Unsolved Mysteries and Scary Stuff: Bizarre Cases of the Missing and Murdered Vol. 13

Jason Bolton
Jason Bolton

On August 21, 1991 in Fayette County, Indiana Jason Bolton and his friend Tim “Tiny” Pursifull Jr had been hanging out. The official story from the police is that Jason and his friend were drinking illegally as both were under age. The teens then decided to go visit Bolton’s father but along the way they became groggy and laid down in the middle of the street. Soon after a man named Duane Grim was driving down the road and saw Pursifull’s body which caused him to swerve his car. This ended with Grim accidentally running over Bolton, who suffered crushed his ribs and a fractured skull. Jason died at the scene.

Bolton’s family found much of this story to ring untrue. For one, Bolton was estranged from his father and barely knew the man, if at all. Secondly, the family started to receive anonymous letters that stated that Jason was actually killed by a group of four people, one of whom was a police officer. Bolton had been tortured and castrated. While Bolton lay dying, bleeding out from his groin wounds, it was determined that a cover-up was needed. The group then prepared a plan and an accident was staged. There were apparently multiple witnesses to the assault but these people are fearful of retribution and refuse to come forward even after nearly twenty-five years have come to pass since the murder.

Jason’s family is actively trying to have his body exhumed in order to check for DNA and other evidence. They run a website to try and help their plight at JusticeForJasonBolton.com

Clifford Herl
On March 20th of 2005, 28-year-old Clifford Herl was scheduled to go to a job interview but apparently chose to go camping instead. Several people who saw him at the campgrounds would later state he was acting strangely. They would prove to be the last people to ever see him as the next day Herl’s truck was found two miles from the campsite with a window broken out of it. All of Herl’s personal identification was still inside the vehicle, along with a shredded note that Herl apparently wrote which stated he had things in life that he feared would be discovered by the authorities and that he needed a change in his life. Some reports indicate the note was suicidal in nature, but the cops dispute that.

In the months following Herl’s disappearance several local cabins were broken into. Food was stolen from them and at least one note was found that was written in a similar manner to Herl’s penmanship. A tent was discovered abandoned less than a mile from where Herl’s truck had been located and inside of it were letters addressed to Satan. Once again the hand writing could not be confirmed to belong to Clifford.

Prior to vanishing, Herl had been reportedly acting strange around his family. He had also been recently fired for failing to come to work after having been a punctual employee beforehand. Shortly after his firing, the business he had worked at was burglarized. There was no sign of forced entry, so the police were led to believe it was done by someone who knew the entry code to the building, which Herl would have.

The authorities remain open to the idea that Herl met with foul play. His disappearance remains unsolved.

Ricky McCormick
Ricky McCormick was a high school dropout with a history of having chronic lung and heart problems. With that in mind, his sudden death in June of 1999 at the age of 41 didn’t raise too many eyebrows among authorities past the fact that his body was found in a rural cornfield in the outskirts of St. Louis. Although a true cause of death couldn’t be determined, the case was written off and quickly forgotten about.

Twelve years after McCormick’s untimely passing the case was sudden given new life by the FBI. The Feds announced the case was being looked into due to a pair of handwritten notes that were found in McCormick’s pocket. Both pieces of paper seemed to contain encrypted ciphers.  The FBI placed top priority on unlocking the codes and put their Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit on the task.

letters

Despite their best efforts the code was not figured out. Some speculated that since McCormick was practically illiterate and had a low IQ that he just wrote a bunch of jibberish but others have argued that there seems to be a specific pattern to the letters and numbers. To this day the letters remain a puzzle. The details surrounding McCormick’s death remain unresolved as well.

Robert Rhoades
Robert Rhoades endured an uncommon upbringing. He was first raised by his mother alone as his father was overseas. His dad eventually returned when Rhoades was a teenager. Robert had some minor infractions with the law during this time which involved tampering with a vehicle but otherwise lived a clean life. After his graduation in 1964 he joined the Marines. That same year his father wound up arrested for molesting a 12-year-old girl and as a result killed himself. Three years later, Robert was arrested for theft and dishonorably discharged from the Corps. Over the following years Rhoades ended up married three times, in the meanwhile he took up life as a truck driver.

It was during this time that darkness enveloped Rhodes’ mind and he ended up modifying his semi’s sleeper cab into a mobile torture chamber. It is believed he claimed his first victim in November of 1989. Another woman captured during this time period would survive but she remained so fearful of Rhoades after spending two weeks bound in his truck that she would later deny he was the man who tortured her.

The first bodies that the police were able to tie to Rhoades were that of Douglas Zyskowski and Candace Walsh. The couple were hitchhiking in January of 1990 when Rhoades agreed to give them a lift. He quickly killed Zyskowski and dropped his remains off in Texas. His body was found soon after but it would take two more years to identify the corpse. Meanwhile Walsh was made into a sex slave for over a week before Rhoades killed her and dumped the body in Utah.

A month after disposing of Walsh, Rhoades picked up another pair of hitchhikers. 14-year-old Regina Kay Walters and her boyfriend Ricky Jones, who were runaways from Texas. Jones was eliminated quickly, which left the young girl to become a long term victim of Rhoades’ sick pleasure seeking. Jones body was found in March of 1991 but not properly identified until the summer of 2008. Pictures were taken of Walters while she was trapped by Rhoades and the hair growth on her confirm that she had remained alive for a long spell of time after being taken prisoner.

Regina-Kay-Walters-Robert-Ben-Rhoades

This is one of the photos later recovered by police. It shows the 14-year-old Walters dressed in clothes Rhoades gave her. It is believed she was killed in the same Illinois barn in which the picture was taken.

Rhoades’ spree of kidnapping, torture, rape and murder came to an end of April Fools day of 1990 when an Arizona state trooper saw Rhoades’ semi parked on the side of a highway with it’s hazard lights on. Thinking perhaps a trucker needed aid, the lawman instead came across a nude woman who was handcuffed and screaming inside the cab. The partially nude Rhoades attempted to talk his way out of the situation but the trooper placed him under arrest for sexual assault, aggravated assault, and unlawful imprisonment. The arrest sparked police from around the country to check on John and Jane Doe cases and a pattern of bodies were found that correlated with Rhoades’ travels.

Rhoades’ home was searched and many photos were found of Walters and Walsh while they were imprisoned by the twisted trucker. Both women’s bodies were found by the end of 1990. Rhoades was found guilty of first degree murder in 1994 in the Walters murder. He was later to be tried for the deaths of Walsh and Zyskowski but the victim’s families chose to bypass the trials since Rhoades was to be held in prison for the rest of his life either way.

Rhoades in his formal wear: 
robert-ben-rhoades

Thanks for reading! I’ll be back with more stories soon! 

If you would like a full list of all the articles in this series, you can find them here: Article List

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Written by Andrew Lutzke

The grumpy old man of culturecrossfire.com, lover of wrasslin' and true crimes.

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