9 of the Most Heinous Murders of Young People
By Rebecca Leib
9 of the Most Heinous Murders of Young People
Heinous crimes are committed every hour of every day. However, when the victim is young, we feel there has been a greater injustice committed than just the crime itself. When a life is taken prematurely, we feel the need to not only find swift resolution but make sure justice is served. Ask Hayley Winters from the KoldCast TV mystery series The Hayley Project. After her best friend is murdered, she decides to take the investigation into her own hands and broadcast her progress online in the hopes that others will support her cause. Like Hayley, many investigators have gone above and beyond to bring criminals to justice – some have worked hours, others have invested decades. Regardless, the heinous murders of these young victims were not in vein and were not ignored.
The Hayley Project: Episode 1 – Black Roses
1. Sandra Cantu
Sandra Cantu was an 8-year-old girl who was reported missing on March 27, 2009. She was wearing a pink Hello Kitty t-shirt and black leggings. On April 6, 2009, local authorities reported that farm workers had found a suitcase in an irrigation pond that contained the body of the missing child. Two months later, Cantu’s own neighbor, 28-year-old Melissa Huckaby, pled guilty to the murder of little Sandra, as part of a plea deal that spared her life, despite the fact that she was originally charged with kidnapping, rape, and murder. A black Eddie Bauer suitcase that contained the body of Sandra belonged to Huckaby, who reported to have left it in her driveway on the day Sandra went missing.
2. Valerie Percy
In 1966, an unknown perpetrator crept upstairs to a Chicago bedroom, stabbed and then bludgeoned to death a pretty young woman named Valerie Jeanne Percy. Percy was struck on the head and stabbed more than a dozen times. Her nightgown had been pulled up, exposing her nude torso. Her death remained unsolved until forty years later, when new modes of DNA and a review of the case gave the Chicago investigators new leads. Though not yet solved, this case is again on its way.
3. List Family
On November 9, 1971, John List murdered his wife, mother, and three children in Westfield, New Jersey. When his kids, Patricia and Frederick came home, they were shot in the back of the head. John, Jr., the oldest son, was playing soccer that afternoon. List made himself lunch and then drove to watch John play. He brought his son home and then shot him once in the back of the head. List saw John twitch as if he were having a seizure and shot him again. It was later determined that List had shot his eldest son at least ten times. List dragged his dead wife and children, on sleeping bags, into the ballroom of their 19-room Victorian home after each kill. He then cleaned up the crime scene, turned on all the lights, and switched on the radio. He then vanished. List was a fugitive from justice for nearly 18 years, but he was finally apprehended on June 1, 1989 after the story of his murders was detailed on the show America’s Most Wanted. List was apprehended and is now serving five consecutive life sentences in prison.
4. Baby Washington
Chester Turner murdered 13 women between 1987 and 1998. Eleven of these murders took place in a four-block-wide corridor that ran on either side of Figueroa Street and 108th Street in LA. The wrong man was originally implicated for the murders, and Turner went scott free until 2007, when he was ultimately convicted for ten of the murders based on DNA technologies not present in the previous trial. One of his victims was Regina Washington, a young woman who was six months pregnant. Her unborn child also died, and the baby’s death was considered a homicide and added to Turner’s long list of victims.
5. Adam Walsh
In 1981, six-year-old Adam Walsh was abducted from a Sears Department Store. Adam’s severed head was found by two fishermen in a Vero Beach, Florida, canal on August 10, 1981. The rest of his remains have never been recovered. The story was enormously high profile, and Walsh’s father, John, became a huge advocate for victims of violent crimes. John later became the host of TV’s America’s Most Wanted. Convicted serial killer Otis Toole confessed to the murder but was not believed until the case was re-examined in 2008. Toole died in 1996 inside state prison.
6. Riley Fox
In the summer of 2004, Riley Fox, an innocent 3-year-old girl was sexually assaulted, bound and gagged with duct tape and drowned. She was found face-down in a creek in the small town of Wilmington, Illinois. Six years later, a 38-year-old imprisoned sex offender named Scott Eby was charged on five counts of first-degree murder and one count of predatory sexual assault after DNA evidence linked him to Riley.
7. Gerald Mason Murders
Gerald Mason did time for burglary and hitchhiked his way to California. In El Segundo, Mason bound, blindfolded, and stripped four teenagers before raping one and robbing all four. In 2002, with advances in computerized fingerprinting technology, they found Mason living peacefully, as a law-abiding citizen, never getting so much as a parking ticket. Forty-five years made this one of the most high-profile cold cases.
8. The LIL MISS Case
LIL MISS is the name given to the murder case of nineteen-year-old Lisa Marie Kimmell in 1988. Kimmell disappeared while on a trip home from Colorado to Montana. Her body was found floating in the North Platte River near Casper, Wyoming by a local fisherman. An autopsy determined that she had been bound, beaten and raped for at least six days. Evidence showed that she was then taken to the Old Government Bridge, where she was hit on the head with a blunt object and stabbed six times in the chest and abdomen before being thrown into the river. The LIL MISS murder remained a cold case until fifteen years later when DNA profiling linked a prison inmate to her kidnapping, rape and murder. The most vital piece of evidence in the case became Kimmell’s missing car, which had a distinctive personalized license plate, giving the case its name: “LIL MISS.”
9. Rogers Family
Oba Chandler is a convicted rapist and murderer currently on death row. The most notorious of these murders were the 1989 triple-murders of a woman and her two daughters whose bodies were found in Tampa Bay, Florida. All three of the women were found floating in the bay in June, 1989, with their hands and feet bound, concrete blocks tied to their necks and duct tape over their mouths. Autopsies indicated the women had been thrown into the water one by one while still alive. The case remained unsolved and cold for several years, partly due to the volume of tips pouring in to the police investigating the crime. In 1992, Chandler was convicted based on multiple handwriting analyses that matched materials left at the scene of the crime.
The Hayley Project: Episode 2 – The Name Is Hayley
The Hayley Project: Episode 3 – My Suspects
Rebecca Leib received her BFA in Fine Art and MFA in writing and hails from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is a Los Angeles based comedian and writer. Her work can be seen in the pages of many print and online publications, including Beautiful/Decay, Artillery Magazine, Blackbook, Tvgasm, Metrowize and Dailyfill. She has performed at the Second City Studio Theatre, UCB-LA, IOWest and the improv, and can often be seen brooding at sidewalk cafes.