California’s Good Samaritan Ruse

 

 

Long before the introduction of cell phones, female drivers in California drove the streets after dark exposed to the dangers of the night, and more specifically, the men that targeted them offering them hope while they were at their most vulnerable. Here are 10 terrifying cases in which female motorists throughout California were targeted by men posing as ‘good Samaritans’ back in the 1960’s and 1970’s.

Robin Ann Graham-
On November 15, 1970 Robin Ann Graham, an 18 year old college student, ran out of gas on a Los Angeles area freeway near the Santa Monica off ramp. At about 2:00 am, Robin phoned her parents from a call box along the highway, and they left home to go help her. While waiting for her parents to arrive, a man stopped to offer assistance, and was witnessed by a police officer. The man described as having dark hair and being in his mid 20’s, was driving a blue or green 1950’s Corvette with primer. The police officer witnessed Robin getting into the man’s car, apparently willingly. When Robin’s parents arrived a short time later, they found Robin’s car locked up and no sign of Robin. Robin was never seen again, and no sign of her or what happened to her ever turned up. The man seen offering her help has never been identified.

Cindy Lee Mellin-
On January 20, 1970 A 19 year old Ventura girl, Cindy Lee Mellin left her job shortly after 9:30 pm. After closing, some of her Broadway dept store co-workers saw her standing besides her car with a man. The car was up on a jack. Her co-workers were not alarmed since they assumed that Cindy had a flat tire, and that her father had come to help her. The man with Cindy was not her father. The next morning at about 7:00 am after awaking to find Cindy had never came home, Cindy’s father raced to her job and immediately found her car still jacked up. The tire that had been removed was still laying on the ground. There was no sign of Cindy. Cindy had vanished without a trace. Subsequent investigation revealed that the sidewall of Cindy’s tire had been deliberately punctured. Over the years, police would come up with a person of interest and theory of what happened to Cindy, but there was never enough to make an arrest. The case remains unsolved today.

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The True Crime Podcast Niche

 

I typed true crime podcast into Google. I got over 5 million results, and that number will only go higher in the future. The true crime podcast niche is alive and well, and there’s a huge demand for more. There’s no shortage of shows to listen to and more are coming!

Podcasts and podcasting is quite popular right now as it’s a relatively easy way to reach out to a broad audience with a message. Best of all, the people that you are reaching out to are wanting to hear what you have to say. There are podcasts about everything under the sun. If you want to talk about a subject, rest assured, somebody out there wants to hear about it. When it comes to the true crime genre, there’s plenty of podcasts to give true crime junkies their fix. Some podcasts feature a panel of hosts, a pair of hosts, or a single host. Some of these podcasts are well done and take a lot of work to produce. Some may not be as polished or well-made, but just about every show seems to have steady and loyal listeners. Every potential listener is a different person with a unique personality, so having variety when it comes to true crime podcasts is a good thing as there truly is something for everybody out there. Some people like their true crime delivered in a somber and professional manner while others like some laughs sprinkled into the show and even maybe a little wine or beer with their episodes.

I myself am working on a true crime podcast, and I’ll be a little fish in a big pond if I am ever ready to launch it. It’s exciting but a little scary too. Before making the plunge, I wanted to explore the true crime podcast phenomenon and see what was driving it and what it’s like behind the scenes. Who better to reach out to than some of my favorite podcasts? I’m not a partner of any of the shows listed below, and I’m not being paid to advertise for them. These are just a few of my personal favorite true crime podcasts. I reached out to them and they replied, and here’s the results.

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The Most Wanted Man in America the Delphi killer

 

This is an article related to an original piece that I published about the Delphi, Indiana murders of Liberty German and Abigail Williams.

If you are reading this article now, there’s no doubt you know the sad story about Liberty German and Abigail Williams. Since they were murdered in mid February in Delphi,Indiana, the authorities have been hunting the man likely responsible for their murders.

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‘Zodiac’ Movie Recommendation for the 10 year anniversary of movie release

 

Looking for a great true crime movie to watch? Look no further. Zodiac is a must-watch if you like real life true crime cases. Zodiac was released 10 years ago today.


The movie is excellent, the cast is all-star including Jake Gyllenhaal and Robert Downey Jr, and the director is David Fincher who brought you Fight Club and Se7en. What’s not to like?


Based largely on the book by Robert Graysmith, Zodiac explores the obsession that a group of investigators,both professional and amateur, experience as they hunt for a mysterious killer; the infamous Zodiac Killer of California.

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Unsolved Mysteries is back! The show that started it all for me

 

It’s official, updated episodes Unsolved Mysteries are back on Amazon Prime! If you are a fan of true crime, surely you can’t forget Robert Stack’s trench coat, the theme music for the show, and the endless number of cases that they covered. Cases of all kinds were presented from unexplained deaths, to missing persons, to serial killers- even ghosts,UFO’s and Bigfoot himself.

 

I remember when i was a teenager in the late 1980’s watching the show with my parents while all my friends were playing video games and popping VHS tapes in the VCR. Unsolved Mysteries is truly the show that started my love of true crime. I didn’t miss an episode. I for one am looking forward to seeing updates on old cases. Some of the cases I saw have stuck with me for years, and I have some personal favorites.

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A Murder at Penn State; The case of Dana Bailey

 

This March marks the 30th anniversary of the murder of 21 year-old Penn State student, Dana Bailey. As if her murder itself wasn’t mysterious enough, the case would see twists, turns, and dead ends along with mysteries within the mystery.

 

On March 5th,1987 Shirley Bailey went to visit her daughter Dana at the apartment she lived in off campus at Penn State University. There was nothing that could have prepared Mrs. Bailey for the horrors awaiting her upon entering Dana’s apartment. Sprawled on the floor on top of some bedding, was Dana’s nude and lifeless body. Dana had been repeatedly stabbed and rope bindings remained on her. The scene must have been unimaginably horrible for her poor mother.

Police investigators arrived at the scene and immediately found clues. The weapon used to kill Dana was a butcher knife that belonged to her. She was blindfolded. The stab wounds had been to her chest and breasts. Investigators determined that Dana had been likely killed in her bed, and then her body staged on the floor on top of bedding. It was posed in a sexually suggestive way, almost as if it was on display. Although there was a sexual aspect of the murder, neither rape nor robbery seemed to be a motive. Dana’s engagement ring remained on her finger. The detectives turned their attention to the likely point of entry, the window. The believe that her murderer stood on something enabling him to reach up to Dana’s elevated window and simply opened it and climbed in surprising Dana as she slept. Next, the Detectives took notice of the way her body was displayed and noticed that her body was in perfect view of a rooftop location across the alleyway. It seemed possible that the killer displayed Dana’s body and then admired his handy-work from across the way. Additionally, there was an abandoned apartment undergoing renovations across the alleyway in which the killer may have stalked Dana from before or after the crime.

There were no strong persons of interest and the seeming lack of a motive set off a wave of fear around the Penn State grounds. Police went back to the day before her body was found, March 4th, to look for answers. Dana, who worked part time as a waitress, had visited her fiancé in another town that day and was too tired to work so she wound up calling out from the restaurant where she was due in at 5:30 pm. She instead decided to go to a local fitness center for an hour or so, and then returned home to her apartment where she was last seen by her roommate. Her roommate left to go visit Family. At about 8:30pm, Dana spoke with her fiancé by phone for about 30 minutes and then presumably went to bed. Sometime that night or early the next morning, her killer entered her apartment. The coroner established the time of death as being between late the night of March 4th and early morning March 5th.

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News on the missing persons case of Tara Grinstead

 

The case of Tara Grinstead is an example of just why we don’t give up on a cold case. Tara vanished from her Ocilla, GA home in October,2005. Tara’s case was featured on the show 48 Hours. The teacher and former beauty queen’s disappearance has perplexed her community and investigators for over a decade until this week when an arrest was made in her case.

This week, police arrested 33 year old Ryan Alexander Duke, a former student of Tara’s, and charged him with murder. A tip led them to Duke. Details are still emerging, but it’s been reported that Duke, who was never on investigator’s radar before the tip came in, went to Grinstead’s house and robbed her and that she was killed to cover up the crime. Afterwards, her body was disposed of.

It should be pointed out that Duke is presumed innocent until proven guilty but, police apparently feel strong enough about their case to have made the arrest. I will post future updates on this case as they develop.

Into Thin Air; The Case Of Danielle Imbo and Richard Petrone

 

This Month marks the 12 year anniversary of one of the most perplexing local mysteries I know of, the disappearance of Danielle Imbo and Richard Petrone Jr. On February 19th, 2005, Danielle and Richard walked out of a bar on South Street in Philadelphia, and seemingly, off the face of the Earth.

On the night they vanished, Danielle and Richard had met some Friends at a bar named Abilene’s on the 400 Block of South Street in Philadelphia. The couple, who had known each other since High School, had only recently started dating after Danielle’s split with her estranged Husband. Shortly before Midnight, the couple left the bar and headed for Richard’s pickup truck, a black 2001 Dodge Dakota, that Richard had mentioned to Friends at the bar was parked nearby. Richard had planned to drive Danielle home to her house in Mount Laurel, a town in southern New Jersey about 20 miles away, and maybe a half hour’s ride. He would stay over night at Danielle’s, and then head home to his Philadelphia apartment in the morning getting home in time to watch the Daytona 500. It’s not known if they reached Danielle’s house or not. What is known is, neither was ever seen again, and Richard’s truck has never been found.


After Danielle and Richard vanished, there were no cell phone calls by either of them, no activity in either of their bank accounts, and their credit cards were never used. By all accounts, neither Danielle or Richard would deliberately vanish by choice, as they each were great parents to young children from their previously relationships. As most investigations go, Law enforcement started with the People closest to Danielle and Richard and then worked their was outwards from there. The one obvious suspect to authorities was Danielle’s estranged Husband. He was closely looked at, but apparently he had a solid alibi being witnessed at a party by several People on the night of February 19th, and then spending the night at a Friend’s house at least 50 miles from Abilene’s bar in Philadelphia, and at least 40 miles from Danielle’s home in Mount Laurel. This has not stopped rumors and innuendos of a ‘murder for hire’ plot,but as of now, there is no solid evidence linking anybody to the missing persons case. In fact, although there very likely is a crime involved in this case, there’s no evidence of one.
In looking at the possibilities, if they were not followed and marked for death by somebody, they may have been the Victims of a random car-jacking,or robbery gone wrong. Philadelphia is called the City of Brotherly love, but in reality, certain sections of it are dangerous and violent crimes are not out of the question. On the New Jersey side of the bridge, depending on what route the couple would have taken, they might have crossed thru Camden, or the outskirts of Camden, one of the most dangerous cities in the United States for Violent crimes. If the couple did make it across the bridge and to Danielle’s, did something happen upon arriving at her house? Could somebody have followed the couple after they left the bar? There are plenty of possibilities, and a complete lack of any clues after they left the bar. There were no surveillance cameras showing the bar area, so Police do not know which way they walked after leaving, but as Richard had stated, he had gotten lucky with a close parking spot, so the walk should not have been a long one. The area Toll bridges were checked to see if they yield any clues as far as Camera footage, paid tolls, etc , but nothing of value was found to help the investigation. One possibility that I think is possible, is that somewhere, at some point, Richard’s truck may have wound up in one of the area rivers or creeks as the result of an accident. It could explain how no trace of Richard’s truck has ever been found. People can easily vanish, but a 3,000 pound truck is harder to hide. Short of chopping it up, or dumping it in a river, there’s not many ways to make it disappear. The VIN or vehicle identification number would be stamped on various parts of the truck making it hard to ever sell again since the VIN is easily trackable by Police & DMV.

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Crowdfunding to catch a Serial Killer

A serial Killer and Rapist known as the Golden State Killer or Original Night Stalker, stalked, raped, and murdered his way across California from 1976 to 1986. He started in Sacramento in Northern California and didn’t stop until he reached Irvine in Southern California with stops along the way in places like Danville, Walnut Creek, Ventura, and Goleta. Then he vanished leaving a trail of shattered lives and grieving loved ones in his wake.

It’s been thirty years since this Monster has been heard from but that doesn’t mean he’s gotten away with his crimes- far from it. In 2016, to mark the 40 year  anniversary of the start of the crimes, an all out blitz was launched by the FBI as well as various agencies investigating the case in an effort to shine a fresh light on the case and gain valuable new leads. But it’s not just Law Enforcement hunting the Killer, this Monster should be equally worried about two other Women hunting him as well, and for them, it’s personal!

Meet Debbi Domingo and Michelle Cruz. Debbi’s Mom Cheri Domingo,Cheri’s Boyfriend Greg Sanchez, and Michelle’s Sister Janelle Cruz, were among the last murder Victims of this Killer.

Fresh on the heels of the campaign launched by law Enforcement in 2016, these two brave Women decided to be part of the hunt. They have been participating almost non-stop in TV Programs,and doing countless radio and podcast interviews,all in an effort to get the word out to the masses and help solve this case. But their greatest chance to catch this Killer might be just ahead of them; in June and in Indianapolis to be exact.

Crimecon 2017, a True Crime convention for all things Crime, will take place in Indianapolis June 9th thru June 11th. Crimecon will host every sort of True Crime Buff imaginable. Famous TV Personalities, Podcasters, Bloggers, Writers, Authors, Documentary film makers and more will be there. (As well as Yours Truly). Crimecon has been nice enough to invite Debbi and Michelle to the convention to give them,and this case, unprecedented attention from the True Crime Community, the community that can help the most.

The Crimecon invite is the good news, the bad news is the cost associated with travel and accommodations for the event. With Families and financial responsibilities to consider,as well as missed wages, this great opportunity comes with a price….literally. Debbi and Michelle set up a Gofundme campaign in an effort to fund their trip to Indianapolis.

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Twisted Tracks; The Murders of Liberty German and Abigail Williams

 

 

(Updates on a regular basis to this story can be found at the bottom of this article)

As I was preparing to launch my Blog, shooting for a mid-February launch, a senseless double murder of two teenage Girls grabbed national headlines and it would only be fitting for me to write this article about their case. My hope is that by the time you read this, that those responsible for their deaths, are identified. My fear is that by the time that you read this, that they won’t be.

Delphi, Indiana is a small rural town about 75 miles North of Indianapolis. The town is surrounded by secluded, scenic nature trails known as the Delphi Historic Trails, that feature miles of train tracks. The population of Delphi consists of approximately 3,000 People, and one of them is quite possibly a murderer.

On Monday February 13,2017 at about 1pm, a Family Member dropped off 14 year-old Liberty German and 13 year old, Abigail Williams near the trails so that the two teenage Friends could spend the day together hiking the trails. At 5:30 PM, they were supposed to meet up with a Family Member at a pre-determined location to be picked up. They never showed. When the two Friends did not show up, Family immediately reported them missing, and a large search party was created to search the Historic Trail area where they had been walking, but the search had to be suspended due to darkness, and resumed the next morning.

On Tuesday, February 14,2017 the search resumed that included K9 units and Dive teams. The search went on thru the day until around Noon when searchers discovered two bodies. The Bodies, although not confirmed to be Liberty and Abigail officially, obviously were. Police would not release much in the way of details, but stated that foul play was suspected.

 

Due to the rural and secluded location where the Girl’s Bodies had been found, this had all the makings of a case that may go cold quickly due to a lack of witnesses, but the Police released a photo of a ‘Person of interest’ on Wednesday February 15, 2017. The grainy photo, which is possibly from the frame of a video, appears to show a man with a blue jacket and jeans walking alone the railroad tracks. It’s unclear what camera source the photos came from. Police stated that they wanted to talk to the man to see if he could help their investigation and asked the public to help identify him. It is not known if the man was identified, however, the Police executed a case related search warrant at a home in Delphi on Thursday February 16,2017. No arrests have been made as of the posting of this article.

This is a sad case. Two young Girls spending the day together having fun doing something they enjoyed and not getting into trouble. This shouldn’t have happened. There have been plenty of theories and discussions about the case so far via social media and on various amateur sleuthing websites like Websleuths.com

So far, there have been lots of questions and few answers. As of the time this article is being published, Police have not identified a Person of Interest, nor have they released autopsy results. In fact, they haven’t even officially called the deaths of the two Girls murders. Some clues are out there to be found, including the social Media, ‘Snapchat’ that the Girls were using around the time of their deaths. The following photo was posted to Liberty’s Snapchat account on the afternoon they went missing. The haunting photo shows Abigail walking on railroad track bridge that was part of the trail area. While it’s assumed that her Friend Liberty took the photo, it’s not certain.

The Snapchat photo of Abigail taken at 2:07 PM the day that they vanished, is the last known documentation of their movements. Their Bodies were found less than a mile from this Bridge. I hope that there are answers soon in this case, and that it doesn’t go cold. Police certainly are being tight lipped about what they do or do not have so far in this case. It remains to be seen if this case will be solved and if so, was the Killer a Stranger to the Girls, or more disturbing, possibly Somebody close to them. I will update this article as Details emerge.

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