Bob Crane, born on the 13th of July 1928, was an American actor and disc jockey. He was best known for his role as Colonel Robert Hogan in the late 1960’s sitcom Hogan’s Heroes. He also became a drummer for various dance bands, as well as a symphony orchestra. On the 29th of June 1978, he was found dead in his apartment – clubbed to death by a camera tripod.
Bob Crane’s death remains a mystery up until today. It has been reopened a couple of times but was never really solved, the perpetrator never really caught.
It was said that on the eve of Bob Crane’s death, he had phoned a colleague by the name of John Henry Carpenter and told him that their friendship was over. The following day, he was found clubbed and bludgeoned to death with what looks like a camera tripod. Although the tripod itself was never found, the autopsy had shown wounds that would have only been inflicted by such a weapon. It is also important to note that Carpenter was a photographer.
An odd thing about Crane’s death was the fact that there was semen all over Crane’s body. Investigators assumed that the murderer may have masturbated and ejaculated on Crane’s body after murdering him. Since DNA analysis wasn’t present at the time of Crane’s death, investigators couldn’t find any leads and the case turned cold.
Carpenter was also reported to have called the apartment several times while the Police were present. He did not seem surprised at all, which led investigators to think that he might have had something to do with Crane’s death. His car was apparently impounded as well where several blood smears were discovered. But again, due to insufficient evidence and the absence of DNA analysis, Carpenter wasn’t charged.
More than a decade after Crane’s death, officials decided to reopen the case. DNA testing was already available and could have shed some light on the cold case. Unfortunately, the evidence was not properly preserved, and extracting sufficient DNA samples from them was impossible. Four more years later, authorities came across a picture of what appeared to be a brain tissue inside Carpenter’s impounded vehicle. The picture was taken on the night of Crane’s death. This made sufficient evidence for an arrest and Carpenter was indeed apprehended that same year. Unfortunately, the evidence still wasn’t enough to incriminate him and he was acquitted. He never admitted to his involvement with Crane’s death, even on his death bed.
It is sad to see that due to the lack of technology at the time of Crane’s death and murder, the perpetrator was never caught and put to justice. Furthermore, the evidence present back then could have been more than enough if it was available in a crime committed in this decade. Crane’s death was a huge loss not only for his friends, family and the industry – but also for the judicial system.