Real Name: Unknown
Wanted For: Murder, Fraud
Missing Since: November 18, 1988
Details: St. Croix investigators are searching for an unidentified man suspected of being involved in the cyanide deaths of at least five people. It is believed that each of the deaths are linked to Voodoo or Obia rituals. His latest victims were Krishnadath and Radha Maharaj, two locals of Hindu descent who were found dead on St. Croix on November 18, 1988. At around 9:30 pm, Radha was found dead in her car, and an hour later, Krishnadath was found dead sixteen miles away on the side of the road. They had two things in common; they both were saturated in sea water and they both had died of cyanide poisoning. Investigators later discovered that more than $20,000 in cash, belonging to the couple, was missing.
Contrary to popular belief, there is nothing inherently sinister about Voodoo; it is a mixture of Roman Catholicism and African tradition, often practiced in Haiti and Louisiana. A practice that involves hexes, curses, and potions is called Obia; this is unconnected to Voodoo. Investigators believe the "Obia-Man" tries to pass off his schemes as Voodoo rituals.
His most recent victims, Krishnadath and Radha, were born in the Caribbean. However, their families had immigrated from India. The Maharajs owned a small grocery store and Radha's two daughters from her first marriage helped run the store. Several months before their deaths, the couple took out a large loan to help expand their business. However, they had trouble paying off the loan.
According to their daughters, the Maharajs started receiving daily phone calls from an unidentified man, presumably the Obia-Man. The man would ask to speak to Krishnadath. When he would answer the phone, he would tell his stepdaughters to wait outside, so that they would not listen to their conversation. Three weeks before their deaths, the couple brought home $25,000 in cash, borrowed from Radha's relatives. Radha told her daughters that they needed the money to pay the unidentified man. However, she would not say anything else about the subject.
At approximately 7:30 pm on November 18, Radha left home in her car, driving east. Her daughter thought it was unusual for her to leave alone at night. Thirty minutes later, Krishandath drove off in the opposite direction, presumably to meet the Obia-Man. It is unknown exactly what happened next.
Two hours after she left, Radha's car was seen coasting gently out of control near a local beach. She was found unconscious and near-death, but there was no signs of foul play. Sixteen miles away, Krishnadath was found lying by the side of a beachfront road, wearing only a pair of pants. There were also no signs of foul play on his body. At first, investigators suspected that the couple committed suicide due to their failing business. However, they became suspicious when they connected their cyanide deaths to the three other cyanide deaths in St. Croix.
In 1986, Edsel Striden and Carmen Torres owned a small neighborhood bar. Like the Maharajs, they took out a small loan to expand their business. They converted their loan into $54,000 in cash. At dusk on September 13, 1986, the couple left their home in Edsel's pickup truck. Their daughter remembered seeing her father slip a small bottle into his pocket before they left.
Three hours later, Carmen was found dead less than half a mile from where Radha was found two years later. She died of cyanide poisoning. Edsel was found dead in his truck at a nearby beach. He also died of cyanide poisoning, and the $54,000 in cash was missing.
A third case, the death of thirty-eight-year-old Haig Gilbey Caesar, also seemed to be connected to the others. He was found dead in his car on the morning of May 24, 1984. The autopsy determined that he had also died of cyanide poisoning. Investigators learned that he had previously made contact with an unidentified individual, believed to be the Obia-Man.
The man had apparently told Haig that there were three large jars of coins buried on their property. The man claimed that the jars were guarded by ancient spirits, and that they had to get rid of the spirits to get the coins. Haig paid the man $100,000 to help get rid of the spirits. The man told him that once he had enough money, he could give him a potion that would help him find the coins. Investigators believe that this "potion" contained the cyanide that killed Haig.
Investigators believe that the Obia-Man that met Haig Caesar was the same man that called the Maharajs and met with Carmen Torres and Edsel Striden when they died. The Obia-Man is believed to travel throughout the Caribbean and the United States. He may have been seen in Florida. He speaks with a heavy French West Indian accent. He has never been identified.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the February 6, 1991 episode.
- Obia-Man at Unsolved.com
- Were five people really tricked out of their money - and their lives - by sorcery?
- Haig Caesar at Find a Grave