While there are obviously far too many unsolved crimes in America to mention here, some have become famous for the length of their cold case files, the individual who was involved, mysteries that surround the crimes, the sheer fear that they cause in their localities, and sometimes, their strange peculiarities. In many of these cases, the perpetrator continued his/her crimes but was never found, leaving us to wonder about the criminal that continues to live on in society. Sometimes, serial crimes just stopped. As time goes on, these cases get colder and colder and the shroud of mystery thicker.
Lizzie Borden – Killer of Fall River, Massachusetts? – Lizzie Borden, the only suspect in the ax murders of Andrew and Abby Borden, in 1892, was arrested, tried, and acquitted in Fall River, Massachusetts. No one else was ever investigated for the crime, and the case remains “officially” unsolved.
D.B. Cooper – This unidentified man hijacked a Boeing 727 aircraft between Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, on November 24, 1971, extorted $200,000 in ransom and parachuted to an uncertain fate. Despite an extensive manhunt and protracted FBI investigation, the perpetrator has never been located or identified.
The Daring Escape From Alcatraz – Known as the as the most inescapable penitentiary in the U.S., that reputation was ruined when John William Anglin, Alfred Clarence Anglin, and Frank Lee Morris successfully escaped in 1962. The dug their way to freedom with spoons and sailed away in a raft made out of raincoats, never to be seen again.
Gypsy Hill Killings – A group of five unsolved homicides of young women and girls in San Mateo County, California, during early 1976. The killer became known in the media as “the San Mateo slasher.”
Mad Gassers of Virginia and Illinois – In the 1930s and 1940s there were two accounts of a “Mad Gasser” operating in two locations. The first occurred in Botetourt County, Virginia in 1933-1934. The second in Mattoon, Illinois in 1944. Also known as the “Anesthetic Prowler” and the “Phantom Anesthetist,” these names were given to the person or people believed to be responsible for a series of gas attacks that were perpetrated against area residents.
The Golden State Killer – Also called the Original Night Stalker and the East Area Rapist, this monster is believed to have committed 12 homicides, 45 rapes, and more than 120 residential burglaries between 1976 and 1986 across multiple California counties.
Servant Girl Annihilator – In 1884 and 1885, an unknown serial killer preyed upon the city of Austin, Texas. The murderer killed seven women and one man, and seriously injured six more women and two men, attacking them in their beds at night. He was never caught.
Texas Killing Fields – Described as a perfect place for killing somebody and getting away with it, the Texas Killing Fields is an area bordering the Calder Oil Field, a 25-acre patch of land situated a mile from the stretch of Interstate 45 in southeast Texas.
Tylenol Murders in Chicago – In 1982, six adults and one child died in Chicago, Illinois after taking Tylenol laced with potassium cyanide. Police were baffled as the pills came from different factories and were purchased in different drug stores in the city. No motive was ever determined and the person responsible has never been found.
The Zodiac Killer – One of the great unsolved serial killer mysteries of all time, taking only second place to Jack the Ripper. Even though police investigated over 2,500 potential suspects, the case was never officially solved.
Compiled by Kathy Weiser-Alexander, updated November 2018.