The killing of this spirited young cheerleader could have come straight from a teen slasher movie.

Jessica Keen, who was murdered in 1991
Jessica Keen, who was murdered in 1991
Murder victim Jessica Keen (Image: Bonnie’s Blog of Crime)

Jessica Lyn Keen from the city of Columbus in Ohio was a 15-year-old honour student in the spring of 1991. A cheerleader at her local high school, she loved animals and had high hopes of becoming a zoologist.

But as she waited for a bus one day, she fell prey to a cruel and sadistic predator. Her violent murder would remain unsolved for almost two decades — until a chance DNA hit by determined detectives finally put her killer away for good.

It was March 1991, and Jessica Keen and her mother Rebecca Smitley were clashing over the teenager’s love…


Could Helltown, Ohio be a breeding ground for evil?

A picture of creepy hands surrounding tree trunks in a wood
A picture of creepy hands surrounding tree trunks in a wood
If you go down to Helltown, could you get a big surprise? (Image by Simon Wijers from Pixabay)

Just south of Cleveland in the US state of Ohio lies a sleepy little place called Boston Township. Made up of villages including Peninsula and Boston Heights, it has a population of fewer than 2,000 and can trace its history back to 1805.

However, there was once a smaller settlement there called Boston Mills whose story is far less tranquil. In fact, so prevalent there were stories of satanic cults, serial killers and spirits that it was nicknamed Helltown and became a no-go area for many locals.

Here, we’ll take a closer look at some of the legends surrounding what…


It should have been his last drive before retirement, but someone killed this friendly trucker instead.

Murder victim and trucker Bob Nelson
Murder victim and trucker Bob Nelson
Bob Nelson, who was murdered in 1999 (Image: Press Democrat)

It was June 1999, and 59-year-old truck driver Bob Nelson from California was on his last delivery run the week before he was due to retire. He was scheduled to do a drop-off in Miami on a route that would take him through Alabama before he headed home to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary.

However, instead of being able to commemorate both this happy occasion and leaving the world of work behind, the genial family man was found dead off a stretch of rural highway two weeks later.

It would be a further nearly 18 years before his killer was…


A DNA match should have led straight to a conviction, but there are now concerns this may not be the case.

Sophie Sergie, who was murdered in 1993
Sophie Sergie, who was murdered in 1993
Murder victim Sophie Sergie (Image: Defrosting Cold Cases)

Sophie Sergie was a young woman who had made plans to visit a friend at the University of Alaska Fairbanks one weekend in the spring of 1993. It would make a pleasant stop-off en route to have dental treatment in the same town the next day, she thought.

However, she never made it to her appointment and her body was later found on the college campus, where she had fallen victim to a vicious attack. When forensic evidence was linked to a suspect decades later, police triumphantly announced they had her killer in custody.

But in an astonishing turn of…


Charlie Howard became Adrian Mellon in the horror writer’s 1986 classic ‘It’.

Charlie Howard, who became the victim of a hate crime in 1984
Charlie Howard, who became the victim of a hate crime in 1984
Charlie Howard (Image: WABI5)

Stephen King’s 1986 novel ‘It’ is a firm favourite among his army of Constant Readers, terrifying to many because it exploits the common fears that lurk in all of us.

However, while dancing clowns and dank standpipes might live in our nightmares courtesy of the master of the macabre, there is another part of ‘It’ that’s actually far more startling — because it has its roots in reality.

The hate crime that results in the death of a character in the book named Adrian Mellon was inspired by the real-life murder of a young gay man named Charlie Howard. Although…


Could renowned First World War fighter ace Baron von Richthofen have shot down more than just Allied aircraft?

A Fokker triplane
A Fokker triplane
A Fokker triplane like that flown by The Red Baron (Image by Andreas Glöckner from Pixabay)

The German fighter pilot Manfred von Richthofen has become one of the most famous names of the First World War. Nicknamed the Red Baron, he was respected on both sides for his aerobatic skills and for shooting down an astonishing 80 enemy aircraft.

However, there have been claims that this flying ace also brought something extraterrestrial out of the sky during his career — and that military officials covered it up. Could the Red Baron really have seen proof of Little Green Men?

German Air Force pilot Peter Waitzrik told the BILD newspaper about his memorable mission with von Richthofen…


In California lies a volcano surrounded by myths and legends.

Mount Shasta in California
Mount Shasta in California
The enigmatic Mount Shasta in California (Image: David Mark from Pixabay)

There are many tourist hotspots in California, but few are as dramatic as Mount Shasta. Located around 60 miles south of the border with Oregon, it is a 14,000-ft tall active stratovolcano and one of the most prominent peaks of the Cascades.

This arc runs all the way from British Columbia to Northern California, although Mount Shasta sits 15 miles or so out of line from its siblings for reasons geologists don’t fully understand.

Visitors come in their thousands each year to hike, camp, climb and swim in some of the clearest water around — but some believe that it…


Danna Dever’s family suspected her abusive boyfriend, but meticulous forensics had to prove it.

Murder victim Danna Dever
Murder victim Danna Dever
Danna Dever (Image: FindaGrave.com)

In the spring of 1996, Danna Dever lived in the suburban community of Cordelia, California with her boyfriend Lonnie James Kerley and their young daughter Mandee. Despite the sun-soaked backdrop close to the easygoing city of San Francisco, Danna’s life was not a happy one.

Kerley had been abusive and physically violent to her throughout their lengthy relationship, which had culminated in many injuries and, lately, visits by the police. So when Danna disappeared just a few months later, her family suspected Kerley’s cruelty had finally bubbled over into murder.

However, it would be years before this could be proven…


A curious cold case was finally solved in 2005.

The photofit of the mysterious hitchhiker (Image: Unsolved Mysteries Wiki)

When Delaware factory worker Charles Holden finished an evening shift one night in June 1991, he just wanted to grab some fast food and get back home. But that simple stop-off would lead to a situation straight out of a horror film — and 14 years of suspicion that Charles brutally murdered his mother.

It was around midnight in the town of Harrington, and Charles Holden had just picked up a burger and returned to his car in the parking lot when he was approached by a stranger looking for a ride.

The man said he needed to get to…


A frightening 1986 rape and murder case went cold — until the perpetrator tried to strike again.

Murder victim Gary Dale Larson
Murder victim Gary Dale Larson
Gary Dale Larson, who was killed in 1986 (Image: Harlan County Sheriff)

It was a hot August night in the town of Edmond, Oklahoma, and Janet Haynes and her boyfriend Gary Dale Larson were at home in bed. They were awoken around midnight by a sound coming from the living room and Gary went to investigate.

What followed was a horrifying murder and rape — and an 18-year-wait to finally catch the man responsible.

August 16th 1986 was a night like any other. Summers in Oklahoma are renowned for being hot, and Janet decided to take a shower before following Gary to bed in the hope of cooling down a little.

They…

Verity Partington

A writer and author of crime thrillers living in the UK. Partial to books, stationery, papercrafts and walking.

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