WA WA - Julie Weflen, 28, Spokane, 16 Sept 1987

Discussion in '1980's Missing' started by littlereed, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. kemo

    kemo Well-Known Member

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    I've done a little checking on this case and I discovered that Julie had actually "logged into" the job site before she was abducted. I cannot absolutely verify that she "finished" the job, but the operating assumption seems to be that she got there at 2:00 and finished between 3:30 and 3:45 and the abduction happened when she returned to her van. This is interesting because if she were the victim of an opportunist who noticed her driving, followed her and then attacked her at her destination, he would have had to wait until she was done. This would have entailed waiting around where his vehicle might have been noticed. It would tend to increase the chance that someone she knew, possibly from work, could have done it. They would know that she was alone and how long the job would take but did any of her co-workers actually "clock out" before 3:30? (Or were any of them "out" during that time frame?). It is very important to know that she actually finished the job she was working on (apparently recharging Nitrogen to a transformer) If she "logged in" and was abducted before she really started the job, that would completely change the time frame. It would put the abduction at very close to 2:00.

    Google earth shows the area now to be rural Ag land that is pretty wide open and it is not clear that someone could park and watch/wait for her without being noticed by her or any passersby.

    I still think this was linked to the Deborah Jean Swanson & Sally Anne Stone cases because they share the unusual features of being abducted in a "public" area and having their bodies disposed of where they were never found (this is very rare for a "stranger abduction"). From what I can tell, Sally Anne Stone was abducted after leaving her car to go to her front door. Deborah Swanson was abducted as she returned to her car from a jog.

    While none of the women were very big, they were not particularly small and they were basically fit looking. They could be expected to put up a struggle and Julie definitely did. There was evidence of a big struggle near her van and indications that two men were involved. (This would also suggest that no weapon was used). If these were all linked, I'm wondering if two men were involved in the others since it just seems too risky for one guy to pull that off.

    I have no idea what might be found in her locker but the object of this latest effort seems to be to consider co-workers or other acquaintances. Apparently there was one "person of interest" who failed a polygraph. He is now dead. I recall reading about an older guy who lived near the crime scene who was considered somewhat of a suspect. Perhaps they were the same guy.
     


  2. Luckyswife

    Luckyswife New Member

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    Its a stretch but Wes Shermentine and Loren Herzog (speed freak killers) were avid hunters and traveled out of state. They are suspected of killing a hunter in either Idaho or Utah (not sure sorry). They went on hunting trips together. They killed people they knew as well as random victims.
     
  3. kline

    kline Well-Known Member

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    Yeah thats the thing about this one a case could be made for either option:
    Someone with a personal kink about Julie or a lone oportunist(or a pair of oportunists).
    Neither would surprise me except I guess if i was betting I would go with someone who knew her and had an unhealthy fix on her.
    It is unusual for a stranger abduction to not just dump the body somewhere but not unheard of.
    All you would need is a cheap pre-fab padlocked shed on private property with a dirt floor and youve got your own sick personal cemetary/trophy case.
     
  4. kemo

    kemo Well-Known Member

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    Assuming this case is tied to the Coeur d'Alene, Id. cases, a clear MO that ties them would be the perp(s) arranging for the bodies to never be found. As a rule of thumb, "organized" predators who do not know their victims generally dump the body where it will not be found quickly. Dumping down embankments along roadsides or accessing little used land via dirt roads and dragging the body into cover is pretty standard practice. Anyone familiar with the well known serial killers knows this. Now a certain number of bodies, disposed this way, might never be found, but three out of three suggests that this guy was taking more effort. Burning, burying or taking the body well beyond access to two wheel drive vehicles on Private land is the best way to arrange this. There is a lot of undeveloped private land in the area. Most of it is either pine forest or scrub. It is not uncommon for individuals who lives in areas like this, to own large parcels of undeveloped land but most people in the area do not. If a "POI" were developed who happened to own land that would be particularly interesting. Getting a warrant would be difficult without compelling evidence but, if that land had now changed hands, the new owners would very likely consent to a search.

    The key to linking these cases seems to be the time of the attack. If Julie was attacked right after she got to the substation, the MO seems to be identical to the Couer d"Alene cases. If she was attacked later, perhaps while she was working there or about to leave, that would be different. It suggests someone who knew she would be there alone for a determinable amount of time. This would pretty much rule out a stranger. (It is possible a perp who followed her waited before he "made contact", I doubt he (they) would have waited very long since they would have no idea how long she would be there.)

    The obvious answer lies in knowing how much work Julie accomplished after she got to the job site. Does anyone know? Did the Spokane Police find this out during the investigation? Do any of the co-workers know? It is doubtful here employers would still have these records.
     
  5. kline

    kline Well-Known Member

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    I see your reasoning and your questions are valid.I would hope investigators would have given them consideration(although,sadly ive come to beleive such common sense assumptions can lead to disappointment).
    And your absolutely right: Like with some of the local cases here ive studied the Coeur d' Alene / Spokane area is so surrounded with remote forest the places to conceal bodies are almost infinite.
    I spent about ten hours a couple of years ago with a group in a tiny canyon near Kendrick Idaho in connection with the Lewiston Civic Theater case searching for skelatal remains.
    What became demoralizingly clear within the first ten minutes wasnt that it would be hard to find a good spot to hide a body.
    It was which good spot out of the ten thousand I could see at a glance to look at first?
    That area was about one square mile of real estate.
    And you would have needed a thousand folks to even begin to cover it throroughly.
    In this case considering the area available to Julie's abductor you can multiply that dilemma by about Six Billion or so.
    Of course its about a forty five minute shot East up over Lookout Pass from that power station.
    Then you can add most of even more remote and unsettled Western Montana into the equation.
     
  6. kemo

    kemo Well-Known Member

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    You are very right; in that area it really wouldn't be that difficult to be sure a body was never found. Still, in the Lewiston Civic Theater case, only one body was never found; Steve Pearsall. As a victim, however, his situation was very different than the others. It was very important to the perp that his body never be found since, as long as there is no body, he is a handy "alternate suspect". It didn't really matter if the other victims were found.
    A body can be pulled from a car and rolled down an incline in a matter of seconds but it would take quite a bit longer to drag it 50 yards deeper into the woods. That’s enough time to be seen parked in a suspicious spot. Serial killers like Bundy and Ridgeway dumped bodies where they were not found right away but most were found eventually. This makes the Spokane/Coeur d'Alene cases unusual.

    Taking the time to make a victim "disappear" entails considerable risk. The perp wants the bodies "gone" and to be back being seen performing routine activities as soon as possible. Of course, if the perp owns land that others don’t have access to, it is a whole lot quicker and easier.

    If Julie was abducted soon after she arrived at the substation, I'm pretty confident it was the same perp who did the Couer d'Alene abductions, he (they) lived in the Couer d'Alene area (geographical profiling) and owns or has access to private land in the general area.
     
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  7. Skully

    Skully Well-Known Member

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    I am really glad to see some action on this case. How hard is it to go back and check property records there? I recall some one posting or maybe I read it, that there was a POI but they died. Can that person's addresses or family property records, could they be found? I feel strongly, like Kemo, that this person had a cabin or a place that they could have taken her to. I also feel that it is someone she may have worked with or they had knowledge she was on that job that day. Julie and I share a very unusual but unique experience, that is how I came to stumble on her case. I pray to God that something comes out of the locker that will lead them to her and her kidnapper. I also feel that, like Kemo, there were other woman he took and killed.
     
  8. kline

    kline Well-Known Member

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    Yeah,actually there are two that havent been found 12 year old Christina White is still missing as well.
    But yeah your right.
    it wouldnt surprise me at all to find one perp is responsible for all three.
    Ive always felt just as a gut feeling that Weflen's abductor had someway to hide her on private property.
     
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  9. wantjustice

    wantjustice Always hoping

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    I often wonder too if it was a passerby. Two men saw her, grabbed her and dumped her in another area or different state. I just feel that the area near I-90 brings a lot of drifters in and out of the surrounding cities. I often feel like there are many creeps in that area just driving through. I know that the Reno man who raped and killed that college student fled to the Idaho/Washington area to hide out. But it also could have been a stranger who lived in the area as well and knew how to dump a body or like others have said had vast property to do so. I go back and forth on this scenario that she may not be in Spokane but again there is a lot of desert and forested areas around the area. All scenarios make sense to me. So sad that she has never been found at least for a proper burial. May your family find the answers Julie!
     
  10. kline

    kline Well-Known Member

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    You know maybe someone could answer this....isnt the power station where Julie was abducted a fenced in compound with some small sheds?
    (All I know about it is what I remember seeing from news reports.)
    If so it seems like a risky spot for someone to try an abduction of random opportunity....how would they know she was the only one there?
    How would they know another company truck wasnt about to pull in behind her any minute?
     
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  11. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Well-Known Member

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    Kline, good to see you here. This case is very odd. I think Julie was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I think that she was grabbed by people lurking in those woods. I mean, how isolated was that substation? Were there houses nearby, schools, etc. Were there hillbillies? How dumb was her job to send her out isolated? Had Julie ever complained of going to isolated places like this? Was she the only female employee to do so? How long had she been doing this job? Also, Kline, is Spokane, particularly spooky? Has the area that Julie disappeared in changed significantly?

    That locker business is unreal and it seems to me her family could see the police for negligence. It is also odd that the locker was never reassigned. I don't know what to think. I don't think it was coworkers.
     
  12. Satch

    Satch Well-Known Member

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    Could someone at the plant wanted her dead? Would this explain why her locker was not examined for evidence until recently? What type of Q & A was conducted with regards to witnesses and persons of interest in this situation?

    You know, this case reminds me of the Karen Silkwood mystery, she worked for the Kerr-McGee Corporation and exposed a bunch of radiation hazards at the plant. She gathered evidence of all types of plant violations and was on her way to speak to a New York Times (I think it was) reporter. She took the evidence documents in her car. Later her car was found totally smashed with her dead body inside of the car. No documents were ever found, and there were theories among many that she had fallen asleep at the wheel, or someone tried to run her off the road. The plant shut down some years later, this happened in 1974.

    I wonder if Julie found something at the plant that she wasn't supposed to know about, which could be a cover-up as to why her locker was untouched. OR maybe it had nothing to do with anybody at the plant where she worked at all. Some nut-case just saw her working on fixing the equipment, she was alone, and they decided to grab her and most likely kill her, Very sad.

    I think DNA testing on Julie's car that she drove to the work-site, and the surrounding area where the tracks allegedly from a perpetrator's car could help solve this mystery. However, that incident with her locker not being touched all these years, suspects a possible cover up at the plant where she worked.

    Good to see though that according to the earlier post that company rules have changed, and workers don't go to the site stations alone.

    Satch
     
  13. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Well-Known Member

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    I don't think this is silkwood-esque. I think this was a rape and murder.
     
  14. kemo

    kemo Well-Known Member

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    I've done a little more research on this and here are the "fruits of my labor" for whatever they may be worth

    1) The contents of Julie's locker appear to be a dead end. It did raise interest in the case for a while but there has been no follow-up in over a year.

    2) Apparently Julie's toolbox, as well as her purse and sun glasses were found near her work van, which had its door open. Julie had signed in and apparently completed her work at the substation. All Indications suggest that Julie was abducted as she returned to her van. It is most likely that her abductor noticed her as she drove to or was working at the substation and waited somewhere until she finished. The land surrounding the substation is all open farm land but there is a forested area to the east. There are some residences now that may not have been there at the time. Form Google Earth, there is no obvious spot that a person could wait unnoticed but there is enough vegetation so that it is very likely that someone would have been able to find a spot to park and wait without attracting attention.

    3) Sexual predators use different methods of securing their victims. It is not all that common for a predator to abduct a grown woman from a public spot as she entered or left a vehicle. (Children and teenagers are more frequently abducted from the street). Parking areas (like the area where Julie was parked at the substation) are subject to witnesses unexpectedly turning up. It is High Risk, yet the fact that the perp was willing to wait over an hour suggest he was quite organized.

    4) There is compelling evidence that Debra Swanson was abducted at her vehicle after returning from a jog and Sally Ann Stone was abducted as she was getting out of her car after returning from a donut shop. Both of these along with Julie's abduction happened within a 15 mile radius and a 15 month period. The organized abductions at the victims' vehicle and effective disposal of the body are very distinctive MO's. I think it is highly likely that the same perp is involved.

    5) Detectives have speculated that there were two people involved in Julie's abduction. This was probably based on the struggle they would expect Julie to have put up. I think it is unlikely however. Tag Team abductors are very rare but not unknown. In this case, had two men abducted Julie, one would have taken the time to put Julie's tool kit and purse back in her Van and shut the door. Leaving the crime scene the way it was sloppy and would definitely lead to an earlier discovery that something was amiss. I think the perp was just having a hard time controlling Julie and wasn't able to get to the van.

    6) I’m thinking the perp was physically big and strong a quite confident of his ability to quickly handle a struggling woman. He would not have confidence in his ability to "charm" a woman into his vehicle through some ruse. This suggests his overall appearance and manners would be "rough".

    7) While there are plenty of other missing women in the Spokane area, no others really fit the patter/timeframe. Preps do just "stop" they also change MO's, move, or get arrested for other crimes. I think the guy probably lived in the Coeur d'Alene area where the first two abductions took place. That area was a hotbed of Right Wing Para-Military activity in the 1980's and attracted a certain number of men in their 30's and 40's who could be described as "loners". My understanding is that there is much less that now days and most of those guys drifted off to somewhere else. I wonder if there is any data base that tracks where men doing time for sex crimes may have lived before the "got famous".
     
  15. scriptgirl

    scriptgirl Well-Known Member

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    I really don't think it takes most for most grown men to overpower a woman. I think this killer was organized, but..were there cabins in these woods or a trailer? There could have been someone living in those woods no one knew about.
     
  16. Skully

    Skully Well-Known Member

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    I think Julie was taken into the woods and the perp had a place or a cabin that was vacant, empty and no one went there anymore. I think there may have been two people, but that is just a hunch.
     
  17. Shahla

    Shahla New Member

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    This unsolved case has lingered in my mind also. I read her story in one of Ann Rule's books. Recently I read it for the third time. I googled on it but there wasn't much extra info that wasn't in Ann's book, but I did encounter this website and decided to give it my two cents.

    Julie was 5 feet 4 and 110 pounds. A petit woman in very good physical condition, but in a struggle she wouldn't have been able to overcome an average man. But if any woman could've with same posture, she would've been one of those women. That doesn't say much about what kind of person took her. It also could've been a tiny man with a weapon or a big man with a lot of strength without a tool to overcome here. There could be two persons involved, but surely not necessary to pull this off.

    In my opinion, I think it is more likely there was 'just' one. A predator, a serial killer, active in or around that area in those days. Because only 19 kms from there, another, jogging woman, disappeared. She also has never been found. Plus, he took Julie during the day, in the vicinity of some houses, that was a risk. So, he probably had done it before and felt brazen enough to be succesful taking this risk.

    The time she approximately must have been taken, had to be after three but before 16.30. Her shift ended around that time and then she always showed up at head quarters. Around three she had her last contact with head quarters, to mention she had finished her task at that substation. She mentioned there seemed to be a nitrogen leak and she would go back. Íf she was stalked by a person for a while already and was taken why exactly that day and not another? And then it also would be more likely she would be taken shortly after arrival there around two, but that didn't happen, because people heard from her around three. And that person could not have known she would go back because of a leak. Then for all he know she could have gone back to head quarters and gone was his chance to take her. This also makes it more likely this was a random act from a person cruising through the area for a victim or taking an oppertunity at chance encounter. An experienced person.

    Even if she decided to not go to head quarters around 16.30 and just went home, she never arrived there. Because she had a phone appointment with her husband Mike for that day around 17.00. He would let her know if he would return late that night or the next day, but she never picked up the phone. Therefor there is little doubt she was taken somewhere else. Because they found scuffle marks on the ground and also in the dust on her car. A struggle must have taken place there on that spot. They also found deep tire tracks from another car next to her car. As if a person left there in a hurry, driving wildly.

    That also makes it more likely she wasn't dragged into the woods. There were no dragging marks pointing to that. Plus, they had sniffing dogs and assuming they were good at what they were trained for, they kept coming back to the spot around her car. Along with the other evidence in this, it's more certain she was taken out of the area in a car and brought somewhere else.

    I read Kemo's two cents and thought I would add mine. He or she seems to know more about that area and about that time. I never was there, I don't even live in that country. I had to go by what Ann researched and think about that.

    Although it is possible the perp was from the area, it's equally likely he wasn't and that it was a, for Julie, unfortunate chance encounter.
     
  18. kemo

    kemo Well-Known Member

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    Shahla,

    I haven't read Ann Rule's account. You are saying that Julie called in at 3:00PM to report that she had completed her job there but there was a problem with leaking Nitrogen and she planned to leave the work site but return shortly and fix the leak. Evidentially there was a reason she didn't just stay there and fix the leak. Why was this, was there an other job she had to get to first?

    Her purse. Sunglasses and tools were near her truck. I think she would have left her sunglasses and purse in the truck before she picked up her tool box but perhaps she took them with her. The fact that the door was open means she was entering or leaving the truck when the attack occured. Big question: was the nitrogen leak fixed ? ( ie was she entering or leaving the truck when the attack occured?). From that, the time of the crime could be established.

    Either scenario would be consistent with the Idaho abductions.

    The sub station was surrounded by open farm land. The would be no reason to park a vehicle near by so if the abductor parked near by, he would attract attention. If the abductor hid the vehicle in the trees, he would have had to move Julie 100 yards or more where someone might notice. More likely, he pulled up just as she was entering or leaving her truck. (as if he wanted to ask directions)

    My guess it was a total stranger but it could have been a co-worker who would have known the lay of the land.

    There was apparently someone who lived nearby who failed a polygraph. What do we know about him?
     
  19. Shahla

    Shahla New Member

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    Kemo,

    Nice to read you're still around and still interested in this case.
    I wondered about that part too. Did she even left the substation after she reported in around three and mention the leak? Ann is not specific in this, possibly could get no extra info. My educated guess is that it's more likely she was still at the substation but just in her parked car on the spot to report to head quarters. And that 'going back' just meant from her car walking back to one of the supposedly leaking tanks with her 'leak tech' bottle. For sure there is no mention of her first going to another substation or to head quarters and thén drive back. In the story Julie came across as an efficient person who knew what she was doing. (It then would be more logical for Julie to stay at that substation and check out the leak first before going anywhere else.)

    Also because of this she was promoted already a few times and had gained respect from her male co-workers. It was mainly a men's job/position and in the beginning of her career male co-workers had fun about her, didn't take her seriously immediately but her professionalism and knowledge changed the male co-workers mind. No one seemed to have a grudge against her. At least Ann did not mention that and that would have been important to mention. On the other hand. It isn't one of Ann Rules longer stories, which automatically exclude some details. It might even be a possibility it either did not come up, was kept secret from Ann, was not the case at all or was not investigated enough by either Ann or police or anybody else. Ann simply writes there was found no one who Julie knew had a beef with her. She also had never mentioned being afraid of someone or that someone followed her around that made her feel uneasy.

    Just like you I thought she must have been taken while she got in or out her car because they found the door open. Bút, then I read she always left her door open while working because then she could hear the dispatch from head quarters. That would make the theory less watertight that she was taken while getting in or out her car. According to her husband Mike, her keys and purse were found ín the car. Not near the car on the ground. Her yellow hard hat wás found outside the car on the ground. This indicates she was near her car when she got taken, but before she had the time to take them out. I think she would take those with her while she worked at a substation, as a precaution, just in case someone would come along because an opportunity thief could have seen the car door open with no one near it and would seize the moment to take valuables like her purse or even her car if she left the key in it? There is no mention if she usually took her car keys out. It might not? I don't know much about cars and if the dispatch system would have worked if she took the key out.

    How far was the substation from where she parked her car? Ann didn't mention it. That could mean Julie would not notice immediately another car parked there. But at least it must have been near enough to hear the dispatch. Otherwise it was no use for her to leave the car door open. That does indicate she would hear a car coming also.

    A predator indeed could use the ruse that he needed directions, just to get her near his car to drag her into it quickly enough to be out of there before he would attract attention. I think this is a likely scenario. He could have parked and called out to her if she was still at the substation but then she might have left her sunglasses and purse there because she would think she would be back in a minute. All the things we mentioned before, it is most likely she already was near her car. Probably was just done reporting to head quarters and ready to take her tool, sunglasses and purse to go to the leaking tank, when the other car pulled up.

    Ann didn't mention names of suspects in her story. About that she writes and I quote her here literally:'Over the years, one after another suspect in Julie's abduction has been cleared. There remain some likely possibilities, however'. There is no mention of someone other than her husband Mike that took a polygraph. Do you have a name we could Google? If not. The detective on the case during that time was Mark Henderson. He seemed to know Julie's husband from playing golf together once in a while. It could be an option to contact Mr. Henderson? Most likely he is not able to tell names, but it might be worth a try?

    Note: English is not my native. I hope my text is good enough. ;)
     
  20. kemo

    kemo Well-Known Member

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    Shahla, Very interesting about leaving the door open to hear the radio (this was before the days of cell phones). It is not documented anywhere I can find whether or not Julie had completed the job. Now I suspect that Julie was working in the Substation when the abductor pulled into the parking area and Julie went to him to find out why he was there. It just didn't make sense that the perp would park somewhere and wait for her to leave; he would be very conspicuous.

    I think it is most probable that it was the same guy that abducted Sally Stone and Debora Swanson over in Idaho. He appears to have followed the women in a vehicle and the abducted them at their destination. He then concealed the bodies where they were never found. Daylight abductions of grown women are extremely rare. This must be the same guy. This investigation was likely hampered by the fact that it involved Law Enforcement. Agencies in two different states. Does Ann discuss the Idaho cases?

    Incidentally, Your English is excellent.
     

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