The FBI asks for help. [UPDATED – SOLVED?]



There was a murder in the summer of 1999, and it’s remained unsolved. The FBI recently released the cryptic notes found in the victim’s pocket, and asks for help to decipher them.

On June 30, 1999, sheriff’s officers in St. Louis, Missouri discovered the body of 41-year-old Ricky McCormick. He had been murdered and dumped in a field. The only clues regarding the homicide were two encrypted notes found in the victim’s pants pockets.

Despite extensive work by our Cryptanalysis and Racketeering Records Unit (CRRU), as well as help from the American Cryptogram Association, the meanings of those two coded notes remain a mystery to this day, and Ricky McCormick’s murderer has yet to face justice.

Here’s what I’ve got so far:

1. It’s not a sophisticated code.

2. There are no mysterious symbols, excepting what appear to be typos.

3. It’s a mnemonic code, so character/word frequency counts won’t work well.

4. The scribbled letter “n” stands for “and.”

5. Some of the characters that appear as the letter “R” are actually the letter “Q.”

6. I suspect that the character groups “WLD,” “SE” and “CBE” are the initials or references to people’s names.

7. The character group “on” means the same as the word, followed by a date.

8. “71” likely refers to July 1 1999; “74” refers to July 4; “75” refers to July 5.

9. Parentheses are parentheses. The “+” means “plus” as it’s clearly different from the capital “T” in the cryptogram.

10. The last line indicates Day-Week-Month-Year. MIL suggests the word “military.”

Have at it.


UPDATE I: Apparently the FBI has received so many responses and tips that it’s set up a separate website for them:


UPDATE II: José Galofré Manero. left a comment here with a link  to a site where he’s referred to as “Joseph from Spain.” (Gran obra, mi amigo.)

That links to this:

That links to this:

And also leads you to Jose’s multi-part analysis.  Here’s Part 1 of several:

His conclusions are astounding. I suggested to Jose that he write it up in his native Spanish for clarity.

Jose contends that Ricky McCormick was NOT murdered, but someone else was, and to solve THAT homicide a briefcase/satchel/package must be unearthed in the outskirts of St. Louis MO. Based upon his decryption, Jose has a good idea where it might be found. So far the FBI doesn’t seem interested, but I think that’s about to change.


UPDATE III: José posted links to his original analysis in his native Spanish below. More to come.

Author: Bunk Strutts

Boogah Boogah.

25 thoughts on “The FBI asks for help. [UPDATED – SOLVED?]”

  1. finally , there’s a reasonable person .
    i like ur analysis , and i like to share results with u .
    i need much more background of the victim to crack his death list , so you knew anything , pls tell me .


  2. alex c.– I know nothing more than what is available on the FBI’s own website that I linked to. My post was just my amateur guesses. If you can improve upon the assumptions I posted, have at it, and forward it to the FBI.


  3. saw that .
    apparently FBI have no interest in providing the case files to outsiders for something hard to say .
    not expecting their favors , i told them they did that wrong .


  4. alex– Since the case is still open, they’re unlikely to release information that might be used to exonerate the killer, once they catch him.

    I’m curious. How did you find Tacky Raccoons? You’re the first from your nation to leave comments here.


  5. bing:
    “Ricky McCormick” “St. Louis, Missouri”
    you are sorted in advancing place .
    and you are the only guy shared a lot .

    i m quite sure that “NCBE” is the key .
    all i need is the victim’s school homework pieces .
    you might be available to reach his family , make a move if so , make your history if you like to .


  6. Hello from Spain

    –In my humble opinion the master key is in the 2nd note, last line.
    –I see that: “O-W-m-4 H8L XORLX”

    Can you see which letters aee repeated and where?
    Can you remember the Arthur´s C. Clarke joke about HAL 9000?

    Yes? Then my solution is……
    +If O=O, W=W and R=R
    +If m=N, H=I and L=M using Caesar Code B or +1
    +If X= Variations of the letter “C” (MC,C and MC) using shorthand
    +If 4= four= FOR by phonetic solution like SMS language.
    +If 8= eight= eit= ei= letter “A” by phonetic solution like SMS language (example L8= late or leight, H8= hate ….)
    +If the hyphen join the letters in a word.
    +If we add vowel “i” by transcription shorthand solution.

    “O-W-m-4 H8L XORLX” means “OWN-FOR I AM MCCORM(i)CK”.

    It is the signature, last will or testament of Mccormick.

    + If you think “4″ is not “4″ but “y”
    + If you think “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 graphic representation.




  7. Hello from Spain:

    + I’m just a male nurse who has enough free time while caring for her mother.
    + I’ve always liked the work of Edgar Allan Poe, especially the short story entitled The Gold Bug. Is funny how he solves the code.

    + I also like Sherlock Holmes but the works of Agatha Christie I just like a play: The Mysterious Mr Quin

    Greetings and thank you very much.


  8. Hello from Spain:

    + I already wrote about this in Spanish for a year, on my blog in Spanish, look this link.

    In others Spanish blogs I wrote what I was discovering step by step:

    …… for more than a year. Look at the dates of the comments.

    + Barcelona (Spain) has two official languages. I have also written on the blog of mathematics at the University of Barcelona in Catalan language:

    + And also I wrote on a blog of philologists

    + Even people who do not know has been written about my solution:

    + See the FBI’s Facebook page about Mccormick. I have left my solution to the puzzle……. for many months ago.

    It is useless.


  9. Jose– I figured as much, as it didn’t make sense that you’d go to all that work and then hammer it into mud with google/bing translations. I left a message with links for Christopher Tritto / Riverfront Times. He seems to be up to speed on the case, but hasn’t seen your work as far as I can tell. If I hear anything more I’ll let you know.

    (BTW, your comment got trapped in the spam filter. Lo siento.)


  10. I notice “TENET” in one of the notes. This word was often found in what is known as a SATOR square, a mysterious word device like this:


  11. Hello from Spain.

    + I’ve tried checking my assumptions on the ground of Marais Temps Clair conservation area (MO)
    Three people told me that they would help to verify my suspicions.
    These three people are missing and two of them have not returned to contact me.

    + The third person has decided to flee, here is his story:–x—-I-suppose-now-that-I039m-enroute-its-safe-to-tell-what-I-came-across-This-is-OP-from-the-Ricky-McCormick-th-a329788

    +Honestly, I thought to check my theory would be much easier. This would be a simple picnic.

    + The third person tells me he is hidden …… but this seems more a Robert Redford´s film called “THREE DAYS OF THE CONDOR”.

    I am amazed. Bye.


  12. Jose–

    I read that basura. Bunch of babosos on 4chan making up ghost stories, all because a couple of white trucks/vans showed up – At 5AM they were probably county workers who stopped there – and noticed someone acting suspiciously. (Heh, and it’s listed under “paranormal.” It should be listed under “paranoid.”)

    Assuming the guy (OP) went to the site, it’s unlikely he could find anything as the ground would be frozen solid at 20 degrees F (-7C). Unless he’s already in trouble with the law, there was no reason for him to run and hide.

    Thanks for the update.

    P.S.For anyone else who’s interested, here’s a direct link to Jose’s post.


  13. Hello from Spain.

    The third man adventure does not end here.

    +He seems to regain the courage a few days later and I advise him to save all the events that have happened:

    +I remember that at that time it was very cold in Missouri and U.S. military and his son had died of cold because they were lost when they were out for a walk. If my dream about the little black girl is right when the snow to melt everything will be revealed.

    + But the return of the third man was a failure for some unknown reason and this is one of the last messages he sent me:
    “Will update when I feel it’s safe. I’m back on a train heading now for the eastern seaboard. I am not safe. I am being followed. I will update when I can… I think Ricky got too close to the secret…”

    He is hidden. End of the history.



  14. Hello from Spain.

    + Really seems an absurd situation … Who would want to avoid finding a suitcase buried in a conservation area?

    A park ranger or forest warden angry?

    In this case everything is amazing…. even appears that the FBI and local police lied to the family of McCormick:

    “Code Dead: Do the encrypted writings of Ricky McCormick hold the key to his mysterious death?”
    – By Christopher Tritto (published: June 14, 2012).

    McCormick’s mother, Frankie Sparks, says:
    “They told us the only thing in his pockets was the emergency – room ticket,”

    “Now, twelve years later, they come back with this chicken-scratch shit”

    -It seems that everyone thought that Ricky was a idiot and the family was misled or not informed of police/FBI investigations.

    Everything is so amusingly absurd, too absurd. I still think that “the truth is out there”, in Marais temps Clair CA (MO).

    + This situation reminds me of a quote from Sherlock Holmes:

    When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever…
    “You will not apply my precept,” he said, shaking his head. “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth? We know that he did not come through the door, the window, or the chimney. We also know that he could not have been concealed in the room, as there is no concealment possible. When, then, did he come?”
    Sherlock Holmes in “The Sign of the Four”, ch. 6 (1890)



  15. Hello from Spain
    I have a solution to a mystery hidden in the back yard of the headquarters of the CIA

    The sculptor of the mysterious statue called “Kryptos” left us some clues in the New York Times to decrypt the fourth and final message:

    So, the simplest solution to the mystery of the fourth and final message of the sculpture is this:

    + iF Letters 64-69 “NYPVTT” = “BERLIN” then K4 can be:


    — By Ronald Reagan, address at the Brandenburg Gate, June 12, 1987.

    Because if K4 is a real text (like K3), then i should find key phrases/quotes related to Berlin (place). I searched for the most important and beautiful texts (Kennedy & Reagan speeches)

    And here I found this fragment:

    This is a very nice solution but I have not a mathematical or criptographical explanation.

    Maybe you can help me solve the last problem (or any other reader of your blog)

    Bye from Spain.


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