MysteriYES

A comedy mystery podcast in which two friends discuss a weekly mystery.

Tracey Mertens

  • Tracey Mertens

    • Had moved from Birmingham to Rochdale in November, with her long-term boyfriend Joey Kavanagh.

      • Her family described the relationship as “strained” at times.

      • She spent the summer of 1994 with her sister in Rochdale, saying that she had left Joey (who was still living in Birmingham at the time) and was trying to hide from him. Sister said that she was acting strangely, like she was scared of something. A few weeks later she moved back to Birmingham with him.

    • 31 years old in 1994 when the crime took place.

    • Mother of two who, according to family, “lived for her children.”

  • Abduction

    • On December 22nd, she returned to Birmingham to gather some belongings and their benefits book from her old house.

    • Stayed overnight at at her sister’s house, then went to the house the following morning, December 23rd.

    • Shortly before noon, after she’d been in the apartment for ten minutes, there was a knock on the door.

      • Two black men, in their early thirties, overweight, wearing brown leather baseball hats and black leather coats.

      • Tracey believed they spoke in a foreign language, and police believe this was probably some sort of Caribbean accent.

    • Police believe that the two men snatched her, blindfolded her, and tossed her into the back of a yellow Mark II Ford escort packed outside.

      • This was considered a distinctive car.

  • Murder

    • Taken 70 miles away to a Christchurch in the village of Eaton in Cheshire about five hours later.

    • She was doused in gasoline and then set on fire on the church steps.

    • Found by a passerby and her attackers were gone.

    • She was taken to the hospital.

    • Had suffered 90-95% burns.

    • She survived long enough to tell detectives what happened to her.

    • She died in the early hours of Christmas Eve.

  • Investigation

    • Detectives spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day interviewing family members.

    • Apparently, there was a witness walking by Tracey’s home as the two men were forcing her into the car, but police have never been able to track him down.

    • In 1995, a Birmingham man was charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

      • Case was dropped due to insufficient evidence.

    • It seems police were able to find very little information regarding the case other than what Tracey was able to tell them.

    • The case was featured on Crimewatch in 2010 and 2012 after advances in forensic technology gave detectives a DNA profile of the killer.

    • Detectives gathered and followed up 100 tips after the 2010 broadcast, but none of them were particularly helpful.

    • There is still a 30,000 pound reward for details leading to a conviction.

  • Theories

    • Joey

      • Habitual drug user

      • Admitted he owed people money at the time of Tracey’s death.

      • Abductors allegedly asked, “Where’s Joey?”

        • Reddit user suggest they were Yardies (British term for Jamaican expatriates) whose gangs are known for drug trafficking and gang violence in the United Kingdom.

        • There was a large influx of Jamaican immigration to Britain in the 1980s, which led to a rise in gang violence committed by Jamaican immigrants.

        • There is active Yardie gang activity in Birmingham, although to a lesser extent than in many other large British cities.

      • Perhaps Joey owed someone money and they went to attack him, but took her instead.

      • Has maintained that he was not the cause of the murder and didn’t know anyone who would do something so brutal to her.

    • Mistake

      • Could they have gone to the wrong house?

    • Opportunistic attack

      • Could she have merely misunderstood what happened due to trauma?

      • If there was a prejudice against Yardies, perhaps?

      • I don’t know.

      • I can’t make up my own theories.

      • This is stupid.

      • I hate this podcast.

      • Just kidding, I love it.