The Springfield Three- My thoughts

The Springfield Three – My Thoughts

It’s been 24 years since Suzanne Streeter, Stacy McCall and Sherrill Levitt disappeared from Sherrill’s home in Springfield, Missouri. Throughout all the speculation and conjecture put forward by Law Enforcement and various media outlets, this case remains unsolved and no trace of the women has ever been found. It is hard to even argue that a crime was even committed.

However, we will never know for certain given the number of people who had passed through the home in the time before the authorities arrived. Leads have continued to come in and the vague allusions of one Robert Craig Cox have done nothing but feed the rampant speculation surrounding this case and now all that I can do is unfortunately add to the speculation using the little facts that have been made available.

First of all, I fail to see the risk of law enforcement using the ground penetrating radar to excavate the Hospital Parking lot to see what is buried underneath it. If there is nothing, you have just followed another lead through to its conclusion and you are still in the same place you are now.

A detective could make a career for himself if he were to crack this case and if he were to dig up the relevant section of the parking lot and find the remains of the three missing women. I find it hard to believe that this could be a case of three runaways could have remained undetected for over twenty years especially two teenagers without some kind of foul play being involved.

Given that the only indication of a crime was the broken porch light that family members unknowingly cleaned up. We will never know if they innocently destroyed a valuable piece of evidence. Coupled with the slow response brought upon the lack of evidence of a crime and obstacles in the investigative process. Police were never able to paint a solid time line of the night they disappeared and the events preceding it given the inconsistent stories witnesses provided.

Robert Craig Cox to me has provided no real evidence to suggest he knows anything legitimate about this case. It could just be the classic case of a criminal injecting themselves into an investigation where if they cooperate with the proceedings by providing information Police desire to get a better deal for themselves. Perhaps it is simply to boost their own ego as the renewed media attention as the spotlight for their past crimes has drifted onto a new offender.

It is not uncommon for repeat offenders to have an insatiable need for the spotlight to be focused on them and what better way for Robert Craig Cox to keep the attention trained on him than to claim allude to be party responsible or to have some knowledge to the solution of this matter.

As the case grew colder, people seemed to buy into this with hook, line and sinker regardless of the amount of legitimate or even unsubstantiated claims. Now he claims he won’t reveal what he claims to know until his mother has passed. I can respect wanting to save ones mother the heart ache but at this point he has nothing left to lose. Either way he is going to be in jail and should just put this matter to rest, that would require him to have some decency which I doubt he has of course.

In closing all I can do is urge local law enforcement to reconsider their stance on digging up the section of the parking lot in which irregularities were found. At this point it seems like it is the only lead they have to go upon or at least the only one that is public knowledge. Otherwise and as much as I hate to suggest it maybe offer Robert Craig Cox some kind of deal contingent on the resolution of this case being reached. If it turns out that he lied all along, which I often suspect he has been doing, then charge him for whatever else he can be charged for.

Advertisements

The Parkway Predator

In the 1980’s along a historic parkway, the cliche Hollywood horror film was being carried out in the state of Virginia. Beginning in 1986, over a three year course four couples were murdered along the Colonial Parkway and to this day – this case remains unsolved. Were these cases connected? Was a Serial Killer responsible? Perhaps we will never know… 

 

The series began on October 12, 1986 when a couple was found brutally murdered in their car. It was a popular spot for couples given the seclusion this particular spot provided. However somebody managed to find Cathleen Thomas, 27, and Rebecca Dowski, 21. While they enjoyed each others company, the suspect approached the car and caught them off guard. He then forced them from their car and tried a number of different techniques to murder the two women before strangling and cutting their throats. They would be found days later stuffed inside Cathy’s car after it had been pushed down an embankment.

 

Before pushing the car down the embankment the suspect had made a futile attempt to set the car alight using diesel fuel and matches. The level of violence displayed by the killer shocked many of those involved with this case. It lead some to believe that this could only have been committed by someone who knew both of the victims and had some form of score to settle. Both of the victims former partners were investigated but never charged and there was no evidence of sexual assault. This lead some to believe a far more sinister scenario…

 

The drivers side window was rolled down and Cathy’s wallet with her drivers license lay on the floor just next to the door, giving birth to the theory that the suspect may have been a Park Ranger or another form of authority figure. Investigators found complaints against a Ranger from a number of women that claimed he had harassed them and made a variety of inappropriate comments towards them. However, the Ranger in question was interrogated by Police but never charged. 

 

Some may have thought this terrible tragedy as an isolated case until almost a year later, the unthinkable happened again. September 22nd, 1987, David Knobling, 20, and Robin Edwards, 14, stopped at another lovers lane along the James River only 20 miles South from where the Dowski-Thomas murders took place. At some point during the course of the night a suspect must have walked up to their car and forced them to exit the vehicle. Again the drivers side window was rolled down partially but this time the terror would play out differently. 

 

Knobling and Edwards were marched into the woods at gunpoint by the suspect and were eventually gunned down in cold blood. The scene suggests that Robin was killed first and after realising was happening, David tried to make a run for it before being cut down the killers bullet. They again would be found three days later lying in the mud. David’s truck was first found abandoned before their bodies would be located by David’s father. 

 

Some were skeptical that these two cases were related given the different approach taken by the suspect to commit the crimes. That debate still exists today. However those who do believe in the connection believe the suspect was in a stage of evolution in his approach to murder. They particularly note that much like the former, the state of the vehicle suggests the couple had an encounter with an authority figure of some kind. The partially rolled down window might suggest to some that they thought it was mere routine encounter with law enforcement and thought they just wanted to question them. Could it have been a Park Ranger, a Police Officer or worse – Someone impersonating one…

 

Someone who approaches the car with a torch pointed towards the car much like Police Officers do. Given the level of control the suspect exhibited in someone forcing both couples from their vehicles before carrying out his crimes. It is not hard to procure the necessary items to impersonate a member of law enforcement, particularly if you only need a few moments to establish control over a couple sitting in a vehicle. But by this point in the investigation, detectives had no idea that shroud of darkness that has enveloped this case would only continue to grow.

 

On April 9th, 1988, A Third Couple were believed to have been murdered when Cassandra Hailey, 18 and Keith Call disappeared while driving along the Parkway. On their first date together, they were going to the movies and then to a party at the university. Around 1.30AM, Keith and Cassandra were seen walking through the parking lot as they left the party. What happened next? Perhaps we will never know…

 

The next morning Keith’s father would find his son’s car abandoned next to an overlook along the Parkway, not far from where Cathy Thomas and Rebecca Dowski were found murdered almost two years earlier. After stopping to observe the car, he noticed the keys were not in the ignition and there was no trace of Keith or Cassandra. But that would not be the case when the investigators would arrive at around 7.00AM.

 

When they arrived to the scene, Keith’s car was littered with items of clothing belonging to both him and Ms. Hailey. Which could only lead to one conclusion and that is somebody had returned to the vehicle after forcing both Keith and Cassandra from the car. Initially they believed that the couple had gone swimming in the lake and drowned and would be found in a few days. But even then they felt that theory was a stretch given the incline of the hill down to the lake next to where the car was found and how cold the water was at that time of year.

 

Even so the idea that a serial killer being active at this stage of the series was yet to be considered so without a body, they had almost nothing to go on. But when days turn into weeks and weeks to years, the mystery of what happened to Keith and Cassandra that night along the Parkway remains uncertain. However, the only conceivable option is that they encountered the same individual responsible for the Knobling-Edwards and Dowski-Thomas murders in years past.

 

This would not be the last time the suspect would strike. On the 19th of October 1989, hunters found the bodies of Annamaria Phelps, 18 and Daniel Lauer, 21 in the woods near a rest stop along the Interstate 64 between Williamsburg and Richmond. Ms. Phelps was helping her Dan move into from Amelia County into the home she shared with her boyfriend, Dan’s elder brother, in Virginia Beach.

 

But as the next morning came and went, nobody had heard from Anna or Dan. Their vehicle was then located but on the opposite side of the freeway from the direction they were travelling. Some would suggest that this would indicate that the killer used Dan’s car to dump the bodies. A theory further supported by the vegetation found underneath the vehicle matched to that of the surrounding woods. But by the time they are found, much of the physical evidence had been washed away by the elements. All they were able to determine was that it was likely the victims were stabbed by the perpetrator.

 

However, one of the most consistent trademarks of the suspect was apparent. The slightly rolled down window suggesting they had stopped to talk to the suspect as if he were some of law enforcement figure. Maybe it was a Park Ranger, Maybe it was a Police Officer, but to this day nobody knows. By now one thing was apparent to all those involved, a serial predator hunting apparent young lovers along the parkway. 

 

Even to this day, that is all we know. There isn’t even a composite sketch of the suspect. The closest thing to even identifying the suspect we have on record occurred the night Keith Call and Cassandra Hailey disappeared. Keith’s older brother was driving home late that same night and noticed a dark coloured van speeding away from the same area of where his brothers car would be found only hours later.

 

No suspects have ever been named in these crimes, only theories as to who the offender was. Families have been left in complete disarray by these crimes and it appears we are no closer to a resolution. Some even believe that this was not the work of a serial killer despite the similarities in each of the cases. Some believe that the Dowski/Thomas case was a hate crime.

 

Almost ten years later, some believe the suspect struck again. In May of 1996 at the Shenandoah National Park, another couple was found brutally murdered in a manner that resembled the Dowski/Thomas murders. Julie Williams and Lollie Winans were a couple simply seeking an escape to a place where they could be together and enjoy each others company. 

 

Until an evil, sadistic individual had other ideas. The couple would be found with their throats slashed from left to right – just like the Dowski/Thomas case a decade prior. Albeit nearly 200 miles from where the Dowski/Thomas case occurred, one cannot help but wonder if the two cases are related given the obvious similarity in the modus operandi of the offender.

 

Perhaps  these cases are all unrelated except for the Williams/Winans & Dowski/Thomas cases and we are hunting multiple suspects rather than a single individual. But one thing should remain constant in the minds of all those who ever research this case, that no matter if it is proven to be one offender or multiple, the victims and their families deserve the justice that they have sought for the past nearly thirty years.

 

Maybe one day we will know the truth in its entirety, but until then all we can do is hope. Hope that Law Enforcement finds whomever or whoever was responsible for these heinous crimes and will be bought to trial. One thing remains certain in this case and that is that five couples were murdered and that each deserve to see justice. Regardless of whether it is with this prosecution of a single individual or multiple, Ten young people were taken just when they had the world at their fingertips and they deserve to have their voices heard in a court of law. 

 

 

 

 

The Springfield Three – Part II

The Springfield Three – Part II

Twenty-four hours after of what is a typically a proud moment for parents and a moment of celebration for children, Mrs McCall was about to become the genesis of something unimaginable. Using photo’s taken from the recent graduation ceremony, She has photo’s of Suzie and Stacy developed to use in a missing persons campaign to try and locate her daughter and friend. Rapidly gaining media attention, tips began to come flooding in from a variety of sources and prove overwhelming to authorities who are only just launching an investigation.

 A waitress at a restaurant frequented by Suzie and Stacy claimed to have seen the missing girls having a meal around 1 am on the night of their apparent disappearance. Investigators were never able to substantiate this claim after being able to gain contact with other patrons who were also present at the time in question.

 Time continued to pass without any solid leads for investigators to follow. Even as greater resources were allocated to the case and the FBI became involved, the Springfield Police were unable to locate the three missing women. After questioning Sherill’s eldest child, Bart Streeter, investigators were able to rule him out as a suspect after confirming his alibi that he was at his own residence having passed out after excessive drinking.

 However his sisters personal life would give rise to the first suspects in this long and arduous investigation. Suzie Streeter’s ex-boyfriend, a youth named Dustin Reckler. Mr. Reckler and a group of associates were arrested by local law enforcement after they were found to have been responsible for the vandalism of a local cemetery and had been selling the gold tooth fillings from the corpses they had defiled.

 The relationship ended after his arrest a few months prior to the disappearance of the three women and after Suzie provided a statement to the authorities there was significant resentment between her and Mr. Reckler and a close associate named Michael Clay. There alibi’s of being at a local rock concert were unable to be confirmed or denied by investigators but their actions during interrogation brought them increased scrutiny.

 Michael Clay in particular was quoted as saying he wished death upon the missing women which lead some including friends and family to speculate about his involvement in their disappearance. However both Clay and Reckler continually cooperated with the authorities and continue to deny any involvement in what happened that fateful night. As the investigation continues investigators are still unable to rule them out as suspects despite their willingness to be of help to detectives.

 It was during this stage of the investigation that Police received a tip from a witness came forward with a possible sighting of one of the missing girls. During the time in which they were supposed to have disappeared a witness told detectives that she saw a van being driven by who she believed to be Suzie Streeter.

 The witness claimed that the driver she believed to be Suzie appeared to be distressed. She was sitting on her front porch of the morning of the disappearance and that she noticed a van pull into her street and turn around. Furthermore she stated that as the van pulled in she claimed to hear a man’s voice in the back telling the driver to just back out slowly and get them out of there.

 Unfortunately this witness did not come forward earlier as she had not seen the fliers placed around town by Mrs. McCall. Still the investigators believe this information to have credibility and after it was released to the public, more tips with similar claims came flooding in. Despite all describing a van being driven through the neighbourhood, the colour described by the various witness’s ranges from nearly a whole rainbow of colours.

Time continued to pass and with the model of the van plastered all over the news, detectives checked thousands of vans of similar make and colour but to no avail. However, Police were about to receive what could possibly be their best tip yet. It would come from miles away in the state of Florida. This tip would provide the investigation with arguably its best suspect yet. A man by the name of Robert Craig Cox.

A man well known to law enforcement agencies in multiple jurisdictions across the United States. Robert Cox is an trained Army Ranger who had been arrested and tried in Florida for the murder of Sharon Zellers but had the conviction overturned due to insignificant evidence. Insignificant evidence one might say was the reason that Robert Cox may have avoided prosecution and conviction time after time.

Cox is a man who had continually managed to evade conviction for a variety of offences that range from kidnapping to burglary. He was however convicted of murder in Florida and placed on death row until the State Supreme Court. Despite every juror being convinced of his guilt, the conviction was overturned on the grounds of insufficient evidence. After being released, Cox was returned to California to finish serving his sentence for another offence. 

Upon completion of his prison term in California, Mr. Cox moved home to his parents in Springfield. Investigators would soon discover that he was employed at a Car Dealership where Stacy McCall’s father was also employed as a salesman. However as they continued to investigate this suspect, he was able to provide an alibi for the time in question that was confirmed by his girlfriend at the time. The investigation had reached another dead end.

Years passed and it was not until 1995 where Robert Cox was arrested in text for aggravated burglary that investigators would take another look into their files on the suspect. During this new examination, Detectives find that his alibi that Cox was in Church with his girlfriend at the time in question was false as she recanted her previous statement and told the investigators that she had spoken to Cox right before her initial interview and told her what to tell Police.

Now serving a life sentence, Robert Cox has never confessed to any involvement in this case. Still that has not stopped him from taunting police and those with a vested interest in this case by pretending to know a lot more than he is willing to admit. When questioned about these events he gives cryptic answers and says thing such as “I just know they are dead”. Police have never been able to conclusively link him or any other suspect to the missing women and perhaps they never will be unless he decides to confess to being involved in their disappearance.

As the years have passed one constant rumor as to the whereabouts of the missing women has been given substantial attention given that it has been mentioned too many times by too many unrelated sources. The south parking garage of Cox Hospital was under still under construction at the time of their disappearance and after being scanned by a reputable mechanical engineer who specialises in ground penetration radar, a small area of the parking lot was found to be covering three anomalies. While this does not conclusively tell us that is where they are buried, it is the closest thing investigators have as to a lead that could help solve the mystery. Until that section of the ground is unearth, all we can do is continue to speculate and wonder what could have happened that fateful night…  

The Springfield Three

The Springfield Three

Graduation – A proud time for both students and parents alike. When children take one of the final steps into adulthood and begin on the path they have chosen for their lives. Parents can take a moment to reflect with pride on the success they have had praising their child. The end of high school is simply one of the most significant times in every person’s life.

On the 6th of June, 1992 in Springfield, Missouri, two young girls had just graduated and were ready to begin the celebrations that come with the occasion. Stacy McCall and Suzanne Streeter arrived at a party thrown by one of their peers for what should have been a joyous occasion. After celebrating the occasion with friends like anyone would until approximately 2 AM on the 7th of June. Originally planning to spend the night at a another friends home, they chose to return home to Suzie’s mother’s home after their friends home became too crowded

Suzie’s mother, Sherrill Levitt was a single mother who had moved into a nearby property and became their solution for a place to stay after the party. Especially close to her daughter Suzie, Sherrill was a hardworking hair stylist who was highly sought after in her local area. She had moved into her new home after her marriage fell apart but she capitalized on her situation by laying plans to renovate and make a profit on her new home.

However she would never get that opportunity, by the next morning the three women would have disappeared completely. Sometime during the night between 2 AM when Suzie and Stacy left their friends home and 9 AM when friends and family began calling Stacy, the three women vanished. By the end of June 7th 1992, it appeared as if the three women had disappeared without a trace.

A friend by the name of Janelle Kirby along with her boyfriend were the first to arrive at the house after having plans with Stacy and Suzie. Upon her arrival nothing seemed to be wrong but as she approached the front door that perception would quickly change. Broken glass was spread across the front door step from the porch light casing, however the bulb itself remained intact.  

In doing what they thought what was a friendly gesture, they grabbed a broom and swept up the glass. However this may have proved a hindrance to the later investigation as although done with good intentions, they may have contaminated a possible crime scene. Upon entering the home, there were no signs of struggle and all of the three women’s belongings were left untouched.

Detectives cannot confirm if that were the case, however numerous individuals passed through the scene after the fact that it would be difficult to be certain. This also lead many to think that the three missing women would turn up in due time and everything would be fine. But hours turned into days, it became clear to all those involved that something was seriously wrong.

Janelle and her boyfriend also discovered that the family dog was acting rather distressed as if something was wrong and left unattended which was highly unusual for an owner like Sherrill. While feeling slightly confused they assumed the girls had gone to the Water Park like they had planned already and prepare to depart the home to meet them.

Just before exiting the property however, the home phone began to ring and Janelle answered in the hope of gaining insight into the whereabouts of her friends. However she was greeted what she believed to be a prank call as the caller gave no identification and only communicated obscure sexual innuendos. Believing this to be a simple joke as the call ended abruptly, the couple departed home albeit slightly concerned.

The next visitor to the home would be the mother of Stacey McCall. Frustrated by her daughters abrupt change of plans as she was given no form of notice by her daughter but knows there is nothing she can do. Stacey made a last minute decision to stay at Suzie’s house as she had previously had other plans. After almost twenty four hours of wondering where her daughter could be as they had plans for the day she arrived at the house.

It did not take her long to also notice that something was wrong as she entered reluctantly. She noticed that her daughter’s clothes were neatly folded and left on one of the floor. Every item of clothing was present except for her daughters underwear. Also each of the handbags of all three ladies were lined up next to each other on the floor. Whilst continuing around the house, she also noticed the handbags of all three missing women lined up neatly. Finally before leaving she noticed that the television screen has all fuzzy and distorted.

Departing reluctantly, Janice contacted the police. The next morning a missing persons report was filed for the three missing women. It was then that law enforcement requested asked Janice to track down dental records for the three missing women. It was now that the tragedy of this event began to come to bare. Mrs McCall however, decided to be proactive given the tragic situation. Only twenty-four hours after graduation, she generated and distributed missing person’s posters of her daughter and the other missing women…

To be continued…

 Image

Link

Detectives release even more new info on the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker

A variety of new pieces of information including new voice recordings.

 

Bit late if you ask me… If it is indeed the voice of the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker, do you honestly think it would have been better to release all the voice recordings as soon as you had them so someone might have actually recognized him? What are the odds someone will remember the voice of someone they know back in the 70’s and 80’s?