Whether five years have passed or 50, there's something about an unsolved case that captivates the true crime community. Perhaps it's the unsettling idea of a dangerous culprit still out there, or the frustrating stories of families who have gone decades without answers, closure, or justice for their loved ones. There's also the enticing possibility that the right person will come forward, or that one important piece of evidence will pop up to finally close the case, or that an amateur investigator taking another look might connect the dots.
These unsolved cold cases all have an element that stands out. Maybe it's a particular person who seems suspicious, a specific clue that raises red flags, or just a strange part of the story that defies logic. With new technology and heightened awareness of these enigmas, cold cases won't necessarily be cold forever. Read on for just a few eerie unsolved cases we'd really like answers to.
Two Women With The Same Name Were Slain In The Same City Three Days Apart
In October of 2000, two women named Mary Morris, who both lived in the suburbs of Houston, TX, lost their lives within three days of each other. Mary Lou Morris was a 48-year-old loan officer, while Mary McGinnis Morris was a 39-year-old nurse, and the two looked similar.
On October 12, Mary Lou Morris didn't show up for her job at a bank, which was highly unusual for her, so an investigation immediately began. Her husband couldn't get in touch with her the entire day, and she was reported missing by that evening. A few hours later, an ATV rider found her body in her car; she was burned so badly she had to be identified via dental records. Her jewelry was melted onto her, so robbery didn't seem to be the motive. Her wedding band was missing, which may indicate an assassin hit.
Three days later, Mary McGinnis Morris was found deceased in her car in a remote area a few miles from her home. Earlier that evening, she had called the police to report someone whose behavior was scaring her inside a pharmacy. Apparently, during the call, the dispatcher heard screaming and the sound of a gunshot.
Unlike Mary Lou Morris, who had no known enemies or marked past in any personal or professional way, Mary McGinnis Morris had been having marital issues. She had also reported feeling threatened by a new coworker, who left her a haunting note that said “death to her.” After that incident, she asked her husband, Mike Morris, for a gun, and he taught her to use it. It was the same gun found at the scene of the crime.
Between the two murders, an anonymous caller contacted the Houston Chronicle to tell them the first murder had been an accident made by a hitman who had gotten the two Mary Morrises mixed up.
Mike Morris refused a polygraph test and immediately hired a lawyer. In another plot twist, his wife Mary McGinnis Morris had a $700,000 life insurance policy. To this day, neither case has been solved, due to a lack of evidence.
Canadian Tourist Ani Ashekian Vanished Without A Trace After Withdrawing Money From An ATM In Hong Kong
Ani Ashekian was on a trip through Asia when she disappeared without a trace from Hong Kong on November 11, 2008. She was an experienced traveler and a paralegal; in other words, someone unlikely to disappear from what is often considered one of the safest cities in the world.
She had only been in Hong Kong for a few days, having just arrived from Beijing and central China on November 9. Ashekian had told the people closest to her that she was leaving for a yoga retreat in India in a few days and even had a flight booked. In the middle of the night on November 11, she was spotted on security camera footage taking out about $470 from an ATM between two visits. Just after she withdrew the cash from the ATM, she texted her niece in her home country, Canada, to wish her a happy birthday. That was the last time anyone saw or heard from Ashekian.
It's been more than a decade since her disappearance, and although many people have joined the search for her, the case has no leads. Hong Kong has confirmed there are no records of Ashekian leaving the country legally.
The 'Texas Killing Fields' Were Likely A Dumping Ground For Multiple Serial Killers
Beginning in the 1970s, dead bodies began turning up across a marshy stretch of land off I-45 in Texas, between Houston and Galveston. The area has since been dubbed “The Texas Killing Fields," as 30 bodies have been found, mainly of young women. Many of the cases remain unsolved, and many additional women have gone missing in the area that have never been found. While technology and a lack of cross-departmental communication at the time can be blamed for some of the unsolved cases, many were also dismissed as runaways.
One major breakthrough occurred in 1997. Nineteen-year-old Sandra Sapaugh had a flat tire when a man stopped to help her. He then forced her into his vehicle at knife point. But Sapaugh managed to escape, throwing herself out of the moving truck and onto the highway where passerby helped her. Her abductor, William Reece, was sentenced to 60 years, but was then put on death row after his DNA was linked to the 1997 murder of an Oklahoma woman, Tiffany Johnston. He later confessed to the murders of Texas Killing Fields victims Laura Smither, Kelli Cox, and Jessica Cain, and led authorities to the latter two bodies, which changed his sentence to life in prison.
But Reece had been in prison in the '80s, when the bodies of four women (Heide Villareal-Fye, Laura Miller, Audrey Lee Cook, and Donna Prudhomme) were discovered. The decades-long use of the killing fields means that it was likely a dumping ground for multiple serial killers. Jessica Dimmock, director of Crime Scene: The Texas Killing Fields, theorized:
I think it’s three serial killers operating in very similar territories... Each decade has its own [serial killer]… It’s wet, it’s damp, it’s... swampy… Water destroys evidence. Also, criminals and murderers know that water destroys evidence. So ... not only does it actually happen, it also plays into how these killers think about where to dispose of bodies.
The Netflix docuseries suggests one of the killers could be a man named Clyde Hedrick, who was convicted of the 1984 murder of a 30-year-old woman named Ellen Beason. He was known to frequent the bar where victim Heide Villareal-Fye worked, and his stepdaughter had gone to the police about his predatory behavior when she was a child.
While many other potential suspects have been named, and some have had their lives ruined by accusations, most of the cases remain unsolved.
Kyron Horman Disappeared From His Elementary School After His Stepmother Dropped Him Off
Around 8 am on June 4, 2010, 7-year-old Kyron Horman arrived at his Portland, OR, elementary school science fair with his stepmother Terri Moulton. Moulton said she saw him walk off to class after the fair, but Kyron was never seen again.
Kyron's parents, Desiree Young and Kaine Horman, had divorced shortly before his birth. In 2007, Horman married Moulton, and a year later the two had a daughter, Kiara. Due to Young's health issues, Horman and Moulton had full custody of Kyron. When they went to pick him up from the bus stop after school that day, they were told he'd never gotten on the bus. After calling the school, they learned Kyron had been marked absent from his classes. The police were called, and an extensive search ensued in the wooded areas around the school. It was the largest search in Oregon's history, yet no answers came.
In July of 2010, police turned their attention to Kyron's home life. The family's landscaper, Rodolfo Sanchez, informed them that six months prior to Kyron's disappearance, Moulton had offered him money to kill her husband. Horman's response was swift - he left the home with their daughter and filed for divorce. Moulton denied any such conversation had taken place, but investigators had other reasons to be suspicious of her. Moulton failed two separate polygraph tests and, according to Young, expressed a severe hatred for Kyron in emails to her friends, blaming him for her troubled marriage.
Moulton also had a shaky alibi. She told police that after leaving the science fair, she ran errands, stopping at two different grocery stores until a little after 10 am. She then claimed she spent the next hour and a half driving around to soothe her baby daughter's earache. At 11:39 am she checked into her gym for an hour, then returned home around 1:20 pm and posted pictures of Kyron at the science fair on Facebook. She then met Horman at the bus stop to pick up Kyron from school.
Despite the suspicions of Kyron's family and police, a grand jury didn't find enough evidence to bring an indictment against Moulton. Investigators say the case remains “open and active.” Moulton has maintained her innocence.