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15 min
little lost beauty queen: jonbenét ramsey 25 years later

THE ROWS OF BOXED FILES REST ON WHITE SHELVES in a spartan office at Boulder police headquarters, a bland-seeming archive for one of the most sensational cold cases in law enforcement annals: the murder of 6-year-old JonBenét Ramsey, an angelic child beauty pageant queen found bludgeoned and garroted to death in her wealthy family’s basement on the day after Christmas 1996. As of 2016, People reported, there had been more than 140 suspects investigated, including JonBenét’s parents—John Ramsey, owner of a computer services company, and his late second wife, Patsy, a former beauty contestant. The Boulder police major crimes unit had reviewed more than 1,400 pieces of evidence, generated more than 50,000 investigation documents and interviewed people in 18 states. Today Boulder police confirm that the killing remains under investigation and…

11 min
death at a red light: east coast rapper shot in los angeles

IT WAS FEB. 25, 1997, ANOTHER SUNNY DAY IN LOS ANGELES, and the Notorious B.I.G. was in a jovial mood. Imminent peril was apparently the furthest thing from the mind of the imposing 6'2", 395-lb. rap superstar, born Christopher Wallace, even though rumors swirling on the street placed him in the middle of a violent feud dubbed the East Coast vs. West Coast rap war that had left his music-industry rival Tupac Shakur, 25, dead in a September 1996 drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Since Biggie Smalls—one of the highest-grossing artists on New York-based producer Sean “Puffy” Combs’s Bad Boy Entertainment label—was on a promotional trip to L.A.—home of Marion “Suge” Knight’s Death Row Records, where Tupac had recorded—others might have felt that the Brooklyn-born performer was on dangerously unfriendly…

6 min
targeting kid killers: a mom’s mission

THE FAMILY’S PLACE IN THE CALIFORNIA SUN—a gated community on a hilltop where, LaWanda Hawkins says “we could see all the way to Catalina Island”—offered something more than the beauty of its Pacific Ocean vistas. With 24-hour security guards and a taxicab waiting at the back gate every morning to ferry her son Reggie Reese to school, the San Pedro, Calif., neighborhood provided a safe refuge from the unprecedented surge of drug- and gang-related violence that was ravaging the city below in the early 1990s. For Reggie, an avid swimmer who grew up half a mile from ocean beaches and who by his teens had ambitions to become an entertainer, the future looked promising. Or so it seemed until Dec. 6, 1995, when police found the body of LaWanda Hawkins’s 19-year-old…

6 min
new clues decades later: a teen lifeguard’s unsolved murder

HIGH ATOP HER PERCH ON THE WORN WOODEN lifeguard chair at Comins Pond in Warren, Mass., Molly Bish could see kids splashing in the water, diving under the surface and building sandcastles on the tree-shaded beach. The fun-loving, athletic high school honor student was excited to be lifeguarding at the popular swimming spot—following in the footsteps of her older brother John, then 20, who had been a guard there for years before her. When he landed a different summer job, 16-year-old Molly jumped at the chance to step in, even though her mom, Magi, was apprehensive about her daughter taking the post at the secluded pond. “She reassured me,” Magi remembers. “She said, ‘Mom, I’m not worried.’ ” What Molly couldn’t see as she watched over the pond was the evil…

8 min
were they murdered? best friends poisoned in paradise

CASEY MACPHERSON-POMEROY was the kind of easygoing good-time guy whom people gravitated to—so much so that when he’d cut high school to go snowboarding, there were teachers who would take off with him, recalls Chuck Pomeroy, the stepfather who helped to raise Casey in Eagle Point, Ore. “With his good looks, his schmoozing personality, he got away with a lot.” By the time Casey was 37 and married, he had dabbled in pharmaceutical sales in Fresno, Calif., and acting in Los Angeles before deciding to start medical school on the Caribbean island of Anguilla, where he and his wife, Barbara, now 62, rented an apartment near the water. “Casey said, ‘Dad, I’m a beach bum; I’m an islander now,’ ” his father, Charlie MacPherson, recalls. “ ‘It’s a good life,’…

8 min
cold case heats up: the keddie cabin murders

IN 2016 A JUNK COLLECTOR WITH A METAL DETECTOR reported finding a rusty hammer in a pond down the road from the scene of one of California’s most infamous crimes: the triple murder of a mother, her son and the son’s friend in Cabin 28 of the old Keddie Resort deep in the pine-forested Sierra Nevada Mountains. The apparent connection to the unsolved crime—for which nobody has ever been arrested or charged—was chilling. On April 12, 1981, 14-year-old Sheila Sharp, returning from a sleepover at a friend’s place, discovered the bodies of her mother, Sue Sharp, 36; brother Johnny, 15; and his best friend Dana Wingate, 17, in the cabin her family rented at the idyllic former resort. The victims were bound with tape and electrical wire, their bodies bludgeoned.…