Crime Files Network

Archive for the ‘COLD CASES’ Category


Bones found in the Northern California foothills have been identified as belonging to a Swedish exchange student who went missing more than 33 years ago, prompting police investigators to reopen the case, a newspaper reported on Tuesday


The remains, consisting of only seven bones, were discovered in Fremont, California, in 2010 and in November were matched to 21-year-old Elisabeth Martinsson, the Marin Independent Journal reported on its website.

Marin County Coroner’s spokesman said he could not immediately comment to Reuters on the case.

Martinsson, of Uddevalla, Sweden, had been staying as an exchange student with a family in Greenbrae, across the San Francisco Bay from Fremont, when she was reported missing on Jan. 17, 1982.

Martinsson, who also had been working as a nanny, vanished after buying a pair of boots in the nearby community of Larkspur and had not been seen in the more than three decades since.

Some 10 days after her disappearance Henry Lee Coleman, 31, and Sabrina Ann Johnson, 26, were arrested after they were found in Oklahoma with the yellow Volkswagen Rabbit that Martinsson had been driving.

Coleman, who had previously served time in prison for rape, was convicted of auto theft and sentenced to five years in prison, according to the Independent Journal.

Investigators were seeking additional tests on the bones and trying to determine Coleman’s whereabouts, the newspaper said. Martinsson’s remains, which were cremated, would be sent back to family members in Sweden



A MYSTERY man involved in a chilling double murder that rocked the city five years ago ended up shot and his body charred in a campsite fire pit.

For the first time, police can reveal the full extent of the brutal killing spree that left three people dead in 2009 and the massive investigation over three states to solve the crimes.

Until now, it was believed two men killed Burleigh Waters security firm owner Sandy Davie and wife Sue.

However, police say a third man was involved in the bloody executions and later murdered.

Mr Davie, 60, was stabbed 10 times at a property he was patrolling and his body left in the toilet with the word “dog” scrawled in blood on the door.

Sue Davie, 50, was killed at her home in Robina the same night, bashed with a claw hammer and stabbed three times through the chest.

Bones belonging to Victorian man Anthony Ward were found in a fire pit at a remote campsite near Tenterfield, NSW, just weeks after the double murder.

His few remains were discovered after police tracked the mobile phones of murder suspects Cameron Stewart and Vladimir Garcia as they fled the Gold Coast.

The exclusive insight into the Davie murders, which stunned the city, come after the Supreme Court rejected an appeal over the conviction and 25-year jail sentences of Stewart and Garcia.

The court suppressed Ward’s involvement and his brutal murder so the pair could have a fair trial.

NSW police have issued arrest warrants to Stewart, 38, and Garcia, 36, for Ward’s murder.

Police believe Ward, a computer company owner, travelled from Melbourne with the pair for a high stakes robbery.

However, Stewart and Garcia, both ex-employees of Mr Davie, cited bitterness over being accused of theft three years earlier and wanted to “settle old scores” with their old boss.

Legal reasons prevent the Bulletin Newspaper revealing Ward’s connection to Stewart and Garcia.

However, police say Ward, 40, had never met the Davies.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Mick Bolin said it was a joint operation between Queensland, NSW and Victorian police.

Cameron Stewart, who with Vladamir Garcia is serving a 25-year-sentence for the murder of Alexander Sandy Davie and wife Sue Davie, is alleged to have also murdered accomplice Anthony Ward. image

Cameron Stewart, who with Vladamir Garcia is serving a 25-year-sentence for the murder of Alexander “Sandy” Davie and wife Sue Davie, is alleged to have also murdered accomplice Anthony Ward.

The enormity of the local investigation involved weeks of ground work in Victoria.

Police investigations traced mobile phones from interstate to the streets surrounding Mr Davie’s home in the days before the double murder as his killers studied his routine. He was ambushed as he patrolled a recycling business over a long weekend on May 3, 2009.

Because of the long weekend, Mr Davie was not discovered for nearly two days after the murder, his body lying in a pool of blood, face down in a toilet and his hands bound with zip ties. The security guard had been stabbed four times in the back, four times in the left bicep and once each in the neck and ear.

Forensic officers did not find a single defensive wound.

Vladamir Garcia, who with Cameron Stewart is serving a 25-year-sentence for the murder of Alexander Sandy Davie and wife Sue Davie, is alleged to have also murdered accomplice Anthony Ward.image

Vladamir Garcia, who with Cameron Stewart is serving a 25-year-sentence for the murder of Alexander “Sandy” Davie and wife Sue Davie, is alleged to have also murdered accomplice Anthony Ward.

Almost two hours later, police went to Mr Davie’s home to break the news to his wife, Sue, only to find the home locked. After forced entry, police found the home ransacked and Mrs Davie’s lifeless body in the bed.

She had been clubbed with a hammer and stabbed three times in the chest with such ferocity that the weapon passed through her body and punctured the mattress.

She also had no defensive wounds.

Detectives honed in on Garcia and Stewart as suspects, with leads the pair repeatedly claimed they were “going to get Davie”.

Gold Coast murders (supplied photos of victims) Sue Davie and husband Sandy Davie.image

Gold Coast murders (supplied photos of victims) Sue Davie and husband Sandy Davie.


ripper sketch image

The 125 year old Jack the Ripper mystery may be finally solved, alas.

Like many, when I saw the news that Jack the Ripper had finally been identified, I thought, “Here we go again”. Who was the serial killer going to be this time? Gladstone? WG Grace? After all, the list of suspects contains the likes of Prince Albert Victor, the Duke of Clarence and even Lewis Carroll, so I was bracing myself for somebody really spectacularly silly; perhaps even Queen Victoria herself.

But as I read more about the story, it became apparent that this wasn’t some outlandish claim peddled by a money-grabbing junk historian. In fact, it all seems very sensible. In 2007, a businessman called Russell Edwards bought a shawl that was said to belong to Catherine Eddowes, one of the Ripper’s victims. Mr Edwards took the shawl to Dr Jari Louhelainen, a senior lecturer in molecular biology at Liverpool John Moores, and a specialist in genetics and forensics. Using a process called “vacuuming”, Dr Louhelainen was able to extract enough DNA from bloodstains on the shawl to match the DNA taken from one of Eddowes’s descendants.

Even more excitingly, Dr Louhelainen was able to find some seminal fluid, from which he was also able to obtain some DNA.That DNA is a 100 per cent match for a female descendant of the sister of one of the Ripper suspects – a Polish-born hairdresser called Aaron Kosminski, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and hallucinations, and was admitted to mental asylums from 1891 until he died in 1919. If the science is correct, then the case is closed after nearly 125 years

Chief Inspector Donald Swanson,  Jack the Ripper identified Aaron Kosminksi as the suspect.image

Chief Inspector Donald Swanson, who worked on the Jack the Ripper investigation for the London Metropolitan Police and identified Aaron Kosminksi as the suspect.

And even though I am a historian who delights in debunking junk history, this time I’m convinced. But I’m also disappointed.Unlike so many suspects, Kosminski is boringly plausible. The idea that the Ripper was a madman who was strongly suspected by the police – and even monitored by them – rings true, but dully true. Because although my head realises that Kosminski has to be the killer, my heart doesn’t want the case to end.

Like others, I’ve been fascinated not only by the case itself, but also by the legion of obsessive people who call themselves “Ripperologists” – a faux-scientific label if there was one. Be in no doubt that these people will keep the case alive.

The notion that there is nothing left to solve, no more leads to follow up, no more evidence to dissect, will surely leave their lives empty and seemingly worthless. One can already see anguished signs of this denial on discussion forums, in which the Edwards-Louhelainen theory is peevishly dismissed.

Among those who will doubtless be rubbishing the idea of Kosminski as the serial killer will be the crime writer Patricia Cornwell, who is the queen of Ripperology. In 2002, Cornwell published a book in which she confidently asserted that the painter Walter Sickert was the Ripper. Much of Cornwell’s evidence was flimsy – not least her desperate claim that the poses of the women in some of the artist’s paintings are similar to those of the corpses of the Ripper’s victims. Cornwell’s problem, which is shared by many of her fellow Ripperologists – and, to be honest, by myself – is that she wanted the murderer to be someone remarkable.

The notion that such unsolved sensationalised murders were committed merely by an obscure maniac is simply not satisfying. Kosminski’s modest character does not have sufficient strength to carry the hugeness of the story and the culture of books, films, TV shows and tours that has been built around it.

The truth is that the answers to so many of these notorious cases are indeed boring and short. President Kennedy was shot by a lone misfit, and was not the victim of some multi-tentacled conspiracy. Subconsciously, we treat these horrible, true crimes as extensions of the entertainment industry. While a work of fiction may have Jack the Ripper as a personage, in truth, we now know that the murderer was a mere person. But even if the DNA evidence had shown that the Ripper was, say, a son of Queen Victoria, many would have dismissed it. Mysteries are fun. Solved mysteries are not.

Had Kosminski been found guilty in 1888, then the case of “Jack the Ripper” would have been all but forgotten. There were plenty of other serial killers in the 19th century, but few today can name, say, the likes of Dr William Palmer who poisoned several of his victims, or Sarah Freeman, who killed at least nine, including her own brother. However, we must learn to accept the science, and not let our imagination triumph over the facts. That is indeed a worthy and sensible observation, and one we should all heed; but it’s not one that I find very satisfying. If Dr Louhelainen’s methodology is found to be flawed, then I for one will be secretly delighted.

The Daily Telegraph


jack the ripper shadow image

DNA testing has identified Jack the Ripper as Aaron Kosminski, a hairdresser in the British capital’s impoverished Whitechapel district, the Daily Mail reported Saturday.

The claim is based on the findings of the Finnish forensics expert Jari Louhelainen, who examined a shawl belonging to one of Jack the Ripper’s five confirmed victims, all of whom were prostitutes.

Some of the DNA found on the garment matched that of Kosminski, Louhelainen concluded, based on DNA obtained from a descendant of the hairdresser’s sister, the paper said.

The study could not be independently confirmed. The report also did not comment on the possibility of Kosminski getting his DNA on the prostitute’s shawl in a manner unrelated to the woman’s murder.

Kosminski, born in 1865, was a key suspect when police initially investigated the murders attributed to Jack the Ripper, but no case could be built against him.

The hairdresser was an ethnic Jew living in a part of Poland that belonged to Russia during the 19th century. According to the Daily Mail, he fled to Britain in the 1880s to escape from Jewish pogroms, organized mass attacks on Russian Jews.

Kosminski was placed in a mental asylum in 1891, where he remained until his death in in 1919.

Between five and 11 murders of women that took place from 1888 to 1891 in Whitechapel are credited to Jack the Ripper.

The highly publicized murders were never solved, giving rise to more than 100 theories about the identity of the killer.

Several Russian Empire natives made the list of suspects, including a second Polish groomer, a Polish-Jewish boot-maker and a Russian conman. More elaborate theories listed British Prince Albert Victor and “Alice in Wonderland” creator Lewis Carroll as possible perpetrators


NA tests ‘prove’ that Jack the Ripper was a Polish immigrant named Aaron Kosminski

THE search to uncover the identity of Jack the Ripper appears to be over.

DNA on a shawl found near one of the victims, Catherine Eddowes, reportedly contains a match to both her and one of the chief suspects, Aaron Kosminsky.

The Polish hairdresser, who moved to England with his family in 1881, was committed to a mental asylum at the peak of Ripper hysteria.

Aaron Kosminsky is jack the ripper image

Revealed? … DNA evidence reportedly confirms that Aaron Kosminski is Jack the Ripper. Picture: Supplied

The breakthrough came when Dr Jari Louhelainen, an expert in historic DNA, was commissioned to study a shawl found with Eddowes, the second-last “confirmed” victim of the Ripper more than 125 years ago.

The shawl — which still retained historic stains — had been bought by a businessman at an auction in 2007.

“It has taken a great deal of hard work, using cutting-edge scientific techniques which would not have been possible five years ago,” Dr Louhelainen told a British newspaper.

“Once I had the profile, I could compare it to that of the female descendant of Kosminski’s sister, who had given us a sample of her DNA swabbed from inside her mouth.

“The first strand of DNA showed a 99.2 per cent match, as the analysis instrument could not determine the sequence of the missing 0.8 per cent fragment of DNA. On testing the second strand, we achieved a perfect 100 per cent match.”

Killing sports  this map of Whitechapel in the 1800s shows Flower and Dean Streets in purple and the sites of some killings as red spots image ripper killings image map

Killing sports … this map of Whitechapel in the 1800s shows Flower and Dean Streets in purple and the sites of some killings as red spots. Picture: Supplied

Kosminski was born in Poland in 1865 before moving to Whitechapel, England, in 1881.

The murders attributed to Jack the Ripper began in 1888, with up to 11 deaths around the Whitechapel area linked to the killer.

Frances Coles, believed to be the Ripper’s last victim, died in February 1891 — the same year Kosminski was forcibly put in Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum.

He remained in mental health facilities until his death in 1919, aged 53.

Originally published as Is this Jack the Ripper?






For more than 20 years, he got away with the murder of his wife. Then he started talking to himself about the case.

Cold case unit detectives had bugged John Vincent McDonald’s home in 2007 and recorded the conversations he was having with himself about the murder.
McDonald, 72, of Sunbury, was found guilty in 2011 of murdering his wife Marlene in December 1986, after he recruited three men to kidnap her from her Reservoir home before he killed her, or had her killed. The 36-year-old mother of five has not been seen since.

Marlene McDonald was aged 36 when she vanished.Marlene McDonald was aged 36 when she vanished. Photo: Supplied

Today, McDonald lost his application for leave to appeal the conviction.

The Court of Appeal’s Justice Peter Buchanan, Justice Phillip Priest and Justice Paul Coghlan unanimously dismissed the application.

In his overview of the case, Justice Priest said Marlene McDonald had disappeared during the weekend of December 13 and 14, 1986.

Marlene McDonald.
Marlene McDonald.

Her car was found at the Truck City restaurant and cafe on the Hume Highway at Campbellfield, where she had been working as a waitress.

The judge said police had investigated Mrs McDonald’s disappearance as a missing persons case, with no result.

“The case was not investigated with the thoroughness it deserved,” Justice Priest said.

The case was later re-opened as a ‘cold case’ in 2003 and again in 2007 and, as part of the investigation, McDonald was questioned and listening devices were installed in his car and his house.

In 2008, a fingerprint taken from McDonald’s car was identified as belonging to Gregory Bone. Bone was one of three men who pleaded guilty to kidnapping Mrs McDonald.


During McDonald’s trial, the court heard the couple had separated 13 months before Mrs McDonald vanished, following what had been a violent relationship and McDonald had been unable to move on. He became furious when his estranged wife wanted custody of their children and developed a “jealous obsession” about her seeing other men.

“Perhaps the most unusual feature of this case was that the applicant (McDonald) frequently conversed with himself out loud,” Justice Priest said.

“In so doing, he revealed his thinking.

“Subjects of his discourse with himself included his wife’s disappearance and what might have happened to her.

“He rehearsed and role-played conversations he might have with the police, and he speculated as to the nature of the evidence they may find that could implicate him.

“Since listening devices had been installed in his car and his home, the jury were able to listen to these ruminations.”

Justice Priest said excerpts of the recordings played to the jury included soliloquies in which:


McDonald demonstrated his animosity towards Mrs McDonald.

McDonald displayed knowledge of the circumstances of the abduction which he could have only possessed if he was involved.

McDonald referred to ‘Bino’ (Donald Binion, one of the kidnappers) when police had no idea Bino was involved in the abduction.

McDonald referred to Bino making up a story.

McDonald referred to Mrs McDonald’s body being found in the Kinglake mountains and the Mount Disappointment area.

McDonald expressed concern about the possibility of his DNA being found on items linked to the kidnapping.


McDonald referred to a “shallow grave” and to cameras being set up at a grave site.

Justice Priest said McDonald’s defence was that there was no evidence Mrs McDonald was dead because there was no body and suggested it was plausible that she could have run off with a truck driver or, if she had been killed, someone else could have done it.

One of the many lies McDonald told police was when he suggested that Maria Korp — who he knew was the wife of his cricket friend Joe Korp — had seen Mrs McDonald interstate.

But Mrs Korp’s daughter Laura De Gois testified at the trial that her mother had never been to Queensland.

Mrs Korp was killed in 2005 by Korp’s lover, Tania Herman. Korp later killed himself before he was tried over her attempted murder.

The three appeal judges said today they did not believe there had been any miscarriage of justice in McDonald’s murder conviction and dismissed his application for leave to appeal.

“In the circumstances, any suggestion that he did not kill her (Mrs McDonald) , or arrange for her death, is fanciful,” Justice Priest concluded.

Subscribe to Crime Files Network