The Most Famous Unsolved Murders

The mysteries on this list are some of the most vicious murders in history, and most have no answers. What are the most famous unsolved murder cases? This list has many you've probably heard of. In some of these cases, suspects were charged, only to be acquitted due to a lack of evidence; in others, police either didn't have any suspects or couldn't identify the victim.

This list features the most famous unsolved murders from around the world, as well as unique information about each victim and any named suspects in their cases.

  • Amber Hagerman
    Photo: Unknown / Wikipedia / Fair Use

    Amber Hagerman

    Amber Rene Hagerman was 9 years old when she was abducted and killed while riding her bicycle in an abandoned grocery store parking lot near her grandparents' Arlington, TX, home on January 13, 1996. No suspects were ever identified. Police responded to the area after an anonymous 911 call, claiming a child was screaming, and a man in a truck was taking her.

    Four days after her abduction, Amber’s body was found in a drainage ditch with her throat cut. Years later, a witness finally stepped forward, claiming to have seen the abduction; he told police he saw a man in a black truck grab Amber from her bike, throw her into the truck, and speed away.

    While Amber’s killer has yet to be caught, her legacy remains, as her death led to the development of the AMBER Alert system. The system has helped save over 500 abducted or missing children since its inception in the US and several other countries.

  • Andrew And Abby Borden
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    Andrew And Abby Borden

    On August 4, 1892 Andrew and Abby Borden were found murdered via hatchet in their Fall River, MA, home. Andrew Borden was found with 11 hatchet marks in his face, and Abby had 19 in the back of her head. The first blow to each was so forceful, it likely killed them instantly.

    Lizzie Borden, Andrew's daughter and Abby's stepdaughter, was immediately suspected, as the town knew of a bitter rift between her and her stepmother. Additionally, during the week of the trial, Lizzie burned a dress that she claimed had paint on it, but prosecutors alleged it was covered in blood, and she burned it to cover up her crimes.

    Lizzie Borden was acquitted of all charges, and the case was found inconclusive. After being treated as an outcast for the rest of her life, she passed in 1927, and no other suspects were ever charged.

  • The Axman Of New Orleans
    Photo: Joseph John Devilla, World's Music Publishing Company, New Orleans / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Axman Of New Orleans

    The Axman of New Orleans was a well-known serial killer who broke into several homes by breaking down his victims' doors with an axe. He was active between 1918 and 1919, and no evidence ever led to the perpetrator's identity.

    The axman taunted the city with his crimes, even writing letters to local newspapers in which he claimed to be a demon from hell. In total, he killed 12 identified victims.

    The Axman would come in the night, chisel a panel out of his victims' back door, then behead and dismember his victims while they slept. What most confused police was this ritual, and if it was the killer's signature or his MO.

    A series of similar crimes took place in Texas and Louisiana in 1911, claiming 49 victims total. One night, the Axman even left a note for police, which read, "When He maketh the inquisition for blood, He forgetteth not the cry of the humble, human five."

    A rumor spread that perhaps the Axman was a man named Joseph Momfre, whom the widow of one of the Axman's victims eventually killed. A ringleader for blackmailers in the New Orleans mob, Momfre was imprisoned in 1911 shortly after the first set of murders ended and was released in 1918 just before they began again. Even so, there is little evidence pointing to Momfre as the actual Axman.

  • Betsy Aardsma, a 22-year-old student from Penn State University, was stabbed in the late afternoon on November 29, 1969 while studying in the library. She was dead by the time she reached the hospital.

    While the police had some susepects, they never confirmed any of them. Since Aardsma's passing, rumors have spread that the library aisle in which she was stabbed is now haunted.

  • The Black Dahlia
    Photo: Santa Barbara police / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Black Dahlia

    Perhaps Los Angeles's most famous murder, the Black Dahlia refers to Elizabeth Short, who was killed in 1947. A woman and her child discovered Short's body in a vacant lot; she was unclothed, posed, mutilated, and cut in two at the waist. She had been completely drained of blood and scrubbed clean.

    In 2013, the case once again made headlines when police conducted an extensive search of a Los Angeles home. Dr. George Hill Hodel was one of the prime suspects during the initial investigation, and incriminating evidence of human body decomposition had previously been found on what used to be his property. Soil samples from the house were taken in for testing.

    A conversation was also recorded between Hodel and an unknown person in which Hodel said, "Supposin' I did kill the Black Dahlia. They couldn't prove it now. They can't talk to my secretary because she's dead." What's more, Hodel's son, Steve Hodel, once a police officer, is convinced his father killed Short. He also believes his father killed an additional dozen women throughout the LA area. None of the elder Hodel's alleged crimes - including Elizabeth Short's murder - have ever been confirmed.

  • Bob Crane
    Photo: Maury Foldare and Asociates-public relations-appears to be for Bing Crosby Productions, the show producer / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    In 1978, Bob Crane, star of the 1960s sitcom Hogan’s Heroes, was discovered in his Scottsdale, AZ, apartment after being bludgeoned in his bed with a camera tripod. The beating was reportedly so vicious, police hardly recognized him.

    The main suspect was Crane's friend, John Carpenter; the two spent a great deal of time together going to strip clubs and trying out video equipment. The murder had no identified weapon or witnesses, making it difficult for police to make any formal accusations.

    The case was reopened in 1990 after an overlooked photo of human body tissue found in Carpenter's car resurfaced. Carpenter was arrested and tried for first-degree murder but was later acquitted after the evidence was determined to be inconclusive.