• True Crime

    True Crime Wednesday: The Murder of Nikki McPhatter

    Nikki McPhatter’s story caught my attention after seeing it featured on the Investigation Discovery show “Web of Lies.” She was a 30-year-old woman working in Charlotte at the time of her disappearance. A goal-oriented person who always seemed to know what that next step was, she joined the Navy shortly after graduating from high school. After her time in the military, she took a job as a ticket agent for U.S. Airways at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport. She was an adventurous young woman who, according to her older sister LaToya, also enjoyed skydiving in her downtime. She turned to online dating hoping to find companionship. It was on a website called Tagged.com…

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    True Crime Wednesday: The Murder of Sherry Hart in North Carolina

    This case was featured on “Unsolved Mysteries” on December 1, 1995. Hart was a recently divorced 24-year-old young mother who had moved back to live with her parents in West Jefferson, N.C. when she went missing after an evening out in January of 1984. For months her family wondered what had happened to her, and then her body was found on December 10, 1984, at the base of a cliff near an area called Jumpinoff Rock. Investigators received some tips about Hart’s murder after a $5,000 reward was publicized. They discovered two local men named Richard Bare and Jeffrey Burgess had met up with Hart the night she went missing, and talked her…

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    True Crime Wednesday: What Happened to Jamie Fraley?

    Jamie Fraley was a young 22-year-old from Gastonia who had lived most of her life with bipolar disorder and anxiety, but according to friends and family, she was on a medication that was working for her and excited about the future. She was taking classes at Gaston Community College and living in a nearby apartment. She was also engaged at the time to a young man named Ricky Simonds Junior. They had been living together until he was arrested and charged with theft. Despite his arrest, Fraley was supportive of Ricky Junior and stood by him while he served out his sentence. She was living alone at the apartment, but Ricky’s father, Ricky…

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    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…

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    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,…

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    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…

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    True Crime Wednesday: The Murder of Karen Styles

    It was Halloween of 1994. Karen was a 22-year-old recent graduate of Western Carolina University, which is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina. Due to its location in the Western North Carolina mountains, the school attracts thousands of students each year who love exploring all the area has to offer. Styles had probably run in wooded trails while in college numerous times without a second thought. But on this day in 1994, she never returned from her 8 a.m. run in the Pisgah National Forest, just a few miles away from where she had been staying at her parents home in nearby town of Candler. Her car was found later that evening in the…