Murder Cases
Without a Body

12 Cases

Choctaw County, AL

Choctaw Three


In Feb. 1999, Victoria Bell Banks was in the county jail and pretended to be pregnant as a ploy to get released. She had two doctors check on her, the second of which claimed to have heard a fetal heartbeat. Victoria was released on bond in May 1999, after she threatened to sue the jail for failing to provide prenatal care. In August, the sheriff, Donald Lolly, stopped Victoria and questioned her about the baby that was due in June. After Victoria told him she miscarried, the sheriff took her to the second doctor who examined her before, and he could find no evidence she had ever been pregnant. The sheriff then had officials with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation question her to find out where was the missing baby. Victoria could not have been pregnant because she had had her tubes tied in 1995.

After being questioned for extended periods of time, Victoria, her husband Medell Banks Jr., and her sister, Dianne Bell Tucker all reportedly confessed to participating in the killing of the non-existent child. They were charged with capital murder in Sept. 1999. Rather than face the electric chair, Victoria pleaded guilty to manslaughter after her trial had begun in Nov 2000, and the other two did likewise six months later as their trial dates approached. All were sentenced to 15 years in prison. A nationally known fertility doctor examined Victoria and concluded she was sterile. The prosecutor filed perjury charges against Victoria for telling a judge she had not been pregnant. The charges were dismissed in Jan. 2003 when Victoria signed a statement that said, “I, Victoria Banks, hereby state that I lied when I said I didn't have a baby. I am sorry.” Medell Banks faced retrial on capital murder charges in Jan 2003, but all charges were dropped after pretrial hearings established that Medell never admitted to killing a baby. (Justice: Denied) (ForeJustice) (IDE) (Small Town Justice) (P2) (P3)  [11/05]

Kodiak Island, AK

Donald McDonald

Mar 28, 1986

After 28-year-old Laura Henderson Ibach disappeared, Donald “Mac” McDonald and James Kerwin were charged with her kidnapping and later with her murder. Laura was last seen with McDonald and Kerwin in McDonald's van on the night of her disappearance.  According to the two she had only been with them for a short period and they gave a plausible explanation as to why.
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 Washington, DC

Jay Lentz

Apr 23, 1996

(Federal Case)  Thirty-one-year-old Doris Faye Lentz disappeared on Apri1 23, 1996 after telling a friend she was driving from her Arlington, VA home to pick up her 4-year-old daughter, Julia, at her ex-husband's home in Fort Washington, MD. Her ex-husband, Jay E. Lentz was a naval intelligence officer. Doris was once an aide to Senator James Sasser of Tennessee. Doris's blood spattered automobile was found a week after her disappearance in southeast Washington, DC. Federal prosecutors suspected Jay murdered her. They did not have sufficient evidence to bring murder charges against him as there was no body, no weapon, no eyewitnesses, and no crime scene.
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Clinton County, OH

Vincent Doan

Aug 29, 1996 (Blanchester)

Vincent Doan was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of his girlfriend, Clarissa Culberson, also known as Carrie. He was sentenced to 888 years in prison. Culberson, then 22, mysteriously disappeared one night and is presumed dead. Neither her body nor her car have ever been found. The case against Doan was based on speculation, guesswork, and hearsay, with no hard evidence.

In 2004, police received a tip that Culberson's body was buried on the property of Jarrod Messer. Cadaver detecting dogs were brought in and hit on a scent. Seven items were found buried under the concrete floor of Messer's barn. They included a piece of duct tape, a sock, and a shirt. Culberson's mother identified the shirt as her daughter's. Police said the concrete was poured just days after Culberson's disappearance.

Culberson knew Messer and even introduced him to her mother. Messer associated with Michael Fogt, who was later convicted of the 1998 murder of his wife. The father of Fogt's wife believes his daughter was killed because she knew too much. Fogt also shot Messer in the back in 1998, but Messer refused to press charges. In addition to the murder of his wife, Fogt was also convicted of a 1994 rape and the 2003 murder of a Hillsboro woman. Culberson knew Fogt because he lived next door to her best friend's parents.  (Justice for Vincent Doan)  [3/08]

Pontotoc County, OK 

Ward & Fontenot

Apr 28, 1984 (Ada)

Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot were convicted of murdering Denice Haraway. Haraway, 24, worked part-time at McAnally's convenience store. She was last seen leaving the store with a man who had his arm around her waist. The two appeared to be a pair of lovers. The store was found deserted with the cash register drawer opened and emptied. Haraway's purse and driver's license were found inside, and her car nearby.
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Delaware County, PA

Robert Rivera

Aug 10, 1999

Robert Norman Rivera was convicted in 2002 of murdering his 20-month-old daughter, Katelyn Rivera. On Aug. 10, 1999, Robert picked up Katelyn at her day care in Boothwyn, PA, took her to the zoo, to a fast-food restaurant, and to other places. Technically, Aug. 10 was not a scheduled day for Robert to have custody of Katelyn. Robert then repeatedly tried to return her to her mother, Jennifer Helton, but Helton refused to take her. Apparently, Helton wanted greater custody rights and wanted to prolong Rivera's care of her so she could argue that he did not return her. Later that night Rivera took Katelyn to a tourist location (Longwood Gardens) and while there said he met a couple and ended up giving them custody of Katelyn as he had no money to continue caring for her.
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Grant County, WV 

Paul Ferrell

Feb 17, 1988

Paul William Ferrell, a rookie sheriff's deputy, was convicted of the murder of Cathy Ford, a 19-year-old waitress from nearby Maryland. Her body has never been found and no one had ever seen her with Ferrell. Some time after Ford's disappearance, her boyfriend, Darvin Moon, discovered her badly burned truck 75 yards from Ford's trailer home. Some believed that the truck was burned elsewhere because there was no scorching on the vegetation surrounding the vehicle.
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 Ontario, Canada

Robert Baltovich

June 19, 1990 (Toronto)

Robert Baltovich was convicted in 1992 of murdering his 22-year-old girlfriend, Elizabeth Bain, even though her body was never found. Bain was last seen Tuesday June 19, 1990 on the University of Toronto's Scarborough Campus. Her car was found the following Friday, parked at an auto body shop near campus. Blood was pooled on the floor in the back, suggesting she was murdered.

No physical evidence connects Baltovich to the alleged murder. According to the crown, Baltovich killed Bain by 7 p.m. on the day of her disappearance. However, Baltovich was seen waiting to meet her outside a 9 p.m. class that she took. The crown also argued that Baltovich drove Bain's car after 1 a.m. Friday morning to Lake Scugog, an hour's drive north of Toronto. He then allegedly buried her body in the mud of the lake before returning to Toronto by 6 a.m. However, Baltovich reportedly could not drive Bain's car because it had a manual transmission.

Since Baltovich's conviction, his lawyers have argued that serial killer Paul Bernardo is a stronger suspect than Baltovich in Bain's murder. At the time of Bain's disappearance, Bernardo was known as the Scarborough rapist. An award winning book called No Claim to Mercy by Derek Finkle was written about Baltovich's case in 1998. Following a hearing in September 2004, the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered a new trial, citing an unfair and unbalanced charge to jury during the first trial. At retrial in 2008, the crown presented no evidence and urged the jury to acquit Baltovich, which the jury promptly did.

The crown's sudden decision not to retry Baltovich was apparently prompted by one of its witnesses. Four days before the retrial, the victim's father, Rick Bain, told the crown that his daughter told him of an imminent rendezvous with Baltovich on the day of her murder. Since the witness had never mentioned this conversation before, he presumably was planning to perjure himself in an effort to convict Baltovich. Disclosure rules forced the crown had to inform the defence of the conversation. Even if the witness stuck to his previous testimony, the defence could use his reported conversation to undermine his credibility.  (IB) (Wiki)  [4/08]


Pinfold & MacKenney

Nov 1974

Terry Pinfold and Harry MacKenney were convicted of murder based on the testimony of a sole witness. This witness testified the pair murdered a man, but this man was later known to be alive three years after his alleged slaying.
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 Australia (NT)

Lindy Chamberlain

Aug 17, 1980

Lindy Chamberlain was convicted of murdering her 10-week-old daughter Azaria. Lindy claimed Azaria was snatched by a wild dog, known as a dingo, from a campsite in central Australia. Azaria was never seen again.  ( (A Cry in the Dark)  [12/10]

 Australia (SA)

Raymond Geesing

Jan 4-5, 1983

Raymond John Geesing was convicted of the abduction and murder of 10-year-old Louise Bell. Bell was last seen at 10 p.m. on Jan 4, 1983 in the bedroom of her family home at 5 Meadow Way in Hackham West, an Adelaide suburb. She was discovered missing the next morning and her body has never been found. Geesing was convicted of the crime in 1983 due to the testimony of four prison informants who alleged he had confessed to them. One informant later retracted his original statement and the testimony of another informant was declared inadmissible. In 1985 an appeals court overturned Geesing's conviction after ruling that the prison informants were unreliable and untrustworthy witnesses. The court also ordered that there be no retrial. Geesing was released after serving 17 months of a life sentence.  (JD33)  [11/09]

 Australia (WA)

Rory Christie

Nov 15, 2001

Rory Christie was convicted of the murder of his wife, Susan Christie. He was charged nearly a year after her disappearance. On retrial he was judicially acquitted because the evidence was insufficient to convict him.  (IPWA) (Christie v. The Queen) (Regina v. Christie)