Posts tagged “Lollie Winans

Prowlers on the Parkway: SF’s Take on the Colonial Parkway Murders

To view this article, checkout Best of the Spingola Files, Vol. II: Here’s Looking at You coming to Amazon.com in December 2012.

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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.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010


Shenandoah National Park: Beauty and Brutality

LURAY, VIRGINIA, June 6, 2010 — The Shenandoah National Park is a place of natural beauty.  Nestled between the tiny and somewhat stereotypical hill country towns of Sperryville and Luray, this portion of the Appalachian Mountain range hugs the Massanutten Mountains to the west.  From the Skyline Visitors Center, a beautiful view is had from Thorofare Mountain Overlook.

Yet, just prior to Memorial Day 1996, two women, Julie Williams and Lollie Winans met their fates less than a half a mile from this heavily traveled area of the park.

During the Spingola Files (SF) visit to the Shenadoah, armed with information about from various sources about these homicides, SF walked the Appalachian hiking trail and located the purported scene of the hikers’ demise. 

From my background in criminal investigative analysis, the location — a tiny cove surrounded by exposed rocks — lends credence to following profile:

I believe that whoever committed the homicides of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans is a white male, possibility with military experience, an outdoorsmen, in good physical condition, who also has significant skills with bladed objects.

While the information provided to the public is limited, one of the victims was located outside their pitched tent and the other inside.  The trail close to the lodge leads me to believe that the suspect passed by the two women in the evening and observed their site from the well worn path.  He likely returned at night, waited for one of the women to leave the tent to relieve themselves; whereupon, he quickly subdued his prey.  The other victim, sleeping inside the tent and unaware of what just transpired, was surprised and easy overwhelmed by the attacking suspect.

SF is conducting follow-up regarding this case and will report back to readers.

The Spingola Files is planning to make an unannounced visit to another area today.  Stay tuned for updates.

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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.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010


National Park Link Analysis

RICHMOND, VA, June 6, 2010 — With the FBI and National Park Service still searching the area just off the historic Colonial Parkway after the cadaver dog hits, the Spingola Files (SF) is set to leave for Shenandoah National Park, located approximately 180 miles north and west of the Colonial Parkway. 

Near Memorial Day in 1996, two women, Julie Williams, 24, and Lollie Winans, 26, were brutally murdered while camping near the park’s Skyview Lodge.  The modus operandi of these homicides is similar to the 1986 slayings of Cathy Thomas and Rebecca Dowski.  Thomas’ Honda Civic was found off an embankment adjacent to the Colonial Parkway.  The suspect(s) stuffed the bodies of the two women — their throats horrifically slashed — into the rear of the vehicle. Having occurred in national parks, the Williams/Winans, Thomas/Dowski homicides have eerie parallels.

In regards to yesterday’s search for the remains of Keith Call and Cassandra Hailey, Tara Morgan from Channel 12 in Richmond posted this story, video of which may be available later in the day:

 http://www.nbc12.com/Global/story.asp?S=12601007

Updates will be posted on this site throughout SF’s visit to Virginia.

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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.

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2010


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