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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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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The Cruel Writer

 

 

The Cruel Writer

 

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time seeking out cases in which a Person, wrote letters to police,or Victim’s family members, taking responsibility for a crime. One thing I’ve learned is, that it’s not very common. Most people do not want to be linked or associated with a crime case, and instead,would want to distance themselves from a crime, not write  a letter taking credit for it. That being said, I did find a few interesting cases in which this did happen, and I found evidence of a single cruel and twisted writer linking to multiple cases in multiple states.

Alicia Bernice Markovich vanished from Blairsville,Pennsylvania on April 26,1987 following an argument with her father.

Since her disappearance followed the argument with her father, investigators initially thought the 15 year old was a run away, but didn’t rule out the possibility she was the victim of foul play. Her case went cold until October,2000 when her father received an anonymous letter from somebody claiming to have killed Alicia. The letter, postmarked in Bedford New Hampshire, and including a return address on the envelope, instructed Alicia’s father to dig for her body along the Conemaugh River outside of Blairsville. Police took this letter seriously and sent detectives to the return address in Bedford to question the person living there. Upon arriving, they found a bewildered resident who knew nothing about the letter and never heard of Blairsville, Pennsylvania or Alicia Markovich.  Police ruled them out as a suspect, and decided the letter was likely a hoax,but still dug along the river where the letter instructed them to,but they found nothing.  Alicia has never been found and remains a missing person today almost 30 years later.

Colleen Orsborn, age 15, vanished from Daytona Beach,Florida on March 19,1984.

Despite searches,nothing was found of her. In February, 2001, Colleen’s brother received an anonymous,unsigned letter,postmarked February 21,2001, in Manchester, New Hampshire. The handwritten letter, filled with spelling errors, provided details and instructions to locate Colleen’s body along the Tomaka River along Route 415 in Daytona. The lead was a dead end and did not lead to Colleen’s Body. In 2007, DNA matched from a body found in 1984 in Orange County, Florida, was confirmed to belong to Colleen. Her body was found, but not her killer, although authorities suspect that she was the Victim of Serial Killer, Christopher Wilder. Wilder was killed in a struggle with Police in Colebrook, New Hampshire in 1984.

 

Deborah Ann Quimby was a 13 year old Girl in Townsend, Massachusetts who went missing on May 3, 1977 while riding her bike.

The young girl,as well as her bike, have never been found.  In November of 2002, Police received the first of two anonymous letters telling them to look in Walker Pond,close to where she vanished from. Police searched the pond but found nothing. A year to the day after the first letter was received, Police got a second letter urging investigators to “take a closer look”. Police once again searched the pond, and for a second time found no evidence of Deborah in the pond. The two letters had been postmarked in Worcester, Massachusetts and Manchester, New Hampshire, two towns about an hour from each other. But noteworthy was the fact that  Quimby had vanished from Townsend, which was located between the two towns in which these letters were postmarked. The letters didn’t lead to Quimby, and she remains missing today.

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