I don’t know whether or not true crime has always been a big obsession around the world, but these days, it’s pretty much the coolest hobby going. There are countless television shows, books, podcasts, you name it, and people just can’t get enough.
If you’re into it then you know there are myriad cases to choose from, but you also know that people have their favorites – the cases that get under their skin and don’t let go.
These 16 people are sharing those cases that they would definitely solve if they could.
16. Stuff with kids is so bad.
The Boy in the Box. Philadelphia. 1957
I just watched a video about him yesterday. It was on a channel of one of those youtubers that visits different cemeteries and gravesites. It’s such a heartbreaking case, the poor little boy was horribly abused for a long time before he was murdered.
15. Somebody knows something.
Jodi Huisentruit, my hometown mystery.
We all knew or knew of her because she was a news anchor on our local TV station. She was kidnapped when I was in fifth grade, and nearly 30 years later there has been absolutely no trace of her.
She’s still very much in the consciousness of my small town, there are still billboards with her smiling face and “Somebody Knows Something” that give me a little chill every time I drive by them.
Her family needs closure, and we as a town need closure.
14. Just gone.
What happened to Johnny Gosch.
He was 12. Disappeared on morning his paper delivery route in 1982. Just vanished off the earth and was never seen again. He was one of the first “milk carton” kids, and it’s still an open cold case.
13. Not a trace.
A kid I used to babysit began acting odd when he was 19 or so.
He went from being a stoner kid to super religious and always teaching the gospel to his coworkers in a kitchen of big rustic resort in the middle of nowhere (hundreds and hundreds of square miles of wilderness).
The coworkers weren’t bothered by him, he talked about Jesus and washed dishes. It was a dramatic change over a short period of time, so that was odd.
One evening, late fall, he leaves work and is seen walking along a trail as it got dark, into the wilderness. A few people leaving the trails saw him.
His coat was found neatly folded up in the middle of that same trail the next day only a mile or so from where the last hiker saw him. It got cold that night, definitely hypothermia temps.
Not one single shred of evidence was ever found besides that neatly folded light coat.
The wilderness, as far as he could reasonably go even running in a straight line, was gridded off and searched by a huge group of professional rescuers and volunteers. Helicopters and everything.
Not a trace. That was over a decade ago.
It was rumored he saw or knew something about big drug trafficking across the nearby Canadian border and may have been disappeared by the hand of that gang but nobody knows. There is some serious criminal stuff in that world around there, murders happened from time to time. Doesn’t make sense with his sudden crazy Christianity and the folded up jacket, though. Same for if he was suddenly in witness protection, whole thing doesn’t make sense.
Also, an elderly woman who had beginning stages of dementia lived near me. This is very rural, one home every quarter to half mile or so. Some stretches of a mile or more between houses. She just disappeared. Not a trace.
I was in middle school and my family was driving home one Saturday at around 9 at night and saw some police cars and some road flares near their driveway. We assumed car went off road and was already towed out or something. It did seem weird, backwoods of nowhere, seeing cops and stuff out there is very rare and notable, so my dad made note to call them the next day and ask what was up. They dropped me and my sister off at home, my sister went to bed, and I stayed up and watched SNL. My parents left to go to a family friend’s late night bonfire several miles away. In the middle of SNL a firetruck pulls into our driveway. I’d never even seen a firetruck out that way, let alone one in my driveway with a spotlight scanning my yard.
I ran out but they’d turned off the spotlight and pulled out and left.
I didn’t see or hear anything else that night.
The next morning I woke up to see people in our front yard, more of a big grassy wildflower field, on their hands and knees crawling through the bushes.
I went and asked what happened. They told me the woman had disappeared. I gave them the advice that I knew there was an abandoned well nearby from a farmhouse that had burned in the 50s but social anxiety at that age didn’t let me go show them where. They checked there and found nothing.
The woods were gridded off with string for miles and miles. Each square of however many yards was searched inch by inch. For years after you’d find string on backwoods hikes in the middle of nowhere, miles from any trail or road.
The suspected story was backroads rednecks, well, that time on a Saturday, more drunks in pickups than anyone else on the roads. Her house was on a blind hillcrest in the road, she was likely hit, drunk redneck loaded her into truck and made her disappear.
There were rumors of a couple names of some drunk locals and lots of interviews with police with one guy, I found out years later, but nothing was ever proven and no evidence found.
They did find one short fresh tire skid mark near the driveway but they had no idea if that was related. Blind hillcrest had people who weren’t from there stopping fast there often.
So, either of those two, I guess.
12. A classic.
I wanna know what really happened at Hinterkaifeck.
I read somewhere that it’s been sort of unofficially agreed upon that the man who may have been the toddlers biological father murdered them. Especially given the rumors that the patriarch had impregnated his daughter and produced that son.
My favorite murder podcast just covered this on one of their most recent episodes.
The part that got me the most was, how the little girl was found with clumps of her own hair in her firsts, meaning she was alive for hours either watching everyone else get killed or being tortured.
that part just stuck w me. I listened to it a week ago and I’ve been thinking about it every day since.
11. Eerie, for sure.
I wanna figure out what exactly happened to the wife of the president of Scientology. She was a high profile character in the religion and after she made one call without her husband’s permission she’s disappeared for years.
I wanna bring those responsible to justice.
10. The family ones are so disturbing.
Jamison family murders.
Def a weird case. They seem like very disturbed individuals. My vote is murder/suicide.
9. Nothing has been moved.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner museum art heist. Still the biggest art heist in history. I think. Took place in 1990. It kinda haunts Boston.
The empty spots where the Vermeer and Rembrandt had hung you can still see the wallpaper is a different color. Gardners will said that nothing could be moved after her death.
Couple of guys pretending to be cops overpowered security guard or guards. Basically no security at the time.
8. They’re not alone.
Jon Benet Ramsey. This case has bothered me forever.
7. It’s personal.
My little sister’s murder in North Dakota.
The maintenance man for the bldg committed suicide not long after, but there was never any proof it was him, and it’s still unsolved.
I’m sure there’s higher profile shit out the in the world, but this one is personal.
So, some background. Foster family in ND had this happen after I moved out, and had been living in TX for several years. The parents are grandparent age, having raised kids to their 40s+ by the time I came around, with the siblings a few years younger than me.
I don’t think they’d want a podcast, as they’ve already done and had news interviews, talked to multiple investigators, and who knows what else. Being the eldest foster, I was not with them as long as the rest, and being in TX, I just didn’t get involved or included.
If you think there’s a resource that could help, here’s the article with a number. I know Reddit can be fuckin amazing sometimes, but I’ve seen it go badly too. Please don’t cause them any grief or trauma in an effort to help, y’know?
And thank you everyone for the condolences. I’m still furious 14 years later. It doesn’t get better. Not this kind of thing.
6. Maura Murray is on a lot of lists.
Brian Shaffer. Maura Murray. Kyron Horman.
There’s a few others, but those are the ones that came to mind first.
Also, Rosemary Rapp. I went to school with her grandkids, and currently still talk to one of her nieces, so I’m personally invested in this one.
5. It’ll stick with you.
It’s a really messed up cold case from Melbourne, Australia (where I live) that involves child sexual abuse and murder.
The incidents happened between the late 80s and early 90s, and it’s never been solved.
I don’t know why but that one in particular always messed with me. I hope one day the victims and their families can get even a little closure.
4. How awful.
The disappearance of Andrew Gosden. In 2007, a 14-year-old English boy with good grades and a seemingly good home life leaves for school, but doesn’t go— he hangs out in a park until his parents are gone, then goes to an ATM and drains his bank account.
He walks home, changes out of his uniform into a t-shirt and jeans, and leaves again to buy a one way ticket to Kings Cross station. (The clerk says she remembers saying that a round trip was just 50p more, but he said he definetly just wanted one way).
He’s last seen on a CCTV camera leaving King’s Cross.
Still see his picture all over London, it must be so incredibly heartbreaking for the family to not have closure after all this time.
I do think there was obviously something going on his family didn’t know about. I believe his sister said he didn’t go on the internet much but he must have been meeting someone surely.
3. Could it be…?
Who the heck was DB Cooper?
One good theory, though…
This was posted by u/sanctii in another thread. I did not write it but I think it’s a very compelling theory. I’ll link the og comment down below.
My money is on Ted Braden. If you could invent a DB Cooper suspect you’d invent Ted Braden. Check it out:
Braden was a paratrooper in WWII (jumped on D-Day with the 101st at age 16), Korea, and Vietnam.
He won multiple international skydiving competitions while a member of the Army.
911 logged jumps with the military and was a pioneer of HALO jumping
Was recruited to be a team leader in the MACV-SOG’s. This was the predecessor to Delta Force and was a multi-service covert military special force run by the CIA.
Led squads on covert jumps into Laos, Cambodia, and Northern Vietnam from 64-67.
Did many of these jumps into enemy territory off the aft stairs of….that’s right…Boeing 727’s. At the time of the skyjacking, the only people who knew this could be done were those involved in these MACV-SOG missions and some employees at Boeing.
Was always bitching about how he and his fellow soldiers weren’t paid enough. Was always coming up with schemes to make/extort/steal money while in the service.
In 1967, he heard about how people were looking for mercenaries to fight in the Congolese Civil War and how well they would be paying, so he went AWOL from Vietnam and made his way to the Congo. The CIA went after him and eventually found and arrested him in the Congo.
Was imprisoned at Fort Dix for a very brief time and mysteriously was never convicted of anything, nor tried, and was merely given an honorable discharge and told that he couldn’t re-enlist in the military.
Once released he tried to go overseas to be a mercenary again and found out that his name had been blacklisted by the CIA and so he wasn’t allowed to leave the country to be a mercenary.
Not knowing how to make a living other than by being a soldier, he resorted to being a truck driver. His trucking company was stationed out of Vancouver (interesting).
When the Cooper hijacking happened, several members of the military contacted the FBI and essentially said “this can only be Ted Braden”
Braden had no family, so there wasn’t anyone around to in retrospect said “hey, Dad wasn’t around during Thanksgiving 1971”.
His alibi was that he was driving his truck. On the plane:
Cooper was by everyone who remembered him as being “middle-aged” or “mid-40’s”. Braden was 44.
Cooper was described as being 5’8-5’10 and slight. Braden was 5’9 and 150lbs.
Cooper was described as being somewhat olive skinned and swarthy. Braden’s mother’s side were Sicilian.
Cooper was extremely calm the entire time. The only time he showed any emotion was when he was arguing with the pilots because he wanted to take off from Seattle with the stairs down. They didn’t think it could be done. Cooper told them it absolutely could be done and he demanded it be done. The pilots simply refused to do so, thinking it would cause the plane to crash, and Cooper eventually relented. Braden was described by many of his military colleagues and commanding officers as one of the calmest people under fire you could imagine.
Cooper smoked Raleigh cigarettes and so did Braden.
Cooper was described by both flight attendants who spoke with him as having either a midwestern accent or no accent. Brayden was from Ohio.
Cooper chose the military parachute over the more modern sport parachute.
When asked by the flight attendant why he was doing this, he replied “I don’t have a grudge against your airline, Miss, I just have a grudge.” Braden certainly had a grudge against the government for blacklisting him from the only work for which he was skilled at: being a soldier.
The alias “Dan Cooper”. “Dan Cooper” was the name of a popular 50’s and 60’s French language comic book series. The hero, Dan Cooper, skydived into areas to fight the bad guys. What is a country whose official language is French? The Congo. If Braden was Cooper, then it’s extremely plausible that he was exposed to this comic series while serving in the Congo. Following the hijacking:
Recent investigation shows that in 1972, despite being a truck driver, he bought his mother a new car as well as a new car for himself, and that he was living in a freaking penthouse in Manhattan.
Was arrested in the mid-70’s for a major racketeering job in the trucking industry, but like his mysterious release from going AWOL, he was once again given a slap on the wrist and the charges were dropped. His personality:
He was always a loner and never had close friends in his life. Men he served with would later say that when they would go to the bars, Braden would sit at the end of the bar by himself just seeming to sulk.
A Green Beret who served with him stated “Braden is among those professionals who appear to have a secret death wish coupled with well-trained instincts for survival. He continually placed himself in unnecessary danger but always managed to get away with it.”
Another Special Forces member stated “he was the perfect combination of high intelligence and criminality”
Military tests that he took for entrance into the MACV-SOG’s indicated that he likely possessed a genius level IQ. Couple things to consider:
Jumping out of a freaking jumbo jet is no small potatoes. Many of the famous Cooper suspects had been static-line paratroopers in WWII or even had no known skydiving experience at all. You’d need to have mega balls to jump out of a jet and also have the skill set to do it. Perhaps most critically, you’d need to know that it could even be freaking done in the first place! There were several Cooper copycats who successfully pulled off similar skyjackings of 727’s in the months after Cooper, but to be the guy who first did it? That takes someone special.
The suitcase bomb. While this is a common trope you see in movies these days, it wasn’t so in 1971. The whole concept of a suitcase bomb required some ingenuity.
His calmness is especially noteworthy when you consider that the subsequent copycats were nervous wrecks during their skyjackings, despite being badasses in their own right. Richard McCoy won a Distinguished Flying Cross and a Silver Star in Vietnam as a chopper pilot. He literally flew hundreds of sorties as a chopper pilot. Yet during his skyjacking he was noted (even before he started the skyjacking) for being fidgety and sweating and breathing heavy. Robb Heady also successfully pulled of a 727 skyjacking.
He was a 21 year old Vietnam paratrooper who served two tours in the thickest fighting in Vietnam and yet he later described himself as being barely able to breath during his skyjacking. Cooper, on the other hand, sat calmly for five hours, smoking cigarettes and drinking his bourbon and coke, with one hand on the detonator (the flight attendant lit his cigarettes for him). I
t’s also worth noting that none of the copycats gave any specific instructions to the pilots on how to fly the 727. They just jumped out with the jet going full speed and it nearly killed two of them. What Cooper told the pilots wasn’t public knowledge at the time. Cooper told them to fly at 180 knots, wheels down, with flaps at 15 degrees, and at 10,000 feet.
That’s mighty specific and strongly indicates that Cooper had knowledge of how best to safely parachute out of a 727. Cooper was also the only one to not be caught. Getting caught on his missions with Spec Ops meant certain death.
This is a man who knew how to escape situations and blend into his environment. Occam’s Razor would point toward Ted Braden being DB Cooper: One of the military’s most experienced skydivers is kicked out of the service and isn’t allowed to pursue a lucrative career as a mercenary so he uses the skills that the military taught him to ransom $200k from the government.
2. A huge mistake.
The St. Louis Jane Doe. A young girl of about ten years old, found raped and headless in the basement of an abandoned house (since torn down) in a very rough neighborhood of St. Louis in 1983. Found only wearing a bloody sweater and with twine around her neck. Her head has never been found.
The police at the time, very stupidly, decided to send the sweater to a magical psychic in Florida, who was supposed to be able to touch it and figure out information pertaining to the case, but it got lost. Idiots. One piece of absolutely crucial evidence in a case severely lacking in leads, and they decide to send it to some self-described wizard and it’s gone forever.
1. Those poor girls.
I really hope the police identify whoever this man is. Can’t get over how resourceful and brave Abby and Libby were to actually photograph & voice record their killer. They deserve to have him brought to justice.
FWIW, last I heard, the scuttlebutt was that they know who it was, but just can’t get enough evidence to prosecute.
I’m off to research the ones here I haven’t heard of before now.
What’s your true crime obsession? If it’s not on this list, drop it in the comments!