|Police Sketch of Delphi, Indiana Killer|
Video and Phone Tech in Unsolved Crimes
by Susan Basko, Esq.
Several crimes against women over the past couple years involve video and phone tech. These are examples of how such technology can provide some answers, but does not provide all the answers.
1-2. Liberty German and Abigail Williams. These two girls were killed when they took an afternoon walk on a wooded trail in Delphi, Indiana. One of the girls used her phone to get video and audio of a man who is presumed to be the killer. A year has passed, and the man has not been identified. With the video, the clear audio, and a police sketch (shown above), the killer has not been found. How can this be? A great many middle-aged men in that rural midwest region have a body build and clothing style similar to the man in the phone video and many men in that region share a similar accent. The video does rule out a whole lot of possibilities and people, and for that, it is highly valuable. Please look at the pictures and listen to the voice (below) to see if you can identify this man.
|Man seen in phone video taken by Liberty German before her death. |
LISTEN BY CLICKING: The man's voice: Delphi_male_voice_loop.mp3
|Sketch of the Kidnappers of Sherri Papini|
4. Missy Bevers. Missy Bevers was a wife and mom in the small town of Midlothian, Texas. Missy ran a fitness class for women at a local church. Classes were held in the early morning. While Missy was setting up for the class, a man or woman dressed in a police tactical uniform entered the building and killed Missy, bludgeoning her in the head with a tactical hammer. Church surveillance video captured the killer. The video has been widely shared. Other video showed a car circling in a nearby parking lot a few hours before the killing. Despite the existence of both surveillance videos, the killer has still not been found.
Below, a Youtuber slowed down the video of the car in the parking lot
5. YingYing Zhang. Ms. Zhang was a Chinese scholar who had traveled across the globe to work and study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Several weeks after her arrival, YingYing was going to sign a lease for an apartment. She was running late and had just missed her connecting bus, when a car pulled up -- probably to offer YingYing a ride. That was the last she was ever seen alive.
By using video captured by a surveillance camera across the street from the bus stop, police were able to identify the make and model of the car that picked up Ms. Zhang. A camera at a different location showed the driver. The car was a fairly rare type, and with diligent police work, the car and its driver were tracked down. Brendt Christensen, who had been a UIUC graduate student, allegedly admitted that he picked up YingYing Zhang. Brent Christensen has been charged with kidnapping resulting in the death of YingYing Zhang, with a trial set for late February 2018.
The mystery here is: Where is YingYing Zhang? The FBI has issued statements that they believe Ms. Zhang is dead. Let's assume the FBI has checked other cameras around town to see if there is video of Brendt Christensen continuing on this drive, where he went, and drives he may have taken in the days after YingYing Zhang disappeared. This makes it all the more mysterious that her remains have not been found.
Notice below how clear this surveillance video is. If we assume that other publicly-mounted cameras in the area produce equally crisp video, it seems likely that Christensen's movements could be traced. The area outside the town is one of farm fields and forests, which can provide plenty of hiding spots. For the sake of YingYing Zhang's grieving family and boyfriend, may she be located so she may be given dignity in her death.
6-7-8. Rhoden Family. In April 2016, in rural Peebles, Ohio, eight member of the Rhoden family were shot dead in one night, in four trailer home locations. Those killed included 5 men and 3 women. The women killed included the mother of the clan, 37 year old Dana Lyn Rhoden. Also killed were two young mothers - Hanna Mae Rhoden, 19, and Hannah Hazel Gilley, 20. Both of them died with their babies nearby. The babies were not harmed. The notable thing about video evidence in this case is that there is not any. Reports are that at least several of the locations had video cameras installed, but that those cameras were off or disabled at the time of the killings. A law enforcement official stated that the killers took steps to remove evidence that could have identified them. This sounds like the killers were familiar with the properties, familiar with the locations of the cameras, and familiar with how to disable them. Police have stated they believe 2 or more killers are involved. The killers obviously had to know their way around that rural area in the dark. May justice come for these three mothers - Dana, Hanna, and Hannah, as well as for the men who were killed.