Red Stick by the Numbers: The Baton Rouge Serial Murders: I by John Philpin Crime Profiler
Stick by the Numbers: The Baton Rouge Serial Murders: I
In 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 a similar time span through the 1980s, Washington’s Green River killer claimed more than fifty victims, while a killer of sex workers in Vancouver, British Columbia was killing forty to fifty women.
Police 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.
Five victims 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.
There is trouble in Red Stick.
Connie Warner was murdered in 1992. Ann Bryan, 1994.
In most 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.
Eugenie Boisfontaine, 1997. Randi Mebruer, 1998. Hardee Schmidt, 1999.
The first 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.
Geralyn DeSoto, 2002. Christine Moore, also 2002.
Many 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 official list.
In 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.
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