The blaze started shortly before Christmas break 1992.

CARBONDALE — Kimiko Ajikoa was a 25-year-old senior marketing major at Southern Illinois University, originally from Osaka, Japan.

An aunt and uncle of Ajikoa’s had previously attended the university and helped ease her transition from Japan to Carbondale.

During college breaks, she traveled to places such as Colorado and Niagara Falls.

Her family had described her as “courageous” because of her decision to study abroad.

Ajikoa adjusted well to life on campus and had many friends. She once told her aunt that her time at college had been one of the happiest times of her life.

Unfortunately, tragedy would strike before Ajikoa could graduate. …

His father was later convicted and released from prison, but did he kill the boy?

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Tommy Gibson/Statesman Journal

AZALEA, Ore. — Larry Gibson worked as a deputy with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department.

At 11:30 a.m. on March 18, 1991, Gibson’s youngest child, Thomas Dean “Tommy” Gibson, two years old, went outside to play while Gibson headed out for a jog.

Gibson usually carried a .45-caliber pistol in a shoulder holster because of a problem with stray cats living on his property. He claimed he shot a neighbor’s cat but thought he had missed and resumed his jog. Authorities later found a dead cat on the lawn near where his son had played in the yard.

When Gibson returned home 45 minutes later, his wife asked if Tommy was with him, but he said no. They searched on and around the property and briefly thought Tommy might have followed Gibson on his jog. When they failed to locate him, Gibson called the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office. …

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Albert and Joan Musalo. Photo credit: Washoe County Sheriff’s Department

Albert Raymond Musalo was born on April 13, 1930, in Brooklyn, New York, to Albert and Louise Musalo.

Joan Elizabeth Behrman was born on November 1, 1931, in Brooklyn to Harold and Matilda Behrman.

Albert was a graduate of Saint Michaels’ High School in Brooklyn. Joan graduated from Fort Hamilton High school, also in Brooklyn.

The couple met while working together at Brooklyn Gas and Electric. They married on January 24, 1953, at Our Lady of Angels Church in Brooklyn, and eventually had four children: Sue, Richard, Joanne, and Robert.

The Musalo family resided in several places across the U.S. and parts of Europe before moving to Nevada in 1973 and raising their children there. …

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Photo by Stephan Müller from Pexels

Lisa Jane Bonham was born on November 6, 1970, to Vernon and Doris Bonham. She has an older brother, Darin. The Bonham family resided in Martinez, California.

In early September 1977, the family was headed home to California when they decided to stop in Reno, Nevada, to visit Vernon Bonham’s relatives at 2485 Riviera Street near Idlewild Park.

On September 3, 1977, Darin, 12, and Lisa, 6, spent time riding the amusement park rides at Idlewild Park, about half-mile away. At 2 pm, Lisa walked back to their family’s home to ask Doris for a dollar.

When Lisa had not returned after 30 minutes, Darin went to the residence, but she was not there. …

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The Sacramento Bee, June 23, 1988

Candi Elizabeth Talarico, 4, lived with her mother, Diane Van Gilder, 29, in an apartment at 2500 Q Street in Sacramento, California. On June 4, 1988, Candi played outside with two friends, ages three and seven, in an alley between Q and R Streets.

Dawn Martin, the youngest girl’s mother, checked on the children and told them not to climb in the dumpster or talk to strangers. Dawn then joined Diane in her apartment.

Minutes later, Dawn’s daughter came flying into Diane’s apartment in a distressed state.

“Mom, Candi is in a car with a man!”

Candi’s seven-year-old friend, Gina Gocher, ran home to her mother. “A man just kidnapped my friend!” …

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Beth Lynn Barr was born on December 20, 1977, to Charles and Donna Barr. She has an older brother, James. The Barr family resided on Princeton Boulevard in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, a borough seven miles east of downtown Pittsburgh.

It was Thanksgiving Eve — November 23, 1977 — and Johnston Elementary School at the intersection of Franklin Avenue and Ardmore Boulevard in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, dismissed one hour early for the holiday break.

Around 2:15 pm, Beth Lynn Barr, 6, began the 10-minute walk to her home on Princeton Boulevard. …

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Greely, Colorado is located 30 miles southeast of Fort Collins and approximately 50 miles northeast of Denver. It is the county seat of Weld County and home to the University of Northern Colorado.

The town is named after Horace Greeley, American editor of the New-York Tribune, who arrived in the Centennial State during the 1859 Colorado Gold Rush, originally known as Pike’s Peak Gold Rush. Greeley is often credited with the famous slogan, “Go west, young man, and grow up with the country.”

Denise Davenport was born in Greeley in August 1964 to Hal and Carrie Davenport. She has one sister, Debbie. Their parents divorced, and Hal married a second time. He and his wife, Anita Davenport, resided in Grand Junction while Carrie lived in Littleton. …

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Elderly siblings, Mary Amanda Swarr, 87, and Horace John Swarr, 81, had lived together for 30 years at various locations in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Between 1959 and 1964, they purchased a three-story Victorian townhouse at 432 W. Walnut Street.

The pair grew up in the townhouse next door at 434 W. Walnut Street.

Mary and Horace had no close relatives in Pennsylvania. The only surviving relatives were nephews Charles Swarr in Reston, Virginia, and Frank Swarr in Louisiana.

Neither Mary nor Horace ever married or had children.

Mary was the former secretary of Pennsylvania congressman John Roland Kinzer from 1930 to 1947. …

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Southtown Star, March 6, 2008

Dawn Niles was born deaf and mute in 1965. By 1981, she had grown into a beautiful, happy, and feisty 15-year-old.

She resided with her family at 1012 Newberry Avenue in La Grange Park, Illinois, a Chicago suburb.

Dawn attended the hearing impaired program at Hinsdale High School in nearby Darien, a member of the school’s Deaf Drama Club.

She had been in a relationship with a fellow deaf student, Gary Albert, 18, for several months before they broke up in February 1981.

Soon after, she discovered she was three months pregnant with his child. …

The young couple vanished without a trace from a YMCA dance in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia.

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Allan Whyte and Maureen Braddy. Photo credit: Australian Missing Persons Register

Maureen Joyce Braddy was born on August 24, 1952, to Stanley and Kathleen “Muriel” Braddy. She is the 3rd eldest of ten siblings. The Braddy family resided at 12 Vinton Street in California Gully, Victoria, Australia.

Maureen attended the California Gully State School and later Eaglehawk High School before dropping out to work full-time as an egg packer at the Crystal Egg Company in Bendigo, Victoria. Her employment began on April 9, 1968.

The Braddy children frequently suffered physical abuse at the hands of their father, Stanley Braddy, Sr. …


Debra Buck

I have owned a true-crime blog since 2010. Follow my blog at

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