Saturday, April 23, 2016

T Is for Tara Grinstead

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:

Tara Grinstead was a former beauty pageant contestant, having competed for Miss Georgia in 1999. She used her pageant winnings to pay for college.

On October 22nd, 2005, she spent the morning helping a group of girls prepare for the Miss Georgia Sweet Potato pageant.

On the evening of October 22nd, she was seen at a cookout with some friends from school. She left the barbecue at approximately 11 p.m., saying she was going home to watch the video of the Sweet Potato pageant. Normally when she arrived home, though, she'd turn on a lamp to let neighbors know she'd made it safely. That night, the lamp never came on.

On Monday morning, when Tara didn't show up at the school where she worked, friends contacted the local police department. When officers arrived, they found her car in its usual spot. Inside the unlocked car was an envelope with $100 in cash. Everything looked normal inside the house.

The clothes she'd been wearing at the cookout were on the floor. Her bed looked slept in and her cell phone was on the charger. It looked like she'd arrived home and left the house temporarily. Outside the house was a business card wedged in the door and a latex glove on the ground.

Police believed a crime had occurred at the residence, but they've yet to pinpoint a credible suspect. A man's DNA was found on the glove. In 2008, the case received renewed attention when it was connected to the disappearance of Jennifer Kesse in Orlando three months later.

Jennifer arrived home on Monday, January 23rd, called first her parents and then her boyfriend, and said she was going to bed. Police believe she was abducted the next morning as she walked to her car to go to work. This man was seen parking her car and walking away. He has never been identified.

Do you believe the two cases are connected?

⬅️ S Is for the Springfield Three

Friday, April 22, 2016

S Is for The Springfield Three

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:

Every year, more than 900,000 people are reported missing in the U.S. Most often they've disappeared voluntarily. As common as disappearances are, however, it's very rare that three people vanish without a trace at the same time.

That is exactly what happened with the "Springfield Three."

On June 6, 1992, Suzie Streeter and Stacy McCall graduated from Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri.

Janelle Kirby (left), Stacy McCall (center), and Suzie Streeter (right)

After the ceremony, they attended several graduation parties. At the end of the evening, they decided to spend the night at Suzie's house with her mom, Sherill Leavitt. Their friend, Janelle (pictured above) last saw them leaving in separate cars around 2 a.m.

Stacy, Suzie, and Suzie's mom, Sherill Leavitt

Around 9 a.m. the next morning, Janelle began trying to reach her friends by phone. She and her boyfriend drove to the house, finding all three cars in the driveway. As they walked to the front door, they saw that the globe covering the porch light had been shattered and glass was all over the steps.

Sherill Leavitt's house. Photo credit: Disappeared, Discovery ID

When they entered the house, nobody was inside. Both beds looked slept in and the cloths that they'd used to remove their makeup were still on the counter. In addition to their cars, their purses, cigarettes, keys, and other personal items had been left behind.

By the time police arrived, the scene had been contaminated by friends and family members who were searching for clues. There were many leads that emerged in the years that followed, but perhaps the most disturbing was one involving a van that looked similar to this:

Photo credit: Missing & Unidentified People

A resident more than a mile away from Sherrill's house said at around 6:30 a.m. on the morning of June 7, a van turned around in her driveway. She said Suzie Streeter was driving the van. The woman said it looked like Suzie had been crying. She heard a man in the back seat tell the girl not to do anything stupid, just to get them out of there.

What do you think happened to the Springfield Three?

⬅️ R Is for Robyn Gardner

Thursday, April 21, 2016

R Is for Robyn Gardner

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:

Nothing can be worse than murder. But there's something innately tragic about someone getting away with it. Especially when that person seems a little too smug about it.

Gary Giordano was on vacation in Aruba with Robyn Gardner when she disappeared. She'd actually snuck away for the trip, telling her boyfriend she was going on vacation with her parents. Robyn and Gary had been friends for a while and when he offered her a free trip to Aruba, she decided to go.

Robyn was last seen on August 2nd, 2011 at a local restaurant with Gary. She was dressed up, in full makeup, and drinking heavily. This was a photo snapped of them as they entered the restaurant:

Her attire is notable because, according to Gary, their plans for the day were to go snorkeling. Two hours later, he reported her missing.

Police in the area began investigating. Before they could get too far, though, Gary disappeared. Police found him at the airport, where he'd switched his flight so that he could leave early. They arrested him...

...but eventually they had to let him go due to lack of evidence. According to Gary, they were snorkeling when Robyn was pulled out to sea. He returned to the bar where they'd had lunch and reported her missing, but there was no urgency in his step. The surveillance video shows him moving fairly slowly and casually.

Friends and family say Robyn would never have gone snorkeling. She was a girly girl, all the way.

Plus, Gary had travel insurance on her. He even sued for it when the insurance company denied the claim. He also has a troubled past with women. There are court papers showing his ex-wife said he has trouble controlling his anger.

But mostly, if you ever see Gary Giordano in an interview, you want to smack the living daylights out of the guy. He's a smug jerk. Most interviewers end up snapping at him because of it. Here's a preview of a Dr. Phil segment he did.

What do you think happened to Robyn Gardner?

⬅️ Q Is for Queensland's Mystery Craters

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Q Is for Queensland’s Mystery Craters

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:

In 1971, a farmer was digging in his field near Bundaberg, Queensland when he discovered 35 water-filled craters.

The owners of the property have turned the craters into a tourist attraction, which has led some to believe they were manmade in nature.

But some geologists believe the craters are sinkholes that were caused by "the collapse of overlying strata into underground voids produced by tunnel erosion."

Scientists say the craters are made of sandstone and are at least 25 million years old. So while the property owners are certainly guilty of monetizing this unexplained phenomenon, it appears they've been around a while.

Some prefer to be more imaginative with their ideas. They think maybe the craters were formed by this:

Or perhaps a meteor...

What do you think caused the mystery craters?

⬅️ P Is for The Pollock Twins

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

P Is for the Pollock Twins

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:

It's easy to forget that we have so much science available today, we can explain away everything. That wasn't always the case. In 1957, a well-respected psychologist actually concluded that twin girls were the reincarnation of their dead sisters.

One year before Jennifer and Gillian Pollock were born, their older sisters, Joanna and Jacqueline, were tragically killed in a car accident. Jennifer and Gillian looked identical to the other girls, with birthmarks in the same places.

When the young girls reached three months of age, the family moved. They didn't return to their birthplace until they were almost four years old. As they drove through town, the girls began pointing out landmarks their older sisters had known. They pointed to their older sisters' school and swore that had been their school.

A random school.

Jennifer and Gillian soon began requesting toys that their sisters had owned. They had never seen the toys before, yet they knew what was in storage. They also developed a deathly fear of cars.

Soon after, the strange behavior stopped and the girls led long, normal lives. But their story remains one of the few instances of possible "proof" of reincarnation.

Do you believe in reincarnation?

⬅️ O Is for Joey Lynn Offutt

Monday, April 18, 2016

O Is for Joey Lynn Offutt

This month I'm participating in the A to Z ChallengeMy theme this year is Unsolved Mysteries. Today's letter is:

On July 12, 2007, neighbors called for help after hearing a loud explosion at Joey Lynn Offutt's house. Her home was in flames by the time emergency personnel arrived. Joey's six-month-old son was killed in the fire but Joey and her red Saturn were missing.

Friends and family hadn't heard from her for days. Her home health nurse had come by the house days earlier and found her car in the driveway. Inside the house was a car seat and a note on the floor. Joey didn't answer knocks on the door.

Photo credit: Disappeared, Discovery ID

Four days later, officers found her red Saturn in a nearby apartment complex where she had once lived.

Fire officials ruled the fire in Joey's home as arson, set in two separate places in the house. There have been no viable leads and Joey remains missing to this day. Days before her disappearance, a neighbor reported seeing her walking with her stroller. He called out to her and she ignored him. The neighbor said he didn't recall seeing a baby in the stroller.

What do you think happened to Joey?

⬅️ N Is for Natalie Wood