Lori Ruff's real identity was a mystery for most of her life. In the late 1980s she acquired the birth certificate of Becky Sue Turner, a two-year old who died in a fire near Tacoma in 1971. She then turned around and used that to get an ID card in Oregon, then moved to Texas and changed her name to Lori Erica Kennedy. She then married and changed her name to Lori Erica Ruff. While she was odd, nobody suspected she was a sceptre. She was outwardly normal, acquiring a college degree, having a child. When her marriage fell apart, she committed suicide. Only then did the personality known as 'Lori Erica Ruff' begin to unravel. Her ex-husband found a lock box in her closet, which had a smattering of strange documents, like the number of a lawyer who had never heard of her, strange codes, and names and phone numbers of people her husband had never heard of. Eventually, Social Security Administration records and forensic genealogy pieced together that she was actually Kimberly McLean, a girl who had simply run away from home at 18 and never looked back.
On September 14, 2001, a man walked into a shabby motel in Amanda Park, a small community northwest Washington. He gave his name Lyle Stevik, and when he filled out his registration card, he used the address of a Best Western hotel in Meridian, Idaho. He complained of noise on the first night, so the hotel staff moved him, but otherwise he didn't bring any attention to himself. On September 17, he used his belt to hang himself in the closet. On the table was the cash to pay for the room, and a single word suicide note: Suicide. He had no identity documents anywhere in the room, and when investigators contacted the Best Western in Idaho, nobody recognized him. He's remained unidentified for seventeen years. Web sleuths attempting to discover his identity have guessed that he may have been sick with a fatal disease or even involved in the 9/11 terror attacks.
James Roy McAlphin beat his girlfriend and then shot her death in a motel room in El Dorado, Arkansas. We know that because he pleaded guilty to murder and went to prison for 12 years. What we don't know is the real name of his victim. Her ID said she was Cheryl Ann Wick, but investigators quickly learned that she'd stolen that identity from someone in Minneapolis who was alive and well and did not know the victim. McAlphin couldn't shed any light on the real name of his victim. She was known to have bounced between Houston, Dallas, Shreveport and Little Rock before arriving in El Dorado, and she had told friends she was originally from Florida. She'd also used a slew of other names. She'd worked as a prostitute and topless dancer, had been arrested on numerous occasions for prostitution and writing bad cheques, and was possibly wanted for bank robbery in Virginia. Despite these facts, we're no closer to knowing her true identity.
The Rodney Alcala Victims. Serial killer was convicted of seven murders and currently sits on death row at San Quentin State Prison. But back before his conviction, investigators found a storage locker he'd rented that was full to the rafters with trophies of his crimes and over 1,000 disturbing photos of young women and teenage boys, nude and in explicit poses. Alcala was known for tricking young people into his home by pretending to be a professional photographer. Investigators fear the people in the photos may be victims of his crimes – and that suspicion is heightened by the fact that out of the many photos, only twenty have ever been identified.
Joseph Newton Chandler III. On July 30, 2002 Joseph Newton Chandler III, an elderly hermit, committed suicide with a gunshot wound to the head. The probate court began the process of working out the man's estate and were surprised to learn that Joseph Newton Chandler was actually a nine year old in Texas who had died in a car crash in Texas in 1945. The man had been using the pseudonym for decades – and to this day nobody knows his true identity.