Murder is always disturbing, and each case has its own unique story behind it. But when a case goes unsolved, it can be especially unsettling. This list highlights some of the most noteworthy unsolved murder cases where the victims were killed in particularly strange and creepy circumstances.
The Setagaya Family Massacre – No Killer Identified, Despite DNA Evidence
The Miyazawa family murder, which occurred on December 30, 2000 in the Setagaya ward of Tokyo, Japan, remains unsolved to this day. On that tragic night, 44-year-old Mikio Miyazawa, 41-year-old Yasuko Miyazawa, and their children Niina (10) and Rei (6) were brutally stabbed to death by an unknown perpetrator. The killer lingered in the house for several hours after committing the murders and even used the bathroom without flushing, leaving behind a wealth of evidence. Despite collecting DNA samples and other physical evidence, the police have yet to identify the perpetrator.
The Bear Brook Murders
In 1985, near Bear Brook State Park in New Hampshire, a metal drum was discovered containing the remains of a woman and a young girl. The two were related but remain unidentified to this day. Then, in 2000, another metal drum was found just 100 feet away, containing the bodies of two more young girls, one of whom was related to the victims found in the first drum. The fourth victim had no relation to the others. The victims were determined to be caucasian, and their poor dental health suggests they may have lived a transient lifestyle. The remains were so badly deteriorated that they are believed to have died as early as 1977.
Little Lord Fauntleroy
In March 1921, the body of a six-year-old boy was found in a pond in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He had been killed by a blow to the head, and may have been in the water for several months. Due to his expensive clothing, he was referred to as "Little Lord Fauntleroy." The body was put on display at a local funeral home, and a $1,000 reward was offered for information, but no one ever came forward. Later, an employee of a company near the pond claimed that five weeks before the body was found, a couple had come to him asking if he had seen a little boy and driven away heartbroken after he answered in the negative. The case remains unsolved almost a century later.
Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm?
On April 18, 1943, four boys, Robert Hart, Thomas Willetts, Bob Farmer, and Fred Payne, were exploring Hagley Wood, a part of the Hagley estate belonging to Lord Cobham near Wychbury Hill in the UK when they stumbled upon a large wych elm tree. Inside the tree's hollow trunk, they found a human skeleton. One of the boys reported the discovery to the police.
Upon further investigation, it was discovered that the corpse's mouth was stuffed with taffeta, and a gold wedding ring and a shoe were found hidden along with the body. The cause of death was determined to be suffocation, and the body had been placed in the elm while it was still warm. However, the case took an eerie turn when strange graffiti began appearing around the town asking the question "Who put Bella in the wych-elm?" The town was left in a state of unease, and the mystery remains unsolved to this day.
The Hinterkaifeck Murders
In 1922, a brutal murder occurred at Hinterkaifeck, a small farm located 70km north of Munich, Germany. Six people were killed, including the homeowner Andreas Gruber, his family, and their new maid. Prior to the murders, Gruber had noticed strange footprints in the snow leading from the forest to the back of the family home, but none leading away. The family also reported hearing strange footsteps in the attic and finding a newspaper they had not purchased. This prompted their maid to abruptly leave the house. On the day of the murders, a new maid arrived, only to be killed along with the rest of the family by someone using a pickaxe. Despite a large-scale investigation, the killer was never caught.
The Pregnant Woman Murder Case In Japan
On March 18, 1988, a man came home to his Nagoya, Japan apartment to find his pregnant wife and newborn son brutally murdered. His wife had been bound, strangled, and her abdomen was cut open to remove the baby. The baby miraculously survived, but the killer was never found. The victims' names were never publicly released by police.
The Murder Of Ricky McCormick
Ricky McCormick's body was discovered in a field in Missouri on June 30, 1999, only 72 hours after he went missing. Despite decomposition, two coded notes were found in his pockets. Despite efforts from top cryptographers, the notes remain unbroken. McCormick, a high school dropout, had limited writing skills.
Chicago Tylenol Murders
On September 29th, 1982, seven people in the Chicago area died from ingesting cyanide-laced Tylenol capsules. The act of violence resulted in a nationwide panic, causing Tylenol to recall $100 million of products and for tamper-proof seals to become an industry standard. To this day, the perpetrator and reason behind the crime remain unknown.
Villisca Ax Murder House
On the evening of June 10, 1912, in the peaceful town of Villisca, Iowa, the Moore family along with two visiting girls from a neighboring family returned home from church and went to bed.
The following morning, neighbors discovered all eight of them brutally murdered by an axe. No forced entry was found, and only one child was not in their bed. It is suspected that the killer entered the attic while they were at church and waited for them to fall asleep before committing the crime. The only clue found was a pile of cigarette butts in the attic.
Despite numerous suspects, including a vengeful business partner, a possible lover, a traveling preacher (who confessed but had no knowledge of the crime scene), and multiple wanderers, the case remains unsolved. The house is said to be haunted by the spirits of the murdered family and the killer.
The Unidentified Oakland County Child Killer
Between 1976 and 1977, four children aged 10-12 from the Detroit area were killed and their bodies left in public areas, one even within view of a police station. The killer was never caught.
The Atlas Vampire
On May 4, 1932, Lilly Linderstrom, a 32-year-old divorced prostitute in Stockholm, was found brutally murdered in her apartment. The police found signs of sexual activity and a blood-covered gravy ladle near her bed. Her blood was mostly drained, and it appeared that the perpetrator had used the ladle to drink her blood. Despite a thorough investigation, the perpetrator, known as the "Atlas Vampire" because of the location of the murder, was never caught.
The Black Dahlia Murder Case
The Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short, was a victim of a gruesome murder in Los Angeles, California. The case gained national attention due to the mutilation of her corpse, which was severed at the waist. Although not much is known about Short's life, it is believed that she was an aspiring actress. The case remains unsolved and is considered one of the most infamous murders in Los Angeles County.
The Case Of Jeannette DePalma
In 1972, Jeannette DePalma, a 16-year-old girl, went missing in Springfield, New Jersey. Her right forearm was later found by a dog. Some witnesses claim her body was found surrounded by occult objects and on top of a pentagram, but authorities have denied these claims. The case remains unsolved and the Springfield police do not comment on it. The killer(s) have not been identified, and the possibility that Jeannette was sacrificed in occult worship remains unconfirmed.
The Unsolved Murders Of Cabin 28
On the evening of April 11, 1981, a quadruple homicide occurred in Keddie, California. Glenna Sue Sharp, 36, her son John, 15, and his friend Dana, 17, were all found murdered at the scene. The youngest Sharp daughter, Sheila, discovered the murder of her family. In addition to the three murders, 12-year-old Tina Sharp was reported missing.
The murders at Cabin 28 in Keddie, California, are known for their brutality and the lack of a clear motive. Tina Sharp's body was found three years later, miles away from the scene. The two prime suspects in the case have since died, and the cabin was demolished in 2008.
The Strange Deaths Of Don Henry And Kevin Ives
Don Henry and Kevin Ives were high school friends from central Arkansas. On August 23rd, 1987, they went out and were never seen alive again. They were discovered by a train conductor who was unable to stop in time when he saw their bodies on the tracks
At first, police believed the boys had been killed after falling asleep on the tracks while under the influence of drugs. However, the parents of the boys were not convinced and the bodies were exhumed for further investigation. Examination showed that the boys were not as intoxicated as originally thought, and were likely murdered before being placed on the tracks. The police suspect the boys witnessed a drug drop and were killed as a result. The case remains unsolved.