Serial killer John Norman Collins, of Michigan, was visiting California in June and July of 1969. It is believed that he murdered a 17-year-old girl named Roxie Ann Phillips on 30 June. She was from Milwaukie, Oregon and was visiting relatives in Salinas, CA before continuing on to Lompoc, CA, where she was to meet up with her father and stepmother.
Collins was in the area with a friend, Andrew Manuel. They had driven out from Michigan and were staying in a stolen camping trailer. Collins drove a shiny gray or silver Oldsmobile with black interior and Michigan plates. The car was later taken into evidence in Michigan. Although he had cleaned it very thoroughly, traces of type O blood were found in it when police checked it on 5 August 1969.
It was known conclusively that Collins had met Roxie Phillips and had driven her to the home where she was staying in Salinas. He even went into the house with her and met another resident of the house. Although nobody saw him with Roxie on the day of her murder, later evidence tied him to the crime. Roxie was strangled to death with a piece of her clothing, and a piece of that same clothing was found in Collins' car. Roxie's body was found in a ravine near Carmel on 13 July 1969. Some of her personal items were found in various places along the route 68 roadside.
Roxie Ann Phillips was five feet six inches tall, weighed 130 pounds, hazel eyes, fair skin, shoulder-length coppery blond hair. She was last seen wearing a short red pants dress with small white floral design, matching fabric belt, full sleeves with white cuffs, white collar, white sandals, and carrying a large straw tote bag. When her body was found, she was wearing only the white sandals, and had a portion of her cloth belt wrapped around her neck.
Collins is known to have murdered seven young women and girls in the Ann Arbor area of Michigan between 1967 and 1969. Collins disposed of his victims in places where they would be found fairly easily.
Andrew Manuel had family connections in California and friends in Arizona. The two men parked their stolen camping trailer on the property of a relative of Manuel and left it behind when they left the Salinas area. They drove back to Michigan together, but it is not known what route they took.
Collins and Manuel returned to Michigan from their California visit by 23 July 1969, the date of his last known Michigan murder. Manuel left Michigan almost immediately afterward, taking a bus first to California, and next to Phoenix, AZ where he was picked up on 6 Aug 1969.
The Lompoc Jane Doe was discovered on 3 August 1969. Could she have been murdered before 23 July? Lompoc, CA was just down the road from Salinas, and it was the intended destination of Roxie Phillips. It is possible that Roxie spoke of Lompoc to Collins. Collins liked to taunt families of his Michigan victims. Could he have gone to Lompoc to do that?
The case summary indicates that the Lompoc Jane Doe's throat was cut and that she had numerous stab wounds. This is consistant with wounds found on some of Collins' known vicitms. A knife with a four inch blade belonging to Collins was taken into evidence by Michigan police, but it had been wiped clean of any prints or blood.
Collins is currently incarcerated in Marquette Prison in Michigan on a Life Sentence for Murder. The current wherabouts of Andrew Manuel are not known.