The McCormick Code //////

51 comments

  • lawbster

    lawbster uae

    best quote ever -- "It's never a mannequin" - The Captain

    best quote ever -- "It's never a mannequin" - The Captain

  • Rachel

    Rachel Ohio

    So here are my thoughts about these "ciphers." When I hear that the FBI's cryptanalysis team cannot crack a code, that gets my attention. When I hear that they were written by someone who has been described as suffering from some form of mental impediment, that throws up a red flag as to their value. I don't know a whole lot about codes. But I do know that only a very few are good without keys, and they are super basic ones, like a ROT1 code (a form of a Caesar Shift Cipher) or a transposition code. I also know that when you are trying to solve a code you look for repetition and patterns . In this case, I only see a few "words" that are repeated. The parentheses, hyphens, occasional periods and the numbers seem so random, as do the lengths of the words. Some go on for an inordinate amount of letters without breaking, longer than most words in the English language. I wonder if this isn't something that just made sense to him in some manic state or if it was some kind of memory tool. Some of the groupings of letters almost look like they might be phonetically written interpretations of words by someone who knew letters but not language. It's in human nature to look for meaning in everything. But sometimes there is nothing more than what we are looking at.

    So here are my thoughts about these "ciphers." When I hear that the FBI's cryptanalysis team cannot crack a code, that gets my attention. When I hear that they were written by someone who has been described as suffering from some form of mental impediment, that throws up a red flag as to their value. I don't know a whole lot about codes. But I do know that only a very few are good without keys, and they are super basic ones, like a ROT1 code (a form of a Caesar Shift Cipher) or a transposition code. I also know that when you are trying to solve a code you look for repetition and patterns . In this case, I only see a few "words" that are repeated. The parentheses, hyphens, occasional periods and the numbers seem so random, as do the lengths of the words. Some go on for an inordinate amount of letters without breaking, longer than most words in the English language. I wonder if this isn't something that just made sense to him in some manic state or if it was some kind of memory tool. Some of the groupings of letters almost look like they might be phonetically written interpretations of words by someone who knew letters but not language. It's in human nature to look for meaning in everything. But sometimes there is nothing more than what we are looking at.

  • Doldrums

    Doldrums Ky

    To me, this seems to be someone who has Asbergers, a form of autism. Having dealt with family members with this disorder I can tell you that they can obsess over things that make no sense to anyone else but them. For instance, writing specs to imaginary computers or cellphones, writing out fault codes from computers. These are personal examples that I've seen. I think Ricky was writing out letters and numbers because it satisfied some obsession within him. It make no sense to anyone else but it meant something to him. Just my opinion.

    To me, this seems to be someone who has Asbergers, a form of autism. Having dealt with family members with this disorder I can tell you that they can obsess over things that make no sense to anyone else but them. For instance, writing specs to imaginary computers or cellphones, writing out fault codes from computers. These are personal examples that I've seen. I think Ricky was writing out letters and numbers because it satisfied some obsession within him. It make no sense to anyone else but it meant something to him. Just my opinion.

  • Carrie

    Carrie Indiana

    I have a younger brother who made up is own language as kid. (W are all dorks and somewhat obsessive). If this man had done something like this, then on top of that, being unable to read well, and likely not noing how to spell. I would think it unlikely we will ever be able to crack this code. I’m not implying this man did something like that. It just made me remember my brother making up his langauge and writing it down in his notebook which I firmly don’t believe even the best mind at FBI would ever be able to make any sense of without him.

    I have a younger brother who made up is own language as kid. (W are all dorks and somewhat obsessive). If this man had done something like this, then on top of that, being unable to read well, and likely not noing how to spell. I would think it unlikely we will ever be able to crack this code. I’m not implying this man did something like that. It just made me remember my brother making up his langauge and writing it down in his notebook which I firmly don’t believe even the best mind at FBI would ever be able to make any sense of without him.

  • Jeff

    Jeff Colorado

    This reminds me of my Grandfather who could not read and had mental problems but he was really a smart guy even though he acted and seemed slow. Over a few years, he developed his own way to write things to himself to remind him of things even though he could not write, he developed his own language that only he could understand,

    This reminds me of my Grandfather who could not read and had mental problems but he was really a smart guy even though he acted and seemed slow. Over a few years, he developed his own way to write things to himself to remind him of things even though he could not write, he developed his own language that only he could understand,

  • B

    B Parts Unknown

    I do think that this was written by the victim, and probably only made sense to him. He may not have known how to read or write in our terms but that doesn't mean he didn't have the capacity to read or write. I agree that he probably just made up his own language or shorthand and these notes are only decipherable to him. What does surprise me is that they didn't find any other examples in his room or his girlfriends house. This leads me to believe that they may have been directions or a checklist for the day; which may or may not be drug related. The autopsy is also weird. A person with his health conditions could definitely have a rough time in 90+ degree heat, so there's a chance it wasn't foul play. Also, if he was having breathing and heart issues in the days and weeks leading up to his death, that could have caused him to seem "off" or more agitated. Why did they say it was a gunshot? Did they find any evidence or was it just unusual tissue damage?

    I do think that this was written by the victim, and probably only made sense to him. He may not have known how to read or write in our terms but that doesn't mean he didn't have the capacity to read or write. I agree that he probably just made up his own language or shorthand and these notes are only decipherable to him. What does surprise me is that they didn't find any other examples in his room or his girlfriends house. This leads me to believe that they may have been directions or a checklist for the day; which may or may not be drug related.

    The autopsy is also weird. A person with his health conditions could definitely have a rough time in 90+ degree heat, so there's a chance it wasn't foul play. Also, if he was having breathing and heart issues in the days and weeks leading up to his death, that could have caused him to seem "off" or more agitated. Why did they say it was a gunshot? Did they find any evidence or was it just unusual tissue damage?

  • Kelly

    Kelly Los Angeles, CA

    It made me feel super sad when I heard he was in an unmarked grave. I feel bad for the guy, he was marginalized in society and appears not treated for his special needs. I'm going to assume law enforcement has checked things he wrote in the past to see if there was a hand-writing match. But if they did not, start there. Then check into the hand-writing of some of the prime suspects to see if they can figure out who wrote it. Maybe it is a code for a language other than English? Maybe the numbers have to do with the amount of drugs he was delivering? Looks like he wrote a paragraph of instructions and/or general info then broke it down into parenthesis. Honestly, if he did have a mental illness it may also have been what he thought the voices in his head were saying. I hope it is solved, just looking at the guy's picture makes me feel sad.

    It made me feel super sad when I heard he was in an unmarked grave. I feel bad for the guy, he was marginalized in society and appears not treated for his special needs. I'm going to assume law enforcement has checked things he wrote in the past to see if there was a hand-writing match. But if they did not, start there. Then check into the hand-writing of some of the prime suspects to see if they can figure out who wrote it. Maybe it is a code for a language other than English? Maybe the numbers have to do with the amount of drugs he was delivering? Looks like he wrote a paragraph of instructions and/or general info then broke it down into parenthesis. Honestly, if he did have a mental illness it may also have been what he thought the voices in his head were saying. I hope it is solved, just looking at the guy's picture makes me feel sad.

  • Kelli

    Kelli Ames, OK

    You are absolutely right Captain! Most doses are in 5’s...except baby aspirin which is 81mg and synthroid can be dosed in any number. Those are the two that pop into my head.

    You are absolutely right Captain! Most doses are in 5’s...except baby aspirin which is 81mg and synthroid can be dosed in any number. Those are the two that pop into my head.

  • Freakfreely

    Freakfreely Nc

    The victim was using a shorthand he created for himself. My father couldn’t read or write-he had his own alphabet-he never went to school-but he was almost savant like with Most thing-mechanics-engineering animal husbandry-etc-when I was in first grade I found scribblings like this and tried to sound out the words-I was obsessed trying to figure it out-finally I asked him-he explained how it worked-if a horse On one of the farms he worked-had a tendency to throw a front right shoe-when he solved that-he would put something to remind himself of the issue and how he solved it on the receipt. Whether it was trajectory of the nails or how he formed the shoe-it made perfect sense to him. He also used it when he needed a memory aid-he had so many things going at once-he would jot something down-look at the shorthand a few times-then he would throw it away-he had to make a note to remember to memorize shit. If these were notes of my dads-I would think he was behind on memorization-the victim likely had a different system-and likely didn’t have an amazing memory like my dad.

    The victim was using a shorthand he created for himself. My father couldn’t read or write-he had his own alphabet-he never went to school-but he was almost savant like with Most thing-mechanics-engineering animal husbandry-etc-when I was in first grade I found scribblings like this and tried to sound out the words-I was obsessed trying to figure it out-finally I asked him-he explained how it worked-if a horse On one of the farms he worked-had a tendency to throw a front right shoe-when he solved that-he would put something to remind himself of the issue and how he solved it on the receipt. Whether it was trajectory of the nails or how he formed the shoe-it made perfect sense to him. He also used it when he needed a memory aid-he had so many things going at once-he would jot something down-look at the shorthand a few times-then he would throw it away-he had to make a note to remember to memorize shit. If these were notes of my dads-I would think he was behind on memorization-the victim likely had a different system-and likely didn’t have an amazing memory like my dad.

  • Cesar

    Cesar Parts Unknown

    What if this isn't English? What if McCormick was carrying a code for his boss "Bob" who spoke a different language? What if he was a messenger carrying an encrypted message in a foreign language?

    What if this isn't English?
    What if McCormick was carrying a code for his boss "Bob" who spoke a different language?
    What if he was a messenger carrying an encrypted message in a foreign language?

  • Christopher

    Christopher Portland, ME

    I'm wondering if the FBI made the mistake of assuming that all the notes they found are written using the same code. It could be each individual piece has its own code or multiple codes. I agree it looks like directions or instructions of some sort. I have faith that it can be cracked just not easily.

    I'm wondering if the FBI made the mistake of assuming that all the notes they found are written using the same code. It could be each individual piece has its own code or multiple codes. I agree it looks like directions or instructions of some sort. I have faith that it can be cracked just not easily.

  • Matt

    Matt Minnesota

    Could Ricky count? Did he have a photographic memory? If he walked everywhere maybe the numbers are the amount of steps he took to get somewhere. How would someone, who does not read and does not drive, decipher an everyday road sign or billboard? I suggest he had a photographic memory and it takes a visual imagination to determine what he is saying if someone were to literally walk in his footsteps

    Could Ricky count? Did he have a photographic memory? If he walked everywhere maybe the numbers are the amount of steps he took to get somewhere. How would someone, who does not read and does not drive, decipher an everyday road sign or billboard? I suggest he had a photographic memory and it takes a visual imagination to determine what he is saying if someone were to literally walk in his footsteps

  • Rachel

    Rachel Ohio

    So I just had a thought and it may be a little out there and probably a result of me listening to the Conspiracy Theory podcast but...what if the notes are not real? What if the FBI could really care less about Ricky in particular, but they feel his death is tied to or part of a much larger criminal activity ring? That would explain a few things: 1) why the notes were not divulged for 12 years (they didn't exist). 2) Why the CRRU and anyone who looks at them can't crack them (maybe the CRRU purposefully wrote them that way...if you are smart enough to crack codes, you are smart enough to reverse manufacture a fake one) and 3)why they care so much about a crime perpetrated against a pedophile. That is highly unusual in my experience. I realize a human life is valuable regardless, but this man carried on a relationship,even fathering children, with a CHILD. That is disgusting no matter which angle you approach it from. He is not on some Flowers For Algernon level. He held down a job, had friends. I know he is dead, and may have suffered mentally, but you can't convince me that he didn't know or at least learn at some point over those several years he was engaging in his behavior, that it was wrong. But he did it and continued it and from what I could tell, unapologetically so. That's a grade A creep. But back to my point: if the FBI concocted these notes and hatched this plan and then released this info to the public, perhaps it's in an effort to scare people into talking. We all know that only the first person to talk gets the deal. And if they bait (scare) all these small fish so to speak involved in this drug/criminal ring somehow, then the idea is they will catch the big fish too. Alright. That's all. I am going to go back to my mom's basement to binge watch Ancient Aliens now. :p

    So I just had a thought and it may be a little out there and probably a result of me listening to the Conspiracy Theory podcast but...what if the notes are not real? What if the FBI could really care less about Ricky in particular, but they feel his death is tied to or part of a much larger criminal activity ring? That would explain a few things: 1) why the notes were not divulged for 12 years (they didn't exist). 2) Why the CRRU and anyone who looks at them can't crack them (maybe the CRRU purposefully wrote them that way...if you are smart enough to crack codes, you are smart enough to reverse manufacture a fake one) and 3)why they care so much about a crime perpetrated against a pedophile. That is highly unusual in my experience. I realize a human life is valuable regardless, but this man carried on a relationship,even fathering children, with a CHILD. That is disgusting no matter which angle you approach it from. He is not on some Flowers For Algernon level. He held down a job, had friends. I know he is dead, and may have suffered mentally, but you can't convince me that he didn't know or at least learn at some point over those several years he was engaging in his behavior, that it was wrong. But he did it and continued it and from what I could tell, unapologetically so. That's a grade A creep. But back to my point: if the FBI concocted these notes and hatched this plan and then released this info to the public, perhaps it's in an effort to scare people into talking. We all know that only the first person to talk gets the deal. And if they bait (scare) all these small fish so to speak involved in this drug/criminal ring somehow, then the idea is they will catch the big fish too. Alright. That's all. I am going to go back to my mom's basement to binge watch Ancient Aliens now. :p

  • Smokie

    Smokie Ohio

    The cigarettes and caffiene could be because of the asrhma. And old folk remedy for asthma, especially aming those of limited finances is hot coffee. I have asthma and had hot coffee since I was about five. Also, cigarettes. My great grandfather smoked cigarettes specifically prescribed for asthma. I was born in ‘63, so that gives you a time frame for when this happened, but with severe asthma attacks when I was a kid, I smoked. Even teachers at school knew I smoked. McCormick was probably just trying to solve a problem with inexpensive folkways

    The cigarettes and caffiene could be because of the asrhma. And old folk remedy for asthma, especially aming those of limited finances is hot coffee. I have asthma and had hot coffee since I was about five. Also, cigarettes.
    My great grandfather smoked cigarettes specifically prescribed for asthma.
    I was born in ‘63, so that gives you a time frame for when this happened, but with severe asthma attacks when I was a kid, I smoked.
    Even teachers at school knew I smoked.
    McCormick was probably just trying to solve a problem with inexpensive folkways

  • Jen

    Jen Canton MA

    I agree with the posters above. I don’t think this is written in code. My daughter is dyslexic and some of this rings true to how she used to write when she was first learning. Some of the words seem to be spelled phonetically. For example MGKSE sounds like MAKES and RLSE sounds like RULES or RELEASE and WLD could be WILD. She had a tendency to leave out vowels when spelling phonetically. It would be a little guess work and a little filling in the blanks. I cant imagine that the FBI wouldnt have explored that avenue so I could be wrong but my guess is this is a note to himself and not in his own language. It’s in English, but his version of English.

    I agree with the posters above. I don’t think this is written in code. My daughter is dyslexic and some of this rings true to how she used to write when she was first learning. Some of the words seem to be spelled phonetically. For example MGKSE sounds like MAKES and RLSE sounds like RULES or RELEASE and WLD could be WILD. She had a tendency to leave out vowels when spelling phonetically. It would be a little guess work and a little filling in the blanks. I cant imagine that the FBI wouldnt have explored that avenue so I could be wrong but my guess is this is a note to himself and not in his own language. It’s in English, but his version of English.

  • Susan

    Susan Parts seldom visited

    I like Nick's thought that Ricky was sitting in the waiting room while writing. As a nurse who once worked in the ER, I think that page 1 has many references to medications/ his med history. Taking into account that his family said he didn t write a lot and his spelling may have been poor--ncbe may mean "not covered by insurance." Ex-- end of line 6 on page 1: n wld n cbe = and would not be covered by insurance. Line 9 could be: first prescribed onDecember 7 not covered by insurance. TF, CD etc may be his code for asthma med s given by the ER. As always, great podcast!!!!

    I like Nick's thought that Ricky was sitting in the waiting room while writing. As a nurse who once worked in the ER, I think that page 1 has many references to medications/ his med history. Taking into account that his family said he didn t write a lot and his spelling may have been poor--ncbe may mean "not covered by insurance." Ex-- end of line 6 on page 1: n wld n cbe = and would not be covered by insurance.
    Line 9 could be: first prescribed onDecember 7 not covered by insurance.
    TF, CD etc may be his code for asthma med s given by the ER.

    As always, great podcast!!!!

  • Adam

    Adam Los Angeles

    My initial thoughts, after listening to the podcast and then coming right here too look at the ciphers, is that this man had some type of schizophrenia. After taking a number of classes in college on mental illness, and going to school for neuroscience (not computer), I saw a strikingly similar pattern to these notes as to someone who was writing down their thoughts during a manic phase. This idea was further developed in my head when i remembered that Ricky was somewhat illiterate. In all honesty, if Ricky was a super genius that could fool the best decoders in the FBI, the odds that someone else would have known his intelligence level are very high. To me, it is much more likely that he was either, A) Writing what he thought sounded like words during a manic phase, or B) receiving these messages from a "grandiose" figure; as many schizophrenics believe that they are in contact with a greater being that is meant to give them messages. Also, a side note, smoking a plentiful amount of cigarettes is one of the most common traits that a majority schizophrenics share. If he really was smoking a pack a day, then I think it is more than plausible to believe that the smoking was to calm the symptoms of his schizophrenia. All in all, to Nick and the Captain's final point, the discussion of mental illness is something that is not talked about enough here in America. It is seen as a taboo, when in reality aren't we all a little "off" in the head? Thanks for bringing us these stories every week. I can't get enough.

    My initial thoughts, after listening to the podcast and then coming right here too look at the ciphers, is that this man had some type of schizophrenia. After taking a number of classes in college on mental illness, and going to school for neuroscience (not computer), I saw a strikingly similar pattern to these notes as to someone who was writing down their thoughts during a manic phase. This idea was further developed in my head when i remembered that Ricky was somewhat illiterate. In all honesty, if Ricky was a super genius that could fool the best decoders in the FBI, the odds that someone else would have known his intelligence level are very high.
    To me, it is much more likely that he was either,
    A) Writing what he thought sounded like words during a manic phase, or
    B) receiving these messages from a "grandiose" figure;
    as many schizophrenics believe that they are in contact with a greater being that is meant to give them messages. Also, a side note, smoking a plentiful amount of cigarettes is one of the most common traits that a majority schizophrenics share. If he really was smoking a pack a day, then I think it is more than plausible to believe that the smoking was to calm the symptoms of his schizophrenia. All in all, to Nick and the Captain's final point, the discussion of mental illness is something that is not talked about enough here in America. It is seen as a taboo, when in reality aren't we all a little "off" in the head? Thanks for bringing us these stories every week. I can't get enough.

  • Jenn

    Jenn Florida

    So this may be taking the easy way out but could there be a possibility that those random letters & numbers are exactly that...Random letters & numbers? If he had a mental illness, he could just have a fascination with letters & numbers & putting them into patterns & combinations that he believes are "correct." There's cases of Schizophrenic people that see hallucinations in the form of letters & numbers & I've worked with Autistic people of all ages that fixate on this kind of thing...Not to mention OCD where people often do things in a series of numbers. In almost all of these instances, the person has to at minimum acknowledge what they're seeing/hearing in order to become calm again. Maybe they've spent so much time focusing on solving this "code" that they've missed other important things that could have potentially solved this case.

    So this may be taking the easy way out but could there be a possibility that those random letters & numbers are exactly that...Random letters & numbers? If he had a mental illness, he could just have a fascination with letters & numbers & putting them into patterns & combinations that he believes are "correct." There's cases of Schizophrenic people that see hallucinations in the form of letters & numbers & I've worked with Autistic people of all ages that fixate on this kind of thing...Not to mention OCD where people often do things in a series of numbers. In almost all of these instances, the person has to at minimum acknowledge what they're seeing/hearing in order to become calm again. Maybe they've spent so much time focusing on solving this "code" that they've missed other important things that could have potentially solved this case.

  • Amanda

    Amanda Maryland

    I think Nic made a really good point with his bartending example, which unfortunately means this code could be impossible to crack. One other thought I had, and I don't know if law enforcement already thought of it, would be to go look at anything with words or numbers that he encountered on a regular basis. If he was illiterate, he may have thought that certain combinations of letters and numbers meant something they didn't. Let's say, for example, one of his odd jobs was mopping floors. Maybe the mop bucket is labeled with a serial number or some other information. He might associate that sequence of letters/numbers with "mop" or "bucket" or "water." If they found any relationship between patterns in his code and patterns he saw in his day-to-day life, they might be able to figure some of it out.

    I think Nic made a really good point with his bartending example, which unfortunately means this code could be impossible to crack.

    One other thought I had, and I don't know if law enforcement already thought of it, would be to go look at anything with words or numbers that he encountered on a regular basis. If he was illiterate, he may have thought that certain combinations of letters and numbers meant something they didn't. Let's say, for example, one of his odd jobs was mopping floors. Maybe the mop bucket is labeled with a serial number or some other information. He might associate that sequence of letters/numbers with "mop" or "bucket" or "water." If they found any relationship between patterns in his code and patterns he saw in his day-to-day life, they might be able to figure some of it out.

  • Camille

    Camille Battle Ground WA

    A friend of mine worked as an instructor at a studio that provided art education for persons with cognitive disabilities. The "ciphers" look a lot like the random strings of figures one of her students had been painting and drawing for literally 2 decades. None of the instructors had ever been able to get an answer from the fellow as to the meaning; even when he painted words it was indeterminable. I do think Ricky was murdered, but I am skeptical if these ciphers have anything to do with it, or would provide any evidence as to why.

    A friend of mine worked as an instructor at a studio that provided art education for persons with cognitive disabilities. The "ciphers" look a lot like the random strings of figures one of her students had been painting and drawing for literally 2 decades. None of the instructors had ever been able to get an answer from the fellow as to the meaning; even when he painted words it was indeterminable.

    I do think Ricky was murdered, but I am skeptical if these ciphers have anything to do with it, or would provide any evidence as to why.

  • Gina

    Gina Chester County, PA

    I am struggling with this case because, even though I want to show compassion for a possible murder victim, and even though the cipher is interesting, he is a pedophile, and part of me feels like I’d rather spend my brain and heart energy on victims of men like this. That being said, I do have empathy for whatever mental health issue with which he was living. I do think that the code on the cipher is something only Ricky understood (Nic’s restaurant shorthand was an A+ example). I also wonder if he died of an overdose and someone just dropped his body bc—you know—drug dealers.

    I am struggling with this case because, even though I want to show compassion for a possible murder victim, and even though the cipher is interesting, he is a pedophile, and part of me feels like I’d rather spend my brain and heart energy on victims of men like this. That being said, I do have empathy for whatever mental health issue with which he was living.

    I do think that the code on the cipher is something only Ricky understood (Nic’s restaurant shorthand was an A+ example). I also wonder if he died of an overdose and someone just dropped his body bc—you know—drug dealers.

  • Monica

    Monica

    Maybe the are bus routes and bus stops

    Maybe the are bus routes and bus stops

  • mg

    mg Austin

    Yeah, not buying into the "code" thing. Probably his own shorthand or something. This guy was challenged and I am doubting very seriously that he could understand something someone else dictated in code, Probably some nonsensical language he created for himself and only his mind could decipher. I also am not buying the murder angle. Pretty sure he died as a result of his rather unhealthy diet and vices. I knew someone much younger than him that was in much better condition have a heart episode because of coffee and cigarettes. It was interesting listening to you guys trying to build the conspiracy thing on this one, but it is not there. As for his violent boss, he was a hothead and prone to shoot people. If he had killed him, there would have been bullets in him.

    Yeah, not buying into the "code" thing. Probably his own shorthand or something. This guy was challenged and I am doubting very seriously that he could understand something someone else dictated in code, Probably some nonsensical language he created for himself and only his mind could decipher. I also am not buying the murder angle. Pretty sure he died as a result of his rather unhealthy diet and vices. I knew someone much younger than him that was in much better condition have a heart episode because of coffee and cigarettes. It was interesting listening to you guys trying to build the conspiracy thing on this one, but it is not there. As for his violent boss, he was a hothead and prone to shoot people. If he had killed him, there would have been bullets in him.

  • lucia david

    lucia david portugal

    I think his death could be linked to the Hospital. "The hospital -- once the home of a nursing school, an emergency room, a psychiatric wing, and a maternity ward -- struggled financially for years before the doors closed for good. Now, it's slated to become an expansion site for the St. Louis Zoo." From an article : https://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblog/2012/09/12/post-apocalyptic-portraits-of-the-abandoned-forest-park-hospital-photos

    I think his death could be linked to the Hospital.
    "The hospital -- once the home of a nursing school, an emergency room, a psychiatric wing, and a maternity ward -- struggled financially for years before the doors closed for good. Now, it's slated to become an expansion site for the St. Louis Zoo."
    From an article : https://www.riverfronttimes.com/newsblog/2012/09/12/post-apocalyptic-portraits-of-the-abandoned-forest-park-hospital-photos

  • Sarah

    Sarah Parts Unknown

    At first glance, some of the scribblings appear to be words that may have been 'spelled' phonetically. Like Colonel Nic said, it could be shorthand that only Mr. McCormick understood. I work with a kiddo who is autistic and is constantly writing and drawing. If he were in a waiting room somewhere, he would pass his time writing a grocery list or drawing a calendar, so it could be something as simple as that. Awesome Pod as always!

    At first glance, some of the scribblings appear to be words that may have been 'spelled' phonetically. Like Colonel Nic said, it could be shorthand that only Mr. McCormick understood. I work with a kiddo who is autistic and is constantly writing and drawing. If he were in a waiting room somewhere, he would pass his time writing a grocery list or drawing a calendar, so it could be something as simple as that. Awesome Pod as always!

  • CC

    CC New York

    Listened to this crime today. Such a hard crime to crack with the 2 pages of writing. So many good theories. I thought of if the victim had no access to cars, his main mode of transportation is walking. Could the 74, 75 numbers mean the mileage marking on the side of the highway? Going down the path of drug involvement, carrying and delivering drugs for others, the letter after the numbers could be colors to cars?? like blue, silver?? Make of the cars?? models? I mean, back when he was killed, could be cars around the town be in the 70's makes? too old? not sure. Def have to think in the victim's line of thoughts and how he systematic categorize things. Wish we have more information about his writing or how he formulate his thoughts from family and the ex.

    Listened to this crime today.

    Such a hard crime to crack with the 2 pages of writing. So many good theories.

    I thought of if the victim had no access to cars, his main mode of transportation is walking. Could the 74, 75 numbers mean the mileage marking on the side of the highway? Going down the path of drug involvement, carrying and delivering drugs for others, the letter after the numbers could be colors to cars?? like blue, silver?? Make of the cars?? models? I mean, back when he was killed, could be cars around the town be in the 70's makes? too old? not sure.

    Def have to think in the victim's line of thoughts and how he systematic categorize things. Wish we have more information about his writing or how he formulate his thoughts from family and the ex.

  • Ian

    Ian SLC

    When I heard you talk about the VIN #'s it made me wonder if these aren't used to verify a person in a drug deal. The NCBE may be a partial License Plate # for the same purpose?

    When I heard you talk about the VIN #'s it made me wonder if these aren't used to verify a person in a drug deal. The NCBE may be a partial License Plate # for the same purpose?

  • Dusty

    Dusty North Dakota

    Could this be personal shorthand associated with his gas station job. Cash register buttons, prices, items?

    Could this be personal shorthand associated with his gas station job. Cash register buttons, prices, items?

  • Andy

    Andy Belgium

    I just had quick look at it , it could be a sort of phonetic thing. Like some of you have mentioned it does look like it is written by someone on the autistic spectrum ... based on my limited knowledge, having sons on the high end of the spectrum ( also Dyslexic). I am wondering if anyone with similar issues has taken a look at it .

    I just had quick look at it , it could be a sort of phonetic thing. Like some of you have mentioned it does look like it is written by someone on the autistic spectrum ... based on my limited knowledge, having sons on the high end of the spectrum ( also Dyslexic). I am wondering if anyone with similar issues has taken a look at it .

  • Aja

    Aja Sarasota, FL

    Could the numbers be addresses, miles, or coordinates?

    Could the numbers be addresses, miles, or coordinates?

  • Mike

    Mike Ohio

    Nick and Captain first off I'm a fan and have listened to many episodes and enjoyed many shows. So for every negative comment I probably have 10 good ones to say about the show, but I have noticed lately so many episodes have been multi part shows. 2,3,4 part episodes. While I enjoy a thorough podcast I find some a bit excessive. Sure cases as detailed as the Golden State Killer or topics that have 3 and 4 possible scenarios I can see those being worth 3 and 4 parts. However certain cases that have already been decently saturated such as this case covered by Dateline, 48 hours etc. I think multi part episodes are a bit much. I know your show is more popular now which I think is awesome and more sponsors hence more episodes. However rather than stretching out certain cases so many parts there are tons of good cases out there. I find the days of covering Joey Labute type cases are fading as listener ship grows maybe I'm wrong. Anyway like I said I'm a fan just a thought.

    Nick and Captain first off I'm a fan and have listened to many episodes and enjoyed many shows. So for every negative comment I probably have 10 good ones to say about the show, but I have noticed lately so many episodes have been multi part shows. 2,3,4 part episodes. While I enjoy a thorough podcast I find some a bit excessive. Sure cases as detailed as the Golden State Killer or topics that have 3 and 4 possible scenarios I can see those being worth 3 and 4 parts. However certain cases that have already been decently saturated such as this case covered by Dateline, 48 hours etc. I think multi part episodes are a bit much. I know your show is more popular now which I think is awesome and more sponsors hence more episodes. However rather than stretching out certain cases so many parts there are tons of good cases out there. I find the days of covering Joey Labute type cases are fading as listener ship grows maybe I'm wrong. Anyway like I said I'm a fan just a thought.

  • Lei

    Lei New York

    I haven’t gone thru ALL the comments , so I apologize if I’m being repetitive. I wonder if the fact his literacy is questionable would effect the “translation” of the code. For example, if he could spell correctly, would the code be more easily cracked? If words are misspelled or misused, wouldn’t that render the “logical” translations, impossible?

    I haven’t gone thru ALL the comments , so I apologize if I’m being repetitive. I wonder if the fact his literacy is questionable would effect the “translation” of the code. For example, if he could spell correctly, would the code be more easily cracked? If words are misspelled or misused, wouldn’t that render the “logical” translations, impossible?

  • Trisha

    Trisha Ontario, Canada

    As a teacher, part of the student report card was to have the students submitt a sample of their writing along with the report, which was placed in the students records. Just a thought, and not sure if you do this in the States, but has anyone checked out samples of his school writing to see what patterns he used as a child and then which could be compared to the notes.

    As a teacher, part of the student report card was to have the students submitt a sample of their writing along with the report, which was placed in the students records. Just a thought, and not sure if you do this in the States, but has anyone checked out samples of his school writing to see what patterns he used as a child and then which could be compared to the notes.

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Trisha, Great thought - here each school district is a little different from the next and I believe most "requirements" are a state thing so could very from state to state. Regardless, what I am very confident of is that if that were a requirement and given the time that has gone by, these items/samples would not have been kept to date. Likely were never collected and if so likely were not stored for very long. Cheers Nic

    Trisha,
    Great thought - here each school district is a little different from the next and I believe most "requirements" are a state thing so could very from state to state. Regardless, what I am very confident of is that if that were a requirement and given the time that has gone by, these items/samples would not have been kept to date. Likely were never collected and if so likely were not stored for very long.
    Cheers Nic

  • trucker mike

    trucker mike parts unknown

    The idea that this is a sophisticated code is mindblowing to me! Ricky was obviously on the autism spectrum, and probably suffered with some form of dyslexia. And functioned at an 11 year old level. He was parroting what he barely retained.. and this was probably done as a coping mechanism to handle stress and anxiety! My own son who is 18 and is on the spectrum barely reads and writes and functions at a 9 year olds level. Look in the cypher where he wrote PRSEON this is a dyslexia form of PERSON. This in my opinion was just like the million monkeys banging away on typewriters. ..its Shakespeare. ..but to the over educated fbi, its a master code...they should speak to a psychologist about autistic behavior!

    The idea that this is a sophisticated code is mindblowing to me! Ricky was obviously on the autism spectrum, and probably suffered with some form of dyslexia. And functioned at an 11 year old level. He was parroting what he barely retained.. and this was probably done as a coping mechanism to handle stress and anxiety! My own son who is 18 and is on the spectrum barely reads and writes and functions at a 9 year olds level. Look in the cypher where he wrote PRSEON this is a dyslexia form of PERSON. This in my opinion was just like the million monkeys banging away on typewriters. ..its Shakespeare. ..but to the over educated fbi, its a master code...they should speak to a psychologist about autistic behavior!

  • Anon

    Anon Parts unknown

    With the directions theory, is it possible it could be bud numbers or something? Considering he didn't drive, and relied on public transportation.

    With the directions theory, is it possible it could be bud numbers or something? Considering he didn't drive, and relied on public transportation.

  • Rasha

    Rasha Dallas

    It is really bothering me that these notes didn't come out right away... anyone that might have been able to crack that code could have forgotten how to in that time period ... Stupid!

    It is really bothering me that these notes didn't come out right away... anyone that might have been able to crack that code could have forgotten how to in that time period ... Stupid!

  • Suzanne

    Suzanne Ohio

    It seems ricky may have been in a special education class in school. I wonder if anyone has tried to contact a teacher he may have had to see if the teacher could spread light on this code. My mom is a retired special ed teacher and she remembers something unique about every kid she's ever had.

    It seems ricky may have been in a special education class in school. I wonder if anyone has tried to contact a teacher he may have had to see if the teacher could spread light on this code. My mom is a retired special ed teacher and she remembers something unique about every kid she's ever had.

  • Jeff

    Jeff Fl

    Ricky was killed because he knew who and how bob killed the beating victim

    Ricky was killed because he knew who and how bob killed the beating victim

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Speculation Jeff? Or do you know something? He had an aunt and cousin that loved him dearly. If you know something please contact the proper authorities. Real living and breathing people just like you are still hurting and hoping for answers. Cheers Nic

    Speculation Jeff? Or do you know something? He had an aunt and cousin that loved him dearly. If you know something please contact the proper authorities. Real living and breathing people just like you are still hurting and hoping for answers.
    Cheers Nic

  • Holly

    Holly Fortville, IN

    Could this have possibly been a suicide note that he wrote in his own words?

    Could this have possibly been a suicide note that he wrote in his own words?

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Could be but if it were... But in my opinion that would mean he didn't kill himself after writing the notes. Meaning where is the gun? Nic

    Could be but if it were... But in my opinion that would mean he didn't kill himself after writing the notes. Meaning where is the gun?
    Nic

  • Tori

    Tori Illinois

    While listening to this podcast, Ricky reminded me of a family member. I tried to picture my family member in this situation to try to understand the cipher. I agree that Ricky probably invented some sort of shorthand to get him through life. Im sure this was used and perfected in prison. But once he developed this shorthand, I would guess it was shortened again for easier use in daily situations (outside of long days of a prison cell). So here is my thought. It was said that he seemed upset and possibly stayed the night in the hospital waiting room. This series of notes could be notes he took while sitting there, trying to calm his nerves and focus on anything but whatever he was worried about. Could this be him just writing down the conversations that he hears from his seat? Nurse calling patient by number, going over simple medical questions, patient responses, ect. Seems possible to me. The numbers and the mild repetition would make sense in this case. I could see him sticking them in his pocket when he leaves, in case he needs a distraction again.

    While listening to this podcast, Ricky reminded me of a family member. I tried to picture my family member in this situation to try to understand the cipher. I agree that Ricky probably invented some sort of shorthand to get him through life. Im sure this was used and perfected in prison. But once he developed this shorthand, I would guess it was shortened again for easier use in daily situations (outside of long days of a prison cell). So here is my thought. It was said that he seemed upset and possibly stayed the night in the hospital waiting room. This series of notes could be notes he took while sitting there, trying to calm his nerves and focus on anything but whatever he was worried about. Could this be him just writing down the conversations that he hears from his seat? Nurse calling patient by number, going over simple medical questions, patient responses, ect. Seems possible to me. The numbers and the mild repetition would make sense in this case. I could see him sticking them in his pocket when he leaves, in case he needs a distraction again.

  • Kate Groff

    Kate Groff New Mexico

    I think understanding that this man was pretty disabled is key in this case. He was most likely severely dyslexic. He may have had a pretty low IQ. He was born in 1952, so when he went through school, he definitely was not receiving SpEd services, and clearly was not given the evaluations aaaaaand testing that would be done today. His mother saying he was "slow" was probably a nice way of saying he had an intellectual disability. Many people with intellectual disabilities are still able to carry on conversations and give the appearance that they know what's going on, say they understand when they don't, etc. They can develop coping skills and present well on the surface. We also sometimes see adults with cognitive disabilities who have difficulties socially for whatever reason (autism, fetal alcohol syndrome just for starters, could be any number of things) gravitate toward children just because that's the level they can function at socially and mentally. They may not actually be "pedophiles" in the traditional sense, they just function at a younger/lower level. The jobs he did were menial. If he did develop schizophrenia, that's a degenerative disorder. I don't know how many of you have seen the writings of a fairly severe schizophrenic, especially compared to before the person developed it, but the spelling declines a lot. They put the wrong words at first (example: "hole" when they mean "whole")and then eventually the spelling becomes fairly unintelligible as it progresses. I think to call this a "code" is probably giving this guy too much credit. I do think it had meaning to him when he wrote it, but it's more the shorthand of a mentally ill man who could never write well in the first place, rather than a "code" that was planned out in some logical way, to be decoded by anyone. It was probably meant to be phonetic but he didn't have a good grasp of phonetics in the first place. It looks like directions, possibly bus routes, etc. I agree it's probably very mundane. It could still give a clue as to what he was doing that day or in the days leading up to his death. I would definitely keep the gas station guy in mind as far as his death being drug related.

    I think understanding that this man was pretty disabled is key in this case. He was most likely severely dyslexic. He may have had a pretty low IQ. He was born in 1952, so when he went through school, he definitely was not receiving SpEd services, and clearly was not given the evaluations aaaaaand testing that would be done today. His mother saying he was "slow" was probably a nice way of saying he had an intellectual disability. Many people with intellectual disabilities are still able to carry on conversations and give the appearance that they know what's going on, say they understand when they don't, etc. They can develop coping skills and present well on the surface. We also sometimes see adults with cognitive disabilities who have difficulties socially for whatever reason (autism, fetal alcohol syndrome just for starters, could be any number of things) gravitate toward children just because that's the level they can function at socially and mentally. They may not actually be "pedophiles" in the traditional sense, they just function at a younger/lower level. The jobs he did were menial. If he did develop schizophrenia, that's a degenerative disorder. I don't know how many of you have seen the writings of a fairly severe schizophrenic, especially compared to before the person developed it, but the spelling declines a lot. They put the wrong words at first (example: "hole" when they mean "whole")and then eventually the spelling becomes fairly unintelligible as it progresses. I think to call this a "code" is probably giving this guy too much credit. I do think it had meaning to him when he wrote it, but it's more the shorthand of a mentally ill man who could never write well in the first place, rather than a "code" that was planned out in some logical way, to be decoded by anyone. It was probably meant to be phonetic but he didn't have a good grasp of phonetics in the first place.

    It looks like directions, possibly bus routes, etc. I agree it's probably very mundane. It could still give a clue as to what he was doing that day or in the days leading up to his death. I would definitely keep the gas station guy in mind as far as his death being drug related.

  • MJ Mossberg

    MJ Mossberg Tampa

    C’mon Captain. You of all people. Maybe you did think of it and already checked it out. But, since I don’t know anything about musical notes or scores, Im not sure in the least. Could it have been his own song? Is there that much repetition that it’s a refrain of sorts? I’m not musically literate, but I know everyday I have an ear worm stuck in my head and it sometimes carries over to multiple days. Even if it’s my own that I’ve made up.

    C’mon Captain. You of all people. Maybe you did think of it and already checked it out. But, since I don’t know anything about musical notes or scores, Im not sure in the least.
    Could it have been his own song? Is there that much repetition that it’s a refrain of sorts?
    I’m not musically literate, but I know everyday I have an ear worm stuck in my head and it sometimes carries over to multiple days. Even if it’s my own that I’ve made up.

  • Erikka

    Erikka Minnesota

    Well, from everything I read up on this guy, his parents both stated he could only write his name and everything else he wrote was just scribbles. If that's the case...he would only know a few letters, meaning he couldn't have possibly written this code since he doesn't know what all the other letters look like or how to write them.

    Well, from everything I read up on this guy, his parents both stated he could only write his name and everything else he wrote was just scribbles. If that's the case...he would only know a few letters, meaning he couldn't have possibly written this code since he doesn't know what all the other letters look like or how to write them.

  • Melanie

    Melanie Columbus, Oh

    Just a weird question. When I was in school, there was a shorthand that was taught. taking out the vowels of every word, and it was supposed to help with the note taking. I went to a public school, which was majority students who couldn't read, so we were taught to sound out words and write it. So if you have a man that can't really spell out a word, possibly doesn't know the words, and is sounding them out. What are the chances that it's a shorthand of the words sounded out, along with drug code, and you're talking about businesses. He went to Florida, but no one knows what he was doing there. It'd look like a mess, but not impossible to figure out if you can sound it out possibly?

    Just a weird question.

    When I was in school, there was a shorthand that was taught. taking out the vowels of every word, and it was supposed to help with the note taking. I went to a public school, which was majority students who couldn't read, so we were taught to sound out words and write it. So if you have a man that can't really spell out a word, possibly doesn't know the words, and is sounding them out. What are the chances that it's a shorthand of the words sounded out, along with drug code, and you're talking about businesses. He went to Florida, but no one knows what he was doing there. It'd look like a mess, but not impossible to figure out if you can sound it out possibly?

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Melanie, I think that is as good of a theory as any. I personally he wrote the notes/letters/pages, Ricky wrote them. So they certainly meant something to him and whatever it was it was important enough for him to write it down. I think he was in trouble with someone and he was too brave and too caring to tell those around him because he knew they could get hurt or killed too. - Nic

    Melanie,
    I think that is as good of a theory as any. I personally he wrote the notes/letters/pages, Ricky wrote them. So they certainly meant something to him and whatever it was it was important enough for him to write it down. I think he was in trouble with someone and he was too brave and too caring to tell those around him because he knew they could get hurt or killed too.
    - Nic

  • David

    David Alton, IL

    I drive this road everyday. After listening to the show, I wanted to explain how a body could go undetected. There is a large stretch of 67 that runs along a levee and on the other side are some farms and a state park. The road at this stretch is elevated about 30 feet above the farms. This allows for it to be open during flooding of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The road itself forms a sort of second levee. I could easily see how a body could go unnoticed for a while. There was another shit bag that dumped bodies around here. Maury Travis was his name.

    I drive this road everyday. After listening to the show, I wanted to explain how a body could go undetected. There is a large stretch of 67 that runs along a levee and on the other side are some farms and a state park. The road at this stretch is elevated about 30 feet above the farms. This allows for it to be open during flooding of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. The road itself forms a sort of second levee. I could easily see how a body could go unnoticed for a while. There was another shit bag that dumped bodies around here. Maury Travis was his name.

  • David Asaro

    David Asaro

    I drive 67 everyday on my way to work. The highway is essentially a levee. There is a steep drop off on the side with the farms. I can definitely see how someone could go unseen if dumped there. Another murderer used to dump bodies in that area, his name is Maury Travis. He would make for a good episode if you fellas haven't already done one.

    I drive 67 everyday on my way to work. The highway is essentially a levee. There is a steep drop off on the side with the farms. I can definitely see how someone could go unseen if dumped there. Another murderer used to dump bodies in that area, his name is Maury Travis. He would make for a good episode if you fellas haven't already done one.

  • True Crime Garage

    True Crime Garage

    Thanks David for the insight brother! Nic

    Thanks David for the insight brother!
    Nic

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