Today, in Part 2 of Getting Away with Murder, I’ll be focusing on the cases of Natalee Holloway, Rilya Wilson, O.J. Simpson, and JonBenét Ramsey. (Click here to read Part 1) Out of these eight featured cases, only two bodies have been found (Simpson and Ramsey), and only three suspects have been arrested in the murders (O.J. Simpson, who subsequently was found not guilty, Geralyn Graham, and Casey Anthony, both who are currently awaiting trial). While watching the various experts commentating on most of these cases, I hear repeatedly how difficult it is for the prosecution to proceed with charges without a body. Not so, says Assistant U.S. District Attorney, Tad DiBiase, an expert in the area of “No Body Cases.”
Unfortunately, it seems that some prosecutors are “gun shy.” The possibility of a not guilty verdict or the suspect walking free is too great in their eyes. In the meantime, the murderer is out on the streets free to kill again. In this aspect, I say kudos to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in Florida for the arrest of Casey Anthony. If the evidence is there, take it and run with it.
Regardless, there are some circumstances that it would be highly unlikely any charges would come whether or not the body is found—these are few and far between. In the case of missing Alabama student, Natalee Holloway, sometimes politics plays a far greater role than a murdered high school student.
4. Natalee Holloway—Missing May 30, 2005, No Body Found.
I believe it’s certainly safe to say at this point that the Aruban government has thoroughly botched the investigation into missing American high school student, Natalee Holloway, 19, and failed her family miserably.
On Monday, May 30, 2005, Natalee Holloway was last seen alive in a bar in Aruba while on a senior class trip. There is no question that she was accompanied by then 17-year-old Joran Van der Sloot, and brothers Deepak and Satish Kalpoe (pictured right with Holloway) as she left the bar. She was never seen again and her body has never been found. In the meantime, all three men have been questioned in the case and no formal charges have been brought. The fact that Van der Sloot is the son of a prominent Aruban political figure raises some eyebrows. Apparently, his father's influence is enough to erase the fact he recently confessed to the murder of Holloway on videotape. Smoking marijuana, the Aruban authorities claimed they could not proceed as he “was under the influence when making that claim.”
According to Women In Crime Ink’s Robin Sax, an L.A. Deputy District Attorney, it is not for the prosecution to question his frame of mind—it’s up to the defense to prove he was “muddled by the wacky weed.” But, like all of the other claims and witness statements in the case, the information was ignored. Just recently, Van der Sloot was videotaped taking part in a sex ring in Thailand. Allegedly, there’s more to the tape than that. FOX News’ Greta Van Susteren claims to have in her possession more of the tape which has Van der Sloot confessing to Holloway’s murder—yet again. She offered to bring it to Aruban prosecutor Hans Mos in person, but he refused. Why? He said there is nothing on the tape that has any substance—a claim made even though he has never seen it.
At this point, Joran Van der Sloot is laughing at law enforcement in his country, and at the Americans that believe in his guilt. Unfortunately, it may take this sociopathic animal murdering another human being before he is finally caught. Either that or the Kalpoe brothers need to grow a conscious and start talking. But, the question remains: even if they do talk, and Holloway’s body is found, will they even prosecute Van der Sloot then? I think not.
This sends a clear message to parents out there: If your child is taking a class trip or vacation with friends—send them to Florida.
5. Rilya Wilson—Missing, unknown month, 2000—No Body Found.
There are some people who actually have not heard of 4-year-old Rilya Wilson, but you may have heard the story. Rilya was the foster child in Florida who went “unnoticed” by the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF). Living at the time with foster mother, Geralyn Graham, DCF didn’t notice Rilya was missing until two years later. According to Graham, Rilya was picked up by a caseworker for a doctor’s appointment and was never returned. DCF authorities quickly established this wasn’t the case, but admitted they had “lost this child” within the system.
Furthermore, the outrageous actions of the DCF ultimately caused the resignation of the DCF chief, and news laws that require officials to track missing foster children and the supervision of caregivers.
In 2005, Geralyn Graham was charged with first degree murder in the death of Rilya. While incarcerated, she allegedly told a fellow inmate, “I killed it.” She claimed Rilya (pictured left) had demons and she dumped the child’s body in a ravine—authorities have yet to locate her remains. At this time, Graham is still awaiting trial and prosecutors are confident they will attain a conviction.
The case sparked outrage against DCF treatment of African-American foster children and is presently being used to help lobby a bill that would enact the “Rilya Alert.” Similar to the Amber Alert, the Rilya Alert would be geared towards missing African-American children within the foster care system.
6. O.J. Simpson—Found Not Guilty in the Murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, October, 1995.
Like most, the mere mention of Simpson’s name is difficult to say without vomiting in my mouth a little. One would be hard pressed to find a person that truly believed in his innocence, especially after he wrote a full blown confession in a book years later. His arrogance and mockery were never-ending (I’ve always seen a chilling connection between the attitude of Joran Van der Sloot and Simpson . . . blech). The case in which the famed football star brutally sliced and diced his ex-wife and her friend has caused prosecutors, and defense attorneys, to tighten their belts and get their acts together for the last decade. The world’s obsession with the O.J. Simpson case is never-ending. Just recently, Simpson (pictured right) was tried and convicted of armed robbery in Las Vegas for holding a memorabilia dealer in his hotel room at gunpoint. Some say it’s retribution for getting away with murder.
As Simpson sits whining away in his jail cell awaiting sentencing, he is appealing his conviction based on the fact he is black. However, some say this is precisely the reason he was acquitted in the murders over a decade ago and that he uses his ethnicity to his benefit when suited. Black or white, most prudent people of all colors believe that this is a man who deserves to live, and die, in prison. It looks like we may just get our wish. Simpson will no longer be remembered for his impressive football career—he will forever be remembered in the graduating class of the upper echelons of crime like Manson and Bundy. It would seem that miracles in the halls of crime really do happen—The Juice has finally been squeezed dry.
It’s at long last time to throw that used-up-piece-of-fruit in the garbage where it belongs.
7. JonBenét Ramsey—Murdered, December 26, 1996—No Arrests Made.
The case that, twelve years later, still is heatedly debated on the crime blogs and media, the Ramsey case is, undoubtedly, solved in the minds of many. However, it is the prosecutor who is most important and, apparently, they don’t have a clue who the murderer is. I wrote my own theory on the Ramsey case (view it here) that sparked outrage among the supporters of John Ramsey, the father of victim 6-year-old JonBenét. Referring to someone like myself as a BORG, which I think stands for “believer of Ramsey guilt.”
Either that or they’re obsessive Star Trek fans.
The small group of supporters launches an immediate attack for anyone pointing to JonBenét’s parents as the murderers—a fact I firmly believe. No doubt several of them will make an appearance in the comments section of this post.
No one but John and Patsy Ramsey (who is now deceased) really know what happened the night of December 26, 1996. After a lengthy Christmas day, they put their 6-year-old daughter to sleep, woke up the next morning, found her missing, and ultimately discovered her sexually assaulted and dead body in the basement.
The prosecutor has since cleared the parents and believes that, someday, DNA evidence will hit on a match to the true murderer. It’s my opinion that the human race will most likely witness The Rapture before an arrest in the murder of JonBenét Ramsey. It’s a shame, but the man that brutally took the life of this small, innocent child has to look in the mirror every day and live with it.
But, if he can be so cold-hearted to commit murder he probably doesn’t care.
All eight of these cases have generated millions of dollars in movie, television, and book deals, feeding society’s hunger for a good crime story, and driving those at-home-super-sleuths into a frenzy for the need to solve. There may be several more that I didn’t touch on, but these are the ones that come to mind when I think of “crime stories.” Of course, it’s a historical fact that these cases will be replaced over the next few decades with a new class of innocent victims and barbaric heathens that will get away with murder—a sad, and frightening, fact.
I have always said during my tenure as a police officer that my job security was higher than anyone’s. Now, as a full-time crime writer, my opinion remains the same.