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Did You Lock The Door?
Did You Lock The Door?

Episode 17 · 2 years ago

The Bizarre Murder of Judy Smith

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Hi and welcome back to it. Did you lock the door? The podcast? I'm your host, Peyton Reese, and I once again have a very special guest with me today who you guys might remember from my Duan sims episode, my mom. Hello, it's so nice to be here again. It's so nice to have you again. I'm so excited. This case has just as, if not more, shocking a twist, so I'm super excited to get your reaction to that. I think you'll be pretty baffled. I was pretty baffled when I first heard about this one. It's like it comes out of nowhere. It's really just insane, insane, and I'm so excited to bring it to you guys, to listeners. If you've heard of this one, you'll know why I think it's so crazy and if you haven't, buckle up because wow. So today we are going to be talking about the disappearance and death of Judy Smith. Judy was born Judith Lois l rich in one thousand nine hundred and forty six to working class parents living in Orleans, Massachusetts, which was a small beach side town near Cape Cod. She was one of three children, the only girl. She had both an older brother and a twin brother, and the names of none of her family members are available anywhere online that I could find, because as she grew older she would just kind of grow apart from all of them. So they were never really involved in the searches or any media uncoverage that would ensue. They aren't super relevant to this case, sadly. So yeah, none of their names are out there. Just didn't want you guys to think I was purposefully leaving them out for no reason or something. They're just not available. Judy would marry her first husband right after graduating high school. However, the marriage would come to a tragic end when he fled to Sweden in order to avoid being drafted and sent off to fight in the Vietnam War. He abandoned judy without even mentioning to her his plans, and she was left alone with no idea where her first husband went. I did see it reported somewhere that she traveled to Europe to try and find him, which kind of insinuates that she had some idea where he went, but I didn't see that confirmed in any reputable news sources, so I don't know if that's true or just something that got added over time. Now all alone, judy found a job exercising horses at a thoroughbred track, which sounds so fun. She found herself getting along particularly well with a fellow employee named Charles Bradford. The two grew more and more smitten by the day, and before long judy would once again find herself married. The couple would have two children together, Craig and Amy Bradford. Craig came first, and amy was born just two years later. Not long after this, sadly, their relationship would begin to dissolve. Judy would once again be a single woman. This time around, however, her ex husband had not just abandoned her, he had abandoned their two children, Craig and amy, as well. Judy was now faced with the challenge of raising two young children all alone. Something that is known about Judy's parents, despite what little is out there, is that they had owned a diner and she'd grown up watching them pour their blood, sweat and tears into it every single day. Seeing her parents work so hard to provide what they could for her and her brothers had seemingly inspired an incredible work ethic inside of her. She was bound and determined to make a good life for herself and, more importantly, for Craig and amy. Husband or no husband, Judy worked to put herself through nursing school, and she did so will being a full time single mother, and her two kids. Whenever they talk about their mom, Craig and amy are always sure to mention how involved she was in their lives and how she always made sure they were having fun. When Judy really needed to study. At a time when the kids weren't in school, Judy would take them to the movies and sit in the car studying while they went off and enjoy themselves. Now, ever, wanting them to be bored, which is so sweet and mmm, that seems like something you would do. Yeah, at least knowing where they are, MMM, wanning, not wanting them to feel like they're missing out because she's trying to better herself. HMM. And obviously very responsible. I mean, it's not like not that this makes you an irresponsible parent, but she stayed at the movie theater in the parking lot. She didn't like drop them off and go home like she made sure she was there and they were safe at all times. After she finished nursing school, Judy almost immediately...

...began working up to seventy hours a week as a nurse. While this did mean less time with her children, it also meant that she had more money to provide for them and for herself than ever before. She was even able to move the three of them all into a house in Mission Hill, which is a beautiful area of Boston. I looked up pictures of it and it's gorgeous. I'm not sure exactly what part of Massachusetts they were living in before, but no matter where it was, this was definitely an upgrade and it is beautiful. Eventually, Judy would be hired by a man named Jeffrey Smith to be an at home nurse for his father, who was recovering from a surgery he had undergone to get a tumor removed from his throat. Jeffrey was a Harvard graduate and a lawyer that worked for the Northeast Pharmaceutical Group, an organization of researchers and medical professionals based in New England. With this job, feffrey had some insight into the world of a medical professional and was able to relate to judy in this way. They would often find themselves talking and laughing while Judy was caring for Jeffrey's father. Jeffrey had also been divorced previously and he had a daughter who, coincidentally, was also named Judith, Judy for short. The two bonded over these things and got along better and better every day. Jeffrey knew that Judy was someone he was interested in pursuing romantically. When Judy, realizing that she did not have a proper holder for his father's Ivy Drip Bag, maneuver to curtain rod to hold it up instead, Jeffrey was endlessly impressed by her resourcefulness and smitten by the amount of care and concerned she showed for his father. And I don't blame him. That is so sweet and very resourceful, a very smart woman. Once Jeffrey's father had recovered to the point where he no longer needed an inhome nurse, Jeffrey officially asked Judy out on a date. The two had a mutual love of theater, so Jeffrey decided to take judy to see a local theater performance for their first date. Well, a good time was had by both parties. The two decided to take things slow. Both having been divorced in the past. They didn't want this relationship to get too intense too fast and end up crashing and burning. They would actually date for seven years before moving in together, and it would be another three years before Jeffrey brought up the idea of marriage. That's unusual. into well, this was not in today's world. This is back in the S. seven years, that's HMM, there's a long time. Several of Judy's friends would report that she was actually quite hestinant about the idea of marriage. She knew she loved Jeffrey very much, but with two failed marriages already under her belt, she didn't know if she was ready to get married again, or if she even wanted to at all. Eventually, she did decide, however, that she was ready to give it another try, and Jeffrey's mother was so elated by this news, so happy to find her son once again in love, that she agreed to pay for the whole thing. The two would wed in September of Nineteen Ninety six. Less than one year later, in April of nineteen ninety seven, Judy and Jeffrey were preparing to travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to attend the annual Northeast Pharmaceutical Conference. Jeffrey attended this conference every year in representation of his company. The conference would last only two days, from April ninth to April Eleven, and after this the couple were planning to travel to New Jersey to visit some mutual friends for a couple of days. While at the conference, the plan was for Judy to explore Philadelphia by herself during the day and after the conference activities concluded, each night Jeffrey would join her so the two could explore the city together and spend quality time together. This was actually going to be Judy's first time in Philadelphia, so she was reportedly a very excited to see all of the sites and attractions the city had to offer, especially the Liberty Bell. She couldn't stop talking about that. The couple arrived to the Logan International Airport in Boston and the very early morning hours of April ninth, ready and excited to depart from Philadelphia. When it came time to go through security, however, judy would discover that she had forgotten her driver's license, which she would need to get through security and onto the flight. Apologizing profusely to Jeffrey and not wanting to make him late to his conference, she told him that she would go home and get her license and try and catch a later flight, but that he should go ahead. After some convincing, Jeffrey agreed and he and Judy would reunite at ten pm that evening in the lobby of the Double Tree Hotel that they were staying at, the same hotel in which the conference was being held. They would head up to their room, order pizza from room service and go to sleep, excited for the day to start tomorrow. Now that's what did happen, or that's what they planned to have happened. That's what did happen. And of course this is all according to Jeffrey, but witness sightings would put judy at the hotel. She arrived between thirty and ten...

PM, but most sources say ten PM. But she did arrive that day. Jeffrey was seen arriving earlier. He was seen attending the conference that day. So this holds up pretty well. And actually then this was ninety seven, right. You could actually still board a plane without the driver's license. Oh Really? Yes, they the security reguards could light you on through and all the airport personnel would let you on through if they wanted to. So when I was first looking into this case, I knew it was a missing person case right off the bat. So what I read that she had forgotten her license and was leaving to go get it. I was like, oh, he killed her. She never got to the airport, like there's no way. But no, that's not at all what happened. She made it safely to Philadelphia, no problems there. So the next morning, April ten, Jeffrey was the first to wake up. He gently woke up Judy and the two made plans to meet back at their room around thirty pm that evening and get ready together to attend a cocktail party being hosted by the hotel. Jeffrey then went down to his lobby to get breakfast and head to the conference and Judy stepped into the shower getting ready for her first day of exploring, and today was the day she was going to be seeing the Liberty Bell, so she was really excited about the day. When thirty came that evening and Jeffrey got back to their hotel room, it only took him a couple seconds to realize that judy was not there. After waiting for a few minutes, he assumed that there was probably just some miscommunication and that judy had gone ahead to the cocktail party and was waiting for him there. Jeffrey headed down to the Party and walked around looking for Judy. It took him only mere minutes to realize that she wasn't there either. He once again went back up to their room, hoping that she was just running late and that this time he would find her. They're getting ready. He waited back up in the room until about fifteen, and then he gave into that nagging feeling that had kind of been creeping up from the moment he didn't find her in their room that something was probably wrong. He went back down to the hotel lobby and told one of the employees that his wife had not returned to their hotel room, despite the two having plans to attend the cocktail party together. The concierge, thinking that perhaps judy had been injured while out and about that day, called around to all of the hospitals in the area to see if a Judy Smith had been admitted to any of them. A Judy Smith had not. Jeffrey was growing more and more panicked at this point and he called Craig Amy and some of the couple's friends to see if any of them had heard from Judy. When he had called everyone he could think of and none of them had heard from his wife, he decided to hail a cab and drive the route of a tour bust he knew judy had ridden that day. At this point, he really did know in his gut that his wife would not have missed their cocktail party plans without telling him unless something bad had happened. But he really was trying not to assume the worst yet, hoping he would just find her out and about in the city, just not having realized how late it was. That would be so hard, not being from the town, and I mean he was smart too. At least try that. MMM. Then he knew one of the tours he was going on. That's a good place to begin, because otherwise, where would you even start, I know, such a big city. Just hang out the Liberty Bell. He wasn't able to find her, however, in his cab ride around the city, and he finally gave into his gut feeling and marched right down to the police station. This is an adult that has gone missing, so I'm sure all of you true crime fans know the response he's about to get. The police told him that it was far too early to take any action yet. Judy was an adult with every right not to return to the hotel and was probably just out and about having fun exploring the city. He was told he should wait twenty four hours before filing a report and that the police would see him tomorrow. And there were new cell phones really MMM during that time, or very few of them, so that wasn't something you could depend on. Jeffrey went back to the hotel room feeling pretty defeated and tried to get some sleep that night, but of course he couldn't. First thing the next morning a light bulb actually went off in Jeffrey's head. He remembered that there were some pretty powerful Philadelphia officials also in attendance of the conference, and he tracked down the mayor at the time, ed Rendel, and a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, John Purzel. He talked to each man and explained his situation, and they each assured him that they would talk to the police. Jeffrey later stated that he was sure each man kept their word, because when he returned to the police station later that morning, several officers were waiting for him, ready and willing to take a statement, assuring them that they would get right to work and start looking into the disappearance. Well, good for him. MMM, very smart move and very lucky to be in the position that he was in, because so many people with I mean so many people,...

...when the police are like, oh, it's just to run away or they're an adult, they have every right to be missing. Can't just go to the mayor. And the police, by all accounts, did, from here on out, start taking the case very seriously. Unfortunately, however, that did mean looking into Jeffrey first and foremost. As we true crime fans know, more often than not, when someone disappears and they have a romantic partner, that romantic partner usually knows more than they initially want to let on. It didn't help in the eyes of the police that Jeffrey refused to take a polygraph test. I don't think this is too suspicious, however, because, remember, Jeffrey was a lawyer. Therefore, he probably knew that if he passed the polygraph, it wouldn't be admissible in court and therefore would do nothing to help him, and if he failed, it would just make the police look at him further and he knew he had nothing to do with this. So it's a lose loose situation either way. After learning from Jeffrey that Judy had flown into Philadelphia separately from him, they began to question whether she had even made it to the conference at all. They headed to the hotel and collected witness testimony, speaking with several employees and conference attendees, almost all of whom reported seeing Judy at the hotel. So after this they're able to pretty much confirm that she had been there and definitely was his wife, Judy, and that his daughter g yes, I didn't even think of that, but yes, I don't think they looked alike. And Yeah, Philadelphia newspapers and new stations reported on Judy's disappearance, resulting in several witnesses reaching out to the police to report that they believed they had seen her. One witness would say that they had seen Judy right outside the double tree she was staying at, chasing a piece of paper, and that had been the morning of April ten. Another call reported that, while shopping at macy's the afternoon of April tens, a woman matching Judy's description had come up and started talking to them about metapause. This interaction stood out to the witness because she thought that it was a very odd thing for a complete stranger to just bring up, and I agree that is. And an employ at the same macy's reported talking to a woman around the same time that match Judy's description, saying the woman said she was shopping for her daughter and commented that she was unsure what to buy because her daughter often didn't like the style of clothes that she bought for her. Amy, who was Judy's daughter, was able to confirm that this did happen pretty regularly with her mom and definitely sounded like something she would say. There were several reported sightings of Judy at Pen's landing, which is a waterfront area in the city center of Philadelphia that sits on the edge of the Delaware River, also a very pretty area. After investigating these sightings, however, the police were able to conclude that the woman being seen was probably a homeless woman that often hung out in the area and match Judy's description almost perfectly. Reportedly, when Craig, who is Judy's son, came to Philadelphia just a couple days after she disappeared, to help in the search. He saw the homeless woman from across the street and, until he was right in front of her, was absolutely sure that it was his mom. You know, so sad. A Double Tree Hotel employee said that she believed Judy had spoken to her the morning of the tenth, making small talk and asking where she should wait on the tour bus she was to be getting on. She also reportedly was seen entering and leaving the city's Greyhound Bus Terminal. The particular terminal that she was seen at is known for its fairly large selection of Chinese and Thai Food Restaurants, both of which Hudi was quite fond of very good taste. I love both of those restaurants so much. None of the restaurants, however, reported serving anyone that matched Judy's description. Sightings of a woman that appeared to be Judy also came from Easton Pennsylvania, a city fifty five miles north of Philadelphia. The woman was seen outside a grocery store and was reported to have been alone. The sightings that were reported by the double tree employee that said that she asked about the tour bus, not the one that said, they saw her chasing a piece of paper, and the sightings reported by the people at the Greyhound Terminal and the sightings reported by the people from Easton Pennsylvania are considered by investigators to be quite credible due to the fact that all of the people that said they saw her mentioned that the woman was wearing a red back pack. Not only had you'd even wearing a red backpack when she left the hotel that morning. This backpack was considered by Judy to be one of her prize possessions. She hardly ever went anywhere without it, especially when traveling. She loved the backpack so much, in fact, that she called it the quote red wonder and quote. More than twenty years ago, there weren't cameras on every corner in every grocery store and things like there were today, even the Liberty Belle. You know, if they were to checked see if she ever made it the probably wasn't any kind of camera there to to tell whether she'd ever made it there or not. M Jerry would stay in Philadelphia for...

...two weeks following Judy's disappearance, spending every waking moment searching for her. Eventually, however, he did have to make the difficult decision to return home to his and Judy's families and back to his life in Massachusetts. Before leaving, he would hire a Pi or private investigator to continue his search. He had faith in the police, knowing that they were still facing pressure from Ed Rendall and John Purzel, but he wanted to make sure that everything possible was being done defined the love of his life. Almost everyone, from the police to Judy's family, were baffled by her disappearance. While Friends of hers knew she had been questioning whether or not to marry Jeffrey only a few months ago, they didn't believe that she would disappear without telling her children that she was okay. Jeffrey didn't believe that she would have left him without a word, but he knew for a fact that she would never have abandoned her children and left them to worry like they were worrying. He brought up the idea of a possible mental break that was preventing Judy from knowing where she was or possibly even who she was. However, Judy had had a physical just two weeks prior and she was deemed one hundred percent healthy. This coupled with the fact that she had no known personal or family history of mental illness, made the mental break theory seem pretty unlikely. In a statement to the media, Judy's daughter Amy stated, quote, rationally, I know something must have happened to her, but I try to think that she left on her own. She's okay, even though I know she wouldn't do that, but I try to think she did because this helps my peace of mind. and quote shed a swing. Did she? No, I don't think so. Sadly, just one week following amy statement and one year since Judy and Jeffrey tied the knot so in September of one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven, everyone's worst fears to be realized. Two men were hunting in the very remote his gone national forest in North Carolina when they came across what appeared to be human remains wrapped in a blanket and buried in a very shallow grave. They immediately alerted authorities and upon the arrival of the police they discovered that they were in fact human remains, and nearby they found a blue and black backpack, Judy's wedding ring, extensive looking sunglasses and a hundred sixty seven dollars in cashness her to she get on the wrong boss? I've no idea. Oh my Gosh, Judy's beloved red backpack was nowhere to be found. The fact that Judy's wedding ring was left along with so much cash indicated to the police that robbery had not been the motive for this crime. Also of significance was the fact that a bra was found on the skeleton and the leg bones were still clad in jeans and thermal underwear, and the skeleton was wearing hiking boots. HMM. Well, an employee of the medical examiner's office that the remains were sent to just happened to be aware of Judy's disappearance and, on a whim, they alerted Philadelphia authorities and sent for Judy's dental records. The dental records would come back as a match, confirming once and for all that Judy Smith's remains had been found over five hundred miles from where she had disappeared, wearing clothing that did not belong to her, with belongings in her possession that, to everyone's knowledge, did not belong to her either, although she had been seen at the laws shopping at macy's. Yep, so, so weird. Right. Five hundred miles away. Over five hundred mile was away. This discovery was obviously absolutely baffling to friends, family and investigators. Was your any reference from her husband that she typically carried a large amount of cash with her? No, but he did confirm that she had had about two hundred dollars on her the morning of April ten. So this did line up with the one hundred sixty seven dollars found. And she couldn't have gotten a a ticket of any kind from Philadelphia to North Carolina for thirty semlite dollars. So she could have had more cash than he thought, or someone else could have helped her. I don't know. This case is crazy from here on out. Insane. The discovery was absolutely baffling to friends, family and investigators alike. Well, there had been sightings of Judy at bus stations and in Easton. As we said, there was absolutely no reason for her to have wound up in North Carolina that anyone could think of. Additionally, Judy had arthritis and her knees and the area of the PISCON national forest that she was found in was both elevated and notoriously hard to navigate, meaning that, despite her bad knees, had she gonee here of her own accord, Judy would have had to walk uphill across...

...pretty harsh terrain. Judy's remains were also fully skeletonized at the time she was found. However, wounds on the Bra that she was wearing led investigators to believe that she had been stabbed to death. Really MMM. This, along with the fact that the body had been wrapped in a blanket and buried, made it a hundred percent clear to detectives that they were dealing with a murder. Yeah, none of them he was missing or her diamond wedding ring. That's puzzling. MMM. When new spread about the discovery of Judy's remains, police would get calls from various people living in areas surrounding the pisgone national forest that believed they had seen judy prior to her murder. A clerk at a local retail store reported that she'd seen Judy shopping just a few days after she was reported missing. The woman said, quote, she seemed very alert to me. She was very pleasant. I didn't see anything about her that would indicate that she wasn't right in any way. End Quote. This woman also reported that Judy, or the person she believed to be Judy, told her that she was married to a Boston lawyer that was attending a conference in Philadelphia and that she had decided she needed to get away for a couple days while her husband was busy. Oh my gosh, I know an employee at a place called the biltmore estate in Asheville, North Carolina, also reported seeing Judy. He stated that she drove up in a grace the Dan that appeared to be filled with luggage and asked if she could spend the night in the parking lot in her car. The man told her she couldn't and reported that she of a way without another word. A woman that owned a Delhi near the built more estate where Judy had reportedly been seen, also said that a woman matching her description came in and purchased thirty dollars worth of food and a toy truck. Did her husband or the police mention anything about these charges being on any later credit card records? I didn't see anything said about credit cards at all, even briefly mentioned, in any of the news reports or anything that I read on this case. So I don't think so. She would have had to be using cash, yes, but she had it Graceedan I know. I've rented a car, I know. I don't know how she got that car. She didn't have a graceed A. No one they knew how to graceed a. So it's insane. Police have since publicly stated that they believe these sightings to be credible. And if these signings were in fact judy, I mean they only served to raise more questions, as we just said. First of all, where did she get that car? Who did it belonged to? Did she rent it? Did she have enough cash to rent it that her husband just had no idea about? Did someone give it to her? Did she steal it? I mean, where did she get that car? And we know that Judy was murdered, yet she was always reported to be traveling alone. She was never seen with anyone else. Additionally, why did she go to North Carolina without alerting any friends or family? I mean, even if she did want a break for in her marriage, she would think she would at least tell her children, and I mean even when Jeffrey called her kids, if her kids had known that she wanted a break they could have been like, Oh, no, we didn't see her, but they would tell the police if they knew she was planning to go away. I know, yes, they so. So why would she not tell her kids? That makes the least amount of sense to me, honestly. That in the car another reason. Anytime we're going to do anything, tell at least one person. Yes, oh my gosh. And the stem marks or mystery. I would have really thought that she had had a middle mental break of some kind and took a bus and ended up, you know, hiking in the forest and somehow just met her demise. But step mark certainly proved that wrong. So wow. Please have publicly stated that they believe the backpack and sunglasses found near Judy's body belonged to the killer. I didn't see anywhere whether they were men's sunglasses or women's sunglasses, just that they appeared to be very expensive. And if they have any other evidence they feel might help them catch the perpetrator, they've kept it to themselves. We're now twenty three years after Judy Smith's murder and her case continues to baffle police, family and friends and Web sleuths like so. Yeah, like I said, a crazy one, because what Carolina? So let's see, does the appelation. How far up does the APPLA sition trail go? I don't, let me see. It goes from the very top of Georgia to Maine. Okay, but I mean she was seeing at so many bus stations and at stores and said...

I just don't write. She to be fully skeletonized. She was murdered pretty quickly after she went missing and she had arthritis and her knees, so she I really don't think she would have hiked the Appalachian trail. M how far is the PISCA forest from the built Morris stay? It was on the property of the forest and really close to where her body was found. So now, I guess, will get into theories. So the first one, of course, is her husband, Jeffrey Smith. The first person of interest when someone disappears or is murdered, like we said, is always their partner. While Jeffrey would always claim that he and Judy were very much in love and that their marriage was going strong, several friends of Judy's did come forward with claims that the marriage was strained and that judy was yearning for a break. One friend named Carolyn Dickey even told unsolved mysteries. Quote. I believe that something did happen that triggered her to want to have some time away from Jeff and, quote. Despite the claims that the marriage was not exactly a super happy one, Judy's friends and family all stood by the fact that they did not believe Jeffrey would ever do anything to harm Judy, stating that they knew he loved her very much and didn't think him to be a violent man. They just knew that Judy wasn't as happy in the marriage as he was. The police did take a long and hard look at Jeffrey, rightfully so. However, several factors allowed them to rule him out. First and foremost, of course, there was all the people that testified to his character and the fact that Jeffrey almost instantly raised alarm bells when he discovered that Judy was missing. I mean, he got back to his hotel room around thirty and he and the hotel concierge were calling hospitals by s fifteen. On top of this, witness testimony was able to corroborate the fact that he had gone down to breakfast when he said he had. The morning of April tenth and that he had attended all the conference events that he said he had that day. It was also confirmed that judy had left the hotel and had embarked on the bus tour she had scheduled, with no Jeffrey in sight. The place that Judy's body was found also helped to eliminate Jeffrey from the suspect list. The pisgone national forest is known for Patches of rough terrain, as I've said, especially the area where Judy was found. Even if Jeffrey's whereabouts hadn't been accounted for, the police felt that it was pretty unlikely that he would have been able to hike to the area where her body was. Jeffrey wasn't exactly in the best of shape. Police have actually been quoted as calling him morely obese, nor was he at all in experienced higer. So, despite statistics that stated otherwise, police felt confident that Judy Smith's husband was not their perpetrator. Sadly, Jeffrey Smith would pass away in two thousand and five due to unnamed health complications, never discovering what had happened to his wife that led to her grewsome and undeserved murder. I can't help my thinking or think that between the times she was told no, you can't sleep here, you know, in the parking lot of the built. More something happened after that point. You know that she tried to find some place to stay or just pulled off somewhere and sleft in her car and something broken or attact at that point, especially being that close to the Piscu force. Wow, I know it's just so rangy and the fact, I mean, was she wearing that hiking gear in her car and someone happened upon her, and I mean it. will say this for later theories. I'll hit that up, not what you said, but when I said so. Our Second Theory is Gary Michael Hilton. Gary Michael Hilton is an infamous American serial killer known for Stalking Hiking trails in Florida, Georgia and North Carolina from two thousand and five to two thousand and eight. Two of his victims, John and Irene Bryant, were actually found in the PISCA national forest, not far at all from where Judy's body was located. This couple, however, was not murdered until two thousand and seven, and his murders didn't start until two thousand and five. That we know of his victims did all meet gruesome ends, however, all beaten and or stabs to death and dismembered and in some cases decapitated post mortem. So she was found in pretty good condition compared to it he would typically do. Yes, but I do have a theory about that because, while I said, his confirmed murders didn't start until two thousand and five, he is believes to have been in the area where Judy was found at the time of her death. And we all know, all of us crime junkies know, that serial killers do tend, sometimes at least, to get more brutal the higher their body count.

Guts, I mean, we know that Judy was neither dismembered nor decapitated, but she was brutally stabs to death, and that part does Fit Hilton's m along with the fact that she was found along a hiking trail in the same forest that two of his later victims would eventually be found. If he had committed a murder as early as one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven, perhaps he was too nervous to take the time to brutalize her body following her death. I mean, maybe he was so afraid of being caught that he just dug a really shallow grave and wrapped her in a blanket and ran. Maybe. See, I hate that people like that had just taken all the joy out of I know him and Israel keys. I'll never go hiking again and being adventurous and and taking the road less traveled, because I used to do that. I used to just get in my car and drive to the mountains for the weekend or if it was, you know, supposed to be beautiful leaves, went in search of leaves and hiked and never ever gave it any concern, you know, for fear of my life, and now I think, oh my gosh, was I that naive? Obviously I was. Something that also corroborates the fact that it could very well have been Hilton is the fact that his first victim, Rosana Milani, was seen in his company inside of a general store and Bryson City, North Carolina, prior to him taking her into the woods and ending her life. Maybe Hilton came across Judy in a store or parking lot or on the side of the road while she was sleeping, like you said, and was somehow able to overpower her and bring her into the forest, or perhaps Judy had just made the very out of character decision to take a hike and had been unlucky enough to cross paths with him. In January of two thousand and eight, Hilton would lead guilty to the murder of a young woman named Meredith Emerson, who is actually his final victim. Shortly after this, however, he would be linked to the murders of the bryants and to a woman named Sheryl Dunlap. And while for the murder of Meredith Emerson he had been sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole in thirty years, his being linked to the rest of his murders tossed out all possibility of him ever being a freeman again. Thankfully, no parole for him. While it's been suspected by police and web sluice alike that Hilton May in fact be responsible for the murder of Judy Smith, Hilton has never once claimed his involvement and he did plead guilty to his first murder, and he has admitted to all of his others. So I mean will it could be relishing and the fact that he has one that the police don't know about and it's causing pain to Judy's family. He seems like one that is not afraid to take credit, so I do find it odd that if he's responsible, he hasn't said anything. And also this pretty much confirms for me that there wasn't DNA left behind at the scene, because they would have definitively been able to say by now yes or no Gary Hilton if there was. which sucks because did they ever ask him and him deny it? Or I don't know if they've asked him, but police have stated that they've looked at him as a suspect but haven't been able to confirm or deny it. So I assume they've asked him and they've tried to look into it and they just don't know. The next theory is someone known to Judy but not to anyone else. I mean, based on the fact that police consider the sightings of Judy by herself in North Carolina's be credible and that at least one of the witnesses said she seemed to be totally mentally competent and even talking about her husband, it's safe to assume they believe she traveled there of her own accord. She had no known connections to the area and if her family and friends do know of anyone she might have known in North Carolina, that information has not been released publicly. Some webs louthes, however, have theorized that judy had a friend or maybe even a secret lover in the area that was totally unknown to anyone else in her life and that she planned either a short getaway with this person or to permanently run away with them. Maybe this person, should they exist, was so in love with Judy that when she planned this not so permanent getaway and they knew that she would be going back to her husband, they were jealous enough of Jeffrey to end Judy's life. I mean that's kind of the only thing. If it was someone she knew, that's kind of the only situation that makes sense to me. But again, you would think there would be evidence of her communicating with someone in North Carolina, or at least one person in her life would know about it, someone who lived wherever she got that great car, literally who's car, because I every...

...time I see that gray sedan mentioned. I mean there's never any mention of her renting it or where she got it at all. I've no idea where she got that car. That is the one of the weirdest. I mean so much about this case is weird, but where did she get that car? You don't just get a car. Yes, because if she knew someone who had learner car to go somewhere and then they thought, you know, they wanted to catch up with her and spend some time with her? Yeah, or maybe they take the drive with her and just never went into any stores with her and never poked their head out of the window, like so weird. Where did she get that car? I feel like that is the key to this whole thing. Where did she get that car? And it might very well not be because it's such a an unknown, but you would think, I mean at the very least, even if she rented it with cash, someone would have come forward and been like, Oh, yeah, a blond woman fitting that exact description rented a gray sedan. Nope, no idea where she got the car, and that is so weird and it drives me insane. Anyway, the last theory is someone that was unknown to judy because, unfortunately and very strangely, it does look like she traveled to North Carolina of her own accord. She was always seen alone, never in the company of anyone else. So it's possible, maybe even likely, that she did decide she needed a break from Jeffrey and just didn't tell anyone else, including her kids, because she was worried they would tell him where she went. It would have been out of character for her. But maybe she just didn't know how treacherous hiking in the PISCA national forest would be and she decided that, despite her bad knees, she was gonna go for a little adventure and take a hike. And then just meant someone who thought they would start their murders free with her? MMM, or just in Israel keys that we don't know about yet, or when we do know about and that hasn't been linked to her. I don't think it was Israel keys. He's just the one I think of when I think of like the random, scirrit the most random, scariest killings, because he if you know him, you'll know what I mean. He's terrifying. But yeah, I mean she was wearing hiking boots and thermal underwear and jeans, though she was wearing who goes hiking and jeans. Like it's so weird. She had hiking boots and jeans. I wouldn't wear to I mean, that's just odd. I mean, especially because she wasn't very limber and she had bad knees. You would think she would want pants that would allow her to move around as much as possible. Jeans are pretty flexible sometimes, sometimes they're not, though, that you want to be protect you want them to be study enough that if here rubbing up against rock or trees or whatever, that they're not going to tear. I guess I think a lot of people hike in jeans. Actually, okay, sure, I'll give in to that one, but it's just I can't think of any reason why she was there in the first place, why she was in the mountains hiking and of super treacherous air. I mean I think someone had to have convinced her to go there with them or forced her to go there with them, because they just I mean, if she had done that, made that decision all by herself, you would think that she would get to a certain point and be like, I can't do this, I'm not built for this, and turn around. I think she did leave of her own accord, as sad as that is. I can't fathom a reason why she wouldn't tell her kids. But it sounds like police they're pretty sure that the people that saw her in North Carolina really did see her and she seemed fine, happy, competent, not in danger. So it seems like she did travel there on her own. Who knows how she got that car? Who knows why she was there? Who knows why she was in the forest? Do you have any other thoughts? So, I mean, this is just baffling to me. They have aside from Gary Michael Hilton, they have no suspects that they've ever publicly mentioned, and he looks kind of promising and not really after all this time. You know, perhaps if further testing could be done on cold cases, there maybe new discoveries that they'd be able to tell that. We're not available at that time, you know, twenty three years ago or so. But now that I think like you that it that gray car, I think has something to do with it. Whose car, because I can't imagine her, if she was truly competent and totally in her right mind, I can't imagine her stealing a car. Okay, let's say she...

...did plan this from the get go. She forgot her license on purpose, so I'm not going to fly with you, I will meet you there. So she meets up with someone else, travels with that person in a gray car or on the airplane or whatever, and you know, they leave together that next morning after she leaves her husband. True, is she's seen with anyone ever, but I mean it's very possible that it all started with her forgetting her license on purpose. True, maybe she had had those hiking clothes and belongings that didn't seem to be hers hidden away at home and she forgot her license and then packed more stuff in her bag. Maybe the sightings of her at the bus stations and stuff, we're just stops to use the restroom or something. But I would just think that unless her in this person thought far enough ahead to never be seen in the company of each other, like, not go to that Delhi together, not have the person be sitting up in the passenger seat when she pulled into the built, more to ask if she could spend the night there like that is yeah, I would think if you're with someone else, you're not going to ask to spend the night in a parking lot. You know, somehow I think the two of you together would get enough money to find even in an expensive hotel, asleep in or something. But yeah, I just don't think she would have done that. It's just so odd. Why? North Carolina? Whose car? was she going to meet someone? was she already with someone? Did Someone Stumble upon her? I mean they're so many possibilities. Maybe she had no place to go that night, so she left the car there even or just started walking into the forest from there when she was told no, you can't sleep here. Maybe, but that would be so odd. I just think not a super athletic person, I wouldn't spend the night in the forest, and I I'm pretty I think I'd be fine hiking, but absolutely not what. I spend the night alone in a forest. And I mean I know one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven people weren't. No, actually, I would say that someone as actually a woman alone at this time would be scared of serial killers, because this is after the time of Bundy right, and of Dahmer. Still, I think of all the trips I took by myself, just getting in my car last minute saying I'm going to drive to North Carolina. I'm when to see the leaves. Never ever gave it a thought ever. So yeah, I mean I think we can agree that she made the decision to go there. It's just was she meeting someone? Whose car was she driving? Why did someone report the car was filled with luggage? Why was she in the forest? Whose clothes was she wearing? Where they hers? Why was she murdered like nothing was taken? Her big diamond wedding ring from her rich lawyer husband was still in her finger. Just have to be the thoughts that kept him awake at night or his children, which is so sad, so sad. This case is so sad and crazy. And, like I said, the fact that they haven't been able to confirm or deny Gary Michael Hilton's involvement makes me think that they don't have DNA or the DNA sample they do have isn't big enough or sufficient enough to be tested with the technology that we have even today. And so, sadly, I think this case is going to stay unsolved unless the right person calls in a tip or confesses, or the police get a break that if they just really aren't expecting because so many questions that just don't have answers, and it seems like so little evidence left behind at the scene. Okay, listeners, if you all know anything, anything that you think is even unimportant, please speak up and give her children some peace of mind. Nothing could be worse than not knowing what's happened to your loved one. Definitely, and I think you could alert the Philadelphia Police Department, the Boston Police Department or the Asheville, North Carolina Police Department, all of whom seemed to be actively working together on this case. It doesn't appear to be cold, but it doesn't look like they have anything that's gonna help them solve this either. So it's a really sad one, a really crazy one. If you even think you have the slightest idea of anything, please just let someone know. This is so sad, this is so wild. I can't imagine being her daughter and having this happen. I...

...mean that's just so insane. I mean if we are saddened and angered by all the questions, yeah, like you said, I can't imagine being a family member or a friend. This is just a children have to be thinking, mom, what were you doing? What? This is really a crazy one. Think you so, so much for joining me. MOM, so excited to have you back. Hopefully I'll have you on again soon. Thank you for having me. This is very intriguing. Thank you, of course, for sharing this information with this yeah, listeners say, you know, she wanted to look this case up before we recorded this, but I was like no, no, you need to hear the twists like fresh. She can't know it. So I'm so happy I did that because I know I first heard about this case on the trace evidence podcast and when he said that she've been found in North Carolina, I was like what, what? Anyway, you can follow me on instagram and twitter at lock the door pod. I also have a facebook page and gmail that you can email me at lock the door pod at gmailcom. Feel free to reach out to any of those platforms with case suggestions, theories or just to say hi. I always welcome any of that. If you're listening to this on somewhere, you can leave a review. It would be super helpful if you have something nice to say. That just helps more people discover this podcast and therefore more people listen to and learn about these cases. A lot of the cases that I do are unsolved and of course, the more people that learned about a case, the bigger the chance that someone who holds the key to solving one of them will listen and finally be persuaded to do the right thing. Thank you so so much for listening and, as always, make sure you lock your doors by.

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