Real Name: Eileen Carol Mangold
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Riverview, Florida
Date: September 19, 1989
Case[edit | edit source]
Details: Fifty-year-old Eileen Mangold was the night shift manager at the Kangaroo Fuel Stop gas station in Riverview, Florida. She was a single mother who took the job so that she could afford new school clothes for her thirteen-year-old son. She had been working there for a couple of months and was on a first-name basis with most of the customers.
At around 9:15pm on the night of September 19, 1989, teenage siblings "Jim" and "Sharon" arrived at the station, hoping to purchase some gas. They noticed Eileen walking from there and getting into her Ford station wagon with an unidentified long-haired man. They realized something wasn't right, as the lights in the store were left on and the doors were open. Eileen circled the station in her car. As she approached them, she yelled "Help me please, I'm being robbed!"
The siblings drove to a nearby store to call the police. After they made the call, they returned to the highway. They passed by the station and noticed that Eileen's car was stopped by the side of the road. They watched as it drove away. By the time the police arrived, it was gone.
Five hours later, Eileen's car was found abandoned in a residential neighborhood two miles from the station. Her torn and blood-stained blouse was found on the ground next to it. Blood and fingerprints were also found on the car. The evidence indicated that she may have been assaulted on the hood. On the driver's seat, police found a button from her blouse. This indicated that a struggle initially occurred inside. Based on the evidence, investigators feared the worst.
Tragically, just six hours later at 11am, Eileen's body was found in a patch of woods approximately five miles from where her car had been abandoned. She had been sexually assaulted and beaten to death. The only clothes that remained were her underpants, tennis shoes, and a pair of socks. It is believed that she struggled with her assailant and was brutally beaten and killed as a result.
Jim and Sharon were called to the police station and shown a photo lineup of possible suspects. Sharon believed that she recognized one of the men, but was not certain because it was dark that night. A short time later, she was at school when she was approached by a classmate whom she recognized but whose name she did not know. He told her that he had a message from someone she knew; the message was for her to stop talking to the police. She claimed that she did not know what he was talking about.
Sharon asked the classmate who the other person was, and he said that "you know who he is, and he knows who you are". He also said that the other person knew who she was, what she was doing, and where she was at all times and that she better not be by herself at any given time. Police later questioned the classmate, but ruled him out as a possible suspect. They also ruled out his friend, who did not match any of the physical evidence found in and around Eileen's car.
Investigators did not understand why Eileen stayed in her car as the assailant robbed the station. They also could not understand why her car stayed on the side of the road for several minutes before being driven off. Furthermore, they could not understand why she was assaulted and killed in such a brutal manner. Her sister Judith does not believe that she would go willingly with someone unless they threatened to kill her or her son. She also suspects that another individual was involved, holding her at gunpoint from the back seat.
Investigators believe that Eileen was killed by someone from the Riverview area. They suspect that she may have even been familiar with her killer. Disturbingly, it was determined that she was killed for less than $100. Her killer has never been identified.
Suspects: The man believed to be Eileen's killer was described as around thirty-years-old (in 1989), 6'0" with a husky build, 190-200 lbs, curly blond hair, and green or blue eyes. A composite sketch was made based on the description by the siblings.
Police have questioned nearly 130 people in connection with this case. However, few leads have been developed. They believe that the killer was someone from Riverview. They believe that Eileen may have known him.
Interestingly, police suspected that Eileen's murder may have been related to that of Darlene Messer who was also featured on Unsolved Mysteries. She had vanished just one day before Eileen.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the May 12, 1993 episode.
Results: Solved. In December of 1999, a partial fingerprint found on Eileen's car was matched to fifty-three-year-old Franklin Alfred Smith. He lived near the station and was a career criminal, with convictions for aggravated assault, rape, and battery. Investigators also learned that a man named "Frank" had visited the station and made unwanted sexual advances to Eileen shortly before her murder. When questioned, he denied knowing her or having sex with her. However, semen found on her blouse was matched to him through DNA testing. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder.
In May of 2000, Smith went on trial for Eileen's murder. The jury was not allowed to hear about his lengthy criminal record. The defense focused on the eyewitnesses of the abduction, who described a man somewhat different from Smith. They pointed to another man who resembled the composite sketch and was previously a prime suspect. However, he did not match any of the evidence found at the crime scene.
On May 20, the jury deadlocked, with six voting to convict and six to acquit. Some of the jurors stated that they did not understand why semen was found on her blouse but not on other parts of her clothing and body. As a result of the deadlock, a mistrial was declared. In October, a second trial occurred. Unfortunately, due to the discrepancies in the eyewitness testimony and jury members' misunderstandings of the DNA evidence, Smith was acquitted of murder.
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