Halloween disappearances and homicides

Bethanie Gengler, News Reporter

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Halloween is a traditional Celtic holiday created to ward off evil spirits. In Wisconsin, Halloween is celebrated by parties, trick-or-treating, pumpkins, apple cider, hayrides and dressing up in costumes.
But no matter how wholesome Halloween traditions are in the U.S., evil still exists on Halloween and it exists in human form.

Read on to learn about unsolved disappearances and homicides that have happened on Halloween.

Patricia Spencer, 16, and Pamela Hobley, 15
Disappeared after leaving their high school in Oscoda, Michigan on Oct. 31, 1969. A witness later came forward and admitted to giving the girls a ride into town. The pair was supposed to attend their school’s Homecoming and a party later that evening but never arrived and were never seen again.
(Source: CBS)

Wendy Abrams-Nishikai, 21
The UC Berkeley student disappeared from Berkeley, California on Oct. 31, 1989. At the time of her disappearance, she left behind a husband and 2-year-old daughter. Although her status is listed as “voluntary” missing, her family believes she would never willingly disappear for 30 years. Abrams-Nishikai has never been found.
(Source: missingadultskids.com)

William Dudley, 31
Dudley disappeared from Winchester, Virginia after being hit with a bat during an altercation with his girlfriend and her relatives on Oct. 31, 1993. Dudley was last seen stumbling toward his trailer and was never seen again.
(Source: The Charlie Project)

Cameron Hardman, 31
Hardman was on his way to visit friends in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania on Oct. 31, 2011 when he disappeared. His vehicle was recovered a week later about seven blocks from his intended destination. Hardman’s cell phone and wallet were found in the car. He is listed as an endangered missing person.
(Source: The Charlie Project)

Christina Bastian, 34
Bastian was at a friend’s house on Oct. 31, 2005 in Apple Valley, California. Bastian left her friend’s house at 1:45 a.m. after becoming upset. She left her wallet and glasses at her friend’s house but took her small dog, Coco, with her. Her truck and dog were located the next day, and her backpack was located on a dirt road a few miles away, but Bastian was never seen again.
(Source: The Charlie Project)

Teresa Halbach, 25
Halbach disappeared from Two Rivers, Wisconsin on Oct. 31, 2005 after photographing a vehicle at Avery’s Auto Salvage yard.

Halbach’s vehicle was found a few days later on the Avery’s property and although her body was never found, investigators claim to have found her remains in burn barrels on the Avery property.

16-year-old Brendan Dassey confessed to raping and murdering Halbach along with his uncle, Steven Avery, and burning her remains. Avery has recently been released from prison after spending 18 years locked up for a crime DNA exonerated him of.

Dassey and Avery were both convicted of first-degree intentional homicide but maintain their innocence in the case. A Netflix documentary called “Making a Murderer” has brought attention to the case, attracting supporters from around the world who believe the pair were framed and Halbach’s real killer remains at large.
(Source: Netflix Making a Murderer)

Lisa French, 9
French went trick-or-treating on Oct. 31, 1973, in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin dressed as a hobo. She never returned home. Her body was found a few days later stuffed in a garbage bag and dumped on a rural road about four miles outside Fond du Lac.

French’s neighbor, Gerald Turner, confessed to sexually assaulting and murdering her. Turner was convicted on charges of second-degree murder, enticing a child for immoral purposes and acts of sexual perversion.

Turner, 69, was released from prison in 1992 but returned to prison following public outrage and an appeals court decision.

According to the Fond du Lac Reporter, “Turner’s Law” was passed in 1994 due to Turner’s release.
“Chapter 980, referred to as “Turner’s Law,” is a civil commitment process which holds a prisoner in a secure mental health facility beyond the mandated prison release date,” according to the FDL Reporter.

Turner was again released on parole in 1998 but his parole was revoked after hundreds of pornographic images were found on his computer.

Turner had a mandatory February 2018 release date which has been held up by appeals according to a Jan. 15 FDL Reporter article. According to the article, Fond Du Lac county will decide if Turner will be committed under Wisconsin’s violent sex offender law, Chapter 980.

Following French’s Halloween murder, trick-or-treating times in Wisconsin were changed to daylight hours.
(Source: The Post Crescent and The FDL Reporter)