30 years ago, on November 10, 1993, a man named Adam Emery was convicted of murder in the United States of America. Although found guilty, he was released on bail. On the same day, he also disappeared with his wife Elena. His wife’s skull washed up at sea the following year, but Emery remains missing to this day – and the FBI is still looking for him.
Adam Emery in the courtroom where he faced murder charges for stabbing an innocent driver
| Photo: Wikimedia Commons, author unknown, Federal Bureau of Investigation, CC BY-SA 4.0
One damaged car, one drive away accidents – and one unnecessarily ended human life of a completely innocent young person, on whom the driver of the wrecked car accidentally poured out his accumulated rage, even though the young man had nothing to do with the previous accident.
Such was the balance of one hot summer evening in Rhode Island, United States of America, where a mixture of human recklessness and unfortunate fortuitous circumstances resulted in a profound human tragedy and at the same time in one of the strangest cases FBI over the past few decades.
I’ll kick your ass!
It all started three years earlier, on Thursday, August 30, 1990. That Thursday evening, Adam Emery, his wife Elena, and another couple of acquaintances stopped in Rhode Island for dinner at a seafood stand.
It was just before 9pm when a car whizzed past, scraping the side of Adam’s car. The driver of the unknown vehicle behaved like a reckless road pirate: even when he braked, he did not acknowledge the damage he had caused, but on the contrary, sped off again and disappeared around the corner.
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Inside the fish buffet, Emery heard the sound of the crash and the acceleration of the disappearing car’s engine. He and his wife ran out of the establishment and in the distance he still saw the passing taillights. “That was the car over there! I’m going to catch up!” Emery’s wife shouted.
Enraged Emery could not be persuaded for long. He jumped behind the wheel of the wrecked car and started chasing the distant disappearing red dots. But he had no idea that he was fatally mistaken.
“The car they were chasing was driven by 20-year-old Jason Bass. His cousin Joshua Post was in the car with him,” the website Unsolved Mysteries reported some time ago.
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Emery pulled the car over and blocked it. Post later described what he had unwittingly witnessed. “The guy jumped out of the car and yelled at the whole bike: I’m going to kick your ass! I will kill you! He was really unbelievably cranky, I’ve never seen anything crazier.’
The verbal aggression was followed by physical aggression: Emery pulled out a knife and jumped on the hood of Bass’s car. He put the car in reverse and tried to drive away from the enraged man, but it was too late – Emery grabbed the door and started mercilessly stabbing the driver inside. Bass suffered a fatal blow that struck his heart. He died on the spot.
The killer did not regret the crime
People from the neighborhood were already flocking to the place, and after a while Kevin Hopkins also arrived, detective an off-duty state policeman who lived right down the street.
“When I arrived there was a really terrible atmosphere. It was a warm summer night, there was a haze in the air, and I had an eerily scary feeling about what I was getting myself into. But I stopped there thinking it was a normal car accident,” Unsolved Mysteries quotes him as saying.
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Emery was restrained, but the horror of the evening did not end there. It turned out that he was wrong in his anger. He killed an innocent man. According to Hopkins, Bass’ car never even touched Emery’s car.
“The Ford LTD driven by Jason Bass was not the car that crashed Adam Emery’s car. We took the paint chips left on Emery’s car and compared them to the color of Jason Bass’ car. We have thus conclusively proven that another vehicle hit Adam Emery’s car that evening.”
Adam Emery with his wife Elena. Both disappeared on November 10, 1993. A year later, a skull identified as Elena’s was found on Narragansett Beach under the Newport Bridge, but the man remains missing to this daySource: Wikimedia Commons, author unknown, Federal Bureau of Investigation, CC BY-SA 4.0
The trial followed, which was followed by the reporter Elisabeth Rau. Emery’s behavior in the courtroom surprised her: “He testified very bluntly. He never showed any remorse for killing anyone. He said he stabbed Jason Bass in the self defense.”
The couple disappeared
The trial ended exactly 30 years ago, on November 10, 1993, Emery’s 31st birthday. The man was found guilty of murders second degree and faced up to 25 years behind bars. But the judge allowed him to be released on bail pending a formal sentencing, which was to take place a month later.
But that very night, both husbands disappeared. At first it looked like an intentional double suicidewhich was also evidenced by the written letters that the couple left behind.
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But when the police started to reconstruct the whole incident, a different picture suddenly emerged from the tangle of testimonies: Emery and his wife apparently only faked suicide so that they could disappear inconspicuously. And at least one of them succeeded…
Both spouses left the courthouse at 3 p.m. Half an hour later they showed up at a local sporting goods store. “Elena was far from nervous. She was smiling, she was chatty, she didn’t seem like she was worried about anything or that she was planning anything,” salesman Joel Smith, who was at work that day, later testified.
The Emerys bought sweatpants, sports socks and 40 kilos of exercise weights. However, the salesman noted that the overall spending made Emery uneasy. The police were taken aback: if someone is going to commit suicide, he wouldn’t have to worry about money anymore.
She thought her children were zombies and killed them. They are happy now, she told the court
An hour later, at 4:45 p.m., the couple pulled up at the Newport Bridge, towering about 200 feet above Narragansett Bay on Rhode Island. Before that, they dined quietly at a Burger King fast food restaurant, where they were seen by several witnesses. Even this later seemed somewhat inappropriate to the investigating police for a couple trying to commit suicide.
At 4:50 p.m., the Emerys appeared on the bridge walkway, according to several other witnesses. They left at a quarter to six in the evening, but two hours later their car was found parked on the bridge again. It was blocking one of the lanes, its engine still running and its headlights on. There were several neatly folded clothes on the back seat and on the front cashshredded credit cards and driver’s license.
Where is Adam Emery?
The Emerys apparently returned, but what happened next remains a mystery. Everything indicated that they had jumped from the bridge into the river, but Hopkins still had something wrong with this version.
The search for the bodies of Adam and Elena Emery was one of the most extensive in Rhode Island history, yet not a single trace was found. And Hopkins suddenly remembered that the couple had been talking quietly in the courtroom after the verdict, their conversation caught on television.
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“I got the tape and played it to the person who was hearing impaired. I knew that he had learned to read people’s lips in order to communicate, so I asked him if he could interpret the conversation that Adam and Elena had together.’
According to the hearing expert, Elena is said to have told Emery, “We’re going to do what we originally said. You promised it.’
“It’s clear the Emerys had a plan…but was it a desperate deal to kill themselves together, or was it a bold plan to fool the authorities and get away?” speculates the website Unsolved Mysteries.
The creek gave out a skull
A month after the two husbands disappeared, a fisherman fishing in the bay found two human leg bones in his net. A scrap of a sock, identical to the ones the Emerys had bought after the trial, caught on one.
Authorities compared a DNA sample from the bone with DNA samples from Elena’s mother and sister. They found a match. A few weeks later, another grim piece of evidence washed up in the bay: a human skull was found in one of the straits, which was unequivocally identified as that of Elena Emery. Emery was finally discovered.
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However, not a single trace of her husband has been found to this day. The case remains open and Adam Emery is on the list persons wanted by the FBI.
The FBI has put Adam Emery on its wanted listSource: Wikimedia Commons, author unknown, Federal Bureau of Investigation, CC BY-SA 4.0
“No matter how long it takes, the FBI, working with our law enforcement partners, will continue to pursue all leads until we can find either fugitive Adam Emery or his remains, so that his victim’s family can receive as much needed closure,” Rhode Island FBI spokeswoman Kristen Seter told NBC 10.