10 Unsolved Cold Cases That Will Leave You Feeling Unsettled

The saying goes, “the truth always comes out in the end.” And for the most part, through life’s twists and turns, that saying seems to ring true. But when it comes to cold-blooded murder and strange disappearances, the families and friends left behind are not so sure. Some cases take many years to solve. And too many cases run cold and remain that way…

10 The Disappearance of Sherry Lynn Marler

At the age of twelve, Sherry Lynn Marler already knew what she wanted to be when she grew up: a farmer. She lived with her family in Greenville, Alabama, and the tight-knit community called her “Little Farmer” because she loved farming so much.

Sherry’s dream never came true.

On the morning of June 6, 1984, Sherry’s mother got ready for work and tiptoed out of the house to not wake Sherry, who was asleep on the couch. Sherry awoke two hours later, at around 9 am. When she saw her stepfather heading out to the bank, she asked if she could tag along.

Her stepfather, Raymond, sat down at the bank to sign documents. Sherry asked if she could go and get a soda, upon which Raymond handed her a dollar and told her to get one from the gas station across the street.

Sherry was seen for the last time walking through two parking lots to get to the gas station. When Raymond was done at the bank, he walked to his truck, fully expecting Sherry to be waiting for him. She was nowhere to be seen. When 25 minutes passed, and there was still no sign of Sherry, he called her mother to ask if she’d seen her. When she said she hadn’t, Raymond began searching. Sherry was reported missing at 11:46 am, and a full-scale search was launched.

Sherry Lynn Marler is still missing. Theories for her disappearance range from her having run away from home to being taken by a stranger or murdered by someone she knew. Interestingly, Raymond refused to do a polygraph test when asked by police, but he was never listed as a suspect. Shortly before his death in 2003, he reaffirmed to his wife that he didn’t know where Sherry was.[1]

9 The Murder of Nurin Jazlin

When reading about the tragic and disturbing case of Nurin Jazlin, it becomes exceedingly clear why the death penalty was once the preferred method of punishment for murderers.

Eight-year-old Nurin walked to a wet market near her house in Wangsa Maju, Kuala Lumpur, to buy a hair clip on the evening of August 20, 2007. When she didn’t return, her parents reported her missing. During the investigation, police found CCTV footage showing the little girl being dragged into a white van on the same night she went missing.

The horror of Nurin Jazlin’s disappearance was about to get a lot worse. Almost a month later, a shop owner found a gym bag in front of his store in Petaling Jaya. Inside was the mutilated body of Nurin. An autopsy revealed that the girl had been violated and raped with the use of a cucumber and eggplant to the extent that her rectum had ruptured. The subsequent bacterial infection contributed to her death. The child had been so deformed because of the violence she had to endure; her parents didn’t recognize her.

The case sparked outrage in Malaysia and around the world. There have been arrests, but nothing that panned out in aiding the investigation. CCTV footage was also found of a motorcyclist carrying the bag that Nurin was found in, but the person was never identified.[2]

8 The Disappearance of Amber-Lee Cruickshank

When Cleo Smith disappeared from her family’s tent in October 2021, everyone feared the worst. However, in a rare happy ending for these types of cases, the four-year-old was found alive and well in a house not far from her family home in Carnarvon, Australia.

Unfortunately, many other families don’t get the same outcome. On October 17, 1992, the parents of two-and-a-half-year-old Amber-Lee Cruickshank both thought the other was watching her. Neither of them had seen her for 45 minutes, however, before they realized she was missing from a friend’s home in Kingston at the southern tip of Lake Wakatipu.

A search immediately ensued. The surrounding bushes, houses, creeks, and the lake were combed more than once. There was no sign of Amber-Lee.

It was initially believed that Amber-Lee’s mother’s involvement with drugs and gangs might have had something to do with the toddler’s disappearance, but no proof was ever found. Police are confident that Amber-Lee didn’t end up in the lake, but there are still no answers to what the toddler’s final fate was.[3]

7 The Disappearance of Toni Danieelle Clark

At around midnight on March 16, 1990, seventeen-year-old Toni Clark was driving her boyfriend’s Camaro. At around the same time, police received a call about a car accident on the San Francisco Bay Bridge. When they arrived six minutes later, they saw that another car had driven into the back of the Camaro. But the driver of the Camaro was nowhere to be seen. The only items left inside the Camaro were Toni’s gold bracelet that she always wore and the car keys.

Police thought that Toni might have been flung over the side of the bridge during the accident. However, some believed that Toni may have been standing in front of the car at the time of the accident and that she was thrown over the side during the impact.

However it may be, no one ever reported seeing Toni go over the bridge. A search revealed nothing in the water below. The driver of the other car was tried for vehicular manslaughter, even in the absence of a body, but was found not guilty due to lack of evidence.

A week after the incident, Toni’s mother Gwen received a chilling phone call. For 40 seconds, she listened to a woman crying over the phone before the call was dropped abruptly. Gwen is convinced it was her daughter, but authorities stand by their theory that Toni drowned in the bay after the accident and was carried away by the current. Toni was two months pregnant at the time of her disappearance.[4]

She was never found.

6 The Deaths of Megumi Yashiki and Narumi Takumi

In 1996, Megumi Yashiki and Narumi Takumi, both 19 at the time, told their families that they were going to take a trip to a “haunted hotel” in Uozu City, Japan. They traveled in Megumi’s car and sent a pager message upon their arrival that read, “We are in Uozu.”

When two days passed with no further word from the young women, their families reported them missing. It would take nearly 25 years for their remains to be found inside the car 8 meters (26 feet) below the sea surface near Kaiomaru Park. Police made the discovery in 2020 after three witnesses came forward in 2014, saying they’d seen “a car with two women drop from a parking lot into the sea near Kaiomaur Park at midnight of a major holiday in 1996.”

When the witnesses were questioned, they all said they were afraid of coming forward with the information, but they wouldn’t say why.

Police do not suspect foul play, and the mystery of why the two women landed up in the sea remains.[5]

5 The Murder of Maria Marta

On October 27, 2002, Carlos Carrascosa found his wife’s body in the bathtub of their home in the gated community of Carmel, in Pilar, Buenos Aires. He had just come home from watching a football match with his in-laws.

Police and Carlos both suspected that Maria Marta Garcia Belsunce had fallen in the bath and hit her head. However, an autopsy revealed that Maria had been shot in the head six times before her body was dumped in the tub. Glue had been used to try and disguise the wounds. Naturally, Carlos became suspect number one. He went to trial but was acquitted in 2007.

Two years later, the Appeals Court overturned the decision, and Carlos was found guilty. After spending five years in prison, the Supreme Court acquitted him in 2016. This came after DNA analysis revealed that his DNA didn’t match any of the blood samples taken at the crime scene. Carlos also had an alibi for the time of the murder.[6]

If Carlos didn’t kill his wife, then who did?

4 The Death of Katherine Korzilius

Six-year-old Katherine Korzilius probably didn’t realize it at the time, but her dad was cool. He was a tour manager for Jon Bon Jovi, and he provided very well for his family, making sure they had a good life in Austin, Texas.

On Paul Korzilius’ birthday, August 7, 1996, his wife Nancy and their children Katherine and Chris were running errands and trying to find a gift for him. On the way home, Nancy stopped to pick up the mail, and as usual, Katherine asked her mother if she could walk the rest of the way home. Nancy and Chris drove home using the road Nancy always took, while Katherine walked home in the opposite direction, which was also the shorter route home. It was less than a quarter of a mile.

Nancy and Chris arrived home and started unpacking the shopping bags, assuming Katherine was already inside. Chris went looking for his sister but couldn’t find her and immediately told his mother. Nancy instructed him to go and look for Katherine outside, but he came back crying after a few minutes saying he still couldn’t find her.

Nancy and Chris got in the car and drove to the neighbors, asking if any of them had seen Katherine. No one had.

Just a few minutes later, Nancy found her daughter lying in the road, unconscious but still breathing. She drove her to the emergency room, where Katherine was immediately placed on a ventilator. Paul, who was in New York at the time, arranged for a charter flight after a call from Nancy. But he was too late. An hour before he landed, Katherine was pronounced dead.

A medical examiner report stated that Katherine’s injuries resulted from jumping or falling from a moving vehicle. Or being thrown from a moving vehicle. A police investigator theorized that Katherine may have jumped onto the back of Nancy’s car and then lost her grip. However, the Korzilius family was convinced their daughter was abducted and murdered. Only questions remain.[7]

In 1997 Jon Bon Jovi released a song called “August 7, 4:15” as a tribute to Katherine.

3 The Murders of Kim Abrahams, Joey Joseph & Celine Cowley

South Africa is undergoing a terrifying scourge of violence and murders, which seems to be getting worse by the day. And children seem to be bearing the brunt of it. The country’s crime stats showed that in 2021, child murders had increased year-over-year by 31.7%.

And way too often, there is no justice for these innocent souls.

Six-year-old Kim Abrahams was found floating in “Koffiedam” in August 2005 after going to a nearby shop by herself in Delft, Cape Town. She had been assaulted and strangled. A neighbor was arrested but then acquitted due to lack of evidence.

A month later, three-year-old Joey Joseph went missing while playing outside her home in Delft. Her body was found in a bush the next day, 3 kilometers (1.86 miles) from where she was last seen. She had been sexually assaulted and murdered.

In August 2006, four-year-old Celine Cowley disappeared while at a shop on the same street she lived in Ravensmead, Cape Town. Her body was later discovered three doors away from her home. She, too, had been raped and strangled. Her neighbor was arrested but released due to lack of evidence, despite a confession to strangling and raping her.[8]

These three murders form part of hundreds of similar cold cases in the country that remain unsolved.

2 The Disappearance of Mary Shotwell Little

In 1965, 25-year-old Mary Shotwell Little was newly and happily married and content with her job as a secretary at the C&S Bank in Atlanta, Georgia. On October 14, Mary set off for work, and at the end of the workday, she went to a shopping mall called Lenox Square. She bought groceries and then met up with a friend for dinner. Afterward, they did some shopping until 8 pm. When Mary and her friend parted ways, Mary presumably walked back through the mall to get to the parking lot where her car was.

The next morning, Mary didn’t show up at work. Her boss and colleagues called her home but couldn’t get in touch with her. Her boss then went to the mall, accompanied by some of her co-workers, where they found Mary’s car still parked in the same spot it had been since she arrived there the previous evening. The car’s license plates had been replaced with North Carolina plates, which turned out to be stolen. The car was covered in dirt. Inside were four bags of groceries, Coke bottles, and cigarettes, as well as Mary’s girdle, panties, bra, and one stocking.

The mileage logs and the odometer showed 41 unaccounted-for miles. Security guards at the mall couldn’t find the car when questioned, but when Mary’s boss showed up, he found it right away. During the police investigation, it was uncovered that Mary had become afraid of being at home alone because of a “secret admirer” who would call and send her flowers. Witnesses in Charlotte and Raleigh, NC, said they’d seen a disheveled woman escorted by two middle-aged men. More reports and tip-offs and clues followed, but Mary was never found.

At the moment, it seems like this case will never be solved.[9]

1 The Murder of the Kerry Babies

On April 14, 1984, the body of a newborn baby was discovered in Cahersiveen in County Kerry, Ireland. The baby boy had been stabbed twenty-eight times, and his neck had been broken before being dumped on Whitestrand Beach.

Police suspected Joanne Hayes, who lived 40 miles from Cahersiveen, of the crime. Joanne had been pregnant but was suddenly no longer so, and there was no baby to be found in her home.

Joanne told police that she’d buried her own baby on her farm after the infant died shortly after being born. But then Joanne and several members of her family confessed to stabbing the baby found on the beach before tossing the body into the sea.

Joanne was charged with murder. However, a day later, the remains of her baby were found in a field on her farm. This corroborated her first story. Also, the baby found on the farm had the same blood type as Joanne. Police then suspected that Joanne may have had twins and murdered both, disposing of the bodies in different locations.

In 1985, a tribunal found that Joanne killed her own baby on the farm, but they couldn’t prove that she’d killed the baby found on the beach. To date, the murderer has yet to be found, but there have been reports that the baby’s grave has been vandalized repeatedly over the years.[10]


Estelle is a regular writer for Aonzin.


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