KY KY - Redhead Murders, 70's-90's

Discussion in 'Serial Killers' started by hopetohelp, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. hopetohelp

    hopetohelp New Member

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    Please let me know if anyone knows anything about these cases, or if they've been solved, or if there is already a thread. I have never heard of this case before, I can only find one piece of info out there on it - does anyone know anything on the status of the "redhead murders"?:

    The Redhead Murders - Cold Case Investigations

    Lexington Herald-Leader (KY)
    February 6, 1986
    Edition: FINAL
    Section: CITY/STATE
    Page: B2

    TRUCK DRIVER NOT SUSPECTED IN EIGHT 'REDHEAD MURDERS'

    Author: Bill Estep Herald-Leader staff writer

    Article Text:
    A Pennsylvania truck driver questioned in connection with the "redhead murders" has been cleared as a suspect in the string of eight unsolved killings.
    "At this point, our agency does not consider Thomas Lee Elkins as a suspect in our . . . unsolved murder cases," said Steve Watson, the deputy director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
    Elkins, 32, a long-distance trucker, was arrested Monday on U.S. 51 near Newbern, Tenn., 80 miles north of Memphis, and was charged with kidnapping and raping a young redheaded woman.
    The 20-year-old Boston, Mass., woman, who told police she was kidnapped in Indiana or Illinois, was later able to escape while Elkins was sleeping and called police from a farmhouse, said Jim Porter, a Dyer County sheriff's investigator.
    The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has served as an information clearinghouse for investigators in Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky and Mississippi looking into the unsolved deaths of eight women since late 1983.
    The murders were dubbed the "redhead murders" because three of the eight victims had red or reddish-brown hair. All were young, slightly built white women, and most were strangled and dumped near major interstates.
    Kentucky joined the list of states April 1, 1985, when the nude body of a young, unidentified woman with red hair who had been strangled was found in a dump in the Gray community near Corbin, a few miles from Interstate 75.
    Only one of the eight women has been identified. Similarities in the eight murders led investigators to consider them as possibly having been linked.
    TBI officials were notified about Elkins' arrest "as a matter of routine," Watson said.
    "Because of our investigation of the . . . unsolved cases, we routinely talk to people involved in these types of crimes," he said.
    However, a TBI agent concluded after questioning Elkins yesterday that the truck driver should not be considered a suspect in any of the eight unsolved murders, Watson said.
    Elkins remains jailed without bond in Dyer County on the kidnapping and rape charges, Porter said.

    Copyright (c) 1986 Lexington Herald-Leader
    Record Number: 8601050807
     
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  3. Lady Stardust

    Lady Stardust New Member

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    Hi,

    I searched the google news archive and found some old articles, the most recent is from 1995 or so. I couldn't find information that the redhead murders are solved.
    Thanks for posting this thread. :)


    This is the doenetwork page of the victim that was discovered on April 1, 1985: http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/192ufky.html

    Another possible victim, but not confirmed:
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/264uftn.html
    She has a thread here on websleuths: TN-COLD CASE: Teen found 23 years ago still unidentified - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community


    I think these could also be victims:
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/26ufga.html
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/369ufms.html
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/647ufar.html

    It's very sad that most of the victims obviously haven't been identified yet.
     
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  4. raysgirl1126

    raysgirl1126 Proud to be a New England Patriots Fan!!!!

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  5. tifflee

    tifflee Member

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  6. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    This series of killings interests me because it is one of the few cases of a serial killer near anywhere I frequent. Not only is the killer "unknown," several of the victims are also still unidentified. That makes the murders an even deeper mystery.

    Don't get me wrong... I like a good mystery. But most good mysteries have some kind of conclusion to tie things up at the end. This one doesn't.



    Here is some of the info I could find on the net. If you know of anything to add, please do so.

    Some things from Websleuths and/or DoeNetwork about unidentified victims suspected at one time or another of being a victim of the "redhead Murderer":

    -- [ame="http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40973"]KY KY - Gray - Female 192UFKY, 24-35, in refridgerator, April 1985 - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community[/ame]
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/192ufky.html

    -- [ame="http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40974"]TN TN - Campbell County - White Female, 9-15, April 1985 - *merged* - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community[/ame]
    http://doenetwork.org/cases/482uftn.html

    -- http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=29162&page=3
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/264uftn.html


    It may just be a huge coincidence that a lot of women with reddish hair were killed in the mountains of Kentucky and Tennessee in the early '80s. To the best of my knowledge, none of the deaths have been proven to be to connected to any of the others.
    But many women of a similar appearance were murdered and discarded near Interstates that go through the Knoxville area. While the killings seemed to have peaked in the early/mid-80s, I think it's terrible to think that someone's murder will go unsolved. It's even worse that some have been murdered and sent to their grave without a name.


    Here are some other links related to this probable serial killer:

    Several old news articles put on one page:
    [ame="http://officialcoldcaseinvestigations.com/showthread.php?t=10667"]The Redhead Murders - Cold Case Investigations[/ame]

    This is related to an unidentified possible victim in West Virginia:
    [ame="http://www.officialcoldcaseinvestigations.com/showthread.php?t=13678"]Jane Doe located feb.1983,WV. connected to Redhead murders? - Cold Case Investigations[/ame]

    An article from Texas detailing what is probably several killers:
    http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl/1985_8002/fbi-aid-asked-in-redhead-murders-case.html

    There is a book (Smooth Operator: The True Story of Seductive Serial Killer Glen Rogers, Linedecker) which suggests Glen Rogers as being responsible for at least some of these murders. He was from Cincinnati, also along I-75. I haven't read the whole thing, but I think it also alludes to him being responsible for the "O.J." murders. Because of that "iffy" suggestion, I don't know how much credence to give the theory.
     
  7. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    My internet never runs as quick as it should because I have the bad habit of having a billion tabs open. There were a few things I meant to add to my last post but neglected to because there were so many tabs open. Sorry about that, but I guess I can just add another post.

    This site has a short story/article originally from from CourtTV.com. The story is in its entirety. If you use Wayback Machine (web.archive.org) for the link attached to the story, there are a couple of pics of the tattoos on "Campbell County Jane Doe #1". Campbell County (along I-75 by the TN/KY border) was the dumping ground for at least one of the Redhead victims. Jane #1 was identified as Ada Elena Torres Smith.
    There were several Jane Does found in Campbell County in a short time. One that I mentioned above (http://doenetwork.org/cases/482uftn.html AKA "Button Jane Doe") doesn't necessarily have red hair, since only partial remains were found. A few of her bones were also gathered up after her skull was found, but not all of them.
    http://www.hometownforums.com/ubb/Forum42/HTML/000119.html

    This has a story about the various "doe's" of eastern Tennessee, including the redheads.
    http://s10.invisionfree.com/usedtobedoe/index.php?showtopic=21443

    Here's one more related link. I think it's the last one I meant to put up. It is an old FL newspaper article about the many murders of redheaded women, stretching across the eastern US. They can't possibly(?) be all connected. But it looks like several killers used the Interstates to get around AND had a preference for red hair. Either that, or redheads just have really bad luck.
    http://articles.orlandosentinel.com...killer-redheaded-woman-abandoned-refrigerator
     
  8. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    All of these victims are either near I-40 or I-75 (both go near/through Knoxville) or other interstates near an intersection with either 40/75.

    No more red-head does have been discovered in quite a while. That makes me think that whoever was killing them was from Knoxville and was either a trucker or used the Interstates often. Since they haven't been "active" lately, odds are that they are either dead, in prison or have found some other way to "calm their demons" (if that's possible).
     
  9. Ambercat

    Ambercat New Member

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    It's interesting that you suggested this because as I was reading the post, I thought about the unidentified redheaded woman found in Rising Fawn, GA. I wonder if LE recovered any of the killer's DNA from the victims?
     
  10. JeannieC

    JeannieC New Member

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    If the killer was a trucker he could have retired or changed routes, or changed trucking companies. Could be why one showed up in Ga. There might be more further south. Just a thought.
     
  11. JeannieC

    JeannieC New Member

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  12. JeannieC

    JeannieC New Member

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    The Redhead murders were commited in Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, and Mississippi.
     
  13. JeannieC

    JeannieC New Member

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    LE said the killer pryed upon prostitutes, hitch-hikers, and women with no family ties. LE said they were working harder to identify the victims than to go after the killer. (What?)
     
  14. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    I-75 goes through GA. I-65 also has some unidentifieds around it in KY/TN/AL/IN and some, but not all, are similar to the redheads. Maybe his "base" was more around Nashville, since it is easily accessed by interstate to Knoxville and Chattanooga.

    The one redhead I recall at the moment found near I-65 was in 2001, so may not be related.

    In a rush so will try to add more later.

    Does anyone know what the dead link ("teen found 23 yr ago") is related to???
     
  15. Ambercat

    Ambercat New Member

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    I think it was related to The Doe Network Case File 264UFTN -- a young woman with reddish blonde hair found in rural Tennessee in 1985.

    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/264uftn.html
     
  16. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    If that was the doe, it must've just got moved/renamed (I've seen the thread on that one).

    Ok. Here are some of the other does that I'm thinking could possibly be related to the redhead series. They were killed near major thoroughfares and could have had reddish hair. I say "could" because many of the missing persons files on Doe/Charley are classified as "brown" of "blonde" when they have a clear red-quality to them. I am basing that on photos of missing people. Hairstyles/etc cannot truly be replicated on reconstructions (esp if they are skeletal, decomposed, etc)

    This one is MUCH more recent than the ones already included on the theoretical list, but her characteristics and the dumping method are very similar:
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/111ufky.html
    [ame="http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=105935"]KY KY - Simpson County - Female 111UFKY, 25-35, Oct 2001 - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community[/ame]


    This one has always interested me because they found it (later) on the route to the 4-H camp I went to. Her hair is listed as "brown," but every color can have a gazillion different shades. She was found near KY-80 (one of the major state routes) and the Cumberland Parkway (which connects to I-65 north of Bowling Green). US-25 is a fairly major highway (for the Appalachian foothills) and I-75 is not too far to the east.
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/39ufky.html
    [ame="http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=120967"]KY KY - Pulaski County - Female 39UFKY, 24-45, July 1995 - w/Synovial Joint Pathology - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community[/ame]


    This girl had "brown" hair and was dumped off of a major interstate.
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/526ufky.html
    [ame="http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=113940"]KY KY - Bowling Green - Female 526UFKY, 12-20, July 1984 - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community[/ame]


    This one has no pic, but should be a no-brainer for the list. She's one of many Jane Does found along I-75 in Campbell County, TN. It is very rural and not too populated, so the fact that some are still unidentified means they likely were brought in from somewhere or were hitch-hiking.
    http://www.doenetwork.org/hot/hotcase1189.html

    This one had "red" hair (so it is definitely red) and was found off of I-24, not far south of Nashville.
    http://www.doenetwork.org/hot/hotcase1279.html

    This one was found in Roane County, TN. It doesn't list a specific location, but I-40 goes through the county and I-75 passes within a few miles of the border. It's about six miles from the TN-72 exit off I-75 to the Roane County line.
    http://www.doenetwork.org/hot/hotcase1145.html

    This girl is described as having reddish-brown hair and was found 5-10 miles (depending upon where along Greenlee Rd) west of I-75 north of Dayton.
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/133ufoh.html

    This one was found along I-75 in northern Ohio. She's probably not related to the others since it says "possible cocaine overdose," was wrapped up and her body was burned. But she has similar hair and was near the Interstate.
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/335ufoh.html

    This one had reddish hair and was found near a truck-stop off of I-70 in south-central Ohio.
    http://doenetwork.org/cases/561ufoh.html

    This one was found has a similar hair-color and was found off I-55 (which intersects with I-40 not far north) in NE-Arkansas.
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/449ufar.html

    This one, also burned, was found near I-540, which connects I-40 to Oklahoma.
    http://www.doenetwork.org/hot/hotcase1355.html

    This one was found near I-40 in North Carolina.
    http://www.doenetwork.org/hot/hotcase1652.html

    This redhead was found in North Carolina near both I-95 and I-40. It was found near Rocky Mount, where a current killer is targeting poor, black women.
    http://doenetwork.org/hot/hotcase1280.html

    This doe had "strawberry blonde" hair. She was found near I-40 and was possibly seen walking along I-85.
    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/558ufnc.html

    Well, I think I need a break from copy/paste/type for now.
    Anyway, if I didn't give a Websleuth link, they still probably have a thread. You should be able to find them by searching. The heat index here is over 110º and I'm already worn out after typing all day at work.
     
  17. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    While that may seem like a misguided priority, they kind of have to. The victims may have been wanderers with no close ties. But in order to learn more about the killer, you have to know more about the victim.
    Knowing who they were, you can learn about what led them to their fate. Where were they come from? Where did they travel? If a prostitute, what kind of Johns would they "specialize" in? (etc, etc)

    When you just look at them as nameless hitch-hikers or hookers, you have nowhere to start when you try to find out who did this to them. Since they are truly "unknown" victims, it is hard to know how the killer found them to victimize them.

    I'm sure he doesn't walk around with "I like to kill down-on-their-luck redheads" tattooed on his forehead*.

    So you have to know at least something about the victim to get to him. An identity may not help catch him quickly, but it's a better place to start than just a blind guess.



    *Didn't mean to sound crass, but I didn't know how to get my idea out in a simple way.
     
  18. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    I was reading a thread about another doe today and at least one of the pathologists or investigators says she had "auburn" hair. Her location would be just north the Rogers, AR doe (hc1355). It is also part-way between I-540 and I-44. The neighbors claimed they heard a scream and a loud (truck?) engine a few months before she was discovered, which coincides with the estimated date of death.

    http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/784ufmo.html
    [ame="http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=131555"]MO MO - McDonald County - "Grace Doe" 784UFMO, 21-31, Dec 1990 - in abandoned farmhouse - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community[/ame]
     
  19. bflocket

    bflocket Well-Known Member

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    Just saw this one. Earlier than the others, but had reddish hair and was dumped right off of I-65 (not just "near an exit" or the like).

    http://www.doenetwork.org/hot/hotcase155.html
    [ame="http://www.websleuths.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36930"]KY KY - Barren County - Male HC 155, ~35, Nov 1973 - Websleuths Crime Sleuthing Community[/ame]
     
  20. JeannieC

    JeannieC New Member

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    Thank you for explaining that to me. I hadn't seen it that way and it does make sense now. I can see now how the victims help them to create a profile of the killer and possibly lead to his arrest.
     
  21. prd2bokie

    prd2bokie New Member

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    I am guilty of the billion tabs. I also have 4-5 windows open too bflocket.
     

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