5 Times Normal People Forced The Cops To Do Their Jobs
We supposedly created a group of people called "the police" to investigate and solve crimes. After all, if we left that duty to ordinary citizens, chaos would follow, and who could afford all those magnifying glasses, right? But sometimes police sit on their asses and let things go unsolved for years. Then it really does fall on ordinary citizens to light a fire under those asses. Like when ...
A Man Falsely Confessed To Murder To Get The Police To Find The Real Killer
In 1995, 15-year-old Nicole van den Hurk, who was living in the Netherlands with her stepfather, went missing. Almost two months later, her body was found in the woods, with broken bones and fatal stab wounds. Police looked into those closest to Nicole -- her stepfather Ad and stepbrother Andy -- but ended up clearing both of them. The case went cold for 15 years, which didn't sit well with Andy, who was pretty sure he knew who did it. So in 2011, he did the only thing he could think of that would get the long-cold case reopened: He went to the police and confessed to killing Nicole.
This resulted in the police exhuming Nicole's body and finally testing the DNA of the semen that had been found on her. And the results were, um, less than triumphant, as the three strains of DNA found belonged to Nicole's boyfriend at the time of her death, a man named "Jos de G," and, shit, Andy. There's so much awfulness to unpack there, but let's stick with the murder story, because that's the only part that we really know anything about.
Andy revealed to the media that the exhumation and testing had been his goal all along. He admitted that it could have gone horribly wrong, but he had to act because he now knew who the killer was. It was his father, and the DNA test would prove it! Except not quite, since it was determined that the killer was in fact that random "Jos de G" guy, who it turned out had previously been convicted of multiple sex crimes. He was sentenced to 12 years, leaving Andy and Ad to continue on with a presumably very, very tense relationship.
Related: 5 Mind-Blowing Ways People Solved Unsolvable Cold Cases
A Murder Victim's Brother Discovers The Suspect Isn't As Dead As Everyone Thought
Two black 19-year-olds, Charles Moore and Henry Dee, were hitchhiking in Mississippi in 1964 when the exact thing you think is going to happen happened. They were picked up by a man who happened to be KKK member James Ford Seale. He and his Klansmen buddies bound Moore and Dee to trees, beat them, tied them to an engine block, and then threw them into a river while they were still alive.
Their bodies were found months later by divers, and while the FBI tracked down Seale and a friend, the charges were eventually dropped. Why? Well, the FBI was also investigating the prominent case of three murdered civil rights activists, so the Moore/Dee case was pushed to the local authorities. People suspected that officials may have had ties to the Klan at that time, so it's no wonder that someone said "Oops, now where I did I drop that double murder case file? Oh well."
Four decades later, Charles Moore's brother Thomas visited Mississippi to make a documentary about the killings. He wanted some kind of justice for Charles, but this probably wouldn't come in the form of any kind of punishment for Seale, seeing as how the guy had died some years earlier, according to reports. But then when he was in a gas station talking to some locals, he mentioned Seale's name. "He ain't dead," said the man there, "I'll show you where he lives." And when they knocked at his door, there was the killer, almost 70 years old. He didn't want to talk, but he couldn't escape Moore's camera.
A U.S. attorney happened to be an army buddy of Thomas', and when he heard about the case, he jumped on it. Seale was eventually found guilty and got three life sentences. He ended up dying in prison, which is nice, even if it was after living 40 years of undeserved freedom.
Related: 5 Awesome Vigilantes Who Solved Crimes Better Than The Cops
A Florida Mother Erects Billboards To Convince Police Her Son Wasn't Eaten By Gators
In the 2017 Oscar-grabbing film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a mother buys space on billboards in hopes of reopening the cold case of her child's death. But in Three Billboards, the mother suffers for seven months after the murder. A real-life counterpart, Cheryl Williams, kept fighting for 18 years to resolve the death of her son Mike.
Mike disappeared in December 2000 while duck hunting. Police closed the case, saying he'd probably been eaten by alligators, as he was a Florida man and alligators are basically the Florida Supreme Court. But Cheryl thought otherwise, and since Mike's widow Denise netted a cool $1.75 million life insurance payout, and God apparently told her "Hey, Denise's story is bullshit," she kept fighting. Cheryl spent years keeping the pressure on investigators, not only buying billboard space, but also taking out newspaper ads and writing to the governor thousands of times. This cost her all of her retirement money.
Of course, alligators aren't really that prolific in December. In fact, in the winter, they may not eat at all. But that fun Nat Geo fact wasn't enough to solve the case. Then in 2016, there was a development: Denise was kidnapped. And the kidnapper was a dude named Brian, who was another ex-husband of Denise and *insert dramatic orchestral music* Mike's former best friend.
So when police interrogated Brian, thanks to Cheryl, Mike's case was probably fresh on their minds too. And Brian, eager for a deal (and being the one who'd killed Mike) had a lot to say on the matter. Denise had masterminded the murder, as Cheryl has suspected, but Brian was the one who took him out on a boat, pushed him overboard, then shot him in the face with a 12-gauge (you know, as best friends do). Brian got 20 years for the murder, Denise got life, and alligators everywhere found momentary vindication.
Related: Insane Coincidences That Solved 'Unsolvable' Crimes
A Tech Millionaire Convinces Police To Investigate Mass Hate Crimes
When Scott Johnson was found dead at the foot of a cliff in Australia in 1988, it was ruled a suicide. Police noted that fatal leaps from the cliffs weren't all that rare, and Johnson had disrobed completely prior to plummeting off, so some amount of pre-planning had to have gone into it. Scott's brother Steve, who lived in America, thought there had to be some other explanation.
Steve suspected murder, but there wasn't a whole lot he could do about it. As the years went by, however, Steve found himself able to do a whole lot of things he hadn't previously thought possible, because he became really, really rich. And one of those things was hire an entire team of lawyers, as well as a private investigator brave enough to travel to Australia.
Australia, Steve learned, had had an epidemic of hate crimes against gay victims in the 1980s called "poofter bashing." Sydney police finally agreed to reopen Scott's case, and they ended up concluding that yes, Scott's death was both a homicide and a hate crime.
And his was far from the only one. They looked closer at a whole lot of other men found dead at the bottom of cliffs, and discovered a whole lot more murder. The police put together a team called Strike Force Parrabell which looked at 88 suspicious deaths, none having been investigated as murders at the time. By last June, they'd concluded that 27 of these were hate crime victims, and they even managed to convict the murderers of eight. So to all of the other tech millionaires out there looking for something to do with the money, let this serve as a suggestion. You don't really need another boat.
Related: 5 Police Cases That Basically Solved Crimes Using Magic
A Man Tracks Down A Screenwriter's Body, And Police Don't Care
Gary DeVore was a screenwriter who did an uncredited rewrite on the Academy-Award-winning Timecop, and also wrote Schwarzenegger's Raw Deal and a bunch of other stuff, right up until he went missing in 1997. While driving on the day he died, he made a call to his wife and she became convinced that he was under duress. Conspiracy theories soon spread about DeVore working covertly for the CIA. He'd been penning a script about the agency's operations in Panama, and as you know, when government agencies hire, they start with the authors of '90s Jean Claude Van Damme vehicles.
A year went by, and still there was no trace of DeVore. Enter random dude Douglas Crawford, who read a story on DeVore on the anniversary of his disappearance and recalled how a woman who'd gone missing in the same area ended up being found in the California Aqueduct. So he mapped out DeVore's driving route the night of his disappearance and descended into the aqueduct himself. There he discovered remains of a Ford Explorer, the car DeVore had been driving.
Crawford brought this info to police, and they ... laughed and brushed him off. Unless he was planning on confessing that he'd killed the guy, they joked to "call back Monday." So he put together a 30-page report and faxed it to the sheriff's office, and that was ignored too, even though this was 1998, when faxes were positively revered. Finally, he contacted DeVore's publicist, who contacted police himself, and investigators finally started to give a shit. They got around to interviewing Crawford, though he thought it seemed like they were treating him as a suspect. (So yeah, they really were only interested if he was confessing to killing the guy.)
Police searched the aqueduct and found DeVore's body. The death was officially labeled a traffic accident, and in hindsight, his wife's intuitions sound unconvincing and kind of sad. But conspiracy theorists will never stop speculating that this was a government assassination. The Daily Mail "confirmed" that DeVore's death was connected to the CIA, and boldly asked the real question: If his death was just an accident, THEN WHY WERE HIS HANDS SWITCHED WITH THOSE FROM A 200-YEAR-OLD BODY?
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