The decade that brought us The X-Files, The Silence of the Lambs, and Men in Black also brought plenty of real-life drama and mystery as well. It was the decade when little beauty queen JonBenét Ramsey first looked out at the country from the cover of People magazine, her brutal killing shocking the world. It was the decade that involved a double homicide and a beloved former football player. It was also a decade that included plenty of suspected alien activity.
Like the decades before, the '90s had its own share of mysteries, many of which are still unsolved today. Some of them you may have heard of, but never fathomed all of the details. Other mysteries might be shockingly new, yet no less disturbing or mind-boggling. If you're looking for a blast from the past that will neither settle nor soothe you, this is the right list.
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Who Abducted Amber Hagerman?
Much like Code Adam, the Amber Alert was inspired by a child and a real-life nightmare. The alert system was named after 9-year-old Amber Hagerman who was abducted in 1996 in Arlington, TX.
January 13 was a Saturday afternoon in 1996. Amber left her house and hopped on her pink bike, riding out with her 5-year-old brother, Ricky. In less than 10 minutes, just after her brother had turned around to go home, she was abducted. Her body was found four days later by a nearby creek.
A man who lived across the street from the parking lot where she was riding her bike saw the abduction. He witnessed a man grab Amber and throw her into his black truck, kicking and screaming. Police believe more witnesses likely exist, given the time of day and location, but to this day nobody else has come forward with information.
Since the creation of the Amber Alert, Amber's case has garnered even more media attention, yet still no suspects have been named. Authorities are hopeful that with additional leads always coming in, combined with the advances in DNA technology, they will be able to identify Amber's killer and bring them to justice someday.
- 21,136 VOTES
Who Perpetrated The Las Cruces Bowling Alley Massacre?
Workers at Las Cruces Bowl were just getting ready for the Saturday crowd on February 10, 1990, when two armed men stepped through an unlocked door.
Bowling alley mechanic Steven Teran and his two young daughters, Paula Holguin and Valerie Teran, walked in on the scene. The men took cash from the safe, then told all seven people - Teran and his daughters; cook Ida Holguin (no relation to Paula); manager Stephanie Senac and her 12-year-old daughter, Melissia Repass; and Melissia's friend Amy Houser - to get down on the ground. The two men shot all of the victims multiple times in the head at close range, then set fire to the bowling alley and left.
Miraculously, Ida, Senac, and Melissia all survived. Melissia was able to call 911, despite being shot five times, but the fire and subsequent efforts to put out the fire destroyed much of the evidence. Additionally, forensic capabilities focused primarily on fingerprints, and not DNA, in the early 1990s. Although fingerprints were obtained, investigators were stymied by the fact the bowling alley was visited by hundreds of patrons, making it difficult to discern which fingerprints were meaningful.
The suspects were identified by the survivors as two Hispanic men, in their 30s or 40s. Police set up a road block to screen anybody leaving the town, but the suspects were never found. Despite a frequent stream of tips, authorities are no closer to identifying and arresting the suspects today than they were 32 years ago.
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Who Killed Yale Senior Suzanne Jovin?
On the evening of December 4, 1998, Yale student Suzanne Jovin hosted a pizza party after dropping off the draft of her senior paper. She was last seen around 9:25 pm at Yale's main entrance, Phelps Gate. At 9:58, police received a phone call about a woman bleeding in the street, approximately 2 miles away from Phelps Gate. Twenty-one-year-old Jovin was brutally stabbed 17 times. She died shortly afterwards at the hospital.
Authorities were left wondering how Jovin traveled 2 miles in such a short amount of time. It was assumed she had been given a ride in a car - either voluntarily or by force - and whoever was driving the car was behind the slaying. But beyond those assumptions, authorities were left clueless. With no eyewitnesses or evidence found near Jovin's body, police were grasping for straws.
Suspicion turned to her senior advisor, James Van de Velde. However, he was never charged with the crime, and investigators later believed too much time had been wasted looking at the wrong man. The case was reactivated in 2018, thanks to a fresh look by new investigators who claim to be looking at dozens of suspects. Still, no suspect or motive has been identified in the brutal slaying of Jovin.
- 4974 VOTES
Who Killed JonBenét Ramsey?
On December 26, 1996, the body of 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was found in the basement of her wealthy family's Boulder, CO, home. She had been bludgeoned and strangled. Who would want to kill this young girl and frequent beauty pageant contestant?
Earlier that day, her mother, Patsy Ramsey, said she discovered a ransom note in the house. The abductors demanded $118,000 for the safe return of their daughter. If the police were called, the note said, JonBenét would be killed. Nonetheless, her parents called the police, and an investigation ensued. Police searched the house, but it was after all but one detective had left when JonBenét's father, John Ramsey, discovered her body in the basement, wrapped in a white blanket.
The Ramseys pleaded on TV for the public to help them find whoever killed their daughter. However, few clues were available to share with the public. About six months into the investigation, suspicions at the Boulder Police Department began to focus on the Ramsey parents, yet the district attorney didn't seem interested. Later accusations said it was the police department who was tampering with evidence.
In 2006, Patsy passed. Also that year, a teacher working in Thailand claimed he killed JonBenét. However, he was quickly ruled out when his DNA didn't match any of that found at the scene. In 2008, the district attorney made the announcement that the DNA found at the scene was definitely a male's, but not of a Ramsey relative. In 2016, 52-year-old Gary Oliva was arrested on charges of child pornography. During an earlier arrest in 2000, he had a picture of Ramsey in his possession. Police now believed he may have been near the Ramsey house when JonBenét died. But that potential link has not resulted in any charges or Oliva officially being identified as a suspect.
Since her death, over 1,500 pieces of evidence have been collected, and more than 20,000 tips were received. Books, TV specials, and movies have all explored the various suspects and scenarios that could have resulted in the brutal death of the beauty queen. Despite all of the attention and the many theories, the killer of JonBenét is still a mystery.
- 5691 VOTES
Who Sabotaged Amtrak's Sunset Limited In 1995?
Train tracks sabotaged in the night. A train derailed. One man dead. This is not a 19th century tale, but one that took place in 1995.
Almost 70 miles outside Phoenix, AZ, in a desolate patch of desert, one of Amtrak's Sunset Limited trains was speeding towards California in the early morning hours of October 9. Suddenly, it shook violently, and eight passenger cars derailed, four of them falling off a bridge and landing in the dry river bed below. Seventy-eight people were injured, and one Amtrak employee was killed.
As passengers in the rear of the train waited for the injured to be tended to, passenger Neal Hallford stepped outside to get some air. A piece of paper under a rock caught his eye. When he picked it up, it didn't take long for him to realize it was a note from whoever had tried to derail the train. Then, he found another one. Authorities found two additional notes in the area. The notes were allegedly left by a group calling themselves "Sons of Gestapo." The notes railed against the government's actions in Ruby Ridge, ID, and Waco, TX.
As the investigation proceeded, it was discovered almost 30 spikes had been removed from the track, and the rails forced apart. The culprit also sabotaged the computer system that would have otherwise warned the engineers of an issue with the track.
Despite the notes, authorities could never tie the incident to an actual group. And even after scouring the crime scene, no surefire clues were ever found that could point to who was out in that remote area of desert in the middle of the night and why they targeted that train. The FBI offered a $310,000 award for any tips leading to an arrest, but to this day, no suspects have been identified in the mysterious sabotage attack.
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Who Killed Cornell Gunter?
Cornell Gunter (born Cornelius) was a member of the popular '50s group The Coasters. In 1990, he was living in Las Vegas, NV. On February 27, he was scheduled to perform later that night. During the day, witnesses saw Gunter in his parked car, talking to a thin Black man. The two got in an argument, and shots rang out. Suddenly, Gunter's car sped off, then promptly crashed into a wall. The suspect fled the scene, gun in hand.
Gunter was found dead at the scene, apparently shot through the windshield. No motive could ever be ascertained by authorities. Fifty-three-year-old Gunter neither had a police record nor seemed to be involved with any of the undesirable characters who lived in Las Vegas at the time.
In 1980, another member of the group was slain in Las Vegas, but given the years between the incidents and the varying details (plus the fact the 1980 killer was sitting on death row), authorities never claimed any connection between the two deaths.
Despite the many witnesses who saw what happened that day, police were never able to find the gun used in the slaying, nor track down the "skinny Black man" suspected of killing Gunter.