Famous Unsolved Murders People
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Famous Unsolved Murders

What do JonBenet Ramsey, Tupac, and the Black Dahlia have in common? Their brutal, gruesome murders were never solved.

This list of the most famous unsolved murders includes some of the most high-profile unsolved murder cases in the world. Many are familiar to anyone who reads the news, but others may surprise you. Did you know Lizzie Borden was never convicted of killing her parents? In fact, their murders remain technically a mystery.

These famous unsolved cases are ordered by rank and can be copied or reordered to make your very own list of the most famous unsolved murder cases in history. We may not know who carried out these terrible crimes, but we’ve got enough conspiracy theories to last a lifetime. Perhaps a few American serial killers are involved…

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  1. 1

    Perhaps the most famous unsolved murder in recent history, rapper Tupac Shakur's death is still a mystery. The "most influential rapper of all time" was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1996. He was taken to a local hospital where he died six days later. To this day, some claim that he is still alive and in hiding.  

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    Christopher George Latore Wallace, better known as The Notorious B.I.G. or Biggie Smalls, was killed in a drive by shooting in Los Angeles in 1997.

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    Six-year-old pageant winner JonBenét became the subject of a nationwide media craze when she was found dead in the basement of her Boulder, CO home in 1996. Many suspected her parents, but DNA evidence exonerated the couple and JonBenét's older brother in 2008.

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    "The Black Dahlia" is a name given to 22-year-old Elizabeth Short, a Los Angeles women who was gruesomely murdered and dismembered in 1947. Her body was found cut in half, drained of blood, and slashed multiple times. 

    Newspaper reports soon scandalized the case, claiming that Short was an "adventuress" who wandered the streets of LA in a tight skirt and sheer blouse. 

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    Andrew and Abby Borden

    The parents of infamous axe murderer Lizzie Borden were hacked to death in their Massachusetts home in 1927. However, Lizzie was acquitted of both murders, and they remain, technically, unsolved. 

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    Twenty four-year-old hip hop prodigy Big L was murdered in a drive-by shooting on a Harlem block he famously called, "the Danger Zone." Gerard Woodley, 29, was charged with the murder, but was later released because of insufficient evidence.

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    Colby, an actress most famous for her role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, was murdered in a Venice, CA parking lot after teaching an acting class. She and her friend James Kiernan were talking near their cars when two men approached them and fired a gun. Both Kiernan and Colby were killed, although Kiernan managed to live long enough to give police details about the crime. Despite that, the killers were never found.

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    Jill Dando was a presenter on the BBC show Crimewatch when she was fatally shot outside of her London home in 1999. Barry George was charged with and convicted of her murder, but was later acquitted on appeal. 

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    Famous for his roles on Hogan's Heroes and The Bob Crane Show, Crane was found bludgeoned to death in his Scottsdale apartment while on tour for his play Beginner's Luck in June 1978.

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    Despite the fact that a neighbor witnessed the abduction of nine-year-old Amber Hagerman, the case has never been solved. Amber had been riding her bike up and down her block when someone in a dark pick up truck grabber her. Four days later, her body was found. She had been sexually assaulted. 

    Amber's death was the impetus for the Amber Alert, which helps the police, the media, and public work together to find missing children. 

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    Swedish Prime Minister Ofof Palme was assassinated while walking home from a movie theater with his wife in 1986. He was shot in the back at close range. His wife was also shot, but the bullet grazed her back and she recovered without major injuries. 

    Two years after Palme's death, a small-time criminal named Christer Pettersson was arrested for the murder, but his conviction was soon overturned by the Svea Court of Appeal.

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    Mary Pinchot Meyer - ex-wife of a top CIA official, good friend of Jackie Kennedy, and mistress of President JFK - was murdered on October 12, 1964, two days before her 44th birthday. She was shot in the heart and head at close range, but the murder weapon was never recovered. 

    A man named Ray Crump Jr. was found nearby and arrested, but he was later acquitted due to lack of evidence. Some conspiracy theorists have speculated that Meyer's death was related to JFK's assassination one year earlier. 

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    In 1957, a young boy's battered body was found wrapped in a blanket inside of a cardboard JC Penny box in Philadelphia. The child, who was approximately four to six years old when he was killed, was never identified and his murder never solved

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    Catrine da Costa, a heroin addict and prostitute, was brutally murdered and dismembered in Malmskillnadsgatan, Sweden. Her body parts were two separate trash bags weeks after her murder, although some internal organs have never been accounted for. The murder was the inspiration for Steig Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

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    Twenty four-year-old Salvadorian immigrant Evelyn Hernandez was nine months pregnant when she was abducted and killed. Her body was found after washing up on the shore of the San Francisco Bay, prompting comparisons to Laci Peterson. Some even believed that Hernandez's murder could have been committed by the same person. 

    However, Hernandez's murder did not receive the same sort of media frenzy as her white, middle class counterpart. Hernandez's sister claimed that the police ignored the case because the single mom was poor and hispanic. Hernandez's six-year-old son went missing at the same time and is presumed dead. 

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    Raymond Nels Nelson

    The bureau chief of The Providence Journal and Evening Bulletin was found murdered in his Washington, D.C. apartment on June 1, 1981. He was killed with a large office typewriter, and some speculated the murder was the result of a love triangle. He was 59 years old.

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    Mary Jane Hanselman

    Sixteen-year-old Mary Jane Hanselman was brutally raped and murdered in 1958. Her body was found near the fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois, bound with her own stockings. A dishwasher at the restaurant where she worked was initially suspected, but there was not enough evidence to arrest him. Her story was the inspiration behind the novel, Absence of Goodness.

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    Rashawn Brazell's dismembered body parts were found in trash bags across Brooklyn in the winter of 2005. The 19-year-old was scheduled to meet his accountant before having lunch with his mother, but went missing sometime during the morning of February 14th. 

    Security footage caught Brazell leaving his apartment and entering the subway with an unidentified man. They were seen exiting the subway at Nostrand Avenue station in Bedford Stuyvesant a short time later, but Brazell was never heard from again. On February 18th, two full bags of body parts were found on the tracks at the station.  

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    Jill-Lyn was stabbed to death with her own kitchen knives in her Syracuse apartment in 2001. The 18-year-old was studying to be paramedic at the time. There was no evidence of a break in or robbery, and Jill-Lyn did not enter her the building with anyone. The hunt for her killer continues.

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    Raonaid Murray

    Raonaid Murray may be one of the most famous murder victims in Europe. The 17-year-old Irish girl was stabbed to death in 1999, sparking a media frenzy. Before she was killed, it was reported that she had an argument with a man in his mid-20s. After leaving the pub where she was hanging out with her friends, neighbors heard her scream "leave me alone!"

    She staggered 200 feet after being stabbed four times and died 50 yards away from her Dublin home.

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