Northeast Ohio's 50 Most Frustrating Cold Cases

Northeast Ohio's 50 Most Frustrating Cold Cases

It's been two years since Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight returned from the dead, catapulting Cleveland into the national spotlight once again, just as we were beginning to forget about Anthony Sowell and his house of a thousand corpses. The question became: Is there something wrong here? Is there something about Northeast Ohio that creates a darker kind of monster?

I used to write about crime for Scene. Over the years, I covered dozens of the city's most haunting crimes and cases. I also compiled a list of dozens of others that have remained stubbornly unresolved. The list doesn't seem to end, instead growing each year. Here are the 50 mysteries that just might have a chance at being solved. Not all of them are murders — but we do seem to have more than our fair share of those too. Included in each is the tipline for the relevant authorities in charge of the case. If you know anything, do get in touch with them and, of course, with us.

1. The Abduction and Murder of Amy Mihaljevic

Crime Scene: Bay Village, Oct. 27, 1989.

The Mystery: On a Friday afternoon, 10-year-old Amy Mihaljevic was abducted from the shopping plaza across from the Bay Village police station as every officer in the city was getting their pictures taken. Her body was found in an Ashland County wheat field four months later. In the days leading up to her kidnapping, a man called Amy at home and said that he was a friend of her mother's and that Amy should meet him so he could take her shopping to get a gift for her mom. The key to solving the case may be finding how and when Amy crossed paths with several other girls who received calls from this man in 1989. The other girls were from North Olmsted. Like Amy, they had visited the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center that fall. They signed their names in a logbook there. A few of the girls also had a math teacher who was the brother of Amy's horseback riding instructor.

Send tips to Bay Village Police: 440-871-1234.

2. Ted Conrad's Brazen Bank Heist

Crime Scene: Lakewood, July 11, 1969.

The Mystery: Ted Conrad considered himself Cleveland's own Steve McQueen and the young man pulled off a brazen heist worthy of his own Hollywood movie. He worked as a vault teller at Society National Bank. downtown, and one Friday afternoon he walked out of the building with $215,000 in cash tucked in a brown paper bag and promptly disappeared. He was last seen in Hawaii sipping drinks at a bar.

Send tips to U.S. Marshal Peter Elliott: 216-522-4483.

3. Who Was Joseph Newton Chandler?

Crime Scene: Eastlake, July 2002

The Mystery: An old man put a gun to his head in a shabby Eastlake apartment and blew his brains out. Everyone thought his name was Joseph Newton Chandler, but when police notified his next of kin, they discovered the real Joseph Newton Chandler died in 1945. The man from Eastlake had stolen his identity. He left behind $82,000 and several strange electrical gadgets he'd designed. Was he a mobster, laying low? A retired CIA spook? Nobody knows. And the story gets stranger; just last year, U.S. Marshals released new information. In 1989, he checked himself into a local hospital with severe lacerations to his penis. He told the doctor on call that he'd had sex with his vacuum cleaner.

Send tips to U.S. Marshal Peter Elliott: 216-522-4483.

4. The Murder of Joseph Kupchik

Crime Scene: Cleveland, Feb. 12, 2006.

The Mystery: Joe Kupchik's body was discovered on the pavement below a parking deck in downtown Cleveland, around 1 in the morning. His car was found on the top level. A trail of blood led from the door to the railing, a knife lay nearby. The coroner initially ruled the young man's death a suicide, but later changed it to "undetermined." At the time, Kupchik worked at the Steak 'n Shake in Brunswick, with some very unsavory characters. His manager, Brian Weaver, had a couple felonies for creating ghost employees when he was a manager at Wendy's (where Joe also worked). And coworker Brian Trimmer used to bum rides from Joe downtown. After Joe's death, Trimmer skipped town.

Send tips to Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, Detective Bureau: 216-443-6130.

5. The Murder of Lisa Pruett

Crime Scene: Shaker Heights, Sept. 13, 1990.

The Mystery: 16-year-old Lisa Pruett was stabbed to death behind a mansion in the tony section of Shaker Heights. Based on tips from her classmates, police quickly focused on the weird kid in school, Kevin Young. He was charged with the murder but acquitted by a jury. Looking at the case again raises questions about Pruett's boyfriend Dan Dreifort. Lisa's body, after all, was found about 100 feet from the Dreifort family mansion. Dan had been released that day from the psych ward. He had written her letters from the hospital, warning her to stay away from him when he got out because he didn't want to hurt her.

Send tips to Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, Detective Bureau: 216-443-6130.

6. The Murder of Andrea Flenoury

Crime Scene: Coventry Township, August 7, 2005.

The Mystery: 21-year-old Andrea Flenoury's body was found submerged in the river along the Ohio & Erie Canal towpath, wrapped in chains. Detectives soon learned that this former Lordstown High School cheerleader had been moonlighting as a stripper in some of Akron's seediest clubs. Her killer strangled her to death. She was six weeks pregnant. Her murder may be linked to the April 2005 death of Donna Pittinger, whose body was found floating in the Tuscarawas.

Send tips to the Akron Police Detective Bureau: 330-375-2490.

7. Who Killed Anita Pratt and Her Unborn Baby?

Crime Scene: Ashtabula, Sept. 19, 1981

The Mystery: Anita Pratt, 22, was found stabbed to death, in a pool of blood, beside her 1 year-old son's crib. There were no signs of forced entry. Her stepfather, Bill Colley, who lived across the hall from her apartment, told police he found the front door open and her child crying inside. She was seven months pregnant at the time. Police long suspected the stepfather but he never confessed to the crime.

Send tips to Ashtabula County detectives: 330-675-7890.

8. The Disappearance of Tonia Aldrich

Crime Scene: Elyria, March 29, 1997.

The Mystery: Last seen at Chris's Place bar at 2 a.m., 38-year-old Tonia walked east down Clark Street, headed for home. Later that night, her mother found Tonia's medication and belongings by the front door but there was no trace of Tonia. She never used her credit cards after that day. It is believed she met with foul play.

Send tips to the Elyria Police Department: 440-326-1205.

9. Who Killed Professor Shaw?

Crime Scene: Kent, Sept. 20, 2004.

The Mystery: Douglas Shaw taught urban studies at the University of Akron for 32 years before someone killed him inside his own home, striking him on the head with some blunt instrument. His wife was out of state at the time. His son discovered the body. No suspects have been named, though his wife has said she believes she knows who did it.

Send tips to Kent police: 330-673-7732.

10. The Murder of Marilyn Sheppard

Crime Scene: Bay Village, July 3, 1954.

The Mystery: Someone bludgeoned Marilyn to death in the middle of the night. Her husband, wealthy osteopath Sam Sheppard, claimed he was sleeping downstairs when he heard cries. He raced upstairs but was confronted by an intruder who knocked him unconscious. An autopsy found that Marilyn was pregnant at the time she died. Sam was found guilty of her murder, but won a retrial and was later acquitted. The evidence suggests a woman or a very weak man actually committed the crime. Sheppard's mother committed suicide a few days after Sam's initial conviction.

Send tips to Bay Village Police: 440-871-1234.

11. Who Was the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run?

Crime Scene: Cleveland, 1935 to 1938

The Mystery: At least a dozen people were killed by a serial killer known as the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run, who preyed upon drifters who lived in shanty slums around the banks of the Cuyahoga following the Great Depression. The sadistic predator cut the bodies into pieces and sometimes only torsos were found. Most of the male victims had been castrated, too. Untouchable Eliot Ness was safety director of Cleveland at the time. He believed Dr. Francis Sweeney was responsible and the murders stopped after Sweeney had himself committed to a mental ward. Other believed the real killer moved away and to safer killing fields.

Send tips to Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, Detective Bureau: 216-443-6130.

12. Who Bombed the Thinker?

Crime Scene: Cleveland Museum of Art, March 24, 1970.

The Mystery: One of the most recognizable sculptures in history, Rodin's the Thinker, sits at the entrance to the Museum of Art. Next time you visit, take a good look at its base. The steel is all twisted and the man's feet are missing. Why? Because someone placed a bomb, as powerful as three sticks of dynamite, beneath it in 1970. It's believed the domestic terrorist group, the Weather Underground, did it as a political statement, but nobody ever claimed responsibility and nobody has been arrested for the crime.

Send tips to Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, Detective Bureau: 216-443-6130.

13. Who Killed Beverly Jarosz?

Crime Scene: Garfield Heights, Dec. 28, 1964.

The Mystery: 16-year-old Beverly Jarosz looked like a young Zooey Deschanel. The Catholic schoolgirl had no shortage of suitors in Garfield Heights — and at least one stalker as well. One anonymous admirer left a ring and bracelet on her back porch. But the attention made her suspicious and she started carrying a sharp letter opener for protection. Then, a few days after Christmas, someone murdered Beverly in her bedroom when she was home alone. She was stabbed 42 times and strangled with a rope. Suspects include her boyfriend, an ex, a neighbor boy, and a traveling salesman. But no one has ever been charged.

Send tips to Garfield Heights police detectives: 216-475-5686.

14. The 1987 Akron Murder Spree

Crime Scene: Akron, August through December 1987.

The Mystery: Three women were brutally murdered in similar ways in 1987, and their deaths may be the work of a serial killer. On August 10, 31-year-old Janice Christensen went jogging along the Hudson Bike and Hike trail. Someone sexually assaulted her and stabbed her to death. Her body was found the next day, just off the trail. On Oct. 24, the body of JoAnn Bartholomew was discovered in the woods behind Chapel Hill Mall after she failed to return from church. She too had been raped and stabbed. Marcia Kay Potter, 36, was reported missing Dec. 14. They found her body in a northwest Akron apartment complex. Someone had stabbed her to death. It's possible these murders may be related to Barbara Blatnik's homicide as well.

Send tips to the Akron Police Detective Bureau: 330-375-2490

15. Did a Serial Killer Leave His Victims in Berlin?

Crime Scene: Berlin Reservoir, 1994

The Mystery: 14-year-old Sarah Boehm left her family's house in Rochester, Pennsylvania, one night, telling her brother that she was going to a friend's house. She never made it there. Her body was later discovered in Berlin Reservoir, a rural Ohio park, less than a half-mile from where the nude body of 17-year-old Kathryn Menendez was found. Menendez was from Alliance and had run away before. Both girls were murdered in the summer of 1994. The FBI believes the crimes may be the work of a serial killer.

Send tips to the FBI: 216-522-1400.

16. Who Really Killed Ramona Krotine?

Crime Scene: Brook Park, March 20, 2003.

The Mystery: Someone shot this suburban mom in the head, execution-style, and left her body in the trunk of her own car at a seedy RTA station on the west side. Her husband, realtor Jeff Krotine, was tried three times for her murder but was ultimately acquitted. Police suspected he was involved after they caught him getting rid of carpeting from their bedroom. A witness named Sam Mazzola, who ran a bear-wrestling business, claimed he knew who the real killer was. Mazzola died in 2011; he suffocated on a dildo while dressed in leather and handcuffed to his bed. Jeff Krotine died last year of natural causes.

Send tips to the Brook Park police: 216-433-1239.

17. What Happened to Beverly Potts?

Crime Scene: Cleveland, August 24, 1951.

The Mystery: Probably Cleveland's most famous unsolved mystery, just about everyone has heard of Beverly Potts and her case remains a mystery. On August 24, 10-year-old Beverly went to Halloran Park with a friend to see an end-of-summer arts program. Her friend left early. Beverly was last seen walking toward the intersection of Linnet Avenue and West 117 around 9:30 p.m. It is assumed that she was abducted and murdered, but her body has never been found.

Send tips to Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, Detective Bureau: 216-443-6130.

18. Who Killed Michelli Wilson and Ed Rhodes?

Crime Scene: Barberton, May 2000

The Mystery: When Delialah Rollons dropped by her mom's house on Mother's Day, in 2000, she found her mother, Michelli Wilson, and her boyfriend, Edward Rhodes, dead, inside. Details of the murders have never been made public and the police are still investigating the cold case.

Send tips to Barberton detectives: 330-848-6709.

19. Who Started the Shootings That Killed Four Kent State Students?

Crime Scene: Kent State University, May 4, 1970.

The Mystery: Following a weekend of protests related to the escalating war in Vietnam, members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a group of unarmed students, killing Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder. Several of the guardsmen claimed they only opened fire after hearing a gunshot from the area of the protestors, but many of the students said they heard an order to fire given by a ranking officer. Later, an FBI informant named Terry Norman, who was standing with the protestors, admitted to having a loaded gun with him that day. An analysis of the weapon showed that it may have been fired that day.

Send tips to Kent police: 330-673-7732.

20. What Happened to Yvonne Regler?

Crime Scene: Fairview Park, Aug. 8, 1977.

The Mystery: 17-year-old Yvonne Regler usually worked at the Sunoco in North Olmsted, but on August 8, 1977, she filled in for an employee at the Lorain Road location, in nearby Fairview Park. When another attendant showed up for the 1:30 shift, they found Yvonne's purse, with money and ID still inside, but there was no sign of Yvonne. No money was missing from the register. Police believe she was abducted, but her body has never been found.

Send tips to the Fairview Park police: 330-356-4415.

21. Where is Ashley Summers?

Crime Scene: Cleveland, July 6, 2007.

The Mystery: Ashley Summers was 14 years old when she disappeared from Cleveland west side in 2007, not far from where Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus were abducted. When police found Amanda, Gina, and Michelle Knight inside Ariel Castro's homemade sex prison, some suspected Castro of abducting Ashley as well. Then, just a couple months ago, a woman who bares a striking resemblance to Ashley was caught on camera at an ATM in Rhode Island. Was she murdered in 2007 or did she run away to start a new life?

Send tips to Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, Detective Bureau: 216-443-6130.

22. Who Torched Joe Cimperman's House?

Crime Scene: Tremont, July 2008.

The Mystery: Someone set fire to Cleveland city councilman Joe Cimperman's house on West 12th in the middle of the night, while he, his wife and his week-old daughter slept inside. Luckily, he escaped. When asked if there was anyone he suspected wanted to kill him, he quipped, "How much time do you have?" Shortly before the fire, he'd received threatening letters signed by the "local KKK."

Send tips to Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, Detective Bureau: 216-443-6130

23. Who Killed Brandon Cartellone?

Crime Scene: Tremont, July 27, 2011.

The Mystery: The body of a promising young student from Cleveland Institute of Art was found in his apartment on Professor Avenue, around 1 a.m., by a friend who immediately called police. Brandon Cartellone had been shot in the stomach and someone had bound his wrists and ankles. Detectives found cash and a pot-growing setup in the apartment, located in the hipster enclave of Tremont. A new detective has just been assigned to the case.

Send tips to Cleveland homicide detectives: 216-623-5464.

24. Who Killed Aliza Sherman?

Crime Scene: Cleveland, March 24, 2013.

The Mystery: Two days before her divorce trial was to begin, someone stabbed Aliza Sherman to death outside her attorney's office, in downtown Cleveland. Robbery was not the motive; her attacker left her purse and car keys behind. In January, police claimed they had a person of interest and an indictment was imminent.

Send tips to Cleveland detectives: 216-623-5464.

25. Who Murdered Angela Hicks?

Crime Scene: Elyria, July 21, 1990.

The Mystery: 14-year-old cheerleader Angela Hicks disappeared while her mother was at work. The only thing missing when police searched her room was a duffle bag she kept her Barbie dolls in. All of her shoes were found in the home. Angela's 21-year-old stepfather, Sam Legg, claimed he saw her leave the house before her mother returned. Angela's body was later found near an old barn by Midway Mall. A short time later, her mother divorced Sam and they both moved out of state.

Send tips to Elyria police detectives: 440-323-3302

26. Who Really Killed Tiffany Papesh?

Crime Scene: Maple Heights, June 13, 1980

The Mystery: Tiffany Papesh, 8, was last seen carrying hamburger buns, walking away from a convenience store toward her family's house, at 2:45. Her body has never been found. A man named Brandon Lee Flagner was actually convicted of her murder, after confessing to the crime, in 1983. But he later recanted the confession, stating that he wanted to stay in prison, and police no longer believe he was responsible for her abduction.

Send tips to the Maple Heights police: 216-662-5884.

27. Who Are the Serial Rapists on Cleveland's East Side?

Crime Scene: Cleveland, 1993 through 2010.

The Mystery: When Cuyahoga County finally got around to testing their backlog of rape kits, they discovered that many of the unsolved crimes were linked by DNA. In fact, prosecutors believe there are more than 200 men who are local serial rapists. You read that right. One as-yet-unidentified man, dubbed John "Countdown" Doe, was responsible for at least six rapes from 1993 to 1994, that occurred near East 55th.

Send tips to Cleveland police sex crimes unit: 216-623-5630.

28. Who Murdered Barbara Blatnik?

Crime Scene: Garfield Heights, Dec. 20, 1987.

The Mystery: Barbara Blatnik was a bright-eyed 17-year-old student at Erieview Catholic High School in 1987. The evening of Dec. 20, she called her father from a party on Turney Road and said she would be leaving soon. In the morning, her parents discovered that she'd never come home. Her nude body was found 30 miles away, near Blossom Music Center. She had been raped and strangled.

Send tips to Cuyahoga Falls detectives: 330-971-8334

29. Who Shot Charles Clark?

Crime Scene: Mentor, Christmas Eve, 1959.

The Mystery: Charles Clark, 35, was standing in his kitchen, opening a can of pumpkin for Christmas dinner, when someone shot him through the window, killing him. Clark had four kids, a nice wife, and was a leader with the Boy Scouts. Who'd want to kill him? Detectives soon learned that his wife, Lois, was having affairs with six different men, one of whom was a man named Floyd Hargrove, who'd received a sharp-shooting medal in the service. Hargrove was charged with the murder but was acquitted by a jury.

Send tips to the Lake County Sheriff's detectives: 440-350-5620.

30. Who Ripped Off Supreme Court Justice Terrence O'Donnell?

Crime Scene: Cleveland, Feb.16, 2005.

The Mystery: Judge O'Donnell parked his state-owned car in the Flats and left a briefcase and $18,000 in cash in the back seat. Oddly enough, someone took it. After he reported the crime to police, the Plain Dealer contacted him. Instead of answering questions, he released a statement, saying the large sum was from his personal savings. A 2006 report by the New York Times suggested O'Donnell usually keeps a better eye on money; He has ruled in favor of campaign contributors 91 percent of the time, more than any other justice.

Send tips to Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, Detective Bureau: 216-443-6130.

31. Did Bob Buell Kill Debora Kaye Smith?

Crime Scene: Massillon, June 25, 1983.

The Mystery: 10-year-old Debbie Smith disappeared from a street fair in Massillon in the summer of, 83. A man in a canoe found her body on the banks of the Tuscarawas River two weeks later. She had been raped and stabbed to death. Detectives found wax on her body. They would later trace the wax back to a brand of candles found in the home of convicted killer Bob Buell. However, strong evidence suggests Buell did not act alone and may have been training a sadistic apprentice. Buell was never charged with Debbie's murder. He was executed in 2002. The case remains open.

Send tips to Massillon detectives: 330-830-1744.

32. Who Stole the Keeshka?

Crime Scene: Cleveland, 1963

The Mystery: Someone stole the keeshka from the butcher shop. Who stole the keeshka? Someone call the cop. Polka singer Frankie Yankovic described the crime: "Round, firm and fully-packed, it was hanging on the rack. Someone stole the keeshka when I turned my back." Yaschel later found the keeshka and put it back on the rack but the man who snatched it was never apprehended.

Send tips to Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, Detective Bureau: 216-443-6130.

33. What Happened to Jonni Clemett?

Crime Scene: Cleveland, May 27, 2001.

The Mystery: Walking back from the Indians/Tigers game, Clemett made it all the way back to her car, which was parked beside the Little Bar, downtown, before she disappeared. She worked at Harpo's Sports Bar in Strongsville at the time and had previously worked at Shooters. Since she did not take any personal belongings and has never used her credit cards since, police suspect she met with foul play.

Send tips to Cleveland police: 216-623-5200

34. Who Stole 33 Paintings from True Art Gallery?

Crime Scene: North Collinwood, January 2008.

The Mystery: A week before the gallery closed, someone broke into True Art and made off with 33 paintings, as well as a computer, stereo, and phones. The paintings were not insured and nobody could figure out how the thieves removed the large paintings through a 2-by-3-foot hole they punched in the window; the gallery doors were still locked.

Send tips to Cleveland police: 216-623-5618.

35. What Happened to Elaine Ford?

Crime Scene: Cleveland, May 21, 1990.

The Mystery: Elaine Ford is one of the many missing women we never heard much about. She was 29 years old when she was last seen in Cleveland, in 1990. She was never heard from again. She was a short African American who wore a Jheri-curl wig. She also had a rather large knot on her neck.

Send tips to the Cleveland police, 4th District: 216-623-3138.

36. Who Killed Rene Wise?

Crime Scene: Suffield, Jan.17, 1997.

The Mystery: For weeks, there were signs that someone was entering 30-year-old Rene Wise's apartment on Cleveland Road, in Suffield, when she was not at home; muddy footprints in the kitchen, missing change. She filed a report with the police. Then, one night she returned home and someone beat her and strangled her to death. Her life was about to change for the better; She was engaged to be married and was about to become a fire fighter. Some mysterious intruder cut that short.

Sent tips to Portage County detectives: 330-297-3890.

37. Where is Wayne Griffith?

Crime Scene: Ashtabula, October 1993.

The Mystery: Last seen in Ashtabula, 49-year-old Wayne Griffith was planning a trip to Melbourne, Florida, when he disappeared. Neither Griffith nor his gray, 1984 Ford conversion van was ever seen again. He has a tattoo of the Tasmanian Devil on his right arm.

Send tips to the Ashtabula County Sheriff's Office: 440-576-0055.

38. Why Was Dan Ott Murdered?

Crime Scene: Burton, May 26, 2006.

The Mystery: 31-year-old Dan Ott was about to move to Michigan to work at a greenhouse. Most of his belongings were already packed up and he was sleeping on an air mattress with his girlfriend when a masked man dressed in camouflage broke into their house on Claridon-Troy Road. The intruder bound Dan's hands together with duct tape. When Dan tried to fight back, the masked man shot him in the chest with a shotgun and fled the scene. Some investigators believe Dan's death was the result of mistaken identity, after a hitman was sent to kill another man named Dan Ott.

Send tips to Geauga County Sheriff's detectives: 440-279-2009.

39. Where is Michael Hodge?

Crime Scene: Cleveland, March 6, 2004.

The Mystery: Last seen riding a blue bike near West 172nd Street and Puritas, at 4:30 a.m., 39-year-old Mike Hodge disappeared without a trace. Hodge worked as a roofer and landscaper and was missing his four front teeth.

Send tips Cleveland police, 1st District: 216-623-5118.

40. What Happened to Elaine Johnson?

Crime Scene: Parma, November 22, 1990. The Mystery: Elaine Johnson could have been mistaken on the street for Farrah Fawcett, with her bright, blonde wavy hair and good looks. She was last seen on Nov. 22, 1990, but was not reported missing until Dec. 3, when her employer tracked down her daughter after Elaine did not come to work. They found her clothes still in the dryer and her money and identification in her apartment. The last known person to see her was her ex, who was questioned by police but then stopped cooperating with the investigation.

Send tips to Parma police: 440-888-3211.

41. How Did Ryan Johnson Die?

Crime Scene: Akron, Jan. 14, 2010.

The Mystery: Ryan was a whiz kid with a reckless streak. Two years after graduating high school, he had earned enough money to buy a mansion in Bath. He often held elaborate parties there, during which he would destroy his expensive toys. The police were once called out when he drove his Mercedes into the creek behind his house. Ryan got in touch with me about working together on a lengthy profile of his life. He reminded me a lot of the character Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye. He died in a house fire in Akron before we could start; the fire started in his room and someone had barricaded the door so he couldn't get out. Some of his friends emptied his bank account after his death.

Send tips to the Akron Police Detective Bureau: 330-375-2490.

42. What Happened to Oliver Klar?

Crime Scene: Cleveland, April 12, 2006.

The Mystery: 39-year-old Oliver Klar ran a used car business, called Eastway Motors, on St. Clair Avenue. His car was found abandoned a block from his work. He had many friends but no one has heard from him since April 12, 2006.

Send tips to Cleveland detectives: 216-623-5464.

43. Where is Christina Kleckner?

Crime Scene: Cleveland, Oct. 1, 2011.

The Mystery: Christina (or Tink, as she liked to be called) was 24 years old when she disappeared in 2011. She is mentally disabled, with the mental capacity of a child. She got into an argument with her parents and when they checked her room in the morning, she was gone. She has a history of prostitution and was known to frequent Pearl Road. Some believe she fits the victim profile of Ariel Castro, though nothing has ever been released that links him to Christina's disappearance.

Send tips to Cleveland police: 216-623-5262

44. Judy Martins: Murder or Runaway?

Crime Scene: Kent State, May 24, 1978.

The Mystery: Judy was last seen leaving a friend's dorm at Dunbar Hall on the campus of Kent State, wearing a Halloween wig and oversized glasses. She never made it back to her dorm. Her disappearance was treated as an abduction, but the case took a turn a couple years later when a prostitute was arrested in Cuyahoga County. She gave the jail the name "Judy Martinez" along with Judy Martins' date of birth. Judy Martins' parents went to identify her. The mother believed it was her missing daughter. Her father did not. "Judy Martins is better off dead," the prostitute is quoted as saying.

Send tips to Kent police: 330-673-7732.

45. Was Pamela Terrill's Death a Cover-Up?

Crime Scene: Medina, August 23, 1976.

The Mystery: The body of 21-year-old Pamela Terrill was discovered in her bedroom. There were bruises around her neck and tape covering her mouth. When the coroner called it a suicide, the family cried foul. Just a few days before she died, Pamela had accused her boss of sexually assaulting her. Her boss was Republican county commissioner Mark Whitfield, whose father was a prominent local judge, retired, with lots of friends in law enforcement.Eventually, Pamela's body was exhumed and a new coroner said she'd been murdered. Whitfield faced trial for the murder in 1988, but was found not guilty due to lack of evidence. Witnesses at the trial testified that Whitfield was trans and once tried to break into a house while wearing a dress and wig and groped another woman while riding to Pamela's funeral.

Send tips to Medina detectives: 330-725-9116.

46. Who Killed the Hooker Who Finked On an Akron Judge?

Crime Scene: Akron, 1999.

The Mystery: In 1999, the city of Akron cracked down on their growing red light district, indicting 67 people — mostly prostitutes. One prostitute, Melissa Sue Sublett, told detectives that she had recently done cocaine with Summit County Common Pleas Judge Michael Callahan and had given him a blow job in his courthouse chambers. Five days later, she was found stabbed to death. A woman pleaded guilty to her murder and got a three-year sentence but she later recanted her confession.

Send tips to the Akron Police Detective Bureau: 330-375-2490.

47. Is Lisa Sexton Still Alive?

Crime Scene: Elyria, May 1, 1981.

The Mystery: 14-year-old Lisa Sexton was last seen leaving her home with a known drug dealer. They skipped town and the man later returned without her. Lisa contacted her mother for the last time in 1984. She'd been living in Florida. Her family believes she met with foul play and that local people may know what happened.

Send tips to Elyria police: 216-322-3465

48. Did a Local Police Chief Fake His Own Death?

Crime Scene: Edgewater Park, July 28, 1985.

The Mystery: This one's a doozy. In 1985, Mel Wiley was an aspiring novelist. He was also the police chief in Hinkley. And in the summer of 1985, Metroparks rangers found his car abandoned at Edgewater Park. His clothes were neatly folded on the seat, beside his wallet and police ID card. When his police buddies investigated his disappearance, they found scribbled notes about a bus ticket to Fort Ord, in California and a letter to a female friend that speaks of taking a "one-way trip." He was officially declared dead in 1993.

Send tips to Hinkley police: 330-278-7161

49. What Really Happened to Emma Nahas?

Crime Scene: Lake Erie, July 8, 2010

The Mystery: It was quite a party. A wealthy 36-year-old businessman named Alex Cucu and 31-year-old John Slyman took six young women (five of whom were under 21) out on Cucu's 48-foot cabin cruiser for a day of drinking and dancing. At some point, 19-year-old Emma Nahas jumped into the water with Slyman. Then Nahas went under the water. Slyman was pulled back onto the boat, naked. Nahas' body washed ashore 11 days later. Cucu was sentenced to 18 months in prison early this year on charges of tax fraud unrelated to the event.

Send tips to Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, Detective Bureau: 216-443-6130.

50. Who Killed Rachael Johnson?

Crime Scene: Akron, March 30, 1991

The Mystery: This is the stuff of nightmares. Rachael was 24-years-old, in 1991. She was riding in a car with a friend when the vehicle got a flat tire. They pulled into the parking lot of a convenience store. A grey vehicle pulled in behind them and at that point Rachael either got into the other vehicle or was forced inside. Her body was found in the street, hours later. She had been raped, stabbed, and set on fire. The police have DNA of her likely killed but so far have not found a match.

Send tips to Akron detectives: 330-375-2552

James Renner is the author of the true-crime collection The Serial Killer's Apprentice and several other books. More info at His new novel, The Great Forgetting, about a history teacher from Lakewood who tries to save the world, will be published in November.

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