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Mother-Daughter Duo Caught Selling Corpses Out Of Their Family Funeral Home
Megan Hess and her mother Shirley Koch opened the Sunset Mesa Funeral Home in 2009. They appeared to be a run-of-the-mill family business — until nearly a decade later it was revealed that they had been selling the corpses they were given and lying about it to the grieving families.William Woody/Colorado Sun
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The duo made hundreds of thousands of dollars illegally selling entire corpses — or individual heads, torsos, arms, and legs — to educators, scientists, and individuals in the medical community. They then provided relatives of the deceased with ashes and remains belonging to another corpse. One victim, Judy Cressler (seen here) learned her father's body had been sold to Saudi Arabia.Joe Amon/The Denver Post/Getty Images
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Megan Hess (seen here) and her mother are each facing 135 years in prison as a result, with some small semblance of justice restored after a decade of grisly inhumanity. Mike Wood/Reuters
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TikTok Teens Find Suitcase Stuffed With Human Remains
One beautiful June day this summer, a group of teenagers in Seattle were playing around on an app called Randonautica, which guides users to interesting locations nearby with randomly generated coordinates. The teens were led to the shoreline near Luna Park beach — where they found a putrid suitcase discarded on the jetty.TikTok
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One of the girls bravely approached the large black case with a stick and was met with a ghastly stench — and mutilated human remains.TikTok
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When police arrived to thank the teens and launch an investigation, they quickly found yet another piece of luggage containing seven more dismembered body parts. According to authorities, the remains belonged to a Washington couple who were murdered by their landlord. The motive remains unclear.TikTok
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Man Murders Disabled Girlfriend, Poses As Her On Facebook
In September 2019, 40-year-old John Matthew Chapman lured his 33-year-old girlfriend Jaime Feden to the Nevada desert. He convinced her to prepare for a "bondage-themed photo shoot" and she allowed him to tie her to a signpost — unaware that she was about to be killed. Allegheny County Jail
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Feden lived with VATER syndrome, which causes birth defects including small size. She was choked to death after Chapman allegedly taped her mouth and nose shut. He then drove back to her Pennsylvania home and moved into her house where he posed as Feden online thinking he could avert suspicion.Bethel Park Police Department
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Those who knew Feden well enough, however, knew something was off. When welfare came to check on her at her apartment, they found Chapman — and arrested him. At that point, it had been discovered that he had been married to another woman (seen here) and was allegedly living a double life. Chapman faces life in prison or the death penalty if convicted. Facebook
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Mom Obsessed With The Apocalypse Kills Her Children
Shortly after Lori Vallow became obsessed with doomsday author Chad Daybell, her two children disappeared. Daybell claimed he could see the future, hear voices speaking prophecies meant only for him, and that the end of the world was near — and Vallow wholeheartedly believed him. Shortly after the two met, Daybell's wife died mysteriously in her sleep. Then, Daybell and Vallow traveled to Hawaii where they were married.Rexburg Police Department
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Vallow's ex-husband's parents became concerned about the whereabouts of her children and urged police to investigate. Vallow was ordered to produce her children Joshua "J.J." Vallow (right) and Tylee Ryan (left) in court. When she failed to do so, she was extradited from Hawaii where she was carelessly vacationing with Daybell.Facebook
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The winding case got all the more harrowing as investigators learned of Daybell's religious beliefs and Vallow's fear of her own children. In court, witnesses explained how Vallow believed her children had become zombies and needed to be killed. Police later uncovered the remains of her missing children buried behind Daybell's home. Vallow and Daybell remain in police custody.KVTB
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Peeping Tom Spying On Teenage Girl At Cracker Barrel Beaten By Group Of Enraged Dads
It was a Sunday afternoon when a teenage girl frantically rushed back to her father's table at a South Carolina Cracker Barrel. The girl, who was eating with her softball team and their fathers, told her dad how a stranger had poked his head under her bathroom stall to gawk at her — and her father rushed to the bathroom to confront the pervert.Twitter
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The father found the suspect, a registered sex offender named Douglas Lane, outside the bathroom where he punched him in the face. Lane ran out of the restaurant and was pursued by a group of dads who tackled him to the ground and restrained him until police arrived.Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office
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Police discovered that Lane had previously been convicted of several sexual offenses in 2004, when he was caught peeking into a restroom occupied by two eight and nine-year-old girls. He appeared in court in November 2020 for sentencing in this latest offense.Twitter
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Man Smokes Joint While In Court For Marijuana Possession
When 20-year-old Spencer Boston appeared before a judge in Lebanon, Tennessee for marijuana possession, he boldly lit a marijuana cigarette to prove a point — which backfired.Wilson County Sheriff’s Office
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A barrister at the Wilson County General Sessions put a stop to Boston's behavior and quelled a laughing court. Boston had been trying to show how marijuana was not harmful and that its use shouldn't be punishable by law, but his spectacle wasn't well received by Judge Haywood Barry.Nashville Tennessean
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Boston was sentenced to 10 days in jail for contempt of court, while countless marijuana activists lauded him as a hero.YouTube
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Incel Blows Off His Hand While Making Bomb To Kill Cheerleaders
On June 2, 2020, 23-year-old Cole Carini of Virginia walked into a local medical center missing one hand and covered in shrapnel and blood. Carini pleaded for help, claiming he had been in a lawnmower accident.YouTube
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The FBI quickly discovered that this was not the case. They learned that Carini, who had previously been convicted on charges related to explosives, had actually planned to kill "hot cheerleaders" with a homemade bomb. But his ploy went awry when he blew himself up instead.Facebook
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In addition to chunks of his flesh found stuck to Carini's ceiling, the FBI discovered bomb-making tools and a letter detailing his plans. The letter was addressed to a man named Elliot Rodger who was an "involuntary celibate" or "Incel" who killed six people and injured 14 others in 2014 before killing himself. Carini was likely trying to emulate his stunt, before it literally blew up in his face.West Virginia Regional Jail
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Man Moves Into Daughter's Dorm To Start Sex Cult
In 2010, former FBI informant Lawrence Ray moved in to his daughter's Sarah Lawrence College dorm room. This wasn't a case of extreme helicopter parenting — it was a ploy to start a sex cult with his daughter's friends.Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
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Ray began organizing "therapy sessions" with his daughter's roommates during which he would sexually abuse them. From sleep deprivation to sexual humiliation, he forced a slew of disturbing tactics upon his young victims in order to extort them for hundreds of thousands of dollars.Sarah Lawrence
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Police discovered that Ray even forced the girls into performing manual labor, prostitution, and that he nearly suffocated one of the victims to death. Fortunately, he was finally brought to justice in February 2020, when he was charged with sex trafficking, forced labor, and extortion.Police Handout
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Woman Murders Boyfriend So That She Can Marry Her Father
In February 2019, 31-year-old West Virginian Amanda McClure murdered her boyfriend, 38-year-old John McGuire, with the help of her sister and father. Her modus operandi? To marry her father.McDowell County Jail
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McClure reportedly dosed McGuire with liquid methamphetamine before she and her family tortured him for two to three days before finally killing him. McGuire was then dismembered, buried, exhumed, reburied, and ultimately found at a property the family was staying in. The Bluefield Daily Telegraph
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In court, McClure begged for forgiveness and claimed that the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father had ultimately led her down her murderous path. McClure was sentenced to 40 years in prison. Her deceased boyfriend is pictured here.Facebook
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Cannibal Arrested For Illegally Castrating A Man
Earlier this year, Bob Lee Allen, who is pictured here, and an associate castrated a 28-year-old Oklahoma man in a remote cabin in the woods. He reportedly also told his victim before his grisly procedure that he was a cannibal.LeFlore County Sheriff Office
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The victim had gotten into this mess when he met a man online who he asked to castrate him. The man, known as Thomas Gates, agreed and flew him out to do so. Even though the act was consensual, it is still illegal if performed without a license, which it certainly was in this case. The victim reported that the two men who performed his surgery, Gates and Allen, were not only performing illegal castrations, however, but were also cannibals.Pixabay
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According to the victim, 53-year-old Allen bragged about keeping severed body parts in his freezer. He and his partner Gates (seen here) were ultimately charged with felony counts of battery with a dangerous weapon, maiming, assault, and misdemeanor charges of failing to bury body parts. LeFlore County Sheriff Office
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30-Year-Old Corpse Found Inside Abandoned Paris Mansion
After it was left abandoned for three decades, a mansion at 12 rue Oudinot in Paris saw its first renovations early this year. But just a month into construction, workers discovered the corpse of a local father who had been missing for 30 years.Twitter
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Perhaps the most shocking part of this crime news story, however, is the fact that this mansion is situated minutes from Les Invalides, the prime minister's house, and sits next to the previous estate of Yves Saint Laurent, the luxury fashion designer. The property at 12 Rue Oudinot sold for $41 million and was billed as "the last truly significant property in the capital's most sought-after neighborhood." And now it's even more significant to authorities.Twitter
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The victim, identified as Jean-Pierre Renaud, was found with knife cuts and broken bones, prompting officials to launch a murder investigation. At the time of his death, Renaud was homeless and living with alcoholism. His children have since publicly claimed that they think they know who the culprit is but that suspect might already be dead.Wikimedia Commons
11 Crazy Crime Stories That Could Only Come From The Depths Of 2020
Even though news in 2020 was largely eclipsed by the global pandemic, there were still some absolutely outrageous crime news headlines that gave Coronavirus coverage a run for its money.
The good news, however, is that petty crime rates, such as drug offenses, have fallen in the past year. This is on-trend with 2019 patterns, which showed that property and other non-violent offenses were most common.
On the other hand, unfortunately, homicide rates skyrocketed in 2020 — and it appears as if that trend isn't changing anytime soon. So what is causing this explosion in violent crime news this year?
According to the National Commission on COVID-19 and Criminal Justice (NCCCJ), job insecurity and isolation brought about by COVID-19 might have instigated violence in Americans this year. This frustration has also coincided with a huge increase in gun purchases this year.
Indeed, according to one crime analyst, "The national change in murder in 2020 will be historically awful."
Besides harrowing, crime news headlines this year have also been all too bizarre, even for an already strange year like this one. From human remains found in a suitcase discarded on a beach to a sex offender who was beaten senseless at a Cracker Barrel, these 11 crime news stories prove that 2020 has been unprecedented.
What Is Driving Crime News Trends Nationwide
CBS This Morning on crime trends throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NCCCJ found that homicide rates rose steeply across 27 American cities this year, by as much as 53 percent between June and August over the same period in 2019.
Crime analyst Jeff Asher found that murder rates were up by 28 percent throughout the year based on a sample of 59 cities. An FBI report found that, nationwide, murder rates went up by 15 percent. Aggravated assaults, meanwhile, increased by 14 percent from year-to-year.
And while it's true that there's been an ongoing trend of police mistrust in America, due in no small part to the murder of George Floyd and other Black men and women nationwide, the true cause of this shift in violent crime news cannot be attributed to one factor. Rather, say the experts, the shift is systemic and was influenced by several variables.
TwitterNYPD push back protestors with their bicycles.
"We don't know nearly enough to know what's going on at the given moment," said Jennifer Doleac of the Justice Tech Lab. "The current moment is so unusual for so many different reasons that... it's really hard to speculate about broad phenomena that are driving these trends when we're not even sure if there's a trend yet."
The New York Times, meanwhile, stated that for the first time in nearly a quarter-century, "New York City experienced as much gun violence in the month of June as it has seen all year."
New York City, of course, was one of the cities that took more drastic lockdown measures at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020. As millions lost their jobs and were forced into tight quarters, New York City police officers grew indifferent at best and outright violent at worst when confronted with their historically aggressive behavior toward Americans of color.
As the summer months set in, the city became a powder keg. One Sunday in June saw a record of nine homicides in New York City.
How We Make Sense Of The Year's Crime Headlines
ABC 10 News on hate crime increases as a result of the U.S. Presidential Election.
Besides Coronavirus, there are some experts who argue that the trends in 2020's crime news are the result of the "Ferguson Effect," a reference to the 2014 police protests in Missouri.
According to these critics, activists who called for "defunding the police" actually caused an increase in violent crime. It didn't help that the COVID-19 pandemic left hospitals incapable of meeting the pressures of this increasing violence.
Overall, the trend in crime news in the States this year can be attributed to a confluence of a number of problems: frustrations stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing distrust in police forces, an unstable economy, the increasing prevalence of guns, and overwhelmed hospitals.
In the future, we can only hope that the crime news of 2020 can be viewed as a cautionary tale not only for prospective criminals but also for law enforcement officers. If police can remember that they too are members of society, then perhaps they can handle their fellow citizens with greater respect, which will go a long way in creating a safer and saner environment the nation over.
A staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Marco Margaritoff has also published work at outlets including People, VICE, and Complex, covering everything from film to finance to technology. He holds dual bachelor's degrees from Pace University and a master's degree from New York University.