Mysteries are fun to think about when they’re on TV and in books, but they’re a little darker and more tragic when they’re in your home state and home town. Here are five of West Virginia’s disturbing unsolved mysteries.
1. The murder of Sister Roberta Elam
Sister Roberta Elam was found raped and strangled to death in broad daylight at Mount St. Joseph in Wheeling. She had been on silent retreat and had gone out to a secluded area to meditate when she was killed, according to media reports. No one has ever been charged in the nun's death.
2.. The murder of Irene Wilson
Irene Wilson was 52 in 1963 when she was brutally stabbed over 50 times and killed in her home at Broomstick in Calhoun County, according to the Hur Herald. Though some suspected her husband, no one has ever been charged in her death. Her husband died a few months after his wife. Irene, who is described as a well-liked Christian lady, was killed one night as her husband was at work as a nightwatchman. When he called Irene and got no response, he became worried and called a neighbor to check on her. The neighbor sent two teenager girls, who discovered the gruesome murder.
3. The disappearance of the Sodder children
On Christmas Eve in 1945, the Sodder home in Fayetteville burned down. Four children survived the blaze but five children went missing and no trace of their remains was ever found. Their parents believed the fire to be a cover for their abduction, even though the local coroner declared them all dead. A billboard was erected nearby to seek tips on where the children might be. Investigators were also hired to seek them out. There have been no suspects in their disappearance but some have speculated that an illegal child-selling agency took them, according to Unsolved Mysteries Wiki.
4. The murder of LaRoy Earl Gorman
Gorman, a 62-year-old businessman, was shot execution style while he got in his car at the Steak & Ale restaurant in Charleston, according to media reports. Police believed a car had been waiting there for him for more than an hour. Four witnesses reportedly spoke with police but police believed there were others who declined to come forward, according to WestVirginianews.blogspot.com.
5. The death of Danny Casolaro
Casolaro, a freelance writer and reporter, was found dead in a bathtub in Martinsburg in 1991. His wrists had been slashed 10 to 12 times and a note was found. His death was ruled suicide but his family argued he had instead been murdered. His brother said that Danny had been receiving harassing phone calls, some of which were threatening. They also argued that he was squeamish about blood and that if he were to have committed suicide, he would not have done it by slitting his wrists. Some believe Danny was killed by a clandestine government agency, but no evidence of murder was ever found.
These were just some of the Mountain State’s unsolved mysteries. Did I miss any? Let me know in the comments.