CA CA - Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders, 7 girls/young women, 1972-1973

Discussion in 'Serial Killers' started by kemo, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. burblestein

    burblestein Well-Known Member

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    There seems to be a rush, among LE professionals as well as amateur sleuths, to ascribe victims to this case despite lack of similarities in modus operandi or signature. There's a feeling that any and every hitchhiker murdered belongs in this series. The FBI list of possible victims not only have little in common with the Santa Rosa series of murders, they also have little in common with one another. I think the FBI blew it in this instance by chucking in random female hitchhiking victims.
    Moreover, I found news reports of Lisa Smith's survival; so far as I know, she still lives. Jeanette Kamahele may also still be alive, though that's a very long sh0t. Kerry and Francine were probably the victims of Jackie Ray Hovarter, who murdered Danna Walsh in similar fashion to Kerry and Francine. (See CA - CA - Danna Elizabeth Walsh, 16, Rio Dell, 24 August 1984 for details) Hovarter has been reported to Mendocino County LE.
    Similarly, there seems to be an obsession with accrediting this string of murders to a "celebrity" serial killer. The truth of the matter is, there are other undiscovered serial killers out there. The human mind shies from recognizing that a neighbor, family friend, or even family member may be a murderer, but there they are, hidden in plain view.
    I might add that while doing my research into these cases, I read where LE had excluded both the Zodiac and Ted Bundy, among other "superstar" murderers. To suggest the Zodiac changed up from shooting couples in lovers' lanes to kidnapping and strangling young females is pretty silly, but people do it.
     
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  2. kemo

    kemo Well-Known Member

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    Hitchhiking was an extremely popular, effective mode of transportation in and around the Bay Area in the 60’s &70’s. Young women found it particularly easy to get rides. It all came to an end in the mid70’s when it became apparent that women hitchhikers were turning up dead.

    To someone unfamiliar with the territory, it might appear as if some very prolific serial killer was operating but to local Law Enforcement, it was obvious that the dispersal of victims over such a wide area was more suggestive of multiple offenders. The Santa Rosa Area could represent a cluster but it is by no means certain that they were all victims of the same perpetrator. I suspect many were “one offs” but there were probably serial killers operating that have never been identified.
     
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  3. burblestein

    burblestein Well-Known Member

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    Well said, kemo.
     
  4. Manwel

    Manwel Well-Known Member

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    There's nothing to say Zodiac didn't plan to do something similar to Kathleen Johns. For all of the "Zodiac preyed on both genders" there's also the legitimate likelihood that he planned to kill Johns and her baby and she got lucky that he seemed to enjoy the terror he caused her driving for as long as he did. If he was responsible for Donna Lass, or if he was behind Cheri Jo Bates, he has targeted young women as victims without sexually assaulting them. Rosa Vasquez is tied to the hitchhiker murders in some ways, but due to geography and eery "coincidences," I'm still inclined to think Zodiac for her. Entrance to Golden Gate Park, worked in the Presidio at the same hospital that Donna Lass had worked, and Vasquez worked with a hole-punch machine for cards, punches similar to the ones on cards mailed by Zodiac. Sure, the MO is different: body left nude, strangled, but Zodiac changed his MO almost every time, and in one of his communications mentioned rope as an option, and marked "by knife"on the Berryessa car door. He was aware of his weapon choices, they were intentional. For all the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murder conversation that some people are lumped into, I don't know why San Francisco CITY murders that remain unsolved are lumped in with Santa Rosa more than an hour away.

    It's apparent that the person who committed the Lake Berryessa murders is the worst version of the Zodiac, the one who wanted to engage in the most vicious close-proximity terror. The description from Hartnell about what he witnessed when Cecilia Shepherd was stabbed shows how much Zodiac got off on what he did: a frenzied yell, more vicious stab wounds than what was done to Hartnell. The men were just sort of extra in those first three cases. The woman always seemed to be the target. Paul Stine remains a friggin mystery in that regard. But all that is to say, I don't think it proves Zodiac didn't care about gender. He promised to change his MO, promised to stop identifying victims, promised to make them look like accidents. There's nothing that says Zodiac totally stopped with Stine. They just stopped having perfect evidence submitted by Zodiac to connect them all together neatly.
     
  5. burblestein

    burblestein Well-Known Member

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    There's also nothing to say what the Zodiac's intentions were with Ms Johns. In fact, the above post is almost entirely speculation, without a given source. A vivid imagination doesn't make up for lack of fact..
     
  6. Manwel

    Manwel Well-Known Member

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    Because my post assumes a certain amount of functioning knowledge about who, what, where of Zodiac. What sources are you looking for? Something that confirms Kathleen Johns was in danger the night the Zodiac Killer picked her up off the road? One doesn't need an imagination there.
     
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  7. burblestein

    burblestein Well-Known Member

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    I was wondering about the MSM sources for above, per the TOS.
     
  8. burblestein

    burblestein Well-Known Member

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    No need to be offended on my behalf, Paul (but thank you for the kind words). I am a bit confused about the relevance of Katherine Johns and the Zodiac in this case--especially when LE professionals have ruled out the Zodiac. As I recall, that rule-out is sourced in a prior post in one of these threads about this case.
    Ms Johns had a child with her; none of the SRHHM victims did. Ms Johns was originally driving, not hitchhiking. She survived her kidnapping; the Santa Rosa victims didn't. These circumstances all differ. So where is the commonality between the Johns case and the Santa Rosa victims? Tying the Johns case to the Santa Rosa series seems entirely arbitrary.
    So, Manwel, can you refer me to a source that connects the two?
     
  9. Manwel

    Manwel Well-Known Member

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    I quoted a statement you made about Zodiac and offered up commonly known facts that contradict your specific statement about Zodiac. That it's in this thread is because you brought it up first and I quoted you. It seems a detour occurred when I was accused of "imagination." I'm not talking about hitchhiker murders, I was responding to a specific quote. I did go into much longer discussion about Zodiac that was likely due to reading and posting in a few different threads and got carried away talking about Zodiac in the wrong thread. Mods, feel free to delete all of this if you feel like it.
     
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  10. burblestein

    burblestein Well-Known Member

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    Actually, Manwel, you were the one who brought up the irrelevant case of Katherine Johns. The only similarity between her kidnapping and the SRHHM victims is that all these crimes occurred in northern California. My statement about Zodiac is actually a restatement of an earlier post.
    Perhaps you should read the prior postings in this thread, and the associated threads on the SRHHM victims, to familiarize yourself with the subject.
     
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  11. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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  12. dotr

    dotr Well-Known Member

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    Feb 1 2021
    23 unforgettable North Coast cold cases and where each stands now
    [​IMG]

    ''Slide 2 of 23
    Unsolved cold case: Despite speculation over the years that the Zodiac Killer or Ted Bundy played a role in the Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders, it’s still unclear who killed seven teenage girls and young women in the early 1970s. From 1972 to 1979, their bodies were found buried or dumped in creek beds or along steep embankments in rural Santa Rosa. Victims included, from top left, Kim Allen, 19; Lori Kursa, 13; Maureen Sterling, 12; Yvonne Weber, 13; Carolyn Davis, 14; Theresa Walsh, 23, and an unidentified 19-year-old female with auburn hair. Another possible victim, Jeannette Kamehele, 20, was last seen entering a vehicle at a Highway 101 onramp in Cotati, but her remains never were found. (File)''
     
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  13. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murder Victims Part One

    [​IMG]
    Yvonne Weber


    [​IMG]
    Maureen Sterling


    Maureen Louise Sterling and Yvonne Lisa Weber, both 12-year-old Herbert Slater Middle School students, disappeared around 9 pm on February 4, 1972, after visiting the Redwood Empire Ice Arena. They were last seen hitchhiking on Guerneville Road, northwest of Santa Rosa. Their bodies were found December 28, 2.2 miles north of Porter Creek Road on Franz Valley Road, down a steep embankment approximately 66 feet off the east side of the roadway. A single earring, orange beads and a 14-carat gold necklace with cross were found at the scene. The cause of death could not be determined from the skeletal remains.
    --------------------------------------

    [​IMG]
    Kim Allen


    Kim Wendy Allen, 19, Santa Rosa Junior College art student, was given a ride by two men on March 4, 1972 from her job at Larkspur Natural Food to San Rafael. They last saw her at approximately 5:20 pm hitchhiking to school near the Bell Avenue entrance to Highway 101, northbound, carrying a large wooden soy barrel with red Chinese characters on it. Her body was found the following day down an embankment in a creek bed 20 feet off Enterprise Road in Santa Rosa. The victim had been bound at the ankles and wrists, raped and slowly strangled with a cord for an estimated thirty minutes. Semen was recovered from the body and a single gold loop earring was found at the site. Markings at the top of the embankment and a possible leg impression in the loam indicated the assailant likely slipped or fell while throwing or transporting the body. The two men who gave her a ride, one of whom was given and passed a polygraph test, were ruled out as suspects.
    ---------------------------------------------------


    [​IMG]
    Jeannette Kamahele


    Jeannette Kamahele, 20, a Santa Rosa Junior College student, was last seen on April 25, 1972, hitchhiking near the Cotati on-ramp of Highway 101. A friend witnessed her likely abduction and reported that she entered a faded brown Chevrolet pickup truck fitted with a homemade wooden camper and driven by a 20- to 30-year-old Caucasian male with an Afro hairstyle. Her body has never been found.
    ------------------------------------------

    [​IMG]
    Lori Lee Kursa


    Lori Lee Kursa, 13, a Lawrence Cook Middle School student, had been reported missing by her mother on November 11, 1972 after disappearing while they shopped at a U-Save and was last seen on November 20 or 21 in Santa Rosa while visiting friends, having deliberately run away. She had been known to hitchhike occasionally. Her frozen remains were located on December 14 in a ravine approximately 50 feet off Calistoga Road, northeast of Rincon Valley in Santa Rosa. The killer had thrown the body at least 30 feet over an embankment.
    The cause of her death was a broken neck with compression and hemorrhage of the spinal cord. The victim had not been raped and likely died one to two weeks prior to discovery. A possible witness to her abduction later came forward stating that on an evening somewhere between December 3 and 9, while on Parkhurst Drive, he saw two men push a girl fitting Kursa's description into the back of a van driven by a Caucasian man with an Afro-type hairstyle. The vehicle then sped north on Calistoga Road.
    -----------------------------------------------------
     
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  14. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murder Victims Part Two

    [​IMG]
    Carolyn Davis


    Carolyn Nadine Davis, 14 years old, ran away from her home outside Anderson in Shasta County on February 6, 1973 but disappeared July 15 after being dropped off by her grandmother at the Garberville Post Office. She was last seen hitchhiking that afternoon near the Highway 101 ramp, southbound, in Garberville. Her body was discovered on July 31 just 3 feet from where the remains of Sterling and Weber had been recovered seven months prior. Cause of death was strychnine poisoning 10–14 days before discovery. It could not be determined if she had been raped. Investigators postulated that her body had been thrown from the road as the hillside brush appeared undisturbed. A witchcraft symbol meaning "carrier of spirits" was found by her body.
    -----------------------------------------------------------


    [​IMG]
    Terese Walsh


    Theresa Diane Smith Walsh, 23, of Miranda, was last seen on December 22, 1973, at Zuma Beach in Malibu, intent on hitchhiking to Garberville and joining her family for Christmas. Her partially submerged body was found six days later by kayakers in Mark West Creek. She had been hogtied with clothesline rope, sexually assaulted, strangled and was determined to have been dead approximately one week. Due to recent heavy rains in the area, high water marks suggested the body could have drifted several miles.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------

    [​IMG]
    Jane Doe


    Unidentified Female Victim
    On July 2, 1979, skeletal remains were found in a ravine off Calistoga Road approximately 100 yards from where the body of Lori Lee Kursa had been recovered seven years earlier. Due to the age of the remains, authorities initially believed them to be those of Jeannette Kamahele until a comparison of dental records later proved negative. The victim had been hogtied and her arm fractured around the time of her murder but there was no other evidence to establish a cause of death. It was determined that the unidentified victim was approximately 16 to 21 years old, wore contact lenses, had red, auburn, or brown hair, was about 5 feet tall and at one time had broken a rib which was healed by the time of the murder. She died approximately three years earlier (circa 1976).
    -----------------------------------------------

    Other Possible Victims:

    - Lisa Michelle Smith, 17, was last seen hitchhiking on Hearn Avenue in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California. She was last seen on March 16, 1971, she vanished months before the killings started but authorities suspect it is possible she was a victim of the killings. Her body was never recovered.
    ------------------------------------------------

    [​IMG]
    Kerry Ann Grahm (left) and Francine Marie Trimble

    - Kerry Ann(e) Graham, 15 and Francine Marie Trimble, 14 of Forestville, California disappeared in mid-December 1978. Skeletal remains were found the following July in Mendocino County where they were dumped off the side of a rural highway, but they weren't identified as belonging to Kerry and Francine until 2015 thanks to DNA analysis. A high school friend said the girls were going to hitchhike to a party in Santa Rosa however had no other information and did not know who they were meeting.
    --------------------------------------------------
     
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  15. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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    Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murder Victims Part Three


    [​IMG]
    Rosa Vasquez
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    [​IMG]
    Yvonne Quilantang
    • Yvonne Quilantang, 15, was found strangled in a vacant Bayview district lot on June 10, 1973. She was seven months pregnant.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    [​IMG]
    Angela Thomas



    • Angela Thomas, 16, was found July 2, 1973, smothered on the playground of Benjamin Franklin Junior High School in Daly City. She had last been seen the previous evening at the Presidio of San Francisco. A locket was recovered near the body.
    ------------------------------------------------------

    [​IMG]
    Nancy Gidley
    --------------------------------------------------
    [​IMG]
    • Nancy Feusi, 22, disappeared after going dancing at a club in the Sacramento area. Her remains were found on July 22, 1973, in Redding. She had been stabbed to death. In 2011, one of Feusi's five children, Angela Darlene Feusi McAnulty, was convicted of torturing, beating, and starving to death her 15-year-old daughter Jeanette Marie Maples. McAnulty became the second woman ever sentenced to die in Oregon and the first since the 1984 reinstatement of the death penalty.
    ------------------------------------------------
    • Laura A. O'Dell, 21, missing since November 4, 1973, was found three days later in bushes behind the boathouse at Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park. O'Dell's hands were tied behind her back, and the cause of death appeared to be from head injuries or strangulation.
    ---------------------------------------------------
    • Brenda Kaye Merchant, 19, was found stabbed to death at her home February 1, 1974, in Marysville.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    • Donna M. Braun, 14, whose strangled body was found on September 29, 1974 in the Salinas River near Monterey.
    LINKS:

    Santa Rosa Hitchhiker Murders - Santa Rosa, California

    The Hitchhiker Murders
     
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  16. killer Chaser

    killer Chaser Active Member

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    This happened a few years after Deborah Carrick's murder, Michael and Charlotte Sherman in 1977. They were also killed at a lookout point and robbed but they were killed execution-style with a 22lr handgun, they have composite drawings of the male and female suspects. Couple's deaths in Grand Canyon remain unsolved
     
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  17. burblestein

    burblestein Well-Known Member

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    The actual Santa Rosa Hitchhike victims are linked by their commonalities. They are Caucasian female hitchhikers, adolescent or adolescent in appearance. Their bodies were dropped in clusters in obscure neighborhoods of Santa Rosa. The threads are here in WS:

    Yvonne Weber and Maureen Sterling at CA - CA - Yvonne Weber, 13, & Maureen Sterling, 12, Santa Rosa, 4 Feb 1972

    Lori Lee Kursa: CA - CA - Lori Kursa, 13, Santa Rosa, 1 Dec 1972

    Theresa Walsh: CA - CA - Theresa 'Terri' Walsh, 23, Santa Rosa, 26 Dec 1973

    Carolyn Davis: CA - CA - Carolyn Davis, 15, Santa Rosa, 20 July 1973

    Kim Allen: CA - CA - Kim Allen, 19, Santa Rosa, 4 March 1972

    I cannot recall the title for Jane Doe. However, these are the seven victims linked by the commonalities above. None of the others are. That includes Jeannette Kamahele, who is a vanished Asian, not a Caucasian corpse. And even at that, I think Kim Allen was a victim of Fred Manalli.

    As for the other suggestions in the data dump, I ask, What are the common factors shared with the Santa Rosa victims? Oh, right. The FBI says so.

    Well, I have diligently searched for that data dump FBI report, and can find no copies of it in print or online. I did discover it was written before the FBI profilers conducted their 36 interviews of serial killers; those interviews became the basis for FBI profiling. I have a feeling that the report being relied upon (without being linked here to conform to TOS) has been withdrawn as an embarrassment.

    If there is actual interest in solving this case instead of posting random garble in this thread, take a look at previous postings, beginning with post #1. I do believe post #18 to be the most important in this thread. (Fair disclosure: I wrote it.)
     
  18. burblestein

    burblestein Well-Known Member

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    Some random observations on some of the data dump above:

    I traced Lisa Michelle Smith, and found her alive.

    If there is a case that might be linked to this series, it is Kerry Anne Graham and Francine Trimble. They fit the physical profile of victims; however, their bodies were dropped some 90 miles north of Santa Rosa. Their case also closely fits the facts of a murder by Jackie Hovarter.
     
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  19. Richard

    Richard Well-Known Member

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  20. Murder Inc

    Murder Inc End Prohibition

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    Personally I find the "data dump" to be more important than post #18. While post #18 raises a few interesting points, it's mostly filled with criminal profiling theory, well known as a pseudoscience. Post #18 does mention a few important things though. A motorcycle riding serial killer, who hogties victims, takes single earrings and has a fondness for creek beds. Damn! Who could it be I am thinking of? The name is of this serial killer is right on the lobe of my EAR...
     
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