Could a 300-Year-Old Murder Mystery Finally Be Solved?

Could a 300-Year-Old Murder Mystery Finally Be Solved?

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A skeleton was found during construction work at Leine castle in Niedersachsen, Germany in the summer of 2016. This is where Swedish count Philip Christoph Königsmarck disappeared 322 years ago – could it be him? Lund University in Sweden follows the dangerous love story between Philip Königsmarck and Georg Ludwig’s wife Sophia Dorothea through the love letters they wrote to each other, currently preserved at the University Library.

Leine Castle, otherwise known as Leineschloss

More than 300 love letters are kept at Lund University.

“The letters were donated by Pontus de la Gardie, a diligent collector of archive material from Swedish noble families. This is not an extraordinary number of letters as in the 17th century people wrote letters all the time, often several times a day. Also, mail was delivered several times a day”, says Håkan Håkansson, Associate Professor of the History of Ideas and Sciences.

Watch video on the love story

The 29-year-old count disappeared after a nocturnal visit to Princess Sophia Dorothea, his childhood friend and lover. Unfortunately, she was already married to Georg Ludwig, Prince Elector of Hannover who later became George I, King of England. Sophia Dorotea married Georg Ludwig for political reasons at age 16. This was an unhappy marriage and Georg Ludwig and his parents were cold to Sophia Dorothea. In the summer of 1694, Sophia Dorothea and Philip Königsmarck planned to elope. But their love affair was exposed, probably by a friend of theirs, countess Clara Elisabeth von Platen. The scandal was a fact and Philip Königsmarck disappeared. People suspected that Georg Ludwig had the count murdered, but the body was never found.

Philip Königsmarck and Sophia Dorothea ( Lund University )

Their letters to each other were sometimes written in cipher.

“I suppose they needed a secret language to hide all sensitive information. They must have had someone they trusted to deliver the letters. After all, it was an illicit love affair and it ended very badly”, says Håkan Håkansson.

Sophia Dorothea was sent away and had to spend the rest of her life in exile at the castle of Ahlden in Lüneburg.

Schloss Ahlden with moat, where Sophia lived in exile

The bones and tissue that were found have been examined by physicians, but the cause of death could not be determined. However, the DNA from the bones can now be compared to DNA of living relatives of Philip Königsmarck. A 300-year old murder mystery may finally be solved.

The love story between Sophia Dorothea and Philip Königsmarck has been documented in books and films.

Top 10 Murder Mysteries Finally Solved Using Forensics

Is the CSI effect real? Some legal and criminal experts have opined that the popularity of forensic TV shows, particularly the CSI franchise, has had a detrimental effect on the justice system. Specifically, they complain that juries have come to expect forensic evidence in every case and are less likely to convict without it. In real life, forensic sciences are a complement to quality police work, but also have an undeniable place in modern criminal investigation. In fact, these murders have gone cold for years, even decades, until recent forensic developments allowed police to finally catch the killer.

The murder of Susan Galvin

Despite what the case would eventually come to mean further down the line, it actually all started as a sadly simple kind of story, which took place back in July 1967. A young woman by the name of Susan Galvin was reported missing when she didn't arrive at her job as an overnight records clerk for the Seattle Police Department, on July 9, according to ABC News.

It didn't take long for her body to be found, and The Seattle Times says that her body had been left in the elevator of a parking garage at the Seattle Center. Only 20 years old, she'd been assaulted and then strangled to death, her body left behind to be found with no immediate suspects in sight. It was shocking and sudden, a murder that the Seattle Police Department felt hit close to home, as Galvin had been one of their own (via KIRO 7).

17th-Century Coins Found in a Fruit Grove May Solve a 300-Year-Old Pirate Mystery

In 2014, a metal detectorist discovered a 17th-century Arabian coin in an orchard in Rhode Island. In the following years, other treasure hunters across New England uncovered even more Arabian coins from the same time period. But, according to the Associated Press, early European settlers weren't engaged in trade with merchants from the Arabic world, so how did they land in the colonies? New research conducted by amateur historian Jim Bailey connects these discoveries together in a new paper that attempts to fill in the details of this mystery and may help historians solve a long-lost pirate’s disappearance.

Related Content

As William J. Kole reports for the AP, Bailey first found the 17th century coin—which was minted in Yemen in 1693—in a fruit grove two years after he had unearthed a number of other colonial-era coins. The newly discovered coins—which are among the oldest excavated in North America—could prove that the notorious pirate captain Henry Every set foot in New England after he seemingly disappeared in 1696. Bailey published his findings in a research journal of the American Numismatic Society.

“It’s a new history of a nearly perfect crime,” Bailey tells the AP.

After Bailey found the first coin, additional detectorists discovered ten more coins in Massachusetts, three in Rhode Island and two in Connecticut. Someone even discovered a coin in North Carolina, where Every allegedly landed with his crew after posing as slave traders.

“It seems like some of his crew were able to settle in New England and integrate,” said Sarah Sportman, the state archaeologist for Connecticut, to the AP. “It was almost like a money laundering scheme.”

Born in 1653, Henry Every—one of the most well-known 17th-century English pirates—served in the Royal Navy and on buccaneer and slave ships prior to turning to piracy in 1691, notes Encyclopedia Britannica . As Evan Andrews writes for History, when Every and his shipmates began pirating, they successfully scoured three ships near the Cape Verde Islands before setting their sights on larger targets.

On September 7, 1695, Every led his ship, the Fancy, to the Red Sea, so he could rob the Ganj-i-Sawai, which was the Indian emperor Aurangzeb’s ship. At the time, the vessel was carrying Muslim pilgrims back to India from Mecca, and it was also loaded with millions of dollars of gold and silver, writes the Independent’s Graeme Massie. When Every and his team invaded the ship, they attacked many of the men and raped the women, “[forcing] several [of them], which caused one person of quality, his Wife and Nurse, to kill themselves to prevent the Husbands seeing them (and their being) ravished," as quoted by Douglas R. Burgess Jr. in a 2009 Cambridge University Press article.

Afterwards, Every escaped to the Bahamas, where his ship was either sold or destroyed.

The Mughal government didn’t take the theft lightly, so they retaliated and closed many of the English East India Company’s trading posts in India. In response, William III provided sizable bounties to anyone who captured Every and his accomplices, and eventually many of Every’s crewmen were caught, hanged or banished.

Every, on the other hand, evaded capture, and his fate still remains unknown. Historians only had proof that officials had arrested six of Every’s crewmen in near the Irish coast in 1696, but the captain himself was nowhere to be found, according to the Cambridge University Press.

But now, Bailey's research may provide evidence that the infamous pirate set foot in North America, where he pretended to be a slave trader in the 1690s by capturing black captives on the French island of Reunion. Documents also suggest that Every and his crew acquired a new ship, the Sea Flower, which docked in Newport, Rhode Island, with about 48 enslaved people in 1696, per the AP.

“There’s extensive primary source documentation to show the American colonies were bases of operation for pirates,” Bailey tells the AP.

The American Numismatic Society, however, in a blog post written by scholar Oliver Hoover, offered significant objections to Bailey's conclusions. As outlined by Kiona Smith in Ars Technica, the dates on the coin may indicate a year after the attack on the Ganj-i-Sawai and Hoover suggests that New England trade was connected enough to global commerce such that Arabian coins could plausibly have arrived there in that period.

After Bailey found the coin, he said that the most rewarding part of exploring is finding interesting items, not profiting off of his discoveries. “For me, it’s always been about the thrill of the hunt, not about the money,” says Bailey. “The only thing better than finding these objects is the long-lost stories behind them.”

Skeleton Discovery Reignites 300-Year-Old Royal Murder Mystery

Are bones unearthed from a German castle connected to a love triangle involving King George I?

Updated November 14, 10:30am EST

Late this summer, a story emerged in the German press with all the trappings of an addictive soap opera: a secret affair, a sudden disappearance, and a buried skeleton.

During renovations to Leine Palace in Lower Saxony, Germany—the current home of Lower Saxony’s state parliament—workers discovered bones in a section of floor. After prosecutors determined that the person they belonged to hadn’t died recently, some began to wonder whether they could be the missing link in a 300-year-old mystery. And on Monday, they may find out. (Findings about the skeleton were announced on November 14. See the update below for more information.)

The caper begins in the late 17th century, when Britain’s future King George I was still Georg Ludwig, prince elector of Hannover, Germany, and his primary residence was Leine Palace. In 1682, Georg married his cousin Sophia Dorothea of Celle. Like many marriages among nobility, theirs was motivated more by politics than by love.

Georg was not a faithful spouse, and neither was Sophia Dorothea. About a decade into her marriage, she began an affair with Philipp Christoph von Königsmark, a Swedish count. (Their romance is documented in about 300 surviving love letters, discussed in the video above.)

In the summer of 1694, Sophia Dorothea and Königsmark made plans to run away together—but Georg became aware of their affair. On the day the lovers planned to escape, Königsmark mysteriously disappeared and wasn’t seen again. Georg then divorced Sophia Dorothea and imprisoned her miles away in another castle, where she died three decades later.

For centuries, people have wondered if Georg murdered Königsmark. Many think that if the count’s body turned up anywhere, it would be at the last place he was seen—Leine Palace.

Researchers have been studying the recently discovered skeleton to see if it could be Königsmark’s. And on Monday, they’ll announce their preliminary findings.

Despite the intrigue, many people associated with the investigation maintain that the bones are probably not Königsmark’s. When National Geographic reached Bernd Busemann—the president of the Lower Saxony’s state parliament, who has been overseeing Leine Palace’s renovations—he was dismissive of the claim, saying that the chances are “under one percent.”

And there are many other people the bones could belong to. In the Middle Ages, a monastery and cemetery sat where Leine Palace is today. When Hannover became Protestant in the 16th century, the abbey was used as a hospital. Later, the Hanoverian kings (aka Georg and his royal descendants) made the spot one of their royal residences.

“Royal courts were like small towns, where all kinds of people worked and lived,” says Håkan Håkanssonm, associate professor of the history of ideas and sciences at Sweden’s Lund University (who also speaks in the video above). The bones could belong to a “worker, a soldier, someone from the kitchen staff—the possibilities are endless.”

According to Heinrich Jobst, the Count of Wintzingerode and also Busemann’s private secretary, human remains have been found in the castle before, when the Hanoverian kings renovated it in the 19th century.

So if these aren’t the first bones to be found in the castle, why do people think it could be Königsmark?

“The story of the ‘lover-count who strangely vanished the very night he planned to escape with his lover-princess’ from this very castle is so well-known,” Håkanssonm says. And identifying Königsmark’s skeleton would make the story complete.

But if the skeleton isn’t Königsmark’s, Jobst won’t be disappointed.

“Wouldn’t it be a pity,” he muses, “to solve this romantic mystery?”

UPDATE: The verdict is in. On Monday, the state parliament of Lower Saxony announced that the bones found in Leine Palace belonged to at least five different people (and a few animals), and that none of the bones were Königsmark’s.

Researchers determined this by testing the bones to approximate the age of death. They found that only one of the bones—part of a skull—could’ve belonged to Königsmark, who disappeared when he was 29. A further test, however, showed the skull piece belonged to a woman.

USA's oldest unsolved murder may be solved

This Sidney King painting shows an aerial view of Jamestown, with several ships in the James River. The painting hangs in the National Park Service Visitor Center at Jamestown Island. (Photo: National Park Service)

Colonial America's oldest unsolved mystery involved remains that have been known only as "JR102C," or "JR" for short, but their owner's true name may have finally been uncovered.

The bones were found, buried in a coffin, under an old roadbed in Jamestown in 1996, WTKR reports. Researchers knew the skeletal remains belonged to a 19-year-old man who may have been from Europe, who had probably been living in Jamestown for a few years, and who likely had the status of a gentleman (because of the coffin). His right leg bones were twisted and broken below the knee, and a lead musket ball and lead shot were found there. Researchers determined that's what killed him. (The ammunition would have ruptured a major artery, NPR explains.)

Now, the Jamestown Rediscovery Project says, new research has uncovered a 1624 duel between George Harrison and Richard Stephens. The remains may belong to Harrison, who was shot in the leg and died from the wound.

"This wound shows that the person was killed by getting hit in the side of the knee. So in a duel, you stand sideways and this would come through like that," says a director for the project. However, one mystery still remains: "That's a combat round. It's almost like a shotgun but it also has a main bullet. So you wouldn't think unless somebody was cheating in the duel that they would have that kind of a load."

It's not the only recent nefarious discovery at Jamestown — scientists found evidence of cannibalism, as well.

Newser is a USA TODAY content partner providing general news, commentary and coverage from around the Web. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

Could a 300-Year-Old Murder Mystery Finally Be Solved?

A skeleton was found during construction work at Leine castle in Niedersachsen, Germany in the summer of 2016. This is where Swedish count Philip Christoph Königsmarck disappeared 322 years ago &ndash could it be him? Lund University in Sweden follows the dangerous love story between Philip Königsmarck and Georg Ludwig&rsquos wife Sophia Dorothea through the love letters they wrote to each other, currently preserved at the University Library.

Leine Castle, otherwise known as Leineschloss (public domain)

More than 300 love letters are kept at Lund University.

&ldquoThe letters were donated by Pontus de la Gardie, a diligent collector of archive material from Swedish noble families. This is not an extraordinary number of letters as in the 17th century people wrote letters all the time, often several times a day. Also, mail was delivered several times a day&rdquo, says Håkan Håkansson, Associate Professor of the History of Ideas and Sciences.

7. Schliemann finds the site

Schliemann actually discovered Troy in 1870, but as he kept digging, and what became apparent years later, is that Schliemann had only found the first version of Troy. Troy, like just about every city ever, was built on top of the ruins of earlier versions of itself.

Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images

Schliemann referenced his copy of The Iliad to determine that Troy was likely in a remote spot that was known only to the most specialized archaeologists. Once he identified the spot of Hissarlik, he focused his efforts on a tell, which was a mound of dirt that rose 100 feet high. He didn&rsquot discover one Troy, but nine versions of the ancient city.

4 Lisa Ziegert

Lisa Ziegert was working as a teacher&rsquos aide during the day and at a gift shop at night in spring 1992. One night, Lisa seemingly vanished from the gift shop. When her body was found days later, it was determined that she had been raped and stabbed to death.

In the days leading up to her disappearance, Lisa had told her friends and family that she felt like she was being watched. The community of Springfield, Massachusetts, was devastated by her loss.

After 25 years, police had gone through multiple means of investigating. But none had been fruitful until a breakthrough in forensics technology allowed a male DNA profile to be built using evidence from the crime scene. Using this tech, they were able to predict what the perpetrator might look like and compare that to the suspects.

One man stood out: Gary E. Schara. In late 2017, he was arrested in connection with Lisa Ziegert&rsquos killing. [7]

How 'Talking' Corpses Were Once Used to Solve Murders

For centuries, oozing wounds were seen as proof of guilt in court—but even in death, women’s testimony was considered less credible than men’s.

From unreliable hair analysis to mishandled DNA samples, modern forensic science has seen its share of troubles. But there’s still plenty to be thankful for in the ways courts today gather evidence of a crime: Just a few centuries ago, people were convicted of murder based on the idea that a corpse would spontaneously bleed in its killer’s presence.

From at least the 1100s to the early 1800s, men and women were judged in courts across Europe and colonial America based on a test called cruentation, or the ordeal of the bier, named for the type of wagon that carried a corpse or coffin.

In such testimony, oozing knife wounds and gushes of blood from the noses and eyes of the deceased were considered proof positive of guilt. (Read about the surreal cases of famous bodies exhumed for science.)

Related: 300-Year-Old Murder Mystery Reopened After Skeleton Is Found

No one knows exactly how the belief in cruentation got its start, but one of the earliest mentions on record is in the sixth century, in the epic Germanic poem Nibelungenlied. In the poem, the dragon-slayer Siegfried is murdered, and his body is laid out on a bier. When his killer Hagen approaches, the dragon-slayer’s wounds begin to flow.

The idea had already caught on by the time the poem was written, as it states that “it is a great marvel and frequently happens today that whenever a blood-guilty murderer is seen beside the corpse the wounds begin to bleed.”

Today, it’s hard to imagine that anyone could believe in dead bodies bleeding on cue. For one thing, the dead normally can’t bleed for very long. Livor mortis, when blood settles to the lowest part of the body, begins soon after death, and the blood is “set” within about six hours, says A.J. Scudiere, a forensic scientist and novelist.

“During this time, the body won't really bleed it might ooze,” she says. Plus, blood clots and thickens after death. (Find out about a recently developed technique that can tell a person’s age range from crime scene blood.)

So, what did people see that convinced them? It’s possible that if a body had been dead long enough, the early stages of decomposition may have produced a liquid called purge fluid that can build up in the lungs. Then, when someone poked or jostled a body brought forth for a trial, some of this fluid could have leaked from the nose or other orifices.

But people didn’t practice cruentation because of science they believed in literal courtroom miracles. The ordeal of the bier was just one of several divine interventions used as tangible evidence.

There were ordeals by water, including the famous test in which witches float and the innocent sink. In ordeals by fire, suspects were forced to hold or walk over hot iron. They were deemed guilty if God didn’t heal the wounds within three days.

Such trials weren’t confined to small towns or backwater provinces: No one less than King James I of England was a firm believer in cruentation.

King James is more famous today for his version of the Bible. But in 1597, more than a decade before his Bible was published, the king wrote a treatise on demons and sorcery called Daemonologie, in Forme of a Dialogue.

The king was obsessed with the occult, and witches in particular, having flushed out a coven of at least 70 witches in 1590 as King James VI of Scotland. The witches were tortured using devices like the “breast ripper”—exactly as horrific as it sounds—until they confessed. Eventually, some 4,000 people were burned at the stake in Scotland’s witch trials.

In Daemonologie, the king wrote of his belief in cruentation as a way to mete out justice:

“In a secret murther, if the deade carcase be at any time thereafter handled by the murtherer, it will gush out of bloud, as if the bloud were crying out to the heaven for revenge of the murtherer, God having appoynted that secret super-naturall signe.”

Oddly though, it was mostly men’s dead bodies that had some crying out to do. In her newly published Master’s thesis, historian Molly Ingram of the University of Oregon examined accounts of cruentation, many from early pamphlets and broadsheets describing murder trials.

Notably, women were rare in accounts of bleeding corpses—except as the accused killers. Women’s testimony was also largely missing in accounts of court proceedings.

“Female speech was considered less credible than male speech,” Ingram says.

Ingram also studied historical records describing possession by demons, which were thought to mostly possess weaker female bodies. She found that the real women’s speech was sometimes trusted less than that of the male demons who supposedly possessed them.

“I don’t think it’s surprising that there was a difference,” Ingram says, given the misogyny of the times. “What was more surprising was that no one seemed to notice this or talk about it” in today’s descriptions of the practices.

In one rare account of the ordeal of the bier being applied to a woman, a Maryland man named Thomas Mertine was accused of beating his female servant Catherine Lake to death in 1660.

“There was noe issue of bloud from the Corps,” the court stated, confirming what the jury seemed to have already decided: Despite the testimony of three servants who saw Mertine beat her, Lake had died not from the beating but of an ailment called “fits of the mother,” akin to hysteria. The master walked free.

Even into the early modern era, when Christopher Columbus reached the New World and the Renaissance blossomed, people still relied on magic and miracles to inform legal disputes. “The world remained an enchanted place,” Ingram says.

Most forms of trial ordeal died out in the 16th century, but cruentation hung on for a while longer, and Ingram suspects it may have been more trusted because it was linked primarily to men rather than women.

Thankfully, you see "talking" corpses in use today only in art and plays. At the start of Shakespeare’s Richard III, for instance, the hunchbacked Richard (then Duke of Gloucester) has killed King Henry VI.

His fellow noble and future wife Lady Anne Neville accuses him of this treachery when he approaches her on her way to bury the king, and the corpse begins to bleed:

"Oh Gentlemen, see, see dead Henries wounds, Open their congeal’d mouthes, and bleed afresh. Blush, blush, thou lumpe of fowle Deformitie: For ’tis thy presence that exhales this blood."

Cold case: A 41-year-old mystery finally has an answer

1 of 32 A 61-year-old man has been charged with murder to close a cold case that started 41 years ago. Harris County Sheriff's investigators arrested David Lee Edds, who has multiple prior arrests, and charged him with killing 28-year-old Rene Anthony Guillotte on May 11, 1976.

Monica (Christie) Wilson

Monica (Christie) Wilson, 19, left the Snappy convenience store in Liberty, where she was employed as a clerk, at midnight on Aug. 26, 1982. She was murdered and her body was dumped in a rural area. Her orange, 1969 Pontiac Lemans was found abandoned in Liberty. Wilson had recently been married, and was outgoing and well-liked in the community.

Virginia Freeman

Real estate agent Virginia "Ginger" Bradford Freeman was murdered on Dec. 1, 1981, behind a rural vacant home that she was showing to a potential buyer. Prior to the meeting, she had left her real estate office at 3 p.m. and stopped at home, where she told her children about the potential sale. Bradford's husband, Charles, reported her missing after 7 p.m. that day. The husband and one of Virginia's coworkers found her car parked at a home for sale, and her body behind the home. She had been struck on her head, strangled and stabbed at about 3:30 p.m. that day, an autopsy showed.

Evidence was discovered in November 2001 that convinced investigators Tara Blue was murdered. Blue was seen the previous night with Richard Lee Sanders. Neither Sanders nor Blue's body have ever been located. If Sanders is located, the public is warned not to approach him.

Richard Lee Sanders is suspected in the disappearance and possible murder of Tara Blue in 2001.

Natasha Atchley

Natasha Atchley, 19, went to a birthday party in Shepherd (San Jacinto County) on May 2, 1992. Her body was found at 10 a.m. on May 3, 1992, in the hatchback of her car. The car had been burned on a dirt road about a mile from the party. Atchley had been visiting friends from the Livingston area at the time of her murder.

Another photo of Natasha Atchley, provided by the Texas Rangers.

Gregory Ivey

At the time of his death, Marine Pfc. Greg Ivey had been in his hometown of Groves on a 15-day leave. Ivey was last seen on May 8, 1989, when his father dropped him off at Houston Intercontinental Airport for a flight back to North Carolina. He was last seen wearing a white shirt with an Asian-inspired design, Levi jeans, grey "roper" boots and a western hat. One of Ivey's friends reported receiving a phone call from him on May 10, 1989, during which Ivey claimed to be hitchhiking back to Groves. Ivey's skeletal remains were discovered on Aug. 14, 1989, in a wooded area near Warren, Texas. An examination revealed evidence of murder.

Jerome Robinson

Jerome David Robinson, 21, was reported missing by his friend and grandmother on Jan. 11, 2002. He was last seen on Dec. 28, 2001, leaving his grandmother's rural home in the town of Snook to get a haircut. A witness said he picked Robinson up at his grandmother's home and dropped him off at The TunisClub on FM 166. Later, investigators received information that Robinson had been murdered, but his remains were never located and he continues to be an active missing person.

Another image of Jerome Robinson provided by the Texas Rangers.

Harold William "Bill" Roland

Harold William “Bill” Roland was last seen in San Augustine County on July 21, 1997. Roland resided in Lufkin, but owned a lake house on Lake Sam Rayburn. Roland told a witness he planned to go fishing. Roland’s wife reported him missing on the following morning. Also missing were Roland’s pickup, pontoon boat and boat trailer. During the next three months, Roland’s pickup was found intentionally burned in a rural area of Angelina County. Roland’s boat trailer was found abandoned in a national forest in San Augustine County, and Roland’s pontoon boat was located hidden under willow trees on Lake Sam Rayburn. Pontoons on the boat had been shot, possibly in an attempt to sink the craft. Extensive searches and interviews have not revealed the location of Roland. Investigators suspect Roland was killed.

Marcos Zavala

Marcos Zavala was last seen at a bar in Willis on Aug. 31, 1998. He was seen with Guadalupe Pacheco, and Pacheco's two adult sons, Luis and Juan Pacheco. Several days later, a truck driven by the Pacheco family was found abandoned in Conroe with Zavala's pooled blood in the bed of the truck. Witnesses reported the Pachecos returned to Mexico. Zavala's body was never found, and his family in Mexico has not heard from him.

The body of Kathy Page, 34, was found in her vehicle near her Vidor home on May 14, 1991. She had been murdered. Page had last been seen in Beaumont a few hours before her body was found. Page worked at the Hoffbrau Restaurant in Beaumont, and her two daughters, ages 12 and 7, lived with her in Beaumont. Page and her husband were separated when she was killed.

Riley Thomas

Foul play is suspected in the April 6, 2000, disappearance of retired correctional officer Riley Ford Thomas, who was 76 when he went missing. The homebound man, who has Parkinson's disease, was last seen with his son, Richard Thomas, with whom he lived. Richard Thomas claimed to have put his father on a bus in Lufkin destined for Port Arthur. The son was later convicted of forging his father's checks. Riley Thomas was never located.

Terry Reyes

Terry Renee Reyes was last seen in Jacksonville, Texas in late May or early June of 2006. Her skeletal remains were found on Sept. 2, 2006 in the national forest near Broaddus in San Augustine County. She would have been 38 years old when her body was found. Foul play is suspected.

Oliver "Floyd" Yarbrough

On March 30,2001, the skeletal remains of 42 year-old Oliver "Floyd" Yarbrough were found on the bank of the Attoyac River in a rural area in San Augustine County. An autopsy revealed that Yarbrough was a victim of homicide. Witnesses last observed Yarbrough on Feb. 24, 2001, in Timpson, Shelby County. Yarborough was last seen in a red Chevrolet Beretta. He wore a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and a black jacket.

Jim Craig Martin was reported missing to the Normangee Police Department in August 2007. Numerous leads have been investigated, and it is believed that Martin was killed and his body disposed of in a rural area of Leon, Madison or Brazos counties. Interviews have been conducted with witnesses and possible suspects, but the case remains unsolved.

Jean Schoeneberg

Jean T. Schoeneberg, 57, was a teacher at Ganado High School. She was married and had one son and one daughter. Schoeneberg took daily walks along CR 311 in Wharton County, Texas. On Aug. 5, 1999, her body was discovered by a farm laborer along CR 311. Shortly before she was brutally murdered, Schoenberg was seen taking her morning walk. The Texas Rangers are assisting the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office with the murder investigation.

James Gifford

On Jan. 30, 2003, the deceased body of James Leroy Gifford was discovered outside his Orangefield residence after he did not show up for work. James was a 60 year old single construction worker who collected numerous tools and other miscellaneous items. He was divorced with four adult children. James was last seen on Jan. 29, 2003, returning from work. Evidence at the crime scene revealed James was the victim of a violent attack.

Brandon Rosales

Rosales was reported missing on Nov. 14, 2008 to the Bryan Police Department. On Nov. 15, 2008, his burned vehicle was found near Mumford in Robertson County. On Nov. 18, 2008, Texas Equusearch found Rosales body on rural land in Robertson County. Someone shot him, then made a failed attempt to burn his body.

One spring morning nearly 41 years ago, the nude body of a New Orleans native was found around 6 a.m. by an oil field worker.

The dead man, identified as 28-year-old Rene Anthony Guillotte, had been stabbed several times and had lacerations on his torso, head and neck, according to Harris County sheriff&rsquos deputies.

Now, a 61-year-old Humble man has been charged in the May 11, 1976 slaying of Guillotte, whose body was found near the 3000 block of Atascoita.

According to the criminal complaint against him filed last week, David Lee Edds name was linked to the slaying from the beginning. His driver&rsquos license was found at the spot where Guillotte&rsquos body was discovered. It was apparently not enough evidence to file charges against him at the time.

Now, the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders and Fugitives Task Force is leading the effort to track down Edds. Authorities say he has denied any involvement with the case.

At the time of his death, Guillotte had been living in Houston with friends for several months. He was unemployed but had worked as a hotel bell man and clothing store clerk.

Harris County sheriff&rsquos detectives determined he was last seen about 1 a.m. at a bar along Westheimer and Peckham in Montrose. Detectives canvassed the Montrose area and conducted several interviews with possible witnesses.

At the time, they believed robbery might have been a motive. But, the case eventually grew cold after what Harris County Sheriff&rsquos officials said was &ldquoexhaustive work&rdquo on the part of homicide investigators.

It lay dormant until 2014 when detectives with the sheriff&rsquos Cold Case Unit reviewed the files and were able to link evidence found at the scene directly to Edds, authorities said Monday.

Edds had an extensive criminal record in the years after Guillotte&rsquos murder. In 1978, he was sentenced to 20 years in the Texas Department of Corrections for manslaughter after stabbing a man with a knife outside a bar in Montrose. Edds served about half the time and continued on with further convictions in Harris County for crimes ranging from resisting arrest to drug possession, according to court records.

Harris County medical examiners took oral, anal and penile smears of Guillotte during the autopsy.

Following the case&rsquos reopening, the Cold Case Unit detectives entered the biological evidence into the Combined DNA Index System - or CODIS. &ldquoCODIS had a match for a person named David Edds, the same David Edds whose driver&rsquos license was found near the body,&rdquo the criminal complaint stated.

Edds&rsquo last known residence in Humble was about five miles from where the body was discovered.

He was interviewed earlier this year by the Cold Case Unit detectives. He denied any involvement in the slaying, authorities said.

&ldquoHe had no explanation for how his DNA was at the scene,&rdquo said Sheriff&rsquos deputy Thomas Gilliland, a HCSO spokesman.

Edds, who remains at large, has bail already set at $100,000 in the case. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS.