It is important to be critical when assessing information related to any missing persons case. Any evidence that comes our way should be thoroughly analysed, but always with an open mind to extreme possibilities. The same is true when watching the TV show Psychic Detectives. This series of articles will take a more critical look at a range of proclaimed psychics and show why I think many of them are legitimate. This first part will outline and analyse the role of proclaimed psychic Phil Jordan in the missing persons case concerning Judith Leo-Coney.
In Psychic Detectives people are often seen helping police solve murders and missing persons cases. They usually appear to lead police to crime scenes and evidence, and the locations of missing people. They have pointed the police to unlikely suspects who turned out to be killers, and they have occasionally known information about crime scenes that, in my opinion, could hardly have been guessed. Some psychic detectives have been shown to have given police accurate information, even if it did not solve the crime. It seems to be a regular occurrence that the information divulged by psychics is proven accurate after separate developments in cases occur. The information provided by psychics, along with the dedicated work of police, can occasionally help bring closure and sometimes acceptance for many families and friends of victims.
Psychic detectives employ a variety of ways and means to help gain information about missing persons and criminals. This can include using dreams, visions, communication with spirits, God, angels or guides, dowsing techniques, astral projection, psychometry (where touch is used to read energy from objects), remote viewing, and other forms of divination. I believe some psychics are much more gifted than others, whilst a few are most probably frauds, lucky guessers, or have simply just convinced themselves of their own non-existent abilities through broadly linking every item they dream with any case detail they come across in the papers.
Throwing out information, guesswork, vagaries, and easily accessible information
This sceptical outlook leads me to ask a variety of questions whilst watching the show making it an incredibly engaging experience. Such questions include: did the proclaimed psychic throw out so much nefarious information that at least one bit of information was going to be right all along? Could the psychic have easily guessed the murder weapon, the injuries or location of missing people – how vague or precise were the descriptions given by the psychic? It is important to note that even if some of these facts turn out to be easily guessable, it does not mean that the psychic is not the real deal. Occasionally, quite vague information may even be genuine psychic information.
Sometimes information on cases can be found easily through simple research, for example, only 2 people may have gone missing from one place in the last 5 years making it easier for the psychic to guess information about cases when it could be in the public domain or easily available from speaking to people in local bars and so forth. I may also question whether police have given the psychics information about the case as the case has developed, allowing psychics and non-psychics to guess other aspects about a case too.
1979 Disappearance of Judith Leo-Coneys
The first case in the series involves the 1979 disappearance of high-school teacher Judith Leo-Coneys, who disappeared after a trip from a routine doctor’s appointment. After a few years, the mother of Judy asked police that psychic Phil Jordan be contacted to help on the case. It is often after a case turns cold that police officers are more open to any source of help they can get, including proclaimed psychics.
On the show, two police officers give interview evidence; Detective Dave Schmoll of the Shelburne Police Department, and Sgt Leo Blais from Vermont State Police.
At the time, police believed there could be many reasons Judith could have disappeared that did not necessarily involve a serious crime. They close in on her then boyfriend but find little evidence linking the suspect to her disappearance. They believed she could have taken off with a lover or left to start a new life in another state, as often happens.
Police spoke to psychic Phil Jordan who had previously worked on many investigations with cops. When first interviewed by police, authorities were amazed to find Mr Jordan to be right about some information related to the case. It was confirmed by police that he was correct when he stated that Judy had two people in her life and couldn’t decide which one to be with. She had also made a list comparing her present and past boyfriend. This does not seem to be something so easily guessable in the context of a murder without the assumption that she may have left for another man.
Mr Jordan also said that the education system had a strong link to the case, although it could have been known at the time that a 32-year old teacher, who dated another teacher at the school, had gone missing from the Shelburne area some years back. Yet, it is unclear how much information would have been publicly available on this case at that time.
Nevertheless, Vermont is a small state of around 600,000, whereas Shelburne itself only has a population of 7,775, according to the 2018 United States Census Bureau. This would make it easier to research missing persons cases before hand. That is not to say that this is what occurred at all, but with any case it is important to bare in mind it is simply a possibility. What is more, there are few unsolved missing persons cases related to Vermont alone
Phil Jordan also saw the initial R, horses and split row fences in a series of visions. Police stated in the show’s interview that they came across a horse riding facility 1/2 a mile from where the missing woman’s car was found, as well as split row fences – probably common to the rural area.
A note left in Judith’s car was eventually found at a nearby junk yard, and was signed off by someone called R. Peterson, matching Jordan’s vision of the initial R. This led police to describe Phil Jordan as: “…a pretty accurate reviewer of what was going on.”
I believe it is possible that Jordan had such visions. Nonetheless, such initials can often be superimposed over so many aspects of various cases and I believe these kinds of clues are largely useless and self-fulfilling clues. Yet, the initial was found to be on its own on the note, and this made the finding feel more significant than the usual lettered predictions that psychics often use.
Jordan later has another much darker vision where he sees Judy being shot in the head then buried, believing it to be a crime of passion, seeing the ex-boyfriend of Judith, Francis ‘Frank’ Malinosky, who in the vision did not want her to leave him. In his impressions he saw her wearing a ‘blue gown vest’. Perhaps by this stage, after finding the mysterious note, a murder could have been a guessable option to choose – especially the ex-boyfriend.
It was then found that the note left on the car by the mysterious R. Peterson matched the handwriting of Frank Malinosky – Judith’s ex. Witnesses also claimed to have seen a man carrying a gun that fit his description. He was now the police’s chief suspect.
Frank later fled the state and police obtained a search warrant for his daughter’s house and discovered a credit card linked to Frank that had been used to make a purchase of a ticket found in a shoebox. Additionally, Frank’s aliases had been discovered thanks to Sgt Leo Blais, who had uncovered that Malinosky had applied for a driving license in Utah.
After being arrested by the FBI and Los Angeles Police, Malinosky admitted to shooting Judy in the head and then burying her. He took police to the location in woods where they found her after 3 days. She was wearing a blue gown vest – another match to Jordan’s description, but also something that could have been researched. Even so, Vermont alone is littered with rivers and has a large lake where many could predict a body to be. Yet, Jordan believed she was buried.
Judith had been murdered in a crime of passion, had been shot in the head, and had been buried wearing a blue top, just as Jordan predicted. These facts seem very important. Yet, the fact that Jordan had predicted her murder may not have been so significant after all, especially as it had been many years since she had been missing and there was still no sign of poor Judith at that time. The method of killing that Jordan stated was additionally not so significant, as it is also clear that in most states in America, shootings make up a majority of murders.
It is evident from the Psychic Detectives show that police from local and state departments were convinced of the effectiveness of Phil Jordan as a psychic. Phil Jordan has often given incredibly accurate information about crime scenes and missing people, and after my own experience of coming across supposed evidence of missing people, I know how tough it can be to pull together so many small snippets of information. However, some of the evidence in this case was not particularly strong. All in all, taken together, the clues he offered and some of the information he knew; that this involved a love triangle (as police had suspected), that Judith was buried, the initial R., and the blue top, seem to be mildly convincing aspects in this case. Yet, it was mostly down to some great investigative work by local, state and federal police that the case was cracked.
It can be a frustrating task when you are acting with codes and symbols. The more notably successful work of Jordan and other psychics will also be outlined in this series.
R.I.P. Judith Leo-Coneys.
Every dream has a purpose – If you want to wake up, go to sleep
See related articles:
Psychic Detectives, ‘Lost in the Past’
Phill Jordan Website:
Murder rate and gun related murders from 2015 – https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_violence_in_the_United_States_by_state
Ongoing missing persons cases in Vermont: