Statistics collected by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) show that about one-third of the murders committed in the United States remain unsolved. Many of these cases leave not only the victims’ family and friends devastated, but traumatise the entire nation. Mainly serial killers, these include:
- The New Orleans Axe Murderer
The city of New Orleans was on the verge of mass hysteria between May 1918 and October 1919, when several gruesome murders took place. The victims seemed to have been chosen at random, by the killer. He was nicknamed The New Orleans Axeman, after his first killing on May 23, 1918. Joseph Maggio, the local grocer, and his wife were butchered in their sleep with an axe. The killer entered the couple’s home through a panel chiseled in the house’s rear door, left the murder weapon in their room and took no valuables. The only clue was a message written in chalk near the victims’ home.
At least ten others were attacked by the Axeman, with eight succumbing to their wounds. The killer’s methods included bludgeoning, beating and slashing his victims, with a weapon found in their home. The Axeman created a rapport with the press, through letters, and vowed to kill another victim on March 19, 1919. The only people who would be spared would be those playing jazz music in their house on the night. The city came alive on March 19th when every home had music issuing from its window. The Axeman kept his word, and no attack was made. The killer’s final victim was Mike Pepitone, who was murdered on October 27, 1919. Although the Axeman’s killings ceased, nobody was ever charged, and the case remains unsolved.
- The Zodiac Killer
The self-proclaimed Zodiac Killer plagued San Fransisco, California, between December 1968 and October 1969. The murderer attacked and killed several victims, both male and female, between the ages of 16 and 29 by either shooting or stabbing them. For over a decade, determined to prove his superior intellect, the killer sent letters to the Bay Area press. These correspondences included four cryptograms, which the killer claimed would reveal his true identity. The letters were published in newspapers, and one of the cryptograms was deciphered by readers. It revealed that the Zodiac Killer’s mission was to recruit slaves for the afterlife.
The Zodiac Killer took credit for 37 murders in his letters, but investigators only confirmed seven attacks, with five subsequent deaths. The killer declared that he would never reveal his identity as this would hinder his ability to continue adding to his collection. The communication with the authorities continued for several years after his final confirmed killing, which was that of Paul Lee Stine on October 11,1969. At the time, over 2500 people were investigated in the murders, but nobody was charged. In 2007, a man came forward claiming that his stepfather was the Zodiac Killer. The authorities deemed the evidence to be insubstantial, however, and the case remains open.