bed, and the bathroom door. It's a scene out of a slasher movie. But to your horror, the blood is the least disturbing thing in the room. Standing before you is a man. He raises his finger to his lips, signaling for you to be quiet before picking up something bundled in bloody hotel sheets and pushing past you out the door. You do the only sane thing you can think of, which is to scream and run to find help. That was the scene described by the maid that found the bloody murder scene in room 636 of the Gunter Hotel. What's even more frightening is to this day, no one knows for sure, who was killed in room 636.
What Happened to Martin Brown? On May 25th, 1968, a body was found dead in a derelict house by a group of boys, who notified the police. The boys were followed back into the building by two little girls, who had to be shooed out by police. They noticed no outward signs of trauma and an empty bottle of pills lying near the body during their investigation. The death was deemed accidental.
Sweet But Psycho
TikTok has become almost everyone's favorite form of entertainment during quarantine. The platform has catchy dances and unique challenges but this one seems to be a bit creepy. The song "Sweet But Psycho" by Ava Max has gained some traction on the friendly platform in 2020, pretty girls would make videos to this song and gain popularity but this one TikTok account decided to make the meaning of the song, literal.
The Yorkshire Ripper: the infamous story of Peter Sutcliffe
“…the urge to kill prostitutes was very strong and I had gone out of my mind.” -Peter Sutcliffe Statement If you ask anyone in England who the most infamous serial killer is, they will most likely reply with Jack the Ripper. The unidentified serial killer terrorised the streets of Whitechapel, London, in 1888. To this date, many have tried to figure out his identity, yet, due to the lack of concrete evidence, we cannot pinpoint a culprit. Jack the Ripper continues to live in the mysteries of English history. The term Ripper did not surface in the mainstream for nearly a hundred years before appearing on the headlines of English newspapers. This time, the targeted has moved north of England to Yorkshire, my home country. The difference this time around was that we caught the Ripper, Peter Sutcliffe
Murdered and Mutilated; Motive is a Mystery
November 28, 2018 Kristine Young of Grand Haven, Michigan, found herself in a panic when she couldn't reach her daughter, Ashley, on her cellphone. Ashley was never not on her phone, according to Kristine; while she sometimes got back late, Ashley wasn't the type of person to not respond. In a desperate attempt to get Ashley to answer, Kristine informed Ashley that if she didn't call back, she was going to call the police.
Amber Tuccaro, the Highway of Tears, and a Possibility More Frightening than a Serial Killer
Amber “Where are we going?” Amber Tuccaro is losing her patience. You can hear it in her voice. She knows something is wrong, that this guy isn’t taking her where she wants to go. It’s after dark, she’s a little disoriented, but something seems off.
The Mystery of SL-1
Start On the evening of January 3, 1961, nestled in the desert away from the rolling hills and titular waterfalls of Idaho Falls, Idaho, sat Stationary Low-Power Reactor Number One. There have been plenty of fascinating and infamous nuclear accidents over the years throughout the world, but this one might just plague me the most. At this point, you may be asking yourself what this has to do with true crime? Just hold on to your pantaloons and we’ll get there.
At 63 years of age, I have read about many crimes through the long years. However, to this day, there is one crime that still haunts me and has done so since the tender age of 14.
My Journey Down the Rabbit Hole
Everybody’s gotten so de-sensitized towards people being arrested and claiming they’re innocent. Aren’t we all guilty of glossing over a story of some poor sap who got arrested for something “he didn’t do”? I know I am guilty of doing that--numerous times. However, fate had other things in mind & threw a monkey wrench my way. I didn’t see it coming and damn sure wasn’t prepared for it but my life was turned sideways by corruption. I never really paid attention to the news stories that featured the word “corruption” in them. I always believed the word was related to white-collar, victimless crimes. That could not be further from the truth. As a crime junkie, I never saw “corruption” listed as a cause of death, but it should have been. A double murder case with national media attention brought corruption to my front door and it will bring it to yours too.