Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Joseph M.L. Gardner

Real Name: Joseph M.L. Gardner
Aliases: Joseph Gardner
Wanted For: Murder, Rape, Abduction
Missing Since: December 30, 1992

Melissa McLauchlin


Details: Joseph Gardner is wanted for the abduction, rape, and murder of Melissa McLauchlin in December of 1992. At the time, Gardner was AWOL from the Navy. Disturbingly, Gardner had made his New Year's Resolution to rape and kill a white woman. He and two friends picked up Melissa as she walked to a club. They took her to Gardner's trailer where they raped her. Three other men came to the trailer and raped her as well.
Afterwards, they cleaned Melissa, handcuffed her, and put her in a car. As they drove away, Melissa freed herself from the handcuffs and tried to fight back. Gardner then shot her twice in the head, killing her. Her body was then dumped alongside a road.
Along with the five men, two other women helped cover up the crime. All seven accomplices were quickly captured; however, Gardner is still at large.
Extra Notes: The case was featured as a part of a rapist roll call on January 12, 1994 and later as part of an FBI special alert on May 25, 1994, the same day that he was added to the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list.
Also featured in the rapist roll call were Dr. George Desmond Graham and Ronald Oglesby.
Also featured in the FBI alert were Floyd Travers, Ora Prince, Heather Tallchief and Roberto Solis.
Results: Captured. Gardner was captured in Philadelphia in October 1994. He was convicted of Melissa's murder and subsequently sentenced to death. He was executed in December 2008.