Unsolved Mysteries of the World

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The Unsolved Disappearance of Terry Pettit and Ron Yakimchuk

Season 4, Ep. 9

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It was a bright sunny day when Ron Yakimchuk and his wife Terry Pettit decided to head East across Canada. They had big plans and were excited to start their new life.


Ron and Terry left Edmonton, Alberta Canada on June 9, 1973 to head east to Montreal, attend a friend's wedding and then settle in the Maritimes where Ron hoped to land a teaching position, and Terry, a journalist intended to seek employment at a newspaper.

En Route they stopped in to friends in Brandon, Manitoba and the next day mailed a one-word postcard back home to family in Edmonton telling them they had made it as far as Dryden, in time, and without a breakdown – and owed a $50 bet!


However, Ron and Terry did not show up at the wedding as planed and were never seen from again.


This is unsolved mysteries of the world season 4 episode 9 The Unsolved Disappearance of Terry Pettit and Ron Yakimchuk.


Ron and Terry had packed the 1959 Volkswagen Beetle as much as possible. The tiny car was battered, but drivable. The faded red color and mismatched green hood and fender made the vehicle stand out but not nearly as much as the 6 ft bright white Kayak tied to the roof and the many boxes and household supplies packed into the tiny backseat. The bright yellow Alberta license plate would also have stuck out to any eye-witnesses.


Friends said that the couple were adventurous and even said they may travel as far as Europe. At the time, however, only Terry had a passport. Ron was described as laid back and extremely sensible and mature and would have not made any quick decisions. Terry is described as more adventurous who drank scotch whiskey, rolled her own cigarettes and loved to drag friends off on adventures


The last known location, according to police is that the couple were in Dryden, Ontario. Police are uncertain if they continued on the journey through Canada via Highway One, which at the time was narrow, hilly and very remote, or if they decided to cross into the United States at International Falls and continue to Duluth Minnesota via larger and faster interstate highways to cut across and slip back into Canada near Sue St, Marie or Detroit. At the time, no records were kept of border crossings. It is uncertain if they did cross any borders.


Since their last known location their bank accounts were never used. Ron's life insurance policy was never cashed in and the couple, even after all these years has not been declared dead.


What is more baffling is that the highly visible VW Beetle and all the contents, including the Kayak disappeared as well.


Police indicate they have received tips over the years but nothing significant has surfaced.


However, Vivian McCroary indicated she witnessed the vehicle and occupants in July of 1973 in Parry Sound, Ontario, some 1450 kilometres south east of Dryden, Ontario.


"I phoned the police at the time and they didn't even take my phone number and name," she said. "I swear it's the same car."


Vivian says she remembers it well because the 1959 VW was parked on the roadway with the couple and another man standing near it and her husband slammed on the brakes and swerved around it narrowly avoiding an accident. She remembers seeing an Alberta license plate as well. The vehicle was in the southbound lanes of highway 69 and the rear engine hood was up. There was no sign of the white Kayak, tied to the roof, however.



"There was a tall, slim fellow with dark hair and ... a hippy hair cut," she says. "He was standing more in the ditch. There was this other man and woman and they were on the left hand side in front of the vehicle. I couldn't see the man particularly well. He was pretty well behind the woman. He wasn't much taller than her."


OPP Det. Const. Scott Johnston says he is following up on the tip from 35 years ago and indicated there was another incident with a VW at about the same time that may be related, but did not elaborate.


When the couple did not make it to the wedding friends and family were concerned but not overly taken up by the couple's absence. The report of them missing came weeks later and it took months before any earnest search of the couple began.


Adding to the mystery is that friend Winston Gereluk, said "Terry told me they were going away and nobody would find them for a while.”


Friends did some snooping on their own. They checked to see whether the driver's licences were renewed, or social assistance was being collected or taxes being paid.


"As time went on, I think we said that if they went underground, boy they did it really well because they just sank without a trace,” adds Gereluk.


Police have also collected DNA from family members to check on unidentified remains. So far, there has been no matches.


The case remains unsolved.

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10/7/2019

The Haunted Old Idaho State Penitentiary Part Three

Season 6, Ep. 15
Welcome to Unsolved Mysteries of the World Season 6 Episode 15, The Old Idaho Penitentiary Part IIIIn the 1940s and 1950s the Idaho Penitentiary again was suffering from overcrowding and a new cell house was constructed. Cell Block #5 held the worst of the worst with maximum security cells, a death row, its very own indoor gallows and drop house.This housing unit is rumoured to be the most haunted of all the buildings on the property, even though, only one official hanging took place within. It was also that last State sanctioned execution in Idaho taking the life of Prisoner # 9509 Raymond Allen Snowden in the most unethical way.On the evening of September 23rd, 1956 Cora Lucille Dean drove to the Hi-Ho Club in Garden City, where she intended to have a few drinks and play the slot machines. Here she met a young man named Raymond Snowden who she found no only attractive, but fun to be around. When the two had a few drinks, Snowden wanted to take things a bit further and pressured Cora. When his advances were denied he threatened Cora in a frightening manner asking her to choose between rape and death. Cora obviously taken aback chose neither and that made Snowden angry who produced a pocket knife and stabbed Cora 29 times.The body, which was found the next morning by a paper boy, was viciously and sadistically cut and mutilated. An autopsy surgeon testified the voice box had been cut, and that this would have prevented the victim from making any intelligible outcry. There were other wounds inflicted while she was still alive — one in her neck, one in her abdomen, two in the face, and two on the back of the neck. The second neck wound severed the spinal cord and caused death. There were other wounds all over her body, and her clothing had been cut away. The nipple of the right breast was missing. There was no evidence of a sexual attack on the victim; however, some of the lacerations were around the breasts and vagina of the deceased.Snowden took the dead woman's wallet hailed a passing motorist and rode back to Boise. There he went to a bowling alley and changed clothes. He dropped his knife into a sewer at a Cigar Shop and threw the wallet away. Then he went to his hotel and cleaned up again. He put the clothes he had worn that evening into a trash barrel outside the hotel.Police narrowed in on Snowden almost immediately as eye-witnesses pointed out that Snowden had left with Cora that evening from the Hi-Ho Club. Police also, remember Snowden from a previous encounter as to which he boasted he was going to sever the spinal cord of his then girlfriend because she was irritating him.They found the weapon, the same one they remember him previously threatening with, still covered in blood in a sewer grate near Hannifin's Cigar Shop. Another eye-witness placed Snowden there and that was enough for an arrest to be made.During the trial it was brought to the attention of the media that Snowden had boasted of two other murders, but they were never confirmed. A detective magazine at the time dubbed Snowden, "Idaho's Jack the Ripper" in view of the viciousness of the crime.Snowden was found guilty and sentenced to death. He took up residence in Death Row with his door in view of the indoor gallows to which he would make his way to on October 18th, 1957.At 12:05 he was brought into the gallows room and met with the Chaplain. The noose was placed around his neck and the witnesses in the viewing room got their first look at Snowden. The door sprung just 45 seconds later. Down went Snowden and the crowd gasped. It seems the Warden and those responsible for carrying out the deed did not measure Snowden's height or weight, and s such the counter-weight was not calculated correctly. Snowden fell, but he did not break his neck instantly. Instead, in the catch room, he struggled and swung about for 15 minutes until he finally died. Some say it was an oversight, while others believed the authorities did this on purpose to make Snowden's death one of suffering.Snowden's hanging was the last of a total of ten men to occur at the prison and his body was buried in an unmarked grave on prison property. Some believe that Snowden haunts his Cell, Cell Block #5 and the hanging room. But Snowden may not be the only soul still doing time at the Pen. There are a total of 129 recorded deaths within the walls.Due to overcrowding and the treatment of prisoners serious riots occurred in 1952 and again in 1971. The 1973 riots proved to be the end of the Old Idaho Penitentiary as riots burned down several buildings and damaged others beyond repair. The 416 resident inmates were moved to the new Idaho State Correctional Institution south of Boise and the Old Idaho Penitentiary was closed on December 3, 1973, never to see another living soul imprisoned behind its stone walls.If you are interested in the Old Idaho State Penitentiary you can visit them daily where tours are conducted by volunteer staff. Special events around Halloween turn the prison into one goulish haunted attraction. More recently, the Pen has been giving Paranormal Investigation Tours.Special thanks to all those volunteering to keep such a historic gem alive. Thank you to the Idaho State Historical Society for their excellent resources and dedication. We will attach a bonus episode that was produced by the staff of the Idaho State Pen with funding from the Idaho State Historical Society.It focuses in on the prison's only double hanging. If you like what you hear, head over to their youtube page to see additional videos.We will leave you now with the words and memories of prisoners and staff from the Old Idaho State Penitentiary.Until Next Time.....Be good.