True Crime Stories Where Things Got Extra Bonkers

Ashley Hunte
Several bands of yellow police tape covering a staircase in a large building.
Unsplash | David von Diemar

True crime is on everyone's minds these days. While, as the name states, these stories are about actual crimes that happened throughout history, there's something really fascinating about them that so many people can't look away from.

Especially when you really dig into a story, and find out all the extra, horrific, twistedly fascinating details. Like the stories in this list, which are really some of the strangest.

New Orleans was the home of a jazz-loving axe murderer.

New Orleans, a city credited for the popularization of jazz music.
Unsplash | mana5280

Over a century ago, a mysterious killer preyed upon a dozen victims, mainly Italian-American immigrants. Between 1918 and 1919, the murderer struck his 12 victims, killing at least 7 of them.

In March of 1919, he penned a letter to local newspapers.

A cover for a song called "The Mysterious Axman's Jazz" by Joseph John Devilla, in reference to the Axeman of New Orleans.
Wikimedia Commons | Joseph John Devilla [Public Domain]

In it, the person both claiming to be the Axeman and "a spirit and a demon from the hottest hell," demanded the city play jazz music in order for their lives to be spared. Though the attacks continued for months after the letter, he was later never heard from again.

A man tried for murdering his third wife may also be responsible for the disappearance of his fourth.

Leafless trees in a forest covered with dirt.
Unsplash | Filip Zrnzević

Drew Peterson met Stacy Cales, while still married to Kathy Savio, his third wife. He married Cales in 2003, and Savio was found dead in 2004.

Then in 2007, Savio went missing.

She coincidentally disappeared in a similar manner as her mother, Christie Cales, who went missing in 1998. Stacy, along with her siblings, presumed that Christie's boyfriend at the time was responsible.

Though Peterson did eventually get convicted and sentenced for Salvio's murder, we may never know what truly happened to Stacy.

A murder mystery game led police on a hunt for a serial killer.

A notebook on a desk in a room that's completely dark save for the lit lamp.
Unsplash | π“΄π“˜π“‘π“š 𝕝𝔸𝕀

In 1983, a case dubbed the "Liquid Matthew Murder" began. Police in Maine found remains in a dumpster. A note next to the dump site read, "Once you’re back on track you’ll travel in the night. So prepare your old self for a terrible fright. Now the motive is clear and the victim is, too. You’ve got all the answers. Just follow the clues."

Police found a second note not far away, and began their search.

The exterior of a church with a small cross above its large windows.
Unsplash | Daniel Tseng

Though, the search didn't end up lasting that long. As it turned out, the notes were from a mystery game being held by a local church's youth group. The corpse ended up being drug related, and was coincidentally dumped near the note.

A man lived with a corpse for 7 years.

Several empty hospital beds in a room.
Unsplash | Adhy Savala

In the 1920s, a man named Carl Tanzler became infatuated with a woman named Maria Elena Milagro de Hoyos after immigrating to Key West from Germany. She died of tuberculosis shortly after they met, and Tanzler couldn't let her go.

He began visiting her tomb, trying to preserve the body.

A grave surrounded by other headstones and blossoming trees.
Unsplash | John Thomas

He one day brought the corpse home and attempted to keep it preserved. There are a lot of dark, disturbing, and downright gross details to this story, which you can keep reading if you're especially curious.

A 12-year-old was convicted of murdering her entire family, but later walked free.

A single family home in a newly developed neighborhood.
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In 2006, Jasmine Richardson of Alberta Canada, murdered her family alongside then-boyfriend Jeremy Steinke. Steinke allegedly convinced Richardson that he was really a 300-year-old werewolf.

Astonishingly, Richardson was free to go after four years.

Rather than spend time in prison, she was sentenced to a psychiatric hospital. At 16, she was free without any restrictions. By 2016, at age 22, she moved back to her home town under a new name.

A conman managed to bankrupt a wealthy French family.

A large European-style house, much like a chateau.
Unsplash | Shalev Cohen

Between 1999 and 2009, Christine de Védrines and her family were conned by a man named Thierry Tilly, who somehow managed to convince them he was at the center of a conspiracy, and needed their help. He managed to send the family down a spiral of paranoia that had them suspecting one another.

He also siphoned 5 million Euros from them.

A window overlooking the streets of Paris.
Unsplash | Thibault Penin

Tilly was eventually arrested in 2009, but Charles-Henri de Védrines, Christine's husband, had been tricked into signing over his property and assets. The family was essentially left penniless, all thanks to this man.

A wealthy Japanese traveler got arrested for murder, and managed to turn it into fame.

A bike chained to a staircase in a Parisian corner.
Unsplash | JOHN TOWNER

In 1981, Issei Sagawa was in Paris with two suitcases, each containing the remains of a woman he'd murdered and subsequently cannibalized. He was arrested, sent back to Japan, and spent some time in a psychiatric hospital. He then checked himself out and was free to go.

In the decades since, Sagawa achieved fame within Japan.

After committing horrific acts in Paris, Sagawa managed to be a free man in his native Japan.
Unsplash | David Edelstein

He's published books, graphic novels, and films, and has been the inspiration for songs. Despite committing heinous acts, he was able to live an entire life, and even got interviewed by VICE in 2010.

A man got out of a murder charge on a technicality.

A lighthouse along the coast in Maine.
Unsplash | Mercedes Mehling

In 1964, Maine couple Calvin Jones and Sara Tolbert had an argument, which resulted in Jones murdering Tolbert. It's very clear that Jones had beaten Tolbert, but that's apparently not what actually killed her.

Tolbert had sickle-cell anemia.

A microscopic image/3D model of red blood cells.
Unsplash | ANIRUDH

Medical examiners confirmed that, despite having been assaulted at the time, Tolbert's true cause of death was the anemia. Because Jones technically didn't cause her death, he was never charged with the murder. Criminal justice at its finest.

A family of six was found dead 27 days after they'd been murdered.

A remote log cabin in the middle of a wooded area.
Unsplash | Peter Thomas

In 1968, the Robison family was found dead in their Michigan cabin after a housekeeper was sent to investigate a smell coming from it. The prime suspect was an employee of Richard Robison, a man named Scolaro.

Despite evidence pointing to Scolaro, there wasn't enough for a conviction.

A log cabin surrounded by trees and mountains.
Unsplash | Zachary Kyra-Derksen

The case, known as the Good Hart Murders due to the family's cabin being located in Good Hart, has never been officially solved. Scolaro maintained his innocence until his death of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Two women were murdered, and their only connection was their name.

Two women sitting on a beach while watching a sunset.
Unsplash | Briana Tozour

In 2000, two Texas women by the name of Mary Morris were murdered. Though the women had the same name, they were not related to one another, nor had they ever met.

A theory suggests that a hitman had accidentally killed the wrong Mary Morris.

Police crime scene tape placed over a staircase in a large building.
Unsplash | David von Diemar

Though the murders were never solved, a popular theory suggests that Mike Morris, husband of the second Mary Morris to be murdered, had hired a hitman. As per the theory, the hitman mixed the Mary Morrises up and killed the wrong one at first.