One was found on Lake Houston. The other close to Calcasieu Lake. Two locations, 150 miles, the heads of two redheaded women. The Houston Chronicle reported they had good teeth and their heads were in plastic bags. Perhaps stranger still, the heads reportedly weren’t far from RV parks. The women were around the same age, as well. One woman’s hair was dyed, as she had dark roots. Forensic examination determined she may have been hispanic. An official said the Louisiana head was “real similar.” Police already have an unknown person of interest: a young man driving a blue-green Chevy Silverado. It’s just too soon to say it’s the beginning of a trail of heads spreading across several states. Perhaps these women were targeted for something unrelated to similar appearance. But it’s still horrific, and strange.
This is my latest for Real Clear Life, published last Wednesday. It’s about the Waffle House Shooting in Antioch, Tennessee. It took place just a mile from where I grew up, in the area where I built my sense of place and home. This is kind of personal, but also about the aftermath of something terrible, and what it feels like to be close to it, yet far away.
The Golden State Killer—Joseph James DeAngelo—was caught after police matched him to a partial profile on GEDMatch. That’s a site that allows users to voluntarily upload their raw DNA data from sites like Ancestry.com and 23andMe.com. Essentially, some relative of DeAngelo’s was looking for further distant family connections and inadvertently outed him as one of the most vicious serial killers in California history. I am among the many who have had mixed feelings about this. I don’t have any mixed feelings about DeAngelo being put away for life. I enjoy thinking about that, and thinking about him as an old man suffering behind bars. I wish Michelle McNamara was here to see it, too. But I do get the privacy concerns. And I don’t know what to say about it. The part of me that’s been covering crime for years loves the idea that many more cold cases could be solved this way. My inner civil libertarian quails when thinking about how badly police could abuse this method of investigation. Until the public can be assured that police will use this kind of thing wisely, I won’t really know what to say about it. It’s a brave new world kind of thing, and there are always unknown challenges in that world.
Update: The suspect is Joseph James DeAngelo, a one-time cop and Navy vet. A photo of the younger DeAngelo strongly resembles suspect sketches (see above). He’s currently booked in a Sacramento County Jail on murder charges.
Original post: Fox40 reports that the Sacramento County (CA) Sheriff’s Dept. has had a “significant break” regarding the Golden State Killer. A significant break means an arrest, and I’m aware of rumors that the suspect was targeted after a DNA hit. Remember: the Golden State Killer may have killed as many as 12, and committed dozens of rapes and burglaries. I began crime-blogging anew after Michelle McNamara, author of I’LL BE GONE IN THE DARK—the definitive book about the case—passed away. We were friends, but really, I was a fan. Michelle did this, in a way. She pulled this terrifying monster’s crimes out of the dark. I wish she were here to see it. More information will be out later in the day, including a press conference at noon Pacific Time.
I grew up about a mile from the location of the Waffle House where Travis Reinking opened fire Saturday night, killing four. Naturally, I’ve paid extremely close attention to the hunt for Reinking. He was captured today by Metro Nashville Police. He was roaming in a semi-rural area a mile or two from the Waffle House. I’ll be writing more about this crime for Real Clear Life Wednesday, but had to say it’s been surreal hearing the name of the community where I lived from birth through age 19 mentioned so often on the news. When I was a kid, Antioch, Tennessee was Nashville’s forgotten outer rim. No one outside the city knew it was there, and Nashvillians, by and large, viewed it as a dangerous, redneck-filled no-go zone. It was where Nashville ended and the countryside began. Right now it’s home to a tragedy with a national profile. It’s very strange, and truly awful.
Before his execution, serial killer Anthony Shore told investigators from the Texas Rangers about crimes he’d committed when he was a teen living near Sacramento in the 1970s—crimes he said were inspired by the rapist and murderer now known as the Golden State Killer. The Houston Chronicle reports Shore “admitted to participating in another serial crime, as a copycat of the East Area Rapist, a Sacramento-area criminal active in the late 70s and early 80s.” He claimed he began with groping women on bike trails. The Rangers report indicated he progressed to truly terrifying assaults. Via the Chronicle, a quote from the Rangers gives some idea of the horrific acts to which Shore confessed. He said he bound a couple, then “made the man ‘watch’ as he sexually assaulted the woman.”
Shore was called the “Tourniquet Killer” and targeted women in and around Houston during the 80s and 90s. He was convicted of killing four. He was put to death on January 18, 2018.
Source: [Houston Chronicle]
For exactly one month in 1992, the I-70 serial killer calmly walked into businesses all along I-70—from Indiana to Kansas—and shot the lone workers there, often killing with a single shot to the head. He left almost no evidence behind. Read my latest here.
Seventeen-year-old Jeremy Sanchez was allegedly murdered by the friend who reported his disappearance. Stranger still, the so-called friend supposedly attempted to evade suspicion by helping search for the victim. He ended up finding Sanchez’s ‘s body and telling the victim’s dad. Sanchez’s absence from school was the first indication something was wrong. His parents looked to his friend–a still unnamed 16-year-old–for help. The suspect found Sanchez on the San Gabriel River Trail, reports the Washington Post. The teen was facedown by the river. The alleged killer’s odd behavior is reportedly what first drew police attention. Police say they believe it was a well-planned murder. [WaPo]
Sometimes in this life we all encounter someone who glows with brilliance, whose genius seeps from every pore. This is not one of those times. News4Jax reports the master criminal in the video still above broke into a St. Marys, GA GameStop after 1 am on April 13. His disguise was reportedly “a bottled water wrapper.” The TV station didn’t report on merchandise stolen or anything like that, only noted he got in some light cardio as he suffocated in an effort to collect goodies. Watch him frolic in the video below. Also, if you know a neckbearded Florida-Georgia line resident who matches this description, don’t let him get away with the Great GameStop Heist of ’18. Call CrimeStoppers at (912) 576-0565, get this miscreant taken off the street. No Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, or Pokemon is safe. [News4Jax]