These murder victims led police right to their killers, after their deaths, thanks to notes, recordings, and even pets left behind. Here are five cases in which the deceased actually helped solve their own slayings.
1. Nadine Haag–Australia
When Nadine Haag was found dead in her shower in December 2009, her death was ruled a suicide. It seemed conclusive at first—her left wrist had been slashed, and there was a suicide note in her handwriting. But her family didn’t believe it. Haag had a volatile relationship with Nastore Guizzon, the father of her child, and Haag’s sisters and brother set out to look for evidence that Guizzon was behind her death. They found it—and it was Haag herself who had led them to it. Behind her suicide note was a message with three words: “He did it.” They were the same three words that the new residents of Haag’s apartment later found etched on a bathroom tile.
2. Wesley Webb–U.S.
Right before Wesley Webb was shot in her home in May 2016, she started an audio recording on her phone. What police heard on the recording was heartbreaking and chilling—and it just may help convict her abusive boyfriend, Keith Smith, of her murder. In the recording, Smith can be heard screaming at Webb, shooting at her, and trying to kill himself. Smith shot himself in the face in a suicide attempt but failed. Three children were home at the time (two of Webb’s, and one of Smith’s) and called the police, who found the phone still recording. Smith has been charged with first-degree murder, third-degree murder, possessing an instrument of crime, and endangering the welfare of children.
3. Robert Sandt–U.S.
Robert Sandt knew that his girlfriend and her new lover were planning to kill him … so he wrote it down. When police found Sandt’s body in November 2001, they also found a letter that named the couple who shot him. In his letter, Sandt described the affair between his girlfriend, Teri Lynn Levanduski, and Lennard Paul Fransen, stating that he had heard the pair talk about getting rid of him. Levanduski and Fransen were convicted and sentenced to life without parole.
4. Neelam Sharma–India
Sharma may not have known she’d eventually lead police to her killer, but her bond with her pet parrot proved to be a powerful force. When police found both Sharma and her dog dead in her home in February 2014, they didn’t know where to start. That is, until Sharma’s husband noticed that Hercule, their pet parrot, had started screeching whenever he heard Sharma’s nephew’s name. Police detained Ashutosh, who quickly confessed to killing his aunt when she caught him in her home, trying to steal cash and valuables.
5. Alexander Davie–Australia
Some victims left behind much more than a note—Alexander Davie left an entire homemade police file. The security guard was making rounds at a steel yard in May 2009 when he was ambushed and stabbed. When police arrived at the home he shared with his wife, Sue Davie, they came upon a chilling scene: she, too, had been brutally murdered. But they also found something else: a file full of documents about Cameron Andrew Stewart and Vladimir Garcia, former employees of Davie’s with rap sheets and a grudge. Davie had suspected the duo of stealing weapons from his safe. Both Garcia and Stewart were convicted and sentenced to at least 25 years behind bars. They’re suspected of killing Anthony Ward, their third accomplice in Davie’s murder, and will likely be tried for his death as soon as they’re out.
Related: How Not to Get Away with Murder