Unsolved Mysteries and Scary Stuff: Bizarre Cases of the Missing and Murdered Vol. 4

Ladner

Norman Ladner
Seventeen year-old Norman Ladner of Picayune, Mississippi headed into the woods to hunt on his parents 122 acres of land on August 21st, 1989. What happened after that is the subject of debate as Norman didn’t come home that evening. By nightfall his parents were concerned that their normally punctual son wasn’t home and his father Norm Sr. went to search for him. Tragically, he found his son’s lifeless body soon after. A single gunshot wound to the head was evident.

The police were called in and Sheriff Lorance Lumpkin quickly determined that the death was an accident, with the gun having been possibly accidentally dropped which caused it to fire. (Keep in mind the “crime scene” was a wooded area being processed after 10 p.m. so peripheral evidence would be near impossible to see or locate) The coroner agreed with the Sheriff’s assessment but days later after the official autopsy the coroner ruled the death a “suicide” due to the close nature of the bullet entry point. The bullet had entered Norman’s right temple and exited on his left, a common suicide wound. Norman’s parents refused to agree with the ruling because Norman was a happy teenager and the police made little effort to investigate the scene. The police never found the bullet, they never fingerprinted the gun, they had no explanation why Norman’s wallet was missing, and a 1 1/4 inch cut on the crown of Ladner’s head was unexplained.

The Ladner’s began their own investigation and began to dig around the crime scene to try and find the bullet. They successfully found a bullet around where Norman’s head had been laying but this discovery only led to more questions. The projectile found had dried blood and hair on it and was a different length than what could have been fired from Norman’s gun. The police dismissed the bullet as evidence since they felt Norman was standing up when he shot himself. Norman’s mother suggested he was shot while lying down. The bullet was sent to the state ballistics expert but he claimed he couldn’t confirm or deny that it had come from Norman’s rifle. When his parents received the bullet back, they claim it was different from the one they had sent off.

Still determined, the Ladner’s headed to the coroner’s office to question his declaration of suicide. An unknown person came up to his mother while she was there and told her “Mrs. Ladner, don’t open this case up. You have other children. I suggest you raise them for your own good. You’ll never find the person that killed your son.” The stranger than walked away and left the building.

Norman’s father was unfazed by the warning and returned to the crime scene to once again seek clues. Three hundred yards from where his son’s body had been located a radio like device was found. It was crude and looked home-made. The authorities deemed it an insignificant to the case but a friend of the Ladner’s suggested that Norm Sr. show it to a former narcotics agent who lived nearby. The DEA Agent told him it was a device used by drug dealers to signal aircraft via low range signals to where drug shipments were to be dropped. With that info in hand, Norm Sr. deduced that his son stumbled upon some dealers in the woods and was then silenced to protect their business.

A final eyebrow raising note to add to this story is that Norman’s driver’s license was later found in New York.  The Ladner’s divorced a few years after Norman’s death. Their son’s case remains unresolved but officially closed.

This tragedy is often compared to the very similarly bizarre case of Don Henry and Kevin Ives that occurred in Arkansas during the same time frame. The two teens were struck by a train as they laid motionless on a set of tracks. A tarp had been covering their bodies but it disappeared during the investigation. The police ruled that the boys got high on pot and passed out on the tracks.  A witnesses came forward and claimed to have seen the boys being beaten by two police officers in a back lot of a store. The bodies were then tossed in a truck and taken away. Another witness saw a man in military fatigues in the same area that the boys bodies were later found in.

A grand jury overturned the police’s ruling and a new investigation found evidence of stab wounds on at least one of the boys which turned the case into a homicide investigation. Despite the vigilance of relatives and authorities, the case was closed in 1995 without any justice. The drug trade was prevalent in the area and the most widely held belief is that the boys saw something they weren’t meant to and were executed. A case in Oklahoma in 1984 saw suspected drug dealers place two bodies on a train track in near identical fashion.

Dorothy Forstein 
Dorothy and Jules Forstein were enjoying a quiet life in the Philadelphia suburbs in 1945 when tragedy struck. Dorothy dropped her 3 children off at a neighbors and set about running errands. She chatted with the local butcher and went shopping – apparently without incident. As she returned home a neighbor noted that it seemed someone was following her. It was getting dark and the witness later admitted she really wasn’t paying that close of attention to the scene unfolding. As Dorothy was opening her front door a man jumped from the shadows and began to pummel Mrs. Forstein with his fists and some sort of foreign weapon with a blunt end. Dorothy fell into the house and accidentally knocked over the phone. An operator heard the chaos on the end of the line and called the police. As the sirens blared, the mystery attacker fled.

The police found Dorothy unconscious with injuries that were later determined to be a broken jaw, a shattered nose, a concussion, and a fracture in her shoulder. When questioned at the hospital Dorothy could not offer any information on who attacked her or why. Since no robbery was attempted despite money and jewels being on her police could only rule the assault as an attempted murder.

Things returned to normalcy for the next five years. It was then that Jules spent an evening at a political banquet, leaving Dorothy alone with the children at their home. After the festivities Mr. Forstein returned to his house only to find his wife missing. One child had spent the night elsewhere, but the other two children were in their bedroom cuddling in fear. His nine-year-old daughter then told him a chilling tale. She had gotten up from bed and went to her mother’s room. She saw her mother lying face down on the bedroom carpet. Then an unknown man came up the stairs and told her to go back to bed. He then picked Dorothy up and carried her away out the front door.

The daughter gave a vague description of the man and stated he had something tucked under his shirt. Nothing was taken from the house and the police found no fingerprints. Dorothy was never seen again.

Lt. Felix Moncla 

Lt. Felix Moncla was an air force pilot stationed at the Kinross Air Base in Michigan. It was 1953 and the Cold War was raging between America and the USSR. It was in these tense times that an unidentified aircraft came onto the base’s radar. Moncla and Second Lt. Robert Wilson were summoned to a F-89 Scorpion to intercept whoever was flying unauthorized in the sky.

The Scorpion raced toward the unknown object at around 500 mph and closed in on it over Lake Superior at around 7,000 feet. The radar operators back at the base were shocked as they watched the blips on the screen representing Moncla’s craft and the UFO merge on screen and disappeared. A search and rescue unit was summoned but no debris or wreckage was seen from either aircraft. The Air Force claimed the second plane was a Royal Canadian Air Force C-47 Dakota but RCAF officials denied having any planes in the sky at the time. UFO enthusiasts cite this case as evidence of alien abduction and commonly refer to this as the “Kinross Incident”.

Thanks for reading! There will be more stories to come in the near future. 

Written by Andrew Lutzke

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

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