May, 1975, two cousins, Scott Hardy and Mark Mellendorf walk from Mellendorf’s home in Lapeer County Michigan to Tody Lake for some fishing.
When the boys don’t return home, their parents raise the alarm and searchers scour the woods for hours trying to find the young boys. The next morning, a tracking dog makes a horrific discovery on the southern end of the lake. Both boys are dead and there is a killer on the loose in this idyllic community.
Days later a second boy, Willie Walters, takes his fishing gear to Kearsley Creek, he too doesn’t return. His battered body is discovered the next morning.
These horrific crimes happened just a few miles north of the hunting grounds favored by the Oakland County Child Killer in 1976-1977.
Hillary Norskog was only 13 years old when she became the first victim of a serial murderer near Chicago Illinois. While his parents attempted to shield Steven Pfiel from his responsibility in her death, they could not stop him from killing again.
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Special thanks to Lanie of the True Crime Fan Club Podcast for her assistance with this episode. https://truecrimefanclub.com/
School violence is an ongoing issue of concern to students, parents and staff. In October 2013 Danvers High School was the scene of a violent and brutal murder, when a 14 year old freshman raped and murdered his 24 year old math teacher at school and dumped her body on school grounds.
What drove Philip Chism to violence and why choose Colleen Ritzer as his victim?
I’m taking a week off to refresh, regroup and plan for a Back to School series of cases.
Meanwhile check out my guest appearance on Our Americana. Season 3, episode 11.
or, give a listen to another wonderful Detroit based storyteller – The Conspirators Podcast. Creepy history and strange stories. One of my favorites.
If you really need to hear me talk crime, check out the newest episode of Thinking Sideways, The Villisca Axe murders. You won’t be disappointed.
Finally, you may know that I am a big fan of the In Sight podcast hosted by the lovely and talented Ali and Charlie. They started a spin off show, geared to the YA set In Sight Junior. As an adult, it’s very well done and written with the same flair as In Sight.
On June 19, 1982 Vincent Chin was attacked by two men wielding a baseball bat. He would die four days later, on his mother’s birthday.
The men who attacked him never spent a night in jail, they were given probation and a small fine. The Asian American community rose up and demanded justice for Vincent Chin. This was the birth of the Asian American Civil Rights Movement.
In September of 1996, 19 year old Jillian Robbins opened fire on the Penn State Campus. When the smoke cleared, one student was dead, one seriously injured and Jillian was in need of medical attention.
During a 12 day period in January of 1984 suburban Denver was rocked by a series of attacks by a hammer wielding home intruder. When his work was done, four were dead, Four more grievously injured and the community was shaken to its core.
Aurora Police have worked this case aggressively, taking advantage of scientific updates to generate leads and find a killer.
Sixteen year old Marissa Escareno has a good life, she is a pretty girl, in good health. She lives in a loving home and earns good grades. In mid-February of 2017, there was a shift, Marissa wasn’t acting like herself. By March 3, she was gone, disappearing in the middle of the night, leaving behind her cell phone, clothing, cosmetics and ID.
In the last 90 days her family has been on a whirlwind. Sporadic calls and online appearances by Marissa raise their hopes, only to have them dashed again when she goes silent. It is her family’s belief that Marissa, who turned 17 on Mother’s Day, is somewhere in the Detroit area. Perhaps mixed up with the wrong crowd, or worse.
In this episode I speak with Marissa’s sister, Julia who tells Marissa’s story and shares her family’s experiences in trying to bring their girl home.
In May of 2004 53 year old Al Kite had a good life. He was in good health, had a nice home and a good job. His relationship with his girlfriend, Linda, was in a good place. He seemed like the last person who would die a violent, gruesome death at the hands of an unknown killer.
But on May 22, 2004 that’s exactly what happened. Days later police discovered his body in the basement of his home. He’d been tied up, endured hours of torture and finally, mercifully, murdered. Why? What reason could anyone have to torture and kill him?
Police are still asking that question and looking for his killer.
I usually post a photo of the victim, but someone, somewhere has to know who this is.
October 25, 2014. 22 year old Chelsea Bruck attends a huge outdoor halloween party/concert in a wooded area outside of Monroe, Michigan. Dressed as Poison Ivy in a long plum colored wig, and leaf trimmed green leotard the tall blonde spends the evening at the party with friends. After getting separated from her friends she is trying to find a ride home after 2:00 a.m.
The person she accepts a ride from is someone from a nightmare. Chelsea is gone, vanished.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s department works the case hard, calling in assistance from dozens of agencies. In spring 2015 pieces of Chelsea’s costume are discovered in Flat Rock Michigan, but no sign of the missing woman. Weeks later her badly decomposed remains are located. In 2016, almost two years after she vanished an arrest is made. 27 year old Daniel Clay, a friend of one of her coworkers, is arrested after his DNA is found on Chelsea’s bloody costume.
Daniel denies murdering Chelsea, despite clear evidence that she received a brutal beating. In May 2017, a jury finds him guilty of murder and concealing her body. He will be sentenced on July 13, 2017
On a snowy March night in 2011, 20 year old Luc Joly Durocher was separated from his friends and disappeared forever.
While Luc left his coat, cell phone and glasses behind, he was wearing dark jeans, black sneakers with green stitching, a gray t shirt and a very distinctive purple belt.
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, in conjunction with the Ontario Provincial Police, is offering a reward of $50,000 for anyone who comes forward with information concerning the person or persons responsible for Joly-Durocher’s disappearance
Anyone with information is asked to call Near North Crime Stoppers at 705-476-8477 or 1-800-222-8477.
There are 13 missing persons cases in North Bay. The case of Phillipe Guerin is the oldest, dating back to 1966.
From New Years Eve 1976 through the summer of 1977 Donald Eugene Miller terrorized the college community of East Lansing and the surrounding communities. While he was never charged with murder, only manslaughter, he is responsible for the deaths of four women and assaults on two children.
In 1989 Mary Gill and Jeanne Gilbert were overnight employees at Days Inn properties in Indiana. Gill worked at the Merrillville location, and Gilbert near Rensalear. In the early morning hours of Friday March 3, each property was robbed, the women assaulted and murdered.
As DNA technology improved the murders were linked with the 1987 slaying of Super 8 motel employee Vicki Heath and two additional assaults. This serial killer has never been identified.
In 1969 John Norman Collins was arrested and charged with the murder of and 18 year old co-ed Karen Sue Beineman. California governor and future US president Ronald Reagan wanted Collins extradited from Michigan to California to stand trial for the murder of a 17 year old girl in his state.
Meanwhile, Collins, his family and his attorneys are fighting to keep him out of jail, or if they cannot, they want him extradited to Canada, the country of his birth, where he would have the possibility of parole.
Collins trial leads to the resolution of one murder, but there are six other bodies waiting for justice.
In 1985 Debbie Wolfe was a 28 year old nurse living just outside of Fayetteville North Carolina. She left work on December 26, and headed home to care for her two dogs. She would not be seen alive again.
On January 1, 1986 her remains were discovered in a pond near her home. Was her death a terrible accident or did someone get away with murder?
June 25, 1968, the Robison family is 10 days in to a relaxing summer “Up North” at their wood and stone cottage on Lake Michigan.
That night a killer or killers fired on the house, wounding Richard Robison, they then entered the house and executed the entire family. Who would do such a thing? Why would anyone want the family dead? We still look for answers to a brutal mass murder.
The evening of August 3, 1989 Lawrence J. DeLisle was out driving around with his wife, Suzanne and their four children: 8-year-old Bryan, 4-year-old Kathryn, 2-year-old Melissa and 8-month-old Emily.
Lawrence lost control of the car and it flew off the road into the Detroit River. The car sank quickly. Lawrence and his wife swam to safety, but all four children drown. What appeared to be a tragic accident evolved into a horrifying story. Had Lawrence done the unthinkable? Had he intentionally driven the car into the murky waters of the Detroit River in an attempt to kill himself and his family?
October 25, 1994, 23-year-old Susan Smith ran to a house near John D Long Lake in Union, South Carolina. She pounded on the door, calling for help, crying, nearly hysterical. Her babies, she said, her boys age 3 and 14 months, they’d been taken. A call was placed to 9-1-1 and police mobilized. What law enforcement learned over the next nine days was chilling. Susan Smith would finally confess. She had done the unthinkable.
David Smith wrote a book about his experiences. Find it here.
In the early morning hours of March 2, 1996 Jody LeCornu was shot while sitting in her parked car. Despite video evidence, eye witness testimony, ballistic evidence and fingerprints, no one has ever been arrested or charged in her death.
Case overview and an interview with Jody’s twin sister, Jenny Carrieri.
If you can assist the family with legal fees please visit their Go Fund Me page.