Terrible things happen everywhere, even in Nevada. We can only hope that law enforcement will be able to bring the victims to justice. Unfortunately, in spite of the hard work of investigators, cases sometimes go cold, suspects go free and the community is left without answers. Oftentimes these cases remain open for several years. Here are nine disturbing unsolved mysteries that happened in Nevada:
1. Cancer Outbreak in Fallon
The farming town of Fallon is located about 50 miles northeast of Carson City. Between 1997 and 2000, 17 children in this small community were diagnosed with similar cases of childhood leukemia.
Authorities feel the outbreak in this town of around 7,000 people was more than a coincidence. Suspected causes included arsenic and mercury in nearby lakes and rivers, farm pesticides, radiation from underground atomic tests of the 1960s and jet fuel. Experts are now looking toward ground deposits of cobalt and tungsten. None of these theories have been confirmed.
Three of the effected children eventually died and it remains one of Nevada's unsolved mysteries.
2. Tupac is shot.
Prolific rapper Tupac Shakur was gunned down at a Las Vegas intersection on September 7, 1996 after attending the Mike Tyson v. Bruce Seldon boxing match at MGM Grand. He was driving with recording studio CEO Marion "Suge" Knight and bodyguards to Suge's nearby nightclub when a white Cadillac pulled up alongside them and shot Shakur. The rapper died six days later.
It is thought that the shooting may have been one of retaliation. A camera at the MGM Grand shows Tupac and his entourage involved in the beating of an alleged rival gang member just a few hours earlier. Conspiracy theorists think he faked his own death and is living in another country under an assumed identity.
Tupac’s killer is still unknown.
3. Jean Moore vanishes.
It’s almost as if Jean Moore vanished into thin air. It was April 1992 when Moore and her fiancé Al Henderson went on vacation in Laughlin. Henderson said Moore was playing her favorite slot machine on April 9, and that’s the last time he saw her.
Moore's family was suspicious of Henderson. During the investigation, his story changed a few times and conflicted with evidence from security cameras. Investigators began to wonder whether Moore ever even made it to Laughlin.
Henderson died in 2001. Moore’s disapparance remains unsolved.
4. Las Vegas Strip Casino Heist
Casino heists are rare, and when they do happen they’re usually unsuccessful. But in 1992, a former sports book cashier at the former Stardust Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas got away with half-a-million dollars. It was Bill Brennan’s lunch break when he walked off the job with more than $500,000 in stolen cash and chips. Somehow the crime went undetected by casino cameras.
It is believed Brennan may have had an accomplice, a gambler he had befriended in the casino. Neither he nor the accomplice were caught and police speculate that the accomplice killed Brennan and took the money.
5. Disappearance of Star Palumbo
On April 26, 2000, 25-year-old Star Palumbo was found wandering around a restricted area of the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. The police did not arrest her. Instead she was dropped off at a nearby hotel.
The next day, authorities found Palumbo’s car illegally parked at the airport with her cell phone, cash, books on changing one’s identity, and copies of e-mails sent to the White House claiming the federal government wanted to kill her. Investigators learned that Palumbo was suffering from a methamphetamine addiction and may have been hallucinating. Her mom spoke to her before her disappearance and said Palumbo claimed she was being followed.
Palumbo remains missing, although there was an unconfirmed sighting eight months later by a casino owner in Elko.
6. Murder of Terri McClure
Terri McClure disappeared after leaving her son Tim’s wedding in Lake Tahoe to return to her home in Reno on January 14, 1983. She was found dead in her car three days later in a Carson City casino parking lot.
Police became suspicious of Tim due to his strange behavior after the murder, including canceling her credit card before she was known to have disappeared. Also, Terri had taken out a $10,000 life insurance policy with Tim as the co-beneficiary a few months earlier.
Tim was arrested after his case aired on the television show "Unsolved Mysteries," but the case was dismissed when the D.A. declined to prosecute. Some of Tim’s family members have publicly stated they believe he is guilty.
7. Grandpa Bandit
In September 1991, an elderly man with a gun walked into a Las Vegas bank and forced workers to affix bombs to their wrists. The bombs turned out to be fake, but the man got away with the contents of the vault. The robber was nicknamed “Grandpa Bandit” due to his age. Also because of his age, this may forever remain one of Nevada's unsolved mysteries.
8. Suspected murder of Boxer Sonny Liston
Boxer Sonny Liston was found dead in his Las Vegas home on December 30, 1970. Authorities ruled his death an accidental drug overdose, but it’s largely believed he was murdered. Theories range from Liston’s refusal to throw a match against Chuck Wepner to a possible mob hit to his alleged involvement in a loan-sharking ring.
9. Zodiac Killer Strikes Stateline?
A Stateline casino nurse, Donna Lass, 25, disappeared after work on September 6, 1970. Her car was found parked at her apartment with no signs of a struggle. She may have been a victim of the infamous Zodiac Killer, a serial killer who claimed 37 murder victims (seven of whom who were confirmed by investigators) during the 1960s and 1970s.
Have you heard about the cases above or any of Nevada’s other disturbing unsolved mysteries? Let us know in the comments below. Be safe!