Vintage photos of crimes and mysteries in N.J.
On May 21, 1989, the television show “America’s Most Wanted” presented a treatment of a case that had been unsolved for 18 years, John List’s 1971 murder of his family in Westfield. Featured on the program was a bust by forensic artist Frank Bender depicting how he believed List would look at the time.
It was a remarkable likeness; tips flooded in with one particular call from a former neighbor leading to List’s arrest in Richmond, Virginia, only 10 days after the show aired.
America’s Most Wanted had been on the air for just over one season; this was its first mega-high profile capture and led to a network run of 23 years for the program.
Not all crimes and mysteries result in such a conclusion. Among those included in this gallery are crimes that have never been solved.
This is just a sampling of crimes and mysteries through the years in New Jersey. Included are a number of missing persons cases that are still unresolved; yet even after long periods, sometimes decades, the List case showed us that mysteries can be solved with the assistance of tips, DNA technology and other forensic advances.
The New Jersey State Police maintain a website with unresolved missing persons cases at www.njsp.org/unidentified/; the National Clearinghouse for Science, Technology and the Law has a page of links related to New Jersey cities and counties with unresolved cases at ncstl.org/education/newjersey.
And check out these other historical galleries: