Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Charles Mule

Real Name: Charles Peter Mule (Mulet is an erroneous spelling)
Aliases: None known
Wanted For: Child Molestation
Missing Since: March 1986


Details: Charles Mule was a police officer in Slidell, Louisiana. For several years, he worked undercover. He was so adept with his disguises that he arrested the same felon three different times without being recognized. In 1981, he was transferred to sexual molestation detail and became a police sergeant. He handled cases of statutory rape and was often in charge of counseling the victims.
In 1981, Mule was assigned to the case of a twelve-year-old girl who was upset about the sexual advances of an older boy. Other girls had also complained that the boy was sexually harassing them. Mule met with the young girl on multiple occasions. At first, her family had no reason to be suspicious of him. His co-workers also had no suspicions; detective Kathy Porter worked with him on most of the cases and thought that he was a good policeman.
Mule began calling the girl's family and asking them to bring her for more interviews. Her mother became suspicious when he left the police station with her daughter and took her to another location. It was later discovered that Mule was taking her to a local Howard Johnson's motel room that he had reserved for undercover work. The girl's parents noted that she began acting strangely after the visits with him. After four months, she finally told her parents that she was being sexually abused by him.
In order to gather more evidence, the authorities asked the victim and her family if she would go for one more rendezvous with Mule; this time, the room would be used as a trap, with a hidden video camera capturing just enough evidence for prosecution. Before the girl could be compromised, Mule was arrested on the night of March 1, 1985 and charged with child molestation.
Mule's co-workers were shocked that he had been arrested and charged with such an appalling crime. Detective Porter had the difficult task of having to investigate his case and interviewing his victim. After learning the truth about the case, she was furious that Mule could have done such a thing to the victim. Through her investigation, she learned that the molestation of the twelve-year-old girl was not an isolated incident.
On September 27, 1985, Mule was charged with twenty-five counts related to the rape and molestation of six young girls. He denied all of the charges and was released on $150,000 bail. Eight months later, on May 11, 1986, the day of his trial, Mule was reported missing. Two days later, his vehicle was found near Mancheo Bridge. Two days after that, an anonymous phone call was made to the sheriff's department. The caller said that a suicide note written by Mule had been left in a rest room five miles from where his pickup had been found. The letter read, in part: I was not guilty of any of these charges. They had persecuted me for no reason. Please forgive me for what I have done.
An extensive search of the river and nearby bodies of water failed to recover Mule's corpse. Detective Porter and other investigators did not believe that he had committed suicide. They suspected that he had staged his death to avoid the criminal charges. Soon after the note was found, a fisherman saw Mule emerge from a nearby swamp. Several days later, a hiker in the back-country passed by a man wearing hospital clothing (a favorite outfit of Mule's); the man opened fire on the hiker without making any remark. The hiker was questioned and identified Mule from a booklet of mugshots.
Two years after Mule's disappearance, an anonymous tip led authorities to a trailer near Slidell. The tipster claimed that Mule was hiding out there. However, he was not found there; it is believed that one of Mule's police buddies tipped him off. Police and people who knew him now believe that he is a fugitive who is extremely dangerous due to his knowledge of firearms as well as skills with disguises.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the March 1, 1989 episode.
Actress Colette Jeansonne portrayed the teenage girl in this segment.

Mule after his 1989 arrest

Results: Captured. On the night the case was rerun on July 12, 1989, viewers told the FBI that Mule was living in Ocala, Florida, under the assumed name Joseph John Trancina. Mule left the area after the broadcast and was gone for three weeks. He was arrested on August 3, 1989, upon his return, and was the 25th fugitive arrested after being profiled. Mule pleaded guilty to child molestation, assault with a deadly weapon and failure to appear in court. He was sentenced to fourteen years in prison but was released after serving just seven years.