Jan H Andersen / Shutterstock
We see stories of people being murdered on the news all the time and people flock to theaters to watch the latest "based on a true story" murder mystery flicks every year. What about the people who were actually involved in these events though? What was it like for them to live through it? The families and friends of murder victims share what happened to people they knew and loved in the following stories.
(Content has been edited for clarity)
timquo / Shutterstock
"Sadly I know of two horrible scary murders. My best friend's grandfather was murdered in his home; he was duct taped to a chair and beaten with a bat. He suffocated from the duct tape, the housekeeper found him. His case hasn't been solved, so the murderer is sadly not convicted.
The other murder was some family friends that I used to see every summer; this murder was all over the news actually so some of you might have heard of it. Anyway, it was a family of five, two girls and a little boy. The girls went to boarding school, so they are okay, but the mother and father and little boy were tied up to chairs in their house, and a man tortured them for 7+ hours, also the cleaning lady was there. He ordered the dad to give him 30k, and what's so sad is they have this call on tape of the father calling his 'guy' to leave 30k on his doorstep for him, and the guy doesn't realize he's in danger. The only reason the man that tortured them and beat them was caught because they ordered pizza and he left his DNA on the crust. Before leaving he lit the house on fire, and the bodies were indistinguishable. It's sad the little boy was 8 years old, and the sisters are all alone now."
"I'm an exotic dancer. Despite contrary belief, most of the girls there are pretty safe. There has been one girl who I knew of that got into trouble. She worked with me at the club and was a lovely girl. She was invited to a private party to dance for some guys after. Somewhere between that party ending and her getting home, she went missing. Her last text message said, 'By the way, in case I get murdered or kidnapped or whatever, here's the address of the place I'm dancing at tonight xoxo.'
When it got on the news, I had to listen to my parents talk about how she brought it on herself. In fact, that was the common opinion in my town - she was a dancer, she shouldn't have done that. Since my parents don't know of my lifestyle, I had to keep quiet about it, despite it disgusting me.
A few months later, her body was dug out of a bush near a lake, and the whole, 'She shouldn't have done that,' resurfaced. I felt like I was in some alternate universe where people didn't care about someone's death, and it made me mad. I felt bad for her family.
I bring this story up every time a guy at the club gets mad at me for not coming to the party they're going to after. I say, 'No offense, but one of those partygoers could be a murderer.'"
sdecoret / Shutterstock
"My mother died from domestic abuse when I was 4 years old.
My father was an alcoholic and would beat my mother almost daily. One day he snapped and stabbed my mother over and over again. I witness the murder, and when he saw me, he tried to kill me.
Luckily the neighbors heard the screams and called 911. The police got to me before my father could.
I don't remember anything that night except my mother's last words to me and putting me to bed. That and sitting on the passager side of a police car with the driver's jacket on me. I think it was a woman with blonde hair.
I don't remember anything from the trials. I just remember that he was tried on death row because he almost killed me. However, he ended up getting 50? 60? 70? Years in prison. I don't know. I just know he would have died of old age before he could get out.
My therapist said I would probably never remember any of it.
My father hung himself in prison after 20ish years. I refused to make contact with him after I turned 18. That and the prisoners found out he was a wife beater and almost child killer, so they beat him and other stuff almost daily. He couldn't handle it anymore and killed himself. I have no remorse for him, and no regret for not contacting him.
One in four women will face domestic violence in their lifetime and on average, three die every day from domestic violence. If you see something, speak up."
John Roman Images / Shutterstock
"Back in the middle of January a man I knew and friend of my parents' was murdered along with his father, stepmother, and their dogs.
I never met his parents but Richard Gardener III, the son and family friend, was 52-years-old and an incredibly sweet man. He had a rough bought of luck throughout his life, but in spite of all of that, he was one of the most positive and upbeat people I've ever met. He'd always greet you with a smile, handshake, and either some words of wisdom or joke or awful pun (which he loved).
Because of his limp and physical limitations, Richard had a hard time finding work. Ten years ago he decided to start his own window cleaning business and took care of many small commercial locations near his home, all of which he'd get to with his bicycle and small equipment trailer he made. Most days you'd see him riding from one job to the next always with a smile and trailer in tow.
On the 13th of January Richard, his father, and stepmother were discovered after Richard's sister hadn't heard from them in a few days and asked the local sheriff department to do a welfare check. The three of them were found stabbed, suffocated, and beaten to death. Their dogs were also beaten to death.
Initially, the authorities were looking to question a man that had been living on their property for any information about the senseless murders, but he was missing. After sufficient evidence was collected linking him to the scene officers issued an arrest warrant for this man.
A few weeks later, on February 4th, the suspect's body was found with no apparent signs of trauma. That piece of garbage left nothing behind, no note or explanation as to why.
So with no real justice for his family, friends, or community, we're left asking why? Why Richard, why his parents? There will probably never be any real or clear answers for a motive; just a large hole left behind by a man with an even larger spirit and love of life. It's really sad to know that people are capable of committing such heinous and disgusting acts to another.
All I know is that Richard wouldn't want people to be sad for him but rather to be glad to have known him; he'd want people to keep his spirit alive and share it with others."
Artem Oleshko / Shutterstock
"A family friend was stabbed multiple times, assaulted, and had her throat slit from ear to ear in her bedroom. The killer, a neighbor, had learned where the hide-a-key was and would go into her room a bunch; probably when she was at her high school or cheer practice. She had mentioned to a few people weeks before she was murdered that she had a weird sense someone was watching her at times. The cops did a sting, rented a nearby place and watched him. It took nine years to pin the guy as there was no forced entry and no fingerprints. The night she was murdered, he waited in her closet for her mom to leave and for her to get off the phone with her boyfriend. Between then and 40 minutes later when her mom arrived, he had managed to torture her. It turns out he was caught peeping in the window of another teenage girl, and that was enough for police to detain him."
Jfanchin / Shutterstock
"My big brother was most likely murdered. I have no evidence of this, but from what I've read up on the case (I investigated it as much as I could while in high school, newspaper clippings and speaking with family), it'd be weirder if he wasn't murdered.
The official story is that my brother tried to impress a girl, drank a bunch, and then jumped off a bridge by himself. This is possible, but at the same time, there are tons of holes with that hypothesis. As for what happened, absolutely nothing - investigation closed that night, with the police officer that closed it being the dad of one of the kids present at the scene when my brother died. Despite the fact that all evidence points to murder, the culprit being the aforementioned girl's boyfriend, no one was charged, and everyone went back to their lives. This was almost 30 years ago, the statute of limitations has probably expired by now, but boy what wouldn't I give for a chance to check out the case files and track down the witnesses who were there that night.
This happened in Bulgaria, which doesn't have an FBI or any organization that investigates crimes on a level above the local police. I've attempted to request case files but wasn't allowed access to them; I'm guessing either because it was determined it was an accident or because the people involved were minors and an attempt to conceal their identity is being made. Bulgaria also has a statute of limitations when it comes to murder - 15 years for manslaughter, 20 for first-degree murder and 35 for the first-degree murder of two or more people. This happened in the late '80s, so even if the case were somehow reopened as a first-degree murder the statute of limitations would still be reached."
Lapina / Shutterstock
"My best friend was murdered by his mother's awful boyfriend.
His parents divorced because his mom had been sleeping with this lunatic for about six months. She got the house, the car, half of the dad's money and my friend, despite her not having a job and an illegal substance problem. Her boyfriend was always angry.
My friend was unlucky when it happened. He walked out of his room because his mother was screaming. Her boyfriend brought over a 'client' who was doing her when he walked out. Her boyfriend flew into a rage and punched him. My friend landed on the corner of the coffee table cracking his head open killing him instantly. His mother didn't realize until 20 minutes later. She still didn't care. She just moved on to her boyfriend.
She got 25 years in prison for it and from what I have heard she is the prison bicycle. Her boyfriend got life plus 50 years. He was murdered in prison by some guys who took exception to his murder of a child. The 'client' committed suicide before he was caught and my friend's dad committed suicide from the grief.
All in all, from the age of 10 until now, 16 years later, I have seen a lot of death or had it surround me. My best friend growing up, my dad, some guy at the beach, and my great-grandfather just four weeks ago. Add onto that I get depressed when it comes to the death of people close to me I have had a pretty messed up life."
Jan Mika / Shutterstock
"My aunt's husband was a high school principal, who was usually responsible for withdrawing and distributing teachers' pay packets. For whatever reason, he chose to go to the bank on a day when he wouldn't have been able to stop by the school to keep the cash in the school safe, and instead went straight home with the money. The total would have been maybe $200, but in an unstable country like mine, it would have been a jackpot to a thief.
He was murdered that night, along with my aunt. Supposedly the neighbors (who lived a few meters away within the same gated compound) didn't hear anything until after the intruder had gone; they heard my baby cousin crying and rushed in to find him sitting in his mother's blood, trying to lift her shirt to suck for milk. The older kids were hiding, afraid to even come out to comfort their sibling in case the intruder was still around.
The killer was a former student; the theory is he spotted my uncle leaving the bank, put two and two together, followed him and realized he was going straight home and decided to wait till night to come by the house. When my aunt got defiant and refused to let her husband hand over the money, the thief panicked and shot them both. He was never arrested (bad police/justice system), and we still have a feeling he had inside help from one of the neighbors."
che corona / Flickr
"I knew five people who were murdered. One was an old neighbor lady who was killed by a dopehead that she had hired to wash her windows. She was bludgeoned to death.
Another person I knew was a scumbag who used to be my good friend. He was stabbed in the heart by another friend for being a scumbag. He died three days later in hospital.
The third person was my dealer. Some guy owed him around three grand and didn't want to pay up. They killed him in lieu of paying him.
A deaf lady I barely knew, but I was friends with her boyfriend, owed some psycho money and didn't pay him. When he got out of prison, he assaulted her teenage daughter and then drowned her in the bathtub.
An ex-coworker of mine was deep into illegal substances. Facial tats, etc. Got into a fight with someone, was pushed down some stairs and hit his head. Went into a coma and never woke up."
Pimonpim w / Shutterstock
"My brother had a friend for as long as I can remember. He was always around and like a second brother to us. Growing up we got into some stuff that we should not have. I would also like to mention that he was illegal and was scared to take his citizenship test.
Anyways, my brothers and I got away from the dumb stuff, but he continued to do it even though we said he should stop. Long story short he gets busted, and ICE deports him back to his country. He and a couple of guys end up robbing people with screwdrivers and things like that. He gets shot and sent to prison there.
In prison, he has multiple run-ins with some guy that he didn't like. Eventually, he gets out. He starts school, and his life is starting to look up. Lots of people were proud of him. Well, he gets hammered one night and finds out where the guy from prison was, gets cocky, and goes to fight him.
The other guy pulls out a knife and stabs him in his throat. He throws my friend's body in the back of his car and drives him out to the middle of nowhere. He dumps his body on the side of the street. That was the end of that. All that anger to be dead in a split second. It's not worth it."
Twinsterphoto / Shutterstock
"In middle school, my best friend and I were hanging out one day, and he got a call from his mom and told him that he needs to go home. Which was odd because he was told he would be picked up about three hours later. The next day (Sunday) a reporter knocks on my door. I am the one to answer it. My parents came up to the door behind me. This jerk reporter just blurts out, 'Yes, is (my name) home? I'd like to talk to him about the death of (my friend).' We all just gasped.
His parents apparently had marital problems. His mother called him and his brother home. The parents were in a big fight and while the father was at work and then the mother shot them both in the chest and then herself."
littlenySTOCK / Shutterstock
"This past summer, a girl I had a class with a few years ago was murdered. I never talked to her nor heard her speak since she was an introvert, but she was very nice, and she was one of the last people you would expect to be murdered. Two kids from my school got charged with her murder, one doing the deed and the other being an accomplice. I knew both the people, the accomplice being the one I knew more. He was a big tall kid with gang ties but was always nice to me, and I had conversations with him from time to time. Two crazy things about this story: One is that I had seen the two of them after her murder walking by the lake, which is where they had killed her. The second being after the news broke of their arrest; my friend sent a picture of us with him at a homecoming parade from freshman year. Rest in peace to her, and hopefully, the monsters who did it won't be getting out anytime soon for her murder."
Luca Santilli / Shutterstock
"My cousin's mother-in-law was working as a nurse doing house calls for a young couple. The wife was pregnant and they had a 1-year-old. They lived in an enclosed community as many do in South Africa. This community had security on the outside of the complex requiring you to tell your visitors a new code daily that you would use to enter and then a different code to enter the property. The mother-in-law went to give the 1-year-old vaccinations and got the codes from the couple. As she was leaving, a security guard offered to put the code in for her so she wouldn't have to get out of her car. She didn't think anything of it and when she called the next day to follow up no one answered.
She found out later that day that the husband had been murdered in a house robbery in front of the wife and baby shortly after she left. She wasn't sure if the security guard had something to do with letting the robbers in but she was shaken to the core."
igorstevanovic / Shutterstock
"A couple of years ago, I enrolled in a university. It was a program for people who were older and never got a degree. My friend and I became very close because we were both parents, and I would always drive him to his house after class. We finished classes at 10 p.m., and he lived on the other side of town (it took an hour and a half to get there), but I was happy to take him because I had a car and we would always stop for some food (which he insisted on paying. He had a good economic situation while I was unemployed. He also paid for the gas in my car, he was a mensch).
Anyways, years go by, and we get together once a month (the situation has changed, now I have a job, so I can buy him lunch or dinner as a thank you) to talk about life, and he gave me very good business advice. He had a travel agency (they are still a thing in my country), and we would always get together in a little restaurant just around the block from his main office (he had 3). We would always sit in the same booth, and he'd always get the 'special of the day.'
Three years ago, I got a call from another friend who studied with us. He just said, 'Sandro is dead.' I thought it was a sick joke. He told me he didn't know how it happened, but that he was killed. I was in shock; I couldn't believe it. I went online and saw that his Facebook wall was already filled with comments of sadness and goodbyes. I started digging up, reading newspaper articles and stuff and found out what had happened.
You see, I live in a country in which corrupt people get away with anything. You think your country has a bad political situation? Only developing countries can have this level of corruption. And to his bad luck, my friend Sandro had witnessed a crime. He had rented a space for his daughter's birthday (her first birthday) and when he went around the area looking for something he saw a policeman beating the tar out of an old man. The policeman saw Sandro, and he insulted him and ran away. The old man died (from what I learned from Sandro's family), and this put him in a very difficult situation. This is the part where the information gets shady; I'm not sure if he was planning to testify, or if he was called to testify or something like that. The thing is, the easiest way to make sure he wouldn't speak was to silence him. They sent a motorcycle; there were two people, a driver and a shooter. He got off the bike, walked straight to the restaurant where Sandro and I always got together and shot him straight in the back of the head. Sandro never knew what happened. He was killed while eating breakfast. In the same booth in which he sat every day. The killer got away, and that's about it. There's no happy ending to the story; they never got caught, as far as I know, they never explained as to what had happened. It still pains me to this day, when I drive close to one of the places where we went when we were studying together. I always had this sense of 'I'll repay him someday'... but now, I can't. It sucks because he was a great guy, he helped his community, and he had a 15-year-old son and a 1-year-old daughter. I lost contact with his widow, she sold the company and moved somewhere else. It's been many years, and I know it's impossible, but a part of me still wishes to believe it was all a misunderstanding or a bad joke, that he's okay and we'll just get together to have lunch and talk about life."