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Old 11-11-2009, 09:45 AM
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mystery The Redhead Murders

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Old 11-11-2009, 10:15 AM
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Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
February 6, 1986
Edition: FINAL
Section: CITY/STATE
Page: B2







TRUCK DRIVER NOT SUSPECTED IN EIGHT 'REDHEAD MURDERS'

Author: Bill Estep Herald-Leader staff writer











Article Text:
A Pennsylvania truck driver questioned in connection with the "redhead murders" has been cleared as a suspect in the string of eight unsolved killings.
"At this point, our agency does not consider Thomas Lee Elkins as a suspect in our . . . unsolved murder cases," said Steve Watson, the deputy director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
Elkins, 32, a long-distance trucker, was arrested Monday on U.S. 51 near Newbern, Tenn., 80 miles north of Memphis, and was charged with kidnapping and raping a young redheaded woman.
The 20-year-old Boston, Mass., woman, who told police she was kidnapped in Indiana or Illinois, was later able to escape while Elkins was sleeping and called police from a farmhouse, said Jim Porter, a Dyer County sheriff's investigator.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has served as an information clearinghouse for investigators in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi looking into the unsolved deaths of eight women since late 1983.
The murders were dubbed the "redhead murders" because three of the eight victims had red or reddish-brown hair. All were young, slightly built white women, and most were strangled and dumped near major interstates.
Kentucky joined the list of states April 1, 1985, when the nude body of a young, unidentified woman with red hair who had been strangled was found in a dump in the Gray community near Corbin, a few miles from Interstate 75.
Only one of the eight women has been identified. Similarities in the eight murders led investigators to consider them as possibly having been linked.
TBI officials were notified about Elkins' arrest "as a matter of routine," Watson said.
"Because of our investigation of the . . . unsolved cases, we routinely talk to people involved in these types of crimes," he said.
However, a TBI agent concluded after questioning Elkins yesterday that the truck driver should not be considered a suspect in any of the eight unsolved murders, Watson said.
Elkins remains jailed without bond in Dyer County on the kidnapping and rape charges, Porter said.





Copyright (c) 1986 Lexington Herald-Leader
Record Number: 8601050807
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Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
April 21, 1985
Edition: FINAL
Section: MAIN NEWS
Page: A1



Topics:
Index Terms:
MURDER CRIME INVESTIGATION WOMEN KENTUCKY




SLAYINGS OF REDHEADS FITTING A PATTERN

Author: Cheryl Truman and Ray Cohn Herald-Leader staff writers

Dateline: CORBIN









Article Text:
The murders of at least 11 women in an area spanning several states have baffled police, if only because there is a tenuous resemblance among the corpses: The victims, nearly all unidentified, have red hair.
The most recent victim was found last Sunday near Knoxville, killed by a blow to the head.
One of the earliest murders that appears to fit the pattern, a shooting, occurred Sept. 16 in Campbell County, Tenn., just south of the Kentucky line.
The victims have been found in perhaps as many as eight states - from Pennsylvania to Texas. And some authorities are speculating that at least some of the women may have been killed by the same person, a theory that has caused uneasiness in some areas.
The fear the killings have sparked is illustrated by a possibly innocent remark made by a man at the Frontier House Gift Shop and Restaurant in Jellico, Tenn., last week to a waitress who dyes her hair auburn.
The man commented on her red hair, and "he said he was coming back - and now she is scared that he is coming back," said Joyce Evans, another waitress at the restaurant.
The pattern spread to Kentucky on April 1 when a naked corpse, a small woman with reddish-brown hair, was found stuffed in a refrigerator at a Knox County dump. She had been suffocated and had been dead only a few hours.
But the key to her death - and the deaths of the other women ages 20 to 40 in seven other states - simply may lie in a chance meeting with a killer and the color of the hair.
And law enforcement officials are speculating that the deaths of the women are the work of a "serial murderer."
Phillip W. Johnson, a psychologist at the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex at La Grange, theorizes that the red hair is the main link between the murders.
"I would wonder if the red hair didn't symbolize one of two extremes: what the person wanted and couldn't have or what the person wanted to rid himself of," he said. "Is the person killing out of anger or is the person involved in a symbolic joining between the victim and her killer?
"Perhaps it's the redheaded girlfriend who rejected the individual or the redheaded mother."
Three men are now being held and questioned in some of the slayings, but police say it would be very difficult to identify a serial murderer.
"There is no typical serial murderer," said Lt. David Van Meter, intelligence commander for Kentucky State Police. "You can't say what he's going to look like or what his background is going to be."
Serial murderers are people who kill a series of people at different places and at different times, and not for personal gain.
David Wachtel, who teaches sociology and law enforcement at the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University, said that serial murders are especially frightening simply because of their randomness.
"When a stranger is a victim, that means that any one of us could be the victim," he said. "If it's that random, you may be next. That's why it's so serious."
Last year, Robert O. Heck of the Justice Department estimated that more than 35 serial murderers are operating now and that they would kill hundreds of Americans within the year, half of them under 18.
"Typically, they kill in a personal sort of way," said Johnson, the La Grange psychologist. "Frequently they use the means to touch their victim, so that stabbing, bludgeoning or beating their victim is more frequently seen than shooting, which is less personal."
Although serial murderers most often stick to one method of killing, Johnson said that they sometimes switch.
The red-haired victims have been found near major highways. Some had been shot, others strangled, others stabbed.
"In a sense, part of the excitement may decrease over time if each victim is strangled, so they may begin to change the method," Johnson said. "But there may be other assaults on the body that are left the same."
Among well-known serial murderers: "the Boston Strangler," Albert DeSalvo, who killed at least 13 women in the mid-1960s; "Son of Sam," David Berkowitz, who murdered six people in New York City; John Wayne Gacy Jr. of Chicago, who killed 33 boys; and Wayne B. Williams, who was convicted of two slayings and suspected of committing 27 others in Atlanta.
Another serial murderer is Theodore Robert Bundy, who from 1974 to 1978 is believed to have raped and killed at least 20 young women in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado and Florida, where he is now on Death Row - although it is possible that he killed 40 or more women.
Wachtel, the teacher of law enforcement and sociology, said that victims of serial murderers "tend to be from the groups of society that are powerless and prestigeless - such as prostitutes, vagrants and hitchhikers, those in society who are least likely to be missed."
Thus, he said, it is not surprising that most of the dead women have not been identified.
"Part of the difference is that both the murderer and the victim tend to be transients in the community," he said. "Their paths meet for this fateful time, and that's it. The murderer goes on, and nobody misses the victim."
Despite those conclusions, residents of southeastern Kentucky and northern Tennessee are getting edgy about the killings.
"We are getting reaction from people scared to death," said trooper William Riley, a spokesman for the Harlan state police post. "(But) there is nothing to indicate that whoever is doing it is going house to house."
Riley said he had been getting about 20 calls a day from area residents, mostly from red-haired women or families of redheads.
Jean Byrge, a red-haired Corbin woman, said that she was not worried. "I am a housewife. It appears that they (the victims) are hitchhikers and loners."
Said Stella Mills, a red-haired waitress, "I have gotten too old to be upset" - despite the fact that she works at a motel restaurant near where the woman found in Knox County was believed to have been several hours before her death.
Among the victims:
A woman with auburn hair found by a hitchhiker on Sept. 16 at an entrance ramp on I-40 15 miles west of West Memphis, Ark. She was strangled and has not been identified.
Janet Seward, a red-haired Necomb, Tenn., woman, found shot to death last September at the Huntsville-Oneida exit of I-75 about 20 miles south of the
Kentucky line.
Two other red-haired women were murdered in the same area - Campbell County, Tenn. - in January.
A woman with strawberry-blond hair found Jan. 24 along Mississippi 78 at Coldwater, near Memphis, Tenn. The victim, who remains unidentified, was between 25 and 40 years old, was 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighed 115 pounds to 120 pounds and had medium length hair. She was strangled.
A red-haired woman found March 31 northwest of Nashville on I-24. No cause of death has been determined because of the body's decomposition. The head was separated from the rest of the body, according to investigators.
Other possible victims have been found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and Alabama.
One of the suspects in some of the slayings is Jerry Johns, 36, a Cleveland, Tenn., truck driver. He was charged with kidnapping a red-haired employee of a nude dancing club and leaving her for dead in a storm drain along I-40 near Knoxville.
However, Melvin Anderson, a Kentucky State Police detective, pointed out that Johns was in jail when the corpse was discovered near Corbin on April 1.
Caption:
MAP Herald-Leader graphic/Bill Pitzer Map showing locations
of murders




Copyright (c) 1985 Lexington Herald-Leader
Record Number: 8501150673
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:16 AM
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Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
January 21, 1986
Edition: FINAL
Section: OBITUARIES
Page: B8



Topics:
Index Terms:
CRIME MURDER KENTUCKY




POLICE REDOUBLE INVESTIGATION OF MURDERS IN KNOX COUNTY

Author: Bill Estep Cumberland Valley bureau

Dateline: BARBOURVILLE









Article Text:
Kentucky State Police investigators have redoubled efforts to solve five murders that have occurred in Knox County since August 1983.
Capt. Don Pendleton, the commander of the Harlan post, said state police investigators were taking a fresh look at evidence in the five killings to see whether they could develop new leads or theories that might help solve the cases.
The group also is "chasing down old leads" again to make sure all possible angles were covered in the investigations, Pendleton said.
"We're taking the 'look-under-every-rock approach.' We plan to exhaust every possible lead and work until we can go no further," Pendleton said.
The request for a renewed examination of the five cases came from Tom Handy, the commonwealth's attorney for Knox and Laurel counties.
Handy said that troopers and detectives investigating the cases before his request had done a good job but that he thought additional help on the cases was needed.
The unsolved murders under investigation include those of Caroline Logan, a nurse's aide who was beaten to death in August 1983; Bill Jones, a Barbourville insurance agent shot in the head several times at his home in January 1984; and former Knox County resident Estle Jackson Jr. and Johnny L. Vannarsdall of Georgetown, whose decomposed bodies were found covered with trash in a ditch four miles west of Barbourville in November.
Autopsies showed that Jackson, 31, and Vannarsdall, 27, were shot to death.
The fifth unsolved murder being re-examined is that of an unidentified woman whose nude body was found in a refrigerator at a dump in the Gray community on April 1.
The young woman had reddish-brown hair, and police think her death may be linked to the murders of unidentified women in four other states.
Those cases were dubbed the "redhead murders" because three of the victims had red or reddish-brown hair. Many of the eight victims, only one of whom has been identified, were strangled and dumped near major interstates.
Pendleton said he did not think the woman's killer was from the Knox County area, which will make the case harder to solve.
It was included on the list in hopes of turning up new information, he said.
Pendleton said personnel from the Harlan post and some members of the state police's special investigations unit were conducting the re-examination of evidence in the unsolved murders. The group cannot be classified as a task force, he said.
The "concerted effort" to look into the cases was not prompted by new evidence in any of them, Pendleton said, but rather because the cases needed "our focused attention."
"That number of unsolved homicides in one area in that amount of time disturbs me," Pendleton said.
He said investigators were not operating on the theory that the five murders were linked, although he said there was "always that possibility."
Pendleton said state police hoped that filtering through the evidence in the five murders would result in solutions.
But he said "good things will come of this" re-examination of the case files even if the murders were not solved because it probably would provide clues that would allow police to solve some burglaries and robberies.
Meanwhile, a California man who was questioned in connection with the unidentified woman's death is scheduled to go on trial next week in Lawrenceville, Ga., outside Atlanta.
Tracy Lee Housel, 27, was arrested April 14, 1985, in Daytona Beach, Fla., and was charged with raping and murdering a Lawrenceville woman a week earlier and dumping her body by an interstate.
He told Georgia police that he had earlier killed two women near Interstate 75 north of Knoxville, said John Latty, a Gwinnett County sheriff's detective.
Kentucky investigators interviewed Housel in Georgia after being notified of his statement.
There reportedly has been no link established between Housel and the dead woman in Knox County, and police have declined to comment on whether he is a
suspect in the case.
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:17 AM
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Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
June 28, 1992
Edition: FINAL
Section: MAIN NEWS
Page: A1







THE CASE OF THE REDHEAD MURDERS LATEST OF 12 VICTIMS DIED UNDER SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES

Author: Robert Kaiser and Brenda Rios Herald-Leader staff writers











Article Text:
Vickie Sue Metzger's hair wasn't even that red.
"It was just sort of a sandy color," her mother says.
Still, that might have been enough to get Metzger killed.
One Tennessee investigator thinks the Louisville-area woman may have been the latest to fall prey to a mysterious murderer of redheads whose grisly work has turned up along highways from Pennsylvania to Arkansas.
Some law enforcement officials, however, say the murders appear to be unrelated.
Metzger's body, partly hidden beneath leaves and sticks, was found June 11 near a mountaintop rest stop along a scenic stretch of Interstate 24 at Monteagle, Tenn. Someone had strangled her with bare hands, said Dr. Gretel Harlan, an assistant medical examiner in Nashville.
The circumstances of Metzger's death bore an eerie resemblance to those of 11 other women in the eastern half of the United States since 1983 and have refueled speculation among some that there is a pattern of highway homicide:
Her remains were found along a major highway.
She had red hair.
"There's no way to say if all of these are related or, for sure, if any of them are related," said Lt. Jerry Mayes, Crime Stoppers coordinator for Nashville.
"But there seems to be more than just coincidence involved, that all these women have red hair and were found along highways."
The victims might have had other things in common, but most of the bodies were so decomposed that police could not identify them, Mayes said.
Because hair decomposes more slowly than flesh, all that remained of many of the victims were bones and red locks.
But many were strangled and several had teeth missing when their bodies were found. In addition, all who were able to be identified were between their mid- teens and early 40s.
Mayes has put together a list of the 12 murders that may be related, ending with the Metzger case.
Other officers think that there might be a pattern but that the Metzger case isn't part of it.
The Metzger case "doesn't really fit in with the way we think of all the others," said Roy Sain, investigator with the Grundy County Sheriff's Department. "Later on there might be something to tie it in to the other murders but we're not working it that way."
Others aren't convinced any of the killings are linked.
"Similarities, sure there are similarities in many different cases and we look at the similarities," but to say the killings were committed by the same person, "we won't do that until we have something to solidly link it together," said Robert Abbitt of the Indiana State Police.
Kentucky connection
The killings -- whether related or not -- have touched Kentucky several times, most recently with the death of Metzger and the slaying of a Cadiz woman, Lisa Maria Atwell, whose body was found last month near a truck stop along U.S. 40 north of Cambridge City, Ind.
Still another victim was found in Kentucky. On April 1, 1985, the remains of a red-haired woman were found in an old refrigerator at a trash dump on U.S. 25 near Corbin.
Half the victims have been found in Tennessee. Several others have been discovered near the Tennessee border in surrounding states.
The killings have not been solved, said Harlan, mostly because they are so spread out: 12 murders scattered over hundreds of miles and almost 10 years.
And the common threads run thin.
Some of the victims didn't even have naturally red hair.
"We're not talking about natural redheads, necessarily," Mayes said. "We're talking about some shade of red, whether natural or bottled."
Besides possible red hair, those few victims who could be identified seemed to have little in common. Some were dumped on the side of the road. Others were hidden. Most were strangled. One was a prostitute. Another was a nun.
Sister Vickie Sue
The nun was Metzger, who was a member of Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Ind. Metzger, known as Sister Vickie Sue, joined the sisterhood in 1969, spokeswoman Sister Anita Louise Lowe said.
In May, Metzger asked to be released from her vows, Lowe said. Although she had left the convent, her request had not yet been approved when she died.
Lowe said the specific reasons for Metzger's wanting to leave the convent were confidential. In general, Lowe attributed Metzger's career change to "the simple fact that at different times in our lives, we're led down different paths."
"She had discerned that living the community life was not the way that she was to go at this point in her life," Lowe said.
Metzger's mother, Ruth, also declined to discuss her daughter's reasons for wanting to change her life. But she said, "It was something she wanted to do on her own. She wasn't asked to leave."
Metzger, manager of finance at the Whitney Young Job Corps Center in Simpsonville, was on her way to a job workshop in Atlanta when she was killed.
Metzger liked to drive, and she loved to make long trips alone, her mother said.
"I always cautioned her about going alone," Ruth Metzger said. "But she said she liked to drive alone so she could have some time alone to do some thinking."
Metzger left home June 6 about 9 a.m. her mother said. She had hoped to make Atlanta before dark, but she was not in a great hurry.
"It was going to be a leisure trip for her; she was going to enjoy it thoroughly," Ruth Metzger said.
"And I'm sure she enjoyed the trip right up until the last minute. She loved the mountains and loved to get out and look at the view. I'm sure that's what she did."
These are the victims some think may be part of the redhead murders:
Oct 22, 1983, Riverside Drive in Memphis, Tenn. Victim not identified, reddish hair, 5-foot-5, late 20s, 140 to 150 pounds. The nude body was found wrapped in a mattress cover. Strangled.
Sept. 16, 1984, I-40 in Crittenden Co. Arkansas, at Sheareville exit near West Memphis, Ark. Lisa Ann Nichols (aka Lisa Ann Jarvis), 28, auburn hair, 5-foot-6, 108 pounds, found wearing only a knit shirt, missing an upper tooth. Known prostitute in Nashville. Strangled, probably with bare hands.
3. Dec. 23, 1984, Route 222 at Cumru Township, Pa., (near Berks County, Pa.). No other information available.
Jan. 1, 1985, I-75 southbound at 149 mile marker near Campbell County, Tenn., (11 miles south of Jellico). Victim not identified, between 17 and 25, dark red curly hair, 5-foot-3, 110 pounds, two upper front teeth missing, two months pregnant, found wearing jeans and tan blouse with hands and feet bound. Strangled.
Jan. 24, 1985, New Highway 78, east of Coldwater Bridge, Miss. Victim not identified, 30 to 35, strawberry blonde hair, 5-foot-, 113 pounds, missing two front teeth, believed to be from Memphis. Strangled.
March 31, 1985, I-24 westbound, between markers 29 and 30 in northern Cheatham County, Tenn., near Nashville. Victim not identified, 30 to 40, blondish-red hair, 4-foot-10 to 5-foot-3, 90 to 105 pounds, found two to five months after death. Cause of death unknown.
April 1, 1985, Highway 25 east of Corbin, Ky., in Knox County at a trash dump near I-75. Victim not identified, young woman, reddish-brown hair, nude body was found in a refrigerator at a dump in the Gray community.
April 14, 1985, I-81 southbound at mile marker 44, five miles from Washington-Green County line near Jerroldstown, Tenn. Victim not identified, 16 to 20, light blonde to dirty blonde hair, 5-foot-5, 130 to 140 pounds, body found nude, nearly two months pregnant. Severe head injuries; cause of death unknown.
Dec. 16, 1988, Dade County Georgia, across the state line from Chattanooga Tenn. Victim not identified, between 20 and 25, brownish-red hair with frosted ends, 5-foot-7, 125 pounds, wearing jeans and blue shirt. Strangled.
1991, exact date unknown. Giles County near Pulaski Tenn. Victim identified as Delia A. Trauernicht, age not determined, red hair.
May, 1992, Cambridge City, Ind., along I-70 near U.S. 40. Lisa Maria Atwell, 21 to 30, brown hair with blonde streaks, 5-foot-3, 144 pounds, front tooth chipped, right nostril pierced.
June 11, 1992, 1-24, Monteagle, Tenn. Vickie Sue Metzger, 40, 5-foot-5 inches, 150 pounds, brownish-red hair, body was found without a shirt or shoes. Strangled.
Caption:
Color Vickie Sue Metzger
MAP Herald-Leader/graphic Interstate trail of slain women
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:18 AM
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Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
April 25, 1985
Edition: FINAL
Section: CITY/STATE
Page: B1







STATES JOIN FORCES TO SOLVE 'REDHEAD MURDERS'

Author: Associated Press

Dateline: NASHVILLE









Article Text:
Law enforcement officials from five states asked the FBI yesterday to profile a series of baffling homicides known as the "redhead murders" to determine if they were the work of a serial killer.
Meanwhile, one of the victims, a red-haired woman whose body had been stuffed in a refrigerator that had been abandoned in a dump near Corbin, Ky., was buried yesterday.
The woman, whose identity is not known, was buried in Smith Cemetery at Bimble in Knox County, according to Bob Deaton, manager of the Hampton Funeral Home at Barbourville. Her body was discovered on April 1.
Eight unsolved homicides of unidentified women whose bodies were found since October 1983 were discussed in yesterday's six-hour summit of 21 officials
from Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and the FBI.
"While there are some similarities in the cases, there's also a great number of dissimilarities," said Steve Watson, deputy director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
"All were white females, but only three have red hair. The others were strawberry blonde or dark-haired ladies," Watson said.
He said that at least five were killed by strangulation, and all were found along major highways.
However, while some were clothed, other bodies were found nude. Also, several - but not all - of the women had engaged in sexual activity just before their deaths, Watson said.
"These people would seem to be from areas that were perhaps a considerable distance from where they were found, since none has been identified," Watson said.
Watson would not comment about suspects in the case, nor about a truck driver from Cleveland, Tenn., who was arrested in March by Knox County, Tenn., authorities in connection with the attempted strangulation of an auburn- haired woman.
However, Knox County authorities emerged from the meeting saying that 37- year-old Jerry Leon Johns is not a suspect in the killings.
Watson said the probe would emphasize identification of the victims before concentrating on tracking down suspects.
He said that officials may be on the verge of identifying a woman found April 14 in Greene County, Tenn., from fingerprints sent to the FBI by the Tennessee Crime Lab.
As many as 11 unidentified women have been linked to the investigation.
Officials have speculated that the killer or killers have preyed on prostitutes, hitchhikers or those without family ties.
On Monday, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation added the latest body to its list - a red-haired corpse recovered near Interstate 75 outside Corbin.
The bureau's list consists of bodies found near Memphis, Tenn., in October 1983; Shearerville, Ark., last Sept. 16; Comru Township, Pa., on Dec. 23; Jellico, Tenn., on Jan. 1; Hernando, Miss., on Jan. 24; Ashland City, Tenn., on March 31; Corbin on April 1; and Greeneville, Tenn., on April 14.
On March 6, truck driver Johns was arrested by authorities and was charged with aggravated kidnapping and felonious assault in connection with an alleged attack on Linda Schacke.
Ms. Schacke, who survived having her torn shirt tied around her neck and being thrown into a culvert alongside Interstate 40 in March, identified Johns as her attacker, authorities said.
Johns has been questioned about the other slayings but faces no charges in connection with them, authorities said.
Watson said that authorities were not certain one person was responsible for the killings, or how many victims there might have been.
Watson said that each jurisdiction would continue to pursue the case or cases in their areas and would submit information to the bureau - which, in turn, would share the information with agencies involved in all five states.
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Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
February 5, 1986
Edition: FINAL
Section: CITY/STATE
Page: B3







MAN IS HELD IN ABDUCTION OF WOMAN

Author: Associated Press











Article Text:
DYERSBURG, Tenn. - State investigators looking into a series of killings dubbed the "redhead murders" have been notified of kidnapping charges against a truck driver in west Tennessee, authorities said yesterday.
"They have been called in due to some similarities," said Tom Lewis, an investigator for the Dyer County Sheriff's Department.
The truck driver, Tommy Lee Elkins, 32, of Pennsylvania was held without bond on kidnapping charges after a young red-haired woman told authorities he raped her and held her captive, Sheriff Joe McDowell said.
Authorities in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas are investigating the deaths of at least eight young women since October 1968.
Most of the women were of similar age and size, had red or reddish hair and were strangled, leading authorities to believe their deaths might be linked.
McDowell said Elkins was arrested Monday on U.S. 51 near Newbern, Tenn., after a 20-year-old woman from Boston said she had been kidnapped in Indiana or Illinois.
"He had bound her hand and foot and kept her a prisoner until he had pulled over and gone to sleep and she escaped," the sheriff said.





Copyright (c) 1986 Lexington Herald-Leader
Record Number: 8601050678
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Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
April 16, 1985

Edition: FINAL
Section: CITY/STATE
Page: B3
Topics:
Index Terms:
CRIME MURDER
SIX STATES HUNTING CLUES IN KILLINGS OF 11 REDHEADS
Author: Patricia A. Paquette Associated Press
Article Text:
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - An 11th victim has turned up in a string of slayings of red-haired women along busy highways in six states, but authorities said yesterday that they were no closer to solving any of the cases.
"The problem is, these women are mostly hitchhikers or prostitutes with no strong family ties. Nobody is looking for them. Most times nobody cares," said agent David Davenport of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations.
Investigators from several states plan to meet soon in Nashville for a strategy session, Davenport said.
"What we're facing is that most of the victims are unidentified. And if they're unidentified, you can't go back and see who they were with last," Davenport said.
The latest victim was discovered Saturday by a fisherman near Interstate 81 about 15 miles east of Greeneville, Tenn. The unidentified woman was nude and was thought to be in her early to mid-20s, sheriff's investigator Ted Tweed said.
The body was decomposed and it was not readily apparent how long the woman had been dead, Davenport said. An autopsy was being performed, he said.
Since Sept. 26, 11 redheaded women have been found slain along interstates in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi and Tennessee. Four of the victims were found along Interstate 75 between Corbin, Ky., and Knoxville.
Kentucky State Police said last week that they were checking for possible links between the 11 slayings and the body of a woman with "reddish-brown" hair that was found April 1 in a refrigerator in a dump about four miles southeast of Corbin.
KSP and Knoxville officials said it would be premature to speculate on whether the woman's death, attributed to asphyxiation, was part of a larger pattern.
One of the victims, found along Interstate 24 in Ashland City, Tenn., on March 31, was a woman whose severed head and a few bones were all that remained of her body.
None of the killings has been solved and few of the victims have been identified.
''I'm not even going to speculate right now on whether they're are connected," Davenport said. "Right now we're just going to get our heads together and see what we get."
A suspect in the slayings has been held at the Knox County Jail since March 6, although the timing would appear to rule him out in the most recent killing.
Jerry Johns, a 36-year-old Cleveland, Tenn., truck driver, was charged with kidnapping and choking a red-haired employee of a nude dancing club and leaving her for dead in a storm drain March 5 along Interstate 40 near Knoxville.
State and local authorities have been questioning Johns to see if he could be connected to the killings, but Johns maintains police have "branded" him and have not made any attempt to confirm his alibis.
Two other suspects, Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Toole, have been ruled out
because they have been in jail since before the slayings began, Davenport said. Lucas faces the death penalty in Texas, and Toole has been sentenced to death in Florida.
Authorities in Crittenden County, Ark., said they questioned Johns but were no closer to solving the case of an unidentified woman found slain along Interstate 40 near West Memphis on Sept. 16.
"We're back to square one," Chief Deputy Bobby Sanders said. "The investigators have been talking back and forth (with authorities in other states) and got nothing."
Sanders said investigators in Arkansas had not found any information to indicate that the murders were related.
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Old 01-09-2010, 11:01 PM
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Default Re: The Redhead Murders

Gwinnett buries unidentified slain woman
Deaths of unknown victims frustrate metro officials


Author: BRADY, JOHN; John Brady Staff Writer STAFF











Article Text:
The body of an unidentified woman found slain Nov. 19 was buried Tuesday in a pauper's grave in Lawrenceville's Shadow Lawn Cemetery.
There were no mourners, no flowers. Just a simple casket and a hole in the ground dug by a backhoe.
Police believe the young woman was a transient, possibly a runaway, in her late teens, who may have hitched a ride into Gwinnett County with a trucker. Hers was the first of two women's bodies found within a half mile of each other in a three-week period and within a mile of a nearby truck stop.
Most likely, she left behind a family that never will know what happened to her, officials say. Her description does not match that of any known missing person in the metro area.
The situation is not unique to Gwinnett County.
Fulton County has tallied eight unidentified bodies this year, according to Dr. Randy Hanzlick of the medical examiner's office. The identities of 30 bodies - 24 males and six females - were unknown when they were found, but 22 later were identified, Hanzlick said.
From 1980 through 1985, the county was unable to identify another 14 bodies, he added.
About half of the unknown dead were homicide victims. If not identified and claimed within three to four months, bodies are buried in paupers' graves, said investigator M.E. Horton.
The county also buries about 100 people a year with known identities in paupers' graves in Greenlawn Cemetery, Hanzlick said. These are people who either have no known relatives or whose kin cannot afford to bury them.
One woman whose skeletal remains were found in Cobb County more than two years ago has not yet been laid to rest, according to medical examiner's investigator Bob Tressel.
Authorities have kept the remains because they still hope to identify it by distinctive features left by surgery, probably for injuries from a traffic accident. The woman had had reconstructive surgery around the right eye and surgical pins in the left ankle, Tressel said.
An autopsy could determine only that the victim was a white woman, 18 to 25 years old, about 5 feet tall and 105-115 pounds, Tressel said. The woman, found May 10, 1984, on a private road near Bankhead Highway, is believed to have been a murder victim, but the cause of death has not been established.
Even in the grim world of coroners and medical examiners, deaths of unknown victims stand out. There is not only the professional frustration of an unsolved case, but the personal sympathy for families who do not know what happened to a loved one.
As Gwinnett Coroner Randy Simpson said of the woman buried Tuesday: "Somebody, somewhere, is missing this girl."

Caption:
Photo: Gwinnett Coroner Randy Simpson (left), Lilburn Church of God pastor Tim Tanner (center) and Bill Head (right) of Patterson Funeral Home are among those attending the burial Tuesday at Lawrenceville's Shadow Lawn Cemetery of an unidentified woman found slain Nov. 19/Billy Downs
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Old 09-30-2010, 12:24 AM
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Default Re: The Redhead Murders

Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
April 21, 1985
Edition: FINAL
Section: MAIN NEWS
Page: A1



Topics:
Index Terms:
MURDER CRIME INVESTIGATION WOMEN KENTUCKY




SLAYINGS OF REDHEADS FITTING A PATTERN

Author: Cheryl Truman and Ray Cohn Herald-Leader staff writers

Dateline: CORBIN









Article Text:
The murders of at least 11 women in an area spanning several states have baffled police, if only because there is a tenuous resemblance among the corpses: The victims, nearly all unidentified, have red hair.
The most recent victim was found last Sunday near Knoxville, killed by a blow to the head.
One of the earliest murders that appears to fit the pattern, a shooting, occurred Sept. 16 in Campbell County, Tenn., just south of the Kentucky line.
The victims have been found in perhaps as many as eight states - from Pennsylvania to Texas. And some authorities are speculating that at least some of the women may have been killed by the same person, a theory that has caused uneasiness in some areas.
The fear the killings have sparked is illustrated by a possibly innocent remark made by a man at the Frontier House Gift Shop and Restaurant in Jellico, Tenn., last week to a waitress who dyes her hair auburn.
The man commented on her red hair, and "he said he was coming back - and now she is scared that he is coming back," said Joyce Evans, another waitress at the restaurant.
The pattern spread to Kentucky on April 1 when a naked corpse, a small woman with reddish-brown hair, was found stuffed in a refrigerator at a Knox County dump. She had been suffocated and had been dead only a few hours.
But the key to her death - and the deaths of the other women ages 20 to 40 in seven other states - simply may lie in a chance meeting with a killer and the color of the hair.
And law enforcement officials are speculating that the deaths of the women are the work of a "serial murderer."
Phillip W. Johnson, a psychologist at the Kentucky Correctional Psychiatric Center at the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex at La Grange, theorizes that the red hair is the main link between the murders.
"I would wonder if the red hair didn't symbolize one of two extremes: what the person wanted and couldn't have or what the person wanted to rid himself of," he said. "Is the person killing out of anger or is the person involved in a symbolic joining between the victim and her killer?
"Perhaps it's the redheaded girlfriend who rejected the individual or the redheaded mother."
Three men are now being held and questioned in some of the slayings, but police say it would be very difficult to identify a serial murderer.
"There is no typical serial murderer," said Lt. David Van Meter, intelligence commander for Kentucky State Police. "You can't say what he's going to look like or what his background is going to be."
Serial murderers are people who kill a series of people at different places and at different times, and not for personal gain.
David Wachtel, who teaches sociology and law enforcement at the University of Kentucky and Eastern Kentucky University, said that serial murders are especially frightening simply because of their randomness.
"When a stranger is a victim, that means that any one of us could be the victim," he said. "If it's that random, you may be next. That's why it's so serious."
Last year, Robert O. Heck of the Justice Department estimated that more than 35 serial murderers are operating now and that they would kill hundreds of Americans within the year, half of them under 18.
"Typically, they kill in a personal sort of way," said Johnson, the La Grange psychologist. "Frequently they use the means to touch their victim, so that stabbing, bludgeoning or beating their victim is more frequently seen than shooting, which is less personal."
Although serial murderers most often stick to one method of killing, Johnson said that they sometimes switch.
The red-haired victims have been found near major highways. Some had been shot, others strangled, others stabbed.
"In a sense, part of the excitement may decrease over time if each victim is strangled, so they may begin to change the method," Johnson said. "But there may be other assaults on the body that are left the same."
Among well-known serial murderers: "the Boston Strangler," Albert DeSalvo, who killed at least 13 women in the mid-1960s; "Son of Sam," David Berkowitz, who murdered six people in New York City; John Wayne Gacy Jr. of Chicago, who killed 33 boys; and Wayne B. Williams, who was convicted of two slayings and suspected of committing 27 others in Atlanta.
Another serial murderer is Theodore Robert Bundy, who from 1974 to 1978 is believed to have raped and killed at least 20 young women in Washington, Oregon, Utah, Colorado and Florida, where he is now on Death Row - although it is possible that he killed 40 or more women.
Wachtel, the teacher of law enforcement and sociology, said that victims of serial murderers "tend to be from the groups of society that are powerless and prestigeless - such as prostitutes, vagrants and hitchhikers, those in society who are least likely to be missed."
Thus, he said, it is not surprising that most of the dead women have not been identified.
"Part of the difference is that both the murderer and the victim tend to be transients in the community," he said. "Their paths meet for this fateful time, and that's it. The murderer goes on, and nobody misses the victim."
Despite those conclusions, residents of southeastern Kentucky and northern Tennessee are getting edgy about the killings.
"We are getting reaction from people scared to death," said trooper William Riley, a spokesman for the Harlan state police post. "(But) there is nothing to indicate that whoever is doing it is going house to house."
Riley said he had been getting about 20 calls a day from area residents, mostly from red-haired women or families of redheads.
Jean Byrge, a red-haired Corbin woman, said that she was not worried. "I am a housewife. It appears that they (the victims) are hitchhikers and loners."
Said Stella Mills, a red-haired waitress, "I have gotten too old to be upset" - despite the fact that she works at a motel restaurant near where the woman found in Knox County was believed to have been several hours before her death.
Among the victims:
A woman with auburn hair found by a hitchhiker on Sept. 16 at an entrance ramp on I-40 15 miles west of West Memphis, Ark. She was strangled and has not been identified.
Janet Seward, a red-haired Necomb, Tenn., woman, found shot to death last September at the Huntsville-Oneida exit of I-75 about 20 miles south of the
Kentucky line.
Two other red-haired women were murdered in the same area - Campbell County, Tenn. - in January.
A woman with strawberry-blond hair found Jan. 24 along Mississippi 78 at Coldwater, near Memphis, Tenn. The victim, who remains unidentified, was between 25 and 40 years old, was 5 feet 4 inches tall, weighed 115 pounds to 120 pounds and had medium length hair. She was strangled.
A red-haired woman found March 31 northwest of Nashville on I-24. No cause of death has been determined because of the body's decomposition. The head was separated from the rest of the body, according to investigators.
Other possible victims have been found in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas and Alabama.
One of the suspects in some of the slayings is Jerry Johns, 36, a Cleveland, Tenn., truck driver. He was charged with kidnapping a red-haired employee of a nude dancing club and leaving her for dead in a storm drain along I-40 near Knoxville.
However, Melvin Anderson, a Kentucky State Police detective, pointed out that Johns was in jail when the corpse was discovered near Corbin on April 1.
Caption:
MAP Herald-Leader graphic/Bill Pitzer Map showing locations
of murders
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