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5 Cold Cases That Still Aren’t Solved

1. Jack the Ripper, 1888

Let’s begin with one of the big ones. Jack the Ripper terrorized London in 1888, killing at least five women and mutilating their bodies. The culprit was never captured, or even identified, and Jack the Ripper remains one of England’s, and the world’s, most infamous criminals.

The facts:

  • All five killings happened within a mile of each other, in the Whitechapel district between August 7 – September 10
  • Several letters were allegedly sent by the killer to Scotland Yard, taunting officers about his gruesome activities and talking about murders to come. The name “Jack the Ripper” comes from one of these letters
  • On one occasion half of a human kidney, which may have been extracted from a murder victim, was mailed to the police.
  • The killer slit the throat and disemboweled the victims, who were usually prostitutes. He removed organs such as kidneys and uteruses.

The suspects:

The most commonly cited suspects are:

  • Montague Druitt, a barrister and teacher with an interest in surgery who was said to be insane and who disappeared after the final murders and was later found dead.
  • Michael Ostrog, a Russian criminal and physician who had been placed in an asylum because of his homicidal tendencies
  • Aaron Kosminski, a Polish Jew and a resident of Whitechapel who was known to have a lot of hatred towards women (specifically prostitutes) and who was hospitalized in an asylum several months after the last murder.
  • Since 1888, more than 100 suspects have been named but none have been convicted. 

2. Death of Elisa Lam, 2013

Elisa Lam was found dead in a water tank at the notorious Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, and to this day, nobody knows how she died or how her body got there.

The facts:

  • The coroner’s office ruled her death as an “accidental drowning.”
  • A video was taken of Lam in the elevator acting strangely. Lam can be seen stepping into the elevator and pushing all the floor buttons. She steps in and out of the elevator, poking her head out sideways toward the hotel’s hallways in between. She peers out of the elevator another few times before stepping out of the elevator entirely.
  • Officials discovered the body after workers responded to complaints of low water pressure and funny tasting water, and they noted how difficult it was to get into the water tank even with industrial tools.

The suspects:

  • Elisa’s Tumblr blog said she was having trouble with ‘creepers’ in the hotel, suggesting someone may have been following her. Other than this, no suspects have been named and it has been ruled an accidental death

3. Abduction of Amber Hagerman, 1996

On January 13, 1996, Amber Hagerman, 9, was snatched off her bicycle in a grocery store parking lot in Arlington, Texas. Despite thousands of anonymous tips called in, a dog walker found Hagerman’s body five days later floating in a creek with her throat slit. It was this case that launched the Amber Alert system which warns the public when a child goes missing.

The facts:

  • Jimmie Kevil witnessed the kidnapping, noting that Hagerman kicked and screamed when the abductor snatched her off the bike and called the police shortly after.
  • Authorities believed a thunderstorm swept Amber’s body into the creek because people didn’t see anything out of the ordinary before the storm.

The suspects:

  • Due to lack of information, no suspects have been named in the case 

4. Hollywood Actress Natalie Wood Death, 1981

Natalie Wood was an American actress with a fear of dark water, at the  peak of her career, when her body was found floating in the Pacific Ocean off California’s Catalina Island, in a flannel nightgown, a down jacket and wool socks.

The facts:

  • Wood had spent Thanksgiving weekend aboard her yacht, Splendour, with her husband, Robert Wagner, her co-star, Christopher Walken, and the ship’s captain, Dennis Davern
  • The chief medical examiner ruled the cause of death to be “accidental drowning” but noted the “superficial” bruises on Wood’s body, likely from falling in the water, and the scratch marks on the yacht’s dinghy, as evidence of her attempts to climb on board
  • The case was reopened in 2011 and later reclassified as ‘suspicious’

The suspects:

  • The prime suspect became her husband Robert Wagner after Dennis Davern came forward saying that he lied to officials and that Wood and Wagner were in a fight on the night she died.

5. D.B. Cooper, 1971

Probably one of the most well-known hijacking cases, D.B Cooper is the name given to an unknown man who boarded a commercial Boeing 727 under a fake name, claimed to have a bomb and demanded $200,000 in cash and then parachuted into thin air over southwestern Washington state.

The facts:

  • The man actually used to name Dan Cooper, but a reporter misheard it and printed D.B Cooper instead.
  • While in the plane, the man handed the flight attendant a note which said that he had a bomb in his briefcase, and then opened the case to reveal red wires, red sticks and a battery.
  • Cooper demanded four parachutes and $200,000 in $20 bills
  • He was never seen or heard from again

The suspects:

  • One prime suspect was Richard Floyd McCoy, who was arrested for a similar crime several months later. However, he was eliminated as a suspect, partly because he did not match the descriptions provided by two flight attendants.

And there you have it, 5 cases that still baffle the detectives that look at them. If you want more click on the name of each case to get a more  in-depth look at the case and see if you can figure out who done it.

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Hello! My name is Kartika Ahern, I am a freshman studying Biomedical engineering. In my free time I love photography, swimming and going to Chipotle with my friends. Follow me on Insta! @lil.tika
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