Post by Joanna on Nov 1, 2014 12:10:55 GMT -5
Houston's Creepy Unsolved Murder Mysteries
HOUSTON – There's nothing quite like a good, old-fashioned murder mystery, and when it comes to creepy cold cases, Houston has plenty from which to choose. From the notorious I-45 "Killing Fields" to the grisly, gut-churning "Ice Box Murders," the Bayou City has been home to some seriously disturbing, and unsolved, murder mysteries.
But even with the vaults full of cold case files, there are five open murder cases, which span decades of Houston history, that we just can't seem to shake from our memories. These are Houston's five most unsettling – and unsolved – murder mysteries. Time to sleep with the lights on, folks.
Lover's Lane Murders. The 1990 Lover's Lane murder case is one of the most notorious unsolved homicides in Houston's history, and for good reason. On August 23, 1990, 22-year-old Cheryl Henry and her 21-year-old boyfriend, Andy Atkinson (both pictured above), headed out for the night and didn't return. They were found brutally murdered the next day in an undeveloped, wooded area in West Houston that had been dubbed "Lover's Lane" because of its reputation as a make-out spot.
The two young people weren’t found in their car, but in the woods nearby. Cheryl had been raped and then killed. Her throat was slashed and the killer had covered her naked body with boards. Andy was found tied to a tree, his throat also slashed so deeply he was almost decapitated. At the crime scene, police found a golf club lying in a field, along with three golf balls, one lined up after the other pointing the way to Cheryl's body. There were also four partially deflated balloons tied to the tree above Cheryl's body and a crisp $20 bill lying next to her. According to Gary Atkinson, Andy's father, investigators told him they believed Andy allowed the killer tie him to a tree. They also know that Cheryl was killed first, which means Andy was forced to listen to her scream, but was unable to help.
There has been some progress on the case in recent years. The Harris County Sheriff's Department says it has linked the grisly murders to another unsolved rape and burglary that happened months before the Lover's Lane murders, however, the case remains unsolved.
The Killing Fields. Another unsolved murder mystery is not technically "a" murder, but a whole hell of a lot of murders and disappearances, all of which are linked to the same stretch of 45 South. Since the 1970s, more than 30 young women and girls have disappeared and their bodies discovered dumped in a desolate 50-mile stretch of 45 South between Houston and Galveston. Some of the bodies have turned up on a 25-acre patch about a mile from I-45 that has been dubbed "The Killing Fields." Detectives investigating the murders and disappearances have described the remote area as a perfect dumping ground for a serial killer, which has made solving the cases almost impossible.
The quick succession of disappearances and murders have been heavily investigated over the years, but despite exhaustive efforts by the Texas City Police, who have had assistance from the FBI, very few cases have been solved in the area. The victims range in age from 12-years-old to women in their late 50s, but a harrowing number of the girls were young teenagers when they disappeared.
In a letter written to police in 1998, convicted murderer Edward Howard Bell claimed to have murdered 11 girls in Galveston County. Bell had long been a suspect in the cases, but prosecutors did not believe they had enough evidence to bring charges against him. In 2009, police in Louisiana arrested Kevin Edison Smith on a drug charge. The arrest helped to link his DNA to the rape and strangulation of Krystal Jean Baker, who was 13-years-old when she disappeared from a Texas City convenience store in 1996. In April 2012, 16 years after Baker's body was found, Smith was convicted of her murder. The remainder of the murders are still unsolved.
Orchard Apartment Murders. The 1979 murder of Alys Elaine Rankin at the Orchard Apartments on Glenmont, located in the Gulfton area of Houston, came as a shock to the city. On July 27, 1979, 33-year-old Alys's car was being repaired at a local shop and she had arranged for her coworker, Bob Smith, to give her a ride to the engineering firm where they worked. However, when Bob approached Alys's apartment door, it was slightly ajar. He peered in and saw Alys naked in bed, her feet tied together, with a pillow covering her upper body. But Bob didn't take off running. Rather, he removed the pillow and discovered Alys's head had been cut off. According to police, she had also been sexually assaulted.
Investigators later identified a trail of blood tracked from the side of Alys's bed, where the killer apparently set down the severed head. The blood droplets continued out the apartment door and trailed down to the parking lot, stopping only at the spot where police believe the head was placed in a car. Despite an extensive search, Rankin's head has never been found. But the Orchard Apartment murder was hardly a once-off. Exactly two weeks later, the body of Mary Michael Calcutta was found, just two floors above Rankin's apartment. The woman was found in her bathroom, fully clothed, but she had been stabbed, and her throat cut. Both murders remain unsolved.
The Kennedy Sisters. The murder of the Kennedy sisters in the Heights on East 12th Street remains one of the most puzzling murder cases the city has ever seen. Yleen (above left) and Lillie Kennedy (right) lived together in a small house in the Heights in the early 80s. Yleen ran a small business selling antique clothing and was known to keep antique jewelry and cash around the house.
On March 5, 1984, the bodies of both women were discovered by their father, who stopped by their house after the women, who were supposed to take him to the doctor, failed to show up. Lillie, the younger of the two, had been shot to death. But unlike her sister's quick death, detectives believe Yleen suffered greatly before she died. An autopsy report revealed that Yleen had not only been shot, but also stabbed, bludgeoned and raped.
According to investigators, some of the witnesses who were interviewed in 1984 believed that pieces of jewelry were missing form the home. Detectives believe robbery was the motive for the murders. Investigators also believe a man carrying a duffel bag, who was seen by a neighbor around the time of the murders, may have been involved. According to investigators, the neighbor confronted the unknown man, believing he might be a burglar. However, the man with the duffel bag gave the neighbor a quick story that his wife had just kicked him out of the house, which was deemed believable, and he was allowed to proceed. The mystery man disappeared and police have found no trace of him for the past 27 years.
The Ice Box Murders. Houston's so-called Ice Box Murders of Fred and Edwina Rogers, an elderly couple living in Montrose, may be one of the strangest cases ever. On June 23, 1965, Edwina's nephew Marvin became concerned about the couple when his phone calls to his aunt went unanswered. Marvin asked police to check on his aunt and uncle. When officers responded, they found the house locked, but forced their way in. There was food on the table and for some reason, one of the officers opened the refrigerator. Inside were numerous cuts of what they described as "washed, unwrapped meat" neatly stacked on the shelves. The officer assumed the meat was from a recently butchered hog, which didn’t seem out of the ordinary. However, when he opened the vegetable compartment in the bottom of the refrigerator, he found two human heads. The killer (or killers) had stashed the heads in the vegetable crisper and the other "meat" turned out to be the butchered carcasses of Mr. and Mrs. Rogers.
Investigators determined a claw hammer had been used to beat Fred Rogers to death and both his eyes had been gouged out. Edwina had been shot in the head and both had been hacked into pieces in the bathroom. However, the house was eerily devoid of blood and appeared to have been thoroughly cleaned. Stranger still was that the sex organs of the victims had been thrown in the sewer outside and other missing body parts were never recovered. Also, there was the 43-year-old unemployed hermit son, Charles Frederick Rogers, who apparently lived with his parents in an attic bedroom, but none of the neighbors could recall ever having see him. The only drops of blood in the house led to the son's room and a bloody keyhole hinted at what was to come, but when investigators entered, the room was empty. In fact, Charles Rogers had simply disappeared and in 1975, 10 years after the murders, he was declared legally dead in 1975, ten years after the murders.
In 1992, the authors of the book The Man on the Grassy Knoll theorized that Charles Rogers was a CIA agent involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The authors also surmised it was likely Rogers who impersonated Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City and, along with Charles Harrelson, was one of two shooters in Dallas on November 22, 1963. No one knows who Charles Rogers actually was. He communicated with his parents by writing notes that he slipped under the door and did not appear to interact with anyone. Needless to say, the Ice Box Murders remain unsolved.
Source: Angelica Leicht, HoustonPress, October 31, 2014.
“Arrest in 30-year-old Kenney Sisters murder”: whatliesbeyond.boards.net/thread/3172/solved-kennedy-sisters-murder-texas