The truth is that cases go “cold” for years, even decades, before new evidence and testimony allow authorities to try to convict a culprit. Sometimes investigators might have a clue to who committed the murders but they still have to be able to link the suspect(s) to the scene, without a shadow of a doubt. When it comes to those who are wrongly accused, this is a blessing; as it saves them from being wrongfully convicted, however, it’s downright frustrating for the family of the victim when the real culprit is walking free.
Here, we’ve collected 10 incredible stories of criminals who got away with murder for years before being brought to justice.
1. Elva Zona Heaster: Visited her mother in her dream.
Born around 1873 in Greenbrier County, West Virginia, United States, Elva Zona Heaster was a young woman who mysteriously died on January 23, 1897. According to her autopsy report, her death was due to an “everlasting faint”. The coroner then changed the report from “everlasting faint” to “childbirth” as the cause of death. When Zona’s mother read the coroner’s report, she instantly knew that something was wrong.
Mary Jane Heaster was convinced that her son-in-law Edward Stribbling Trout Shue had murdered his wife. After the wake, Mary removed the sheet from inside the coffin and tried to return it to him, which he refused to take. Mary then began to pray, hoping that Zona would return to her to explain what had happened. According to local legend, four weeks after the funeral, Zona appeared to her mother in a dream and made it clear to her that her death wasn’t an accident. Another autopsy was performed on Zona where medical professionals miraculously discovered that her neck had, in fact, been broken. Her husband was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to life in prison.
2. Nadine Haag: A note hidden behind the suicide note points fingers at the ex-boyfriend.
On December 4, 2009, the body of the mother of one was found in the shower of her Castly Hill apartment in Sydney. Her family discovered Nadine with her wrists slashed, along with a suicide note which appeared to be written by her. What makes her death suspicious is a note that says “He did it”, which was etched on a bathroom tile. The unidentified note was recently discovered by the new tenants of the apartment. Forensic experts confirmed that both the notes were written by Nadine herself, and her former partner, Mr. Guizzon, has denied any responsibility for her death.
The police as well as Nadine’s family is convinced that Mr. Guizzon was involved, since he was found to be untruthful regarding his whereabouts at the time of the incident. The couple had been locked in a messy custody battle over their two-year-old child when Nadine was found dead. The case had went cold for eight years, until the new note was discovered. An investigation is currently ongoing.
3. Sek Man Ng and Cho Man Ng: A last minute blog post resulted in finding the siblings murderer.
On May 12, 2005, 26-year-old Jin Lin went to the home of his former girlfriend, Cho Man Ng. When Cho’s brother Sek answered the door, Lin explained that he was there to retrieve a fishing pole. Since Cho wasn’t home at the time, Lin asked Sek if he could wait inside until she returned from work. After entering the house, Lin overpowered Sek and used duct tape to immobilize him. He then searched the apartment for cash while he waited for Cho to return home.
When Cho finally arrived, Lin used a butcher knife to stab the siblings nearly five dozen times in the neck and body. When questioned about the murders, Lin denied any involvement. During the investigation, however, police were able to access Sek’s private blog and his last blog entry. His last blog post described,
“Today I missed my Japanese class again, since I have gotten a bad throat. I only went to the class once this week, so I am probably so far behind now. I will catch up in the summer tho so no worries hehe. Anyway today has been weird, at 3 some guy ringed the bell. I went down and recognized it was my sister’s former boyfriend. He told me he wants to get his fishing poles back. I told him to wait downstairs while I get them for him. While I was searching them, he is already in the house. He is still here right now, smoking, walking all around the house with his shoes on which btw I just washed the floor 2 days ago! Hopefully he will leave soon, oh yeah working on the jap report as we speak!”
When confronted with evidence, Lin confessed to taking the lives of the siblings.
4. Golan Heights boy who remembered his past life, as well as the man who murdered him.
Even for those who do not believe in reincarnation, the story of a 3-year-old boy from Golan Heights (near Syria) may cause some to reconsider. The boy who had an unusually long red birthmark on his head claimed to not only remember his past life but also the fact that he was murdered. He even remembered the identity of the person who murdered him.
Dr. Eli Lasch, who was a physician in Israel at the time, decided to investigate the case. After visiting the town which the boy claimed he was from, they found that the boy was able to recall his original first and last name, as well as the first and last name of his murderer. To their amazement, they also discovered that the name the boy mentioned (his past self) had gone missing 4 years prior. The 3-year-old lead the group to the murderer’s doorstep and even pointed out the location where his past life’s body was buried. With all this evidence, everyone accused the man of the murder, and he confessed. The mark on the skeleton’s skull where the axe hit the victim corresponded with the boy’s birthmark.
5. Ashley Howley: Visited a psychic in her dreams and revealed the location of her body.
When Ashley Howley was only 20 years of age, her sociopathic ex-boyfriend murdered her. He then decided to dispose of her body by encasing it in concrete on his father’s land. Soon after her disappearance, the police had suspicion that Robert P. MacMichael II had some kind of involvement, however, they had no solid proof to connect him to the case. Robert successfully cheated police officers as well as Ashley’s family for four years.
In 2005, a psychic named Kristy Robinett was sound asleep when she had a terrifying dream. The dream included the murder of a young woman and even revealed the location of her body. Robinett was determined that it was a message to her from Ashley and approached the police. When the police searched the area Robinett pointed to, they discovered Ashley’s body. Confronted with evidence, MacMichael confessed to the crime as well as murdering his own mother and her boyfriend.
6. Catherine Ballesteros: Victim’s ghostly whisper solves murder.
June 24, 2004, was just an ordinary day for Danny Arizala when he went to his niece Catherine Ballesteros’s home in Tejeros, Makati. When no one answered the door, Danny decided to use the spare key and check on his niece. When he approached Catherine’s room, strangely enough, it was padlocked. After finding a step stool, Danny peeked through the gap between the bedroom wall and the ceiling when he saw Catherine’s body, lifeless and covered in blood.
The room was filled with bloody footprints and many of the items were missing. Catherine’s parents rushed to the crime scene upon being informed of their daughter’s demise. However, they weren’t allowed to enter the house. They were directed to the funeral home instead. There, Catherine’s mother, Emer, broke down. Emer couldn’t contain herself and hugged her daughter’s body.
That’s when she claims she heard a whisper. Emer believed that it was Catherine’s voice and that her daughter had just given her a clue on who the murderer was. There was someone in Catherine’s neighborhood who went by the name “Baba” and he was quite the thief. The suspect, Ryan “Baba” Viscarra, was apprehended and his fingerprints were found at the scene. He now serves a life sentence.
7. Maria Marten: The Red Barn Murder.
In 1828, William Corder thought he’d found the perfect way to get away with murdering his girlfriend, Maria Marten. He decided to create a false letter, claiming that she decided to run away with him and assured the family that they are both happy with their new life. The letter was pleasing to the family since they wanted Maria to live a happy life. However, a few weeks later, her stepmother, Ann, started having dreams of Maria in danger and a red barn.
As Ann kept on having the recurring dream, she insisted that her husband take a look inside the barn. There Maria was, buried in a grain storage bin and wrapped in a sack with William’s signature green handkerchief still around her neck. William was arrested and publicly hanged for the crime. His body was also dissected and studied.
8. Amarjit Chohan: A crucial piece of evidence he left behind, lead to the arrests of his murderers.
In 2003, Amarjit Chohan was murdered along with his wife, children, and mother-in-law. The English resident and businessman was held hostage for a while before his kidnappers decided to get rid of him and his family. Although his killers dumped his body in the ocean in an attempt to discard any evidence, Amarjit knew his fate and didn’t want his killers to walk free.
While being kept a prisoner, Amarjit came across a piece of mail which was delivered to the home of Kenneth Regan. Thinking quickly, he folded the mail and stuffed it in his sock. When his body was discovered, authorities felt as if Amarjit was telling them where to find the culprits. Authorities raided Regan’s home where they found enough evidence to convict him as well as his accomplices, Bill Horncy and Peter Rees.
9. Teresita Basa: Her former coworkers started having visions of Basa’s murderer, eventually leading to his arrest.
Teresita Basa was a 47 year old respiratory therapist who worked at the now defunct Edgewater Hospital. In 1977, Teresita’s apartment building at 2740 N. Pine Grove Avenue was caught on fire. Under a charred mattress was the body of Teresita. The fire was found to be set intentionally but it didn’t cover up her stab wounds or the butcher knife sticking out of her chest. Although the investigation came to a dead end with no killer on the list, her co-workers Dr. Jose Chua and his wife, Remy had a different story to tell.
Remy Chua started having visions of Teresita’s killer. Her husband believed that Teresita was channeling her story through Remy. They went with the information to the police, which lead to the identity of the killer, Allan Showery.
10. Vanessa Marcotte: A Google employee who solved her own murder case from beyond the grave.
Vanessa Marcotte worked as an account manager for Google, before being murdered last year. The incident took place near her mum’s home in Massachusetts, US. Authorities discovered her body and learned that she was assaulted before being killed. The investigation didn’t bring justice to Vanessa’s family but Vanessa on the other hand managed to capture her attackers DNA on her fingernails.
Vanessa fought back against her attacker and left him with bruises, scratches and cuts. Eight months after the brutal killing, DNA samples from her hands were found to have a match with prime suspect Angel Colon-Ortiz. Google said in a statement after Vanessa’s death:
“Vanessa Marcotte was a much loved member of the Google team, working in our New York office for the last year and a half – and known for her ubiquitous smile, passion for volunteer work and love of Boston sports.
“We are deeply shocked and saddened, and our thoughts are with her family and friends.”