5 Cold Cases Solved In 2021 (After Decades) #3
Hi everyone! Welcome to Mysterious 5! Losing a loved one is hard enough, but not knowing where they are or what happened to them is absolutely agonizing. The major developments being made in forensic technology have made it possible for the families of hundreds of victims to gain closure on what happened to their loved ones. In this video, we’re going to take a look at decades-old cold cases that were solved in 2021. The 1984 case of Virginia Hannon 59-year-old Virginia Hannon lived in a relatively quiet neighborhood in Pembroke, Massachusetts.
She had spent most of her life working as the lunch lady at a local elementary school called Bryantville Elementary School, and almost everyone in the neighborhood had witnessed her kindness and caring nature first-hand. She loved working with kids and was known to be really good at cooking. She lived a quiet, humble life and was quite hospitable to her neighbors, so everyone who knew her was shocked and horrified when on the 13th of February, 1984, someone broke into Virginia’s home and killed her. Virginia had lived alone, because her husband had passed away 13 years before her death. The
quaint yellow house she lived in quickly became a symbol of kindness in the area, and Virginia would often offer juice, cookies and baked goods to the neighborhood kids who would often stop by the house. She was also known to feed and care for the stray animals that would wander into the area. She had actually retired from her job early because her aunt, who lived in California, had left Virginia around $380,000 when she passed away. She was fairly open about the inheritance to everyone who asked because she had no inhibitions when it came to sharing details about her life with other people, even if they were strangers. While it was known that she had stored a majority of the amount in the bank, it was widely speculated that she kept a part of the inheritance in cash, hidden around her house. This has never been confirmed as the actual cause for the break-in and attack on Virginia, but it is possible that the news of the money she had hidden around the house could have been heard by the wrong type of person.
The last known sighting of Virginia was on the evening of the 11th of February, 1984, which was a Saturday. Virginia and a friend of hers named Dolly Harmeth had gone to church together. The church they attended was called St. Joseph’s church, and it was around 4 miles away from Virginia’s house. The evening mass commenced at around 5 p.m., like usual, and the women had stayed for the entirety of the mass, before driving to their usual dinner spot, which was BR’s Restaurant. This restaurant was around seven miles away from the church,
and they would eat dinner there every week after mass. Dolly was the last person to see Virginia alive, other than the perpetrator, and she dropped Virginia off at her house at around 7:30 p.m. Dolly did say that Virginia struggled to breathe while climbing the steps to her house, but this was normal for Virginia. She has a health condition called emphysema, which made it difficult for her to breathe if she did anything too physically taxing. Nobody in the neighborhood heard from her or saw her on Sunday, so it is believed that the attack likely happened shortly after she returned home from church.
Virginia was the primary caregiver for her step-father who also lived in the neighborhood, and she would normally prepare his lunch every day and take it over to his house. However, on Monday, the 13th of February, lunchtime had come and passed, but there was no sign of Virginia. Her step-father’s house help had actually been trying to contact her to see if she had a spare key to his house but had been unable to reach her. So,
she decided to stop by Virginia’s house to see if everything was okay and ask for the key in person. It was then that the house help discovered that Virginia had been killed in her bed. Signs of serious physical injury could be seen even though her blanket had been used to cover her up. Investigators were immediately called to the scene, and they found a pair of nylon stockings, which they believe was used to kill Virginia. In addition to this, there was a shoe print on her stomach area, which led investigators to believe that the perpetrator kicked her at some point during the attack. This death came as a shock to the entire neighborhood because Virginia was so well-liked by everyone in the community and it was difficult for people to think of someone who would want to harm her.
The front door and a window next to it had been tampered with, which indicated that the attacker broke into the house and Virginia did not let them in out of her own free will. In addition to this, Dolly had told investigators that when they went to dinner, Virginia had a $100 bill in her wallet. But when her wallet was checked by police, the $100 bill was gone. This indicated that robbery could have been a possible motive for the attack, and this is actually why a lot of people believe the attack was carried out because the perpetrator thought she had a part of the inheritance money in the house. The search for the attacker led nowhere because investigators were unable to identify any suspects. Her neighbors had also not heard anything unusual on the night of her death,
that might have indicated a struggle. Without any clues or leads, it became difficult for police to identify a suspect. In 2018, the evidence found at the scene of the crime was retested and a male DNA profile was generated from it. But unfortunately, there was nothing to compare this DNA with, so the trail for Virginia’s killer went cold. Around 37 years passed before the police caught their big break.
On the 3rd of February, 2020, a 58-year-old man named Jesse Alyward passed away. A year prior to his death, Jesse had told a friend of his that he was responsible for the death of Virginia Hannon. After Jesse passed, this friend informed police of this occurrence, and they used a blood sample from Jesse’s remains to compare his DNA to the DNA found at the scene. It was a match. Jesse had been 22 years old at the time of Virginia’s death.
In March of 2021, the Plymouth County district attorney’s office announced the news to the public, while also stating that there was no known connection between Jesse and Virginia prior to the attack and that she likely did not know him. Virginia’s nephew, Richard Hannon, and his wife Judy Hannon have since come forward to express their gratitude to the police officers who kept working on Virginia’s case throughout the years. This really is one of the cases that really reinforces how the development of forensic technology can spearhead the effort to solve cold cases and bring closure to victims’ families.
The cold case of Janet Brochu 20-year-old Janet Brochu had gone out with some of her friends on the 23rd of December, 1987. She left the bar 45 minutes before her friends did, with a man they had met and gotten acquainted with mere hours before her disappearance. Little did her friends know that when Janet left the bar that night, they were seeing her alive for the last time… The group of friends initially went bowling and had plans to go get drinks together afterwards. They went to the Waterville bowling alley, and it is here that the group met and got acquainted with two men who were also bowling there.
In fact, they got along so well that they planned to regroup later on during the night at a bar and lounge spot called T. Woody’s, which was located on the Waterville concourse. The two groups then went their separate ways. When Janet and her friends reached T. Woody’s, everyone was allowed inside, except for Janet. This was because the legal drinking age in Maine had been increased to 21 in July of 1985, and Janet was only 20 years old. By this time, it was almost midnight, and the men they had met earlier had also arrived at the bar. One of these men told Janet he would drop her back at her house, and she accepted this offer.
She was last seen by her friends leaving the bar with this man. Shortly after they left though, the man returned to the bar alone to get Janet’s purse. She had accidentally forgotten her purse at the bar, and he had come back inside to get it, while she was waiting in his car. After Janet had left, her friends stayed at the bar for around another 45 minutes, before leaving. Janet did not return home that night, and her parents, Albert Brochu and Geraldine Brochu contacted investigators on the morning of the 24th of December, to report their daughter as missing. It was also possible for Janet to need medical assistance because she was diabetic and took insulin on a regular basis to regulate her blood sugar levels.
The search for Janet began almost immediately after the missing person’s report was filed. Police spoke to the man who had offered to take Janet home the night before, but he claimed that when he went back to the parking lot after fetching Janet’s purse, she appeared to be sick. Because of this, he told her he could no longer take her home, and according to him, this was the last time he saw her and he claimed to have no involvement in her disappearance.
The search for Janet continued for three months until the 18th of March, 1988, when a man found her remains floating near the Waverly Dam in the Sebasticook River. Her remains were found in an unclothed state. An autopsy was performed on her remains, but the medical examiner could not determine the cause of Janet’s death. While it was believed that her body had been submerged in the water from the night she had disappeared, no further statements could be made about how she had died. In addition to this, investigators also thought it was a possibility that she either jumped off the bridge or was pushed off the bridge. Which begs the question, if she had jumped, what happened to her clothes? Granted, it had been three months since she likely died, and her clothes would have gone through severe decomposition due to exposure to the elements, but they would have been there just the same.
In addition to this, only a couple of months after Janet’s remains were discovered, a 23-year-old woman from Waterville was also killed in a manner that bore uncanny similarities to how Janet was killed. This woman was Geraldine Ann Finn, who was last seen on the 9th of August, 1988, at a bar. She had gone out to Pete and Larry’s, which was a bar on Upper Main Street. While she was in the company of her co-workers, a man walked over to speak with her. This man was described as being around 5’10” tall and possibly weighing around 150 pounds. He had dark hair, and one distinct feature that her friends remembered was the tattoo of a diamond he had on his shoulder.
Geraldine’s remains were found near Skowhegan, by a man who was taking a walk around his land. The land was near a wooded area. Geraldine had also been found unclothed. However, this time, investigators had enough evidence to apprehend the killer, who was 29-year-old Gerald Goodale.
Gerald was found guilty of killing Geraldine Finn and received a sentence of 75 years. Following his arrest and conviction, he was also questioned extensively in relation to Janet Brochu’s death, but he denied any involvement in her death. Due to a lack of evidence, investigators could not charge him with killing Janet, but they strongly believed that he was the perpetrator due to the numerous similarities between the cases. Unfortunately, the lack of evidence did result in Janet’s case going cold for more than 3 decades. It wasn’t until May of 2021 that they were finally able to arrest Gerald for killing Janet Brochu.
Since the case is still through the legal system, the nature of the new evidence found is still unspecified. While an article published in the Bangor Daily News on the 22nd of August 1988 states that Gerald had seen Janet briefly at the bar’s parking lot on the night of her death, no statements have been made that verify whether he was the man who was supposed to drive her home. An official arraignment hearing is yet to occur in this case, which has been attributed to the difficult circumstances that the world is presently in. Unfortunately, Geraldine Brochu died
in 2015, and Albert Brochu passed away in January of 2021 – mere months before Janet’s killer would be brought to justice, so neither of her parents were able to see their daughter’s case resolved. As for the new evidence, we will have to wait and see what the arraignment hearing brings to light. The cold case of Leola Jordan Even in 2021, the Picayune police department was working tirelessly to solve a 2-decade old cold case – a family needed answers. These answers came in the form of DNA test results, just one month prior to the 23rd anniversary of Leola Jordan’s death. Everyone in the neighborhood loved Leola, and the horrific manner that she was killed left them all begging for answers. Leola lived in a relatively quiet neighborhood in the Pearl River County of Picayune, Mississippi.
People from her neighborhood described Leola as being friendly and well-liked. She had lived there all her life, and had seven children, all of whom grew up in the neighborhood. On the 30th of June, 1998, Leola Jordan had been attacked with a knife in her home on Washington Street and died as a result of her injuries. Investigators believed that the perpetrator was let into the house by Leola herself because there was no sign of the locks on her doors or windows to suggest that they had been tampered with. Several members of Leola’s family also told investigators that she always locked her front door, so it was unlikely that the killer walked in on his own. From the crime scene, investigators initially determined that there may have been a fight or disagreement of some kind when Leola woke up, which escalated and resulted in the killer attacking her, before fleeing the scene of the crime.
For almost 23 years, this case remained unsolved. That was until Captain Rhonda Jones of the Picayune Police Department began to review Leola’s case in October of 2020. She worked in collaboration with a popular show called “Cold Justice,” which is produced by the Oxygen network. Due to a lack of resources, the police department took the help of the show to get DNA evidence found at the scene of the crime to be tested. The show helped them send it to a private facility
which had a much quicker turnaround time. When the crime scene was first processed back in 1998, investigators collected almost a dozen samples of the nightgown Leola was wearing when she was killed in the hopes that they could potentially find the killer’s DNA on it. But since the Picayune police department did not have the resources to process this DNA evidence, it remained untested till 2021. The result of the DNA testing was what allowed investigators to finally arrest the man responsible for killing Leola Jordan – her now 47-year-old grandson Sergio A. Williams. Her family was finally able to receive some sort of closure with regard to the death of the person they described as the matriarch of the family. In fact, Leola was scheduled to visit her granddaughter for her nursing school pinning ceremony, which was taking place in Joliet, just the day after she was killed.
Several of the investigating officers who responded to the scene, including Picayune police chief, Freddy Drennan, and assistant chief of police, Jeremy Magri, have stated that the horrific nature of the crime made it extremely important for them to solve the case. They have also stated that they are grateful to be able to provide closure to Leola’s family after all these years. The Pecos Jane Doe – Identified in March 2021: On the 5th of July, 1966, a man and a woman checked into the Ropers Motel, which was located right on Highway 80. Just a few hours after they checked in, a maid working at the hotel would find the woman drowned in the hotel pool, and the man would drive away, never to be seen or heard from again. In addition to this, investigators had no
idea who the deceased woman was, and it would take several decades for her to be identified. Its location made it a prime spot for transients and people looking to rest for a while before continuing their journey. The couple checked under the names: Mrs. and Mr. Russell Battuon. People who saw the couple at the hotel later stated that the man looked a lot older than his wife did, at least by a decade. The woman was described as looking Mediterranean and having a tanned complexion with dark hair. Later that day, a maid working at the hotel found the body of Mrs. Battuon floating in the motel’s swimming pool. The maid, who did not know what to do, went and sought
the help of a waitress at the motel’s café. The waitress, with the help of another guest, brought Mrs. Battuon’s remains onto the deck of the pool. First responders arrived at the scene and tried to revive the woman, but she was already unresponsive by then. She was then taken to Reeves County memorial hospital and was declared dead on arrival.
Meanwhile, the man who was with her, supposedly her husband, went to the front desk of the motel and asked for his identification card. When the motel employee asked him why he needed it, he said he needed to provide it to the police as a form of identification so they could begin processing his wife’s drowning. The employee then gave the identification card back to the man. He was then seen getting into his car and driving away, never to be seen again. He was reportedly asleep in his room when his wife had drowned in the pool, but the way he removed himself from the situation altogether makes him seem extremely suspicious, to say the least. If she was really his wife, you would think he would have at least gone to the hospital she was taken to, but he did not go to the hospital or ever attempt to claim responsibility for her remains.
When an autopsy was performed, the medical examiner found a small red scrape, just above the victim’s left cheekbone. Other than this mark, there was no other evidence to suggest that the drowning was premeditated. As a result, the woman’s cause of death was declared as an accidental drowning. Following the autopsy, the woman’s remains were sent to the Pecos funeral home, in the hopes that someone would come forward to claim responsibility. The drowning did receive quite a bit of media attention, and as a result, people from several different states reached out to investigate the possibility that the deceased woman could have possibly been a relative. Several members of the community were
deeply touched by the tragedy and donated money to cover the cost of buying her headstone. In fact, this headstone is one of the saddest parts of this case. It simply reads, “Unknown Girl, Drowned.” Nobody ever deserves to be laid to rest in that way, and it just makes it sadder to know that this woman’s family was likely looking for her during this time. Unbeknownst to investigators and her family, the Pecos Jane Doe had left behind the most viable clue about her own identity. You see, when her autopsy was performed, two words were documented as being scribbled on her right foot. These words were “Joe” and “Lean.” The unidentified woman’s details actually had to be entered into NamUs manually towards the end of 2014, and it was while they prepared to enter her details, that investigators realized that her age had been listed as approximately 19 on her death certificate. This approximation meant
that there was a good chance that the Pecos Jane Doe was actually a minor at the time of her death. However, due to the lack of personal details, she remained unidentified for decades to come. In August of 2019, the Pecos police department exhumed her remains and decided to have them genetically tested in the hopes that they would be able to connect her with living members of her family. Her DNA profile was then uploaded onto a database to see if they were able to get a match, but since several decades had passed since her death, this proved unfruitful as well.
The case grew cold once more, and it wasn’t until investigators realized that they could use genetic genealogy, that they finally caught a break in the case. In March of 2021, they got a familial match. A DNA ancestry site called Family Tree DNA had shown that the closest match to the Pecos Jane Doe were three siblings from Texas. By examining their family tree, investigators were able to connect the Pecos Jane Doe to the Hemmy family, who were from Salina, Kansas. The Pecos Jane Doe was finally identified as Jolaine Hemmy. Jolaine’s sister, Joyce Hemmy, was the first to be notified, and she described Jolaine as a shy girl. Jolaine and Joyce were only fourteen months apart, and they were extremely close growing up. At the time of her disappearance, Jolaine had a much older boyfriend, who the family did not particularly like. This was because he was known to treat Jolaine poorly. Joyce last
saw Jolaine on the 1st of July, 1966. Since then, the family has been searching tirelessly for her. On the 3rd of July, Joyce received a letter, which stated “Joyce, well, I got lost. See you in a couple weeks, maybe. – Jo” The family does not believe this letter was written by Jolaine, because nobody in the family called her “Jo.” Members of Jolaine’s family strongly believe
that the man who was with her is responsible for her death because she did not know how to swim and it was unlikely that she would have gotten into the pool on her own. Since then, her death certificate has been updated to show her actual name, and investigators have stated that they are still interested in speaking with the man who checked into the motel with her, back in 1966. (5) We’ve heard of killers confessing to their crimes while being investigated; we’ve heard of confessions happening by chance, and we’ve even heard of deathbed confessions. But what about confessions that occur sporadically, with no rhyme or reason? Seems odd, doesn’t it? Well, that’s exactly what happened with the convicted serial killer, Edward Surratt.
The front page of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from July of 1978 reads “Coon links Surratt to 18 slayings in the area.”(Context - Eugeue L. Coon, Allegheny County Sheriff in 1978) Despite this, investigators were unable to ever link him to the crimes beyond a reasonable doubt. The Modus Operandi was a match, but there was no solid physical evidence to place him at the scene of the crimes… that was until he confessed to them himself. During Surratt’s stint as a trucker with routes through Pennsylvania and Ohio, it was discovered that he could potentially be linked to 27 unsolved killings between the two states. The first one of these killings, to which Edward had a known connection to
was the killing of Luther Langford. On the 1st of June, 1978, Luther had been found deceased at his residence in the Western Columbia neighborhood of South Carolina. Luther had died as a result of the attack, but his wife made it out alive. Edward was seen publicly driving around in Luther’s car,
and investigators had tried to apprehend Edward for this crime, but he managed to get away. The car, however, was still recovered, and investigators found a baseball bat with Edward’s fingerprints on it inside the car. This bat was likely used to kill Luther. While searching Luther’s car for evidence, investigators also recovered several things that were the property of Joseph Weinman. Joseph was a veteran, and he and his wife were found deceased
in their home on the 30th of September, 1977. Just like Luther, they were also beaten badly. In addition to this, he was also a person of interest in the killings of Frank Ziegler, Richard Hyde, Donna Hyde, William Adams, and Nancy Adams. Frank had been shot while in his house, which was a stone’s throw from the Weinman residence. Donna and Richard Hyde were killed using a shotgun,
and their remains were found at their house in Moon Township on the 4th of December, 1977. William Adams was 29 years old at the time of his death, and while his remains were recovered, his wife was nowhere to be found. Edward had also been placed in Breezewood, Pennsylvania on the 31st of December, 1977, when Guy Mills, Laura Mills, and Joel Krueger were killed using a shotgun. Despite this, Edward managed to evade authorities… That is, until July of 1978.
On the 1st of July, 1978, Edward broke into a house and burglarized the family of three living in it. He then tied the parents up and assaulted their 15-year-old daughter. Following the attack, Edward got drunk and fell asleep in one of the family’s bedrooms. The family managed to escape during this time, and police were called to the scene. When police arrived, Edward was reportedly still blacked out, and they were able to arrest him without any physical altercations. The trial for these crimes was held in late 1978, and on the 20th of September, 1978, he was found guilty and sentenced to 2 life terms + 200 years.
During the sentencing hearing, Edward confessed to killing John Shelkons in Baden, Pennsylvania, back in January 1978. Since he was already going to be spending the rest of his life behind bars, he was not charged in relation to John’s death. But in the summer of 1979, he was put on trial for killing 66-year-old Luther Langford in Western Columbia, South Carolina in June of 1978. He was found guilty and sentenced to 2 more life terms. Since then, he has been
transferred between several prisons due to violent behavior and an attempt to escape from prison. The remainder of cases from 1977 – 1978 subsequently went cold. This was because even though investigators knew Edward was responsible, there was not enough evidence to charge him with the crimes. His confession in 2021 was not the first confession he has made while being incarcerated. In 2007, he confessed to killing 6 people – including David Hamilton and Linda Hamilton on the 20th of September 1977, John Davis and Mary Davis in November of 1977, and John Feeny and his fiancé, Ranee Gregor on the 22nd of October, 1977. John and Ranee were only teenagers at the time of their deaths. While investigators are sure that
Edward is guilty of these crimes, the timing of his confession is viewed as suspicious. Immediately after confessing to these crimes, Edward asked to be transferred to a prison in South Carolina in exchange for details on the location of the remains of Ranee Gregor, Linda Hamilton, and David Hamilton, but his request was denied. Following this, in June of 2021, he confessed to killing William Adams, Nancy Adams, Guy Mills, Laura Mills, and Joel Krueger in 1977, and to killing John Shelkons in 1978. With these crimes
coming to light, a clear modus operandi has emerged – Edward typically burglarizes homes, regardless of whether more than one person is living there, and is known to shoot his victims. Several of their burial sites have never been identified, and as a result, several families are still waiting for closure on what happened to their loved ones. His crimes spanned between 1977 and 1978, meaning he killed at least 12 people in just 1 year. He is considered a suspect in the
unsolved deaths of at least 10 more people, in the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. Even though he has personally admitted to killing 12 people, Edward Surratt has only been convicted in relation to the death of one person. Law enforcement’s reasoning behind this is that he is already behind bars and that it would take up a lot of money and resources to extradite him and put him on trial for these killings. However, this cannot possibly
mean much to the families of his victims, to whom this is nothing but blatant disrespect. As always, Thank you for watching. You can check out our other videos on similar topics.