10 Incredibly Tragic Unsolved Child Murders

We live in a truly terrible world where children are preyed upon, abducted, raped, assaulted and murdered.

SEE ALSO: 10 Absolutely Brutal Child Killers

Thousands of child murders are never solved, and their killers never brought to justice. Police spend decades trying to bring closure to families. Parents die without ever knowing who was responsible for their child’s murder.

On this list are 10 such cases. Tragic, devastating, and seemingly forever unsolved.

10 Carol Ann Stephens


On 7 April 1959, 6-year old Carol Ann Stephens ran up to her mother, Mavis, and happily told her she was going outside to play. The little girl left her house in Cardiff, Wales and was never seen alive again.

Her disappearance drew huge search efforts from police and residents alike. Indications were that Carol had been abducted, therefore ports were monitored, and cars stopped, all in a desperate attempt to stop the abductor from taking her out of the country. Residents searched outbuildings and sheds for any sign of the girl.

Two weeks from the day she vanished, a surveyor made a tragic discovery: Carol’s body floating inside a river culvert near Horeb. Someone had suffocated her and thrown her into the water.
During the murder investigation, some of Carol’s friends told police that the little girl told them about a “new uncle” she had befriended, who liked taking her for drives. Witnesses came forward to say they had seen Carol talking to a man in a car on the day she went missing.

This “man” was never found and Carol Ann Stephens’ murder remains unsolved to this day.[1]

9 Siphamandla Madikane


In November 2013, 10-year old Siphamandla Madikane went missing while playing with friends in the Ramaphosa informal settlement in Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg. When his friends were questioned by police, they all reported a man watching them play and eventually approaching them. The man asked whether one of the boys wanted to go with him to make a phone call to his girlfriend. He offered them R5 to do so. Siphamandla had apparently agreed to accompany the man.

A couple of days later, a member of the community was walking through the veld when he stumbled across a body. It was Siphamandla. His pants and underwear had been pulled down, a sock was stuffed in his mouth, there were stab wounds to his neck and he had been burnt. Next to the body lay a used condom.

The murder shocked residents and devastated Siphamandla’s parents. Investigation continues, but to date, no suspect has been arrested for this horrific crime.[2]

8 Baby Victor


On 14 March 1986, a public works employee found the body of a newborn baby boy on the ground at Lake Mohegan. The infant was wrapped in pyjamas, laid down on burlap, and covered in plastic. Surrounding him was coins, scraps of food and fruit. An autopsy showed that Baby Victor, as he was named by police, died of suffocation. His injuries included face mutilations and a broken jaw. He was alive at birth and lived for only 1 day before he was brutally murdered.

Police investigation revealed that Baby Victor may have been born in a bathroom stall in a building that housed a bank data-processing center. Employees at the centre reported hearing screaming from the bathroom the day before Baby Victor was found. They also claimed to have heard a baby crying. A cleaning crew found a large amount of blood in the bathroom and cleaned it up without delay. This meant there were no traces for police to investigate.

It is thought that Victor’s mother may have been a runaway teen. Tips received from the public indicated that the baby’s father was in a gang which meant they could have killed the baby and made it look like a ritual killing.

However, to this day, Baby Victor’s parents and his killer have yet to be found.[3]

7 Rikki Neave


Rikki Neave had a terrible life before it abruptly ended at the age of 6. By the time he was 3 years old, his mother had repeatedly left him outside in the cold in the dead of night, crying until neighbors called social services. Residents of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire reported seeing Ruth Neave dangling her son over a bridge and writing ‘idiot’ on his forehead in felt-tip pen. She washed his mouth out with washing-up liquid and burned him with matches. Ruth also punched Rikki in the face, kicked him and often sent him out at night to fetch drugs.

On 28 November 1994 Rikki left for school and never returned. His naked body was found the following day in the woods close to his home. He had been strangled.

Ruth Neave stood trial for her son’s murder two years later but was acquitted by a jury. She was however sentenced to 7 years in prison for extreme child neglect.
Rikki Neave’s murder remains unsolved.[4]

6 Clare Morrison


On 18 December 1992, 13-year old Clare Morrison and her friend visited Geelong Mall in Victoria, Australia. Clare told her friend she was going to take the bus home to fetch some money for Christmas shopping. She never returned.

The following day her near-naked body was discovered near Bells Beach. She had been beaten, strangled and bitten by a shark. 18-year old Shane McLaren told police that he saw her getting into a blue car with two men. It took several months for the police to realize that McLaren lied, and they arrested him for perjury. He also remains the sole suspect in the murder, but he maintains his innocence.
Recently Clare’s brother Andrew petitioned for a $50 000 reward for any information that would lead to an arrest for her murder.

Investigation continues, but to date no new information has been obtained. [5]

5 Baby in the mail bag

On 11 May 1965, Darwin postal clerk John Polishuk noticed an unclaimed parcel that had started to sag because of an undetermined liquid seeping through. Picking it up he also became aware of a horrid smell emanating from it. Opening the parcel, he gasped in horror. Inside was the body of a tiny baby. The infant was naked and crudely stuffed into the mailbag.

A post-mortem revealed that the baby was only a few hours old when someone tied a stocking around his neck and strangled him. The parcel the baby was found in had been sent from Brunswick to Darwin, but the names on the parcel could not be traced.

Police are still hopeful that the case might one day be solved, but for now the identity of the baby in the mail bag and the person responsible for his death remains a mystery. [6]

4Elsie Frost


14-year old Elsie Frost spent a lovely afternoon at a sailing club on Horbury Lagoon on 9 October 1965. She and her friends left for home at 4pm. Elsie chose a different route, to avoid a partially flooded tunnel. She walked through another tunnel that ran underneath a railway line. Here she was brutally attacked and stabbed five times. She bled profusely and collapsed at the bottom of the locally named ABC steps. At 12 minutes past four she was found by a man talking a walk with his children, but it was too late.

An extensive police investigation followed with more than 12 000 men interviewed and local residents’ knives examined. Later, the army joined the search for the murder weapon.
The only person of interest in the case was 33-year old Ian Bernard Spencer, but he was cleared by two courts due to lack of evidence.

Decades later, police investigations directed them to Peter Pickering, a convicted killer, but he died in March 2018 before they could charge him. While most officials involved with the case are convinced that Pickering was guilty, they will most likely not be able to prove it, leaving Elsie’s murder unsolved.[7]

3 Little Miss Nobody


In a small grave in Yavapai County, Arizona lies the remains of Little Miss Nobody. She was found just off Alamo Road on 31 July 1960 and believed to have been between 5 and 7 years old. The little girl’s hair had been dyed and her finger- and toenails painted red. Since she had not suffered any broken bones, her cause of death remains undetermined, but officials agree that it was homicide.

Investigations over the years have proved unfruitful. No suspects were ever arrested, Little Miss Nobody has never been identified and her relatives never found. In 2018 the case was reopened, as investigators are hoping that modern technology might help solve the mystery. [8]

2 Sharmini Anandavel


15-year old Sharmini Anandavel was looking forward to graduating from junior high and wanted to save some money to buy new shoes to match her graduation dress. On 12 June 1999, Sharmini left her apartment building in Don Mills, Toronto after telling her parents she was going off to start a new job, which would help her get the money she needed for the shoes.

Sharmini never made it home again. Four months after she was last seen, her skull and mandible were found in a ravine next to the Don River. The main suspect was a 23-year old man, Stanley Tippett, that happened to be a neighbour of the Anandavel family.

The job Sharmini was headed to was meant to be something like a receptionist position, according to what the young girl had told her parents, but her friends didn’t know anything about such a job. Witnesses recalled seeing Sharmini sitting on a bench at a mall as well as Peanut Plaza, not far from the mall. A blank job application was found in her bedroom, that would have seen her working at the Metro Search Unit. Police later said there was no such a unit within their department. This application was given to Sharmini by Stanley Tippett.

Tippett eventually landed up in prison but not for the murder of Sharmini. It remains unknown what exactly caused Sharmini’s death and who murdered her.[9]

1 Cédrika Provencher


On 31 July 2007, 9-year old Cédrika Provencher was seen by many residents in Trois-Rivières, Quebec as she cycled around, knocking on several doors and asking if they had seen a specific dog. Later she was seen walking out of a wooded area with a friend and a man following close behind. She continued cycling in the local park and streets in the area. At 8:30 that evening, her bicycle was found leaning against a fire hydrant but there was no sign of Cédrika.

72 hours it became apparent that Cédrika had been kidnapped. It was known that Cédrika was asked by an unknown man to help him look for his missing dog, and it was now clear that the man following the girl and her friend out of the woods may have been the one who took her. The search that followed was one of the biggest in Quebec history.

Cédrika’s remains were found on 11 December 2015 in Saint-Maurice, nearly 15 km away from the place Cédrika had last been seen. The only suspect in her death, Jonathan Bettez, said in 2019 that he is suing the police department for $10 million for “orchestrating” a child pornography case against him. He was never arrested for Cédrika’s murder and there are no other suspects at this time.[10]

For more tragic lists just like this, see 10 Women Who Killed Their Families, and 10 Tragic Cases Of Children Murdered By Social Workers.

Estelle

Estelle is a regular writer for Listverse.

Read More: Mary and Me

Leave a Reply