Despite modern technologies, too many crimes remain unsolvedBy Rick Montgomeryrmontgomery@kcstar.com
In these times of so much information within reach, it is a wonder how major criminal cases could go cold and stay that way.
Surveillance cameras have been around us for decades. TV dramas spotlight ultra-tech forensic sciences. The internet and social media help people share stories and search for clues that might tie together the loose ends of a tragic mystery.
And yet, unsolved murders, robberies and missing person cases clog the files of Kansas City-area law enforcement offices.
Detectives and prosecutors wonder how that can be.
“Someone knows what happened to this baby,” Platte County prosecutor Eric Zahnd said of “Precious Joe,” a newborn whose body was found abandoned in a plastic shopping bag 13 years ago.
Kansas Citian Terri L. Allen was 16 when her body, partly disrobed, was found around 22nd Street in 1983. “Someone is still alive who knows about that case ... if only they’ll call,” said Sgt. Benjamin Caldwell of the Police Department’s cold-case squad.
“It’s a shame,” he added. “She was a good kid.”
The stories that follow highlight unsolved crimes that occurred not long ago — the audacious 2010 heist of a Country Club Plaza jewelry store — as well as one case dating back to 1949.
The latter, involving the public murder of prominent country-club owner Wolf Rimann, preceded the era of DNA testing and cameras able to record our every move. Still, at least 15 witnesses saw the two men who shot Rimann prior to their speeding away in a Ford sedan.
Investigators are hopeful that some of these cold cases might warm up with a new lead, a tip, a hit on DNA evidence now swirling through national crime databases.
But for now, the greatest heartache remains among victims’ relatives — widows such as Phyllis Ninemire, whose husband worked at a grocery on Mission Road and died in a 2003 robbery days before his retirement.
She told The Star: “I’m still in limbo.”
Wolf Rimann, politically connected country club owner, shot dead in broad daylight
At least 15 people saw Wolf Rimann’s shooters on Chestnut Avenue just north of Fourteenth Street in Kansas City in 1949. Forty-three years old when he was killed, Rimann was a former professional golfer, and the manager and owner of the Hillcrest Country Club.
Snatched from bed in the Northland, 9-year-old girl’s remains were found in Wyoming
Denise Sue Clinton was 9 when she was taken from the bed she was sleeping in at the motel her grandparents ran. Her remains were found in Wyoming, but the killer never was.
1974 case of teen burned alive had a suspect, but never an arrest
A police officer was suspected in the death of 15-year-old David Eyman, but no arrests have been made. The teen was burned alive.
Woman says ‘we may never know’ who stabbed to death her 25-year-old sister in 1974
Rosemary Hansan recalls in detail the night in 1974 her 25-year-old sister was murdered. Helen Julia Hansan, a bartender and waitress, had just left her younger sister’s apartment in Wesport a little after 12:30 p.m. May 21, 1974 when she was stabbed 27 times.
Swords worth nearly $1 million stolen from Truman Library in 1978 remain missing
The Harry S. Truman Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri was robbed in 1978 of several swords the president had received from Saudi Arabian and Iranian leaders.
Jacqueline Davis was bound and her body left in a ravine near the Paseo
Jacqueline Davis, a 26-year-old mother of three, was last seen with a male companion at a Midtown nightclub in 1983. Her body was found June 6, 1983, near the Paseo.
Standout student found strangled a day after she stepped out to run an errand
Terri Allen was 16 on June 24, 1983, when she left her Kansas City home to run an errand. She was found dead the next day. Years later, her murderer remains unknown.
Bit mob player’s clothes were found, but Sal Manzo never was
Salvatore Benjamin Manzo disappeared in 1987. He was a mob worker, not a boss who would have been targeted, and he wasn’t one to take off, police and friends said.
Thirty years later, wife of slain KC Democratic leader still hopeful case will be solved
Charles W. “Chuck” Thompson, a lawyer and chairman of the Wyandotte County Democratic Party, was gunned down on Dec. 21, 1987 in his car in the Jalisco Restaurant parking lot.
Serial killer Grissom once a suspect in 2 young women’s deaths, but link went nowhere
Candice Fisher and Christina Brandolese were killed in 1989. Authorities believe they died at the hand of the same killer.
Teen attacked in her bedroom 28 years ago as her family slept
In the early hours of July 26, 1989, Fawn Cox was attacked in her bedroom on the second floor of the Cox family home at 4640 E. Ninth St. An intruder may have entered through an upstairs window to commit burglary.
Woman killed in 1994 had moved to KC one year before her death
Twila Harris, 26, was stabbed to death Oct. 18, 1994. Harris, who was born in Los Angeles, moved to Kansas City a year before her death. She was an insurance specialist for Americo Life Inc. and a member of the Emmanuel Baptist Church.
In case of 23-year-old man found dead in KC parking lot, no new clues since 2002
Adrian Harrison was found dead in December 2002 inside an old guard station in an abandoned parking lot at East 11th Street and Elmwood Avenue. There have been no new clues since.
In a Westwood cold case, a killer in an ‘Abraham Lincoln’ disguise was never found
In Westwood, people still talk about the unsolved killing of David “Ray” Ninemire during a 2003 robbery at a grocery store on Mission Road. Ninemire’s widow, Phyllis Ninemire, said June 28, 2017, that she still hopes the killer can be found, but the case remains a mystery.
Discovery of newborn in plastic sack consumes Platte County prosecutor 13 years later
A newborn boy, whom authorities dubbed “Precious Joe,” was found abandoned in a Walmart sack on April 26, 2004, in Platte County. His death remains unsolved.
Still no clues to hole-in-the-wall gang that robbed Plaza jewelry shop
The 2010 overnight heist of Vinca Jewelry in Kansas City involved punching through a concrete alley wall and a double-layered steel safe. “It’s movie-style complicated,” a shopkeeper said. But why didn’t anyone call the cops?