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Norman ladner1

Norman Ladner

Real Name: Norman Charles Ladner
Nicknames: No known nicknames
Location: Pearl River, Mississippi
Date: August 21, 1989


Details: On the afternoon of August 21, 1989, seventeen-year-old Norman Ladner left his family's country store to go hunting around their farm. When he didn't return for dinner at around 7pm, his parents, Norman Sr. and Charlette, became worried. They began searching around the property, and Norman Sr. enlisted the help of some friends. Shortly before 10pm, his body was found; he had been shot to death. Authorities were on the scene minutes later. Their first theory was that he was in a tree, had fallen out, and the gun had accidentally discharged and killed him. The coroner, at first told Norman Sr. and Charlette that he was almost certain that his death was an accident, and they accepted that. However, when he released his official findings, he ruled the death a suicide, saying that he died from a close contact wound that entered his right temple and exited his left. Norman Sr. and Charlette were certain that his death was not a suicide, as he was happy and had no evidence of depression.
Norman Sr. said that police made no attempt to locate the bullet and that the gun was not fingerprinted. He claims that they never even proved that it was the one that was used to kill him. He and Charlette also learned that he had a laceration on his head. They did not understand how it got there. The coroner found a jagged root at the scene with blood on it. He believed that it was what caused the laceration. Norman Sr. could not understand that, because he would have had to have fallen backward when he was shot. The injury would not match up. Norman Sr. and Charlette then had to go through the difficult task of looking through the blood and tissue at the crime scene in an attempt to find the bullet. Norman Sr. found it and noticed blood and hair on it. Authorities, however, do not believe that it was the one that killed him because it was inconsistent with the coroner's ruling. His family believes that the trajectory suggested that he was laying on the ground when he was shot. The state's ballistics expert could not determine if the bullet found was fired from his rifle. When the expert returned it to Norman and Charlette, they realized that it was different from the one that they had given the expert.
Three weeks after Norman's death, Norman Sr. and Charlette went to the coroner's office to question him about the ruling. While there, a stranger pulled Charlette to the side, telling her that she should not reopen this case because her other children could be in danger. He also told her that she would never find out who killed Norman. Norman Sr. decided to return to the site, and while there he found a strange radio-like device about 300 feet away. State authorities did not believe that it was important to this case. However, he brought it to a former DEA agent, who told him that it was used by drug dealers to send a low range signal to aircraft, so that it could drop the drugs to them. He believes that Norman may have stumbled onto a drug deal happening in the woods, and that he was killed because he was a witness and that he may have even recognized the dealers. Norman Sr. and Charlette also noted that he was carrying a wallet with several hundred dollars at the time of his death, but it was not found with his body.
Authorities, however, do not believe that drugs were involved in Norman's death, and that it was a suicide. Norman Sr. and Charlette refuse to believe that he committed suicide. They are still hoping for the truth in this case.
Suspects: There are reports of a man who confronted and warned Charlette while she was trying to get answers at the coroner's office. It is unknown whether or not he was involved in illicit activity, and no description of him has been released by the police.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the November 21, 1990 episode.
Results: Unsolved. Sadly, Norman Sr. passed away in 2003. Charlette and her other children are still searching for answers.