Content warning: This article includes descriptions of violence and murder.
“Unsolved Mysteries” is one of the greats. It’s a classic true crime and paranormal television show that, for many, inspired a lifetime obsession of the unexplainable. Unfortunately, by the show’s very nature, many of these cases remain unsolved. However, some of them were solved.
“We’ve solved over 260 cases,” show creator Terry Dunn Meurer told Oxygen. The show covered more than 1,300 cases.
This summer Netflix dropped six new episodes of the show which has sparked a renewed interest in this TV classic. Now, if you haven’t watched the reboot of “Unsolved Mysteries,” stop reading this immediately and turn on your TV. Not because there are spoilers in this article, mind you, but because you are legit missing out on one of the best shows of 2020. Also, what else do you have going on?
In any case, let’s take a look back at some of the “Unsolved Mysteries” cases that did manage to get solved.
Joseph MulvaneyWhen John “Gabby” Morris gave his friend, Newell Sessions, an old trunk he had in 1987, Sessions had no idea that he was about to get pulled into a decades-long mystery.
Inside the trunk, Sessions found the skeleton of Joseph Mulvaney who had disappeared in 1963. Lodged inside Mulvaney’s skull was a bullet. An investigation was opened and Morris claimed that though he had moved across the country multiple times with it, he had never opened the trunk.
The identity of the skeletal remains weren’t discovered, however, until 2017 when Mulvaney’s granddaughter, Shelley Statler, reached out to authorities after seeing the 1993 “Unsolved Mysteries” episode on the case. It turned out that Morris was Mulvaney’s stepson. Mulvaney married Morris’s mother and the two had three children together. However, the marriage wasn’t a happy one, Statler told the Des Moines Register.
“I don’t think my grandparents had a very good marriage, and I know it affected my mom and her siblings growing up,” Statler said. “My grandmother wasn’t always easy to get along with.”
Statler believes that her grandfather was murdered and his remains were eventually dug up by Morris who placed him in the trunk. Law enforcement do not believe that Morris is responsible for Mulvaney’s death.
KROQ “murder”Perhaps one of the strangest “Unsolved Mysteries” wasn’t actually a murder at all.
In 1990, California KROQ radio DJs Kevin Ryder and Gene “Bean” Baxter held a morning segment called “Confess Your Crimes” during which an anonymous man called in and confessed to beating his girlfriend to death, according to the Los Angeles Times.
After a 10-month investigation in which the case caught national attention after it was featured on “Unsolved Mysteries,” it turned out the whole thing was just a very terrible joke put on by Ryder, Baxter, and their friend, Doug Roberts, who made the call. During the hoax call, Roberts claimed he’d caught his girlfriend cheating on him and subsequently killed her.
“These guys did something stupid and it snowballed on them,” Sheriff’s Sgt. John Yarbrough, who investigated the case, told the Los Angeles Times.
Ryder and Baxter were charged for their involvement and were fined thousands of dollars for what turned out to be one of the worst jokes in American history.
GigiNot all cases solved because of “Unsolved Mysteries” had happy endings.
In 1995, a woman who called herself “Gigi” was found wandering the streets of New Orleans with no memory of who she was or where she came from. After spending months in a psychiatric clinic where doctors attempted to help her recover her memories, “Unsolved Mysteries” featured the strange case on one of their episodes.
“Gigi” was recognized by a former co-worker, Nancy Lawrence, who came forward about Gigi’s actual identity: 31-year-old Belinda Lin. Lin had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and had stopped taking her medication when she lost her memory.
Unfortunately, Lin’s parents were uninterested in helping her and weren’t sure they even wanted her back.
“I feel like after all this, now we know who she is and there’s still no closure to it,” Cheryl Learn, Lin’s patient advocate, told the Associated Press. “What she’s going to do now I have no idea.”
Larry DickensIn 1978, Texas oil field worker Larry Dickens was shot and killed by Edward Howard Bell after Dickens confronted Bell for exposing himself to children. While Bell was initially arrested for the murder, he posted bail and disappeared for 14 years.
In 1992, “Unsolved Mysteries” aired an episode on Dickens’s murder in which Dickens was played by none other than Matthew McConaughey. Not long after the episode was released, Bell was arrested at a boat shop in Panama and sentenced to prison in 1993.
Bell eventually confessed to killing several teenagers, though his claims were never corroborated, according to the Galveston Daily News.