Woman strangles baby she was babysitting

January 1, 1963 Phoenix, Arizona Betty Smithey (20) strangles the 15-month-old baby she was babysitting Four years before the murder, Smithey (then 16) kidnapped a child she was babysitting. She took 18-month-old Mitchell Johnson from his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico, hitchhiking or taking buses along the way. She and the toddler were found in…

Man kills 6 children in murder-suicide

December 19, 1968 Napa, California A man kills 6 of his 7 children, sets his house on fire, and kills himself The motive behind Charles Coatney Bray’s murder-suicide was marital discord, as his wife had recently filed for divorce. He left a suicide note addressed to his wife, though the contents were not released to…

Woman kidnapped, buried alive for 83 hours during ransom

December 17, 1968 Decatur, Georgia 20-year-old Barbara Mackle is abducted and buried alive in a ransom attempt Barbara was chosen because her father, Robert Mackle, was a wealthy land developer. A little before 4 a.m., Gary Stephen Krist and Ruth Eisemann-Schier knocked on the motel door belonging to Barbara and her mother Jane Braznell Mackle.…

Two airplanes collide mid-air

December 16, 1960 New York, New York Two airplanes collide mid-air, killing 136 One of the planes, whose destination was Idlewild Airport (now John F. Kennedy International), was in a holding pattern waiting for permission to land. The second plane, flying into LaGuardia Airport, miscalculated the other plane’s path and ran into the first. The…