West Virginia has its fair share of unsolved mysteries. Families have been left heartbroken and without answers to what happened to their loved ones. It is difficult to move on when you lose a loved one, but even harder when you don’t know what happened to them or who hurt them.
Here is a look at 5 of West Virginia’s disturbing and unsolved mysteries.
1. The Sodder Children
Back 1945, on Christmas Eve, a family home belonging to the Sodders caught fire while the family slept. The mother, father, two oldest sons, and the youngest daughter survived the blaze. The five middle children disappeared without a trace. No bodily remains were discovered among the ashes. George and Jennie Sodder believed the fire was set to cover up the abduction of the five children.
The Sodders spent their entire life savings on detectives, who they hired to search for their children. The Sodders had several pieces of evidence and an eyewitness who backed up the family’s claim that their children had been kidnapped.
In 1968 the family received a photograph in the mail that they believed was a photo of their missing son Louis. On the back of the photo this was written: “Louis Sodder, I love brother Frankie boys A90132.” The Sodders hired detective C.C. Tinsley to investigate the photo, but soon after that, Tinsley himself disappeared and was never heard from again.
The family erected a giant billboard near where there house once stood with the missing children’s photos on it. Law enforcement refused to investigate the missing children’s whereabouts and they were declared legally dead by the coroner. George Sodder died of a broken heart in 1969 and Jennie passed away in 1988 without ever knowing what happened to her beloved children.
2. Harpers Ferry Remains
In 1996 an off duty ranger discovered a steamer trunk beside the road near the entrance of the Harpers Ferry National Historic Park. She decided to report it in the morning, but hours later a sheriff’s deputy came upon the taped up trunk.
Upon opening the trunk, the officer discovered a duffel bag. Unzipping the duffel bag, he discovered another duffel bag. Inside the second duffel bag he found old clothes and a human hand. He called in officials who then discovered a body in the trunk buried under clothes. The man was estimated to be in his 70s wearing only a pajama top. He was emaciated, weighing only 111 pounds and standing 5’7.”
Officials created a computer generated likeness of the victim to get help from the public in identifying him, but no one ever stepped up. Despite taking fingerprints and checking dental records, police have never been able to identify who he was. He was buried as a John Doe.
3. Danny Casolaro
Danny Casolaro was a reporter who was found dead in a hotel bathroom near the town of Martinsburg on August 10, 1991. He had traveled to Martinsburg to meet with a source who had information on a story he was working on.
Both of Casolaro’s wrists were slashed. Authorities ruled his death a suicide, but his family believes that he was murdered because he was writing a story about government corruption and conspiracies. Many people at the time believed Casolaro was killed by a secret government agency known as “The Octopus.”
4. James Johansen
James Johansen disappeared on Wednesday, June 12, 2007 from Greenbrier County. He had just sold his car and was believed to be traveling to Ohio to purchase a new one. It is unknown how he was getting Ohio or if he ever arrived. His family and friends stated that it was very unusual for him to disappear and not make contact. He has now been missing for 9 years and no clues have ever been discovered.
5. Annita Price
Annita Price’s children have not seen their beloved mother in 42 years. Annita was last seen leaving the Flamingo Club in Benwood, where she worked, on May 30, 1974. Her car was found abandoned on WV Route 2 at 12th street in McMechan. Annita has distinctive scars on her left torso and arm from being severely burned as a young child. Officials believe foul play is connected to her disappearance. Despite 42 years passing, her family and friends continue to search for her.
These 5 unsolved mysteries are heartbreaking and chances are the families will never get the answers they’ve searched so long for.