{Archived} Case Notes on the Unsolved Murder of 'Septic Tank Sam'

{Archived} Case Notes on the Unsolved Murder of 'Septic Tank Sam'

April 13, 1977 - Tofield, Alberta, Canada. Charlie and his wife Mavis McLeod decided today they will start installing a new septic tank on their rural property. The sky was clear, the sun was bright, and the temperature was a warm 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit (or 18 Celsius) - a perfect day for such a project. Until they find human remains in the old tank.

{Archived} Case Notes on Norway's Mysterious Isdal Woman

November 29, 1970, a Professor and his two young daughters were out for a Sunday walk in the mountainous terrain in Isdalen, a popular hiking spot right outside of Bergen, Norway. The youngest daughter trailed over to a clearing where she discovered a partially charred female in a mound of rocks. 


This discovery started one of Norway’s most infamous mysterious death cases. A full investigation followed with 25 detectives being assigned to find out exactly who this woman was and how she met her fate. When the body was discovered, they found a dozen pink sleeping pills of the brand name of Fenemal (which you can not get in Norway), a packed lunch, an empty bottle of liquor, 2 empty plastic bottles that smelled like gasoline, a silver spoon with the monogram filed off, a burnt passport, an umbrella, and the charred remains of what seemed to be a bag. The woman was completely naked, with her clothes, earrings, ring, and watch laying next to her. All the tags had been removed from the clothing, and the woman’s fingerprints seemed to have been sanded down. 

When the autopsy was completed they concluded that the cause of death was Suicide from carbon monoxide poisoning and an overdose of sleeping pills. 50 sleeping pills were discovered in her stomach however not all pills had been dissolved. On the side of her neck, a bruise was found and it was determined this would be consistent with either being hit by a branch or someone hitting her in the neck. 

The woman’s face was burnt beyond recognition, which furthered the mystery on who this woman could have been. Specialists looked at her teeth for answers, when they concluded she had teeth work that had to have been done in South America. From the analysis of her skull and with witness accounts, sketches were created to show how the woman may have looked. These were circulated in Norwegian media as well as shared to many other countries via INTERPOL. To date, no-one has come forward with a positive match on who this woman could have been - which resulted in the woman to be named the Isdal Woman.

Four days went by after her body was discovered when Detectives were able to locate two suitcases that belonged to the woman. In the lining of the suitcase they found a postcard from an Italian Photographer, 500 Deutsche Mark, Clothes with all labels removed, Silver Spoon with Monogram filed off, a prescription lotion with the doctor’s name and date scraped off, non-prescription glasses, a very provocative dress, a notebook with coded messages, and 8 fake passports. When detectives circulated the sketches, they quickly were drawn to three hotels where witnesses stated they had seen the woman there as a guest. Hotel staff explained the woman had several wigs she would wear, and she spoke French, German, Dutch, and some English. She had been telling people at the hotel that she was a traveling sales woman and an antique collector. The woman would demand to see the room before she would stay in it, and she refused to stay in a room that had a balcony or could be seen from the outside. Maids also mentioned that the woman would refuse to allow them to make up the bed, instead insisting she would do it herself. Hotel staff describes the woman as very beautiful, 30 to 40 years old, 5’4” tall, dark hair, wide hips with small eyes, and they mentioned she dressed very sophisticated. She had kept to herself in her room, and staff members said she acted very nervous. Staff also mentioned she only smoked South State cigarettes, which were thin and not normal in Norway. Her appearance gave the impression that she was from the South of Europe as she did not have the typical Scandinavian look. 


When the coded messages were deciphered in the notebook, detectives learned it was a very weird travel pattern. The earliest trace of the woman picked her up on March 20 of that year in 1970. She travels from Geneva to Oslo staying at Hotel Viking for 3 days under a false name. Then she traveled from Oslo to Stavanegr and hops on a boat to Bergen where she stays at Hotel Bristol over night under a different false name. On March 25th to April 1st she stays at Hotel Scandia in Bergen. April 1st she travels to Kristiansand, then into Germany. This was the last trace of the woman until she arrives in Oslo 6 months later.

October 3rd she Travels from Stockholm, Sweden, to Oslo, Norway, and then to Oppdal. She stays here at a Tourist Hotel and meets an Italian Photographer. When the Photographer was tracked down, he said they met by coincidence at the Tourist Hotel. He tells detectives that she told him that she was from a little town north of Johannesburg, South Africa and that she had 6 months to travel around and see Norway. She told him this information while having dinner with him at Hotel Alexandra, but he claims they went their separate ways when they returned to the hotel. 

October 22nd she is tracked to Paris at Hotel Altona. The next day she changed to Hotel De Calais. On October 29th she travels to Bergen, Norway where she checks into Hotel Neptune under yet another false name. She stays at the hotel until November 5th, she is overheard telling a man in German “I will be there soon.” November 6th she travels to Trondheim, Norway, where she stays for 2 nights at Hotel Bristol under another false name. November 9th she travels to Stavanger and stays at a Hotel for 9 days under the name ‘Fenella Lorch’. November 18th she leaves for Bergen and stays at Hotel Rosenkrantz under the name ‘Elizabeth Leenhower’. From November 19th to the 23rd she stays at Hotel Hordaheimen in Bergen still under the name of Elizabeth. On the 23rd she checks out of the hotel, pays in cash, and asks for a Taxi. 


When the Taxi driver was tracked down, he tells police that she wanted to go to the train station in Bergen. He also tells them she was traveling with a man, but no-one at the hotel could confirm this. At the train station, she puts her two suitcases in a lock box. This was the last confirmed siting of the woman for 35 years. 

In 2005, a man came forward claiming to have seen the woman on the 24th, the day after she was last seen leaving her suitcases at the train station. The man said he was hiking on a path not far from where her remains had been found. It was getting dark when he came across the woman on the side of the mountain. He felt she was dressed very oddly as she was dressed more like she was ready for a night out on the town instead of a hike on the mountain. As he got closer to the woman, he noticed she looked worried and started to move her mouth like she was about to say something. Nothing was said as he noticed two men in coats following quickly behind her. The man said he had gone to the police back in 1970 after the remains had been found, but the person he knew at the police station told him to forget about what he had seen as the case would never be solved. 

In 2016 scientists were able to isolate DNA from a tissue sample which showed that she was from Europe and her parents were also Europeans - Possibly French. 

Earlier this year an isotopic analysis of her teeth told scientists she probably spent her childhood in central or eastern Europe while her adolescence was spent further west in possibly France, Germany, or Belgium. 

There are two arguments on what could have happened to the Isdal woman; she either committed suicide or was murdered. I’ll go ahead and layout to you the main arguments for each - and let you draw your own conclusion on what could have happened. 


Pointing to suicide, the woman did display signs of a possible mental illness with her very odd behavior of paranoia leading up to her death. When the autopsy was done, the Coroner found 50 sleeping pills in her stomach with no signs that she didn’t take them voluntarily. No defensive wounds were found on the body to suggest she was trying to fight someone off. No evidence of other people or finger prints were found, or at least no information was released saying otherwise by detectives. The woman went through a lot of effort to hide her identity at all of the hotels, so it makes sense that she too would remove tags from clothing and information from prescription bottles. 

The argument that the Isdal woman was murdered is much stronger in my opinion. I believe her behavior leading up to her death suggests she was scared and was running/hiding from someone. Why would she have packed a lunch the day she planned to commit suicide and bring it with her to carry out her plans? The witness that said he saw her on the side of the mountain seems very credible, especially because he said he knew the person at the police station that he reported his sighting too - this could be easily verified so I wouldn’t expect to see this from a person lying about it. After taking the sleeping pills, if she committed suicide she would have had to of then removed her clothes and jewelry, cover herself with gasoline, and then light herself on fire. There was such a huge effort to hide her identity, while I do believe she was the one that gave false identities and removed identifying information from pill bottles - I do not see her filing down her own fingerprints. When police found the locker at the train station, they found fingerprints. They traced these prints back to the partial prints of the woman’s - which points to her fingerprints being filed down after she left the train station. Why would she have gone to the side of a mountain to commit a painful suicide when she could have peacefully done it at the hotel? Why would she set herself on fire, naked, when the 50 sleeping pills would have been enough to kill her? 

{Archived} Part 2: Case Notes of the Unsolved Murder of Hailey Dunn

Hailey Dunn American CrimeCast Script: Part Two (Listen to the podcast episode HERE)

During our last episode, American CrimeCast introduced you to the case involving a young west Texan teen named Hailey Darlene Dunn.

(CLIP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJUitmP6fkY)

In this episode, we bring you part two of Hailey’s case. After the polygraphs were administered, it seems that this case began to slowly evolve into more of a beast than anyone could have ever imagined. It was clear by this point that Hailey was not a runaway, something had happened to her. The case had caught national attention and was a hot topic on Nancy Grace. With the failure of the polygraph tests, Hailey’s mother Billie Dunn, as well as her boyfriend Shawn Adkins were put under the microscope. It wasn’t long before Texas Rangers executed a search of the Dunn’s family home and seized evidence. Hailey’s face was a common sight for most of the people in west Texas by now, as fliers covered the area. Huge billboards were eventually put up with the young girl’s picture, begging the public to call in with any information that might help with the investigation.

As the search intensified, law enforcement seemed to zero in on Billie’s live in boyfriend, Shawn Adkins. Circling back to what Shawn had previously said about his whereabouts, this information clearly does not sync up. According to the affidavit, quote "In the course of the missing person investigation, investigators noted numerous inconsistencies in statements made by Adkins on and around the date of Hailey Dunn's disappearance. According to Adkins, he was fired from his job at WSI in Snyder on Monday, 12-27-10. Adkins later informed investigators he quit his job after an altercation with his supervisor. Investigators were informed by Adkin's employer that Adkin's was a good employee and had not been fired. Investigators were also informed that Adkins did not have any altercation with supervisors on Monday, 12-27-2010, and further stated Adkins arrived on the premises according to their records at 6:00 AM on Monday, 12-27-2010; went into the break room and purchased a Dr. Pepper out of the vending machine, looked at the supervisor without saying a word, and then left the premises at 6:10am." Unquote.

This is quite different than the story Adkins had previously given about him arriving home from work on 12-27-10 around 3:00 PM. Shawn had told investigators that after he had allegedly quit his job, which was located in Snyder, Texas, that he went straight to his mother's home in Big Spring, Texas. However, the telephone records that were obtained tell a different story. According to the records, Adkin's cell phone was using a tower that was in the area of Colorado City, Texas between 6:35am to 6:56am. Then there was another ping off a tower in the area of Big Spring, TX, from 9:38am through 2:40 PM. According to the affidavit, Billie Dunn said she left her home in Colorado City, Texas to her job in Snyder, Texas around 6:20am.

(CLIP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdKLE3PLr3Y)

The affidavit also states that numerous pages of stories about serial killers, sexual sadists, mass murderers, family murders, and motives for murders were found in the Dunn home. According to Billie and Shawn, this was just a hobby of theirs and was misconstrued as something more. Although, most of us who have an affinity for all things true crime know that this could be completely harmless, but we also know this information can mean different things in different scenarios.

According to court documents, the home shared by Dunn, Adkins and Hailey, had been the location of a domestic dispute back in February 2010. The affidavit says Adkins allegedly threatened to kill Billie Jean Dunn and Hailey Dunn during the dispute. Adkins initially denied that statement, but went on to confirm that he did make those statements.

Following Hailey's disappearance, Hailey's uncle told police that he had a conversation with Adkins about Hailey being missing. The uncle reportedly told Adkins he couldn't believe that someone would hurt a child. Adkins reported replied "yah, it's like killing a deer." According to the uncle, on previous occasions, Adkins had "talked often about how he kills deer and cuts them up with a chainsaw."

Around January 12, 2010, Shawn Adkins is officially named a person of interest. Law enforcement confirms that there are other people that they are also investigating, including her mother Billie. Shortly after this, Hailey’s paternal grandmother Connie Jones came forward and stated that Hailey had told her that she was afraid of him. She would see Shawn standing outside her bedroom door at night, she could see his leg and his shadow. Because of this, she had attempted about a year ago to get custody of Hailey. She said that she believes that Shawn raped and murdered Hailey. Billie Dunn says that this is the first she has ever heard of Hailey being afraid of Shawn, as well as of anyone else trying to get custody of her daughter. On January 14, 2010, Shawn Adkins is named a suspect in the disappearance of Hailey Dunn.

(CLIP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sc1irBN2ZEM)


As time goes on, Shawn Adkins starts refusing interviews. Law enforcement states that they will need more evidence to arrest Adkins.

As the search continues, it appears that things for Billie and Shawn are beginning to unravel. A series of 911 calls are released to the public that indicate rising tensions between the two.

(911 Calls – Billie Dunn: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=umiPSocvsQk)

Shortly thereafter, another 911 call was released, this time Shawn Adkins was calling in to report that Billie Dunn was suicidal in February 2010.

(911 Call – Shawn Adkins: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf5yOgtf5gI)

In the midst of all the drama, the searches for Hailey persist. By around January 20, 2010, the landfills in Colorado City, TX and Snyder, TX have been searched twice, even with cadaver dogs, as well as the landfill in Abilene, TX. It has been confirmed that nothing was found as a result of these searches. The authorities were continuing to follow leads, even some that were out of state, as everyone in west Texas watched their news feeds dutifully for anything new on Hailey’s case. On January 27, 2010…it marked a full month since Hailey went missing.

(CLIP: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQ_clm7Uek4)

{Archived} Case Notes on the Unsolved Murder of Hailey Dunn Part 1

Anytime a child goes missing in the United States it seems entire communities pitch in to help. One could say that this very case has remained in the public eye because the community refuses to forget. What you are about to read is our transcript for our True Crime Podcast episode we created on the Unsolved Murder of Hailey Dunn. Click here to listen to this Podcast Episode!


If you’re listening to this podcast, I take it is safe to assume that you enjoy true crime cases.  I think it is something in our nature, human nature, to be curious about one of the most taboo things in our society….crimes against another person.  But sometimes it is easily forgotten that these cases involve real people.  Our starkest reminders are those cases that we hear about that make us stop and think….that could have happened to me.  This week, American CrimeCast brings you the first episode in a three partseries on the case of Hailey Dunn.  This case has more twists and turns than the back country roads where her story takes place.

On December 27, 2010, Billie Dunn peeks in Hailey’s room to find her asleep before leaving for work.  When she arrived home that night, Hailey was not home.  Her live-in boyfriend Shawn Adkins told her that Hailey had gone to stay the night her friend Mary Beth’s house.  The next day, Billie called her son David to ask him to tell Hailey to come home.  It is then that it is discovered that Hailey never made it to the sleepover, nor her father’s house the day before.  After calling family and friends with no luck, she called Colorado City Police Department to report her missing.


Clint Dunn said he last saw Hailey on the morning of December 26th, after staying the night at his home for Christmas.  Her brother David recalls last seeing her playing video games around 9:00 PM before heading to bed.  Then Billie saw her the morning of December 27th, just before leaving for work.  A neighbor reportedly saw Hailey walking around her backyard, while talking on a cellphone, around noon that day.  The last person to see Hailey was her mother’s boyfriend, Shawn Adkins. He says he got home from work that day around 3pmand shortly after getting home,Hailey told him she was going to walk to her father Clint Dunn’s house, then go to her friend Mary Beth’s house for a sleep over.  In such a small town, you would think someone would to have seen something…anything.  A neighbor of the Dunn’s, Jean Burroughs, came forward saying she remembered seeing Hailey on Dec 27th.  Jean was at her beauty shop on 19th and Locust streets.  She claims she saw the teenager twice between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Dec. 27.  She first saw her walking on East 19th Street, then later saw Hailey walking down the alley behind her beauty shop.  “Hailey isabout 5-feet tall, weighs 120 pounds and has brown hair. She was last seen wearing navy blue sweatpants, a light-colored short-sleeve T-shirt and pink and white tennis shoes.”

In the following days, search parties began to convene in and around Colorado City, Texas.  There was a sense of urgency trying to find where Hailey had gone and getting an Amber Alert issued became a major point of focus.  Her mother Billie Dunn requested an Amber Alert three different times and was turned down each time.  Police Chief John Bivens said the minimum standard for creating an Amber Alert is "knowledge of a suspect, a description of a vehicle involved in an abduction and/or a route and direction of travel." Alerts can only be issued when somebody who is 17 or younger is missing and the disappearance has been deemed "unwilling." Police then need to show that the child is in immediate danger and eliminated other scenarios such as a runaway. Finally, there needs to be some other information such as a description of the abductor's vehicle in order to issue an alert.

Just days after her daughter's disappearance, Hailey's mother Billie Dunn had this to say:


"I really hope she left on her own free will and is scared to come home at this point, but we all want her back, we have to have her."



In the mean time, hundreds of volunteers from around the area show up to search the fields and desert terrain around Colorado City and surrounding areas.  However, it wasn’t long before Law Enforcement noticed that Billie was not taking part in the searches and neither was Shawn. Not only that, the stories that they were getting were not corroborating with each other.  It was not long before the focus began to shift toward Hailey’s mother and her live-in boyfriend.  Billie and Shawn were requested to take polygraphs by Law Enforcement. Although Billie is willing to take the first examination, she admitted that she had been under the influence of narcotics and took another test a few days later.  The results of that test also indicated that there was deception.  As for Shawn Adkins, his did not go much better.According to the affidavit, "on the first two occasions upon his (Adkins) arrival, he terminated the polygraph examinations by walking out and refusing to cooperate with the investigator."  The affidavit goes on to say, "on the third attempt to polygraph Adkins, he submitted to the first stage of the polygraph and the result of the polygraph was that he was deceptive." During that same polygraph, according to the affidavit, Adkins indicated that Hailey Dunn could be found in Scurry County. The results of his polygraph, indicated he was telling the truth. However, when investigators asked him, a second time, if he knew where Hailey was, he refused to answer the question. Investigators asked Adkins who they should be looking at, in regards toHailey's disappearance, to which Adkins replied "both of us."





https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnr6hSKT_co (AFTER SHAWN TOOK POLYGRAPH)


{Archived} Unsolved: Cindy James

There are different categories that deaths can be classified as:  

  • Natural Causes
  • Suspicious
  • Homicide
  • Suicide
  • Accidental

What happens when a death can not be categorized?  What can the grieving loved ones do to get closure?

This is one of those cases where the death was undetermined.  Information will be presented and it will be left for the followers to draw their own conclusions.

This is a unique case.  Family, friends and even a private investigator strongly believe she was murdered.  The Canadian Mounted Police and some investigative reporters believe she committed suicide.

Cindy James, a 44-year-old Canadian nurse, was found dead in the yard of an abandoned house.  Her hands and feet were bound behind her back with a black nylon stocking tied tightly around her neck. 

What events led up to her death? Why are there two very strong arguments on both sides of this case?  Was she murdered or did she commit suicide?  

Cindy was the eldest of six children of Otto and Tillie Hack.  She was nineteen when she married Dr. Ray Makepeace, a psychiatrist, and eighteen years her senior.  Cindy worked as a nurse and loved to counsel children with emotional issues. 

They divorced in 1981.  In 1982, four months after their divorce was final, the threats and the attacks began.  In the almost seven years prior to her death, nearly one hundred reports of harassment were made to the police and out of those reports five were violent.  The harassment and attacks got worse once the police became involved.

Three cats were found dead hanging in her garden, porch lights smashed, bizarre notes on her doorsteps and phone lines were also being cut.

Some of the attacks left not only friends and family baffled but the law enforcement as well.

1)  Her friend, Agnes Woodcock, found Cindy crouched down outside with a nylon stocking tied around her neck.  Cindy stated that she had gone to the garage to get a box and someone grabbed her.  All she saw was a pair of white sneakers.

Cindy had moved, repainted her car and changed her last name, but the harassment followed her.

2)  Ozzie Kaban, a private investigator who Cindy had hired to protect her, heard strange noises coming over a two-way radio that he had given Cindy since her phone lines were always being tampered with.  He went to her home and found all the doors were locked.  He kicked in the door and found Cindy in the Kitchen with a pairing knife through her hand and a note stating "You are dead bitch."  He checked her pulse to see if she was dead.  All she could remember was a needle going into her arm.

Cindy's home was under surveillance with up to fourteen police officers being involved.   No activity happened while under surveillance.  Cindy was always told when the police were watching her home and when they were leaving.  Once the police left the activities would resume.  Calls that were made to the home were too short to be traced.

3)  Cindy had been found six miles from her home, dazed, semiconscious, suffering from hypothermia with cuts and bruises on her body, a black nylon stocking tied around her neck, wearing a man's work boot and a glove.  She remembers nothing that happened prior to being found.  

4) Agnes and her husband Tom were asked by Cindy to stay with her when Cindy reported hearing noises from downstairs.  Tom went into the basement and found that it was on fire, he attempted to use the phone but the line was dead.  He left to get help, saw a man on the curb asked him to call the fire department, but the man ran away.  

Investigators determined that the fire had been set within the home.  The only window that someone could access the basement from had not been disturbed.  No fingerprints, nothing.  This wasn't the only case of arson that surrounded Cindy's torment.

Police were starting to believe that Cindy was responsible for what was happening to her.  Cindy believed it was her ex-husband Roy.  Police convinced Cindy to contact her ex-husband and see if she could get him to confess.  Roy adamantly denied he was behind it.  During a coroner's inquest, He produced his answering machine tapes, showing that he also had received strange calls for Cindy.  One of the recordings, in eerie drawn out words, said, "Cindy dead meat soon."

Cindy's behavior was also confusing to the police.  She would walk her dog at night and would leave her curtains open.  They believed this was strange behavior from someone who was terrified and believed to be in danger.

Cindy's physician committed her to a local psychiatric ward, shortly after the fire incident, believing she was suicidal.  While under psychiatric care Cindy wrote this note.

              "I still feel suicide in my best option in an unbearable situation and as soon as I get out of here I will carry out my plan."

Two and a half months later she was released.  Her father, Otto stated that Cindy told friends and family that she knew more than she was saying and would go after the perpetrator herself.

Cindy went through a series of hypnosis sessions and polygraph tests.  She was labeled as "too traumatized" to be a reliable candidate.

5)  Cindy had been found unconscious in her car, naked from the waist down, with a black nylon stocking around her neck and her feet and hands were bound behind her back.

On May 25, 1989, six and a half years after her first report, Cindy disappeared.  Her car was found in a parking lot with groceries and a wrapped present inside.  There was blood on the driver's door and the contents of her wallet were under the car.

On June 8, 1989, her body was found in the yard of an abandoned house, one and a half miles from where her car was found.  The autopsy revealed that Cindy died of an overdose of morphine and other drugs.

The Vancouver Corner's inquest, which lasted over three months and had 80 witnesses testify, ruled that "her death wasn't suicide, an accident or a murder."  She died of an "Unknown Event."  Police simulated how her body looked when found.  It was determined that it could have been self-inflicted.  A knot expert testified that it was possible for her to have taken the drugs and tied herself up. This inquest is known as the most expensive death inquiry in British Columbia's history.

Several books have been written:
The Deaths of Cindy James by Neal Hall
Who Killed Cindy James by Ian Mulgrew
Who Killed My Sister, My Friend by Melanie Hack

One writer believed that Cindy suffered from Dissociative Identity Disorder aka Multiple Personality Disorder.  This is where the original self is unaware of what the alter egos are doing to the original self.  The alter egos have been known to try and kill the other egos, not realizing that they are all in one body and that by killing one the whole is killed.  If one of the alter egos is a prosecutor, it makes itself known to the main person through threats or insults.  It can also take over the body and command the main person to harm themselves.

Was this the case for Cindy James? Did she suffer some type of mental break?  Was it Cindy causing self-harm and unaware that she was doing it or was she really murdered?  Unfortunately, we may never know.

Listen to Cindy's three part Podcast here: 

{Archived} The Mysterious Murder of Sister Catherine Cesnick

January 3, 1970

It was a cold and gray Saturday morning in Baltimore County, Maryland when two hunters stumbled upon the decomposing body of a young woman in a field.

The police arrived on the scene and immediately notified Detective Captain Louis George "Bud" Roemer - who rushed to the scene. Could this be the missing nun? As he approached the body, a purse and a single shoe were seen a few feet away. As he searched the purse, he found a pill bottle with the victim's name on it. It was indeed Sister Catherine Ann Cesnick - who had gone missing from her Carriage House Apartment on November 7, 1969.

Be Aware: This is still an active murder investigation, with many twists that involve the Archdiocese of Baltimore. This includes allegations of sexual abuse of students that had attended the Archbishop Kenough High School - and the possible link to another murdered woman. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

 Who was Sister Catherine Anne Cesnik?

Catherine was born in the small town of Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania, located across the river from Pittsburgh. She was the daughter of a postal worker father and a mother who was a homemaker. The Cesniks were devout Roman Catholics.  Catherine and her sisters attended Catholic schools, but it was not until Catherine entered into High School that she became sure of her vocation.  

In 1960 Catherine entered the Convent School ofSisters of Notre Dame, a teaching order in Baltimore, as a candidate for sisterhood. In 1965 she began teaching at the new all-girls school, Archbishop Kenough High School. On July 21, 1967, she took her vows and took the name of Sister Joanita.

In the Spring of 1969, students started noticing some changes within their favorite teacher. At this time, Vatican II was making monumental changes within the Catholic Church. Sister Catherine applied for and was granted an "exclauisation" - This is where a nun could live outside the Convent and wear modest "civilian" clothing instead of the traditional Habit.

Catherine moved into a two bedroom apartment with another exclauisng nun, Sister Helen Russell Phillips. The apartment was in the Carriage House Apartment complex on North Bend Road in Baltimore. She began teaching at Western High.

 What happened to Sister Catherine?

On Friday, November 7th, Sister Catherine left her apartment to pick up some dinner rolls and cash a check at theEdmonton Village Shopping Center. When she wasn't home by 11 pm her roommate, Sister Helen, called two priests: Father Gerald J. "Gerry" Koob and Father Peter McKeon who lived in Manresa, Maryland. They arrived at the apartment around 1 a.m. Saturday morning - that is when then they called the police.

 After several hours of questioning, the three of them decided to go for a walk at four in the morning to "clear" their minds. This is when they discovered Sister Catherine's 1969 Green Ford Maverick parked in an "odd" manner in the parking lot near her apartment. The vehicle showed no signs of a struggle.

 After Sister Catherine's body was discovered, suspicion turned to Father Koob. Detectives thought it was strange that Sister Helen called these two particular Priests and not the police.

Father Koob insisted that his relationship with Sister Catherine was strictly platonic, but Detective Captain Roemer wasn't buying it. He paid Father Koob a visit at the Priest's quarter and discovered a letter that was written to the Priest by Sister Catherine.

 “My very dearest Gerry, 

‘If Ever I Should Leave You’ is playing on the radio. I’m all curled up in bed. My ‘pride’ has finally arrived, ten days later… So you might say I’m moody… My heart aches so for you. I must wait for you – your time and you need – even more than I had before… I think I can begin to live with that more easily now than I did two months ago, just loving you… within myself…” 

Sister Catherine, the author of the letter, went on to write: “I must tell you, I want you within me. I want to have your children.”

Father Koob had an alibi the night Sister Catherine went missing: He was with Father McKeon. They had dinner and saw the movie "Easy Rider.'  This was confirmed and he also passed two polygraph tests.

Even with this information, the police wasn't finished with the priest.  Unfortunately, pressure from outside the police department ended the investigation into the Priest. The case went cold. Until almost twenty-five years later when two women, who were students at the High School, claimed that they were sexually abused by Father Anthony Joseph Maskell in the late 60's early 70's.

 Dozens of men and women claimed to and testified to have had first-hand knowledge of the sexual abuse that happened at the Archbishop Kenough High School.

 An anonymous witness testified with information that hadn't been released to the public.  To protect her identity, she was referred to as "Jane Doe" - but her real name is Jean Wehner.  She stated that in late November 1969, Father Maskell took her to the Lansdowne Dump and showed her the body of Sister Catherine. She was told, "that she had better keep her mouth shut or she would end up the same way."

 Sister Mary, from the Sisters of Notre Dame, testified that she knew of several kids that claimed about the abuse by Father Maskell and that they had confided in Sister Catherine. So it is clear that Sister Catherine was aware of the abuse in the months leading up to her death.  

 The lawsuits against the Archdiocese did not hold up in court.  The courts ruled that regressed memories were not viable evidence. The Archdiocese, on the other hand, believed the allegations and removed Father Maskell from "active" duty and reassigned him to clerical duties at the St. Augustine Parish in Elkridge, Maryland, where he died of a massive stroke on May 7, 2001, at the age of 62.

 Father Maskell was never charged with the murder of Sister Catherine. He had a close relationship with the Police Department and often rode with the officers. Many of the officers couldn’t and wouldn't believe that he would have done such horrible things. He Baptized their children and even their grandchildren.  

 One witness claimed that Father Maskell forced her to perform sexual acts with a police officer. 

 Who was the second murder victim and could the two cases be related?

 Around 7 pm on November 13, 1969, 20-year-old Joyce Malenki, a secretary for a liquor distributor in Baltimore, disappeared from the parking lot of E. J. Corvettes department store, located in Glen Burnie, Maryland. She was discovered the following morning in the Little Patuxent River, at the military base, with her hands tied behind her back and multiple stab wounds to the throat. Joyce had been strangled to death.

 Her family attended St. Clement Church in Lansdowne. Joyce participated in many retreats with area Priests during her high school years. Father Maskell was assigned to St. Clement from 1966 to 1968. In 1969, Father Maskell was also working at Our Lady of Victory, which was about three miles from St. Clement, which was less than a mile from where a Sister Catherine's body was found.  He continued to reside at St Clement while he was at the Archbishop Kenough High School from 1970 to 1975.  

 We may never know what really happened to Sister Catherine. There are some that wholeheartedly believes that Father Maskell either murdered her or helped with her murder. Was she murdered because she was about to blow the whistle on the sexual abuse that was happening at the school? Was Joyce Malenki one of Father Maskell's victims that were about to talk? Are the two cases related?


-Written by Michele Smith

Listen to our three part podcast here:

{Archived} The Mysterious Death of Jim Morrison

{Archived} The Mysterious Death of Jim Morrison

When a celebrity dies under mysterious circumstances, or their followers believe there is more to the story than what is being told, conspiracy is thrown around.  Did they really die, did they fake their deaths, were they murdred, etc.?   One of those celebrities who's death has been shrouded in darkness  for decades is that of, The Doors frontman, Jim Morrison.

{Archived} Unsolved Murder of Nevaeh Buchanan

The Unsolved Murder of Nevaeh Buchanan

On May 24th, 2009, five year old Nevaeh Buchanan was playing outside her apartment complex in Monroe, Michigan, when she was abducted. Massive searches were put together - all coming up empty handed. Finally, 11 days after her abduction - her tiny body was found in a shallow grave - covered by cement. 

I am Shane Waters, the host and producer of American CrimeCast - a True Crime Documentary Podcast that works with the family of victims to tell their story. With our efforts, we strive to make each listener realize this a real person - who is loved and cared for - and they deserve justice. 

During our Podcast you will hear an exclusive interview with a cousin of Nevaeh's - who has took the lead in fighting for justice in her horrific murder. We discuss the events that lead up to the abduction, details about the Autopsy and Toxicology Reports, as well as a live walk-thru of the very place her tiny body was buried alive in. 

To listen is completely free, so please do. There are a few easy ways to listen:

  • Download our Free App 'American CrimeCast' - which you can find in the App Store and Google Play. 
  • You can find our Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, TuneIn Radio, and everywhere else podcasts can be found. 
  • Listen to the episode here, on our website, simply click this button below - then just push play!

The Shallow Grave

The TimeLIne 

May 24th, 2009. Monroe, Michigan. 

Nevaeh was abducted on Memorial Day Weekend, that day she started at a friends house - which was in another apartment in the complex she lived in with her mother. Her mom, mom's friend, and mom's friend's young daughter picked Nevaeh up at this apartment so they could walk to K-Mart using a path in the woods. 

Some say Nevaeh never returned from K-Mart, while others say they don't recall seeing her mom return from the trip either. Mom's friend's little girl that accompanied them on the trip - is quoted as saying "The Monster Took Nevaeh". 

To listen to a full explanation of the mom's memory of what happened, and the other neighbor's differing timeline - take a listen to Nevaeh's Podcast episode. 

Want to help?

Nevaeh's cousin, Risa Smith, started a Not-for-profit company to help find justice for Nevaeh - as well as help other young children in Nevaeh's community. Please, if you would like to help - consider donating money to this organization. They arrange events, where kids can have a good time playing games and creating crafts, and eat a warm meal. Justice for Nevaeh also offers scholarships in Nevaeh's name. To help make a difference in her community, you can donate any amount using this donate button below.


Have questions or Comments?

Use the fully-functional comment section below to post questions or to provide feedback. We would also greatly appreciate it if you could share this, to help Nevaeh's story reach more people. 

Your kindness is greatly appreciated. Remember: Be Kind, and may Harmony Find You.