Each year, several cold cases are solved thanks to improved forensic technology, such as generic genealogy, that tracks down the identities of missing people and killers from several decades ago.
However, for some cases, several factors, such as the lack of evidence or age of the case are why they may never be solved. These are the true cold cases. Here are seven cold cases that will likely never be solved.
JACK THE RIPPER
During the late 1880s, an unknown serial killer that’s simply known as “Jack the Ripper,” murdered five women in London over the course of a month. The nickname came from a series of letters that allegedly came from the killer himself, though this may have been a hoax. Aside from his mysterious identity, Jack the Ripper is known for the brutality he ensued on his victims by dismembering their bodies. The identity of Jack the Ripper is unlikely to be discovered due to the lack of evidence and the case being more than a century old.
THE BLACK DAHLIA
On Jan. 15, 1947, a mother taking her young daughter on a stroll through town found the dismembered body of the aspiring actress, Elizabeth Short, strewn across a field. The unknown assailant murdered Short, famously known as the “Black Dahlia,” and then cut her body into pieces, dumping them in a field. While police interrogated several suspects, no one has ever been charged for the murder. Given that the case is 26 years away from becoming a century old, it’s highly unlikely to ever be solved.
THE ZODIAC MURDERS
Between 1968 and 1969, a serial killer only known as “The Zodiac Killer” killed five people in the San Francisco area. The unknown killer is famously known for sending a series of coded letters to local newspapers from 1969 to 1974, detailing his crimes and his plans to attack again. While the killings stopped in 1969, the investigation went on for several decades, although there haven’t been any new leads in the case. San Francisco authorities and true crime fans hope for the case the be solved, there’s a small chance it’ll happen.
THE MURDER OF BOB CRANE
Beloved actor Bob Crane, known for his performance on ‘Hogan’s Heroes’ was found dead in his apartment on June 29, 1978. An unknown assailant brutally beat the actor with a camera tripod, then strangled him with an electrical cord. The investigation into the actor’s mysterious death led to the reveal of his sexual escapades, which were filmed on a camera found in Crane’s apartment. Many believe his double life led ultimately led to his brutal demise. At one point in the case, Crane’s best friend, John Carpenter, was charged for his murder, but in 1994, a court acquitted him of all charges due to inconsistencies in the forensic evidence. With Carpenter being the only suspect charged and later acquitted for the murder and the lack of evidence, Crane’s case won’t be solved any time soon.
THE TYLENOL MURDERS
A series of mysterious poisoning deaths occurred in the Chicago area in 1982. Further investigations into the poisonings led to the discovery that all victims had taken Tylenol capsules tainted with potassium cyanide prior to their deaths. There was only one suspect in the case, James Lewis, who took responsibility for the poisonings. Lewis wrote a ransom letter to Johnson & Johnson, the manufacturer of Tylenol, demanding $1 million to stop the murders. It was later discovered that Lewis did not have ties to the Chicago Tylenol poisonings, though police did charge him with extortion, sentencing him to 20 years in prison.
Almost 40 years later, the poisonings remain unsolved, given how easily it was to tamper with medicine without leaving any physical evidence to trace back to the killer.
THE GARDNER MUSEUM HEIST
In 1990, two men dressed as cops entered the famous Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and stole 13 pieces of precious artwork. Security officers watching the museum that fateful night were severely beaten and tied up before the suspects took the artwork. Pieces from Johannes Vermeer, Rembrandt van Rijn, Edgar Degas and many more were taken and have remained missing for over thirty years. While several individuals have been accused of facilitating the heist, no charges have been made on potential suspects. The museum is offering a $13 million reward for any information that leads to the recovery of the stolen art pieces.
THE SOMERTON MAN
A man simply known as “Mr. S” or the “Somerton Man” was found dead on a beach on Dec. 1, 1948. To this day, no one knows the true identity of this mysterious man. Police sent the man’s photographs and DNA across the globe, though a match was never found. A further investigation into the case led to the discovery of a piece of paper tucked in the man’s clothes with the phrase, ‘Taman Shud’ written on it. ‘Taman Shud’ translates to “finished” or “the end” in Persian, according to CNN News. With no leads on the case, police buried the body of the Somerton Man in June 1949.
Despite the number of people trying to claim Somerton man’s body, the man’s identity remains unknown, which means it’s highly unlikely his case will be solved.