SHORT READS

She was called the “Woman Without a Face” and “The Phantom of Heilbronn” and her DNA was linked to forty crimes.

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Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

It was 2007, in Heilbronn, Germany, when twenty-two-year-old policewoman Michele Kiesewetter was murdered. She had been in her patrol car with her partner on their lunch break when a vehicle drove by and opened fire. Michele died instantly, and her partner was injured. The subsequent investigation unearthed more than a murder investigation.

For years, Germany, Austria, and France searched for a female serial killer with links in a variety of different cold cases. Ranging from murder, break and enters, car thefts and petty crimes. Totalling to a whopping forty crimes, spread out over a decade. The only common link between the crimes was DNA evidence. Investigators could make no sense of it. She seemed to be an expert in eluding authorities. She had managed never to be caught on surveillance or seen by witnesses. …


SHORT READS

Online fundraiser led to the DNA Doe project getting involved, leading to the identification of a 17-year-old cold case.

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Image courtesy of the Gray’s Harbor County Sheriff’s Office

On September 16th, 2001, a young man in his early twenties checked into a motel in Amanda Park, Washington. He checked in under the name Lyle Stevik, which was an alias most likely derived from the book “You Must Remember This,” where the Stevik character contemplates suicide.

The man was quiet and kept to himself. He checked in and paid for one night with cash. Nothing was remarkable with the interaction, so alarm bells rang for the front desk person.

When checking out time had passed, the motel staff knocked on the door to his room. When they knocked and received no answer, they opened the door and made the heartbreaking discovery. He had hung himself in the closet with his belt. …


SHORT READS

Kelly Ann Prosser was abducted while walking home. DNA technology led to the discovery of the man who murdered her.

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Kelly Ann Prosser (image courtesy of the Columbus Police Department)

On September 20, 1982, in Columbus Ohio, eight-year-old Kelly Ann Prosser said goodbye to her teacher and classmates and began the fifteen block walk home. She took the same route every day. It was a busy road with local businesses and lots of people all around — an unlikely place for a child to be in danger.

Witnesses said they remembered seeing her walking down the busy East 16th Street, but she disappeared when crossing an intersection.

When Kelly Ann failed to return home at her usual time, her mother wasn’t immediately concerned. She thought that Kelly Ann went to a friend’s house or stayed at school late. However, after a few hours, she began calling around. First to the school and then friends. …


Reverse engineering of the suspect's family tree led to the resolution of one of Texas’ oldest cold cases.

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Carla Walker (image courtesy of the Fort Worth Police Department)

February 16th, 1974, in Fort Worth, Texas, was a day full of excitement. That Saturday, Carla Walker spent the afternoon getting ready for a Valentine’s Day dance at her high school. Carla was seventeen, a cheerleader, a very popular “spitfire” who had her whole life ahead of her.

Carla was to attend the dance with her boyfriend, Rodney. He was a year older than her, the quarterback of the football team. Friends described the couple as the perfect high school sweethearts. Friends said that Carla’s family adored Rodney. Though they were young, the couple had already started making plans for their future. …


Joan Rogers and her two daughters were murdered while on vacation in Florida. The key piece of evidence in their cold case was a handwritten direction.

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Joan, Michelle and Christe Rogers (image courtesy of the Tampa Police Department)

On May 26, 1989, Joan Rogers decided to take her two teenage daughters on a little vacation. Joan, thirty-six, Michelle, seventeen, and Christe, 14, left their dairy farm in Willshire, Ohio, favouring Florida’s sun and warmth. This was the first time Joan had made such a long drive, leaving her home state familiarity in the rearview mirror.

The women took their time, stopping at several tourist destinations such as the Jacksonville Zoo, the Kennedy Space Center, and of course, Disney World.

They had meant to begin the drive back home on June 1, but Joan got lost and decided to tack on an extra day on to the vacation instead of trying to make the drive at night. …


The women murdered in 1977 and 1978 in Atascadero California had always been linked. In 2019 the cold cases were closed with DNA evidence.

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Jane Morton Antunez, and Patricia Dwyer (Image courtesy of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office)

On November 17th, 1977, Jane Morton Antunez left her parent’s home at 7:30 pm. Recently divorced, the thirty-year-old woman had moved back in with her parents in Atascadero, California, while she sorted out the next chapter of her life. That evening, she was supposed to go to her best friend’s house but never arrived.

The following morning, Jane’s family discovered that Jane was neither at home nor with her friend. After calling around and not locating her, her older brother offered to drive around and see if he could find her car. …


The arrest of eighty-two-year-old Ernest Broadnax may lead to the resolution of ten other murders.

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Janice Pietropola and Lynn Seethaler (Image Courtesy of the Virginia Beach Police Department)

In the summer of 1973, nineteen-year-olds Janice Pietropola and Lynn Seethaler enjoyed a summer vacation of sun, surf, and relaxation in Virginia Beach. They had rented a little beach cottage, close to the water. It was their first vacation they had planned on their own. They had saved up for a year leading up to it.

Janice was described as quiet and shy while Lynn was the more outgoing one. They had been best friends throughout high school. One was rarely seen without the other.

They had graduated the previous year, and following their graduation, the two entered the workforce, Janice, as an editorial assistant and Lynn as a secretary. …


Tonya Ethridge Mckinley was ringing in 1985 at a bar with friends, and she was attacked while returning home. Her murder eventually became one of Pensacola’s oldest cold cases.

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Tonya Ethridge Mckinley (Image Courtesy of the Pensacola Police Department)

It was New Year’s Eve, in Pensacola, Florida. The city was abuzz with celebrations ringing in 1985. At a bar called Darryl’s Bar and Grille, Tonya Ethridge Mckinley, a 23-year-old single mother, celebrated with friends.

She was a doting mother who loved her 18-month-old; she was vivacious and loved to laugh. After the midnight countdown, the celebrations continued, but Tonya said goodbye to her friends at around 1:30 am, and she left the bar alone.


Missing since 2016, sixteen-year-old Mekayla Bali disappeared after leaving the property of her high school. It is believed that she may have been abducted by someone she met through a social media platform such as Snapchat.

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Mekayla Bali (Image Courtesy of the Bali Family)

Mekayla Bali was sixteen at the time of her disappearance. Mekayla was described as a shy and introverted teen. The evening before her disappearance, she seemed distressed. She asked a friend for a ride to the bank the following morning and talked to another friend about being upset about a boy.

She seemed like a very lonely teenager. Although she had friends she went to school with; No one seemed to know what she did outside of school. …


Experienced traveller, Nicole Vienneau, left her hotel room in Hama, Syria, and never returned. Despite an intense investigation and worldwide coverage, nothing has ever turned up.

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Nicole Vienneau (photo provided by Nicole’s family)

On March 31st, 2007, thirty-two-year-old Jacqueline Nicole Vienneau (who was most commonly known as Nicole), left her hotel in Hama, Syria, to do some sightseeing. Nicole was on her final month of a six month, solo, backpacking trip. Her travels on this particular trip had taken her from West Africa and throughout the Middle East. Syria had meant to be a quick stop on her way to Turkey.

That morning, she had asked the hotel desk clerk for directions to a sightseeing destination called “The Beehive Houses,” as well as a nearby castle. She was given directions, and then she left for the morning. …

About

Megan Ashley

She/Her, content creator, amateur writer, lover of doggos and coffee. https://linktr.ee/truecrimemysteries

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