Unsolved Serial Killings, p.3R. J. Parker
After researching these killings, I found very little on the murders and it bothers me that an impressive number like thirty-four horrendous murders with dismemberment could be swept away. I wonder if is it because of the girls’ occupation and how much politics played a part for this tally to go unnoticed”
There is a PDF file online called “Minnesota Homicides 1985 to 1997,” and nowhere in the twenty-two-page document does it mention the murders or the word “prostitutes.” Cover up?
Chapter 15: The I-45 Killer
Houston, Texas (34+ Victims)
There is a 50-mile stretch between Houston and Galveston, Texas called the Interstate 45. Over three decades, starting in 1971, thirty-two or more women have been killed or dumped on the side of the road. Through evidence from various crime scenes, differences in patterns, and differences in trace data, it is believed by Special Agent in Charge Don Clark of the Houston office of the FBI, that there may actually be multiple serial killers operating in that area. If that is true, it would be more difficult in catching the UNSUBs.
The authorities believe the interstate to be a dumping site, not the crime scenes where the women were killed. It is an easy place to hide bodies due to the terrain, small country roads, bayous, oak and pine trees, and small towns. The victims usually disappear while out alone. Weeks, sometimes months later, they are found dead in an isolated location somewhere along the interstate. The killer or killers do not leave hints of motive or identification.
The latest victim was discovered in 1999 when a little boy and his dog were out for a walk in some marshy woods. The dog came up with a bone, and then the boy saw a skull. Nearby, the police later found earrings, shreds of clothing, and a belt tied around a tree. Investigators believe the killer used it to bind the young woman while he sexually assaulted her. Police have a suspect, and have been following him very closely, but they have not publicly identified him.
League City Lt. Gary Ratliff said, “We know a guy, we know him very well, a guy who has killed before and who had some kind of contact with five of the girls, but all the evidence is circumstantial.”
“The unnamed suspect suffered physical injuries in an automobile accident a few years ago and appears to have gone dormant since then,” Ratliff said. While that is good news in one sense, his lack of activity makes it less likely he might commit a mistake that would allow him to be caught.
Chapter 16: Colonial Parkway Killer
Colonial Parkway, Virginia (8 Victims
The picture is of the eight victims
These killings happened over twenty-five years ago, though a good update follows the end of the story.
Eight murders happened between 1986 and 1989 along the Colonial Parkway in Virginia. A lesbian couple, Rebecca Dowski, twenty-one, and Cathleen Thomas, twenty-seven, liked to park on the Colonial Parkway for privacy. On October 12th, 1986, they were found dead inside Thomas’s car, which had been pushed down the embankment. There were signs of strangulation and rope burns, and both had had their throats slashed. The motive was not robbery as their money and purses were not taken, nor was there any sexual assault. The only good thing that came of the tragedy came from Cathleen Thomas managing to pull a clump of the suspect’s hair, a clump which remained in her hand.
Robin Edwards, fourteen, and David Knobling, twenty, intended to watch a drive-in movie on September 19th, 1987, but when the movie was rained out they went to an arcade. The last time they were seen was on the shore of the James River near Smithfield, Virginia. Later, they were found executed and dumped in the river.
Seven months later, on April 9th, 1988, Cassandra Hailey, eighteen, and Richard Call, on their first date, were reported missing after attending a party in Newport News. Richard’s empty car was found on the Colonial Parkway the next day with the door open, keys in still in the ignition, and clothes on the backseat. Neither of their bodies have ever been found, but both are presumed dead.
Anna Phelps, eighteen, and Daniel Lauer, twenty-one, were last seen alive on September 5th, 1989, when they left a rest stop on Interstate 64 in New Kent County. Their skeletal remains were found months later, in October, by hunters a mile from the rest stop. Both were stabbed; the car keys were in the ignition; the gas tank was almost full; Anna’s purse was in the car, and police found no sign of struggle.
Authorities seem to think that the killer is in law enforcement or is someone impersonating a police officer.
In January of 2010, some crime scene photos of the Parkway murder victims were inappropriately used to instruct a class by a retired FBI photographer. These pictures leaked to the media and subsequently the investigation was re-opened. Investigators soon discovered dozens of pieces of evidence stored away for over twenty years that had never been tested for DNA. The FBI met with the victim’s families after much criticism from the media and had all the evidence sent to the crime lab at Quantico for DNA scrutiny. The families were told that the testing would take some time and continue into 2011.
Update: October 19th, 2011 – Lynn-Marie Carty is a famous national private detective. There is no doubt in her mind that Michael Nicholaou is the Colonial Parkway Killer and she is working diligently to prove it. The FBI is now testing his DNA for comparison.
You can see her story at this site: http://parkway.crimeshadows.com/nicholaou.htm
Chapter 17: The Missouri River Killer
Dover, Missouri (10+ Victims)
The Missouri River Killer, a.k.a. The Independence Avenue Prostitute Killer, has been haunting Kansas City since 1996. The body of Christy Fugate, twenty-one, was discovered on October tenth, 1996, after she was abducted, killed, and dumped in the Missouri River near Dover in Lafayette County. Since then, nine more bodies have been recovered.
The killer is targeting the red light district and preying on prostitutes in the Independence Avenue area of Kansas City. In all cases, the young women are approximately the same height and weight, and authorities have warned women to be extra vigilant and report anything suspicious.
In total, ten women, including Christy Fugate, have been found murdered, but more have disappeared who police believe may have worked in the Independence Avenue area.
In March of 1997, Sherri Livingston’s body was discovered in the river nearby river. In April, it was Connie Wallace-Byas; the next day, Linda Custer; two weeks later, in May, Chandra Helsel’s body was found near Boonsville; and in April of 1998, Tammy Smith’s mutilated body was discovered near Sibly in the same river. The bodies of four other Kansas City women have been discovered along the water's edge. Police believe they too may be the victims of the mysterious Missouri River Killer.
Chapter 18: The I-70/I-35 Killer
Texas (8+ Victims)
Between April of 1992, and November of 1993, numerous women were killed in small businesses along Interstates I-70 and I-35. All of the victims were young women in their 20s and 30s. Witnesses provided details to a sketch artist and the killer was described as mid 20s to mid 30s, with short reddish hair, standing about 5’8”.
At a Payless Shoe Store in Indianapolis, Robin Fuldauer, twenty-six, was murdered execution style on April 8th, 1992. Just days later on April 11th at a bridal shop in Wichita, Kansas, Trisha Smith, twenty-three, and Patricia Magers, were taken to the backroom and each shot in the head. A customer entered the store just as the shots were being fired and he ran away and contacted the police. The customer later provided a composite of the killer.
Again, the killer struck on May 3rd when he entered a store in St. Charles, just off of I-70, and shot and killed twenty-five year old Nancy Kitzmiller. Four days later, on May 7th, he killed Sarah Blessing, thirty-seven, in a video store in Kansas City. There are possibly links to four more deaths along Interstates 35 and 45 in Texas. On September 25th, 1993, antiques store clerk Mary Ann Glasscock, fifty-one, was killed execution-style in a Fort Worth, Texas antique store. On November 1st 1993 Amy Vess, twenty-two, was murdered while working at a dancewear shop in Arlington, Texas.
Chapter 19: Serial Killer in Rapid City
Rapid City, South Dakota (8 Victims)
Eight homeless men have appeared drowned over the last sixteen months in a stream that runs through a park in Rapid City, South Dakota. When the first few bodies turned up in the stream on the edge of the Black Hills, police thought nothing of it. As more men died, however, law officers became suspicious. “There's just too many of them to say it’s coincidence. But it could be,” said Police Chief Tom Hennies. The latest to die was Timothy Bull Bear Sr., forty-nine, from the town of Allen on the Pine Ridge Reservation. He was found in the creek on July 8th.
Authorities have no witnesses, there are no bullet holes, stab wounds, or evidence of foul play. Police do not know where most of the men entered the stream. What investigators know is that six of the eight dead were Indians, and all but one had been drinking heavily just before they died.
The homeless who live under bridges along the creek believe someone is pushing the men into the water when they are passed out drunk. Rumors reported to police include accusations that the creek people are being killed by a fellow homeless man, that they’re being killed by racist skinheads, a motel owner, members of a satanic cult, and a big white man on a bicycle. One report even accused a police officer.
Chapter 20: The Babysitter Killer
Oakland County, Michigan (4-5 Victims)
In 1976, an unidentified killer stalked Oakland County, Michigan, preying on inhabited children. The killer was nicknamed "The Babysitter" due to the abundant care he provided his young victims while he held them captive before murdering them.
Of the six victims accredited to The Babysitter Killer, two were raped. The corpses of four of the children were washed clean and carefully laid on the fresh snow. The obsessive scrubbing of the corpses suggested that the killer could have been practicing some type of purification rite, or simply removing any incriminating evidence.
Because of the diverse killing methods used by the attacker, authorities initially believed they were searching for up to four different killers; however, by the sixth victim, eleven-year-old Timothy King, police started to believe that they were searching for one killer. After Tim's disappearance, his mother went on television promising the boy his favorite chicken if he returned home. But Tim never made it back home alive. The killer, however, did feed him a chicken dinner before suffocating him.
A Detroit psychiatrist published an open letter in March of 1977 directed to the killer theorizing on the killer’s motives for preying on children. Of the many responses he received, one stood out: "The article was wrong you better hope it doesn't snow anymore." The psychiatrist received more letters from a man called calling himself Allen who claimed that his roommate was the mysterious killer. Both men were Vietnam vets, and he claimed buddy was targeting suburban children in his war against affluent America.
There were no more deaths attributed to The Babysitter. Authorities believe the killer might have retired, died, moved, or become incarcerated for an unrelated crime. Perhaps he moved to warmer climates where he never again saw fresh snow.
In the 1980s, suspicion focused on a former Warren autoworker in Norberg when, among his belongings, relatives found a cross inscribed with the first name of a victim, Kristine. Although he died in a car wreck in 1981, on August 29th, 1999, Michigan authorities announced they were going to his exhume his grave in Wyoming and take DNA samples to match it against a hair found on the body of one of his suspected victims. This turned out to be negative.
Chapter 21: The St. Louis Killer
St. Louis, Missouri (8+ Victims)
On the Southside of St. Louis in the late 1990s, a serial killer raped and killed at least eight women.
The first victim found was Lolina Collins, forty-one, whose autopsy revealed that she had been strangled. Her body, dressed only in a bra, was found with a trash bag over her ankles and a second trash bag over her arms. The mother of three children had worked at a state hospital until April, and was planning to become an elementary school teacher. Police identified the second victim as Brenda Beasley, thirty-three, of St. Louis. A motorist found her naked body lying by a fire hydrant, her wrists and ankles bound with duct tape. It was uncertain if she was sexually assaulted, but apparently she had died due to blunt force trauma to the head. She was a mother of four children and worked full-time at a fast food restaurant.
The bodies of six other women have been found in the same general area in East St. Louis since November of 1999. Most were in areas frequented by prostitutes and drug users. There were no witnesses and the authorities have nothing to go on. The killings, however, have since stopped.
Chapter 22: Possible Columbus Serial Killer
Columbus, Mississippi (3-5 Victims)
In a small community of Columbus, Mississippi in 1995, five senior citizens were killed. The Police Chief Donald Freshour warned that a serial killer was targeting the elderly in the community of only 24,000 citizens.
Louise Randal, eighty, was found strangled in her home on November 21st, 1995. Louise was a retired server and needed a walker to get around. Just three weeks later, Betty Everett, sixty-seven, a retirement home hairdresser, was also strangled in her home. Both of these women were had been gagged and bound with tape.
On October 13th, Robert Hannah was beaten on his head and strangled in his home and his house set fire. The police believe that the fire was set to cover up the murder. The following year, on July 8th, 1996, the body of Mack Fowler, seventy-eight, was found in his kitchen, and the corpse of George Wilbanks, seventy-five, was found Nov. 2nd, 1997 in the Wilbank home. The investigations into these killings did not lead to any credible suspects.
Three years later, however, on April 17th, 2000, the authorities announced they were close to solving at least two of five unsolved killings of local senior citizens. Police said they no longer considered the five murders to be the work of a serial killer, and that they believed only two of the deaths were linked together. In fact, they said they had evidence linking an unnamed suspect to the murders of Betty Everett and Louise Randall.
"I would like to bring some closure to this for several reasons," Chief Billy Pickens said. "One is for the families of the victims, and the other is for the community. I think the community has accepted that there wasn't a wild serial killer running around." Columbus City Councilman Chuck Weldon said people do not talk much these days about the unsolved killings, and that widespread anxiety seems to have diminished. "Everybody is just anxious to get them solved," he added.
The crimes have yet to be solved. Did the killer move on, die, just stop killing, or has he been incarcerated for another crime?
Chapter 23: The Highway of Tears Killer
Highway 16 - Yellowhead, British Columbia (40+ Victims)
Along a 500-mile section of highway between Prince George and Prince Rupert, British Columbia, Canada, at least forty-three young women have disappeared since 1969. This section of road is now called the Highway of Tears, and a website has been launched in the victims honor by Prince George businessperson Tony Romeyn, who was moved by the stories of women who have gone missing along Highway 16, and wanted to help the families of the victims.
On the site, there is a map of Highway 16 that shows the general area where nineteen victims were found or is said to have disappeared. Four of the nineteen girls are listed as missing, while the bodies of the other fifteen have been found and the cases considered homicides. Ann Bascu, who went missing in 1983, is the only one who went missing outside of B.C., in Hinton, Alta.
The RCMP, or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, have examined the similarities among the murders and disappearances and have ascertained that eight
The Highway of Tears Symposium was held in March 2006 by several Prince George-area aboriginal groups. The outcome was the Highway of Tears Symposium Recommendation Report, published June 2006. It states: "There is much community speculation and debate on the exact number of women that have disappeared along Highway 16 over a longer 35 year period; many are saying the number of missing women, combined with the number of confirmed murdered women, exceeds 30.” The report says the term Highway of Tears was the result of the "fear, frustration, and sorrow" that grew "within First Nations communities along the highway upon each reported case of a young woman's disappearance, or confirmation of a recovered body."
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