Flashback Friday: Belinda VanLith

This week’s Flashback Friday case is Belinda VanLith, a 17-year-old girl who disappeared from the Little Eagle Lake area of Wright County, Minnesota on June 15, 1974. (I wrote an Executed Today entry set in Wright County.) She disappeared from a neighbor’s residence where she was house-sitting.

I looked up the name of the suspect, Timothy Joseph Crosby, in Newspapers.com and found several articles that mentioned him. He was very young when Belinda disappeared, only seventeen or eighteen, but according to court documents he’d already started abducting and sexually assaulting young women. This article from the St. Paul Pioneer Press talks about Belinda’s disappearance. As of 2013, anyway, Crosby was off the streets as a civilly committed “violent sexual recidivist.”

9 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Belinda VanLith

  1. Patrick Kerrigan November 24, 2017 / 10:28 pm

    At least other young women are protected from him. If remember right he lived in a house a short distance from the house she was watching.

    I wonder if the owners of the house she was watching, knew about his background. They should have gotten a guy to watch the place.

  2. terromangerro November 26, 2017 / 12:35 pm

    I searched his name and found some legal transcripts from an appeal he filed. It mentions that in December of 1974 (several months after Belinda vanished), he kidnapped and raped a victim who was able to get away by forcing his car into a tree in front of a policeman. Apparently while he was driving this victim around, he told her about a girl who was kidnapped, raped, murdered, and dismembered. Most likely he was talking about Belinda, is my guess.

  3. Patrick Kerrigan November 26, 2017 / 9:57 pm

    I read the same thing, and wonder where he dumped her. Also what I don’t understand why he was living there alone. He did claim that Belinda came by his place looking for his sister. So was his sister living there? I wonder if his parents were hiding him there. The other question is where he learned that behavior.

  4. L. Yadam October 3, 2018 / 3:31 am

    Timothy Crosby is a sadistic sexual recidivist whose DNA was taken for the possible murder
    of Victoria Morris where DNA of an unknown male was found. He was not arrested.
    A few months after Belinda VanLith’s disappearance, Crosby picked up a prostitute in a car where the ‘door handles were removed’.
    There is another incarcerated inmate who picks up girls in a car where the ‘door handles were removed’, He also assaulted a girl in MN at knifepoint in August of 1974. He was convicted of first degree felony murder of the Lyon Sisters this year. He is alluded to claim another victim – Kathy Beatty, viciously murdered in July 1975 in MD. This inmate was a traveling carnival worker. His name is Lloyd L. Welch.

    Unfortunately, Belinda Vanlith was never found.

    Compare Kathy Beatty’s picture to Belinda Vanlith’s.

    • Meaghan October 3, 2018 / 7:22 am

      Removing the door handles is a pretty common thing for such predators.

  5. Michelle Renee Morri December 13, 2018 / 4:21 pm

    My great aunt known as Gloria Frieda Rieken went missing 11/16/1970 from Minneapolis Minnesota…do you think she could have been one of his first victims? Where is the Crosby family cabin in accordance to Leeds road milepost 42? Does anyone know if there is any information regarding my great aunts disappearance?

    • Seth February 13, 2019 / 3:20 pm

      Michelle… we just got word from the BCA that your great aunt has been identified. I’m sure this is very raw and new for you, but if it’s something you or your family would like to talk to us about, we’d be happy to facilitate something. I’m from KMSP in the Twin Cities. Regards, Seth (seth.kaplan@foxtv.com)

  6. Melanie March 16, 2019 / 4:59 pm

    Michelle, You have my deepest sympathies. I am local. Born and raised in Richfield/Bloomington. Your Aunt was murdered when I was just a few days shy of being 5 Months Old! It must be HELL for your Family!!! A brief for others…Gloria Rieken went Missing on her way to Class at the “University of Minnesota” Nov.1970. Her Body was found the next day in a burned out house in another County. And buried UNIDENTIFIED!!!! THERE IS NO EXCUSE FOR THEM NOT IDENTIFYING HER! SEEMS THEY DIDN’T TRY!!! She was finally identified Nov.2018. Crosby was arrested for the rape of a “Hitchhiker” in 1974. After he drove around “The Minnesota State fair grounds” with her and she caught the attention of Police. The “MN State fair” is one of the biggest in the Country with daily attendance records of over 100,000 People. WHY WOULD he do that?. Good question. He is the prime suspect for Belinda. Also jailed many times. Locked up in a “Mental Ward” escaped. Also suspect in a 1994 Murder. His last conviction was for “Sex with a minor” to which he is currently in jail for. This guy is dangerous!!! And there is soooo much more we don’t know about. What I do know. The State of Minnesota LET HIM OUT TO KILL AGAIN AND AGAIN!!! IT’S THE SAME ALL OVER THE COUNTRY!!! STOP LETTING THEM OUT!!

  7. Melanie March 16, 2019 / 5:06 pm

    I apologize I made a mistake of when “Gloria Rieken” was Identified. It was just last Month. Feb. 2019. Sadly, Gloria’s Father died in January. This is a perfect example of having the “Death Penalty” NATIONWIDE!!! Unfortunately, Minnesota does NOT have the “Death Penalty”.

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