True Crime News Roundup: Pregnant Woman Fatally Shot Two Weeks Before Her Due Date
Plus: Brian Laundrie’s father joins the search for his fugitive son; a group of investigators believe they’ve identified the Zodiac Killer; and a convicted con man on the run for decades is possibly spotted at a Dodgers game.
A pregnant woman in Florida is found shot to death in a park.
An expectant mother in Florida weeks away from her due date was fatally shot, and her unborn baby’s father is now accused of murder. On Sept. 25, a person out for an early morning walk in Riverview Park in Jacksonville discovered the body of 21-year-old Felicia Jones. Authorities later identified Reginald Perry, Jr., 19, as a suspect and he turned himself in. “Perry was subsequently arrested for two counts of murder for his involvement in the shooting death of the victim and for the unborn child she was carrying,” the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said. A GoFundMe set up by Jones’ aunt states the death of her niece and unborn nephew, who was to be named Ma’kailand, was a “major loss” for loved ones. “This is an unexpected tragedy for our family and can’t believe we lost Felicia and her unborn child,” the page reads. “He was set to be here in just two weeks.”
Brian Laundrie’s father joins the search for the fugitive in Florida.
The manhunt continues for Brian Laundrie, who authorities have named a person of interest in connection to the death of Gabby Petito in Wyoming. Laundrie, 23, vanished on Sept. 13 — two days after his 22-year-old fiancée was reported missing and 11 days after he returned to Florida alone from the couple’s cross-country road trip. According to People, authorities now refute a report that police found remnants of a recently abandoned campsite in Carlton Reserve, the nearly 25,000-acre wildlife area in Sarasota County Laundrie reportedly headed to before he vanished. In a development in the case, the fugitive’s father was recently actively involved in trying to locate his son. “Chris Laundrie is assisting Law Enforcement today in the search for Brian,” family attorney Steven Bertolino said in a statement. “Chris was asked to point out any favorite trails or spots that Brian may have used in the preserve.” According to Bertolino, “the preserve has been closed to the public and the Laundries as well, but the parents have been cooperating since the search began” and officials now think “that on-site assistance may be better.”
Could the mystery of the Zodiac serial killer’s identity finally be solved?
A group of over 40 former investigators who have formed an independent cold case national task force believe they have figured out the identity of the Zodiac Killer, the infamous murderer who slayed multiple victims over 50 years ago in Northern California. Known as The Case Breakers, the group identified Gary Francis Poste as the Zodiac Killer, citing new forensic and photographic evidence as well as observations including scars on Poste’s forehead that are a match with those on a sketch of the serial killer. Poste died in 2018. “We are unable to speak to potential suspects as this is still an open investigation,” the San Francisco Police Department told CNN of The Case Breakers’ claims. The Zodiac Killer is connected to the murders of at least five people between 1968 and 1969. He taunted police and media with letters and ciphers for years and claimed he took the lives of dozens more victims than were linked to him.
A fugitive on the lam for decades may have been spotted at a baseball game.
A con man on the FBI’s “15 Most Wanted” and on the run for almost 23 years may have attended a Dodger’s baseball game in 2016, according to the U.S. Marshals Service. John Ruffo, who was 33 when he vanished in November 1998, was convicted of a $350 million bank fraud scheme and sentenced to spend 210 months behind bars. He was released on $10 million bail, and the last image of Ruffo was snapped at an ATM in New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport the day he was set to go to prison in New Jersey. Almost 18 years later, in September 2016, authorities received a tip that Ruffo, who would now be 66, was just at a Dodgers vs. Red Sox game in Los Angeles on Aug. 5 of that year. Investigators believe a person wearing a blue shirt that was spotted in Section 1 Dugout Club, Row EE, Seat 10, strongly resembles Ruffo, KNBC reported. While they know who purchased the seat’s ticket, officials haven’t identified the man seen in video from the game. The U.S. Marshals Service is now asking for the public’s help naming the person in video stills released on Oct. 5. There is up to a $25,000 reward for information leading to Ruffo’s arrest. “He is known to be computer savvy and enjoys fine wines, gambling, and nice hotels. He is reportedly lactose-intolerant,” the U.S. Marshals Service said. “Ruffo was known to be a storyteller, someone who liked to stretch the truth, and had a desire to impress others. He has been called a master manipulator.”
Husband of murdered Instagram star kills himself when authorities attempt to arrest him.
Last November, Instagram influencer Alexis Sharkey was discovered nude and strangled to death on the side of a road outside Houston, Texas. After a lengthy investigation, authorities formally named the 26-year-old victim’s husband, Tom Sharkey, 50, a suspect in her murder and issued a warrant for his arrest. On Oct. 6, U.S. Marshals located Sharkey at his daughter’s home in Fort Myers, Florida. When authorities entered the residence, television station KHOU reported, Sharkey ran upstairs and fatally shot himself in the head. “The investigation determined that Thomas Sharkey, her husband, is the only person who had the means, motive and opportunity to have committed the murder,” police said.