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Old 09-02-2018, 11:03 AM   #511
Todd Mueller
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I going to preface this with "I am not a mental health expert". However...

I wonder if Aileen was bipolar and going through a manic phase. The fact that she was filling the pool, ironing, running a bath, etc. would fall in line with that. Going for a drive at high speed and hitting a barrier might, too.

Signs of bipolar:
- feeling overly happy or “high” for long periods of time
- having a decreased need for sleep
- talking very fast, often with racing thoughts
- feeling extremely restless or impulsive
- becoming easily distracted
- having overconfidence in your abilities
- engaging in risky behavior

I don't think this was a straight up suicide. I think it was an accident as the result of manic behavior. She may have been in a manic phase and simply euphoric. She went for a drive, maybe got distracted, and impacted the barrier. She could have been knocked out and the resulting fire killed her and torched the car.

I can't remember, but wasn't the use of an accelerant just a theory, based on test burns? If they didn't prove that an accelerant was used, I honestly think the manic episode is a possibility and it would explain a lot. Just because people's family and friends say "They weren't mentally ill" doesn't mean they weren't, especially based on the era and location of this event.

The biggest thing that always bothered me with this case is the scene at the home. That is not normal nor would it make sense for it to be staged that way. Something was off with how many things were going on, and a manic episode could explain all of that.
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Old 09-02-2018, 03:11 PM   #512
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All those signs of bipolar disorder, I would have to think friends and family would have noticed some or all before the day she died. It's kind of comparable to the few who speculated Cindy James of having multiple personality disorder. The person has no control over when these changes occur and SOMEBODY in their inner circle would notice this change in behavior.

But I guess nothing can truly be written off. It would help if there was more information available or quotes from family members post-UM broadcast.
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Old 09-07-2018, 12:15 AM   #513
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It's an interesting theory, for sure. One that I haven't heard tossed around before.

I agree that it would be helpful if there was more information from the family post-UM.
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Old 09-07-2018, 08:37 AM   #514
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All those signs of bipolar disorder, I would have to think friends and family would have noticed some or all before the day she died. It's kind of comparable to the few who speculated Cindy James of having multiple personality disorder. The person has no control over when these changes occur and SOMEBODY in their inner circle would notice this change in behavior.

But I guess nothing can truly be written off. It would help if there was more information available or quotes from family members post-UM broadcast.
Yep. If she was bi-polar then someone would've noticed symptoms/odd behavior before her accident. I'm also sure Pat would've mentioned if she had such mental illness in the segment.

I've also known a few bi-polar people, and didn't notice them doing something like crashing their car on purpose because of a manic episode. Mood changes, collecting random things, etc, but nothing like this.

Also if she was bi-polar and purposely crashed her car wouldn't that still be suicide?
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Old 09-07-2018, 10:15 AM   #515
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Yep. If she was bi-polar then someone would've noticed symptoms/odd behavior before her accident. I'm also sure Pat would've mentioned if she had such mental illness in the segment.

I've also known a few bi-polar people, and didn't notice them doing something like crashing their car on purpose because of a manic episode. Mood changes, collecting random things, etc, but nothing like this.

Also if she was bi-polar and purposely crashed her car wouldn't that still be suicide?
Here's the thing, though. You should see signs of bipolar in the family, but they may not have realized it or they may not want to admit it. I have a sister-in-law who is bi-polar. Her parents and husband denied there were any issues for a long time, even though the rest of us could see that her behavior said otherwise. Keeping in mind the time this happened, they may not have realized what was going on. Or she may have hid it. Or they may think (sadly, as many did in the past) that those with mental illness are "weak" to they didn't want to admit it.

I also have a neighbor who is bipolar. Really good guy and mellow most of the time. When he is in a manic phase though, you can tell. He starts doing a ton of house projects, building stuff in his garage, and yard work almost non-stop. It's funny because he can see him toiling outside and think "Oh... he's in a manic phase." That's one of the things that suddenly hit me with this case. She had SO MANY things going on at her house at once, but that doesn't make rational sense.

For people with bipolar, they may suffer a "hypomanic episode", which is "a period of increased energy, exaggerated confidence, racing thoughts, poor decision making, and/or decreased need for sleep."

Her death would only be suicide if she intended to kill herself. I'm theorizing that she may have been going through a hypomanic episode (hence the doing so many things around the house at once that really make no sense), and that she may have gone for a drive and lost control of her car. I don't think she was suicidal in the sense that she wanted to die (or in a depressive state), but if she was going through hypomania I think she may have made poor decisions that led to her death.

As for the other theories, I don't believe the interrupted burglary theory because why drive her out in the middle of nowhere to stage the death? If it was a burglar, they might kill her in a panic but they would most likely what to get the hell out of there. The only other theory that could work in my opinion is she was killed by someone she knew. But again, why stage such a bizarre scene at home? That makes no sense.
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Old 09-07-2018, 12:39 PM   #516
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Here's the thing, though. You should see signs of bipolar in the family, but they may not have realized it or they may not want to admit it. I have a sister-in-law who is bi-polar. Her parents and husband denied there were any issues for a long time, even though the rest of us could see that her behavior said otherwise. Keeping in mind the time this happened, they may not have realized what was going on. Or she may have hid it. Or they may think (sadly, as many did in the past) that those with mental illness are "weak" to they didn't want to admit it.

I also have a neighbor who is bipolar. Really good guy and mellow most of the time. When he is in a manic phase though, you can tell. He starts doing a ton of house projects, building stuff in his garage, and yard work almost non-stop. It's funny because he can see him toiling outside and think "Oh... he's in a manic phase." That's one of the things that suddenly hit me with this case. She had SO MANY things going on at her house at once, but that doesn't make rational sense.

For people with bipolar, they may suffer a "hypomanic episode", which is "a period of increased energy, exaggerated confidence, racing thoughts, poor decision making, and/or decreased need for sleep."

Her death would only be suicide if she intended to kill herself. I'm theorizing that she may have been going through a hypomanic episode (hence the doing so many things around the house at once that really make no sense), and that she may have gone for a drive and lost control of her car. I don't think she was suicidal in the sense that she wanted to die (or in a depressive state), but if she was going through hypomania I think she may have made poor decisions that led to her death.

As for the other theories, I don't believe the interrupted burglary theory because why drive her out in the middle of nowhere to stage the death? If it was a burglar, they might kill her in a panic but they would most likely what to get the hell out of there. The only other theory that could work in my opinion is she was killed by someone she knew. But again, why stage such a bizarre scene at home? That makes no sense.
You can't say that she was suicidal or not, because you didn't know her or her life. We have no idea what she could've been going through. It's kind of weird to say she wasn't suicidal, but she was going through hypomania without knowing her medical background.

Also, the house scene isn't that bizarre. It looks normal for a mother with alot of children who was multi-tasking and trying to get things done before the children got home.

Now, I can't speak on if she was suicidal or not, but it makes the most sense outside of Pat doing it. For someone else to have done this, there needed to be two vehicles.

However, given the fact that the phone was next to the tub, it's possible she was in the tub and received a call to meet someone next to the bridge where she was found and rushed out and met her demise. Could've been set up.
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Old 01-14-2019, 06:16 AM   #517
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I finally finished reading this whole thread. Sorry to bring it back yet again, but I guess it's a rite of passage for newer members to post on this one...

This has to be the most, shall we say, passionate thread I've read here yet, and it's easy to see why. As others have mentioned, this is probably the one UM case above all others where every theory has major, unavoidable flaws. I'm also admittedly a bit uncomfortable throwing around declaratives like "Pat did it" (even though I do think in some ways that makes the most sense) because these are real people with real family members, and we just don't have enough information.

But since we're here to discuss theories, my personal takeaways based on the couple things I think we can be most certain of:

-I think there's almost zero percent chance it was a burglary. Burglaries rarely turn into violence; statistically, thieves almost always flee the scene if caught. Those rare times where an interrupted robbery does turn into homicide, the victim is killed at the scene. No robber is going to take someone 15 miles away into the middle of nowhere to murder them and stage an elaborate scene; it's simply not going to happen. There's not a single thing in it for them (now a sexual assault is a different matter). I'm not the first to mention this in this thread obviously, but I think it's the one thing in this case we can be most certain of.

-As others have mentioned, the extreme nature of that fire (car melted to the guardrail, body burned completely beyond all recognition) makes it almost certainly an arson. I know, I know, they only theorized that accelerant was used, the science has progressed, etc., but a car hitting a guardrail at 50-60 mph probably just isn't going to vaporize like that without help. This isn't a movie. And the chances of her leaving her home in such unusual circumstances and then having a wreck and exploding are what, one in a billion? It's just not going to happen. That car was intentionally burned. So why?

If the car was intentionally burned (and I have no doubt it was) there are only two realistic reasons:
1) To hide the identity of the person inside
2) To disguise the cause of death of the person inside

We know #1 is not the case considering it was their family car, so that leaves us with #2. I always assumed she was probably shot/stabbed/strangled and the whole accident scene was an attempt to hide that fact (successfully, if I'm right, since the body was burned beyond all recognition). If this is correct, she had to have been killed by someone she knew, because there's no reason for anyone else to try to conceal the cause of death.

The maddening thing is that going to all that trouble points to those closest to her (i.e. Pat), but it's also the thing that points AWAY from him because he would be undoing everything by insisting to police that it wasn't an accident and encouraging them to pursue it as a murder.

-The house always seemed staged to me. That's just the only way it really makes sense. "What would be a sign that someone left home in a hurry? Leaving an iron on. Ooh, or the phone off the hook. Or maybe a full, unused drawn bath. Or leaving valuables and glasses behind. Oh and leaving the door open. Hmm, and maybe a hose running in the backyard. Or how about ALL OF THOSE AT ONCE!!" It's a "protest too much" kind of vibe.

-The skid marks are probably the most baffling thing of all, although sometimes I wonder if we're putting too much stock in the scientific expertise of the likes of Ray Anderson with a lot of this stuff. I'm not trying to insult the intelligence of small-town law enforcement (I grew up in a small town!), but honestly, who knows. That said, there's no doubt that that car hit the guardrail HARD (looking at the photo of the actual car in the segment, the front is folded up like an accordion).

I wish we could see the area and the bridge as it was on that day. I wonder if it would be possible to make an educated guess on where the car came from before impact to do that kind of damage. Is it likely that it was traveling along that road and just did an extreme right turn and slammed into the rail? Or is it more likely that it started back, say, in the field where the bulletin was found, accelerated straight ahead, and slammed into the rail full-tilt (if this were geographically possible)? I would love to know. I don't think there was anyone in the car with her in a struggle, who (apparently literally) walked away while she died. I think either 1) Aileen legitimately hit that rail, whether accidentally or on purpose or 2) someone put her body in the car, put something on the accelerator so it slammed the guardrail, and set the fire. Again, if #2, it simply had to be someone with a personal connection to her. No one else would have anything to gain from such an elaborate and time-consuming stunt, with its intention to deceive.

So really, all that to say that in the end I, too, have no idea. The Pat angle is the thing that makes the most sense given the things we can be most sure of, but it also doesn't make sense because for all intents and purposes he would be attempting to sabotage his own plan.

Thank you for all the great theories and thoughts over the years. I enjoyed reading everyone's insight.

Cheers,
Matt

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Old 01-14-2019, 01:26 PM   #518
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but it's also the thing that points AWAY from him because he would be undoing everything by insisting to police that it wasn't an accident and encouraging them to pursue it as a murder.


but it also doesn't make sense because for all intents and purposes he would be attempting to sabotage his own plan.
Not quite. If Pat was guilty then his plan was excellent. The body was burned beyond recognition so they weren't going to find a cause of death (bullet wounds, marks on the body, etc) so he was safe on that end. He also was the one who called it in so now he looks like a husband in distress who doesn't know what happened. He didn't do anything shady in the eyes of the investigators and even hired his own P.I. so he looks completely innocent.

Let's not forget he also had several children, so he HAD to be proactive or the children would get suspicious and keep asking questions.

IF Pat did commit the murder then he committed the perfect crime. Burned the body, crashed the car in a location that's empty and claims they never been to (making him look even more innocent).

In my opinion what makes me suspect him even more is the house scene. Nothing was missing or damaged, so why would someone come over (no signs of forced entry so I can't even say someone broke in) just to drive 15 miles out of the way to burn her alive? Not to mention his marriage shortly after her death is kind of bizarre.

Kill your wife, burn her body beyond recognition, crash her car in a location that's vacant and out of the way, wait for someone to find and report her, then call up a P.I. and Unsolved Mysteries to make yourself look like a husband in distress and you have a smart plan. Lets also not to forget that constantly asking the police to look into this (confident because he took care of the evidence) makes him look EVEN more innocent.
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Old 01-14-2019, 07:31 PM   #519
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If we had ANY source of information about this case outside of UM, it might be easier to connect a few dots, including eliminating Pat as a suspect. I personally don't think he did it but it I guess it can't be 100% ruled out.

April 29, 1986 was a Tuesday. The Conways had seven children. So the family members had to be the last to see her. Did the kids take the bus to school that morning? Did Aileen drive them? Would she have run errands afterwards? Was Pat at work? Did he have any other typical morning routines? People might have been able to vouch for his whereabouts that morning if we were privy to these basic facts. I don't even think we were given an exact time of when her car was discovered in flames, just that it was morning.
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Old 01-15-2019, 07:59 AM   #520
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April 29, 1986 was a Tuesday. The Conways had seven children. So the family members had to be the last to see her. Did the kids take the bus to school that morning? Did Aileen drive them? Would she have run errands afterwards? Was Pat at work? Did he have any other typical morning routines? People might have been able to vouch for his whereabouts that morning if we were privy to these basic facts. I don't even think we were given an exact time of when her car was discovered in flames, just that it was morning.
Oddly enough, I checked the same thing to see what date the 29th was. Plus, the children would've most likely been at school. UM makes no mention of Pat being at work (although it's implied that he had to be reached somewhere to notify him of what had happened) or any sort of alibi, but I highly doubt that if he didn't have one the police wouldn't have been so quick to rule it an accident. And even if they did rule it an accident, when the evidence that an accelerant was used, the focus should have shifted to him. I'm going to go ahead and assume that LE looked into his whereabouts that morning and quickly ruled him out.
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Old 01-15-2019, 11:05 AM   #521
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I'll never be convinced that Pat had anything to do with it. He seemed just as perplexed as anyone else if not more so. In fact it was HIM that kept spurring the investigation along.
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