Disturbing

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Helle Crafts was a Danish air stewardess that had married Richard Crafts in 1979 before settling in Newtown, Connecticut. The couple had three children and Richard worked as a pilot. The relationship was rocky from the beginning with Richard cheating on Helle even before they were married. 

 On the 19th of November, 1986, Helle Crafts landed in New York from Germany. She and two other stewardesses drove to Newtown and pulled up outside Helle’s home. “Richard’s home,” she sighed. It was the last time anybody saw her alive. As it turned out, Helle had recently discovered that her husband had once again been having a plethora of affairs behind her back. She filed for divorce shortly before her disappearance and expressed fear for her life to her friends. One friend said she told them “that if anything happened to her, we should not believe that it was an accident.”

Following her disappearance, Richard gave varying reports as to where Helle was. He originally said that she was in Denmark visiting her sick mother. This lie soon crumbled when her mother said no such arrangement had been made and that she wasn’t sick. He then told concerned friends that she was in Florida or the Canary Islands visiting with a friend. Just days after her disappearance, Richard dismantled and redecorated their bedroom and purchased a new freezer; an odd thing to do when your wife is missing. Helle’s divorce lawyer soon got involved after finding out that Richard hadn’t even reported his wife missing.

Investigators considered something sinister had happened and zoned in on Richard who had been acting very peculiarly. The following month, they discovered that he had rented a 2700-pound wood chipper when Helle disappeared. A highway worker then came forward to relay that he had seen Richard parked at the side of River Road with the wood chipper in tow at around 3AM a day or two after Helle disappeared. Police rushed to the scene where they uncovered clumps of wood chips under layers of dead leaves. Among the wood chips, they found something much more sinister: a human thumb, a fingertip with the nail attached, strands of bleached hair, a big toe, bone fragments, lacy material from underwear, a mailing label with Helle Crafts name on it and a crowned tooth with a piece of jawbone attached.

The evidence was damning. In addition, they uncovered a submerged chainsaw covered in Helle’s DNA and a bloodstained carpet from inside the home. Richard was found guilty on the 21st of November, 1989, and sentenced to 50 years in prison. It was the first case in which somebody was convicted of murder with no body in the state of Connecticut. The 1996 movie, Fargo, was based on the case.

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Missing at Sea - The Disappearance of Rebecca Coriam

24-year-old Rebecca Coriam’s dream finally came true in 2010 when she beat hundreds of applicants and got the job on the Disney cruise ship, “Disney Wonder.” It was a much sought after job and Rebecca was perfect for the role - she was outgoing, bubbly, and could connect with children. After being hired, Rebecca travelled to Florida to train for the job at Disney World. Rebecca spent four months at sea in the Bahamas before going home for two months. Afterwards, she returned to America to work on the Disney Wonder which was sailing from Los Angeles to Mexico. The 1,000 foot ship could accommodate 2,400 passengers in 875 staterooms plus 1,000 crew members.

On the 22nd of March, 2011, Rebecca’s parents’ received an alarming phone call from Rebecca’s colleague. Rebecca hadn’t turned up for her shift that morning. When a colleague went to her bedroom, she wasn’t there nor did she respond to her name being called from the public address system. A crew member decided to trawl the cctv footage from the past 24 hours. At 5:45am, Rebecca was spotted speaking on the phone in the crew area. She appears to be distraught. A young man approaches her and asks if she is okay to which she replies: “Yeah, fine,” before walking away. This is the last ever sighting of Rebecca. Later, people would suspect that maybe Rebecca had been a victim of sexual assault. In the video she is clearly distraught and is wearing men’s clothing. She was in the vicinity of the medical centre which was situated on the same deck.

After it became evident that Rebecca was certainly missing, the U.S. coastguard was notified as well as the FBI. As the search on the ocean was underway, Rebecca’s parents’ were en route to the Disney Wonder. The Bahamian police would announce to Rebecca’s parents’ that they believed she had been washed overboard by a large wave and that foul play wasn’t suspected. After just a day of investigation, police were satisfied with this explanation. They questioned some crew members but never bothered to question any passengers. Police even gave her parents’ a flip flop that they claimed was Rebecca’s. It had been found at the edge of Deck 5, where she was supposedly washed overboard. However, the flip flop had someone else’s signature and cabin number. It didn’t belong to Rebecca at all.

After Rebecca’s parents’ went back to Britain, they discovered that somebody had been using Rebecca’s bank card. Another glimmer of hope that she was still alive came in September, when somebody changed her password on Facebook. They decided to investigate further and uncovered a crew member on the ship had said “Disney knows exactly what happened. That phone called she had? It was taped. Everything here is taped.” Many, including Rebecca’s family, believe that Disney knew exactly what happened to Rebecca but are covering up to save face and to protect their brand. To this day, Rebecca is still listed as being missing at sea.

Disturbing Documentaries

1. Dreams of a Life (2011)

This documentary tells the story of Joyce Carol Vincent, whose body was found in January 2006, decomposing in her bed in Wood Green, North London. She apparently died unnoticed in December 2003, surrounded by unopened Christmas presents with her TV still turned on. The film interviews various friends, acquaintances, and former partners to try to tell the story of Joyce.

2. The Cheshire Murders (2013)

This film studies the murder-robbery case that occurred on July 23, 2007. Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters were raped and murdered, while her husband, Dr. William Petit, was injured during a home invasion in Cheshire, Connecticut. This case was referred to as “possibly the most widely publicized crime in the state’s history.”

3. Child of Rage (1992)

The film is based on the true story of Beth Thomas, who suffered from severe behavioral problems as a result of being sexually abused as a child. Beth was adopted after it was found that she was being sexually abused by a family member. During her stay with the family, she tried to kill her brother several times and even attempted to sexually abuse him. The film was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

4. The Imposter (2012)

This documentary is about the 1997 case of the French confidence trickster Frédéric Bourdin, who impersonated Nicholas Barclay, a Texas boy who disappeared at the age of 13 in 1994. The film includes interviews with Bourdin and members of Barclay’s family, as well as actual television news footage

5. Cropsey (2009)   

This film initially begins as an examination of "Cropsey”, a boogeyman-like figure from the New York urban legend, before segueing into the story of Andre Rand, a convicted child kidnapper from Staten Island.

6. The Bridge (2006)

This film covers the depressing truth about the Golden Gate Bridge, capturing a large number of suicides during the documentary.The film also features interviews with family and friends of some of the identified people who had thrown themselves from the bridge that year. The Golden Gate Bridge, which first opened in May 1937, was the most popular suicide site in the world during the documentary’s filming, with approximately 1,200 deaths by 2003

7. There’s Something Wrong With Aunt Diane (2011)

This documentary discusses the traffic collision that occurred on July 26, 2009,  where eight people were killed when a minivan driven by 36-year-old Diane Schuler, after traveling 1.7 miles in the wrong direction on the parkway, collided head-on with an oncoming SUV. The deaths included Schuler, her daughter and three nieces, and the three passengers in the SUV. The crash was the worst fatal motor vehicle accident to occur in Westchester County, New York

8. Capturing the Friedmans (2003)

This film focuses on the 1980s investigation of Arnold Friedman and his son Jesse for child molestation of several of their students. They held computer classes in their home where many children attended. During police interviews, some of the children that the Friedman’s taught reported experiencing bizarre sex games during their computer classes. Arnold Friedman committed suicide in prison in 1995, leaving a $250,000 life insurance benefit to his son. Jesse Friedman was released from New York’s Clinton Correctional Facility in 2001 after serving 13 years of his sentence.

9. Night & Fog (1955)

This documentary depicts the cruel reality of the Nazi Concentration camps. The film features footage from the liberation of camps in 1945 where malnourished humans are seen emerging out of the camps, voicing the life left in their lungs on to the camera.

10. Brothers Keeper (1992)

This documentary follows the case of Delbert Ward, an illiterate 59-year-old dairy farmer who was accused of murdering his brother Bill, in the bed that they shared for 50 years. The Ward brothers were four bachelors ranging between 59-71 and living in extreme poverty. One theory suggests that the slain brother, Bill, suffered the consequence of a sexual act gone wrong. What’s more disturbing is the fact that he was later acquitted of the crime after it was found out that the New York State Police coerced a confession out of him as he was illiterate.

Don’t be afraid to add to this list

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14-year-old John Hron had no time for bullies or racists. The teenager from Sweden went to school with several people that would fall into those categories. He was a keen canoeist and enjoyed playing the guitar.

On the afternoon of the 17th of August, 1995, John and his friend, Christian, were camping by Ingetorpssjon lake near Kode, Sweden. Shortly after they set up camp, four neo-nazis approached their tent. Ranging from 15-years-old to 18-years-old, John recognised one of the reprobates. It was Mikael Fjalljholm, a ruthless bully in his school. John and Mikael had bashed heads beforehand. John was horrified by his racist and cruel behaviour and was known to stand up to him when pushed. But now, Mikael had three friends with him, Daniel Hanson, John Billing and BM, as he was only referred to in the media.

They approached the tent and started to senselessly beat John. They told him to say that he “loves nazism” to which he staunchly refused and received another beating. They kicked and punched him in the head and smashed beer bottles over his head. The sadistic group would beat him for hours and every now and then, would pretend to be apologetic and offer him a drink before starting the attack again. It was a cat and mouse type attack. They burnt him in the fire and burnt his neck with a piece of burning wood.

At some point during the attack, John managed to break free and jump into the lake. However, the group started hollering that they would murder Christian if he did not return. Barely clinging to life, he swam back and the torture continued. When John fell unconscious, they threw him into the lake where he drowned. Christian hitched a ride back home and called police and named John’s killers. When his body was retrieved, it was said that his injuries matched those to somebody who had been hit by a train.

If the grim murder of John wasn’t shocking enough, his killers all received lenient sentences. Daniel was released after just six years while Mikael was sentenced to five years in institutional youth care. The other two received just a few months in prison. John posthumously received the inaugural Stig Dagerman Prize for free speech and world peace.

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“Found me somebody I’m about to kill… this old dude,” chillingly exclaimed 37-year-old Steve Stephens into his mobile phone camera whilst on Facebook live on the 16th April, 2017. The man Stephens was referring to was 74-year-old grandfather, Robert Godwin, who was walking down a street in Glenville, Cleveland. Stephens pulled his car up beside the elderly man and told him that he was killing him because of his ex-girlfriend. He then shot Robert dead in broad daylight as he tried to cover his head with his hands and shopping bag.

Following this brutal and senseless killing, Stephens continued to broadcast on Facebook live, detailing his desire to “keep killing until they catch me,” adding that he had killed 13 people in what he referred to as the “Easter Sunday Slaughter.” Currently, no other bodies have been found. Stephens, who had worked as a children’s mental health case worker, said that he snapped after the breakdown of a three year relationship with an ex-girlfriend. Robert Godwin was described as “a good guy,” by one of his sons, who said his father would have given anybody the shirt off his back.

Steve Stephens is still on the run and has made contact with police, who are conducting a manhunt for the murderer. It was revealed that he could have crossed state lines and may be in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana or Michigan. Police have warned citizens to be on high alert and do not approach him if sighted.