|Click to enlarge/Source: FBI|
Ricky McCormick was a 41-year-old ex-con on disability when he died at the end of June, 1999. He was last seen alive on June 25. He had lived in St. Louis and Belleville, Illinois, and he was found on June 30 on a stretch of land in West Alton, IL, along Highway 67. His body had begun decomposing, but it was determined that Ricky's throat was probably slashed. Authorities told local reporters that Ricky was into drugs.
Two slips of paper were found in Ricky's pockets. From the FBI:
The brief article about Ricky McCormick is carefully worded. It seems to indicate their goal is simply solving the mystery of what happened between the time Ricky left his last doctor's appointment and someone finding his body 5 days later.
The more than 30 lines of coded material use a maddening variety of letters, numbers, dashes, and parentheses. McCormick was a high school dropout, but he was able to read and write and was said to be "street smart." According to members of his family, McCormick had used such encrypted notes since he was a boy, but apparently no one in his family knows how to decipher the codes, and it’s unknown whether anyone besides McCormick could translate his secret language. Investigators believe the notes in McCormick's pockets were written up to three days before his death.
Click to enlarge/Source: FBI
There may be a larger mystery to solve than simply understanding what was going in McCormick's head prior to his death.
Articles published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2001, almost 2 years to the day after the discovery of McCormick's remains, indicated McCormick's was just one of several bodies found in the same area over the course of a 6-year period between 1995 and 2001.
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The female victims found in the area seen on the map above were likely victims of serial killer Maury Travis. Travis was nabbed after taunting police via letters and a map of where one of his victims was found in 2002. Investigators traced his use of Mapquest and showed up at his door on June 7 that year. He never quite confessed to his crimes after arrest, but authorities seemed satisfied, based on evidence that included videotapes, that Travis was responsible for the deaths of up to 20 women, many of them involved in drugs and prostitution.
Travis hanged himself in his jail cell at the St. Louis County Justice Center on June 10, 2002.
Ricky McCormick would have been out of serial killer Travis's typical zone of comfort, victim-wise, but could the FBI suspect a connection between the men? If they don't, why the interest? No homicide is insignificant, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation rarely gets too involved in cases such as the one-time homicide of an unemployed ex-con. It's hard to believe their desire to solve Ricky McCormick's puzzles is just based in wanting to solve one lone, cold case.
Does the ghost of Maury Travis lurk among McCormick's "maddening" letters, numbers, dashes and parentheses? Try your own hand at the ciphers and see.