Prowler on the Parkway

In Virginia, a killer — more likely a handful of killers — are at large.  From 1986 to 1989, at least eight people became homicide victims on or near the Colonial Parkway.  Within hours after a passerby found the first victims, Cathy Thomas and Becky Dowski, inside a white Honda, investigators told family members that they believed the suspect was either a law enforcement officer or a police impersonator. The perpetrator bound Thomas and Dowski before slitting one of the women’s throats with enough force to cause partial decapitation.

While some believe the Colonial Parkway murders ended in 1989, and that the suspect is either dead or currently incarcerated, the May 1996 homicides of Lollie Winans and Julie Williams in a remote area of Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park are strikingly similar.  The two hikers were found bound and gagged with their throats slit.

In fact, the remains of David Knobling, Robin Edwards, Daniel Lauer, Annamaria Phelps, Alicia Reynolds, and Morgan Harrington, have dotted the Virginia country side.  The bodies of another couple — Keith Call and Cassandra Hailey — have yet to be located. All of these investigations remain open.  

Over the course of the past month or so, I have had the privilege to communicate with some of the victims’ family members.  This dialog caused me to do more research and dig a little deeper.  These brutal, unsolved homicides are extremely troubling. A good possibility exists that more than one killer is fulfilling his violent fantasies and remains at large to commit yet another heinous offense.

Last night, Virginia’s WAVY Channel 10 broke the news of my upcoming visit to the Richmond area. 

http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/local_news/agent-volunteers-to-revisit-parkway-case

While the report claims the Spingola Files is conducting an “independent investigation” from the FBI, I will not be acting in a law enforcement or private investigative capacity.  Instead, I am exploring these cases from the perspective of an investigative journalist.  Hopefully, my coverage of these events will call out volunteers to assist in the search of Keith Call and Cassandra Hailey, cause a person with relevant information to come forward, or somehow uncover a small piece of the puzzle needed to unlock the anonymity of the killer(s).  

Visit this Web site for updates on the Spingola Files visit to Virginia in early June.  I plan on posting information — in some cases live — as I speak with those involved in these complex investigations.

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Steven Spingola is a former Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective and the author of The Killer in Our Midst: the Case of Milwaukee’s North Side Strangler.

Copyright, Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010

4 Responses

  1. Bill Thomas

    Steve:

    Many of us are looking forward to meeting you, and to sharing information as to how and why four double homicides of attractive young couples have remained unsolved for more than 20 years.

    Many thanks for your time, attention and interest.

    Bill Thomas
    Brother of Cathleen Thomas
    Los Angeles, CA

    May 13, 2010 at 11:43 pm

  2. Chris Call

    Thanks Steve,
    I hope you can shed some new light on these unsolved murders.
    Many Thanks,
    Chris Call-brother of Keith Call

    May 14, 2010 at 3:02 am

  3. I can not imagine what these families have been through but it must bring them some comfort knowing that people still care. That you are still seeking the truth must give them hope.

    May 14, 2010 at 6:23 pm

  4. Steve Spingola

    I’m looking forward to the Spingola Files visit to Virginia. Being prepared is important in order to hit the ground running.

    May 15, 2010 at 8:25 pm

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