Kathleen and Grace Holmes During World War II, the Holmes family of London, England, were bombed out of two of the three homes that they lived in. Like many other people living in London during World War II, they also lost a lot of friends and family. Several years after the war, the Holmes family was looking for a better life so they immigrated to Australia in March 1949, and eventually settled in Toukley, New South Wales. On August 29, 1950, just weeks after the family settled into their new home, two of the Holmes daughters, 18-year-old Kathleen and 11-year-old Grace left the house to go for a walk. When they didn’t return by nightfall, their parents contacted the police.
The police and the locals searched the area throughout the night. The girls were last seen alive at around pm when they stopped into a store to buy some candies. The next morning, a pair of searchers happened across three sets of footprints in the dirt. Two of the sets of footprints belonged to females and one set of large footprints belonged to a man. They followed the footprints for three miles and they lead to a swampy area known as called the jungle. At the edge of the swamp, they found blood stains and there were signs of a struggle. Not far away, they found the bodies of the two sisters in ankle deep muddy water. Both of their faces had been beaten so severely that they were nearly unrecognizable.
The murder weapon was described as a blunt heavy object, quite possibly a bottle. The police could only think of one motive for the killings and it was based on the way that 11-year-old Grace’s clothes had been disturbed. They think the man tried to sexually assault Grace, and her older sister tried to save her. There was one arrest in the case, and it was a local fisherman named William Birtle. Birtle was one of the searchers and the police thought that his footprints were similar to the ones found with the sisters footprints. However, since that was the only evidence against him, he was acquitted, and the Justice Minister said that no further action would be taken against Birtle. Sadly, because the family had just immigrated to Australia, they didn’t have much money and couldn’t afford headstones for Grace and Kathleen who were buried side-by-side.
64 years later, a local man was in the cemetery and he discovered that since their deaths, rocks had been used as tombstones. He started a GoFund me account and within a week, he raised $2,500 for headstones. While its good news that the sisters finally got a proper monument, the bad news is that their killer will probably never face justice. 4. Bobby and David Phillips On December 7, 1992, Robert and Wanda Phillips of Tulsa, Oklahoma, were out Christmas shopping. When the returned home, they made a startling discovery.
In the entrance of their house, there was a trail of blood. They followed the blood and they found the lifeless body of their 26-year-old son, Bobby. He had been beaten and hacked to death with ax. The Phillips called the police, who arrived at the house a few minutes later. In one of the bedrooms, the police made another heartbreaking discovery. The couple’s other son, 19-year-old David, was dead from a gunshot wound to the head. Based on evidence at the crime scene, the police think there was at least two killers. The killers broke into the house while the brothers were out doing some Christmas shopping and then they waited for the victims to come home. While they waited, they watched MTV and drank soft drinks. They didn’t search or ransack the house, and the family’s safe was untouched. David came home first and he was shot in a bedroom. Several hours later, Bobby returned home. He was attacked as soon as he walked in the door and then he his body was dragged to another room. After killing the brothers, it appears that the killers tried to start a fire in the house to destroy any evidence, but the fire didn’t catch.
One aspect of the double homicide that originally stumped the police was that the brothers and the rest of the Phillips family didn’t have enemies, so there was no clear motive brutal slayings. When the police didn’t make any arrests, the family assumed that the case went cold, but the police actually had a theory about who killed the brothers. The theory stems back to a double murder that happened in Tulsa over a year and a half before the brothers were killed. In the early morning hours of May 8, 1991, two men broke into the home of 30-year-old Coy and 28-year-old Tonya Wilkerson who were asleep in.
Each man held a pillow over the head of each victim and then shot them twice in the head. The killers then poured a flammable liquid around the house and started a fire, but it didn’t damage the house too much because the weather was too damp. Just hours after the murders, a woman saw two men burning some items in a secluded area not far from the murder scene, and then they got into a red car Mitsubishi. Just hours after the murders, a woman saw two men burning some items in a secluded area not far from the murder scene, and then they got into a red car Mitsubishi. The property that they were burning were personal items that belonged to the Wilkersons, like their check book. A short time later the pulled over two men traveling in a red car that matched the one described by the woman. The men weren’t arrested, but their information was passed along to the homicide division.
The men inside the car were identified as 27-year-old Mahlon “Butch” Bastion and 16-year-old Jackie Leland Wright. Bastion was already on the detectives’ rader because he was a former employee at the company where Coy Wilkerson was Vice President. Bastion had recently had been fired and he swore he’d get revenge. The police went to arrest Bastion and Wright and the pair barricaded themselves in an apartment. After spending a night in the apartment, Wright surrendered. Bastion continued the stand-off, which last for a total of 26 hours, before he shot himself in the head. So the question the Phillips family had, was how was this double murder connected to the killing of their son? After all, the murder of the Wilkersons happened a year and half before their sons were killed and one of the killers committed suicide and the other one was arrested. Well, after the standoff, Jackie Wright wasn’t immediately charged with the murders of Coy and Tonya Wilkerson because the police didn’t have any physical evidence against him.
The fact that he wasn’t charged with the murders upset Tonya Wilkinson’s parents, whose names are Jim and Jill Phillips. For months afterwards, they advocate the police to charge Wright with the murder of their daughter. Because of their campaign, Jim was harassed at his office. He received several threatening phone calls and someone even shot out one of the window’s in his office. Shortly after the murders of the Phillips brothers, the harassment stopped. The theory from the police is that Wright wanted to silence Tonya’s parents, Jim and Jill Phillips, but accidentally targeted the wrong Phillips household and killed the brothers. The two Phillips families weren’t related and didn’t know each other, but there was one other similarity they shared besides their last names.. Jim and Jill lived in the city of Owasso, which is a short drive from Tulsa, and Bobby and David Phillips lived on Ah-swe-go Avenue in Tulsa.
There was also a major similarity in both sets murders. After killing both victims, the murderers tried to start a fire to destroy the evidence. Jackie Wright has never been charged in connection with the murders of the Bobby and David Phillips and the murder of the brothers is considered unsolved. Wright was finally charged with the murders of Coy and Tonya Wilkinson in October 1997, six years they happened. He was convicted of two counts of second degree murders and he was sentenced to life without parole. 3. Susanne and Mary Reker On September 2, 1974, 15-year-old Mary and 12-year-old Susanne Reker left their house in St. Cloud, Minnesota, to walk a mile to a department store to buy some school supplies. When they didn’t return home for dinner, their parents contacted the police. 26 long days would go by before the Reker’s learned what happened to their two daughters, and it wasn’t good news. Susan’s body was found under some brush in a quarry. She had been stabbed 13 times. Not far from her body, 40 feet below the water was the naked body Mary; he was stabbed six times.
The double murders shocked St. Cloud, but no arrests were ever made in the case. Over the years, the police and the media have come up with several suspects. One of the most prominent was a suspects was Richard Eckroth, who was a monk that lived in St. John’s Abbey in Collegeville, Minnesota, which isn’t far from St. Cloud. In the 1970s, Eckorth took dozens of children to his remote cabin. Years later, when those children grew up, they accused Eckorth of sexually abusing them and he threatened them with death. Two of the young people who went the cabin with Eckroth were Mary and Susan Reker, who went to the cabin twice in the two years before they were murdered In 1990s, during a lawsuit regarding sexual abuse, Eckorth took a polygraph test and he was asked if he killed the Reker sisters. He said he wasn’t the killer and he passed the polygraph test. Another suspect, which was put forth by the local Fox station in Minneapolis, is a young man named Herb Notch, who was 16 at the times of murders.
In 1976, nearly two years to the date of the murder of the Reker sisters, Notch and his friend decided to rob a grocery store. They walked into the store armed with a gun and they found a 14-year-old Sue Dukowitz working alone. They kidnapped her and drove her to a remote gravel pit. Notch used a knife to cut the girl’s clothes down the front and then he sexually assaulted her. When Notch was done, he stabbed Sue and then they hid her body under some brush. Sue wasn’t dead though. After Notch and his friend left, she walked half a mile and found help. Notch and his friend were arrested a short time later. Notch was given 40 years in prison, but he was out of prison by the late 1980s. Why the television station thinks Notch is a viable suspect of a few striking similarities between the murder of the Reker sisters and the attack on Sue Dukowitz. All three victims were taken out to isolated areas, all three were stabbed, and both Susan and Sue were hidden under brush.
But most notably, just like Sue, Mary’s clothes had been cut down the front. Since his release from prison, Notch has had several run-ins with the law. In one case, he was convicted of threatening his former girlfriend with a knife. When the news station asked the police if Herb Notch was ever a suspect in the murder of the Reker sisters, they refused to comment. A final possibility in the murder of the Reker sisters is that Mary may have been stalked or had been threatened before she was killed. When she was missing, her parents read her diary and just before she disappeared, she wrote an entry that said: ‘If I am murdered find my killer. See that justice wins over. I have a few reasons to fear for my life and what I ask is important’.
Sadly, Mary’s wish hasn’t honored and no one has ever been been charged in connection with her murder.
Stanley Park’s Babes in the Woods In January 1953, a gardener working in Stanley Park in Vancouver, British Colombia, came across a small human skull.
When the police searched the area, they found the bones of two children. Originally, they thought that the bones belong to a boy and a girl, probably between the ages of 6 and 10. Along with the skeletal remains, there was also a hatchet, which was determined to be the murder weapon. One skull had markings from a blade, while the other had markings from hammer end. The concluded that the children were led into the woods, where they were killed with the hatchet. After the attack, a woman’s fur coat was draped over them. Also at the crime scene, there found a single woman’s shoe under the bones, there a rusted metal lunch box, bits of children’s clothing, and two leather aviator caps that children wore to look like World War II pilots. Finally, there were a pair of children’s shoes.
The police at the time thought that the shoes were only imported into Canada after World War II. Due to the technology at the time and the shoes were only available in Canada after 1945, this led the police to speculate that the murders probably happened in 1947. What really disturbed the police and the citizens of Vancouver was that two children had been missing for six years and no one had reported them missing to the police. Since there were no reports of a missing children, the police thought that a parent or guardian committed the murders. Also, without a missing child’s report, the police were not able to identify the bodies.
Without any leads, the case of the babes in the woods went cold. In 1990s, a sargarent with the Vancouver police started to look into the case. One of first things he did was have an expert test the DNA from the bones. He determined that the bones didn’t belong to a boy and girl, instead, it was two boys. They were half brothers; they shared the same mother, but had different fathers and they were probably between the ages of 5 and 8.
He also found that the shoes were available in Canada during World War II, so the murders could happened much earlier than originally thought. Unfortunately, these errors most likely hindered the investigation because the police were looking for witnesses who saw boy and a girl in the park during the fall of 1947. When looking through old case files, Honeybrough found a witness account from 1944 that said that they saw a man and a woman in the park with two boys. The couple remembered them because the man was holding a hatchet, which he banged the hatchet on a metal railing as he walked. A short time later, the couple was seen without the children. The woman was also only wearing one shoe, and it was covered in blood. This has led the Honeybrough believe the boys were actually murdered in 1944, and not 1947. The Stanley Park’s Babes in the Woods have never been been identified, and even though Honeybrough is retired, he is still looking into the case, but he does not think the case will ever be solved. 1. Tan Siblings January 6, 1979, was a normal one for the Tan family of Geylang Bahru, Singapore.
Tan Kuen Chai and his wife Lee Mei Ying left their home around in the morning left to drive students to school in their mini-bus. As per usual, they left four children, Tan Kok Peng, 10, Tan Kok Hin, 8, Tan Kok Soon, 6, and their sister, Tan Chin Nee, 5, at home sleeping. At am, Mei Ying called their flat to wake up the children so they could get ready for school.
On that morning, none of the children answered the phone. Mei Ying called a few more times, but there was no answer each time. She called a neighbor and asked the neighbor to go check on them. The neighbor knocked on the door, but there was no answer. At 10:00, Mei Ying and Kuen Chai returned home and in the bathroom, they found the bodies of their four children. The bodies were neatly stacked on top of each other and all them had died a grisly death. They had all been slashed a minimum of 20 times around the head area. The oldest boy’s arm was nearly severed and there was hairs in hands, indicating he probably fought back against the attacker. The murder weapons, which were never recovered, are believed to been a butcher knife from the kitchen and a dagger. In the flat, there were no signs of a struggle and the killer didn’t break in. Instead, the killer most likely used a key that Mei Ying had lost sometime before the murders.
The police think that the massacre was a premeditated attack. Using the key, he entered the apartment and one-by-one he carried each child to the bathroom where he slashed and hacked them all to death. After he was done, he washed up, and calmly walked out of the flat. Since it was a premediated attack, the police think that the killer knew the family and had a vendetta against them. This theory was bolstered two weeks letter when the greiving parents received a disturbing Chinese New Year’s card. On the front of the card there a photograph of happy children playing. Inside the card there was a message written in Mandarin and it said, ‘now you can have no more offspring’ and then the writer signed off the letter as the murderer.
What was disturbing was that after Mei Ying gave birth to her daughter, she got sterilized, suggesting the killer knew intimate details about the family.
The police interviewed over 100 people and the most promising lead came from a cab driver who picked up a man in the area of the murder around 8:00. The man had blood on him and he was carrying a knife. The taxi driver was able to pick the man out of a line up, and he was a family friend of the neighbors. He was so close to the family that the Tan children called him Uncle. The police had no evidence against him, so he was never charged with the murders. The killing of all four of their children devastated Mei Ying and Kuen Chai. They said that any time they heard children playing outside of their flat, it sent pangs of grief through them. They tried to adopt children, but there were no babies to adopt. Instead, Mei Ying had surgery to reverse her sterilization in 1981. Two years later, December 30, 1983, Mei Ying, who was 35, gave birth to a healthy baby boy.
While that is good news for the couple, they have never been found out who murdered their first four children.