Monday, April 22, 2019

List Series: 10 Unsolved Home Invasion Mysteries

Home is usually the place where a person feels the safest. This is why home-invasions are perhaps one of the most frightening crimes that can occur to a person or family--particularly because it's rather unexpected and victims likely do not see it coming. While home invasions are mostly personal/committed by people close to the victim(s), many of these crimes remain unsolved. Below is a list of 10 unsolved mysteries involving home invasions.

10. The Murder of Stephen Spina

Stephen Spina was brutally murdered inside his Mamaroneck, New York apartment on September 17th, 2007. The 36 year-old had plans to meet his girlfriend for lunch that day, but he never showed up. Stephen's girlfriend then went to his apartment to check on him. When she arrived, she stumbled upon a gruesome scene: Stephen was dead. He had been stabbed to death.

Investigators believed that Stephen's was murdered by somebody he knew--but they have not been able to figure out why. Stephen worked as a postal carrier and he was well-liked in the community. He did not have any known enemies. However his tires were slashed about a month before his murder. Stephen met with police regarding this incident, and he mentioned a co-worker with whom he had recently argued. Said person was reportedly closely investigated after Stephen's murder. The person has never been publicly been identified or ruled out. 

Another theory is that one of Stephen's ex-girlfriends might have been involved. He was reportedly on good terms with his exes, but investigators felt there was a possibility that an ex could have been involved in both his tires getting slashed and his murder. Still, nobody has been formally identified as a suspect--but nobody has been ruled out, either. Stephen's murder remains unsolved today. [read more]

9. The Short Family Murders
Mary (36) and Michael (50) with their daughter, Jennifer (9) pictured together in 2002

On the evening of August 15th, 2002, a co-worker of Michael Short was passing by the Short's Bassett, Virginia home when he spotted Michael laying in a pool of blood inside his family's enclosed carport. The co-worker called police, who entered the home and discovered that Michael had been shot to death. They then searched the home, and found Michael's wife Mary Short shot to death in their bedroom. Michael and Mary's 9 year-old daughter, Jennifer Short, was nowhere to be found. An Amber Alert was issued, and a search for the young girl quickly ensued. 

The professional searches for Jennifer unfortunately came up empty. Then, on September 26th, 2002, a man walking his dog found remains near a creek in Rockingham County, North Carolina--located approximately 35 miles away from the Short's home. Those remains were later confirmed to be that of Jennifer Short. Like her parents, Jennifer had also been shot to death. 

This unsolved case leaves many unanswered questions. Who would want the Short family dead? Why was Jennifer taken to a different location? Was she held captive for a period of time before she was killed? Perhaps the most haunting question, though, is the motive. Why did someone kill this entire family? [read more]

8. The Murder of Anita Knutson
18 year-old Anita Knutson (2007)

Anita Knutson was savagely murdered inside her Minot, North Dakota apartment on June 3rd, 2007. At the time of her death, Anita was a freshman at Minot State University and she lived with a roommate near the college campus. Anita's roommate was out-of-town on the evening of June 3rd--leaving Anita at the apartment by herself. After not hearing from her for over a day, Anita's father went to her apartment to check on her. Knocks to Anita's apartment door went unanswered, so her father was eventually able to get the apartment's manager to let him in. When he entered, he stumbled upon a horrific scene: Anita was dead. She had been stabbed to death in her own bedroom.

It appears that whoever killed Anita broke into the apartment. The front door was locked, but the screen on Anita’s bedroom window had been slashed and pushed out of the frame—suggesting that the killer had entered through said window. Police initially had many leads to follow.They investigated apartment maintenance workers, Anita’s friends from school, and various people who were seen in the area around the time of Anita’s murder. Unfortunately, nothing panned out. Since then, leads have been very scarce and Anita’s case has gone cold. Her killer remains free today. [read more]

7. The Murder of Gabby Bledsoe
16 year-old Gabby Bledsoe (2013)

Gabrielle 'Gabby' Bledsoe was only 16 years-old when she was brutally murdered inside her family’s home in Tulsa, Oklahoma on March 1st, 2013. She was last seen by her mother Lacrecia Bledsoe that evening, before Lacrecia decided to go spend the night with a friend, leaving Gabby at the home by herself. The following morning, when Lacrecia returned, she found her daughter's body on the floor of their home. At some point throughout the night, somebody had broken into the home and violently stabbed Gabby to death. 

Police identified a person-of-interest relatively early into the investigation. 31 year-old James Barber is that person--he also happens to be an ex-boyfriend of Lacrecia Bledsoe. Barber is currently incarcerated for unrelated charges and he has never been charged with anything related to Gabby's case. Police are still looking for more evidence in the case. Gabby's murder remains unsolved. [read more]

6. The Murder of Sherri Terese Smith
Sherri Smith 

During the early-morning hours of November 21st, 2011, police in Fairfield, Alabama were sent to the home of Sherri Terese Smith (32) in response to a burglar alarm that had sounded off at her residence. Once they arrived, officers found the front door of the home slightly ajar. In the master bedroom, they found Sherri covered in blood. She had been shot and stabbed multiple times. Paramedics pronounced Sherri dead upon their arrival.

Although the police responded to Sherri’s burglar alarm going off, they stated there was otherwise no sign of forced entry at Sherri’s home. Additionally, there were no items taken from the home that would suggest burglary. Due to this, police do not believe that Sherri’s murder was a robbery gone bad. In fact, investigators believe that Sherri knew her assailant, and that the attack was personal. Still, no arrests have been made in the case and no suspects have been publicly announced. Sherri's death remains unsolved today. [read more]

5. The Murder of Brittany Phillips

Brittany Phillips was only 18 years old when she was raped and murdered at her apartment on September 27th, 2004. Prior to her death, Brittany was a college student living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. On the night of September 27th, Brittany spoke with her mother on the phone at about 9pm. Everything appeared fine during their conversation—Brittany complained about having bad allergies, but there was no indication that she sensed any sort of danger.

Unfortunately, Brittany was in danger. Sometime after that phone call, an unidentified person raped and strangled Brittany inside her own home. It is still unknown if her killer broke in late at night or if he was already in the apartment. It was 3 days before anyone knew Brittany had been killed. She was ultimately discovered on October 1st, 2004, after police conducted a welfare check and found her body on her bedroom floor.

Investigators found DNA at the scene that has been compared to approximately 1 million people in CODIS and no matches have been found. DNA was collected from people in the local area as well, which also returned no matches. Only two people from the area refused to submit their DNA, but when a court order was issued, their samples did not match either. Years have passed and the murder remains unsolved. [read more]

4. The Disappearance of John Weisbecker
John Weisbecker

John Weisbecker (21) vanished from his family's Ocean City, New Jersey home under very suspicious circumstances. He was last seen at the home around 10:30am on March 11th 2009. A postal worker spotted John inside the home at that time, however when his mother tried to call him an hour later, the phone when straight to voicemail. When his mother returned home around 9pm, she realized that John was not home. She reported him missing just a few hours later.

Throughout the investigation, detectives have stated that they believe John disappeared shortly before noon. His wallet and cell phone went missing with him, but his phone has been shut off and he has not accessed any of his bank accounts/credit cards since he disappeared. Detectives apparently also found evidence that John did not leave his home voluntarily. It is unclear what evidence was found—whether it was blood, gun shell casings, or some other sign of a struggle; but it is clear that investigators believe John was taken from the home against his will. In fact, the FBI was eventually brought into the investigation and has now classified John’s case as a kidnapping. 

A motive for John's kidnapping remains unknown as well. He was unemployed at the time, and according to investigators, there is no evidence that he was involved with buying or selling drugs. Over a decade has passed, and John's disappearance still remains unsolved today. [read more]

3. The Murder of Samantha Folsom

Samantha Folsom (26) was found murdered inside her Lewiston, Maine apartment on November 9th, 2011. Around the time of her death, Samantha was planning to get clean from drugs in order to gain custody back of her son. She asked her parents to drive her to a rehabilitation facility, however on the day they planned to go, Samantha's parents were unable to get ahold of her. After days passed without hearing from her, Samantha's parents asked the apartment manager to allow them access to her apartment. Once they were let inside, Samantha's mother found Samantha's body stuffed inside a closet. 

Although the exact cause of death has not been revealed, Samantha's death has been classified as a homicide. There were some obvious suspects at first, as Samantha had a tumultuous relationship with both her ex-husband and a more recent ex-boyfriend. However, both men were behind bars at the time of her murder, so they have officially been ruled out as suspects. No other persons of interest have been identified and Samantha's case continues to baffle investigators. Her murder remains unsolved today. [read more]

2. The Murder of Ashleigh Love

Ashleigh Love (19) was murdered inside her family's Milwaukee, Wisconsin home on October 7th, 2009. Around 2am that morning, Ashleigh's mother stated that she was suddenly jolted awake. She looked out the window and saw what appeared to be a male figure running through their yard. Ashleigh's father went to go check on Ashleigh, and he was shocked by what he saw: she had been shot point-blank in the face. Whoever shot her was able to escape from the home undetected. 

Ashleigh's parents and brother were both in the home at the time the shooting occurred, however all were asleep at the time apparently none of them heard the gunfire. After police arrived, they quickly determined that Ashleigh's death was not a robbery gone bad--as no items were missing from the family's home. This baffled both detectives and Ashleigh’s family members—they could not think of anyone who would want her dead. Detectives have interviewed and investigated Ashleigh’s family, friends and acquaintances, but they were unable to find anything that led them to a suspect. Still, detectives do not believe that Ashleigh’s murder was random--they believe she was targeted. [read more]

1. The Murder of Irasema Chavez
Irasema Chavez (left) and surveillance footage of a potential murder suspect (right)

Irasema Chavez (33) was brutally murdered inside her Arlington, Texas apartment on January 20th, 2012. Irasema had moved from Mexico to Texas just a few months earlier, and according to family and friends, she was very happy with her new living arrangements. Irasema lived close to her sister and brother-in-law and was able to see them on a frequent basis. The evening before she was murdered, Irasema asked her sister to bring over her niece for a visit, however her sister decided to wait and bring the niece over the following day. When that time came, Irasema's niece entered the apartment and found a gruesome scene--Irasema was dead, she had been stabbed over 100 times. 

Police have yet to name any suspects in the case, however they did obtain surveillance footage that they believe contains an image of the suspect. While the figure is hard to see, Irasema's family members reportedly do not recognize this person. Said person has never been identified and Irasema's murder remains unsolved today. [read more]

These cases are just a few of many reminders to take safety precautions even while you are inside your own home. While security systems can be quite expensive, there are a few affordable options below:

[Kangaroo Home Security Motion Sensor] [Noopel Burglar Alarm]


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