Code Dead: Do the encrypted writings of Ricky McCormick hold the key to his mysterious death?

McCormick never liked to talk about his excursions to Orlando, but he seemed different when he got back that last time, Jones told police. He seemed scared.

Indeed, McCormick's already unsettled lifestyle seemed to become more erratic after he came back, as if he sensed trouble around the corner but didn't know where to turn. McCormick used much of his time during his last days to seek out medical care or, perhaps more accurately, a safe place to stay.

Around three o'clock the afternoon of June 22, 1999, McCormick walked alone into Barnes-Jewish Hospital's emergency room complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath. This was nothing new. McCormick had a history of ER visits and had suffered from asthma and chest pains since childhood. He told his doctors he didn't abuse drugs or alcohol, a statement friends and family back up. It didn't help, however, that he smoked at least a pack of cigarettes a day since he was about ten years old and drank coffee by the gallon. By his own estimate, he told his doctors he downed more than twenty caffeinated beverages a day.

Doctors ruled out a heart attack but admitted McCormick for observation and kept him there for two days. Ricky left the hospital on June 24 with orders to return for follow-up visits in the coming week. He would never make it to those appointments.

McCormick took a bus to his aunt Gloria's apartment after leaving Barnes-Jewish and visited with her for about an hour. Her home had always been a sanctuary for him, and he maintained a closer relationship with Gloria than with his own mother, who lived just around the corner.

"Everybody needs someone to talk to now and then," Gloria says. "Ricky would come visit and talk with me."

But he revealed little this time, chatting just a bit before getting up to leave. It was late afternoon, and Ricky waved off offers to drive him wherever he needed to go. Gloria's last image of Ricky is him walking down the street.

Around 5 p.m. the next day, June 25, McCormick entered the emergency room at Forest Park Hospital, less than two miles from Barnes-Jewish. This time he complained that he was having trouble breathing following an afternoon of mowing grass. Doctors diagnosed his wheezing as another asthma flare-up. He was not admitted, however, and was officially released at 5:50 p.m. It's not clear when he actually left the hospital. Gloria says she heard McCormick spent that night in the waiting room before leaving the next morning.

Jones told police that she talked with McCormick on the phone at about 11:30 a.m. on June 26. He told her he was out of the hospital and was on his way to the Amoco to get a bite to eat. At least one gas-station employee told police he last saw McCormick there the next day, on June 27.

McCormick left the gas station with at most hours left to live; medical examiners determined he was definitely dead the same day.

Looking back, Gloria McCormick suspects Ricky's hospital visits were attempts to find a hideout where he could lay low. Sitting at an open window in her same apartment, Gloria's voice softens between tugs on her Salem 100's cigarettes. "Maybe he knew he got into something that put his life on the line," she says. "He knew he could have stayed here. But maybe he didn't want to put my life on the line."

When McCormick's corpse turned up, his girlfriend Jones' thoughts turned to Baha "Bob" Hamdallah. After McCormick returned from his trip south, Jones said she suspected Ricky might have done something wrong in Orlando. If anyone was going to hurt McCormick, she told investigators, it would probably be Bob Hamdallah.


On December 23, 1999, detective Jana Walters of the St. Charles County Sheriff's Department received a call from Sgt. Ed Kuehner of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department's homicide division. He had information to share about Ricky McCormick's death and wanted to arrange an inter-agency meeting.

Nine investigators gathered on the fourth floor of St. Louis' police headquarters six days later. In addition to Walters and her partner, detective Michael Yarbrough, Kuehner's gathering included members of St. Louis' homicide and narcotics divisions, investigators with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and a special agent from the FBI.

Walters and Yarbrough learned St. Louis police were investigating a man named Gregory Lamar Knox, a major drug dealer who operated in and around the housing complex where McCormick had lived, as a suspect in several homicides, including "at least two murder-for-hire schemes." According to police records, a confidential informant also told police that Knox was responsible for the murder of a black man who worked at the gas station on Chouteau Avenue and whose body was dumped near West Alton. St. Louis police had also linked the Hamdallahs with alleged "criminal activity and the possible association with Gregory Knox."

The St. Charles detectives came away from the meeting wanting to know more about the role Knox and the Hamdallahs may have played in McCormick's death. Within weeks they began conducting stakeouts of the Hamdallahs' gas station and the homes of several of its owners and employees.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
21 comments
HonestABE
HonestABE

He was possibly held prior to his death.  There are actually more than one encryption.  It's based on two different types of encryption.  And there appears to be directions.  Have fun.

jdpinkninja
jdpinkninja

It looks like he was sounding out words. Some of the words has to many letters.

dan.schlueter.1.1.2.
dan.schlueter.1.1.2.

I just wanted to say that this was an incredibly well researched and well written article.  I read articles every day that are just trash with nothing to say and poorly written at that.  You sir, give me hope.

Richard1980
Richard1980

I've been thinking about where RM's body was found. The location was 20+ miles from his residence and the hospital where he was last seen five days earlier. After poking around on the map a bit, I got the idea that the casino might be the reason. In 1999, the Alton Belle was docked in Alton, IL, about 4 miles from the site of RM's body. Also during that time, the Casino Queen was in operation in East St. Louis only three miles from Chouteau Ave. (Coincidentally, the Mayfair Hotel where Maury Travis was employed 2000-2001 is practically within walking distance of Chouteau.)  http://bleacherreport.com/users/1493055-buy-green-coffee-bean-extract-online http://bleacherreport.com/users/1419367-food-lovers-fat-loss-system http://bleacherreport.com/users/1416296-buy-cigarettes-online-with-free-shipping

JustARedditor
JustARedditor

It is just a key for an encrypted ebook. Notice the (ACSM). He most likely wrote it down after buying the book to put it on another computer. When you start to download an Adobe PDF a small file with the extension .acsm is first downloaded. This is used by Adobe Digital Editions to send the activation ID to the delivery server which will use that ID to generate an encrypted PDF/ePub eBook, which is then downloaded to your PC. Write the code in a file and save it as 'foo.acsm' Login to the dead guys account and download his encrypted adobe ebook. Case solved!

irony free
irony free

Schizophrenic is the answer. Only Ricky knows.

Burris Travis
Burris Travis

what George replied I'm amazed that anyone able to earn $5349 in one month on the internet. did you see this site lazycash42.c()m

Scott19674
Scott19674

I made it to the part where he had knocked up a child, then dredged Givafuck Bay unsuccessfully to muster up the energy to read about his unjust end.

Burris Travis
Burris Travis

A buddy's mother makes $65 every hour on the computer. She has been without a job for seven months but last month her payment was $14505 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this web site lazycash42.c()m

MandoMadMan
MandoMadMan

Perhaps he didn't write the notes and perhaps they are not based on the English language. I'm sure they've looked into that? Maybe he was keeping them as a bargaining chip or insurance? Didn't work as it turned out.

sherlock holmes
sherlock holmes

okay i got it figured out. the note was not actually written by mc cormick . it was written by his drug dealer and it says: "this mother funking n word shoulda paid his funk ing drug debt. man don't play me for no f-ing b!tch cause you end up face down ina vacant lot wit maggots crawing all up in n out your orifices like dis scroungy @ss b!tch". well, that's what it says word for word and so i hope that puts this matter to rest.

Gilbert
Gilbert

my neighbor's sister-in-law made $12565 the prior week. she makes money on the internet and moved in a $438800 house. All she did was get fortunate and use the tips revealed on this web site lazycash42.c()m

steve allen winkelmann
steve allen winkelmann

I worked with schizos for decades as an RN in mental health facilities and on the med floors. I guartentee you , you will never decipher the writings. I had pages of writing by schizos. I would ask them what they were saying in the jibberish writings and they would tell me. Days later, the same writings would have a different meaning when I would ask the same question.

srv
srv

what i love is how the police do not tell his family anything and that the middle eastern gun toting drug lords go free. what fools we are to have any hope that our st. louis police force is not corrupt.

Ricky Hollywood
Ricky Hollywood

I think I've solved it. It says: l;kasdlk;jaflkjsdajklf poop poop poop al;kjdalk;akl;sad alkjdl;kaljk;dfa peepee akl;jdasl;ka

Gentry June
Gentry June

what George replied I'm amazed that anyone able to earn $5349 in one month on the internet. did you see this site lazycash42.c()m

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

.... and the idea that they gotta use a state of the art ibm computer to figure out a mysterious code written by some bum who could barely write his own name is preposterous.

Danieljoeoconnor
Danieljoeoconnor

i agree with the people who knew him best . he didn't write no code that could fool all these fbi and german enigma code experts when he could barely sign his own name. or if he did write these scribblings he probably couldn't tell you what it said five minutes after he wrote it. i recall reading another story similar to this where some guy had supposedly written some mysterious code and by lucky chance the experts stumbled onto the logical explanation and proof that he never wrote diddly. however, i can't recall the details but there was no one able to find a complex solution cause there was simply nothing to solve. i believe this mystery mostly likely has an obvious solution to someone more closely familiar with his lifestyle.

Jose Galofre Manero
Jose Galofre Manero

Hello from Spain. - The master key to understanding Mccormick´s notes should be sought in the last line of the 2nd note the signature of the deceased. - I saw that certain letters were repeated as in the word "Mccormick" and i remembered the joke of Arthur C. Clarrke in the movie "2001" (IBM= HAL 9000) - And this is my solution: "O-W-m-4 H8L XORLX" = "OWN-FOR I AM MCCORM(i)CK" because ... + O=O, W=W and R=R + m=N, H=I and L=M by use Caesar code B or +1 + 4= four= for by phonetic solution + 8= eight= eit= ei= letter A by phonetic solution + X= Variations of the letter "c" (MC, C and CK) by shorthand use. + The hyphen join the letters in a word. + Vowel "i" by usual solution in shorthand transcription - If you think 4 is not 4 but "Y" and 8 is not 8 but "I" then the solution is: +"Y"= wai= WHY or WAY by phonetic solution, similar sound. +"I"= ai= letter A by phonetic solution, graphic representation of a sound. "O-W-m-Y HIL XORLX" means "OWN-WHY? I AM MCCORMICK" -This is the master key and means the note ia a last will or testament. -The plaintext not exist -Only exist a stenographyc text that was hidden with a personal shorthand system with some measures of deception.It is a children´s game, literally .... -Finally, in Marais Temps Clair C.A. (mo) there is a suitcase buried by Mccormick with money ($99.840) and more, after the central curve in a bird watching position. - Good luck. (Search the house 35 next to northern entrance to Marais ...) bye.

 
Loading...