Georgia Mysteries

Investigating and seeking answers for Georgia's cold cases

Mystery: Murdered Mom

A mother desperate for answers, investigators baffled by a disappearance, children seeking justice, and a man without an identity -- they are the faces behind four cold cases on the GBI's list. All four have gone unsolved for years. They are mysteries we hope can be solved with your help.

Justin Gaines

College student disappears

DULUTH, Ga. -- For more than seven years, his parents have waited for information: What happened to Justin Gaines?

Before he went out on Nov. 2, 2007; Justin Gaines told his parents he'd be home before he headed to work Saturday. He was going to Wild Bills in Duluth for Thirsty Thursday College Night.

"Friday, I wasn't worried," Erika Wilson told 11Alive's Vinnie Politan. "On Saturday, when he didn't show up to make money -- because Justin didn't miss money -- I started getting really, really worried. My gut said something isn't right."

Mystery Part 1

Criminal investigator Charles Mittelstadt and former detective Mike Brooks are focused on what some witnesses said was an altercation on the dance floor earlier in the night.

"From what we know about this confrontation, it was diffused in the club, but it doesn't mean that there wasn't some kind of secondary event that occurred," Mittelstdt said. "That's why these witnesses become so important to understand whether there was another flash point after, outside the club. Maybe one of more people were waiting, lying in wait, we just don't know."

The outside surveillance video captures Justin Gaines's final moments before he disappeared. He was talking on the phone while walking out of the bar. Those phone calls became a central part of the police investigation. In that final hour, he made 24 phone calls.

"We were able to identified every single call made in the last 30 minutes. Basically, there was a flurry of activity," Gwinnett County Sgt. Troy Tobler said. "People that we spoke to that he actually talked to [said] he was calling for a ride. It was something that had been done before. He was just trying to get someone to come get him."

At 2 a.m., his phone went dead. "We never heard from the phone again," Sgt. Tobler said.

If you have information in this case, contact the Criminal Investigation Section of the Gwinnett County Police: (770) 513-5300. The family and their private investigator have also set up a hotline where tipsters can remain anonymous: 877-270-9500.

Levi Frady

A legacy for missing children

FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. -- Eighteen years after his abduction and murder, justice remains elusive for Levi Frady. Police released sketches of two men they believe may hold clues to the case, but they still haven't been able to track them down. They're hoping sharing those old sketches on social media will help solve this Georgia mystery.

Mystery: Levi's Call

On Wednesday, Oct. 22, 1997, 11-year-old Levi Frady was riding his bike down Little Mill Road in Forsyth County. He was last seen just before 7 p.m.

"It was in an area none of the neighbors would have been able to see it," Major Brandon Branson with the Dawson County Sheriff's Office said.

The search for Levi ended the next day miles away from where he was taken. Deep in the woods inside the Dawson Forest, a hunter made a tragic and heartbreaking discovery.

"His body was submerged," Major Branson said. "That's where the murder had taken place."

No one has been charged in the abduction and murder.

Anyone with information on either man or on Levi's case should call the GBI tipline: 1-800-587-8477.

Laneshia Crowder

Children witness mom's murder

CARROLLTON, Ga. -- If you lived in metro Atlanta in 2000, you probably remember the horrific story of Laneshia Crowder. The details are hard to forget: a mother's beaten body discovered beside a toddler trying to wake her up. Fourteen years later, that little girl is still haunted by what she saw that night.

Laneshia Crowder's badly beaten body was discovered in her bedroom. Her 2-year-old daughter, Lyric, was found in the same room. Her 7-year-old son, Kenneth, was found in the next bedroom. Investigators believe the children were alone with their mother's body for 36 hours.

"We don't believe it was a robbery," Carroll County Chief Deputy Brad Robinson said. "As far as the doors and all – there was not damages done to the doors or windows, we don't think that anyone actually broke into the home to do it."

Kenneth Crowder was almost murdered the night he lost his mother. He was left for dead. He survived the attack, but it left him scarred. He still suffers from the traumatic brain injury. He's now 22 years old and just graduated from high school.

"I remember it vividly. I remember their faces. I know what they were wearing," daughter Lyric said.

Little girl left with murdered mother looking for answers

Lyric is making plans for college, but she'll never forget what happened in their home that night in August: "I remember it vividly," she said. "I know their faces. I know what they were wearing."

No one has been arrested or charged in Laneshia's murder.

If you know anything about Laneshia Crowder's murder, call GBI agent Larry Duren at 706-565-7888 or Carroll County Sheriff's Office at 770-830-5888.

Benjaman

Lost identity

RICHMOND HILL, Ga. -- The man at the center of a mystery that's lasted more than a decade may not want to find answers. Genealogist Colleen Fitzpatrick has been trying to solve the case of Benjaman Kyle since 2008. "I'm not sure Benjaman's really interested in finding his identity or not," she said.

On Aug. 31, 2004, Burger King workers called Richmond Hill police when they found naked man sleeping near their dumpster just off of I-95. A police report from 6:30 that morning shows he was semi-conscious, but couldn't respond to officers. EMS arrived minutes later. Their report says "no trauma noted" in their initial assessment, but "redness to shoulders, face, and head total body covered in sores and rash."

Mystery: Missing Man

According to the GBI, paramedics thought he may have received blows to the head from a blunt object. They transported him to St. Joesph's Hospital.

The man recovered physically, but never recovered his memory. He decided to take his initials from the restaurant where he was found: B.K. for Burger King and, now, Benjaman Kyle.

"I went back and researched missing persons, abandoned vehicles in the area, and everything I could during that time frame," Richmond Hill Police Major Michael Albritton said. "I think I went back six months prior to and three months after, and checked all of our logs to see if there were any abandoned vehicles."

Richmond Hill Police ran Benjaman's fingerprints through the FBI's system. There were no matches.

DNA expert: Man without identity wants it that way

It's been more than 10 years, and Benjaman's story has been told in a documentary, on the Dr. Phil show, and by numerous news organizations. Coverage included stories by News4Jax in nearby Jacksonville, Fla. Despite the exposure, no one has come forward to say they recognize him.

So why, when she was getting so close to answers, did Benjaman shut out the genealogist helping him? Fitzpatrick believes he doesn't really want to find those answers. "He's really walked away from a lot of people that could have helped him, that have spent a lot of time and attention," she said. "If we all were one big happy community we could work together and help him out, but he just doesn't seem to be very engaged in that himself."

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