5 Real-Life Crimes With Dumber Twists Than Any Crime Show
Most people became desensitized to plot twists around the time M. Night Shyamalan started making movies about angry plants. However, the real universe remains a huge fan of revelations that would be deemed laughably implausible in a Hollywood screenplay. For instance ...
Terrifying Poetic Clues Surrounding A Murder Victim Are Actually A Church's Bizarre Game
When a couple of joggers in Florida stumbled upon a parked car occupied by a strangled Colombian guy, they decided they should probably call the police. Upon arriving, the investigators noticed a plastic bag taped to a nearby "No Dumping" road sign. In the bag was a cryptic poem:
Once you're back on the track you'll travel in night. So prepare your old self for a terrible fright ... Now the motive is clear and the victim is too. You've got all the answers. Just follow the clues.
"Yeah, yeah, Sherlock's in London, asshole."
Aw shit, son! It's the dream and dread of every homicide detective: a classic poetry murder hunt, LA Noire-style!
Breaking all the established Hollywood rules, the investigators solved the first puzzle before anyone even had time to claim they were too old for this shit. They soon unearthed a second poem, which read:
Yes. Matthew is dead, but his body not felt. Those brains were not Matt's because his body did melt. For Billy threw Matt in some hot boiling oil. To confuse the police for the mystery they did toil.
Police quickly dubbed the culprit "the Colonel Sanders Killer."
Wait, what? How does a strangled Colombian guy in a car link to an apparently deep-fried dude called Matthew? Was he another victim? How many were there? In their effort to find out how deep the rabbit hole went, the police approached The Miami Herald, which ran a story about the case and asked if anybody knew anything else about these supervillain murder poems. As it turned out, somebody did.
The Ridiculous Twist:
It was the church. The church did it.
Write the poems, that is. Not kill the Colombian.
... As far as we know.
The poems were completely unrelated to the murder, and the only reason one of them was in the vicinity of the victim was blind, stupid bad luck. Representatives of a local church called in and revealed that the cryptic poems were nothing but remainders of a Halloween party, for which several church members made up a bunch of elaborate mysteries for kids to solve.
This particular mystery, which by now was known in the media as the "Liquid Matthew Case" (on account of featuring a now-liquid Matthew) was but one of many, and the only reason the notes were still hanging around was that it rained a whole lot on the night of the game and no one could be bothered to go clean up all the dubious murder notes.
Next to everything else churches do to youth groups, this was labeled "not that creepy, considering."
After the youth group leaders and the detectives shared a hearty laugh while presumably slowly backing away from each other hoping no one would get arrested or murdered, it was back to normal police work. The dead guy was eventually identified as Francisco Patino Gutierrez, and an informant revealed he was a seaman who had allegedly smuggled 11 pounds of cocaine into Miami and gotten killed for his efforts. On one hand, his murderer was not flamboyant enough to leave whimsical notes behind for the cops, so that's something of a downer. On the other, at least he didn't melt the guy.
Woman Realizes Her "Mother" In Fact Kidnapped Her As A Baby
Imagine going to your mother and asking for a completely innocuous document for a routine bureaucratic procedure, and she responds by pulling the rug out from under everything you've ever known. Like if you needed her signature for a report card, and she couldn't sign because she's a hologram. Something even weirder happened to Nejdra Nance when she became pregnant as a teenager.
We avoid this by never calling our mothers, ever.
Nejdra needed her own birth certificate so she could apply for prenatal care, so she asked her mom, Ann Pettway, for it. Instead of the certificate, Petway delivered her a wallop: Not only did she not have the document, but Nejdra wasn't her daughter at all. Pettway said Nejdra had been given to her by a random drug addict. We should note here that this was a lie, and the truth was even worse.
The Ridiculous Twist:
Nejdra kept digging, and her research eventually took her to the website of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children ... where she found a picture of a baby who looked strangely like her. Pettway wasn't Nejdra's mother, or even a surrogate mother. She was her kidnapper.
"Huh. This explains why she never let me drink milk from the carton."
Nejdra's real name was Carlina White, and the woman she'd always called Mom was a random person with mental health issues who one day decided she was going to go grab herself a baby. On August 4, 1987, Pettway disguised herself as a nurse, walked into a hospital, and counseled the mother of a 19-day-old baby. Then, once everyone's backs were turned, she proceeded to steal the shit out of that baby.
In all fairness, Pettway didn't cook and eat the kid. She provided her with a good upbringing, and wasn't motivated by malice -- she had a history of failed pregnancies and was desperate for a child. In even more fairness, though, holy shit, she abducted a child practically from her mother's arms and forced it to live a lie. So no matter how fair we're being, she's still a monster.
One of those monsters you feel kind of sorry for, like the cooler Godzillas.
Carlina's kidnap-mother was promptly arrested and sentenced to 12 years in prison, despite the real parents' calls for some poetic "imprison her for a year for every year she took Carlina away from us" justice. As for Carlina, she immediately distanced herself from the case, presumably retreating to some distant cabin in order to prepare herself for the inevitable sequel of the hackneyed Lifetime movie her life had suddenly become.
A Cop Is Identified As The Killer At The Crime Scene She Is Investigating
New Orleans, 1995. There's been an armed robbery of a restaurant, and a off-duty officer has been shot. The police swarm the scene, knowing a cop-killer may be on the loose. The first officer on the scene finds a witness and coolly asks her what happened. The witness looks at her like she's crazy and replies:
"You know what happened. You were there!"
"Uh, and he was there, and she was there! What an eerie and symbolic dream you must have had!"
The Ridiculous Twist:
Not only had the cop been there -- she was the goddamned killer.
It turns out the officer, Antoinette Frank, had a friend -- a 19-year-old drug dealer called Rogers Lacaze. Frank and Lacaze had devised a plan to rob a Vietnamese restaurant where Frank moonlighted as a security guard. Of course, they chose a night she wasn't working, and of course the place was guarded by another cop making an extra buck on the side.
"Stupid off-duty cops, out there protecting and serving."
Frank and Lucaze immediately shot the cop (who was from Frank's precinct -- they had even partnered previously), and also executed two other potential witnesses (a young man and woman working in the restaurant) before fleeing the scene. The family had considered Frank a trusted friend, and she had eaten in the restaurant an hour before the shootings. What we're trying to say is that the New Orleans police department failed to screen out a person who should have sent up "FUTURE SPREE KILLER" red flags at the application stage.
No one knows for sure how Frank ended up back on the scene, but here's the investigators' best guess: She was worried that a few potential witnesses might still be around, and she needed to go back and finish the job before the rest of the cops showed up. So she dropped off Lacaze and rushed to the police station to request a car, telling them she needed to assist an officer who was down (which, to be fair, was technically correct).
One of the rare times Black Lives and Blue Lives Matter both can agree: Fuck this asshole.
However, one of the two remaining restaurant workers had run off to call the police, and the other one only came out of his hiding place right as the other cops entered the scene. Now forced to play the role of an actual cop, Frank asked what had happened, and the dumbfounded victim immediately called out her shit. Frank was arrested at the scene, and now holds the distinction of being one of the 55 women on death row.
A Rapist Doctor Tricks Canadian CSI By Impanting Fake Blood In His Arm (Repeatedly)
Kipling, Saskatchewan is home to 1,100 residents, the world's largest paper clip, and a web page that invites you to contemplate which of their figure skaters will become the next Rudi Swiegers. That kind of place. A good spot for, as it turns out, a supervillain to hide out in plain sight. Said villain came in the form of Dr. John Schneeberger, whose preferred pastimes included (presumably) doctoring and (definitely) horrific sexual assault. In 1992, Dr. Schneeberger subdued a woman with powerful anesthetics in his examination room and ... well, you know. In 1994, he repeated the deed with a second victim. In 1995, he abused the second victim again, because why not? Psychopaths can't even conceive of ever getting caught.
Despite "Dr. Schneeberger" sounding like a rejected Resident Evil villain.
As such, the doctor did virtually nothing to cover up or hide his crimes, and the victims sure as shit went to the police. So the cops just needed to send a lab technician to get a DNA sample from Schneeberger, and society would be free to toss him in a tiny cell and/or cut his dick off. Right?
The Ridiculous Twist:
Nope! The DNA from the blood sample the lab tech brought back from the doc in 1992 wasn't a match. Schneeberger waltzed away scot-free. A second attempt in 1993 yielded the exact same result. A third try came in 1996, with another big fat nada. Nothing CSI-related could link the doctor to the crimes in any way. Eventually, after the third failed sample, the police got curious and decided to take a sample of the doctor's hair and use that instead. Upon testing the hair, police determined Schneeberger was the rapist from all three episodes. Still, the question remained: How had he managed to literally change his blood?
By sticking a tube of some other dude's blood into his arm, that's how.
Like those scenes in Gattaca and The Dark Knight Rises. The ones we thought made zero sense.
It turns out that being an evil doctor allows for easier access to certain equipment most people wouldn't expect -- say, bags of human blood. Schneeberger's genius method to avoid capture was to take blood from one of his male patients, stick it in a tube, and slip that tube into his arm right next to his vein. But how did he get away with it? Did he perform some skilled sleight-of-hand trick? Did he calmly roll up his sleeve, show the hapless technician the plastic tube, and say, "Yeah, that's the RoboCop vein. Everyone cool has one."
Nope! That would have required skill and planning, and Schneeberger didn't have time for that shit. He simply offered to draw the blood himself, and the technician complied. Three separate times. After all, if you can't trust a doctor ...
A Crime Writer's Co-Worker Turns Out To Be A Notorious Serial Killer
In 1971, former police officer and up-and-coming true crime writer Ann Rule decided to distance herself from the gore-happy details of her day job and the various crises of her personal life by doing some good in the community: volunteering as a suicide hotline operator for one night a week. There, she made fast friends with a handsome young fellow volunteer.
This would surely have led to romance, but the whole "listening to suicides" thing was a mood-killer.
Rule and this young man worked together often and became fairly close, and he told Rule some of his most personal stories -- tales about his background as an illegitimate child, plans to get his girlfriend back, and how his grandmother strangely pretended she was his mom. You know, usual friend stuff. But Rule was still a crime writer by trade, and a few years later, she was working on a book about a string of unsolved murders of women in the Washington area. While investigating, Rule learned that one of the women had heard the killer call himself "Ted." Which was the name of the young, good-hearted guy she had worked with on the suicide hotline.
The Ridiculous Twist:
Hold on now, what was this guy's full name again? Oh, right: Ted fucking Bundy.
"Four homicides in one game."
The similar name and physical description of the killer wasn't enough to make Rule believe that Ted was the culprit -- the dude was volunteering to save the lives of depressed people, for crying out loud -- but it alarmed her enough that she decided to give the cops a "Hey, this is probably nothing, but ..." courtesy call. She told the investigator about Bundy, who unbeknownst to her turned out to own the exact same model of VW Beetle as the killer.
Making him the second-worst person to be involved with the Beetle.
Unnerved, Rule asked for her tip to remain anonymous, which was probably a pretty good move on her part, because the next year, Ted contacted her. Presumably because he knew about Rule's crime journalist career, he wanted to know why the police were suddenly looking into his law school records. Rule checked, found that he was one of the 1,200 suspects the law was looking into, and presumably did a passable enough innocent whistle to avoid ending up in a ditch somewhere.
Seemingly happy with the information, Bundy told Rule: "I think they have some kind of a wild idea I'm connected with some cases up in Washington Everything's going to turn out all right. But if it doesn't, you'll be reading about me in the papers." Lo and behold, she did read about him, when he was arrested. And keep in mind, this isn't like finding out your co-worker killed their spouse in a fit of jealous rage -- Bundy would eventually confess to 30 goddamned murders, and may have committed many more.
We realize virtually all of you reading this can name at least one co-worker whom you believe is plausibly a serial killer. Remember that statistically, no more than one or two of you are right.
Jordan Breeding is a part-time writer, full-time lover, and all-the-time guitarist. Check out his band at http://www.skywardband.com or on Spotify here
For more real crimes fiction could never match, check out 6 People Who Just Fucking Disappeared and 7 True Crimes Solved By Twists Too Ridiculous For Network TV.
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