If this is legitimate and pans out that he is the Golden State Killer/Original Night Stalker/East Area Rapist…
A story tragically as old as time. When a young person with a bright future championed by their ambition is cut down before one could argue they had even reached their prime. Mystery only adds to the tragedy of situation, nobody having answers to where something so promising went so horribly wrong.
Jodi Huisentruit was a promising news anchor in Mason City, Iowa for the local CBS affiliate KIMT. Graduating from St. Cloud State University with a major in Mass Communications and Speech Communication as a member of the class of 1990. A native of Long Prairie, Minnesota and the youngest of daughter of Maurice and Imogene Huisentruit, Jodi began her career as a flight attendant for Northwest Airlines, before settling in as the bureau chief for KGAN in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
She would once return to her home state of Minnesota to pursue an opportunity at KSAX before returning to Iowa to take her position at KIMT. Many believed she aspired to one day make her way to the big city and become a prime time news anchor with national recognition on a major network.
However this would all come to a sudden halt when she failed to show up for work on the morning of June 27th, 1995. Producer Amy Kuns, noted that at 4:00 AM and with no sign of Jodi, something was wrong. She called Jodi at home and informed her of the situation. Jodi noted that she simply overslept and was on her way to work.
When hours passed and there was still no sign of Jodi, Kuns would fill in for Jodi on the morning show while the network called law enforcement after the show was complete. Jodi had been late before but this time something seemed to be different to those who knew her.
Upon their arrival at her home, they found her red Mazda Miata still parked in the lot. However there was evidence that suggested a struggle had taken place just outside the car. The officers would then find Jodi’s personal items scattered about the immediate vicinity. Although they would acquire a palm print from her car that remains unidentified to this day, this was the genesis for a mystery that remains unsolved Twenty-two years later.
The neighborhood canvas unveiled little other than neighbors hearing screams around the approximate time Jodi would be leaving for work. They did discover reports of a white van shining its lights in the parking lot around the same time and the van or its driver and/or other occupants have never been confirmed or identified.
Perhaps the dark side of fame had finally caught up to the ambitious young professional. Was she being followed by an obsessive viewer?. A bent key was found on the ground near her car to suggest she was grabbed from behind as she was unlocking her vehicle. More of her belongings would be found spread across the parking lot, as Police would later reveal.
Where is Jodi? A question that burned in the minds of all Jodi’s friends and colleagues at the news station but remained unanswered. Nobody was beyond question. A colleague, a viewer with an obsession, every angle of investigation was being considered. The disappearance even had her coworkers on edge in that they could be next.
Mason City Police considered every possible avenue. They would even welcome the support of State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But in reality anyone who owned a television set could be considered suspect. Suspects even included convicted rapists who would vehemently deny any involvement in the case.
Time passed and every thing would return to what one might perceive to be normal. A tree remains out front of the KIMT offices dedicated to the life of a young woman who dreamed of reaching the stars but had it tragically taken away from her.
Leads would continue to come in and of course they were followed up with investigators doing their due diligence. While their confidence in finding a resolution to this case would never waiver even until this day, that resolution is yet to arrive.
At the famous age of 27, a young, bright and ambitious professional had her dreams snatched away form her by someone. Their motives remain as murky as the outcome of this case. Even State Representative, John Kooiker voiced his opinion on the case in recent years and suggested that the resolution has been found but suppressed by other city officials.
Regardless of a cover up or not, a beautiful young woman had her life tragically cut short. A suspect still remains at loose today and does not deserve to die with an honorable name. He or she must be held accountable for their actions and it is only my hope that I see this happen…
February 23, 1968, the naked body of nurse was found by a man on his way to work in a lane behind Carmichael Place in Scotland’s largest city and the third largest in the United Kingdom. A man on his way to work found Patricia Docker laying dead after she had been sexually assaulted and strangled and left only a few yards from her home.
After telling her parents that she would be spending the night at the Majestic Ballroom dancing the night away, she in fact went elsewhere. Attending the night for over-25’s at the Barrowland ballroom. Police speculate that at some point throughout the night she met her killer after the left the Majestic and moved to the Barrowland.
Days would pass before Detectives could piece together her movements over the course of the night, costing them valuable time. To further complicate the investigation, her clothes and belongings were never found coupled with the lack of a witness of any kind.
One can only speculate what happened over the course of her evening. The limited available facts leave her murder ripe for speculation. Given that the detectives took days to piece together her movements and the suspect kept all of her belongings. Every detail of this crime outside of the manner in which she died maybe lost forever.
Still of course to Police this could only be considered an isolated incident. It would be the first in at least is what a known trilogy of cases in what would come to be known as the case of “Bible John”.
August 15th, 1969
18 months after the murder of Patricia Docker, Jemima McDonald, a 32-year-old mother of three, also took a night out at the Barrowland Ballroom. Over the course of a weekend, her sister Margaret would hear rumours of what was referred to as “the body” from young children over on MacKeith Street as they left an old tenant building.
Her growing concern would lead to her to investigate the cause of these rumours on the Monday after the weekend had passed. Arriving at the house, her worst fears would be realised. The manner of death would be similar to that of Patricia Docker over a year prior yet with once distinct difference.
Jemima would be found fully clothed. Despite a similar manner of death, the suspect would not take her clothes like he had done in the case of Patricia Docker. Strangulation, Sexual Assault, Blunt force trauma were all present but in this case, there were witnesses.
They could place her at the scene at least up until midnight when she left. Standing upon the arm of a man with slender build with red hair. After then only one can only speculate as to what happened next. Police would move from Door-to-Door trying to gather information of what had happened in regards to the crime.
Many would see her leaving the ballroom in the lead up to her body being found. Detective’s inquiries would lead to accounts of hearing screams from a woman who lived in the vicinity of the crime scene. Although she lived merely a few blocks from the crime scene, this same woman would fail to provide police with an accurate time frame in which the crime had taken place.
As time would pass and like the case of Patricia Docker, the murder of Jemima McDonald would find itself in the Cold pile. Time would pass and the information that came in would continually wound down. Despite having a witness who claimed that they heard screams, Investigators were unable to provide a time frame into which they heard such sounds and as a result the case would go cold.
October 31st, 1969
One of the most popular weekends of the year, a horror story manifested itself in to reality when 29-year-old Helen Puttock was found in Earl Street over in the Scotstoun are of Glasgow. Just as the other victims before her she had attended the same Barrowland Ballroom on the night of her murder.
Spending the evening with her sister Jean, both met men called John. One claimed from Castlemilk but the other did not disclose his background. After spending approximately an hour with the men, they decided to head home. The John from Castlemilk would headed for a bus home in George Square, while the other three decided to share a taxi ride home. This taxi ride would later become a crucial piece of information in the investigation.
After dropping Jean in Knightswood, Helen and John would continue on towards Earl Street. This would prove to be the last time anyone would see Helen alive. She would be found raped and strangled the following morning albeit with some differences than the previous victims.
The contents of her handbag lay scattered at the scene. Helen had also suffered at least one penetrating bite from her attacker. She lay in the garden behind her apartment and despite that her belongings lay scattered; her bag itself was nowhere to be found. Leading investigators to believe that it was taken as a trophy and grass stains suggested there was some kind of struggle in during the assault.
The Resulting Investigation –
The ensuing investigation would lead detectives to learn of the John character the sisters shared a taxi ride with before the murder. A man that was well spoken that quoted many passages from the Bible as time would pass. From then on “Bible John” was born as the media took the epithet and ran with it.
Helens sister, Jean would later provide an outline of the John man last seen with her sister on the night she was murdered. A polite and well spoken, tall yet slender around 5’10 and with fair/reddish hair. She would claim that he had given his name as “John Templeton” or “Sempleson”.
Over the course of the night he would continually demonstrate his religious devotion by quoting the bible and saying that “I do not drink Hogmanay, I Pray”. He would also make references to Moses and how the dance halls were “dens of iniquity”.
With this new case, a connection was made to the cases of Patricia Docker and Jemima McDonald in years past. The similarities between each that would leave authorities to believe that a serial killer was at large on the streets of Glasgow.
A composite sketch would be developed from the description provided from the inquiries leading witness, Helen’s sister Jean. However as investigators expanded their inquiries at the Barrowland Ballroom, the bouncers would paint a different picture of the suspect and attribute the discrepancies to Jean being heavily intoxicated on the night of her sister’s murder.
They would suggest that the sisters left with a man that was still well spoken but shorter and with jet-black hair. It was also suggested that the suspect was also not directly quoting the bible, but more simply referencing it.
Still Jean would defend her state of mind in that she would insist she was clear eyed during the taxi ride and that her description was accurate. This gained support from a bouncer who could claim that many of his peers at the ballroom were not good with remembering individual faces.
Also a disheveled looking man yet well dressed was spotted with what may have been scratch marks on his face, getting off a bus at around 1:30 am at Sauchiehall street before heading towards the ferry that would cross the River Clyde and into the south side of the city.
Doing their due diligence in the investigations more similarities between each case would emerge that would reinforce the opinions of investigators that they had a serial killer active in Glasgow. All had attended the Barrowland Ballroom and when they were found, their handbags were gone. All were strangled with their stockings and raped.
From witness accounts all of them were escorted home before falling just short as they were murdered. All of them were menstruating at the time of death and had pads or tampons placed on or near their bodies.
Still not all were convinced that a serial killer was at large and that “Bible John” was simply an invention of the media. Perhaps there may have been multiple killers at large and in a time before DNA testing and perhaps a proper chain of evidence we may never know…
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.
I have never been able to decide which side of the fence my beliefs firmly rest in this case although if I was forced to pick a side, I would have to believe there was a serial killer on the loose. Granted this case does not fit the typical pattern where the MO of the offender is identical in every case however, the cooling off period and the geographic location in each instance makes the possibility of a serial offender too difficult to ignore.
Five young couples cut down before they could even experience the prime of their lives by an individual who seemed to kill for his own twisted purposes and to see how he could increase the excitement he felt with each attack. What ever was going on in such an obviously psychotic mind seemed to enjoy the experimentation of each instance. Unfortunately we may never gain an insight into this deranged mind, serial killer or not.
The Dowski-Thomas may fit all the hallmarks of a Hate Crime, Just like the Call-Hailey case may seem like the work of a stalker or a jealous partner. Perhaps all of these cases were tragically a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But the one thing that discredits this possibility to me is how could couples have been controlled by a single individual. Like the commonly considered factor that it would have been simple for an authority figure or someone impersonating one.
A Police Officer, Park Ranger or a failed attempt at one. Someone who tried to gain acceptance within their ranks but at some stage either became intoxicated with the status of said position or someone who tried to be one but failed and set out on a path of revenge. An individual who decided that he would show law enforcement what he was capable of doing when they told him he was not cut from the cloth they sought.
The way the driver’s side window at least partially rolled down as if they were preparing to greet such a public figure in a routine procedure of checking their identification and simply scoping out the behaviour of those individuals present in any given area. This commonality in each case proved to be the genesis for my belief that this series was the work a serial killer. However given the somewhat failed attempt to cover their tracks in the Dowski-Thomas case, a new consideration came into my mind.
Although now I reside in the United States, I spent most of my life in Australia. In Australia, the name Ivan Milat is synonymous with cold blooded murder. A man who abducted tourists and brutally murdered them in the Belanglo State Forest of New South Wales. The similarities to me are somewhat striking. A calculating individual who lured unsuspecting, good willed people to their deaths by preying on their forgiving nature.
He would lure them into a false sense of security for brutally murdering them, much like the suspect I believe in this case would have done. Yet to this day some of those involved with this case believe that Ivan Milat did not act alone in the cases that he his attributed to. The Milat family had a long history of clashes with law enforcement and made ideal candidates to be considered co-conspirators in a case of serial murder. Perhaps Ivan involved his brothers, Perhaps he did not. Still the crimes seemed like it would be farfetched for a single individual to have carried out.
Controlling another individual while you are caught up in the murder of another. I find it hard to believe that I would not try to escape and get help while a deranged killer took the life of my friend. Yes, I have never been in that situation so I cannot testify to how I would react but it simply seems like an instinctual behaviour to try and preserve ones self.
This is what I cannot help wonder about The Colonial Parkway Predator, did he act alone? For someone Law Enforcement agencies cannot agree upon as a single perpetrator, it can surely not be too much of a stretch to consider that a third party took part in these heinous acts. After all, the suspect would have needed to control two people who are terrified and doing whatever they must to survive.
In the Call-Hailey case, it would most likely suggest that the perpetrator did not immediately make his evil intentions clear as the next morning came and Keith’s father did not notice anything suspicious about the vehicle. If the suspect had of immediately proceeded to engage in murderous intentions then there would have been some form of indication present at this time. This is where I feel the suspect failed in covering his tracks in a manner of speaking. The evidence present in vehicle or lack there of gives us the same MO as the other cases in that the offender or offenders managed to remove the suspects from the vehicle before any sense of alarm was raised.
Like Milat, One can only believe that the suspect gained some initial form of trust with their victims and it was not until they were completely vulnerable would he strike. Like any predator, they would wait until the victims were completely unsuspecting of any misgivings before their intentions became apparent. Perhaps he engaged them in dialogue of some kind along the lines of “how was your night?” and “Where are you headed?”. Then when he had them drop their guard, it was time to engage in his horrific plans.
By the time the victims realised what was happening it would have been too late, the suspect would have been in complete control of the scene. After then all we can do is speculate up until the victims were found after the fact. But that raises even greater questions, who was the The Colonial Parkway Killer and more importantly, where is he now?. Like I have already mentioned, I would not even consider it a stretch of the present facts to consider it a question of – who were they and where are they now?…
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.
Almost reminds me of the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker, only this time there is a suspect! The suspect also reminds of Ted Bundy in some ways… Glad he won’t be getting out of jail!