• True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The N.C. Murders of Viktor Gunnarsson and Catherine Miller

    North Carolina isn’t exactly the place where one would expect to find a man suspected of being involved with the assassination of the Prime Minister of Sweden hiding out. Nor would they expect the man would be murdered as the result of a love triangle and not his troubles abroad. But that’s what happened to Viktor Gunnarsson in December 1993. On Feb. 28, 1986, Prime Minister Olof Palme was exiting a movie theater on a busy street in Stockholm when he was shot and killed. His wife, Lisbet, sustained injuries during the attack but survived. Because Gunnarsson, known to be a staunch right-wing extremist at the time, was spouting off hate speech about…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The Murder of Foy Dixon Cooper

    Author David Aaron Moore shared the story of Foy Dixon Cooper in his book Charlotte: Murder, Mystery and Mayhem. At around 5 p.m. on Sunday, September 20, 1959, a group of young boys gathered in the Elmwood Cemetery in Charlotte to play and chase squirrels and chipmunks like they often did. Playing in a cemetery could involve quite a bit of creative role playing for energetic children, so when one boy, Dale Jackson, dared Ronnie McCauley to enter a nearby crypt so he could meet Dracula, the youngster didn’t back down. McCauley stuck his hand and then his head into the opening of the crypt, screaming, “Hey, there’s a real dead woman in…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: William Dathan Holbert

    He was known to his friends as “Wild Bill Cortez” on the small islands of Bocas del Toro, a Caribbean enclave in Panama popular with tourists and expats. But what no one knew was that “Wild Bill” was actually a fugitive from North Carolina who had found the perfect paradise to fund a lifestyle he felt he deserved. In reality, the man was named William Dathan Holbert and he grew up in Hendersonville, N.C., where he played football at North Henderson High School, started up his own landscaping business after graduation, got married and fathered three children. In 2004, while working at a fitness chain in the Asheville area called The Body Shop,…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The Murder of Christina Maria Matos

    Christina Maria Matos was just trying to help out a friend, but the generosity she was so well known for likely caused her death. Matos had just turned 20 and was living in an apartment in Raleigh, N.C. and working as a server in a couple of different restaurants. Last semester she had taken courses at nearby Wake Tech Community College. Her parents spoke to her on her birthday, Fri., April 2, 2021, and she was excited to be going out with friends. When they didn’t hear from her for the rest of the weekend, they grew concerned, because it wasn’t like her not to respond to their calls or texts. When she…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: An Update in the Kristin Smart Case

    In January of last year I wrote about the podcast, Your Own Backyard, which Chris Lambert created and produced. Smart’s disappearance has always been a sad mystery to me, because she went missing from her university in California at the same time I was attending college in North Carolina. She was a 19-year old student at Cal Polytechnic State University attending an off-campus party when she became intoxicated and walked home with two classmates, one being a young man named Paul Flores who was questioned after she went missing. I always had a sinking feeling harm came to Smart and because she was inebriated, she was unable to defend herself properly (FYI–Paul Flores…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The Craft of Writing on the Strange and Sinister

    In addition to writing about true crime here, I’ve also shared my story of honing the craft over at WOW! Women on Writing. Here are a just a few of the posts I’ve written on the topic, and it’s fun to see my progression go from just a spark to a fully-developed project or idea. How to Write Compelling True Crime. In this post I share how I came up with the idea to start up Missing in the Carolinas, and how it evolved from being just a missing persons podcast to one that mixes in solved cases and reviews of other true crime shows and books. I also used this content to…

  • Mystery,  True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: Who Was Mecklenburg Jane Doe?

    Did you know Mecklenburg County in North Carolina has a cold case featuring an unidentified deceased woman whose loved ones may be missing her? Investigators with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department have given her the name of “Mecklenburg County Doe.” On March 17, 2011, the incomplete skeletal remains of a female were found in a wooded area on Statesville Avenue in Charlotte. The woman, who was estimated to be between the ages of 20-30 years old, was white or Hispanic. She weighed around 110 pounds when she died. The manner and cause of death have not been released at this time. She was wearing a small white t-shirt with the words “Virginia Beach, Virginia”…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: What Happened to Bruce Ruffin of Charlotte, N.C.?

    The murder of Bruce Ruffin remains an open cold case for Mecklenburg County in North Carolina. Although he went missing on April 19, 1986, investigators assumed pretty early on that the 50-year-old had met with foul play. Ruffin was a resident of Midland, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte. At the time of his disappearance he was a married father of four who owned Dart Enterprise, a real estate firm located in uptown Charlotte. Ruffin had moved to Charlotte from Greensboro in the mid 1960s. He was a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and had started out his career running a construction company with his brothers. While he was in college,…

  • Mystery,  True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The 5 Minutes of True Crime Series

    I’ll be perfectly honest. I have a hard time watching myself on video. Is that really what I look like talking to people in person? You don’t want to know the thoughts that race through my head when I see myself on camera! But I also know so many people who are trying to promote themselves or a product they’ve created venture into places like IGTV and YouTube with videos designed to raise awareness for their work. With deep trepidation, I began this process slowly. First, I created a YouTube channel but only put one teaser trailer video on it. Then I began realizing how much content I write that people may never…

  • True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The Murder of Realtor Margo Dilemon

    Margo Dilemon was a 39-year-old real estate agent living in Clearwater, Fla. when she mysteriously vanished on the job. She had an appointment to show some prospective homes to buyers on Oct. 3, 1981. But when the couple came into the real estate office where she worked, her colleagues hadn’t see her, even though her car was still in the parking lot. Dilemon was estranged from her husband Bob at the time and had a teenage daughter who lived with her grandparents in Texas. Her co-workers made a few calls and discovered Bob was out of town in New York and he had last spoken to her the night before she went missing…