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Kentucky Cold Cases

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Kentucky Murders

The websites of various law enforcement agencies provide reports and data on the number of murders in Kentucky by year. Year after year, the Federal Bureau of Investigation publishes a Uniform Crime Report detailing the sort of crimes committed, crime level, and location of each crime that is committed in every state. In addition to the FBI’s archived reports, Project: Cold Case has a page on their website sharing the number of homicides in every state from 1980-2019, as well as having a public database full of almost 25,000 unsolved murders. According to Project: Cold Case, there were roughly 12,242 murders in Kentucky alone between 1980 and 2019. About 9,220 of these murders have been resolved over the years, and sadly, there are still around 3,022 murders in Kentucky that remain unsolved to this day.

A few examples of the numerous unsolved murders in northern Kentucky include the 1974 murder of Elvin Wilkerson, the 1978 murder of Raymond Scott McKenzie, the 1994 murder of Evelyn Fleck, the 1976 abduction and murder of Carol Sue Klaber, and the 2011 double murder of William and Peggy Stephenson, along with others that remain unsolved. Also included in the lists of cold cases on various law enforcement and investigating agencies’ websites are some of the many unsolved central Kentucky murders, which include the 1983 murder of Christine Castiglione, the 1975 murder of Michael Painter, the 1982 murder of Kimberly Louiselle, the 1992 murder of Elena Sanchez Hawkins, and the 1995 murder of Jane Elswick, among many others. Although Franklin County boasts a population of well over 51,000 inhabitants, and Frankfort’s population is over 27,000, there currently is no database or website listing any murders in Franklin County, Kentucky, or murders in Frankfort, Kentucky. The lack of easily available information regarding murders in both Frankfort, Kentucky, and Franklin County, Kentucky, is exactly the problem that we are trying to help resolve at Uncovered.

Unsolved Kentucky Murders

According to Project: Cold Case’s data, there are currently roughly 3,022 unsolved murders in Kentucky as of the site’s last update. Many local, county, and state law enforcement agencies have shared information about the many unsolved murders in Kentucky, although there is no database that exists in Kentucky containing a comprehensive list.

Some of the many unsolved murders in northern Kentucky listed on the websites of various law enforcement agencies include the 1974 murder of Elvin Wilkerson, the 1978 murder of Raymond Scott McKenzie, the 1994 murder of Evelyn Fleck, the 1976 abduction and murder of Carol Sue Klaber, and the 2011 double murder of William and Peggy Stephenson, along with others that remain unsolved. In addition, other Kentucky cold cases which are included on these websites and in databases are the many unsolved murders in eastern Kentucky. These include: the 1983 murder of Debbie Eckles, the 2008 murder of Marion Estep, the 2003 murder of Dianna Keeton, the 2000 murder of Kevin Adkins, and the 1982 murder of Donnie Ray Sullivan, among countless others. Finally, as mentioned previously, despite its population of over 27,000 residents, Frankfort, Kentucky, does not currently have an easily available list or database that houses any cold cases for its unsolved murders.

Joseph Smedley
Joseph SmedleySuspicious Death, 2015
Asha Degree
Asha DegreeMissing, 2000

Consider this

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 Kentucky Murders

Do any specific names or cases come to mind when you think about famous Kentucky murders? You may not have a name that immediately comes to mind, because most of the names that can be found listed on the several lists of murders in Kentucky found on various investigating and law enforcement agencies’ websites may not sound familiar. Nevertheless, a few of the names listed within the list of all murders in Kentucky, list of Kentucky murders, or within lists of notorious Kentucky criminals, on the other hand, have become very well known, especially in Kentucky. A couple of the most infamous Kentucky murders, which remain unsolved, include the 1961 murder of Betty Gail Brown and the 1992 murder of Elena Sanchez Hawkins, among others.

Homicide Rate in Kentucky

According to the Uniform Crime Report (UCR) issued by the FBI in 2019, the violent crime rate in Kentucky was roughly 217.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. In total, in 2019 alone, approximately 217 out of every 100,000 residents of Kentucky were impacted directly by violent crime in some way, including murder, sexual assault or rape, robbery, or assault. According to the same 2019 published report, the homicide rate in Kentucky was about 4.9 per 100,000 inhabitants. In summary, this means that almost 5 out of every 100,000 inhabitants of Kentucky were murdered in 2019 alone.

Frankfort, Kentucky’s capital, has a population of just 27,000 as of 2021. According to several sources, the violent crime rate in Frankfort, Kentucky, in 2018 was roughly 256.65 per 100,000 residents. More specifically, the murder rate in Frankfort, Kentucky, in 2018 was approximately 10.84 per 100,000 residents. Although we do not yet know how many murders in Frankfort, Kentucky, in 2021, or how many murders in Kentucky in 2021, we do know that based on the data within archived crime statistics reports, the homicide rates for both Frankfort, Kentucky, as well as Kentucky as a whole appear to be increasing annually at a slow rate.

Franklin County Murders

Currently, the population of Franklin County, Kentucky, is only 51,000, which is significantly lower than most other big cities in the state. Although we do not definitively know how many Franklin County murders have been committed in the past few years, we can refer to archived Uniform Crime Reports released by the FBI to try and estimate the general trend of homicides in Franklin County, Kentucky. Based on these Uniform Crime Reports, there were 2 murders in Franklin County in 2016, none in 2017, 1 in 2018, and 1 in 2019. Based on these reports, we can determine that the number of murders committed in Franklin County appears to have remained stable throughout the past few years.

In most homicides, investigators are usually able to collect enough Franklin County murders evidence to charge their main suspect and take them to the Franklin County murders trial. The sort of evidence that is most commonly included in Franklin County homicide trials generally relies entirely on the nature and characteristics of the crime itself. Examples of the most commonly used evidence in murder trials include DNA evidence, such as blood, saliva, or skin cells, and other types of evidence, such as fingerprints, witness statements, and cell phone pings. Arguably the most common evidence in a murder trial is Franklin County murders crime scene photos. These images are displayed during the trial in order to show the judge and jury the prosecutor’s views on the reasons why the crime may have been committed, or how the crime was committed, showing the crime scene, the surrounding environment, and any evidence located in the general area.

Frankfort, Kentucky Murders

On account of its small size and population, Frankfort, Kentucky, murders are seemingly much less common than those in many other Kentucky cities. A large majority of the recent and decades-old murders in Frankfort, Kentucky, have been solved, or have seen some form of resolution. As expected, investigators continue to use all available resources to investigate the remaining unsolved murders in Kentucky. Unsurprisingly, Frankfort murders discussion will continue to remain the focus on various social media sites such as Websleuths, Reddit, and Facebook. These social media platforms host speculative conversations and information sharing. The most common conversations are based around Frankfort murders pictures, Frankfort murders crime scene photos, and even Frankfort, Kentucky, murders autopsy photos. The police almost never reveal these types of photos to the public, even after the case is resolved.

In recent years, the revolutionary advancement of DNA technology has solved hundreds or even thousands of unsolved cold cases, and Kentucky, of course, is no exception. One of the cold cases in which Frankfort murders DNA, as well as DNA collected from other crime scenes across Kentucky, was used to solve or at least bring new information to unsolved cases, is the 1995 murder of Debra Wright, among others, mainly leading to the identification of Jane and John Does.

Kentucky Serial Killers

Throughout history, there have been many more Kentucky killers than you may expect. The most famous Kentucky serial killers may be easily identified on any top ten, or another form of serial killer list, such as list of serial killers in Kentucky or Kentucky serial killer list. The following are some of the most well-known Kentucky serial killers, who are most commonly found on these lists: Donald Harvey, also known as “The Angel of Death,” who claimed to have killed 87 people, though officials estimate he has killed between 27 and 57 individuals. These lists may also include Michael Andrew Abner, who is believed to have killed at least 3 individuals, as well as the most prolific serial killer of all time, Samuel Little, who claimed to have killed at least 93 women, including two women in Kentucky.

Crimes in Kentucky

If you’re curious about the data and statistics involved in the crimes in Kentucky, various law enforcement and investigating agencies issue annual reports, which show, in detail, the types of crime in the area, which can be found on their corresponding websites. The Federal Bureau of Investigation also releases a Uniform Crime Report (UCR) every year, detailing crimes, the data and statistics behind crimes, and the general area where various crimes are committed in almost every county and city within each state, including Kentucky.

Despite law enforcement’s best efforts, the number of Kentucky homicides and true crime stories in Kentucky seems like it is endless. According to Project: Cold Case, between 1980 and 2019, approximately 12,242 murders took place in Kentucky. Over the years, approximately 9,220 of these murders have been solved, although Kentucky still has approximately 3,022 unsolved murders. Kentucky’s multiple investigative and law enforcement agencies will never abandon their mission to solve all of Kentucky’s true crimes, no matter how many resources it requires, or how long it takes to solve them.

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Additional Kentucky Cold Cases

Ruvil HaleCrystal RogersJason EllisTommy BallardWynant MooreAndrea KnabelWalter FowlerBrookelyn FarthingTroy GarvinCheyenne RushinJarvis CarsonSarah Jane KelleyBarbara LunsfordNatasha JonesJon "Kerry" MonroeElena Sanchez HawkinsJoel Mark WellsAnn GotlibKara RigdonSamantha SperryRandy SellersChristopher GregoryJames MillsMary HammondsMichael CarverAlexandra CastleDonald CollinsAustin GamezElizabeth BrussowSteven BunchJustin BurtAliyah AtkinsCarrie BurgettKatie CawthornCreed Graham-NobleRosalyn VelazquezGary AllenCecil BakerDavid BellVirginia BeiterSteven BartleyShawnda BaldwinGeoffrey ApkeKrista GarrettMichael AllenLaura AndersonKimberly AbercrombieLisa AdcockScottie BryantCharles CampbellZola CombsShelia CooperAdam DanielsVicky DelaurierRonald DuncanHenry EubankDarrell FultzDerrick GabbardSteven GabbardAhmad GhazawiShawn GloverJonathan GoodpasterGeorge GraceKatie GrayJames Gunterman JrCarole HamiltonDanny HarrisonGeorge HawkinsJames HillisKelly Hollan JrRobert HoneycuttValorie HuntRonald JanesLinda JohnsChristy JonesCarlos LlamasRoland LucasCherie LusterFrederick McgaryLeah MckinneyJames McneelyAlbert MitchellJames MorrisMichelle NewtonEdward NicholsBrandy OsborneJuan Parra DimasLydia PerkinsFrederick RiggsMelvia RoarxBradley RossLeah RutherfordRoger SaskoClaude SheltonPaul ShroutJames SippleJames SmithSharon SonsThomas SzaboHeather TeagueEdward TidwellTerry TurnerJoel WellsRoy Hastings JrJonathan MahanJames PooleDanny GibsonGeorgia NolanCecil BurkhartRicky MeltonMartha SheltonAngela SmithClayton McCarterKrystal StinnettElizabeth MaggardChipley SandersRichard LeaDebra NewtonAlmedia MelcherConnie GregoryRegina CoxMatthew GentryChad SmithMichael JonesAnna ManningLynette McCollumRobbin SlaughterGary TaceyPaul TriplettWilliam CrossDevin ButlerGabriella Gordillo HidalgoLisa GreenEddie HallAmy HaueterAngelia HilbertPatricia HubbardMuzzeta LampkinNicholas LevayDebra LucasStephen SpaldingShelly StrodeNorma VincentHarry MaupinTyler NorthRhonda DayJoseph HandRobert JacksonMary NolanLarry RobertsJacob VinsonErica FraysureOlive PettyTanner HarperJames BessTimothy BakerScotty BryantTenisha CantrellTony ChoateMichelle CollinsJerry FeltnerSandra FisherJames GallowayShannon GreenCrystal HallCarl HollanPhillip McKibbenJanelle Sanger GarzaJanet Stephens-BrownRichard StrongJoshua TessmerHarold TuckerAlicia WestJames WilliamsonJoe PuckettSteven HaferKevin JacksonCassie YearyLloyd McKinneyJustin JohnsonWilliam RigsbyJessica CaldwellMelina GagneJoshua ConstantineTravis WilsonMelanie FlynnBarbara LasterDawn HainesWilliam CrainRuby EstepCharles HarrisJames HuffAlice JeffersonGladys KiddMitchell MannsDerryl MillerTimothy PohlgeersBrian ScottMargaret WarringtonCasey CollinsRonald KinserJane BousleyAlyne BarrickSonya BradleyJoyce CriderRose WestDixie BarkerKenny Naidas, Jr.Patsy NonemakerTiffany PhelpsSandra TravisLinda PriceHayley HamptonRobert WardMichael GorleyKeith HartJames KeyPeter LianDavid MuganClay ReedKevin SaggeseKenneth SaundersBenson SpearsTracy TackwellWilliam Adams IIIBenjamin BrewerEric EdgersonLori FeltzRobin HughesPeggy Ashley-VinsonThomas BrinskoMichelle BurchellCharles MasseyCarson WilliamsCharles BeasleyNorma BrownTerry HandClarence HolmesRobert HoskinsJimmy KellyOtis LeeCharles RandolphDiana RobertsChristopher RobinsonShelly SchoffnerRodney ScottWanda StrainMichael VincentKim AllgoodJames BoggsClyde BranumDavid BrownPatricia CallowayEugene Gabbard JrHarvey KaysRodger MosleySusan RiedlingLloyd ThomasMichael WoolumFrances AllenEllen BreschReuben KinneyJames KinskeyTracey MiracleJuanita RitchiePerry StokesWilliam ClarkSteven BestJames NealAmber CatonVerginia Lee-EvansJuana Morales MendezElvira Vazquez MendezRonald BaldwinDaniel McCabeGlinver OsborneThomas ProfittDebbie LacariaAllen GarredJosiah Caskey