Stick by the Numbers: The Baton Rouge Serial Murders: I
by John Philpin Crime
1974, Theodore Robert Bundy killed eighteen women. His
total for that year may be higher. It is not lower. He
collected victims in Washington, Utah, and Colorado. His
preferred methods of execution were strangulation and bludgeoning.
After his arrest, Bundy acknowledged stalking and killing
from 1971, when he was twenty-four, to 1973. There is speculation
that his career in murder began earlier than that, perhaps
while he was still in his teens. In 1978, Bundy claimed
six Florida victims, five of them on one bloody night.
A reasonable estimate of the totals —
factoring in his time in a Utah prison and a Colorado jail —
suggests forty to fifty victims over eight years.
in Baton Rouge, Louisiana are tracking the killer of five "official"
victims linked by DNA. Gina Green, 41, was strangled in her home
on September 24, 2001. Murray Pace, 22, was stabbed to death in
her apartment on May 31, 2002. Pam Kinamore, 44, was abducted from
her home on July 12, 2002; her body was discovered near Whiskey
Bay. Her throat had been cut. Dene Colomb, 23, was abducted from
her car and beaten to death a few days before Christmas. Her body
was found in a wilderness area twenty miles from her car. Carrie
Yoder, 26, was abducted from her home on March 3, 2003. Her body
was found near Whiskey Bay. She had been strangled.
in eighteen months is not particularly prolific when compared to
the standards set by Bundy and others in previous decades. Or, is
the law enforcement insistence on a DNA match to establish linkage
limiting their inquiry?
In the decade
of the nineties, the Baton Rouge area recorded thirty-plus unsolved
cases of missing and/or murdered women. In the first two-and-one-half
years of this decade, there have already been thirty-plus.
If the numbers
are reduced by those cases which demonstrate no similarities to
the official five, instead of sixty-plus victims, the total for
the thirteen-and-one-half years is between thirty and forty.
trouble in Red Stick.
was murdered in 1992. Ann Bryan, 1994.
instances, victim remains were too decomposed to surrender much
of forensic value. In some cases nothing was collected. In others,
evidence collected was not processed. Publicly, at least, no one
in law enforcement raised the question of linkage.
connection among the cases was a DNA match. Trace evidence linked
the murders of Gina Green and Murray Pace. In July 2002 Baton Rouge
Police Chief Pat Englade announced the formation of a task force
of all the usual sleuths. Ten days later, trace evidence added the
murder of Pam Kinamore to the task force agenda. The killer had
made mistakes, Englade asserted. Science was on the side of the
investigators. To qualify for the official list of victims, a DNA
match was prerequisite.
DeSoto, 2002. Christine Moore, also 2002.
of these women attended or graduated from Louisiana State
University in Baton Rouge. All were independent and assertive,
involved with careers and career planning. Some were killed
in their homes. Others were killed in rural areas. Still
others were abducted from their homes and dumped in rural
areas. None made the task force’s
the early 1970s, Robert Keppel was a detective on the Seattle-area "Ted"
task force. As Ted Bundy’s tally of missing and murdered young
women grew, Keppel immersed himself in the effort to track and catch
the notorious serial killer. He later worked as investigator for
the Washington Attorney General’s office, and completed his
Ph.D. in criminology. He is recognized internationally as an expert
on serial murder. Keppel recently offered his assistance to the
Baton Rouge task force. His offer was declined.