It’s both fascinating and frustrating to think that we never really get the full story. Bn these cases, we barely even get part of the story.
Santiago Lopez worked maintenance at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. The hotel had been receiving complaints about the color and taste of its water. So, on February 19 2013, Lopez made his way to the roof to check on the water tank. To his shock, when he opened it up, he discovered a body floating in the ten-foot tank.
The body was that of 21-year-old Canadian student Elisa Lam, last seen at the hotel more than two weeks beforehand. The coroner ruled that Elisa had died of by accidental drowning, but they found no alcohol or drugs in her system. They found nothing that could possibly explain how she wound up on the roof of a hotel, inside a water tank.
The last known footage of Elisa doesnt answer that question. It only raises more. Warning: although this footage is not graphic, some people may find it distressing.
In this surveillance video, the hotels elevator appears to be malfunctioning. Elisa can be seen alternately hiding from, looking for, and talking to some unseen person – perhaps out in the hall. You get the distinct impression that shes afraid shes being followed.
What happens after the video ends, how she gained access to the roof – let alone the water tank – is completely unknown.
Some have pointed out that Eliza Lam was known to suffer from bipolar disorder by way of explaining her odd behavior and manner of death. But others cant shake the feeling that she must have met with foul play.
The latter conclusion is enhanced by the Cecil Hotels spooky reputation. Apart from the fact that its a seedy establishment located in a sketchy part of town, it was once the home of infamous serial killer Richard Ramirez. He rented a room there in the mid-80s for $14 a night.
We can only hope that there will be a break in the case of Elisa Lam at some point, whether she was murdered or died of misadventure.
At 2:10 in the afternoon on December 5, 1945, US Navy Lieutenant Charles Carroll Taylor took off from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Under his command were thirteen student pilots in five Avenger-class torpedo bombers. They were engaged in a training mission over the Bahamas that took them into the heart of the Bermuda Triangle.
Taylor was a WWII veteran who had spent over 2,500 hours in the air. When they left Fort Lauderdale, conditions were “favourable.” This should have been a routine mission. There was nothing to suggest the peculiar series of events that would lead Taylor and his crew to their fate. (continued…)
Keep reading on the next page!
The first leg of the mission went as expected. Taylor and his students practiced dropping bombs in a shallow area off the east coast of Florida until 3:00pm. As planned, they then turned north and prepared to circle back to base.
At 3:40, another training crew under a Lieutenant Cox, who was travelling the same route, intercepted a mysterious transmission. It was one of Taylors students asking another for his compass reading. The response: “I don’t know where we are. We must have got lost after that last turn.”
Lieutenant Cox radioed, asking if they were in trouble. Taylor replied: “Both of my compasses are out and I am trying to find Fort Lauderdale. I am sure I’m in the Florida Keys but I don’t know how far down.”
Unbeknownst to Taylor, Cox, or anyone else, this was not the case. Instead of flying southwest into the Florida Keys, he and his students were flying northeast into the Atlantic Ocean.
For reasons unknown, Taylors transmitters were not functioning, so nobody was able to calculate his position. To make matters even worse, weather conditions rapidly began to deteriorate, meaning communication with Taylor was sporadic.
Then things got stranger.
Around 5:00, as it was beginning to get dark, a transmission was overheard from one of the students in the group. Damnit, if we could just fly west we would get home. Head west, damnit!
But none of the bombers broke formation and headed west. By the time Taylor decided to listen to his students pleas, it was too late. His last transmission was received at 6:20 pm.
“All planes close up tight … we’ll have to ditch unless landfall. When the first plane drops below 10 gallons, we all go down together.”
Lieutenant Taylor and the 13 other airmen of Flight 19 were never found. A rescue mission which went after Flight 19 also vanished into the Atlantic, killing 13 more.
Nobody knows why Lieutenant Taylors compasses stopped working that night, or how he strayed so far from land without realizing he was going in the wrong direction.
Who is the scariest serial killer in American history? Ted Bundy? John Wayne Gacy? Jeffrey Dahmer?
For my money, the scariest of them all is a man very few have ever heard of. And that’s because he’s still out there. (continued…)
Keep reading on the next page!
He’s most commonly known as ‘the Original Night Stalker’, and he killed at least 12 people in California between 1978 and 1966. Before he began killing, he sexually assaulted at least 50 women in a horrifying series of attacks.
The Night Stalker was a master burglar who planned his crimes meticulously. Many of his assault victims reported that objects in their homes had unaccountably been moved (or gone missing) in the days and weeks prior to their attack.
The perpetrator would often call future victims at odd hours. The speculation is that he was trying to figure out their schedules. He would either call and hang up, or ask to speak to “Ray” – as you can hear in this authentic recorded phone call.
(Warning: this voice recording is disturbing.)
In the second call, it is sickeningly evident how much pleasure this psychopath takes in terrorizing one of his past victims over the phone.
Eventually, the Original Night Stalker progressed from sexual assault to murder. As he tracked south down the California coast, he established a gruesome MO. He would surprise his victims (usually couples) at night, in their own homes.
There are an overabundant number of unusual clues and details about this case, despite the fact that there has never been any serious, sustained person of interest.
One potential clue is the way the perp planned the attacks. He seems to have chosen particular areas to target based on their convenience before selecting a specific target. He liked neighborhoods that were close to woodlands, ravines, and rivers, where he could make his escape. This show of tactical skill has led many to conclude that the Original Night Stalker may have had military training.
Another odd detail is the way police dogs reacted to his scent; when they smelled him, they lost their minds barking. Apparently, trained dogs only respond that way to the scent of a drug addict, or someone who is chronically ill. Following up on this point, a number of his assault victims observed that he sweat profusely, had a particularly foul odor, and seemed to be averse to heat.
Finally, many of those who survived their encounters with him got the impression that he was surprisingly young – perhaps in his early twenties when he began his attacks. That means he could still be alive and at large.
In the early hours of March 18, 1990, two police officers responded to a call from the Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston. One of the museum’s security guards let the officers in without question.
They shouldn’t have. (continued…)
Keep reading on the next page!
Once the officers were inside, they informed the bemused guard that there was a warrant out for his arrest. They threw him against the wall and slapped handcuffs on him.
The guard later said he found it suspicious that the officers had not patted him down before cuffing him. He became even more suspicious when he realized that one of the policemen was wearing a fake moustache.
When the other security guard on duty arrived, he too was handcuffed. The intruders then marched them down into the basement where they were tied to pipes and gagged.
Over the course of the next hour, the ‘officers’ cut thirteen paintings out of their frames. In total, they made away with $500,000,000 worth of art, making their heist the largest single theft of private property in history. One painting alone – Vermeer’s The Concert – was valued at $200,000,000.
However, investigators were confused by the works the thieves chose to steal. They had unfettered access to the museum for hours, and could have made off with anything they pleased. And yet they left the most valuable works behind.
This has led some investigators to surmise that the thieves were not experts, nor were they commissioned to steal anything in particular. They may have been amateurs doing it on a lark.
Still other investigators have speculated that the men may have been connected to organized crime.
Whatever the case, we will probably never know. In 2013, the FBI announced that they had discovered the identities of the men who had committed the burglary. Then, in 2015, they cryptically declared that the two men were dead.
Dead or not, it’s bizarre that the men never came forward. Because of the statute of limitations, they couldn’t have been prosecuted after five years, and they could have collected the multi-million dollar rewards that were offered for the return of the paintings.
August 20, 2007. Jedidiah Island, British Columbia, Canada.
A young girl on vacation was walking along the beach when she saw a men’s Adidas shoe that had washed in on the surf. When she went to investigate, she discovered that there was a severed foot still inside. (continued…)
Keep reading on the next page!
Since that gruesome discovery, 15 more severed feet have been discovered on the shores of the Salish Sea, both in British Columbia and in Washington State. Only five of the feet have been identified. The rest belong to persons unknown, and have washed ashore in the same general area for reasons unexplained.
It’s a difficult mystery to reckon with. In the first place: unpredictable ocean currents could carry a severed food hundreds or even thousands of miles. In the second place: depending on conditions, cold water can preserve human tissue for up to thirty years, making it difficult to say even how long the feet have been in the water.
In the third place: there’s no good explanation as to why only feet have been recovered, and never any other body parts.
It happened to the Beaumont family in Australia in 1966. A mother allowed her three children aged 9, 7 and 4 to catch the bus to the local beach for the afternoon, provided they were home by 3 PM. Apparently the eldest, Jane, was quite responsible. This was also a simpler time, when people were less wary of strangers.
Their mother gave them some loose change but no paper money. (This detail is important.) The children ran along to the beach, where witnesses saw them playing with a man who looked like a surfer. Other people at the beach reported that they later left the area in the company of this man. Onlookers must have assumed that he was a relative.
The Beaumont children were seen by a few more people that day. They stopped by a deli to buy some meat pies – which they paid for with paper money. But after that, they were never heard from again. Nothing of them has ever been found.
What makes the mystery even creepier is that in 1973, 7 years later, there was another mysterious case of apparent child abduction not far away.
This time two young girls, Kirste Gordon, 4 and Joanne Ratcliffe, 11 went missing from a soccer match. They were last seen with a man who eerily matched the description of the man seen with the Beaumont children 7 years earlier.
Nobody knows for sure, but most locals figure there was an unknown serial killer operating in the area who was never brought to justice.
In most murder cases, the tricky part is finding the killer. In this case, the challenge is figuring out who the victims were. (continued…)
Keep reading on the next page!
On December 2, 2012, confessed serial killer Israel Keyes died in a prison cell. He was not fond of life behind bars, so he decided to become his own final victim.
For months, Keyes had been playing a cat and mouse game with the FBI. They knew he had claimed more than the three victims he admitted to. He had told them as much. But they didn’t know who he had killed. Or where.
Keyes was, in every sense, a nightmare criminal. He was based in Alaska, but he travelled extensively all over the US, Canada, and Central America. He liked to commit crimes far, far from home, where nobody would recognize him.
According to Keyes, his method went something like this. He would fly somewhere in the mainland US. Then he would rent a car and drive as much as thousand miles. He would take the battery out of his phone and pay for everything in cash (which he acquired by robbing banks) so that his movements couldn’t be tracked. Then he would find his victims.
In a series of unnerving interviews, Keyes arrogantly explained to the FBI the nature of his disgusting double life, and the lengths to which he went to conceal it.
Keyes was able to avoid capture for a long time because he chose his victims entirely at random. Unlike most serial killers, he didn’t have a “type”. He didn’t care what his victims looked like, how old they were, or even whether they were male or female.
He told investigators that he would go to a secluded place, like a woodland trail, and lay in wait. He would kill whoever happened to come along, and dispose of the bodies in lakes or shallow graves in the wilderness. Because of this, Keyes told police that few of his crimes were actually reported as such. He claimed most of his victims were reported “missing persons” because their remains were never found.
Apart from the extraordinary measures Keyes took to avoid capture, he also planned ridiculously far in advance. He told police that he had a number of “kill kits” buried in wooded areas across the US. There was no written record of their locations – he had them all committed to memory. In one case, he buried a kill kit in rural Vermont, retrieved it two years later, and then used it to commit a double homicide.
The only reason Keyes was ever caught was because he committed a murder in Alaska, where he lived, and then drove around using the victim’s ATM card. If he had stuck to his own ‘rules’, he would probably still be out there.
As to his unknown victims, he left the world with few clues. Due to his extensive travelling and the random nature of his crimes, it is unlikely that we will ever know how many people Israel Keyes killed.