10 Unsolved Military Cases


Darlene Krashoc, US Army

Cold Case: Army Spc. Darlene Krashoc Sexually Assaulted, Murdered, and Dumped in Parking Lot in Colorado Springs; CID Offers $10,000 Reward (1987)

Gordon Hess

Captain Gordon Hess, US Army

Army Captain Gordon Hess Found Stabbed to Death at Fort Knox in Kentucky, Military Investigators Ruled Suicide Despite the 26 Stab Wounds to Neck & Chest Area (1998)


Col. Philip Shue, US Air Force

Air Force Col. Philip Shue Died in an Apparent Car Accident, But Autopsy Revealed Much More; Texas Judge Ruled Cause of Death as Homicide (2003)

LaVena Johnson

Pfc. LaVena Johnson, US Army

Army Pfc LaVena Johnson Died of Non Combat Related Injuries in Iraq, Death Ruled Suicide But Independent Autopsy Revealed Rape & Murder (2005)

Nonnie Dotson

Nonnie Dotson, US Air Force

Lackland Air Force Base Nurse Nonnie Dotson Mysteriously Disappeared, Last Seen November 19th, 2006 in Littleton, Colorado While on Leave

blanca Luna

SrA Blanca Luna, US Air Force

Cold Case: Air Force Reservist SrA Blanca Luna Discovered Stabbed to Death in Base Lodging at Sheppard AFB in Texas (2008)


SSG Anton Phillips, US Army

Army SSG Anton Phillips Found Stabbed to Death at FOB Mehtar Lam, Afghanistan; CID Offering $25,000 Reward for Information (2009)


Katherine Morris, US Army Spouse

Army Spouse Katherine Morris Found Dead in Car Near Mall; Cause of Death Initially Ruled Suicide But Further Investigation Suggests Homicide Motivated by Insurance Fraud (2012)


Sean Wells, US Army

Fort Bragg Army Soldier Sean Wells Gunned Down in Home by Two Masked Men in Fayetteville, Family Asks for Help Solving Case (2013)

Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 12.56.08 PM

Pvt. Justin Lewis, US Army

Unsolved Homicide: Fort Hood Army Pvt. Justin Lewis Shot & Killed Near Vacant Lot in Neighborhood in Killeen, Texas (2017)



Andrew Muns, US Navy

Michael LeBrun Plead Guilty to Strangling Andrew Muns on the USS Cacapon After Caught Stealing $8,600 from Navy Ship’s Safe, NCIS Cold Case Squad Solves Case (1968)


Lt Verle ‘Lee’ Hartley, US Navy

Lt Verle Lee Hartley, US Navy, Died of Arsenic Poisoning in 1982, NCIS Cold Case Squad Solved Murder 13 Years Later, Wife Pamela Plead Guilty (1982)

Related Links:
Our View: ‘Cold Case’ crimes are worth investigators’ effort
Military Policy and Legislation Considerations for the Investigations of Non Combat Death, Homicide, and Suicide of US Service Members
A List of Soldiers Targeted & Murdered for the Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance Benefits (SGLI)
Investigators Persisted When Army Soldier Kelli Bordeaux Disappeared in North Carolina, Convicted Sex Offender Nicholas Holbert Sentenced to Life in Prison for Murder (2012)

‘Gangs and the Military’ by Carter F. Smith Released (2017)

51mcx9AjdjL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_Gangs and the Military: Gangsters, Bikers, and Terrorists with Military Training by Carter F. Smith

From the Author: The book documents the long history of gang members (street gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and domestic terrorist – extremists) with military training in parallel with the history of the United States. Gang members have served in the military in each of the wartime eras and they continue to serve today. Some are trying to use the military to get out of the gang life – many are not. The criminals not only tarnish the reputation of the military, they increase the dangerousness of our communities. 

Description: Over the past several decades, there has been a continuous and growing focus on street gangs, outlaw motorcycle gangs, and domestic terrorist and extremist groups. Many of these groups have members with military training, and some actively recruit from current and former military veterans and retirees. That military experience adds to the dangerousness of veteran gang members, as well as those groups they associate with.

Related Links:
Gangs and the Military and Carter Smith (Website)
Gangs and the Military: Gangsters, Bikers, and Terrorists with Military Training by Carter F. Smith
Gangs and the Military and Carter Smith on C-SPAN (October 14, 2017)
10News I-Team Investigates Gangs In The Military
Red, White and Gangs: The problem of street gangs in the military
WREG Finds Soldier Living Double Life As Gang Member
MTSU professor wins 3rd top national award for gang violence research
East Side Storytellin’117 – When Carter F. Smith Described the Worst of Humanity and Ali Sperry Brought Us Back to Life
Gangs in the US Army Documentary | Military Justice for All

Violent Crime, Non Combat Death, and Suicide at Camp Pendleton, California (US Marine Corps)


*Research not complete and includes combat deaths.


Laurel Chasmar, US Marine Corps Veteran: Died in murder-suicide, New Jersey
John Deshaies, Canadian Citizen: Suspect in homicide of Marine & GF in Belize
Drew DeVoursney, US Marine Corps Veteran: Homicide victim in Belize, unsolved
Cody Haley, US Marine Corps: Died after tree fell on him during physical training
Francesca Matus, Civilian: Homicide victim in Belize, unsolved


Oscar Aguilar, Civilian: Accused of homicide of US Marine, awaiting trial
Esau Rios, Civilian: Accused of homicide of US Marine, awaiting trial
Carlos Segovia, US Marine Corps: Homicide victim in Los Angeles
Ricky Valente, Civilian: Accused of accessory after the fact, homicide of US Marine, awaiting trial


Sergio Medina, US Marine Corps Veteran: Robbery & physical assault, 6 years
Leonardo Ortiz, US Marine Corps Veteran: Robbery & physical assault, 3 years
Rodrigo Sanchez, US Marine Corps Veteran: Robbery & physical assault, 3 years
Dominic Schraft, US Marine Corps: Found dead with gunshot wound on base


Erin Corwin, US Marine Corps Spouse: Pregnant, Homicide Victim
Emilio Harvey, Civilian: Homicide victim, child
Christopher Lee, US Marine Corps: Homicide of Erin Corwin, Sentenced to Life
Stanford Morocho, US Marine Corps Veteran: Homicide, sentenced to 15 yrs to life
Sean Neal, US Marine Corps: Non-combat related incident, Iraq


Alvin Bulaoro, US Army Reserve: Homicide victim
Kevin Coset, US Marine Corps: Accused of homicide, awaiting trial
Karen Lange, Civilian: Attempted murder by AWOL Pendleton Marine
Mathew Marsh, US Marine Corps: Training accident, EOD explosion on base
Gregory Mullins, US Marine Corps: Training accident, EOD explosion on base
David Oppelt, US Army Spouse: Suspected of homicide, under investigation
Imelda Oppelt, US Army Guard Reserve: Homicide victim, death by hanging
Miguel Ortiz, US Marine Corps: Training accident, EOD explosion on base
Eric Summers, US Marine Corps: Training accident, EOD explosion on base


Clayton Beauchamp, US Navy: Unit attacked with IED, Afghanistan
John Berry, Civilian: Homicide victim of deceased Marine veteran Itzcoatl Ocampo
Amyjane Brandhagen, Civilian: Homicide victim of AWOL Pendleton Marine
Lukah Chang (Danny Wu), US Marine Corps: AWOL, homicide, sentenced to 35 yrs
Ryan Jeschke, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat ops, Afghanistan
Brittany Killgore, US Marine Corps Spouse: Rape & homicide victim
Matthew Manoukian, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat ops, Afghanistan
Sky Mote, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat ops, Afghanistan
Louis Perez, US Marine Corps: Rape & homicide, sentenced to life
Camella Steedley, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan


Mario Arias, US Marine Corps: Homicide victim, beat to death in barracks
Yvonne Baldelli, Civilian: Domestic violence & homicide victim in Panama
Brian Brimager, US Marine Corps Retired: Homicide, Panama, 26 yrs in prison
Raquel Estrada, Civilian: Homicide victim of dead Marine vet Itzcoatl Ocampo
Darren Evans, US Marine Corps: Homicide on base, sentenced to life
Adan Gonzales Jr, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat ops, Afghanistan
Juan Herrera, Civilian: Homicide victim of dead Marine vet Itzcoatl Ocampo
James McGillivray, Civilian: Homicide victim of dead Marine vet Itzcoatl Ocampo
Lloyd Middaugh, Civilian: Homicide victim of dead Marine vet Itzcoatl Ocampo
Itzcoatl Ocampo, US Marine Corps Veteran: Accused of 6 homicides, died in prison
Joshua Robinson, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat ops, Afghanistan
Paulus Smit, Civilian: Homicide victim of dead Marine vet Itzcoatl Ocampo


Christopher Boyd, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan
Max Donahue, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan
Daniel Fedder, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan
Floyd Holley, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan
Kevin Oratowski, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan
Ronald Rodriguez, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan
Jose Saenz III, US Marine Corps: Died supporting combat operations, Afghanistan


Donald Hogan, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Afghanistan


Kevin Cox, US Marine Corps: 2 homicides, sentenced to life, no parole
Stacy Dryden, US Marine Corps: Non-hostile incident, homicide, Iraq
Michael Heflin, Civilian: Beating & stabbing victim, survived
Emrys John, US Marine Corps: 2 homicides, sentenced to death
Summer Lang, US Marine Corps Spouse: Rape, torture, & kidnapping victim
Robert McClain, US Marine Corps Veteran: Rape & kidnapping, sentenced to life
Adam McKiski, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq
Tyrone Miller, US Marine Corps: 2 homicides, sentenced to life, no parole
Jan Pietrzak, US Marine Corps: Homicide victim
Quiana Pietrzak, US Marine Corps Spouse: Rape & homicide victim
Kesuan Sykes, US Marine Corps: 2 homicides, sentenced to death
Stewart Trejo, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq


Jon Bonnell Jr., US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq
Matthew Medlicott, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq
Rogelio Ramirez, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq
John Tanner, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq
Michael Tayaotao, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq
Cristian Vasquez, US Marine Corps: Died conducting combat operations, Iraq


Lawrence Hutchins III, US Marine Corps: Kidnapping, murder of Iraqi civilian


Frank Wuterich, US Marine Corps: Accused of role in killing 24 unarmed Iraqis


Ryan Weemer, US Marine Corps: Acquitted in homicide of unarmed Iraqi detainee


Cassandra Corum, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, IL
Thomas Heffner, US Marine Corps: Attempted homicide victim
Lynn Huber, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, IL
Daniel Kidd, US Marine Corps: Homicide victim
Jessie Quintanilla, US Marine Corps: Homicide, sentenced to life
Laura Uylaki, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, IL


Kenneth Cook, US Marine Corps: Homicide of infant child, sentenced to life
Tiffani Cook, US Marine Corps Dependent: Homicide victim
Denise Maney, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, CA


Marilyn Allen, Civilian: Homicide victim, cold case, solved
Jennifer Asbenson, Civilian: Rape & abduction by Marine Andrew Urdiales, CA
Roosevelt Gipson, US Marine Corps: Manslaughter, sentenced to 11 yrs in prison


Lindell Mitchell, US Marine Corps: Homicide victim, cold case, solved


Tammie Erwin, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, CA


Julie McGhee, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, CA
Mary Ann Wells, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, CA


Robbin Brandley, Civilian: Homicide victim of Marine Andrew Urdiales, CA
Andrew Urdiales, US Marine Corps: Homicide of 8 women, sentenced to death


Kathleen Allen, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Lonnie Bond, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Michael Carroll, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Jeff Gerald, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Brenda O’Connor, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Cliff Peranteau, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Robert Scott Stapley: Missing, homicide victim


Richard Carrazza, Civilian: Attempted homicide victim
Paul Cosner, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Deborah Dubs, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Harvey Dubs, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim
Sean Dubs, Civilian: Missing child, homicide victim
Donald Giulietti, Civilian: Homicide victim


Charles Gunnar, Civilian: Missing, homicide victim


Charles Ng, US Marine Corps Veteran: Multiple rapes & 12 homicides, sentenced to death
Donald Lake, US Army Veteran: Missing, homicide victim
Leonard Lake, US Marine Corps Veteran: Multiple rapes & homicide, committed suicide


Eugene Brunelle, US Marine Corps: Homicide victim
Roy Garcia, US Marine Corps: Homicide of Marine, sentenced to 20 yrs to life

Related Links:
Seven Marines, Navy corpsman charged with murder in Iraqi civilian’s death

48 Hours Premiered ’48 Hours: NCIS – The Sting’ on CBS (2017)

A tattooed NCIS agent with a black belt goes undercover to find the killer of a Navy petty officer — can he get what he needs without getting caught? Watch Tuesday, June 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.

Norma Small was arrested in May 2001 and then charged with murder for the death of her husband, Sonny Grotton, U.S. Navy, at his home in Belfast, Maine on December 16, 1983. She was accused of hiring someone to murder him, convicted, and sentenced to 60 years in prison. Norma felt Sonny was worth more dead than alive. Investigators believed the crime was financially motivated. If Sonny died, Norma would get a death benefit from the Navy, the real estate that she owned with Sonny, and she received a monthly payment from the VA that over 15 or 17 years had amounted to almost $100,000.

“This thing comes up every 15 years. My dad wasn’t an international superstar or politician. Why this case? I haven’t seen a lot of true crime that really portrays the crime in a true life way. And for people who are trying to move on, it’s unfair in a big way.” [says Michael Grotton]. When asked why CBS was interested in the case all these years later, a producer for “48 Hours,” said the network is creating a series that will feature real cases solved by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, or NCIS. He told the BDN the production team’s reporting “turned up a twist” that may shed doubt on some of the facts that people have believed for the past 15 years. –Bangor Daily News

Related Links:
“48 Hours: NCIS” sneak peek: The Sting
Sneak peek: 48 Hours: NCIS
“48 Hours: NCIS”: The Sting | CBS News
Preview – Broken Honor | The Investigators
Broken Honor | The Investigators
Belfast case on ‘48 Hours: NCIS’ June 13
CBS “48 Hours” Episode Investigates Notorious Belfast Murder
TV crew visits Belfast for episode on infamous 1980s murder for hire case
‘48 Hours’ to air episode tonight on murder of Belfast’s Sonny Grotton
‘Cosmic joke’: Son doesn’t want another depiction of his father’s murder
Brooks man pleads innocent to murder in 17-year-old fatal shooting
CBS to air program on NCIS investigation into infamous Belfast murder
48 Hours: NCIS – Firm Resolve and Dedication!
State of Maine v. Norma Small (2003)
Navy Chief Petty Officer Mervin ‘Sonny’ Grotton Shot & Killed at Home in Maine; Wife Norma Small Convicted of Murder for Hire & Sentenced to 60 Years in Prison (1983)

US Marine Nathaniel Cosby Convicted of the Second Degree Murder of Ivanice Harris in Hawaii; Sentenced to Life in Prison by Military Courts (2013)


Ivanice Harris and Nathaniel Cosby, US Marine Corps

The dead body of tourist Ivanice ‘Ivy’ Harris was discovered at Yokohama Bay on the island of Oahu in Hawaii on May 20th, 2013. Ivy was living in Nevada but was originally a native of Portland, Oregon; she was four weeks pregnant. Ivy’s friends and family initiated a search after she disappeared on May 16th while celebrating her 29th birthday in Hawaii with her boyfriend, also her pimp. According to Ivy’s memorial, she died on May 17th. Ivy’s death was officially ruled a homicide by the medical examiner’s office; she died of a neck injury. Hawaii police conducted a thorough investigation that led to an active duty Marine on temporary duty assignment in Hawaii. Master Sgt. Nathaniel Cosby, 39, was an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to Marine Wing Support Squadron-171 in the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing based out of Iwakumi, Japan. Cosby was arrested at the airport (destination unknown) and charged with Ivy Harris’ murder. After released by the Honolulu Police Department, Cosby was temporarily assigned to an aircraft unit in Kaneohe, Hawaii and according to a Marine spokesman, free to come and go as he pleased.

At some point it appears the civilian authorities deferred to the miitary because Cosby was court martialed by the Marines for the second degree murder of Ivy Harris. Cosby was an active duty Marine therefore he could be tried by the civilians, the military, or both. During the course of the legal proceedings, Cosby admitted to a confrontation with Ivy Harris over money in his hotel room after a night of drinking. He claimed Ivy demanded money then pulled out a knife after he attempted to get out of the room so he put her in a chokehold and killed her in self defense. He got rid of her body to avoid embarrassment to his family and to the Marine Corps. According to court testimony, he was unable to give a blow-by-blow description of the struggle, describing the scene as ‘chaos’. An 8-member military panel found Nathaniel Cosby guilty of second degree murder, obstructing justice, and attempting to patronize a prostitute. The panel recommended life in prison and a dishonorable discharge pending final approval by the convening authority, the Marine Forces Pacific commander. Cosby will serve his life sentence at the maximum-security military prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

After being released by HPD, he was temporarily assigned to an aircraft unit at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe, where a U.S. Marines spokesman said he will be free to come and go as he pleases like all other Marines. –Hawaii News Now

Related Links:
Obituary: Ivanice Jo’Ruth “Ivy” Harris Greer
In Memory of Ivanice Harris
Friends and Family of missing Oregon woman ask the public for help
Naked body of Oregon woman found washed up on Hawaii beach
Police identify woman killed at Yokohama Bay
Body discovered near Yokohama Bay identified as missing tourist
Body Of Portland Woman Missing In Hawaii Found On Beach
Body of missing Portland woman found in Hawaii
Oregon woman found dead in Hawaii was pregnant
Jewelry tip led to arrest in Ivy Harris case
Hawaii police arrest man in Ivy Harris case
Man arrested at airport for death of Portland woman in Hawaii
Marine charged with murder of Portland woman in Hawaii
Marine master sergeant charged with killing Vegas escort in Hawaii
Ivanice Harris Murder: U.S. Marine charged in death of Las Vegas prostitute in Hawaii
Marine accused of killing prostitute from Oregon who was on vacation in Hawaii for her birthday
U.S. Marine released in Hawaii killing of Ivanice Harris
Trial date set in prostitute death
Marine faces Hawaii hearing in Oregon woman’s death
Marine accused of prostitute murder goes on trial
Marine accused of murdering Portland woman to face court-martial
Detective: Marine took prostitute to Waikiki hotel
Security video caught Marine with murder victim, but he claims he’s innocent
Marine accused of prostitute murder claims self-defense
Marine claims self-defense in murder of Ivy Harris
Marine accused of prostitute murder claims self-defense
Marine Guilty in Harris’ Death
Marine found guilty in Hawaii murder case of Portland woman
Marine found guilty of murdering Portland prostitute Ivanice ‘Ivy’ Harris in Hawaii
Military jury recommends life term for Iwakuni Marine in Hawaii murder
Military jury: Life in prison and dishonorable discharge for Master Sgt. Cosby
Life sentence upheld for U.S. Marine who killed prostitute
US Marine Corps Upholds Life Sentence for Murder of Ivy Harris
Appeals court upholds murder conviction of USMC master sergeant
Pimp of murdered prostitute may be involved in crime ring
FBI: Ten Portland-Area Pimps Charged with Transporting Young Women to Hawaii and Other States for Prostitution
Ivy Harris’ accused pimp arrested in Portland
Portland rapper Meezilini indicted in federal prostitution sweep
DOJ: Portland pimps indicted, including suspect in Ivy Harris case
Pimp of Portland woman killed in Hawaii sentenced to prison
Pimp of woman murdered in Hawaii sentenced to 3 years in prison

The medical examiner confirms the Oregon woman whose body was found in west Oahu was murdered. Ivanice “Ivy” Harris was found dead four days after she went missing in Waikiki. -KITV4

Navy Master Chief John Bench Murdered Son & Attempted to Murder Wife & Daughter in Japan, Then Killed Self in Motorcycle Crash (2009)


Master Chief Petty Officer John Bench, US Navy

Investigation Discovery’s show Forbidden: Dying for Love aired an episode titled ‘An Officer, Not a Gentleman’ which featured the story of Navy Master Chief Petty Officer John Bench. Bench first killed his son and then attempted to kill his wife Agnus and their daughter on August 30, 2009 at Sasebo Naval Base in Japan. After the attacks, he then made a run for it and left the base traveling on his motorcycle. On that ride, John Bench slammed directly into the path of an oncoming truck and was killed instantly. NCIS was assigned to the case and discovered the crime scene. As a result they were able to get care for John’s wife and daughter who survived the brutal attack. Once Travis Tritten of Stars and Stripes discovered John Bench was involved in a homicide investigation in the Philippines, he did some digging because he knew this was no coincidence. The story he uncovers leads the Philippines police to another killer.

The Philippines is a key site for military and home to about 12 million citizens. Lilibeth Eniceo, 29, lived in the Philippines with her parents where she shared a room with her five children. Every day was a struggle for survival. A series of men let Lilibeth down but she continued to have hopes for a relationship. Ultimately, she was looking for love and stability for her family. Then one day in January 2007, she got a friend request from a Navy man named John Bench. He was a completely different kind of man than most. And he was the highest enlisted rank one could be in the Navy, therefore highly successful. But John was stationed thousands of miles away in Japan. Regardless, John continued to woo her and they stayed in constant contact; an internet romance grew very quickly.

Months later, John told Lilibeth his ship was traveling to the Philippines and he wanted to meet her in person. So Lilibeth traveled 100 miles to Subic Bay to meet John where his ship was at port. She was so excited to be meeting her prince charming for the first time. Lilibeth was upfront about her children from the beginning so John knew what he was getting into. John had no problems with her family and let her know he was committed to all of them. During the visit, John told Lilibeth he was divorced with two kids and free to pursue a relationship. John purposefully made her think that they had a future together. Lilibeth was happy and overwhelmed that she found a man like John Bench. It felt like they knew each other for years. Before John went back to Japan, he assured Lilibeth he would send money to support her and her family.

After years of despair and heart break, John Bench gained Lilibeth’s trust but he was keeping a secret too. John was still married with two children and they all lived on Sasebo Naval Base in Japan. John was married to Agnus, also a native of the Philippines, and they had two children: Anthony, 10, and Angelica, 15. But John was deeply unhappy in his marriage. And the success he worked so hard for would be destroyed in a divorce. John didn’t want to lose half of his military pension. Although, John was obviously not thinking clearly when he decided to have an affair because adultery is a crime in the military. John took a big risk when he started sending money to Lilibeth regularly. John felt trapped in a life he didn’t like and wanted to be free of it. He took a big gamble with his career because if caught he could lose everything. But no one could imagine the plot he was scheming.

Lilibeth and John had fallen madly in love but they had to keep it a secret. A year or so after they met, Lilibeth and John had another rendezvous but this time she introduced him to her children. John appeared to be the ideal family man because he was loving and very good with the children. They had a great visit. Right before he left, John informed Lilibeth he couldn’t give her anymore money because most of his money went towards alimony he was forced to pay after the divorce. John made it appear to Lilibeth that his ‘ex-wife’ was endangering their relationship and standing in the way of their future. He was point blank and didn’t mince words. He said he wanted to kill his wife. Because Lilibeth was blinded by her dreams of getting everything she ever wanted, she asked him what he wanted her to do. John asked her to find a hitman in the Philippines and then he returned to Japan.

Lilibeth was nervous and never thought she would be involved in an assassination plot. But she found someone to kill John’s wife. The hit would cost $1,250 with a downpayment of $700. John called Lilibeth to let her know when his wife was going to be in the Philippines visiting her family. This was the first opportunity they had to make their move. Lilibeth and the hitman lied in wait outside Agnus’ hotel and after she appeared, Lilibeth aborted the plan because her mother instincts kicked in. Agnus was exiting her hotel with her daughter. Lilibeth couldn’t imagine killing a mother in front of her daughter. Lilibeth told John she couldn’t do it and he was furious that his orders were not carried out. He eventually apologized for getting angry at her. The vulnerable Lilibeth forgave him and continued to remain under his spell.

In February 2009, John returned to the Philippines for another visit. Lilibeth still saw a relationship happening and the perfect life with John. She wanted security for her family so badly. On this visit, John asked Lilibeth to marry him and of course she said yes. She was so excited because this was a fairy tale turning into reality. But unfortunately this reality was built on lies. John was not divorced yet told Lilibeth that because he was paying alimony to his ‘ex-wife’, he would have to support two families and things would be tough. Lilibeth told him she didn’t care about the money as long as they were together and happy. But John continued to pressure her and this time he wanted her to find someone to kill his ‘ex-wife’ and the two children. Lilibeth wanted no part in this plan because to her it was unthinkable that someone would consider murdering their own children.

The cold hard truth is if John Bench was capable of committing these crimes, Lilibeth was one of his victims too. She desperately hoped John would abandon the evil plan. He told her his family didn’t care about him or love him. He made himself out to be the victim. She was torn because she would be letting go of a future with security if she said no, so she agreed to take part in the plot to kill his family. Lilibeth found another hitman and this time tried to limit her involvement by having John speak directly to him. John and Lilibeth met with the hitman and John told him how he wanted the plan to go down. He told the hitman he wanted him to carjack his family and then kill them. John assured Lilibeth afterwards they would finally be together.

The whole idea behind the plot was that this would be a failed robbery attempt and John would miraculously be the lone survivor. But again Lilibeth was having a hard time coping with the reality of the situation. She knew that a family was going to be murdered. The hitman waited at a pre-determined location and pulled the taxi over at gunpoint. He jumped in, demanded they drive to a remote location, and then told them all to get out of the car. He killed the taxi-cab driver first. Then he hesitated and called Lilibeth to tell her he was going to kill them. She told him she didn’t want to know anything. While the hitman was distracted, Agnus lunged at him and fought back in an attempt to get the gun. John hesitated to help her because he had been waiting so long for this plan to unfold so he could be free. John finally acted because otherwise he risked his wife finding out about his murderous plan.

The Bench family was taken to the local police department to give a statement. John Bench was quietly concerned about the hitman being on the run. He knew if he was caught and the plan was made public, it would ruin him. Ruby Ramores was also looking for answers as her brother was the taxi-cab driver who was murdered. She wanted justice for her brother; he was a father of three children and was just trying to make a living. John appeared to want to brush the whole incident under the rug. He denied hesitating to assist Agnus and boldly stated that he was simply waiting for the right opportunity. He then told the police he was tired and leaving so his family could go back to Japan. Ruby read the police reports and questioned why John was hesitant to help his family especially since he had the training to do so. Ruby wasn’t going to let this case go cold.

John kept a very low profile the weeks following the incident and stopped sending Lilibeth any money. Then after months of silence, John called Lilibeth out of the blue. He told her he missed her, wanted to be with her, and apologized for his actions. She eventually relented and forgave him. John told her they would be together soon. But once again, John was lying. After this call to Lilibeth, John unraveled and took matters into his own hands. First he savagely beat and murdered his son. Then he bludgened his wife and daughter with a baseball bat and left them for dead. Afterwards, he fled the scene on his motorcycle. Everything in John’s life was on the line and there was no coming back from this. So John gunned his engine and slammed directly into the path of an oncoming truck. He was killed instantly.

When Japanese authorities realized John was in the Navy, Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS) took over. As a result, they went to John’s home and discovered the crime scene. They were able to save both Agnus and her daughter’s life. Once the news was reported, Travis Tritten of Stars and Stripes began looking into the case. He learned that John Bench was also involved in a homicide case in the Philippines. He suspected something wasn’t right and John’s involvement in the homicide in the Philippines was not coincidental. Travis found out that John Bench was having an affair so he contacted Lilibeth. She opened up to him about the details of the relationship and the various plots to kill John’s family. Lilibeth also gave him the name of the hitman who killed Ruby’s brother. The hitman was charged and imprisoned for the homicide. Ruby opted not to press charges against Lilibeth because she empathized with her and her children. Everyone involved was a victim of John Bench. He used a victimhood narrative to justify his evil intentions and manipulated others to do his dirty work for him. He is the definition of a sneaky sociopath.

I made a mistake. If I have to pay for it, I will pay for it…I was in love with a monster. -Lilibeth Eniceo

Related Links:
Sailor dies in crash after alleged assault leaves 12-year-old son dead
Probe centers on Task Force’s top enlisted
Mistress reveals plots that led to a senior enlisted sailor’s brutal attacks
NCIS investigates Filipino cabbie slaying
Navy officer’s mistress questioned in Philippines murder case
Man accused of plotting murder with U.S. sailor arrested in Philippines
Victim’s sister, sailor’s mistress form unlikely partnership
Hit man in Bench murder plot pleads guilty in Philippines
‘Forbidden: Dying for Love’ Eyes Story of USS Denver, Navy Officer Who Wanted Family Dead
Forbidden: Dying for Love “An Officer, Not a Gentleman” (Investigation Discovery)

A Filipino woman falls for a married US Navy Officer who will do anything to keep his mistress and his money. -Discovery ID

Navy Petty Officer Amanda Snell Murdered by Marine Jorge Torrez in Barracks at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia (2009)

Amanda Snell, US Navy (2009)

Petty Officer Amanda Jean Snell, US Navy

Petty Officer Amanda Jean Snell, 20, US Navy, was found dead in her room at the barracks at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall in Virginia on July 13, 2009. Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS) had jurisdiction of her case. They conducted an initial investigation yet the case went nowhere because NCIS investigators confided in the murderer and were divided on whether the death was a homicide, suicide, or accidental. As a result, the DNA lab testing was not considered a priority because the autopsy was considered undetermined, not a homicide. Four years and four civilian victims later, former U.S. Marine Jorge Avila Torrez was indicted for Amanda’s murder, found guilty by a federal court, and sentenced to death in 2014.

Torrez lived on the same co-ed floor as Amanda Snell in Keith Hall barracks on the base. On the night of July 12, 2009, he entered her room, she screamed, and he strangled her in an effort to silence her. His crimes were sexually motivated. He jammed Amanda into her locker and put a pillow case over her head in an effort to fool investigators into thinking she had suffocated. After she was found dead on the federal base, NCIS began their investigation. They interviewed multiple people in the barracks and initiated a forensic examination of Amanda’s room. They claim they sent the evidence to the military DNA lab testing facility to determine if any DNA was present. In the meantime, Torrez offered to help with the investigation and NCIS accepted his offer. They asked him to spread a rumor around the barracks that they had a witness who saw someone enter her room that night.

During the stalled NCIS investigation, Torrez attacked four other civilian women in Arlington, Virginia in 2010. Three of them escaped his attempted abduction but one of them was abducted, raped, strangled, and left for dead in the woods. Torrez thought he killed her but she lived. Because all four victims reported the crimes, the Arlington Police Department was able to make the connection with the four cases. Thanks to the due diligence of two Arlington police officers, detectives were able to find out who owned the light colored SUV. These two police officers had observed on shift that the driver of this SUV was acting suspiciously and called in his license plate number to determine if he had any outstanding warrants. They learned Torrez was an active duty Marine living at Keith Hall Barracks on the the Navy base. The Arlington Police detectives had to coordinate with NCIS to gain access to the base so they could arrest him and search his room and vehicle. Jorge Torrez was jailed while he awaited trial.

While Torrez was awaiting trail, he asked some inmates to help him find a hit man to silence the three witnesses that would be testifying against him. One of the inmates he confided in was a confidential informant. After the informant reported the troubling conversations with authorities, he was asked to wear a wire to record future conversations. It was at this time that Jorge Torrez not only admitted his intentions to kill the three victims who were going to testify against him at his trial but he also revealed that he murdered Amanda Jean Snell at the Navy base. Meanwhile, the Arlington Police Department entered the DNA from the victim who was raped into CODIS, a national DNA database, and got a hit to two murders of children in Zion, Illinois where Torrez was from. When NCIS finally tested and compared the DNA on the sheets in Amanda’s room, this forensic evidence linked Torrez to Amanda’s murder as well. The Marine Corps dishonorably discharged him from the military.

NCIS bungled this investigation from the beginning. The investigators could not agree on whether Amanda Snell was murdered, committed suicide, or died accidentally. Because her autopsy report was “undetermined” and her death was not ruled a homicide, it did not have priority in the military DNA testing lab. Apparently an undetermined death and rape and sexual assault DNA is not given a high priority in military labs. When in fact, if all suspicious deaths and sex crimes were given higher priority, we could prevent further victimization and homicides. It was not until they learned of the four other victims in Arlington, Virginia and the two murders of children in Zion, Illinois that they expedited the testing of the DNA found in Amanda Snell’s room. We do not know if it is procedure for NCIS to compare DNA evidence of military members accused of crimes to the national DNA database. If they had tested the DNA earlier and entered the DNA into CODIS, they would have got a hit to the two murders in Illinois.

In the initial stages of the investigation, the NCIS agents investigated multiple people in the barracks. Jorge Torrez offered to be a confidential informant of sorts to help them with the investigation. They accepted. They asked him to spread a rumor that they had a witness who saw someone enter her room that night. They wanted to ferret out the killer by spreading panic. Quite often investigators will say they have evidence they don’t have in an attempt to cause stress and elicit confessions. Now they were not able to call anyone’s bluff. They in effect blew any chances of an effective investigation by telling the actual killer that they had nothing. It’s troubling that they did not see the red flag when Torrez offered to inject himself into the investigation. Murder suspects have been known to do this and befriend the victim’s family and friends in an attempt to stay apprised of what police know.

Lastly if sexual assault, rape, and undetermined causes of death were given higher priority in the NCIS DNA testing labs then maybe we could have prevented four other women from becoming victims of sex crimes and attempted murder. NCIS admits that the DNA was not given priority because it was not a homicide. Had NCIS made the DNA a higher priority and compared the results of the testing in CODIS, the national DNA database, they would have got a match to the DNA in Zion, Illinois. As a result of this match, they would have been able to triangulate the connection between Torrez in the barracks and where he was from in Zion, Illinois. They could have got a “commanders search warrant” to conduct a forensic examination of his room. There they would have found evidence of criminal intent like the collection of porn images they found on his computer that included fantasies about rape and suffocation of women. DNA from sexual assault and rape should be given the highest priority in the military DNA lab testing facilities to prevent an escalation of violent crimes to homicide both in the military and in our civilian communities. All DNA profiles tested in the military should be immediately entered in CODIS.

Eight months after Jorge Avila Torrez was arrested by the Arlington Police Department, he was found guilty and sentenced to five life terms and 168 years in prison for the attacks on three of the four civilian women from Arlington, Virginia. Four years later, he was found guilty and sentenced to death by the federal courts for the murder of Amanda Jean Snell on the US Navy base in Arlington, Virginia. In an unexpected plot twist Illinois authorities learned the man they convicted for the murders of Krystal Tobias (9) and Laura Hobbs (8) was innocent. Authorities released Jerry Hobbs, the father of one of the children, from jail in 2010 and vowed to try Torrez for a sexual assault of one child and the murder of both children from Zion, Illinois. Illinois authorities charged Torrez with the crimes in 2015 and are expected to go to trial some time in 2016. Jorge Torrez is currently sitting on death row.

Read more: NCIS Bungles the Amanda Snell Investigation by Confiding in Murderer & Neglecting to Compare DNA Evidence Found at the Crime Scene

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In the shadow of the nation’s capital, a mysterious death on a Marine base confounds the NCIS — was it an accident, or was it a homicide? It won’t be long before police are hunting a violent sexual predator whose trail leads right back to the base. -Discovery ID

Navy Sailor Lea Anne Brown and Friend Michael Patten Robbed, Kidnapped, and Murdered in Prince George’s County, Maryland by Five Men (2001)

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Lea Anne Brown, US Navy

Navy sailor Lea Anne Brown and her friend Michael Patten were found murdered execution style in Accokeek, near Fort Washington, Maryland on June 10, 2001. They were randomly selected in a church parking lot in Fort Washington by a group of men who wanted to rob them and steal their car. They beat Lea Anne and Michael and then stuffed them in the trunk of Michael’s car; afterwards they drove them to nearby Accokeek, fatally shot them in the head, and left their bodies in a wooded area. In 2002, Eric Thomas was found guilty of both murders and sentenced to life in prison. Aaron Hollingsworth received a 30 year prison sentence in exchange for his testimony. Cortez Carroll confessed to shooting Lea Anne and he faced the death penalty but plead guilty in exchange for a life sentence. Robert Odum, Jr. received a 60 years in prison for two counts of kidnapping but was acquitted on the robbery and murder charges. Marco Scutchings-Butler or Marco Butler was acquitted of the murders. in 2004, a Maryland Appellate court overturned the conviction for Robert Odum, Jr. and granted him a new trial because Prince George’s police broke rules, the court said. At his new trial in 2005, a Prince George’s County jury convicted Odum Jr. of two counts of kidnapping and he was sentenced to two terms of 30 years in prison. The judge ordered that his 30 year sentences be served consecutively in addition to a 10-year sentence he was serving for a separate carjacking.

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Two dead, one of them a beautiful Navy sailor. Why does this case still haunt the agents who hunted the killer?

Navy Petty Officer James Kuenn Convicted of the Cold Case Murder of Carol Hutto in Florida; Sentenced to Life, Possibility of Parole After 25 Years (2000)

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P.O. James Kuenn, US Navy

Navy Petty Officer James Kuenn, 40, was found guilty on February 9, 2000 for the first-degree murder of his teen girlfriend Carol Hutto on December 13, 1976 in Largo, Florida. Carol Hutto’s half-brother found her dead in a pond in the neighborhood; she was weighed down with cement blocks. An autopsy revealed Carol was hit and strangled, lost consciousness, and then thrown in the water alive. Initially, police suspected Carol’s half-brother committed the crime but they did not have enough evidence to charge him so the case went unsolved for nearly two decades. Then in 1994, two Largo Police Department investigators reopened the cold case.

The detective’s determination to find the killer led them to a former Largo resident who by then was an eleven year Navy veteran stationed at U.S. Naval Submarine Base in Groton, Connecticut. In 1996, DNA testing was making it’s way into police departments across the country so the investigators submitted several unknown hairs to the FBI lab. But they needed a sample of Kuenn’s DNA to see if it was a match. Investigator’s obtained a search warrant to get the DNA via a blood sample and used the interrogation to elicit a confession while they waited for the results. Since Kuenn was active duty Navy, detectives brought in the Naval Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) in Mayport, Florida to assist with the interrogation.

On July 15, 1998, the NCIS used the interrogation to push Kuenn into a confession. Investigators had no physical evidence linking Kuenn to the scene but that didn’t stop them from bluffing and hoping Kuenn would cave. Kuenn eventually admitted to investigators that the whole thing was an accident and he brought Carol to the lake to cover up the crime. Kuenn claimed that Carol tripped and fell and became unconscious so he took off her clothes to make it look like someone else did it. Despite Kuenn’s tears, detectives believed he was lying because Carol’s injuries did not come from an accidental trip and fall; they came from blunt force trauma and strangulation. Kuenn was charged with murder, convicted, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for twenty-five years.

“Kuenn recalled the fateful night when he and Carol met at the house under construction. They kissed but the young woman was reluctant to have sex with him. As she struggled, her screams rang out through the foggy night air. Kuenn, under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, hit her with a 2 by 4 to quiet her. He then dumped her in the pond, where she drowned, according to the autopsy.” –Tampa Bay Times

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16-year-old Carol Hutto is a dependable friend, daughter and sister. She’s a good student, loves wrestling and hanging out with friends. So when she misses her curfew one evening, her mother knows something awful has happened. -Swamp Murders


Navy Petty Officer Elise Makdessi Double Crossed & Murdered by Husband Eddie who Came Up with a Better Plan Yielding him $700,000 in Life Insurance (1996)


Elise Makdessi, US Navy

Navy Petty Officer Elise Makdessi worked as an Air Traffic Controller at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia. Elise was married to Eddie Makdessi for five years and they lived off base in Virginia Beach. Elise unknowingly helped plan, organize, and carry out her own murder and it is unclear if she was a willing participant in the original plot with Eddie to scam the government out of money or if she was controlled by Eddie. Eddie Makdessi murdered Elise Makdessi and Navy Petty Officer Quincy Brown on May 14, 1996 as part of an elaborate scam. The whole thing was a set up. Elise thought she was part of an arrangement where she would invite Quincy Brown to the house, have sex with him, then accuse him of rape. She also manufactured evidence to make it look like she was documenting sexual abuse in an effort to sue the Navy and make millions. She had journals and created what looked like a rehearsed video outlining what four Navy men, including Quincy Brown, did to her on the job.

Five years earlier in 1991 the Navy Tailhook scandal in Nevada made national headlines. Navy Lieutenant Paula Coughlin was one of the alleged victims who went public with her story. Two years before Elise and Quincy were murdered, Paula Coughlin won 1.7 million after suing the Las Vegas Hilton hotel where the Tailhook Association convention was held. Eddie must have convinced Elise that they too could make millions if they alleged that Elise was sexually assaulted on the job. What they didn’t realize is that you can’t sue the Navy; Coughlin won a lawsuit against the Hilton hotel. The Feres Doctrine prevents any soldier or their family from suing the Department of Defense for compensatory damages. Investigators believe that knowledge of this information gave Eddie and Elise Makdessi the motive to come up with the false accusation scheme to sue the Navy. Eddie was a scammer and always looking for new ways to make quick money. Elise didn’t know she was double crossed until Eddie was plunging the knife. A month before the murders, Eddie purchased $700,000 worth of life insurance on Elise.

Eddie and Elise Makdessi invited Petty Officer Quincy Brown over to the house under the guise of having a threesome. DNA evidence revealed that Elise and Quincy Brown had sex. Investigators would learn that Eddie shot Quincy first, then stabbed Elise. He hurt himself to make it appear that Quincy invaded the house, knocked him out, raped and killed Elise, and then he awoke from unconsciousness and shot the intruder. Eddie staged the crime scene and he almost got away with it. But investigators figured out this was a ‘set up’ based on the crime scene evidence, interviews with Elise’s co-workers, the video tape, and the large insurance policy. They were also savvy enough to recognize that this was a copycat case. Elise’s sexual harassment and sexual assault claims were in fact fabricated. All the men she accused of sex crimes in the video passed a polygraph examination and her supervisors testified that Elise never reported sexual harassment or sexual assault like she claimed in her video testimony. Unfortunately Quincy Brown was the pawn they used in their game and he never got the chance to see that the allegations were proven false.

Eddie was indicted in 2001. But by the time investigators were ready to arrest Eddie Makdessi for the murder of Elise Makdessi and Quincy Brown, Eddie had fled the country. They eventually caught up with him in Russia. Unfortunately, Russia did not have an extradition treaty with the United States so police could not force Eddie to come back to the states. Mike Mather, an investigative reporter, went to Russia to interview Makdessi and learned that he was remarried with a child yet things weren’t going so well for Eddie financially in Russia. After that interview, Eddie decided to leave his wife and child in Russia and go back to America to face the charges. He was going to prove his innocence and clear his name. He was sure he would beat the charges. It would be ten years after he committed the first degree murders of Elise and Quincy Brown before he went to trial. In 2006, Eddie Makdessi was convicted of two counts of murder, sentenced to life in prison, and ordered to pay a $202,500 fine. The motive was the life insurance money. He used the $700,000 payout to travel the world before settling in Russia. Eddie continues to deny committing the crimes.

Elise Makdessi’s sister, Dawn Crosby, asked the jury to “show Eddie Makdessi that my sister’s life was worth more than $700,000.” -The Virginia-Pilot

Learn more: Servicemen’s Group Life Insurance is a Common Motive for Murder

Related Links:
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Forensic Files Sex Crimes Double Cross 1
Forensic Files Sex Crimes Double Cross 2
Unusual Suspects: Deadly Accusations (Amazon Video)
Unusual Suspects: Deadly Accusations (ID YouTube)

When a Naval Officer is apparently raped and stabbed by a coworker, a mysterious VHS tape suggests the victim may have been silenced to prevent a scandal. Dogged investigation and cutting edge forensic science reveals a shocking murder plot. -Discovery ID