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Thursday, May 13, 2004

Top Ten Modern Day Cold Case Murder Mysteries

Here are the ten modern day murder mysteries that have the most interest based on Google page count. These are murders where the killer(s) may still be alive. Historical cases like "Jack the Ripper" were not considered. They are ranked in order of Google prominence:

Jimmy Hoffa - On July 30, 1975, former Teamsters President, Jimmy Hoffa disappears after a 2pm visit to the Machus Red Fox Restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. The suspects are known, and their motives are well documented. The question is: Where? What exactly did they do to Jimmy Hoffa, and where did they dispose of his body? More info.

Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls - Gangsta rapper Notorious B.I.G., born Christopher Wallace, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles at about 12:40 a.m. on March 9, 1997. Wallace, 24, was leaving a party at the Petersen Automotive Museum celebrating the Friday night's Soul Train Music Awards when a car pulled alongside his Chevrolet Suburban and multiple shots were fired. More info.

JonBenet Ramsey - On December 26, 1996, JonBenet's mother, Patricia Ramsey, finds a three-page ransom note downstairs in the family's Boulder, Colorado, home. The parents discover she is missing and call police. Later, they find JonBenet's body in a basement room.
Update: JonBenet Ramsey Cold Case Heats up [TJN, Dec. 17, 2004]

Chandra Levy - a former federal intern in Washington, was last seen April 30, 2001, at a Washington health club. Her remains were found in DC park on May 22, 2002.

Tupac Shakur - Gangsta rapper shot four times on September 7, 1996 in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. He died of his wounds on September 13, 1996 in Las Vegas. More info.

Anthrax Killer - Seven anthrax-laced letters were mailed in September and October 2001 from New Jersey. 23 people contracted anthrax and 5 people were killed as a result of those letters. More info.

Zodiac Killer - The Zodiac Killer stalked Northern California in the late 1960s and early 1970s when he killed 5 people beginning in 1968 and claiming responsibility for 17 murders in the San Francisco area in the late 1960s. More info.

Rubin Hurricane Carter/Paterson, NJ triple slaying - On June 17, 1966, gunshots were fired at the Lafayette Bar & Grill in Paterson, NJ and three people were dead. Rubin Carter was twice convicted of the triple murder. Carter was in jail from 1967 until 1988, when acting prosecutor John Goceljak elected not to pursue a third trial following the reversal of the 1976 retrial by the Federal District Court, a decision ultimately affirmed by the Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is considered innocent by many people, based on the 1999 movie "Hurricane" and the Bob Dylan song "Hurricane." Not everyone agrees and many think Carter is the murderer.

Wichita BTK ("Bind, Torture, & Kill") Strangler - serial killer who committed eight confirmed murders between January 15, 1974 and September 16, 1986. He was never captured. Recently resurfaced by sending a letter to Wichita newspaper on March 19, 2004 and a suspected letter to KAKE-TV on May 5, 2004. Our summary of BTK case information.

Olof Palme - On February 28, 1986 Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was gunned down on a Stockholm street, as he was walking home from a cinema with his wife. While there are various theories about who could have been behind the murder, the identity of the culprit remains a mystery. More info.

Notes: The murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman would top this list if anyone really believed O.J. Simpson was innocent and that the real murderer was still at large. The Laci Peterson murder will top this list if Scott Peterson is acquitted of the murder and for some surprise reason there is a huge shift in public opinion such that he is presumed innocent.

History’s greatest unsolved crimes [msnbc.com]