Colonial Parkway Killer
Colonial Parkway Killer
|Colonial Parkway Killer|
|Number of victims:||8|
|Span of killings:||1986–1989.|
“Colonial Parkway Killer” is the name given to an apparent serial killer believed to have murdered at least eight people along the Colonial Parkway of the U.S. state of Virginia (or nearby) between 1986 and 1989. During that time, three couples were murdered and one couple is missing and presumed to be dead.
The first two known victims were Cathleen Thomas, 27, and Rebecca Ann Dowski, 21. The lesbian couple liked to park on the Colonial Parkway for privacy. On October 12, 1986, their bodies were found inside their car, which had been pushed down an embankment on the parkway near an area of the parkway that was popular with gay couples. An autopsy found rope burns on their necks and wrists, signs of strangulation, and their throats had been slashed. Their purses and money were found inside the car, and there were no signs of a struggle. Both women were fully clothed and there was no evidence of sexual assault. (As an aside, Thomas was one of 100 women in the United States Naval Academy class of 1981, which was the second graduating class that was coeducational at federal service academies.)
In September 1987, David Knobling, 20, and Robin Edwards, 14, were found murdered in the Ragged Island Wildlife Refuge, on the south shore of the James River in Isle of Wight County, near Smithfield, Virginia. Knobling’s truck was found at the refuge several days before the bodies were discovered.
On April 9, 1988, Cassandra Lee Hailey and Richard Keith Call were reported missing after their first date together. Call’s vehicle was found, unoccupied, on the Colonial Parkway the next day. Neither body has been found, but both are presumed dead.
In October 1989, the bodies of Anna Marie Phelps, 18, and Daniel Lauer, 21, were found in New Kent County by a hunter in the woods near a rest area on Interstate 64 between Williamsburg and Richmond. They had been missing since the previous month.
In 1996, the unsolved case of the Colonial Parkway Killer was presented on national television on the program Real Stories of the Highway Patrol, a series that aired from 1993-1999. Actor Steve Altes portrayed the killer.
As of November 2005, the killer has not yet been identified. Investigators have speculated that the suspect might be a law enforcement officer, someone impersonating one, or perhaps a rogue operative from the Central Intelligence Agency, which has a training facility nearby at Camp Peary in York County. Other investigators believe the killings were committed by more than one person working as a team.
Since the incidents, many highly-embellished urban legends have arisen concerning the ‘Colonial Parkway Killer,’ most of which grossly distort or otherwise incorrectly portray the circumstances of the case.
- June 7, 1990: Two slayings draw police to Hanover from Daily Press (Virginia)
- April 23, 1992: Bones found near Parkway from Daily Press (Virginia)
- June 22, 1992: Psychologist: Parkway killer probably had partner from Daily Press (Virginia)
- July 24, 1996: FBI looks for link in hiker deaths from Daily Press (Virginia)
- Aug. 4, 1996: Scenic road still associated with murders from Daily Press (Virginia)
- September 22, 2009: Crime Scene Photos from Colonial Parkway Leaked by FBI from WTKR-TV, Norfolk, Virginia
- September 23, 2009: New DNA Approach May Help Solve Colonial Parkway Case from WTKR-TV, Norfolk, Virginia
- October 7, 2009 FBI Meets With Family of Serial Killer Victim from WTKR-TV, Norfolk, Virginia
- October 8, 2009 Crime Scene Photos from Parkway Case in Public Domain from Times-Dispatch, Richmond, Virginia
- October 10, 2009 FBI Vows Parkway Murders to Get Thorough Investigation from Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Virginia
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