Posts Tagged ‘crime’

Barbara Ann (Hackman) Taylor, ‘Bobbie’ was initially an unknown American woman who was referred to as Tent Girl.

Wilbur Riddle was out in Georgetown, Kentucky, on 17th May 1968 searching for glass insulators at the side of U.S Route 25. He was there to work as a water well-driller and was handed a note to pass some time until his boss arrived, he spotted some telephone workers and they were discarding the glass insulators as part of an upgrade program. He knew they would be useful for a friend so went to collect them.

He was on his way back from his collecting when something caught his eye as he headed back up the dirt track. The smell alone gave away there was nothing good to be found, he nudged a wrapped up green canvas and the body rolled down the slope. It exposed the body of a decomposing woman wrapped up in a heavy green tarpaulin. The material was the type of thing used in the manufacturing of tents, hence the identification.

Riddle immediately drove two miles down the road to alert the Scott County Sheriff, Bob Vance. Vance and his team then came to see and looked into the matter further, her eyes had already rotted away and her flesh was mottled, the poor woman was too decomposed to get a full fingerprint and they had to take one and rehydrate it with chemicals to attempt to gain anything at all.

They were unable to fully establish a cause of death, the best theory to date is that Bobbie was somehow knocked unconscious and rolled up and confined, eventually dying of asphyxiation. There was a section of white towelling and the green canvas sent over to the FBI laboratories in Washington for further analysis but at that point there was not very much more they felt they could do.

A lead came up about her in June, 1968 when her description matched enough features to show up missing Pasadena girl, Debbie Krane, who was last seen getting into the car of her 17 year-old boyfriend, Carl Colby. The 15 year old had gone missing March 3rd, 1968 and with the period of her death being loose enough they decided to ask her parents to come to see if they were able to identify her.

Debbie Krane’s dental records loosely matched that of the girl and at that point the police must have felt they were on track to finding her identity, then an anonymous call came in that said she was alive and well in Bradford, Pennsylvania. A long drive out to Bradford found Krane was alive and well, living with her boyfriend and that she had absconded from her home but was not deceased. They were then stumped once more.

There was another lead for the identification, a somewhat similar case that was linked up, this time from Northampton, Pennsylvania. Candace Clothier was found 13th April, 1968 and had last been seen 9th March, 1968 until her body was found. Two fishermen discovered the young lady decomposed and floating in the creek, she was found in a black cloth bag. Similarities in the case led to a question about them being linked, there is no more on her case, her case has been closed as it was felt that due to no leads and the chances of her murderer already being dead there was nothing more they could do.

‘Tent Girl’ was then a feature in American magazine, Master Detective, in the hopes that it might bring even more to the case and perhaps lead to her identification. She was eventually buried in an unmarked grave, No 90. She was buried in Georgetown Cemetery with a donated headstone and along with the police sketch of her, based on reconstructions from her body, there was also an inscription.

TENT GIRL

FOUND MAY 17 1968

ON U.S HIGHWAY 25,N.

DIED AB OUT APRIL 26 – MAY 3, 1968

AGE ABOUT 16-19 YEARS

HEIGHT 5 FEET 1 INCH

WEIGHT 110 TO 115LBS.

REDDISH BROWN HAIR

UNIDENTIFIED

She was identified in 1998, it was a result of the efforts of Todd Matthews. He was the son-in-law of Wilbur Riddle and having found out about the story he invested in a PC and got a website up and running. He had combed through lists of missing people online. He has since founded The Doe Network, an online database to identify missing people and unidentified descendants.

He got an e-mail from her sister, Rosemary Westbrook, about a young woman who had gone missing from nearby Lexington. It transpires that the family were told by her husband, George Earl Taylor, that she had run off with another man. It seems that this never rested well with Rosemary and she extended her contact to Todd Matthews, Matthews and the family were convinced enough that it led to the exhumation of her body and DNA testing. Cells from Rosemary’s teeth were compared to that of the unidentified woman and they matched up, she was finally identified. Her body was re-interred at the cemetery with her full headstone placed under the original. There is no mention of her marital name on the headstone.

The prime suspect in her murder is Barbara’s husband, George Earl Taylor, and he died of cancer in 1987. This is mentioned on Wikipedia but I have to admit I found no other source about this, given this I am not going to surmise he was involved, there is no evidence she ran away with another man but then again there is no evidence to say she did not.

What we do know is that she was finally identified and given a proper burial based on who she was, her sister was able to learn her fate and mourn properly and Todd Matthews has founded something wonderful to help as many as he can who might be sadly facing that sort of tragedy.

Barbara Ann Hackmann Taylor.jpg
By Source, Fair use, Link

Advertisements

In 1981, Keddie in Nothern California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, USA, was a quadruple homicide that took place in the late evening of 11th April or in the early hours of the 12th. The victims were Glenna Sue Sharp (36), her daughter Tina (12), her son John (15) and his friend Dana Wingate (17). Tina was determined to have gone missing some time after the crime had been discovered. Her skull and several bones were recovered from Camp Eighteen, California in Butte County and as of yet no arrests have been made. In 2004 several cabins, including 28, were demolished because they had been condemned.

Sue’s (Glenna Sue) oldest daughter, Sheila, had stayed with her next-door neighbour in cabin 27 on the night of the murders and went round to find the terrible discovery the next morning. Sue’s two young sons and their friend had been in a sleep over that night and were found uninjured that morning, apparently having not been disturbed by the carnage in the nearby room.

She had been renting the cabin with her five children since November 1980 and on that night was home with her daughter Tina, the young boys and their friend Justin. Her oldest son and his friend Dana had been nearby in Quincy and came over to stay the night. They had been seen that night hitchhiking from Quincy to Keddie and it’s entirely possible the crime was in progress when they arrived.

All three of the victims initially found were tied with medical tape and electrical appliance wire, Tina was later found missing once they had determined who was there and who the victims were. They had been bludgeoned with a claw hammer and both Sue and John had been repeatedly stabbed including in their throats. It was a terrible massacre and they found a bent steak knife that had been used, the force of the attack had caused the damage to the knife.

By 1984 the case had gone cold but they then found a portion of Tina’s skull recovered near Camp Eighteen, around 29 miles from the Keddie site. An anonymous called to the Butte County Sheriff’s department claimed that the skull was hers and the area was searched again. The jawbone and dozens of other bones were found, along with what might have been other evidence. Sadly despite this and the local media coverage nothing new has been discovered and the crime remains unsolved.

 
Keddie murders suspects

A woman stumbled into Ennery, Haiti on 24th October 1936 in a terrible state. Her eyes were diseased and her eyelashes had fallen out, she was dressed in rags and walking barefoot. She hated direct sunlight and is cited as a famous zombie case, brought to the Western culture by American folklorist and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston. She was looking for some confirmation about the zombie phenomena because of soldiers and sailors bringing back stories about them.

‘Felicia’ was said to have spoken in a very flat and emotionless way, she displayed little interested in anything and her laugh was flat and lacked real mirth. She was quite indifferent to events around her and an X-ray taken put into doubt that she might ever have been Felicia as they did not match, the original woman had suffered a fractured leg but there was no sign of this on the recently deceased woman.

The woman attracted a crowd and a local family, the Mentors, said she looked like a deceased relative called Felicia who died in 1907, aged 29 years-old. She was taken home to the family but was transferred to a state hospital a few days later. Hurston thought that what had happened was due to drugs or poison and not due to black magic.

The case for the drug/poison case is due to the postulation that tetrodotoxin (derived from puffer fish) is used in the bokor’s mixture used in Black Magic rituals. Wade Davis went out to look into it and found that they made their ‘zombie powders’ from various animal parts and plants. It was the use of this in various formats that could cause the brain-washed and lethargic nature of the victims they chose, before burial they looked dead and the bokor would then ‘revive’ them later. To get the dosage right would be something precise too, it could fail as often as it was recorded to succeed, and a bokor is hardly likely to hand over their secrets that easily either.

Dr Louis P Mars suggested that rather than her being a case as a zombie she was more likely to have been suffering schizophrenia. Unfortunately it was only a few weeks of survival, she died in the hospital.

Another interesting fact about these zombie cases is that it is a criminal offence in Haiti, under the Haitian Penal Code (Article 246) it is illegal to create a zombie, it is on par with murder only the victim is technically still alive.

z2

A small note on the picture. Whilst most sites are using this picture as Felicia I cannot verify this as her actual image.

A 14th Century castle, situated around 3 miles north of the fishing town of Arbroath  Angus, Scotland. The castle dates to be around 1300 when the monks at Arbroath Abbey built a sandstone keep. The castled seems to have passed through several hands of the de Maxwell family and then into the ownership of Scotland’s last  Cardinal, David Beaton. Beaton was murdered in St Andrews in 1546.

The castle was purchases in 1665 by the Carneige family, they later became the Earls of Northesk, and they owned it until 1928 when it was brought by William Cunningham Hector. The castle is thought to be the bases for the Castle of Knockwhinnock in Sir Walter Scott;s novel The Antiquary.

The castle was then restored by the chief of the Forsyth Clan, Alistair Forsythe, and it served as their seat. The castle is also now owned by the de Morgan family who have converted it into a hotel. And as with any castle, I thought I’d bring up the subject of ghosts. Now David Beaton is said to be one of the hauntings there, it’s not a surprise really, after all being murdered is a pretty upsetting thing! However he’s not alone because there are rumours of a Grey Lady there too. Let’s hope she isn’t dressed to scandalously for the Cardinal.

Ghosts UK Entry

In Palm Beach County, Florida there is an hold Victorian House that had been built in 1905 at West Palm Beach but was dismantled and moved to Yesteryear Village. This is a historical park in the South Florida Fairgrounds, Royal Palm Beach. Riddle House was a funeral parlor that became privately owned by Karl Riddle in the  1920’s. It was also called Gatekeeper’s College, and there was a cemetery in the area known as Woodlawn that unfortunately suffered at the hands of criminals. Bodies were exhumed so that they could try and get hold of the deceased’s possessions and that’s when the house was built for security.

The house is said to be haunted and in 2008 was visited by the Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures for an investigation. It’s hardly surprising that an old funeral home would bring these sorts of rumours; however I can safely say that when I worked in a funeral home the worst offenders of scaring me were other members of staff and certainly not spectres.

In the early days of the place there was a tragic death, the worker at the cemetery died during an argument with someone in the community, the locals reported that he could be
seen walking along the cemetery and around the home. He carried on as he had in life with his work but never seemed vengeful or angry. Of course coming face to face with him was pretty scary in itself.

Riddle then got the property in the 1920’s and acquired the position of manager of the city; they had a need for someone to oversee the cemetery and provided him the home to live in. Riddle enjoyed the home until an employee hanged himself in the attic of the house to escape economic woes and depression. It seems that the house has taken on a  creepy little life of it’s own really, noises and distant conversations have been commonly reported. There were also the sounds of chains that moved and in the end the Riddle house fell into disrepair because of the frightful events meaning people did not stay long. The house seemed doomed as businesses failed and paranormal reports continued. Palm Beach Atlantic were the local  college that tried to use this as a dorm for female students but this also failed.

1980 saw the city opting to destroy the property but Karl Riddle’s nephew, John, felt that it has historical value and should be preserved. It was moved to the Yesteryear Village to be enjoyed as a historical monument. But the story never ended there, workers putting it back together again found their tools moved, the windows broken and described  their personal experiences. Many of the workers had quit before it was decided they would postpone the construction for a while and eventually work continued and the building was completed.

There was a social gathering the day it opened and already people wanted to go into the place that had a history of paranormal events. They appeared to have got a lot more than anticipated when numerous people took pictures of a couple that did not show up in any of the pictures. It seems that the property and not the location are the attraction for the spirits at Riddle House.