Scary Mysteries of the Month is a compilation of the weird, disturbing and downright baffling stories currently happening in our world. From UFOs to serial killers, ancient sites, mysterious creatures and even ghosts – these are the strange & Scary Mysteries of the month for October 2018.
5. Celia Arozamena
Celia Arozamena had a radiant smile. She was friendly, competitive and a talented golfer. On September 17, the 22-year old headed to the Coldwater Golf Links golf course in Ames, Iowa to get in some exercise and early morning practice. But hours later, she was found dead – having been repeatedly stabbed in the neck and torso. Her body was then dumped in a pond next to the no.9 tee box.
She was born and raised in Reocin, Spain, a town near the Northern Coast. After graduating from high school as a top junior golf athlete in the country, she decided to play collegiate golf in the United States at Iowa State University. She enrolled in 2014 as a Civil Engineering student.
On the golf course she dominated immediately, earning top awards and was selected as part of the all-Big 12 first team. Recently she had won the Big 12 Championship and qualified to play at the 2018 United States Women’s Open on the LPGA Tour.
Celia was playing by herself and was attacked as she was finishing up the first nine holes. Her unattended golf bag was found by other players at 10:20 am and they reported it to the police. An hour later, authorities found the womans body a short distance away, in the pond. They tracked her scent using police dogs and it led to a wooded area off the course. It was here they encountered a man who first mentioned the prime suspect name – Collin Richards. The man explained that Richards had previously told him about his desires to “rape and kill a woman.”
Police followed the trail and found two tents, one of which belonged to the suspect. As they were searching, Richards approached them. Officers noticed Richards had fresh scratches to his face and tried to hide a laceration on his left hand.
Investigators also spoke to another acquaintance of Richards who told them he showed up at their home near the golf course on Monday afternoon, appearing “disheveled and covered in blood, sand and water.” Richards used their house to take a bath and washed his clothes then asked for a ride to Jefferson, Iowa. Richards also gave them a knife. As they were driving to Jefferson, Richards asked if they could stop by the encampment because he forgot his tent. It’s there when they found police searching the tents. Police retrieved the knife Richards gave away and also found two blood-stained shorts in his backpack.
According to records, Richards has had prior arrests including suspicion of breaking into his grandparent’s home, public intoxication and a history of domestic abuse charges.
The death of Celia Arozamena comes just months after the abduction and killing of another Iowa State University student, Mollie Tibbetts, who was said to have been killed by Cristhian Rivera, while she was out jogging through a country farm.
4. Dog saves man from 50 years in prison
There are times when convictions get overturned because of new evidence, but in the case of this Redmond, Oregon man accused of sexual assault, it took a Black Lab to save him from 50 years in prison.
A plumber by trade, 42-year old, James Horner, was accused of sexually molesting a minor and was found guilty by a non-unanimous jury. He was sentenced by the judge to 50 years in prison based on victim testimony and without any concrete physical evidence.
According to the victim, Horner threatened to kill her pets if she told police about the molestation. She added that to prove his point, Horner shot her dog, Lucy, in front of her, killing the animal.
Horner was found guilty in of March 2017 and began serving his prison sentence. While in prison, a non-profit organization helping wrongfully accused inmates called the Oregon Innocence Project (OIP), sent out forms and Horner filled them out. He insisted he did not kill the dog and that if the dog could be found then it would prove the victim lied under oath.
The Innocence project began looking into the case. A volunteer tried tracking the black Lab down but it was reportedly given away. They attempted to track the owner but couldn’t find him. They looked in Deschutes County and then in Seattle, then along the Oregon Coast. Once in that area, in Gearhart, the group finally found Lucy, the black labrador. Tests were done and there was no doubt it was the same dog.
With the confirmation, it showed the girl lied during her testimony under oath. Lucy, the dog, had not been shot. And in fact, was alive and well.
As a result, the Oregon Court of Appeals reversed the guilty ruling and ordered a new trial. Eventually, the second trial was dropped and James Horner was released from prison and is now a free man. Upon his release, after more then a year behind bars, Horner thanked the Oregon Innocence Project for “helping me get it right.”
3. College Football Player Kills Girlfriend
He said, he “wanted to be her hero” and come to her rescue. Former Division III College football player, William Gaul who was (19) from Knoxville, Tennessee, was arrested for the murder of his ex-girlfriend, 16-year old, Emma Walker.
Both teens started dating while still students at Central High School in Knoxville. But after two years of dating, the couple broke up. Gaul couldn’t handle it and began stalking and following Walker in hopes of winning her back. Two nights before she was killed, Walker received unusual text messages while walking to a friend’s house before finding Gaul in a ditch saying he had been kidnapped. The next day, Walker saw a man fully dressed in black walking around in her neighborhood. Afterwards, the same man attempted to scare her by banging on her door.
On a morning in November of2016, Emma’s mother, Jill went into her room to wake her up. She says Emma is usually easy to wake up but this time around, she didn’t respond. She called her name and bumped her leg but still nothing. Then she looked at her face and checked her pulse but couldn’t find any. She doesn’t remember much of what happened next but knew she called 911.
When police arrived on the scene, they found two gunshot holes through the wall that came from the outside. One bullet hit Emma’s pillow while another hit her behind the left ear, killing her instantly.
During investigation, only one name kept popping up, William Gaul. It didn’t help that he began acting strangely after Walker’s death, and his friends began fearing for his well-being. Gaul told a friend soon after he was afraid for his life – that he had stolen his grandfather’s gun and even showed it to his friend. His friend, Alex McCarthy, was afraid he would commit suicide. But Gaul assured him he wasn’t, and he was just scared of these people supposedly out to “get him and Emma.”
When police questioned Gaul, his answers were vague. He also denied showing the gun to McCarty. After the police interview, Gaul texted McCarty asking him why he told police about the gun. McCarty spoke with Gaul and told him he didn’t have any reason to hide the weapon from police if he was innocent. Soon, Gaul started acting even more erratic and talked about getting rid of the gun without admitting anything. His two friends decided to work with police and get William to show them the gun.
They wore wires and accompanied Gaul to a river where he said he would dump the gun and the black clothing he was wearing during the attack. Once they got there, William put on gloves and meticulously pulled out clothing and other items from a trash bag. Once he showed his friends the gun, the police came in and arrested Gaul.
Investigators believe the young man faked the kidnapping scheme and stalked Walker’s neighborhood and banged on her door. He was trying to create potential suspects once he attacked her. Although the defense argued otherwise, prosecutors said Gaul was familiar enough with Walker’s home and neighborhood as well as knew intimate details about where to point the gun to maximize damage.
This year, after a week of testimony with more than 30 witnesses, a jury found William Gaul guilty of first degree murder, along with reckless endangerment, stalking, theft and posession of a firearm. He was sentenced to life in prison with a mandatory 51 years before he would be eligible for parole.
2. Valentino Dixon
After spending 27 years inside prison for murder, 48-year old, Buffalo, New York native Valentino Dixon is a free man. Jailed in the infamous Attica Correctional Facility for the murder of Torriano Jackson, both Dixon and Jackson were attending a loud street party in August of 1991. During the party, a fistfight broke out which then turned into a gunfire. Dixon brought a gun but it was another man, LaMarr Scott, who took responsibility for the shooting and killing. Even though Scott was captured on videotape confessing to the crime, it was still Dixon that was charged with murder.
During his stay in jail, he kept himself busy by rekindling his love for art. He drew animals and portraits but eventually found solace in creating detailed renderings of gold courses while in Attica. According to him, he “didn’t know anything about golf.” Eventually, one of the wardens brought him a picture of a golf course and asked him to draw it which he did. He created over 100 drawings and paintings of golf courses before it eventually caught the attention of Golf Digest.
It was Golf Digest magazine that first created the profile of Dixon. They also noticed his conviction and trial was flimsy. There was shoddy police work and almost no physical evidence tying Dixon to the shooting. His public defender didn’t even call a witness to his trial and perjury was lobbied against those who came forward stating Dixon wasn’t the shooter.
Even though Dixon’s past isn’t spotless, in fact, he sold cocaine prior to his arrest, his appeals argue he isn’t a murderer.
Since Golf Digest published the profile, it led to more media interest and national spotlights. Dixon’s daughter, Valentina, also held a grassroots campaign to raise money for legal fees by selling Dixon’s artwork online. Even though Dixon exhausted his appeals by 2017 there was still no news on whether he would get pardon or clemency from the Mayor’s office. But just this year, he was finally freed after his case received considerable media attention. His case was vacated and he was deemed innocent of the murder charge for which he was incarcerated. After his release, Dixon said he was going to “go to Red Lobster to celebrate” with family, friends and his support team.
1. The Shooting of Botham Jean
In what is described as one of the worst police shootings to happen this year, Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger shot Botham Jean inside his apartment in the South Side Flats Complex in Texas.
According to Guyger’s statement, the officer came home from her job and entered what she believed to have been her own apartment. Apparently tho she was mistaken and headed one floor above hers. The layout for the apartments were almost identical and somehow she didn’t notice. She pulled out her key and pushed it in and the door opened, simply because it was already unlocked. She said the apartment was dark and she saw a “large silhouette” across the room. The officer said she believed she faced a burglar and drew her firearm and “gave verbal commands” which she said Jean ignored. She fired on the victim twice, and only then entered the apartment. She called 911 and turned on the lights only to realize she was in the wrong apartment.
Within four minutes, police arrived and they attempted to revive Jean. He was rushed to the hospital but it was to late and he was pronounced dead.
As the story broke, complications and outrage began pouring out. Her testimony was also questioned since a witness reported a woman yelling “Let me in! Let me in!” before the shots were fired. It was followed by a man’s voice saying, “Oh my God. Why did you do that?”
Moreover, it took police a full three days to arrest the officer. Even though there was enough evidence to issue an arrest warrant, it was stayed by the Texas Rangers, stating they wanted to get the officer’s side first. Eventually, Guyger’s warrant was issued and she was only charged for manslaughter, although this is expected to be amended later on. Her bail was set at $300,000 which she posted.
Many contend preferential treatment was given to her since she was a cop. Others also argue that by the time she forced open Jean’s door, she became a criminal – an armed home invader and it should have been Jean who had the right to defend himself. All the evidence points to her intentionally shooting the victim since there was no struggle between the two.
On the other side, many are accusing Amber, even her family, as being aracist or having racist leanings. Several photographs of her and her family are being shown around as proof of his.
Currently, the case remains open and the investigation is ongoing. Officer Guyger has been fired from the police force and is currently awaiting trial.
So there were the strange and scary mysteries of the month for October 2018
Everyday, we encounter scary and mysterious stories that many of us don’t know what to make of. These are just a handful, but there’s still so much more to discover.
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LINKS AND SOURCES:
5. Celia Baraquin Arozamena
4. Dog Saves Man from 50 years in prison
3. College Football Player Kills Girlfriend
2. Convict Freed
1. Amber Guyger