If you’re interested in learning about the statistics surrounding the number of murders in Arkansas by year, multiple law enforcement agencies offer reports and statistics on their websites. Also, the Federal Bureau of Investigation releases a Uniform Crime Report every year which shows, in detail, the crimes, crime rates, and locations of crimes in every state, county, and city.
According to Project: Cold Case, from 1965 to 2019 there were 9,951 Arkansas murders. Over the years, 7,797 of those murders were solved, leaving over 2,100 unsolved murders in Arkansas today. Some of the biggest unsolved murders in Arkansas include the 1994 murder of Melissa “Missy” Witt, the 1995 murder of Marlo Taylor, and the 1987 double murder of Don Henry and Kevin Ives, among many others.
Some unsolved murders in northern Arkansas include the 1998 murder of Valeria Christina Roberson, the 2000 murder of Amanda Renee Tusing, the 2001 murder of Tammy Jarvis, and the 2002 murder of Edward Choi, among many others. Some unsolved murders in Little Rock, Arkansas, include the 1989 murder of Anita Shell, the 2015 murder of Ebby Steppach, and the 1993 murder of Jerry Parks, among many others. Finally, some unsolved central Arkansas murders include the 2011 murder of Kimberly Steele, the 2002 murder of Jane Murdaugh, the 1987 murder of Sandra Lynn Williams, and the 1995 murder of Robin Lynn Farnsworth, among others.
Unsolved Arkansas Murders
According to Project: Cold Case, from 1965 to 2019 there were around 9,951 murders in Arkansas alone. Over the years, roughly 7,797 of those murders in Arkansas were solved, leaving over 2,100 unsolved Arkansas murders today. Although there are around 2,100 unsolved murders in Arkansas, most people with an interest in true crime may only know some of the better-known murders. Some of the biggest unsolved murders in Arkansas include the 1994 murder of Melissa “Missy” Witt, the 1995 murder of Marlo Taylor, and the 1987 double murder of Don Henry and Kevin Ives, among countless others which receive much less media attention.
Additional Arkansas unsolved murders include unsolved murders Little Rock, Arkansas, including the 1989 murder of Anita Shell, the 2015 murder of Ebby Steppach, and the 1993 murder of Jerry Parks, among many others. Some northern Arkansas unsolved murders include the 1998 murder of Valeria Christina Roberson, the 2000 murder of Amanda Renee Tusing, the 2001 murder of Tammy Jarvis, and the 2002 murder of Edward Choi, among many others. Finally, some others include east Arkansas unsolved murders, which include the 1986 murder of Sandra Alberda, the 1989 murder of Jimmie Wade Martin, the 1994 murder of Marty Bradley, the 1987 murder of Stella Patterson, and the 1970 murder of John Leonard, among many others in the remainder of the state.
Although many of Arkansas’ cold cases will or have remained cold for decades, and often times run completely out of leads as tips run out, there have been countless Arkansas cold cases solved and Arkansas murders solved in the past few years thanks to technological advancements as well as advancements in DNA technology. A few examples of Arkansas cold cases which have been solved by DNA in recent years include the 2000 murder of Tawana Blunt and the 1985 murder of Mildred Lee Matheny, as well as many others.
More than 200,000 unsolved cases have gone cold since 1980, and murder clearance rates continue to drop. With equity for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underserved victims not prioritized in the true crime community—together we can do better.
Famous Arkansas Murders
While browsing the internet for a “list of murders in Arkansas,” “list of Arkansas murders,” or “all murders in Arkansas,” you’ll find both solved and unsolved cases, some of which have received a lot of media attention, and others that have almost no information or receive no attention from the media. Some of the most famous Arkansas murders that made and remained in headline news for an extended period of time, and are still considered some notorious Arkansas criminals, include former NFL player Raphel Cherry, who killed his wife in 1999; Curtis Vance, who murdered popular news anchor Anne Pressley in 2008; and Christina Riggs, who killed her two young children in 1997, among many other Arkansas famous murders.
Without a doubt, the most famous murders in Arkansas, as well as the most controversial and infamous Arkansas murders case, is the 1993 triple homicide of 8 year olds Steve Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers, more commonly known as the “West Memphis Three” case. This case immediately caught national attention when three teenagers, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelly Jr., and Jason Baldwin, were arrested and charged with the murders of the three young boys, with the killings being portrayed as being a part of a Satanic ritual. The three young men would later be released from prison, and the case would remain in a gray area among police and the public, with some believing the three men are guilty, and others believing that they are innocent.
Homicide Rate in Arkansas
The 2019 homicide rate in Arkansas, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, was an 8.0, meaning that Arkansas murders rate showed that roughly 8 individuals per 100,000 residents of the state were murdered in 2019. According to this same report, in 2019, 242 people were murdered in Arkansas. More specifically, in Little Rock, Arkansas’ most populated city, in 2018 the homicide rate was 20.07 per 100,000 residents
The overall violent crime rate in Arkansas as of 2019 was 867.1 per 100,000 residents, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. More specifically, the crime rate in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 2018 was 1,446.15 per 100,000 residents. Looking at this year to date, the answer to how many murders in Little Rock, Arkansas, 2021 or how many homicides in Little Rock, Arkansas, 2021 can be found on the city’s government website. According to their YTD report, which shows crimes from January to the end of May 2021, there have been roughly 27 murders in Little Rock alone.
You may find yourself wondering, “Why is Arkansas’ crime rate so high?” Although there is not a single, nor a simple, answer to this complex question, it can be assumed that Little Rock’s crime rate is higher than smaller towns in Arkansas due majorly to its size and population.
Pulaski County Murders
Pulaski County is the largest county in Arkansas, with a population of over 392,000 residents, and is home to Arkansas’ most popular city, Little Rock. If you’re interested in learning about both solved and unsolved Pulaski County murders, you can find information regarding many Pulaski County murders trial with a simple search, and often times you can find all of the crime scene information if the case is solved. However, if you are looking for unsolved case information, it is unlikely that you will be able to easily find Pulaski County murders evidence or Pulaski County murders crime scene photos until the case goes to trial.
Little Rock, Arkansas Murders
Due to the size and population of Little Rock, Arkansas, murders are more common there than in most other cities in Arkansas. Since the beginning of 2021 through the end of May, there have been 27 murders in Little Rock, Arkansas, alone. Most of these recent Little Rock murders have not been solved, and law enforcement continues to investigate their homicides. As expected, until these murders are solved, Little Rock murders discussion will continue on social media platforms such as Facebook, Reddit, and Websleuths, where individuals speculate and share information regarding Little Rock murders pictures, Little Rock murders crime scene photos, and Little Rock, Arkansas, murders autopsy photos, which are most often not released even after a case is solved.
In recent years, DNA technology has led to hundreds, if not thousands, of decades-old cold cases being solved, and Arkansas is not the exception. Some examples of cases where Little Rock murders DNA was used to solve or bring new information to light include the 1990 murder of Treva Parks and the 1990 murder of Pamela Felkins, among many others.
Arkansas Serial Killers
A quick search for “Arkansas serial killers” will result in a short list of serial killers in Arkansas, some of whom are lesser known, and others who are considered to be famous Arkansas serial killers. One of the individuals who will be included in Arkansas serial killer list is James Waybern Hall, also known as “Big Jim,” who was convicted of killing 4 people in 1944 and 1945. Another of many Arkansas killers, who is considered to have been a spree killer, is Ronald Gene Simmons Sr., who killed 16 people in a week-long murder spree in 1987.
Crimes in Arkansas
If you have an interest in learning more about the statistics and data surrounding crimes in Arkansas, you can easily find multiple law enforcement agencies which release annual reports on their websites that show, in detail, the crimes in that area. Additionally, the Federal Bureau of Investigation releases a Uniform Crime Report every year which shows the crimes, crime rates, and locations of crimes in every state, county, and city, including a report for crime in Arkansas. These Uniform Crime Reports show not only the information for the state as a whole, but also include data for many cities and counties as well, organized by the law enforcement agency.
Unfortunately, it seems there may never be an end to the growing number of Arkansas homicide and true crime stories in Arkansas, although advancements in forensic technology gives us hope that we can finally see justice for many cold cases which have remained unsolved for decades. According to Project: Cold Case, from 1965 to 2019 there were 9,951 murders in Arkansas. Over the years, around 7,797 of those murders were solved, leaving over 2,100 unsolved murders in Arkansas alone. Despite this, the many different law enforcement agencies in Arkansas will never stop trying to solve all of Arkansas’ true crimes, and seeking justice for the victims.