An unexpected gem

I am presently reading Masters of True Crime: Chilling Stories of Murder and the Macabre, edited by R. Barri Flowers, on my new Kindle. I’m only halfway through so far but I highly recommend it. The book is a collection of stories by different noted true crime authors, and tells some incredibly weird stories.

Like one about an Italian woman in the 1930s, a baker, who had seventeen children, fourteen of whom were either stillborn, miscarried or died young. (That sounds like extraordinarily bad luck, even for early 20th century Italy.) She went to see a fortune teller who told her she would live to see the deaths of her remaining three kids. So she decided to “sacrifice” other people’s lives to save her children from death. She lured three elderly women into her clutches, killed them, dismembered the bodies, baked their blood into cakes and cookies and sold them to her customers. Because her victims were all unmarried, childless and lived alone, and because the baker made them all write letters to their family and friends just before they died to say they were fine, months passed before anyone even noticed they were missing. Ultimately, of course, the baker was caught and sentenced to life in prison. (Disappointingly, however, the author of that chapter couldn’t determine whether the killer did in fact survive all her children.) It’s like a Gothic horror story.

Anyway. In the book I encountered an unexpected surprise in the form of a story about one of my Charley Project cases, Jamie Laiaddee. The chapter was actually written before her killer, Rick Wayne Valentini alias Bryan Stewart, was charged with her murder (he was convicted in 2011), although it was apparent from pretty early on that he’d killed her. The chapter didn’t contain any additional information for me to use in Jamie’s Charley casefile, but it was interesting to read the story in narrative form and gratifying for me to find out I’d got all my facts straight.

So I highly recommend this book. It’s $8.69 in Kindle edition, $14.82 in dead tree edition.

Three murders without a body

It looks like the incredibly long, complicated Kiplyn Davis case has wrapped up — with the caveat, of course, that her body hasn’t been recovered. Over six years, five defendants faced various charges in her disappearance ranging from perjury to murder. One pleaded guilty to manslaughter in February. Now, another has pleaded guilty to two additional charges of perjury and was sentenced to probation by agreement of both prosecution, defense and Kiplyn’s dad. This guy wasn’t involved in the presumed murder, and according to all he’s cleaned up his life over the past few years.

In Washington state, a suspect was convicted on his second trial of murdering Robert James Wykel, who’s been missing since 1996. No sentencing date has been set.

And down in Arizona the boyfriend of Jamie Laiaddee has been charged with her murder.