SEPTEMBER 2019, ELIZABETH, NJ - Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy rejected a request to test DNA on the clothing of a murder victim by the name of Jeanette De Palma. She dismissed it because private investigator Ed Salzano filed the lawsuit, and the judge ruled he had no legal relationship to the dead girl. So far this is the last on a long list of attempts to find her killer that went nowhere.
Jeanette's story started long ago in 1972.
The Roaring Twenties are remembered for speakeasies hidden in remote locations or the basement of a building. Slim flappers shimmy while drinking illegal hooch; perhaps you think of gangland killings as the criminal side of Prohibition but there were other dark deeds being committed, even against the innocent.
Over a hundred and fifty years ago a carpet-bag with grisly contents was discovered on Waterloo Bridge in London. Who it was and who left it there remains a mystery till this day.
Most families resist the possibility that one of their members is not only a murderer, but a serial sexual sadist killer linked to one of the most infamous, unsolved murders of the 20th century. For the Hodel family it was something acknowledged as the truth of who their patriarch, George Hill Hodel was. Dr. George Hodel died in 1999 at the age of 91.
On a cold February evening in 1945 the body of 74-year-old Charles Walton was found in a field he had been working earlier that same day. He was considered a recluse, and no one who lived in the Warwickshire hamlet could understand who would want to kill him, much less mutilate him.
In 2014, Samuel Little, 74, was convicted of the murders of three women in Los Angeles. DNA had linked him to cold cases committed between 1987 to 1989. He received three life sentences. Authorities suspected he had probably committed other murders, however he had been reticent about confessing to any, until now.
Over 40 years ago Karen Klaas was raped and then strangled with a pantyhose. Despite the attention the case received since she had been married to Bill Medley from the Righteous Brothers, eventually the case went cold, and stayed that way until 2017.
The Claypool Hotel in Indianapolis once received powerful politicians and even President Lincoln in 1861, when it was the Bates House. However in the years that followed it could not escape the stigma of murder that stained it luxurious and upscale reputation. In August 1943, Maoma Little Ridings was brutally killed on the seventh floor of the Claypool Hotel. Her assailant was never apprehended. In July 1954 the body of a brunette was found stuffed into a dresser drawer located in Room 665 of the hotel.
WWII was raging, and 33-year-old Corporal Maoma Little Ridings checked into Room 729 at the Claypool Hotel in Indianapolis to enjoy her weekend leave. That same evening her mutilated, semi-nude body was found sprawled across the bed. Almost seventy-five years later, no one knows the identity of who killed Maoma that hot August night of 1943.
It was Halloween 1969 and St. Petersburg police was called to the scene of a gruesome murder. The body of a woman dressed only in a filmy, green nightgown was discovered neatly wrapped in plastic bags, and concealed in a black, steamer trunk near the parking lot of the Oyster Bar Restaurant.
It was Halloween, 1958, when off a dirt road on Skinner Ridge south of Grand Canyon National Park, the skeletal remains of a young girl were found. Her body was nude and it was estimated she had been there nine to fourteen months.
It was a spring day on June 4th, 1960 when two young couples went camping at Lake Bodom close to the Finnish city of Espoo. Maila Irmeli Björklund and Anja Tuulikki Mäki who were both fifteen years old, were accompanied by their eighteen year old boyfriends Seppo Antero Boisman and Nils Wilhelm Gustafsson. Little did three of them know that a bloody death awaited all but one of them.
In 2011 a handsome, aristocratic Frenchman may have shot and killed his wife, their four children, and two dogs, burying them all in the garden of their home in Nantes, France. His terrified former mistress went into hiding, fearing for her life. As of early 2022, the mystery remains unsolved.
Presently stories abound about haunted houses, castles, cars, collector items etc, but for me, the real question lies in how did this come about, and if there is really a way to truly release the agony, torment and terror of incidents that produced this haunting, whether intelligent or residual.
Stranger Than Fiction Stories by M.P. Pellicer