The boy in the box
In February 1957, the body of a little boy, somewhere between four and six years old, was discovered in a vacant lot in Philadelphia, USA, naked and stuffed in a bassinet box. The cause of death was multiple blows to the head, and it appeared the boy had been given a fresh haircut either immediately before or after his death. Although authorities estimated the body might have been in the box for as long as three weeks, they were able to piece together a drawing of what the boy probably looked like while alive. Still, the drawing didn’t match the description of any missing child, and no one came forward to identify him. Despite DNA testing, the boy was never identified. Fifty-three years later, his case remains unsolved.
The Walker family
On December 19, 1959, the four members of the Walker family were brutally murdered in their Florida, USA, home. Their bodies were discovered the next day. The crime scene revealed few clues beyond a bloody boot, a partial fingerprint on a bath sink, and a cigarette wrapper. However, police managed to cull 587 witnesses and/or suspects, but none panned out – not even Perry Smith and Dick Hickock. The two men were apprehended in Las Vegas a week later on suspicion of murdering another family under strikingly similar circumstances – the Clutter family of Kansas, whose massacre became the subject of Truman Capote’s true crime classic, In Cold Blood. While Smith and Hickock were eventually convicted of the Clutter family killings, authorities were unable to piece together a case against them with regard to the Walker case, which remains unsolved. If Smith and Hickock were involved, they have both since taken that secret with them to the grave.
The hijacking of Northwest Flight 305 to Seattle
On November 24, 1971, as Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305 took off from Portland, Oregon, its passengers had no idea the middle-aged man in a dark suit who sat near the rear of the plane – smoking a cigarette and speaking quietly to the young stewardess taking his drink order – wasn’t just ordering a bourbon and soda. He was also advising the stewardess he had a bomb that he fully intended to use if his “demands” weren’t met. Those demands included $200,000 in cash, which would be $1 million today, four parachutes, a fuel truck standing by in Seattle to refuel the plane on arrival, and a second leg trip to Mexico. After the demands of the man, who was travelling under the alias “Dan Cooper,” and has been known ever since as “D.B. Cooper,” demands were met, Cooper disappeared from the plane while en route to Mexico. Presumably he left via parachute, although no one can say since the flight crew had left Cooper alone in the rear of the plane. In any event, his parachute was never found, and the ransom money, in marked bills, was never used. Although some of that money turned up in 1980 along the banks of the Oregon branch of the Columbia River. The FBI worked the case for 45 years, but the man known as D.B. Cooper has never been identified. Despite that the FBI surmises Cooper likely didn’t survive the parachute jump and that all the “favourite” suspects (including Richard Floyd McCoy and Robert Rackstraw) are now dead, amateur sleuths continue to probe.