If you were fortunate enough to grow up in the 1990s, then the opening sequence to “Unsolved Mysteries,” hosted by Robert Stack, probably still sends shivers running down your spine. Covering everything from paranormal phenomena to unsolved murders, it was the place you could trust to cover anything encompassing the strange and unusual.
The original series ran on network television from 1988-1999, later picked up for limited runs by cable networks. Over the years some of the show’s featured true crime cases have come to a resolve, while others have not been as fortunate. Here are five of the creepiest murders featured on “Unsolved Mysteries” that remain unsolved.
Arnold Archambeau and Ruby Bruguier
The story of Arnold Achambeau and Ruby Bruguier originally aired in a segment on April 14, 1995.
On December 12, 1982, Arnold Archambeau, Ruby Bruguier and Ruby’s cousin Tracy Dio were at a party drinking with friends. On their way home from the party near their home in Lake Andes, South Dakota, Arnold had steered their car into a frozen ditch. The car had flipped, leaving Tracy trapped inside. Paramedics arrived shortly after the accident occurred to free Tracy, but both Arnold and Ruby where nowhere to be found.
That following Spring a passing motorist had noticed Ruby’s decomposed body poking out of the thawing ditch where the trio had crashed. Her clothes appeared intact but her glasses and shoes were missing. Arnold’s body was discovered submerged in water approximately 15 feet away. His body didn’t appear nearly as decomposed as Ruby’s. Investigators wondered why the bodies appeared to have been in different states of decomposition, in spite of the fact that they were both presumed to have died of exposure around the same time.
A witness had stepped forward to claim that Arnold had attended a New Years Eve party weeks after the accident was presumed to have killed him. Police issued a polygraph test to the witness and the results confirmed that she was not lying about the incident.
Ruby’s father believes that both Ruby and Arnold had been murdered when they attempted to flee the accident, then the killer placed them back in the ditch to make it appear that the couple had died in the accident. No potential suspects have been apprehended and the case was officially closed by the FBI in 1999.
The Black Dahlia
The show also featured one of the most famous unsolved murder cases on December 9, 1992.
On January 15, 1947, the nude body of Elizabeth Short was found in a vacant lot. “The Black Dahlia,” as she was latter dubbed by the media, had been nearly severed in half and severely mutilated. Weeks later the killer began taunting the police with letters and other personal items of Elizabeth Short’s, but the killer soaked the items in gasoline prior to sending them so no fingerprints could be found. There have been a number of suspects throughout the years, including Cleveland’s version of Jack the Ripper, but the case remains one of L.A.’s oldest cold cases.
Connecticut River Valley Killer
Beginning in the late 1970s and continuing on throughout the mid-80s, the Connecticut River Valley Killer is one of a number of serial killer cases that continue to perplex investigators and unsolved crime enthusiasts alike.
Featured on “Unsolved Mysteries” on October 9, 1991, seven cases have been conclusively linked to the unknown killer. The murders came to an apparent end on August 6, 1988, when a pregnant woman named Jane Boroski was attacked and managed to escape. She was treated at a local hospital where doctors determined both she and the baby where fine, though her daughter was later diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy believed to have been a result of the attack.
Even with the police sketches created from Jane’s memory of the attack and other details she was able to provide about the killer, the case remained cold. Three suspects have been linked to the case including a convicted sex offender named Delbert Tallman, an Army vet with a history of violent behavior named Michael Nicholaou, and paraplegic Gary Westover who admitted to the killings prior to his death. None of the men have been conclusively tied to any of the murder cases.
Thomas “Tommy” Burkett had been studying at Marymont College while working as an undercover narcotics agent for the DEA. It seemed that Tommy had everything going for him when tragedy struck over Thanksgiving weekend 1991.
Tommy had returned to his parents’ home to enjoy the holiday when he was found dead in his bedroom. Police ruled Tommy’s death a suicide, but his parents suspected foul play.
Aired on “Unsolved Mysteries” on November 11, 1994, it would seem that there was more to Tommy’s death than the run-of-the-mill suicide case.
Some believe that Tommy’s alleged suicide may have been staged after he made a shocking discovery about the origin of the drugs being sold throughout the Marymont campus. Though Tommy’s cause of death was determined to have been a gunshot wound, his dad reported that his son’s body was covered in bruises.
When the Burketts called to report their son’s death, two ambulances arrived to the scene as well as police officers. Officers immediately ruled Tommy’s death an apparent suicide before taking or attempting to preserve any evidence from the scene, including footprints leading to a ravine behind the home.
It was only after Tommy’s death that the Burketts learned that for months their son had suffered abuse and harassment by other students on campus, one of which happened to be the son of a police officer. The Burketts requested records from local police, the college and other agencies their son was believed to have been working with, but those requests were denied.
The Burketts believe that their son’s death was part of a cover-up staged by Marymont College administrators, local police and the DEA, but to date no one is certain if Tommy gave into the pressure and had, in fact, killed himself or if his death occurred under more sinister circumstances.
The St. Croix Voodoo Murders
Our final case was featured on the show on February 18,1988.
In the mid-1980s a series of bizarre murders rocked the island of St. Croix. At least five victims, including Krishnadath and Radha Maharaj, had been discovered covered in seawater with cyanide in their systems. All were believed to have taken out small loans, and police suspected that the perpetrator may have been a practitioner of black magic, known as an Obiaman.
After interviewing family of the victims, it came to light that they all may have fallen victim to a scam. An alleged Obiaman had approached his victims and told them that he knew of a secret location where priceless coins had been buried on the island, but they were guarded by spirits. In order to remove the spirits so the Obiaman’s victims could retrieve the treasure they needed to purchase a special potion, which happened to be in the amount of the small business loans the victims had taken out. All of the victims agreed and handed over their money.
The unsuspecting victims not only lost their money, but had also lost their lives. The potion the Obiaman had sold them was nothing but cyanide. Though suspects exist, the mysterious Shaman disappeared as quickly as he appeared.