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Ten Prime Suspects Whose Names We Still Don’t Know

by Annie Jones
fact checked by Darci Heikkinen

There is an element of luck involved in solving crimes. You also need witnesses, timing, and evidence to find the guilty party. Unfortunately, some suspects stay painfully out of reach—the police know what they did and how they did it, but their identity remains a mystery. The following are ten people who investigators would like to talk to.

Related: 10 Murder Mysteries That Went Unsolved For Years

10 “Kathy” With The Tattoos

Photo Credit: Lynne Bailey / Flickr

A rodeo rolled into the town of Fort Smith, Arkansas, in June 1983. One of the workers called herself “Kathy Johnson” and soon made friends in the small community. Kathy met a single mother of three whose husband was in jail and moved in to help the young woman out.

When friends came over one night, Kathy offered to babysit four-month-old Matthew. In the morning, Matthew was missing from his crib, and Kathy was gone along with the family’s car. The car was later found dumped at a rest stop in Oklahoma, with no trace of the infant or his kidnapper. Kathy may not even be her real name as some people claimed they knew her as “Judy.”

Matthew’s mother—who has never been named—described Kathy’s unusual tattoos of a green and yellow star, a unicorn, and curiously, the name “Kathy” on her right arm.

Matthew is now an adult with no memory of his past and Kathy has never been found.[1]

9 The Left-Handed Smoker

Photo Credit: Ben Stephenson / Flickr

Claudia Lawrence was a chef at the University of York in England. She was reported missing after failing to arrive for work on March 19, 2009. A search of her home showed she had made her bed, brushed her teeth, and left the house. Her slippers were still by the front door.

At 5:35 am, a cyclist spotted a woman, possibly Lawrence, talking to a man dressed in black who held a cigarette in his left hand. Lawrence’s car was searched, and a cigarette butt was found in the ashtray that revealed male DNA. CCTV showed another man in black lurking outside Lawrence’s home the night before at 7.15 pm. The grainy image shows him walk out of the frame, then return with a bag slung over his shoulder. Is this man the “left-handed smoker”? Was it his DNA in the car?

There have been thousands of calls to police and several arrests made, but Lawrence is still missing, and the left-handed smoker has stayed silent.[2]

8 The Voice On The Tape

Photo Credit: Ryan Tir / Flickr

Margaret Fox was a 14-year-old from New Jersey hoping to raise some cash from babysitting. After placing an ad, Margaret was thrilled to receive a call from a man named John Marshall, who needed a sitter for his son. They chatted, and young Margaret agreed to start work on June 24, 1974.

After leaving a contact number, she took a bus to Mount Holly, where John would collect her in his red Volkswagen. Witnesses remember Margaret that day—she wore glasses, and two of her front teeth were missing. However, after she stepped off the bus, she was never seen again. The phone number was traced to a payphone at a local supermarket, and no one knew who John Marshall was or what he looked like.
Then, on June 28, Margaret’s mother received a call from a man with a flat, monotone voice who said, “$10,000 might be a lot of bread, but your daughter’s life is the buttered topping.”

If this was a ransom demand, he never called back or gave further instructions. The recording was regularly played in local churches to keep the case alive.

In 2019, the FBI released enhanced audio of the call and offered a $25,000 reward. No one has identified the caller or been able to confirm whether it was just a hoax. The eerie voice on tape remains the only clue to finding Margaret.[3]

7 Pockmarked Man

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

A group of friends arrived at a bowling alley in Tacoma, Washington. Among them was Theresa English and her 2-year-old daughter Teekah, a shy child who struggled with asthma and allergies. By 10 pm, Teekah had drifted away from the group toward the games in the arcade, and her mother followed. Teekah was engrossed in a racing car game as English turned to watch the bowling. When she turned back, Teekah had disappeared. There was no trace of her in the arcade, and the group frantically searched the whole building. Witnesses reported seeing a maroon Pontiac Grand Am speeding out of the parking lot just after Teekah’s disappearance. Police searched their database but couldn’t trace the car or its owner.

Other witnesses spoke of a man’s strange behavior that night. He was seen following a child, coaxing them toward the exit doors. He was a white male aged 30–40 years old, with a distinctive pockmarked face. Despite these details, neither Teekah nor the pockmarked man has been seen since that night in January 1999.

The bowling alley has been torn down and is now a furniture store. Theresa English returns every year to light a candle for her lost child.[4]

6 The Bleeding Hand

Photo Credit: Binary Koala / Flickr

Sandy Drummond lived a quiet life in rural Scotland. The ex-soldier had few friends but was a reliable worker at the local paper mill. Then, one Thursday in June 1991, Drummond suddenly quit his job at the paper mill, withdrew his life savings, and told his family he planned to go abroad.

At 8 pm that night, he was found dead, face down on a deserted farm road. Police believed he had died of natural causes, and months passed with no investigation until a post-mortem examination revealed he had been strangled. The absence of ligature marks on his body suggested that he had been killed by a rare Jui Jitsu chokehold, but vital evidence had been lost.

At 7.25 am on the day of the murder, a motorist saw Drummond run past holding a blue sports bag. At 2.30 pm, a witness on a bus in the area reported seeing a man clutching a blood-soaked bandage around his arm. Despite an appeal, this man has never been traced, and the blue bag was not found.

Police found Drummond’s cash hidden in his home with a handwritten list of employees from the paper mill. An orange-colored car was also noted as parked near Drummond’s home in the days preceding his death. Drummond chose not to share his secrets, and the mystery continues.[5]

5 The Woman In A Patterned Dress

Photo Credit: Buttontree Lane / Flickr

Realtor Lindsay Buziak took a call from a woman seeking a $1million property in Saanich, BC, Canada. Something about the caller unnerved Buziak, so she asked her boyfriend Jason Zailo to accompany her to the appointment. Buziak arrived alone at 1702 De Sousa Place as Zailo was running late. Witnesses saw the buyers arrive—the woman wore a boldly patterned dress in red, white, and black. They entered the house, but no one saw them leave. When Zailo arrived, he found Buziak upstairs—she had been killed, receiving multiple stab wounds.

Police determined that the cell phone used to call Buziak was purchased under a false name and never used again. Despite witness accounts, it was a year before Saanich police released a sketch of the well-dressed couple.

Nine years later, a friend of Buziak’s made a discovery at a thrift store—the infamous dress was on sale, nearly new. She snapped it up to give to police, who found no evidence that it was the original garment.

The case is still unsolved and is rife with conspiracies, with claims the police know who the phones used by the killers belong to.[6]

4 Sweating Man

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Jill Dando, a much-loved TV presenter, was shot dead on her London doorstep in April 1999. The execution-style murder was completely at odds with Jill’s wholesome image, and police found no clues in her personal life. Several eyewitnesses saw a well-dressed man loitering outside her house before the shooting.

Further witnesses saw the same man running away from the area and boarding a bus where the driver remembers him “sweating profusely.” He exited the bus, and “Sweating Man” was never seen again—but he soon became the main focus of the investigation.

Police turned their attention to Barry George, a loner with a history of stalking women. In 2001, he was convicted of Dando’s murder based on a speck of gunpowder found in his coat pocket. But he was later acquitted in 2008.

Sweating Man remains a person of interest. Theorists have claimed he could be a Serbian warlord, a London crime boss, or various ex-lovers. Or he could just be a man running for a bus. No one has ever come forward to rule themselves out, and the case remains unsolved.[7]

3 Man With A Warning

Photo Credit: CJS*64 / Flickr

Wendy Knell and Caroline Pierce were strangers whose paths often crossed. They both lived alone in basement flats in Tunbridge Wells, UK. They worked in different shops on the same street and ate at the same café.

The coincidences continued when Knell was savagely murdered in her bed in June 1987. Five months later, Pierce vanished, and her body was later found in marshland 40 miles away. Both victims’ keys and a diary were missing, but no one heard or saw anything except a 19-year-old neighbor. She told police about a chilling encounter days before Knell’s murder when a man had knocked at her door to warn her to keep her windows shut at night. Police believe the killer entered Knell’s flat through a faulty window.

A full DNA profile of the murderer exists but no match has been found—and the man with a warning never returned.[8]

2 Mr. Bojangles

Photo Credit: Mr. Blue MauMau / Flickr

School friends Christopher Byers, Stevie Branch, and Michael Moore went to play in the woods one May evening in West Memphis, Arkansas, and were brutally murdered. While the town searched for the eight-year-old boys, a slim black man with a cast on his arm walked into Bojangles restaurant nearby. He appeared dazed and was bleeding, his clothes caked with mud. He stumbled into the ladies’ restroom, and police were called.

An officer arrived at the drive-thru window to speak to the manager, but the man had left. Unaware of the missing children, the staff cleaned the blood-splattered walls of the restroom and retrieved a pair of sunglasses from the toilet bowl. It was only after the murders that the man—dubbed “Mr. Bojangles,” became a suspect. Police returned to the restaurant to take blood scrapings and bag the sunglasses.

Three local teenagers—Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin—were eventually charged. When the case went to trial, the story of Mr. Bojangles came to nothing as police testified that they had lost the blood samples and sunglasses. The three teens were found guilty but, after a long campaign, were released in 2011 as part of a plea deal.

There has been no justice for the victims as the real killer is still free. What part Mr. Bojangles played, if any, will never be known.[9]

1 Bridge Guy

Photo Credit: DeeAshley / Flickr

On a sunny winter’s day in 2017, Liberty German, 14, and Abigail Williams, 13, went hiking at the Monon High Bridge near Delphi, Indiana. Libby happily posted photos of Abby on Snapchat until they realized they weren’t alone. So Libby began to film a man who was following them, and what she recorded has both helped and thwarted police ever since.

When the girls didn’t arrive for their ride home, police and volunteers searched into the night, and their bodies were found the next day, February 14. Police released Libby’s photo of the man now forever known as “Bridge Guy.” On February 22, there followed audio of Bridge Guy’s gruff voice saying, “Down the hill.” A composite sketch of the suspect was also released.

Two years passed with no leads on Bridge Guy. Then, in April 2019, police announced that the man in the sketch was no longer a suspect, and a new drawing was issued of a totally different person. New Bridge Guy looked younger and had been drawn just days after the murders using eyewitness accounts.

The video from Libby’s phone has been essential for police who insist the case is still live. Bridge Guy’s identity is still unknown.[10]

fact checked by Darci Heikkinen