The Man Who Kept Losing His Wives
(True Detective October 2019)
Felix Vail killed his first wife when he was only 22. It took 50 years for justice to catch up with him, a half-century during which two other women close to him mysteriously disappeared. If he killed them, that qualifies him for the dubious distinction of being America’s oldest serial killer. Life had looked promising for Vail after he left high school. He worked for an open-heart surgery pioneer, studied for a medical degree, and was highly rated. But it didn’t last. He traded his medical work for life as a hippie, hitchhiking and exploring. And, some believe, having multiple affairs and killing his partners when he tired of them. In the 1960s, when he… more »
How Darlene Bungled Husband’s Murder
(Murder Most Foul No. 113)
At about five o’clock on the morning of November 9th, Darlene unlocked the gun cabinet in their living-room, and carried all the weapons out onto the front lawn where she laid them neatly in a row. She kept behind the .22 pistol Keith’s father had given him on his 21st birthday, and crept back upstairs with it. Softly opening Keith’s bedroom door, she found him asleep with his back towards her, and shot him through the head behind his left ear. While blood from her husband’s wound soaked the pillow and pink foam oozed from his mouth, she went downstairs and pulled off the surgical latex glove she had used to hold the gun, stuffed… more »
How DNA Test Sparked Double-Murder
(True Crime September 2019)
Maybe – just maybe – there was a moment when Michael Barbar had a flicker of self-doubt. Most likely it was when his six-year-old daughter Tamara suddenly woke, panicking in the darkened bedroom, as he wound a TV cord around her neck. How did he find the resolve to keep tightening the noose as she fought for her life? Easily, as it turned out. In his rage, he had already decided the little girl deserved no mercy. He throttled her to muffle her cries and smashed her head against a bedpost more than 20 times, crushing her skull. The coldness of this child-killer isn’t altogether surprising when you learn what he’d done immediately before. Moments… more »
Why American Dad Killed His Five Children
(Master Detective September 2019)
On August 28th, 2014, something appeared to snap inside Timothy Jones, to all outward appearances still the perfect dad. That evening he strangled his three sons and two daughters and stuffed their little bodies into garbage bags, which he loaded into the boot of his black Cadillac Escalade car. Then he drove off into the night, with no plan, no idea what he would do next. Amber Jones had no idea where her husband was, or what he was doing. She did not put out an alert because Timothy Jones was the children’s legal guardian. But later, after he had failed to drop them off for a pre-arranged visit, she reported the children missing. This… more »
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