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The Strangest True Crime Cases in States Across the Country: Part Five

Bizarre crime in a town near you...

US on the globe
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  • Photo Credit: Greg Rosenke / Unsplash

We’ve taken you from coast to coast uncovering the weirdest, most bizarre, and truly strange crimes in every state. From the snowy towns in Alaska to the sandy beaches of Hawaii and trekking the remote swamps in Florida, we’ve found a murderous love hexagon, a wacky pirate broadcast, and a disappearing (and reappearing) man.

After covering forty states, we’re bringing you the final ten, completing our journey of the inexplicable and peculiar events lurking across the United States. If your state isn’t on this list, be sure to check out Part One, Part Two, Part Three, and Part Four to find it. 

Iowa—The Copper Dollar Ranch Murders

trailer in remote area
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  • Photo Credit: Greg Ortega / Unsplash

When a ranch hand went to Stephen Fisher’s on-site trailer the morning of March 3, 1983, the was shocked to find the bodies of Fisher and his girlfriend, Melissa Gregory. They were both bludgeoned to death so severely, they were unrecognizable and had to be identified through dental records and fingerprints.

The last people to see them alive were Fisher's estranged wife and her twin brother. Their rocky marriage made her a prime suspect, but it was rumored that Stephen was a drug informant and the ranch owner a drug runner. Charges were never filed against the ranch owner, and without any evidence, Fisher’s ex-wife was eventually acquitted. The case remains unsolved.

New Mexico—The Maybe Death of Arthur Manby

The last known photograph taken of Arthur Manby according to Taos News.
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  • Photo Credit: The last known photograph taken of Arthur Manby according to Taos News.

When Arthur Manby arrived in Taos, New Mexico, it didn’t take long to solidify his reputation of being the most hated man in town. His unscrupulous business interests revolved around acquiring land by any means necessary, including swindling people of their property, brokering deals with shady politicians, and stealing water rights. So, when he was found dead in his house, no one was surprised or cared.

At this point, Manby was rumored to be severely in debt, was possibly hiding a serious illness, and perhaps had run afoul of the secret society many believed had protected him. But while his death was ruled as natural causes, an exhumation proved that his head had been severed. Witnesses claim a vagrant went to his home and the corpse was his. Manby was allegedly seen at the train station the night of his death and in Europe months later. Was he murdered? Or a murderer? The truth remains a mystery to this day.

Related: 33 Terrifying True Crime Documentaries on Netflix You Can Stream Tonight

Louisiana—The Disappearance of A.J. Breaux

A.J. Breaux
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  • Photo Credit: A.J. Breaux

A.J. Breaux lived a simple life. Lifelong resident of Houma, Louisiana, he had three daughters and worked in a single clothing store for over three decades. For much of his life, he struggled with an alcohol problem, but had been sober for eight years and volunteered much of his time at a support group for other struggling alcoholics.

The evening of August 28, 1991, A.J. left the support group and stopped at a convenience store for a gallon of milk. He never came home. His car was found two days later, with his keys, wallet, and checkbook inside. Witnesses saw him being escorted by three men in a red car. With no evidence of foul play, a body, or any leads to indicate where A.J. went, who took him, or why, the case has long gone cold

Maryland—The Tragic Death of Askia Khafra

empty basement
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  • Photo Credit: Oleksandr Chernobai / Unsplash

Daniel Beckwitt was a troubled young man. Kicked out of school and charged with multiple felonies, Daniel moved to his empty childhood home and began to dig tunnels beneath the foundation while pretending to be a crypto millionaire online. He caught the attention of Askia Khafra and promised to invest in his app if Askia would live in the tunnels and help him dig. 

One night, a fire broke out and because of the immense amount of clutter in the basement, Askia died trying to get out. No one really know why Daniel was digging an extensive network of tunnels, or why he insisted Askia sleep underground. Daniel’s conviction of murder was eventually overturned, but he’s still serving time for involuntary manslaughter.

North Dakota—A Gruesome Farmhouse Discovery

old creepy farmhouse
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  • Photo Credit: thomas shellberg / Unsplash

Eugene Butler owned a farm in quiet Niagara, North Dakota. He mostly kept to himself, only interacting with the few hired hands who worked for him. In 1906, he was admitted to the State Hospital for the Insane, and six years later he died. After his death, the buildings on his property were demolished and a gruesome discovery was revealed. 

Beneath the foundation of his farmhouse were six bodies, all unidentified, killed with blunt force trauma to the back of their heads. There were only five people who worked on the farm, and reports indicate all the bodies were male. To this day, the bodies are still unidentified and no one knows what actually happened.

Michigan—The Real-Life Story Behind Jeepers Creepers

speeding van
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  • Photo Credit: Jason Leung / Unsplash

After a bitterly contested divorce, Dennis LePue arrived at his ex-wife Marilynn’s house to pick up his two children on April 15, 1990. The siblings didn’t want to go, sparking a vicious fight between the couple that quickly turned physically violent. Dennis carried his incapacitated wife to his van, telling the kids he was taking her to the hospital, only they never arrived.

Later that day, two siblings were driving in the countryside when a van sped past them. The sister noticed it again as they passed an abandoned school and saw a man struggling with a bloody sheet. Minutes later the van raced behind them and stayed for several miles before pulling over and changing license plates. The next day, Marilynn’s body was discovered. Almost a year later, the case was featured on Unsolved Mysteries, when Dennis was finally caught. The first half of Jeepers Creepers follows the siblings' account of events.

Related: John List: The Father Who Killed His Entire Family and Almost Got Away With It

South Carolina—The Mysterious Life of Walter Rice

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  • Photo Credit: Alexander Redl / Unsplash

On January 25, 1992, Walter Rice took a cab home after being in a car accident. The next time anyone saw him was around a year later when two people tried to break into his trailer and found his dead body. But another two months passed before one of the intruders called the police to notify them of their find. Investigators tried to find Walter’s next of kin but had difficulty piecing information about his life together. 

At a hospital, Jane Rice was listed as next of kin, but authorities couldn’t find anyone with that name. At another, James Edwards was listed, but that turned out to be a former neighbor. His social security number was fake, his birth certificate forged, and because his passport was filled with dozens of visas from all over the world, investigators believe he may have been involved with the CIA. The mystery of who Walter Rice has yet to be solved.

Montana—The Baffling Case of the Unknown Legs

Walter Hinick/Montana Standard
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  • Photo Credit: Walter Hinick/Montana Standard

On June 26, 2012, a father and son were hiking near Moulton Reservoir Road. They found a plastic bag, and when they looked inside, they found two male human legs still wearing pant legs, socks, and boots. Based on the condition of the remains, authorities determined the time of death to have occurred sometime in early June.

Despite searching the area, no other body parts were discovered and no clues regarding who the legs belonged to. Extensive DNA tests have been done to missing people reports but have yet to be matched to the legs. Ten years later, every lead has been a dead end. It remains an active case.

Related: Dr. Buck Ruxton and the Grisly Jigsaw Murders of 1935

Nevada—The Unknown Identity of the Grandpa Bandit

grandpa bandit
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  • Photo Credit: Etienne Martin / Unsplash

In September 1991, after the Valley Bank of Nevada told an elderly man they couldn’t help him with a second mortgage, he came back to the branch with a gun. He ordered the manager to attach a bomb to her wrist, and that it would detonate if she tried to remove it. Because the vault required two people, he attached a second bomb to a teller, where they filled a bag with $37,000.

After he left, the bank was evacuated except for the two employees. When the bomb squad arrived, they quickly determined the bombs were fake. It’s suspected the Grandpa Bandit may have robbed three other banks, but he’s never been identified or caught. If he’s alive, he would be over 90 years old.

Related: Hands Up! 10 Heists that Netted Millions (and Billions)

New Hampshire—The Bear Brook Bodies

barrel in the woods
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  • Photo Credit: Cristian Ceoroiu / Unsplash

In 1985, a hunter came across a barrel in the woods. It was overturned, and inside were human remains. Authorities determined it was two bodies, a woman and a young girl. After searching extensively, they failed to find any leads to identify the bodies or the circumstances that led to their death.

Fifteen years later, a new investigator returned to the scene of the crime and discovered two more bodies, both young girls. DNA tests showed that at least two of the girls were related to the woman, and they believe all four were killed at the same time between 1980–1984. Unfortunately, despite media attention as recently as 2015, the identities of these four victims remain unknown.

Related: The Mysterious Secrets of Bog Bodies