This post is going to be a little jumbled, for a few reasons. The first case we’re going to look at is extensive and could be a post on its own. There could be books written about the Arruda case – it is by far one of the most documented cases in the triangle. The second section will examine murders that are not necessarily….confirmed. So, there’s not a lot of details provided for those. And then we have the Ice Shack Murders. There actually have been books written about this case, and it is heavily involved in the occult, so the bulk of this case will be discussed next week. And finally…I would be remiss to not at least mention Lizzie Borden. We will not dive deeply into the case, as it will be discussed in-depth in a different post.
With that huge heads-up out of the way, let’s dive into things.
Mary Lou Arruda
By all accounts, Mary Lou Arruda was a typical teenager: she had a bustling social life boosted by her status as a cheerleader. She was popular. She was happy. And then she vanished on September 8, 1978. She was last seen riding her bike near her home in Raynham. The bike was found abandoned on the side of the road around a half an hour after she was last seen. Mary Lou was reported missing when her abandoned bike was returned to her parents. Police conducted a search that lasted three day – despite the length, nothing was found.
Police continued to follow up on leads and tips – which is how they learned of James Kater. He matches the description of a man seen near Mary Lou’s last known whereabouts. His car matched tire tracks found near the abandoned bike. He had a criminal record consulting of assault and kidnapping with intent to rape. The police continued to examine him as a person of interest in Mary Lou’s disappearance.
The search for Mary Lou came to a deeply upsetting end on November 11, 1978. Her body was found by a recreational dirt bike rider. Her body was in an advanced state of decomposition, tied to a tree in the Freetown-Fall River State Forest. The medical examiner believed that she was either strangled or asphyxiated due to the ropes that tied her to the tree. The ME also determined that Mary Lou had been alive when she was tied to the tree, and died on the same day she disappeared.
James Kater went to trial and was convicted of first degree murder (for the first time) in 1979. He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. The Massachusetts Supreme Court overturned that conviction, but he was convicted again in 1986. Again, that conviction was overturned. A third trial in 1992 ended in a mistrial. He was once again retried in 1996 and that conviction stuck. He was moved to a federal prison in California for his own safety and continues serving his sentence today.
Historically, there has been a lot of gang activity in the northwest of the United States. We often hear about the influence of gangs in larger cities like New York, but let’s keep in mind that the Bridgewater Triangle is not too far from New York City. An easy drive to, say, dispose of a body somewhere it will never be found. Namely, in the Freetown-Fall River State Forest.
That’s the rumor, anyway. It’s long been said that mobsters will travel into the Triangle to bury the bodies of those that had crossed them in some way. Perhaps these unfound bodies are a part of why there is so much unexplained activity in the Triangle. That’s all I’ve got for this one, unfortunately.
The Ice Shack
The ice shack is a very notable spot in the Bridgewater Triangle. The shack itself is said to have been built sometime in the 1940s to be used in conjunction with the booming logging industry. It came to cast a dark shadow on the forest a pimp named Carly Drew, however. He was supposedly the leader of a Satanic cult in the area, and used the threat of dark magic or powers to keep sex workers under his thumb. He even went so far as to threaten the sex workers with human sacrifice to ensure they did as he wished. At least three women died at his hands in such supposed sacrifices, but we will dive deeper into Drew’s activities when we cover rumors of the occult next week.
The Borden Family Murders
Okay, like I stated in the introduction, we’re going to keep this short and only cover the broad strokes of this case. The pair of murders took place on August 4, 1892 in Fall River, MA. Abby Borden – the stepmother of Lizzie and wife of Andrew – was murdered in the guestroom of the Borden house. She was supposedly facing the killer to begin with, as she was struck once on the side of the face. She was then struck in the back of the head 17 times with an axe, killing her. When Andrew arrived home shortly thereafter, and headed up to the room he shared with Abby. He fell asleep on a sofa there, and the killer struck him 10 or 11 times with an axe or hatchet. His face was demolished, and one of his eyes was split cleanly in two.
Lizzie is said to have been in the house during the duration of both murders, with the Borden maid claiming she heard Lizzie laughing upstairs shortly after the time of Abby’s murder. Lizzie was accused of and tried for the murders, though she was acquitted of the charges. Despite the acquittal, however, public opinion still found Lizzie to be guilty of the crimes, and she lived the rest of her life under suspicion that she got away with murder.