Did She Let Her Baby Slowly Die? 1
Murder Among Alzheimer's Patients 2
Loving Mom or Attempted Baby Killer? 3
Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 1:13 pm

Alex went missing on Friday, and was found in the dryer the next day
UPDATE: Raul Renato Castro killed the boy because he worried he'd tell about being molested. See update after the jump...

When 4-year-old Alex Christopher Mercado went missing Friday in Mendota, California, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department began an immediate search. But it didn't bring a happy ending the next day.

He was found stuffed in the dryer at a home where his babysitter lives next door. Alex had been killed and then hid in the dryer, police say. A 14-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion on murder...

Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 12:39 pm
Police believe her mom took part in the abduction
Shannon Lea Dedrick, the 7-month-old infant who went missing five days ago, has been found alive under the bed of her babysitter, Susan Elizabeth Baker. And it appears Shannon's own mom, Chrystina Lynn Mercer, will be charged with taking part in the abduction. According to Sheriff Bobby Haddock in Copley, Florida, here's how it all went down:

Shannon's parents reported her missing Saturday morning, saying she had vanished from their rural trailer home sometime between 3 a.m. and 11 a.m. that morning. Washington County sheriff's deputies conducted a massive search, with police and volunteers going arm-and-arm through the brush to find the girl...

Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 11:20 am
Sharon Thor.jpg
Sharon left for ballet lessons and was never seen again alive

It was 27 years ago that 16-year-old Sharon Thor was slain after preparing to leave her home in Franklin Township, New Jersey, for one of her twice-weekly ballet lessons.  When she left at 5:30 p.m. on October 26, 1982, she was never seen again alive.

Prior to leaving home that evening, Sharon received a telephone call and appeared to be pleased to hear from the caller. The conversation was brief, but it was obvious that she had wanted her privacy with the caller -- she took the corded phone as far as it would reach, to the stairway that led to the cellar, so that her parents could not hear...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009 at 10:00 am
St. Louis police say the young girl's murder is the worst they've ever seen
St. Louis is the kind of town that will quickly turn any rookie cop into a case-hardened veteran. The city has continually been ranked amongst the top three "Most Dangerous Cities in America" by the Morgan Quinto report. In 2006, the study ranked it number one. And, according to FBI statistics, St. Louis has one of the highest per-capita crime rates in the country -- and a murder rate triple that of the national average. 

But despite the nerve-numbing number of violent crimes, St. Louis investigators still can't shake the details of one particularly gruesome murder case from 1983...

Tags: Missouri
Jessie Foster disappeared from her expensive North Las Vegas home without a trace
​ Born in Canada, beautiful free-spirited Jessie Foster disappeared sometime between March 28 and April 3, 2006 without a trace from the North Las Vegas home she shared with her "boyfriend," a man police believe is a pimp. At the time of her disappearance, Jessica Edith Louise Foster, her given name, was only a few weeks away from her 22nd birthday.

Jessie, as she preferred to be called, was born on May 27, 1984 in Calgary, Alberta, but moved with her mother to British Columbia when she was 3-years-old and attended school, grades K-11, in Kamloops before moving back to Calgary to live with her dad, where she finished school...

Monday, November 2, 2009 at 3:39 pm
Why no one checked on Shannon before 11 a.m. is anyone's guess
UPDATE: See Missing Baby Shannon Lea Dedrick Found Under Babysitter's Bed.

Sometime between 3 a.m. and 11 a.m., seven-month-old Shannon Lea Dedrick disappeared from her family's trailer home in Chipley, Florida. Police are releasing few details in the case -- not even the parents' names -- making the whole affair a mystery.

Why Shannon wasn't checked on before 11 a.m. Saturday morning remains up in the air, but police were summoned to the home moments later. The private drive to the trailer is rarely traveled, and neighbors say a strange car would have surely been noticed...

Tags: Florida
He lived with his frail stepmom, making it easy to kill and hide the bodies
When he arrived back in Cleveland in 2005, fresh from a 15-year prison bit for raping a choking a 24-year-old woman, Anthony Sowell found the perfect conditions to launch a second career as a serial killer. He moved in with his stepmother into a home owned by his father.

Sowell made spare money scrapping for metal to sell. And since he refused to pay stepmom rent because his dad owned the house, he could use his meager earnings to drink and do dope. Neighbors say he often invited them in to party -- especially the women. Once he got them in the house, they were on his killing grounds.

His stepmom was too frail to climb stairs, so she didn't know what Anthony was doing on the third floor. But according to police, that's where he raped and killed at least six women, then strangled them before burying them in the house...

Tags: Ohio
Clifford Lambert, a retired art dealer known for his taste in younger men, vanished without a trace
Delicious Breakfast Reading from around the Village Voice Empire:

The Dark Prince
He claimed to be Nepalese royalty, but conman Kaushal Niroula and his band of gay grifters may have murdered a wealthy man.

Seen Shots in the Back
Everett, Washington cop Troy Meade charged after shooting unruly drunk driver seven times.

Suicide at Arizona State
A student shoots himself in his professor's office.


Friday, October 23, 2009 at 5:41 pm
Relatives say Elizabeth was much too shy to get in a car with anyone
UPDATE: See Alyssa Bustamante, 15, Charged With Slaying 9-Year-Old Elizabeth Olten.

Relatives say 9-year-old Elizabeth Olten is extremely shy, afraid of the woods and the dark. So when she began her walk home from a friend's house Wednesday at 6:15 p.m., then suddenly disappeared, police knew they weren't dealing with a runaway.

More than 300 cops and volunteers are searching the wooded, muddy terrain near her home in St. Martins, Missouri. It's a quarter-mile walk from her friend's to her own home, and Elizabeth usually cut through neighbors' yards as opposed to walking down the county highway that runs past their houses. Relatives believe she was much too shy to get into a car with anyone, and would have screamed if someone tried to grab her...

Tags: Missouri
Friday, October 23, 2009 at 1:52 pm
Three people tried to lure another 5-year-old into a car only days before Somer vanished
UPDATE: See Jarred Harrell Named Person of Interest in Somer Thompson's Murder.

Second-grader Somer Thompson was walking home from Grove Park Elementary School Monday with her twin brother and her 10-year-old sister. She reportedly got into a fight with another kid, so she decided to run home ahead of them.

But when the two other kids arrived at their Orange Park, Florida home, Somer wasn't there. And she hasn't been seen since. Police are worried that her disappearance may be the work of pedophiles. On October 10, three people tried to lure a 5-year-old girl into a car in the same area...

Tags: Florida