3 mysterious cases with stunning plot twists that will leave your head spinning

Today we’re exploring three cases with stunning plot twists that will leave your head spinning. We’re talking about the rare instances when the truth is even stranger than fiction. And the key to solving a gruesome murder comes down to the last person or creature you’d ever expect. Nothing in these stories is as it appears. And you’ll find that the truth came with more questions than answers.

Case Number 1

Lisa Theris case
pic credit: India Today

On July 23rd, 2017, a 25-year-old woman named Lisa Theris was reported missing by her father, William Theris, and two friends to the Troy Police Department. She was living in Louisville, Alabama. And, according to her father, had been missing since July 18th, 2017, which was the last time they spoke on the phone. 

During the brief, but very routine conversation, she told her father that she was just under 40 minutes away in Troy. So who is Lisa Theris? The young woman was studying to become a radiologist at the time of her disappearance. 

Lisa was living in Mobile with her boyfriend, but her life took a dramatic turn after their tumultuous split in February. As a result, she moved back to Louisville to live with her parents and enrolled at community college. 

Unfortunately, her family reported that, following the tough breakup, she became unpredictable and began staying out late with a bad crowd.  Additionally, on June 8th, 2017, Lisa attended a friend’s court hearing in Coffee County and was allegedly thrown out of the courthouse due to disorderly conduct. 

When they claimed she continued to cause a disturbance, she was arrested and booked into the county jail before being released on bail. The misdemeanor charge came with a maximum of three months in prison, but more likely a fine of up to $500. Sadly, this turn of events would ultimately lead everyone to believe that she was initially unreachable by her own choosing.  

However, when several days had passed with no communication from Lisa, it became clear that something was horribly wrong. Adding to her family and friends’ worries was that Lisa was legally blind and couldn’t see much of anything without her contacts or glasses. Not to mention she had a medical condition that required daily doses of prescription medication that was left at home.  

The Troy police got right to work, searching the most obvious spots and talking with those close to Lisa, but they found nothing right away. Then, as concerns for her safety began to escalate, investigators learned that the last people known to have been with the young student were two local men named Manley Green Davis and Randall Wade Oswald.

According to the police, both men were already on their radar-based on previous arrests. But the real breakthrough came when police claimed the duo was linked to a robbery that had just taken place at a remote hunting lodge on Pleasant Hill Road in Midway. 

Law enforcement revealed the theft included ATVs, tools, chainsaws, and other items estimated at around $40,000. While the lodge was more than 40 miles away, the burglary occurred in the early morning hours of July 19th, just hours after Lisa last spoke with her family. 

Suspicions continued to mount when police caught up with Davis and Oswald. They both confessed to having been with Lisa the night of the robbery, but their accounts of what happened next were wildly different. 

While Davis claimed Lisa had jumped out of the truck before they began ramming the metal entry gates to the lodge, Oswald accused his friend of shooting her in the head and disposing of the body in a nearby creek. 

Also Read: Top 10 Creepy and Dark Stories That Happened During Road Trips

Based on this new information, deputies began looking for Lisa’s body and turned their focus towards a lake behind the lodge, sending in divers and cadaver dogs trained in sniffing out corpses.  But they failed to locate any remains and police weren’t the only ones fearing the worst. 

It had now been nearly a month since Lisa’s disappearance and her loved ones started to doubt the possibility of her safe return. Davis and Oswald were taken into custody on July 31st, 2017, and charged with burglary in the third degree and theft in the first degree. 

Of course, they were also considered strong persons of interest in Lisa’s disappearance. Lisa was officially pronounced dead. But two days later,  a woman named Judy Garner from Florida was driving down a local U.S. motorway when she observed something strange on the side of the road. Judy saw what appeared to be a naked woman, covered in mud and scratches, stumbling out of the 2000-acre parcel of woodland in Midway, Alabama. 

The passing motorist immediately called 911 and gave the mysterious woman a shirt and boxer shorts to put on while they waited. An ambulance soon arrived on the scene to transport the injured woman to the hospital. Yes, it was Lisa Theris. 

Weighing 50 pounds less than when she went missing, Lisa was barely alive and covered head to toe in insect bites, sunburns, and poison ivy. Doctors estimated that she wouldn’t have lasted more than another day or two outside in her condition. 

After recovering, Lisa spoke to several news channels and offered a bizarre story about her ordeal, claiming she was drugged by Oswald and Davis and left naked in the middle of the woods. As it turns out, the two men were so sure she was dead that they started outright accusing one another of killing her. 

The brunette reportedly survived in the dense mixture of forest and overgrown fields by eating berries and wild mushrooms, omitting the brightly colored ones, and drinking muddy stream water. However, investigators and the public alike questioned her explanation and sensed that there might be more to the story. 

Some argued that she wasn’t in the condition of a blind person stranded in the forest for a month. And that the likelihood of her surviving on berries and mushrooms alone is very low. Plus, a few internet sleuths suggested that the berries she claimed to have eaten didn’t grow in that area. 

Oh, and the patch of woodland she was said to be lost in contains various hunting tracks, hides, and power lines that lead directly out of the brush. Even at its widest point, which is several miles south of where Lisa was found, it would take less than a single day to walk from one side of the parcel to the other. Though, of course, you must take into consideration that Lisa was legally blind.

Additionally, Lisa was due to appear in court right around the time she vanished on the misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge. The criminal charges against her were dropped several weeks into the search when the court presumed she had died. 

But police found it suspicious that she emerged from the woods just two days later. Lisa maintains that she was not abandoned in the forest by her own choosing and insists that her wounds were far from superficial. Images from the hospital clearly depict how her skin was left cracked from dehydration. 

But that doesn’t explain to the police how she found herself in such a grave position in the first place. As the investigation continued, police openly started speculating that they believed Lisa’s disappearance was caused by hallucinations, brought on by taking meth.  

With so many unanswered questions, the local sheriff had still not ruled out charging Lisa in relation to the robbery. In any case, the fact that Lisa managed to navigate through the harsh wilderness with impaired vision and no clothes for 25 days, using only the help of a staff she’d crafted from the roots of a tree is nothing short of miraculous.

Also Read: What is the oldest cold case ever solved? Famous Cold Case Solved By DNA

Case Number 2

Angela Samota case
pic credit: bbc.com

Let’s move on to our next case, as equally unexpected and heartbreaking. However, through the unbearable sadness surrounding this story, there lies a glimmer of hope for other cold cases in the resolution.  

On September 19th, 1964, Angela Samota, or Angie as she liked to be called by friends, was born in Alameda, California to Frank and Betty Ruth Samota. After graduating from high school, she decided to enroll at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. In 1982, at the start of her freshman year, the bubbly Angela was matched with a roommate, Sheila Wysocki. 

The two weren’t exactly fast friends, but this pairing would later be the key to cracking this case wide open. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The young scholar thrived in college as the social chairman of the Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority while studying computer science and electrical engineering. 

However, Angela’s first semester with a roommate was a little rocky as she had a boyfriend that Sheila wasn’t particularly fond of having a round all the time. Once she broke up with her bothersome boyfriend, they became much closer. 

Roughly two years into college, Angela began dating a construction site manager named Ben McCall. He was a little older, which inspired her to seek independence outside the dorms and move into an off-campus condo. 

Now, let’s move on to October 12th, 1984. Angela decided to go out on the town that night with two people, her friend, Anita Kadala, and a man she recently met at a bar, Russell Buchanan. Russell was a 23 year old with a degree in architecture, preparing to head off to graduate school. 

According to Russell, the trio bounced between different bars before spending a significant amount of time at Lakewood’s Boardwalk Beach Club. They kept the party going at Shannon Wynne’s Nostromo restaurant where Angela used her charming personality to get them into an upstairs club called the Rio Room. 

They had a few drinks and danced until around 1:00 AM when they all decided it was time to head home. It was reported by a Rio Room employee that Angela didn’t appear intoxicated when she left that night. 

After dropping Russell off at his house, just five minutes from her condo on Amesbury Drive, Angela proceeded to bring Anita back to her dormitory. Anita originally intended to spend the night at her friend’s place, but changed her mind after learning that Angela planned to wake up early that morning for a football game. 

That last-minute decision would undeniably haunt Anita for the rest of her life. From there, she drove a full 30 minutes to her boyfriend’s house just to say a quick goodnight before heading home.  However, shortly after she left his place at around 1:45 AM, Ben received an alarming phone call from Angela’s condo. 

Also Read: 8 of history’s most enigmatic mysteries that were eventually solved

He stated that she was speaking in some sort of odd code to him at first before outright saying, “I need you to just talk to me. “I’m freaked out.” It was suddenly clear to him that something was very, very wrong. Angela nervously explained that a strange man knocked on her door and asked to use her bathroom. 

Immediately, Ben began rattling off questions, asking things like who this man was and if she was okay. But before he could get any answers, Angela abruptly said she would call him right back and the line was disconnected like something straight out of a horror film.

Naturally, Ben is losing his mind at this point and starts calling Angela’s condo over and over again. No answer.  He jumps in his truck and speeds over to her place, continuing to call Angela using his mobile car phone. Still no answer. 

When he arrived at the condo, Ben noticed that Angela’s Toyota Supra was parked in the drive and there was no noticeable movement from inside. He began to knock furiously on her door while desperately shouting her name but to no avail.  Ben was left with no choice but to run back out to his truck and call the police. 

Well, since it was the 80s and 911 wasn’t widely used yet, he technically had to call information first to get transferred to the police. Authorities were on the scene right away at 2:17 AM, among them a 20-year-old female rookie cop named Janice Crowther, who took the call. She contacted the condo manager to unlock the door and swiftly made entry. 

She made a note of Angela’s shoes, which were eerily placed in the kitchen, before hearing her partner call out in a frightful tone from the bedroom, “Hey, Janice, I found her.” Upon entering the room, they discovered the bloody, lifeless body of Angela Samota, sprawled naked across her bed next to a giant stuffed bunny rabbit with both legs draped off the side of her bed and her big, blue eyes wide open and fixed. 

The once bright and energetic young woman had been brutally assaulted and stabbed a total of 18 times. The fatal wound was to her heart, which was viciously stabbed entirely out of its cavity and described by police as lying on top of her chest when she was found. 

Even more disturbingly, authorities suspected that the entire attack occurred while Ben was right outside her condo, trying to get help. DNA samples in the form of blood, semen, and fingernail scrapings were collected. But since it was the 80s, there wasn’t a ton of use for them. 

Yet. However, they were able to determine that Angela’s attacker was a non-secretor, meaning the fluids belong to an individual that doesn’t leave behind the antigens that distinguish their particular blood type in any of their secretions. 

This discovery was a vital piece of evidence because more than 80% of men are secretors. Of course, police had some suspicions right off the bat, starting with Angela’s ex-boyfriend that Sheila disliked. But upon discovering that both he and Ben were secretors, the two were ruled out as suspects. 

That left just one name, Russell Buchanan. The following Monday evening at around 6:00 PM, authorities interviewed Russell, who was still all dressed up in a suit from working. Police thought it strange that Russell claimed to have no idea Angela was dead, as it had already been on the news for a few days. 

Russell explained that the morning after they went out, he woke up early and left town for a wedding. Then went directly to visit his family in Houston, before heading home to study without ever watching the news. 

However, he was fully cooperative with the police, agreeing to take a polygraph test and even allowing them to search his home without any conflict.  He passed the polygraph test, but authorities were a bit baffled by the excess of knives and old spears found in his home during their search. Russell claimed they were souvenirs from his roommate’s two-week African safari trip.

Over the next six months, Russell was brought into the station periodically for questioning, but nothing was changing. And eventually, he was forced to get an attorney. Then police got word that Russell had been accepted into a London grad school and, with no charges against him, they began scrambling to find a way to keep him in Texas. 

That’s when Sheila Wysocki came back into the picture. Grasping at straws, police reached out to Sheila in hopes of gathering some hard evidence against the man they were convinced committed this heinous crime. And desperate to get justice, Sheila agreed to help. Sheila wore a wire and met Russell for dinner to see if his story matched up. 

Unfortunately for the police, their attempt to coerce a confession out of him using Sheila as bait failed when she reported back the same story he’d been telling all along. Unable to obtain the evidence they needed to indict him, Russell was free to move out of the country for graduate school and Angela’s case went stone cold. 

Sheila dropped out of school shortly after the murder and moved to Nashville, where she married and had two sons. Still, she remained haunted by the murder and grew increasingly frustrated by the lack of justice for her friend. Meanwhile, Russell eventually graduated and moved back to Dallas to start his own thriving architecture career. 

Understandably, his success bothered Sheila, who, like the police, fully believed he was guilty. On a random day in 2004, Sheila was studying for Bible classes when she said Angela suddenly appeared, standing at the end of her bed. She spoke firmly to Sheila, explaining that her killer was still out there and it was up to her to find him. 

Following the supernatural incident, Sheila became obsessed with finding answers, continuously reaching out to the Dallas Police and urging them to reopen her friend’s case. She called more than 750 times in a single year. But authorities insisted over and over that it was a lost cause.  

Deciding to do all she could to solve her friend’s murder, she went out and earned a private investigator’s license. At long last in 2006, after tasking Detective Linda Crum with the case, the Dallas Police began taking Sheila more seriously and agreed to reopen the investigation. 

Frustratingly, it was discovered that the evidence left in storage contained enough material for modern DNA testing.  And in 2008, they got a hit. Linda Crum called Sheila and said the three words she’d been waiting more than 20 years to hear. 

“We got him!” Sheila was expecting to hear the name Russell Buchanan, but that’s not what happened. Instead, Linda Crum named a total stranger. Donald Andrew Bess Jr is the man who brutally stabbed Angela Samota to death. 

Also Read: 5 Mysterious Historical Cases That Were Eventually Resolved

In a split second, Sheila’s entire world flipped upside down as she realized that she’d been fighting to put the wrong man behind bars all those years. When the police called Russell to share the news, they were surprised to learn that he held no animosity towards Sheila or the Dallas Police Department. 

Instead, the celebrated architect explained that he was merely relieved to be freed from the cloud of suspicion that had shrouded most of his adult life. Speaking of which, let’s talk about Donald Andrew Bess Jr. At the time of his arrest, he was around 60 years old, 350 pounds, and serving a life sentence in a state prison in Huntsville. 

In 1978, he was charged with assault and aggravated kidnapping. But, tragically, he was released on parole in 1984. It’s believed he became fixated on Angela after seeing her at a bar that fateful night. His interest was taken to a deadly level when he followed her home from the Rio Room. 

Shockingly, police believe he never intended to kill Angela, but stabbed her to keep her quiet when Ben started knocking on the door. In 1985, Bess was sentenced in Harris County, Texas to life imprisonment on unrelated charges of assault and aggravated kidnapping. 

Finally, in 2010, he was tried for the assault and murder of Angela Samota. He was found guilty based on the DNA discovered at the crime scene and sentenced to death. So after all these years, Angela can finally rest in peace in Amarillo, Texas at the Llano Cemetery. 

And as for her persistent friend, Sheila Wysocki? Well, she thought about retiring her private investigator’s license following the arrest. But when other families of tragedies began reaching out to her,  she was compelled to help crack other cold cases and started her own firm, Without Warning Private Investigation. 

Additionally, she started a nonprofit organization called Without Warning: Fight Back to educate women on assault prevention and self-defense. Sheila even made amends with Russell Buchanan, who she had been trying to convict for decades. 

As of 2021, the malicious predator known as Donald Andrew Bess Jr is still awaiting an execution date and remains on death row at Polunsky Prison in West Livingston, Texas.

Also Read: The Oldest Murder Mystery Has Finally Been Solved by Scientists

Case Number 3

Agneta Westlund case
pic credit: Google Images

It was a dark chilly evening in September 2008 when 63-year-old Agneta Westlund took her dog on a routine walk through the woods, outside the tiny Swedish village of Loftahammer. When she failed to return home in a reasonable time, her husband, Ingemar Westlund, went out searching along her regular path. 

It wasn’t long before Ingemar discovered the mangled body of his wife, lying in the snow near a forest lake with obvious trauma to her head and body. He promptly called the Swedish police to report the incident. 

But after leading authorities to her massively bludgeoned corpse, it quickly became apparent that Ingemar was their prime suspect. Of course, as with most cases, police will attempt to clear the victim’s significant other first. 

But when their only other option was a mad lunatic lurking in the woods, they directed their focus solely on Ingemar. He was arrested and charged with the murder of his wife, but vehemently denied any involvement in the crime.

After 10 days in jail and countless proclamations of his innocence,  Ingemar was released due to a lack of hard evidence. However, he remained publicly on the police’s radar for another six months, thus making him a pariah in his own community.  

The police eventually dropped all charges against Ingemar, but they failed to inform him or the community. As a result, he was forced to leave his home when neighbors began complaining, believing they were living with a murderer next door. But if Ingemar didn’t kill his wife, then who did? 

Well, the astonishing truth came when Agneta’s forensic analysis finally returned. And to say it was a complete shock to everyone is an understatement. According to the report, there was noticeable fur and saliva on the body the police initially attributed to a dog. But boy was they wrong! It was actually consistent with a European elk or moose, as they’re known in America. 

So yes, authorities were officially blaming Agneta Westlund’s death on an elk. And not just any elk, a drunk one. Allow me to explain. While prevalent in Sweden, these colossal creatures typically mind their own business and avoid interactions with humans at all costs. 

However, at the time of Agneta’s death, local gardens were overwhelmed with fermented apples, more than enough to intoxicate an enormous animal weighing 800 plus pounds. Tragically, this level of drunkenness makes the males very aggressive and bold, which explains why it would randomly kick a woman to death during her evening walk. 

The family dog likely antagonized the elk during its feast, causing it to attack poor Agneta. But as you can see, she wasn’t the only victim in this case. Beyond horrifically losing his wife, the innocent pensioner was outcast by the very people he knew and trusted. 

He even had to endure the absolute agony of attending Agneta’s funeral with a group of mourners who believed him to be guilty. “This has been a nightmare,” Mr. Westlund shared. “When I and my children bade farewell to Agneta “at her funeral in front of 300 mourners, “I was suspected of murdering her. “Can you imagine what that means?” 

While police dropped the case against Ingemar for obvious reasons,  the widower understandably sued the department for gross incompetence. However, some experts argue that it’s very easy to see why authorities might’ve mistaken Agneta’s brutal death for homicide, as it’s incredibly rare for an elk to kill a person. 

Now, all things considered, Ingemar is lucky this whole ordeal didn’t take place before technological advances in genetic testing. No jury would’ve ever believed such a grisly demise to be at the hands of a murderous moose. 

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