Twenty-two year old Polish-American Wojciech Fudali attended a party on the evening of December 5th, 2008. The host was a friend and thus Fudali decided to spend the night. When the morning dawn broke, his comrades discovered he was gone. His phone, licence, keys and other items had been left behind, which made his buddies believe he was just off on a walk. Then they realized that the clothes he had been wearing were sitting neatly folded on the carpet.
Witnesses in the area identified a man who looked like Fudali at nearby dock – sitting completely naked in the freezing thirty-degree air. A while later other witnesses saw him running through a bird sanctuary, still naked. He has never been seen since.
His mother had spoken to him three days prior to his disappearance and felt nothing unusual was going on with him. Fudali’s mates told police that he had been depressed lately and was reading the Bible frequently. No solution to Fudali’s whereabouts or strange behavior have been determined.
33-year-old Davina Jones was in her rookie year in the Bald Head Island police department in 1999 when she met her sudden end. Jones had been on patrol near the island’s lighthouse when the dispatcher at the station heard her demand someone put their gun down before a ear piercing squeal went over the transmission. Back up officers were summoned and they found Jones lying in a puddle of blood, having been shot in the back of her head. Her own gun was lying on the ground near her hand. Given the nature of the wound, homicide was initially suspected, but then two weeks later it went in the books as a “suicide”. If that wasn’t outrageous enough, it was revealed that the police were requested by a financially well off local family to clean the scene up fast as they had a wedding to stage in the area soon. So the day after Jones was found dead the whole area was washed down, eliminating clues – including a bloody palm print found on Jones’ vehicle.
Two days after Jones was shot, three known criminals were caught trying to sneak off the island. They were briefly retained, then released. Critics of the hasty clean up and misclassification of the victim’s method of death theorize that Jones came across a drug deal and was quickly silenced because of it. Further speculation states that because Bald Head Island was known for it’s low crime rates, the affluent neighbors did not want crime to lower their property values and the authorities chose to look the other way to appease them. It took almost fourteen years for Jones’ death to be changed to “undetermined”. The case is unsolved and any hope to do so is probably long gone.
As my loyal readers know, I have written about several cases that were covered on NBC’s Unsolved Mysteries. Usually the incidents that stuck with me were the deaths which were the most senseless or the victimized seemed so vulnerable to the ruthless act they suffered through. The following case was first profiled in April of 1989 and it definitely hit both those marks.
In 1985, 67-year-old Dexter Stefonek was settled in the north woods of Rhinelander, Wisconsin. His wife had passed on the prior year, leaving Dexter alone. His son lived far away in Corbett, Oregon, leaving visits within the family to be sporadic at best. After becoming widowed, Dexter began to pursue Amy Heyn, a 34-year-old recent divorcee. They became close and Stefonek bonded with her five kids. Ultimately this led to a marriage proposal, but the thirty plus year difference in their ages caused her to turn down his offer. They maintained a relationship and this led to Heyn’s father Arnold Gratias joining Stefonek in a business deal where they would transport some cars from Oregon to Wisconsin. Stefonek arranged to drive to Oregon and spend several months with his son while working on the car deal.
After the months passed, Stefonek decided it was time to return home. His son asked him not to, citing little reason to drive back to Wisconsin during the onset of winter. Stefonek wrote Heyn love letters during his time away from her, and it is obvious in hindsight that his desire to be with her fueled his decision to head back. He told his son he planned on sleeping in rest stops instead of motels to save time on the trip back home.
Dexter left his son’s home on November 18th and only a mere 24 hours later his car was discovered in the Bad Route rest stop engulfed in flames. The police could see no evidence of a body in the vehicle and had no evidence of foul play occurring. Search teams swept the area looking for the occupant, who they thought might be trying to hitchhike for help. The arson specialists who came to the scene determined the fire was started in the backseat, using accelerants, probably gasoline. Once it was uncovered that it was Stefonek’s vehicle, the police became suspicious that the driver’s seat was pushed way back – the descriptions of Dexter listed him as a short man.
The Bad Route rest area’s custodian Fred Siegle told police when he arrived that morning at 8 a.m. that a Chevy pick-up with Arizona plates was sitting abandoned. Less than an hour later a vehicle that was later determined to be Stefonek’s pulled into the rest area and a large man, around 35 to 40 years of age got out of the car with two containers. Siegle left the rest area to move on to other duties. Stefonek’s car was set ablaze sometime directly afterward.
The case remained cold for four months. Then on March 8th two local residents visited a private trash dump on the land of a local rancher around 17 miles from the rest area. While dropping off garbage they saw a wallet on the ground which turned out to be Dexter’s. They knew of the case from the local press and continued looking for clues until they found a foot sticking outward from under an overturned mattress.
The police were called in and they discovered animals had mauled Stefonek’s face and hands for food but otherwise the body was well preserved via the winter air. An autopsy revealed Stefonek had been beaten violently and ultimately killed via two shots to the head.
Money remained in Stefonek’s personal belongings, which made robbery an unlikely motive. Needing more clues, the police returned to the rest area to see if they had overlooked any evidence. Inside they found a penciled message on the bathroom grout which read “HOT JOCK SHOT WAD FROM WISCONSIN 11/85 SATURDAY THE 3rd.” The police believed this was a direct message from the murderer and “Hot Jock” might be a CB radio handle he was known by. Critics point out that the date of the crime is wrong, and the day of the week of 11/3/85 is wrong.
The police have never found the Arizona vehicle the suspect was driving, nor have any suspects ever been questioned. Dexter’s girlfriend and business partner are not considered persons of interest.
Thanks for reading! I’ll be back with more mysteries soon!
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