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Top 10 Mysteries Still Unsolved in 2019

by Estelle
fact checked by Jamie Frater

2019 has flown by in a blur. In just a little over a month, we’ll be celebrating Christmas again and then the start of yet another new year. As time speeds on, mysteries pile up around the world. Some of them will eventually be solved, but others are doomed to remain forever unexplained and speculated over.

SEE ALSO: 10 Unsolved Mysteries Surrounding Historical Tragedies

10 The Murder of Aarushi Talwar

On 16 May 2008, the body of 13-year old Aarushi Talwar was discovered at her home in Noida, India. Her throat had been slit. When police couldn’t find the family’s live-in domestic worker, 45-year old Hemraj Banjade, he became a prime suspect. That was until 17 May, when Banjade’s body was discovered on a terrace at the house.

Next up to be considered suspects were Aarushi’s parents. It was thought that her father, Rajesh, may have happened upon his daughter and Banjade in an unsavoury position and killed them. Another theory was that Rajesh had been involved in an affair and had been confronted by his daughter and blackmailed by Banjade, and he, therefore, decided to get rid of them both.

The case was eventually given to the CBI, who did not prove that Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were responsible for the murders. The CBI also investigated two other domestic servants and a personal assistant, but nothing came of this. After the case was handed over to yet another team, Aarushi’s parents were convicted and handed life terms in November 2013. In 2017, they were acquitted after they challenged the decision.

To this day, there have been no other leads in the double Noida murder. The killer remains free, and it seems unlikely that the case will be solved any time soon. [1]

9 Smiley Face Murders

Over a time span of more than 20 years, around 350 young men drowned in lakes and other bodies of water in Midwestern American states. It became known that police officers had come across graffiti in the form of smiley faces near at least 12 locations where drownings occurred. Several people, including NY detectives Kevin Gannon and Anthony Duarte, believe these drownings to be murders committed by either a lone serial killer or a group of serial killers. Their theory is that the men were most likely drugged after being abducted and then murdered before being disposed of by dumping them in lakes and rivers. The detectives also believe that these serial killers include both men and women.

Victims include 21-year old Brian Welzien, who disappeared on New Year’s Day in 2000. His decomposing remains were found 8 weeks later in a lake in Indiana. In 2009, 24-year old William Hurley was missing for 6 days before being found dead and floating in a river in Boston. One of the smiley faces was spotted near the river.

While the FBI is not convinced and says that the drownings are most likely alcohol-related, private investigations continue. A documentary on the drownings saw the light in early 2019. Whether the detectives will ever find serial killers lurking in the periphery and bring them to book remains to be seen.[2]

8 Jennifer Beard Murder

Two days after New Year’s celebrations in 1970, a couple travelling past the Haast River in New Zealand decided to stop at the Haast River bridge to allow their young daughter to use the bathroom. When the 8-year old returned to the car, she told her parents she saw a naked lady. Dismissing it as active imagination, they told their daughter to get back in the car, and they continued their journey.

On the 19th of January, police discovered the “naked lady” under the bridge. She was dead, having been raped and strangled. It was believed that 25-year old Jennifer Beard, as she was later identified, had been ambushed while using the nearby bathroom. She had been reported missing by her fiancé several days earlier. During the police investigation, witnesses claimed to have seen the young woman in a blue-green Vauxhall driven by a middle-aged man. A truck driver fitting the description and driving the same model car was questioned but never charged. A pair of trousers was found a few metres away from the crime scene and was sent away for analysis. Unfortunately, authorities forgot about the pants for several months. When they were examined afterwards, a receipt bearing the name of the truck driver was discovered in one of the pockets. Still, the Crown refused to lay charges, citing insufficient evidence.

The truck driver never strayed from pleading innocent regarding the murder, right up until he died in 2003. In 2008, police were investigating new leads, but nothing came of that either. To date, the murder of Jennifer Beard remains officially unsolved.[3]

7 Death of Ashley Turner

Airman 1st Class Ashley Turner was stationed at Naval Air Station Keflavik in Iceland in 2005 when she was savagely murdered near her dorm room. Through an Iceland paper posted on the Internet, her parents learned that their daughter had been murdered after military investigators simply stated that Ashley had died of trauma to the head and neck.

20-year old Ashley had been stabbed in the head and neck, but this seemed to be the only straightforward information about her murder. Several incorrect death certificates were issued, no forthcoming assistance on death benefits, and a lack of critical information from the military.

Eventually, it was revealed that Ashley was to testify against a man accused of stealing from her. She was forced to live in the same dorm as this man. Airman Calvin Eugene Hill was charged with Ashley’s murder but acquitted in 2007. He did, however, plead guilty to stealing from her and was to face punishment for it. This, however, means that Ashley’s killer is still roaming free somewhere out there. [4]

6 Ryan Singleton Disappearance

24-year old model, Ryan Singleton, left Las Vegas and headed back home to Los Angeles after a well-deserved vacation in July 2013. His car broke down in the Mojave Desert, and a Highway Patrol officer offered to take Ryan to a rest stop in Baker. When Ryan got to the rest stop, he phoned one of his friends and asked if he could come to pick him up. The friend did not delay in driving to Baker, but Ryan was nowhere to be found when he arrived.

Nearly 3 months later, Ryan’s body was discovered by two joggers two miles from where he was last seen at the rest stop. His eyes and internal organs were missing. An autopsy could not determine the exact cause of death due to the advanced state of decomposition of the remains. Authorities believed the missing organs were due to scavenging animals in the area, but Ryan’s family believed otherwise. His mother insisted that her son had been the victim of “illegal organ trafficking.”

By December 2018, the case was still being investigated by police. Public opinion has it that Ryan had been murdered, regardless of whether animals were to blame for the lack of internal organs or not. Unfortunately, it seems the case has stalled with no new information forthcoming. Exactly what happened to Ryan, remains unknown. [5]

5The Wickenburg Massacre

On 5 Nov 1871, 7 passengers boarded a stagecoach in Wickenburg and headed for California. Unfortunately, only 2 of them would survive the journey. Only an hour after the stagecoach set off, it was attacked, and 5 passengers and the driver were murdered. One of the survivors, William Kruger, stated that a ‘band of Indians’ had attacked the stagecoach. The other survivor, Mollie Sheppard, believed that ‘Mexican bandits’ were to blame for the killings.

This led to General George Crook sending an officer to investigate the claims. The conclusion was that raiders at Date Creek were to blame. This, in turn, led to an attempt on Crook’s life, to which his cavalry responded by killing around forty Indians. Crook also forced many Yavapais and Tonto Apaches residents to relocate to San Carlos Apache Reservation.

The real culprits were never found, and many theories saw the light as the years went by. Some believed white criminals dressed up as Indians and attacked the stagecoach. Others were wont to look upon the two survivors with suspicion: they may just have robbed the stagecoach themselves and killed the other passengers to make it seem as though Indians were responsible.

The mystery remains.[6]

4 Little Girl Blue

8-year old Helen Bailey loved playing outside and left her Birmingham home to do just that on 10 August 1975. Her mother became concerned when her daughter failed to return at a specified time and contacted the police. The following morning, Helen’s body was found in dense woodland in the Booth Farm area. There was a cut to her throat, which was deemed the cause of death.

Initially, Helen’s (nicknamed Little Girl Blue because of the blue clothing she was wearing when found) death was not treated as suspicious, with the pathologist stating that there were no signs of a struggle and that the little girl’s death lacked certain hallmarks of an attack. Therefore, he stated that her death was accidental. However, in 2014, another pathologist reviewed the case and found that Helen had been strangled before the cut to her throat occurred. It was later revealed that someone ‘confessed’ to the killing in 1979 but was never prosecuted. In July 2019, coroner Louise Hunt was going to approach the CPS to ask whether they would reconsider prosecuting a suspect arrested and convicted on an unrelated charge, as he was the only existing suspect.

However, to date, Helen Bailey’s murder remains unsolved.[7]

3 Dorothy Scott Disappearance

On 27 May 1980, 32-year old Dorothy Jane Scott attended a company meeting after dropping her son off at her parents’ house. There was nothing unusual about the meeting, except for a colleague suddenly complaining of severe pain. Dorothy offered to take the colleague, Conrad Bostron, to the emergency room. Another colleague, Pam Head, accompanied them.

Doctors established that Conrad had been bitten by a black widow spider and was given immediate treatment. He was discharged at 11 pm, and Dorothy left the hospital to bring her car to the entrance. Pam saw the car leave the hospital parking lot, but Dorothy didn’t return to the hospital. Two hours later, Pam notified the hospital security that Dorothy was missing and called Dorothy’s parents.

In the weeks and months that followed, police were informed that An unknown male had stalked Dorothy before her disappearance. Dorothy told a co-worker that the man had called her several times and mentioned events he could not have known about unless he has witnessed them. After Dorothy vanished, the man continued calling her house when her mother was there alone. When she answered the phone, the stalker would either ask for Dorothy or gleefully claim that he killed her. When Scott’s father picked up the phone in 1984, the calls ceased.

In August 1984, Dorothy’s remains were found buried underneath a dog in Anaheim Hills along the Santa Ana Canyon Road. After the discovery, the stalker called twice more, asking for Dorothy.

To date, Dorothy’s stalker/killer has never been found. [8]

2 The Disappeareance of Amy Billig

Seventeen-year-old Amy Billig was a high school student who lived in Coconut Grove, Florida, with her parents, Ned and Susan, and her younger brother, Josh. At around 12 pm on March 5, 1974, she came home from school to have lunch. She planned to go out with friends later and called Ned, asking to borrow some money. She vanished while hitchhiking to his office. A few days later, sixteen-year-old twins Charles and Larry Glasser claimed to have kidnapped her and asked for a $30,000 ransom, but the police discovered this was a ruse and arrested them for extortion.

Investigators interviewed Amy’s family, friends, and neighbors but could find no trace of her. They did not think that she vanished voluntarily. Shortly after she disappeared, her camera was located at the Wildwood exit on the Florida Turnpike and surrendered to the police. Many of its photos were overexposed, and the few decent ones had no further clue to her whereabouts.

Twelve days later, Susan received tips that she might have been kidnapped by a motorcycle gang called “The Outlaws” and taken cross-country. She learned that a chapter of them had come through Coconut Grove at the time of Amy’s disappearance. After contacting and meeting with several bikers, Susan Billing spent years chasing down false leads (from Oklahoma to Seattle to England) they gave her about Amy’s whereabouts. Even with these leads and so-called deathbed confessions of what happened to Amy, nothing came of it.

While this case is not much different from others on this list, one aspect is chilling. Not long after Amy’s disappearance, Susan began receiving telephone calls from random payphones from a “Hank Johnson” claiming he had Amy. He would call her off and on over the next 21 years, claiming Amy was being trained as a sex slave and telling Susan about her daughter’s training in explicit detail. The police finally caught Hank after he began using a cell phone.

To their surprise, it was linked to U.S. Customs agent Henry Johnson Blair. Blair confessed to calling Susan for three years, but, in 1996, he was eventually sentenced to two years for stalking and ordered to pay the Billig family a settlement. After his arrest, she took out Amy’s diaries and read them for the first time. On one page, in purple ink, Amy wrote: “Hank says as soon as I finish school he wants me to go to South America with him. I told him he’s crazy.” At that time (1974), Blair was scheduled to be sent to Argentina for his job. However, he was never officially charged in Amy’s disappearance despite Susan’s belief he was involved somehow.

Unfortunately, Susan Billing died in 2005, still hoping that Amy’s whereabouts would be discovered and her killer brought to justice.[9]

1 Kanika Powell’s Murder

After 28-year old Kanika Powell finished her tour of service, she began a career working as a security contractor at Johns Hopkins University in the Applied Physics Laboratory. After two years, her job became permanent and much more involved. She worked on projects relating to National Security and the Department of Homeland Security. Due to the sensitive nature of her daily tasks, Kanika was very alert. So, when a man pretending to be an FBI agent tried to enter her home, Kanika resisted and called the police. She also let her loved ones know what had happened.

Another man showed up at her door a mere four days later, claiming that she needed to sign for a delivery. Kanika refused to let him in and called her mother later to discuss the incident. The same day she left her apartment to run errands, arriving back just before midday. Someone was hiding in the hallway, and as Kanika approached her apartment, the person shot her several times. Kanika died of her injuries the following day.

3 months later, 31-year old Sean Green was ambushed while waiting at a red light. He was shot nine times. Sean worked at a National Security contractor and was murdered 25 miles from where Kanika lived.

Both murders remain unsolved.[10]

For more lists just like this one, check out 10 Incredibly Tragic Unsolved Child Murders, and Top 10 Unsolved Mysteries In Physics.

fact checked by Jamie Frater

Estelle is a regular writer for Listverse.