1. Cold case mystery of 15-year-old girl who went missing in Australia in 1971 is solved after her daughter came forward when she saw her face on a missing persons poster
Tamara Milograd went to the Royal Melbourne Show when she was 15 and never returned.
Her family from Newport, south-west of Melbourne, did not stop searching for their daughter and sister since she disappeared in 1971.
But a shocking discovery recently found that Corrina Russell, who had been trying to find out more about her mother Pauline since her death in 1976, is in fact Tamara's daughter.
In March, Ms Russell saw Tamara's photo on the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre website.
'She instantaneously got a hunch that that could be her mum,' acting detective sergeant Peter Tasiopoulos said on Saturday.
Cold case detectives used a family DNA matching technique used to identify Black Saturday victims to match Ms Russell with her uncle Nick Milograd.
'This was a family mystery for 44 years of not knowing where Tamara was,' Det Sgt Tasiopoulos said.
Tamara moved to country Victoria, added three years to her birth date, and became Pauline Tammy Russell.
She had two children before dying in a car accident.
Tamara's 90-year-old mother was able to find out the truth about her daughter after years of searching.
Although confronted with the tragic fact that her daughter had passed away, she was also excited at the fact she now had a granddaughter and a grandson, and great grandchildren, Det Sgt Tasiopoulos said.
The families issued a joint statement expressing their sadness and relief at the end of their long search.
'The Russell family are excited to finally meet Tamara's (Pauline's) family and look forward to learning more about Tamara's early life and getting to know their new family members,' they said.
The two families had a reunion recently after the DNA tests were confirmed.
Dr Dadna Hartman from the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine said the establishment of the Victorian Missing Persons DNA database helped link the two families.
2. 'Cold and callous' murders of McStay family solved, authorities say
Charles "Chase" Merritt is charged with four counts of murder in the deaths of Joseph and Summer McStay and their two small boys, San Bernardino County, California, District Attorney Michael Ramos told reporters at a news conference.
Merritt, 57, was arrested Wednesday without incident in Chatsworth, California, Detective Chris Fisher said.
Police say they believe the family died of "blunt force trauma" inside their home north of San Diego, but they declined to discuss specifics of the deaths or a motive.
Merritt, who was a business partner of Joseph McStay's, appeared in court Friday but his arraignment was postponed until Wednesday. No bail was set.
In an earlier interview with CNN, Merritt said he received a phone call from Joseph McStay the night they disappeared, but didn't answer it because he was busy and tired.
"There are hundreds of scenarios," he told CNN at the time. "I have gone over all of them in my head. Of course I regret not picking up the phone."
Friday, McStay's brother, Michael McStay, choked back tears in thanking investigators for their work on the case.
"You have no idea what this means," he said.
Police who searched their home days after the family disappeared found eggs on the kitchen counter and bowls of popcorn in the living room, along with the family's two dogs. There were no signs of a struggle.
Despite finding the family's SUV in San Ysidro, California -- where it had been towed from the Mexican border -- and video surveillance that showed a family matching the description of the McStays crossing the border, authorities had no clue what happened to them until the discovery of their bodies on November 11, 2013.
A motorcyclist passing through the area found the remains in two shallow graves not far from Interstate 15 in San Bernardino County, more than 100 miles from the family's home north of San Diego.
Authorities identified the remains using dental records. At the time, San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon said the killings appeared to be "extremely orchestrated" and carried out by more than one person.
But after reviewing 4,500 pages of investigative records, executing 60 search warrants and conducting 200 interviews, investigators zeroed in on Merritt, concluding he had acted alone in killing the family in their own home, San Bernardino authorities said.
He declined to say what specifically led them to that conclusion.
Fisher did, however, say there was no evidence the family had traveled to Mexico after their disappearance, calling the border video "unrelated" to the case.
"We don't think it's them," he said.
Ramos said he has not yet decided whether he will seek the death penalty in what he called a "cold and callous murder of an entire family."
Joseph McStay's mother credited investigators for their strength and determination to solve the case.
"I need justice from the law and the courts and to get to talk to the judge," she said. "And most of all, justice upstairs for my lovely family."
3. Sisters who were kidnapped from Rhode Island in 1985 are found alive in Texas: Mother is arrested for 'abducting her children 30 years ago to escape their abusive and unfaithful father'
Elaine Yates, now 69, took her daughters Kimberly, then four years old, and 10-month-old Kelly from their Warwick, Rhode Island home on August 26, 1985.
Yates, who was living under the alias Liana Waldberg, is now facing two counts of child snatching and could face up to 20 years in prison under state law.
Rhode Island State Police Lt. Col. Joseph F Philbin said authorities will not be releasing the names Kimberly and Kelly are now living under.
He said Kimberly and Kelly, now aged 35 and 32 respectively, are living in Houston and have families of their own, according to the Providence Journal.
A police spokesperson said the women were 'obviously surprised' by the news.
Philbin said it was an anonymous tip left two days before Christmas that finally cracked the cold case.
Social media posts and court records helped investigators deduce that Waldberg was really Yates, according to authorities.
Yates was arrested on Monday at her Houston home by both Texas Rangers and Rhode Island State Police.
Her daughters were not present when she was taken into custody.
She has waived extradition back to Rhode Island and will face a judge on Wednesday.
Authorities said she was being 'very' cooperative during the investigation.
Rhode Island State Police said Kimberly and Kelly have been interviewed and were given their fathers' phone number.
Russell Yates was also informed that his daughters had been found after Yates was arrested and is 'dumbfounded' but 'relieved'.
'I've always been trying to find my children,' Russell told WCVB.
'And now at least it's up to them to get in touch with me.'
'What happens with my ex-wife, I really feel bad about. But we gotta find out what's going on.'
Russell said he did not want to see his wife prosecuted.
'That ain't going to help her, me or anybody else at this point,' he said. 'I just want to see my kids.'
Authorities would not disclose whether Kimberly and Kelly knew about their true identity or that they had been living 1,800 miles away from their first home.
Yates abducted her children after finding out her husband, Russell Yates, with another woman.
Russell admitted to hitting Yates as they argued after his infidelity was revealed, but claims she had hit and kicked him several times first.
He took Yates to the emergency room for treatment, and staff suggested she go to a battered women's shelter in Massachusetts.
Yates took her children while Russell, a bar owner, was at work three weeks later.
He returned at 2am to find the house empty, according to the Charley Project.
Russell was awarded full custody of Kimberly and Kelly nearly three months later when Yates did not show up to court to contest.
A felony warrant was issued for Yates' arrest on November 16, 1988. Russell formally divorced Yates in 1996.
Yates' late mother Mary Pigeon, aged 77 at the time, went to prison for eight days in 1990 when she refused to reveal her daughter and grandchildren's whereabouts.
Pigeon, who died in 2000, always maintained that she did not know where they were.
Russell and Yates were high school sweethearts who wed they were 18 years old.
It would take them 16 years before they decided to have children.
Russell, a Vietnam veteran, said in 1988 that he was 'foolish as a husband' and expected his wife to 'accept an awful lot'.
'When I came home I didn't want any restraints - I wanted some freedom,' he told Providence Journal in 1988 as he recalled his return to the US.
'I didn't want to be told what to do, and what I shouldn't do.'
Trouble in the marriage reached its boiling point in the summer of August 1985, when Russell stayed out all night on his 32-foot cruiser.
Yates found him there the next morning with another woman. Russell admitted it was not the first time he had cheated on his wife.
Russell returned to his family that afternoon at Pigeon's cottage in Point Judith, where a fight erupted when they began to discuss the night before.
He claimed at the time that Elaine 'tried to kick him in the face' and then 'slapped him two to three times' during the fight.
He then punched her in the forehead, the diamond ring leaving a cut.
Russell maintained that was the only night he got physical with his wife, but at the time at least one of her friend's said Yates was afraid of him.
'I don't know when or if, but I know she had to get away,' Christine Reiff said in a 1985 deposition.
'She was afraid of Russ. She thought he might really hurt her.'
Russell, who called himself a 'good dad but a terrible husband', believes his wife left her whole life behind as a way to 'get even' with him.
Now he is left wondering if his children will reach out.
'I hope they get in touch with me,' he said.
'I've been searching for them for 30 years.'
4. After 50 years, family learns serial killer murdered teen
After more than half a century, relatives of Mary Agnes Klinsky now know who is responsible for her gruesome murder.
Newly tested DNA evidence linked her 1965 death to the notorious serial killer Robert Zarinsky, who died in 2008, the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office announced.
"We’re glad it's solved," said her 71-year-old sister-in-law, Margaret Klinsky. "But it doesn’t bring her back."
The body of 18-year-old Klinsky was found near Telegraph Hill Park in Holmdel, off the Garden State Parkway southbound entrance, now known as Exit 116.
She had been raped and beaten to death.
Recently, with the advances in amplifying and detecting DNA, evidence retained from the Klinsky murder investigation were re-examined and a DNA profile of the suspect was determined, according to a release from Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office. Investigators linked DNA and corroborative evidence to Zarinsky.
“The dogged determination of our investigators and those at the New Jersey State Police has provided closure for the Klinsky family," acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said in a statement. "After more than half a century, they know who killed their sister and the residents of Monmouth County have a clearer understanding of the murderous reach of one of our most notorious serial killers in our history. I am grateful for all the hard work and commitment exhibited by these consummate professionals.”
New Jersey State Police Major Crime Unit and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office worked together to solve the case.
If Zarinsky was alive today, he would be prosecuted for the homicide and sexual assault, the release said.
Klinsky is the first person Zarinsky is accused of killing.
“To my knowledge, this is the oldest homicide case we have ever solved," First Assistant Prosecutor Marc C. LeMieux said.
Zarinsky was imprisoned in 1975 for the murder of 17-year-old Rosemary Calandriello, of Atlantic Highlands, whose body was never recovered after her disappearance in 1969. He was charged in March 2008 with the 1968 killing of Jane Durrua a Middletown 13-year-old. But he died in November 2008 before facing trial.
Ultimately, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office presented evidence that showed Zarinsky’s DNA was a match with semen found on Durrua’s slip. Superior Court Judge Dennis R. O’Brien awarded $13 million to her family in a wrongful death suit, saying Zarinsky was the one who murdered and raped her.
Zarinsky was also a suspect in four other killings.
“We are investigating all cold cases during that time frame," LeMieux said. "If there is any information that is developed that supports Robert Zarinsky is involved, we will investigate that to the fullest.”
The 1965 Asbury Park Press story about Klinsky’s killing said she was found nude, a few hundred yards from a Garden State Parkway state police barracks. She died of a fractured skull, intracranial bleeding and shock, the Press reported.
She had auburn hair, blue eyes, she was a senior at Raritan Township High School.
“She was a young girl in high school, she did all the regular things kids did," said her sister-in-law.
She had many friends and would have graduated that year, Margaret Klinsky said.
Mark Klinsky lived on Seventh Street in the West Keansburg section of Hazlet. She was last seen on the Keansburg boardwalk, where she had gone to mail a letter to a 20-year-old sailor aboard the USS Mauna Loa in the Mediterranean, Asbury Park Press archive stories show. They had planned to get engaged when he returned, according to a Press story.
She was last seen by her sisters seated alone on a bench near the boardwalk about 9 p.m. on Sept. 15, 1965, according to a Press story.
She was found dead the next afternoon by a Garden State Parkway maintenance man.
“We’re glad it’s solved," Margaret Klinsky said. "It still doesn’t bring her back, that’s all."
5. 'Dating Game Killer' Rodney Alcala Charged with 30-Year-Old Wyoming Cold Case Murder
Alcala, a former photographer and typesetter for the Los Angeles Times, was previously convicted of the strangulation murder of a 12-year-old ballet student in Huntington Beach, California, as well as four Los Angeles-area women. He was nicknamed the “Dating Game Killer” because he was the winning contestant on the ABC prime-time game show in 1978 during his reign of terror.
A smooth talker with a near-genius IQ, Alcala preyed on young attractive women, luring some of them by telling them he was a professional photographer who wanted to enter their pictures in a photography contest. After killing them, Alcala placed their bodies in grotesque poses, sometimes photographing them.
On Tuesday, prosecutors said Alcala is responsible for the murder of 28-year-old Texas native Christine Ruth Thornton. Alcala met Thornton in San Antonio around August 1977 and then allegedly dumped her body on a ranch in Granger, Wyoming. She was strangled to death.
“All of this was before the 1978 appearance on The Dating Game,” Sweetwater County and Prosecuting Attorney Danny Erramouspe tells PEOPLE. “I think the last thing he would have guessed is that somewhere up in Wyoming a case like this would be solved.”
A rancher found Thornton’s body in a field in 1982, but her identity remained a mystery for more than three decades. She was finally identified in 2014 after DNA linked her to her sister.
“Fortunately Ms. Thornton’s sisters had provided their DNA to the CODIS system and they were able to get an identification because her sisters never gave up looking for her,” says Erramouspe. “If it wasn’t for Christine’s family continuing to look for her … we wouldn’t be here. ”
Erramouspe says Thornton’s family recognized a photo of her at six-months pregnant sitting on top of a Kawasaki motorcycle wearing a yellow top: Thornton’s photo was one of hundreds released by the Huntington Beach Police Department in 2010 after Alcala was sentenced to death. The photos were found in a Seattle storage locker owned by the convicted serial killer.
Erramouspe says he and the police have no doubt that Alcala took the photo in Wyoming in August during his cross-country road trip from New York to Los Angeles. “The area is very distinct,” he says, adding, “The photo was taken very close to where her remains were found.”
He says, “The clothing that she is wearing in the picture is the clothing that were with her remains. The jewelry that was on her hand in the picture is the jewelry that was there with the remains. She was pregnant when the picture was taken and with her body was the remains of the unborn child as well.”
On Sept. 6, Wyoming authorities flew to California State Prison in Corcoran where Alcala has been housed since receiving a pacemaker in 2015.
“We were able to speak to him and he was able to answer some of our questions,” says Erramouspe. “He admitted he took her picture. He admitted that he knew her. He said they did not leave together. When I questioned him – “Was she alive when you left?” – he stated, ‘She was alive before I left.'”
Erramouspe says they gave Alcala an aerial photo of the area and he told them, “This is my area.”
“We asked what he meant by that and he stated, ‘I have been here before,’ ” Erramouspe says.
Erramouspe says Alcala was “somewhat cooperative” during the interview. “I think he enjoys the process of the questioning, but he is not going to give you everything you want”
In 1980, Alcala was sentenced to death for the murder of Robin Samsoe, who disappeared on her way to ballet class riding a yellow bicycle. But his conviction was overturned twice on different technicalities before he was finally sentenced to death for her murder and the 1970s rapes and murders of Georgia Wixted, Jill Parenteau, Charlotte Lamb, and 18-year-old New York runaway Jill Barcomb, all of them in Los Angeles.
While on California’s death row, Alcala pleaded guilty in New York in 2012 to the rape and murder of Cornelia Crilley and Manhattan socialite Ellen Jane Hover.
Crilley, a TWA flight attendant, was found raped and strangled with her own pantyhose in her apartment on New York City’s Upper East Side on June 24, 1971. At the time of her murder, Alcala was wanted for the rape and attempted murder of an 8-year-old girl in Hollywood, for which he was later convicted.
Hover’s skeletal remains were discovered in 1978 on the Rockefeller estate in Westchester County, New York.
Former Los Angeles Police Department cold case detective Cliff Shepard tells PEOPLE that the charges in the Wyoming homicide don’t surprise him. “I am sure there are other victims out there,” he says.
6. Kamiyah Mobley reunites with biological parents after she was abducted from Florida hospital at birth 18 years ago
Kamiyah Mobley, 18, spent 45 minutes with her birth parents Craig Aiken and Shanara Mobley at the Walterboro Police Department in the latest twist to a case that has stunned the nation.
“I told her I was glad to see her and that I loved her,” Aiken told reporters afterward.
“The first meeting was beautiful. It’s a feeling that you can’t explain.”
Kamiyah Mobley was only eight hours old when a woman posing as a nurse snatched her from a Florida hospital in July 1998.
Mobley grew up in rural South Carolina as a young girl named Alexis Manigo. She had no way of knowing that the woman who raised her was in fact a kidnapper.
But that woman, Gloria Williams, 51, was arrested Friday after the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received a tip that it passed along to authorities.
Williams was charged with kidnapping and interference with custody. She could face up to life in prison if convicted.
An anguished Mobley rushed to a detention center in Walterboro to see Williams.
Separated by a mesh screen, Williams blew a kiss to the girl she raised as her own.
“I love you, Momma,” the sobbing teenager responded.
In a Saturday Facebook post, Mobley elaborated on her feelings about Williams.
“She raised me with everything I needed and most of all everything I wanted,” Mobley wrote. “My mother is no felon. The ignorant ones won’t understand that.”
Neighbors were stunned by the news of Williams’ arrest.
“She seemed like a normal person,” Lakeshia Jenkins said. “She went to work, came back here and went to church every Sunday.”
Williams and the girl would often come to the home of Jenkins and her husband Joseph for cookouts in the yard.
Mobley appeared to be well-cared for, according to the Jenkinses.
“She wasn’t an abused child or a child who got in trouble,” Joseph Jenkins said of the young woman who lived across the street. “But she grew up with a lie for 18 years.”
In the hours after she learned of her true identity, Mobley connected with her biological family for the first time since she was stolen from Jacksonville University Medical Center.
“Nobody works (a) miracle but God. I know now he heard my prayers,” her grandmother, Velma Aiken, told the Daily News after FaceTiming with her newly found grandchild.
Aiken said she still remembers seeing Kamiyah being taken by an unknown woman wearing a nurse’s uniform in the hours after she was born.
Williams had reportedly suffered a miscarriage about a week before she drove from South Carolina to the Florida hospital, where she allegedly snatched the newborn, according to Walterboro Live.
At the time, police launched a massive search for the missing baby and received thousands of tips over the years — but the infant, who later grew up to be a teenager, was never found.
A few months ago, Mobley “had an inclination” that she may have been kidnapped. A DNA analysis completed on Friday confirmed she was the missing baby.
Authorities did not reveal what led the teen to question her origins.
Robert Lowery, of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, would not say who supplied the tip that broke open the case.
It was one of an estimated 2,500 tips authorities had received over the years.
The center has tracked 308 infant abductions since 1983 by nonfamily members. Of those cases, 12 were still missing at the end of last month, officials said.
“Everyone broke down in tears” after they learned the news, Aiken said.
“She looks just like her daddy,” Aiken told The Associated Press after they were able to see each other for the first time.
“She act like she been talking to us all the time. She told us she’d be here soon to see us.”
7. Missing woman found 30 years after man confessed to her murder
The alleged murder victim, identified as Petra Pazsitka, from the northern German city of Braunschweig, was 24 when she disappeared without a trace in 1984 while living in student accommodation.
But it emerged this week that the now 55-year-old woman’s disappearance was an elaborate plan she had concocted, involving moving into an apartment she had been secretly renting. She had put aside more than 4,000 Deutschmarks for her new life, or 2,000 euros in today’s money.
Ms Pazsitka, who was studying computer science and had finished writing her university thesis on computer languages, was last seen going to the dentist on July 26, 1984. She left the practice at 3pm to take the bus to her parents in nearby Wolfsburg, according to a friend.
She never arrived, and a comprehensive manhunt ensued, including an appeal on a German Crimewatch-style show the following January, to no avail.
Police then launched a murder enquiry, suspecting that the same person who had killed a 14-year-old girl a year earlier in woodland near to the stop where Ms Pazsitka was supposed to catch the bus had struck again.
At the end of March 1985 a 19-year-old carpenter’s apprentice, named only as Günter K. under German privacy laws, was arrested and confessed to the murder of the teenager.
In 1987 he also admitted to killing Ms Pazsitka, and she was officially declared dead in 1989.
But Ms Pazsitka’s plot emerged when she was discovered living under a false name in Dusseldorf two weeks ago by police investigating a burglary at her flat.
The 55-year-old woman told the officers that the name on the house door wasn't hers and she revealed that she was actually the student from Braunschweig who had gone missing 31 years ago.
The woman also used her old, out-of-date identity card to prove her identity.
Ms Pazsitka said she spent the last 11 years in Dusseldorf, previously living in several other cities in west Germany, according to police.
It also emerged that the woman had been living for 31 years without a social security card, a drivers' licence, a passport or a bank account, leaving authorities stumped.
Police have said that Ms Pazsitka “cannot be made criminally liable” for her disappearance because she never used false papers as she hadn’t needed to show her official documents to anyone.
Ms Pazsitka has remained silent on the reason for her disappearance, but she has expressly said that she wants “no contact with the public or with her family living today in the region of Gifhorn”.
Braunschweig’s high commissioner Holger Kunkel told German newspaper the Braunschweiger Zeitung: "We asked her if there was violence or sexual assault in the family, but she has clearly ruled that out.”
Now Ms Pazsitka will have to be declared alive by the state prosecutor's office in Braunschweig.
8. Two men charged with killing California girls in 1973 won't face death penalty
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Two men charged with murder in the 1973 shotgun slayings of two young girls can't face the death penalty because it wasn't an option when the girls were sexually assaulted and killed, a California prosecutor said.
William Lloyd Harbour and Larry Don Patterson have been charged with six counts each stemming from the killings of 12-year-old Valerie Janice Lane and 13-year-old Doris Karen Derryberry, the Yuba County, California district attorney said.
The two men are 65-year-old cousins who both lived near the victims in Olivehurst, California, when they were killed nearly 43 years ago.
Harbour pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in California on Wednesday, said Deputy District Attorney John Vacek. Patterson was ordered held without bond in Oklahoma.
Patterson said he intends to waive extradition back to California to face charges in the deaths. The girls' mothers first reported them missing as runaways on Nov. 12, 1973, after they failed to return home overnight from a shopping trip to a mall in nearby Linda.
The Yuba County Sheriff's Department was notified a few hours later that their bodies had been found along a dirt road in a wooded area near Marysville, north of Sacramento, where they had been shot at close range.
The case went cold decades ago, Yuba County authorities said, until a state forensics lab matched DNA from the two suspects to semen found on Derryberry.
"It's just like it reopened -- it's like it just happened again. And it's really, really hard," Margrette Hasting, the mother of Valerie Janice Lane, said after the arraignment.
The six charges -- three for each of the victims -- include one count each of premeditated murder, one count of murder committed during a rape or attempted rape, and one count of murder committed while molesting a child.
But the defendants won't face the possibility of execution if convicted, District Attorney Patrick McGrath told The Associated Press.
The case must be tried under the law as it existed in California in 1973, he said in an email: "During that time, the death penalty was not available in California, so the death penalty is not under consideration."
The most the men could face is a life sentence, and the law then provided that they could be considered for parole after serving seven years, McGrath said. The death penalty wasn't reinstated in California until 1977.
Vacek said the girls' families had little reaction when they were told Tuesday that the death penalty wasn't an option. "I think they were just kind of overwhelmed with the information they were being provided, so that was just a piece of it," he said.
Harbour was set for his next court appearance on Oct. 19, when Vacek said prosecutors hope to have both men back in Yuba County. Public Defender Brian Davis was appointed Wednesday to represent Harbour and declined comment.
Investigators in the 1970s carefully noted each of the more than 60 people they interviewed, Vacek said, and the suspects' names never came up.
They later considered Patterson after he was charged in 1976 with raping two women in nearby Chico, Vacek said, but found no link to the killing of the two girls until the DNA match decades later.
Detectives at the time "had done pretty much a bang-up job in doing a thorough investigation," Vacek said. "To not have run across these guys is a little surprising, I guess ... We're reasonably confident there was nothing to connect them to the crimes at the time."