William 'Bill' Comeans: Media, Facts, Timeline and Maps **NO DISCUSSION**

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  1. GoingByMyGut

    GoingByMyGut New Member

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    William Comeans: Case Information & Initial Timeline

    Thanks to several posters, we have been given a lot of information from MSM and internet sources to digest across the first six pages of this thread. It helps me to cull and collate information from a deluge like this and look at it in a more organized fashion. Since I have done this for myself, I am sharing it here in case this sort of thing helps you too.

    That said, I urge you to look at the source materials if you haven’t already done so, because pulling out what seems to be valid information from media sources is a subjective enterprise. There are a lot of contradictions and errors in the press coverage -- some of the latter I’ve caught (e.g., one source saying that, including Bill, Mrs. Comeans has two other children, when in fact she has three; and a photo of Bill with his father’s name, Robert, under it), but some I likely have not. In general, I’ve assumed something’s true if I read it in more than one place, but that’s not foolproof.

    Caveat: IMO this timeline is best used after you've read the source materials. Only then will you really get what the abbreviated statements mean. Also, the timeline is not intended as a substitute for reading the thread. Posters' points of view, analyses, and later content contributions all shed new light on the preliminary information presented here.

    (1) From the Ohio Atty. Gen.’s website (TBM):

    UNSOLVED HOMICIDE: WILLIAM COMEANS
    Case number: 713
    Date: 1/23/1980 [Error: the homicide actually occurred 1/7/1980]
    Location: Buena Vista Ave., Columbus, Ohio -- Franklin County
    DOB: 1/7/1965 [Error: DOB is actually 1/11/1965]
    Gender: Male
    Race/Ethnicity: White
    Height: 5' 09" [One news source says 6’1”]
    Weight: 170 lbs [One news source says 177 LBs]
    Hair: Brown
    Eyes: Brown
    Law enforcement agency: Franklin County Sheriff's Office​
    Case Details
    William Comeans was helping his father work on family car. He then went two doors down to get his sister to come from a birthday party but it wasn't over, so he came home and told his mother that he would go back to get her. His parent's never saw him again before his discovery. They filed a missing persons report and police canvassed the neighborhood. William's father and neighbor found him at the dead end of Buena Vista Ave., which was the next street over, by the railroad tracks. William died later at the hospital. The cause of death was strangulation. On two previous occasions, in September and October, William was attacked by two unknown males and was choked on both occasions.​
    (2) From various sources (see listing after this post):

    PERSONAL INFORMATION

    • Family residence: Maple Drive, New Rome (Franklin County, Columbus, considered “the west side”).
    • Bill was a freshman at Westland High School in Galloway, Ohio.
    • Police describe Bill as “the perfect student, the perfect child, the perfect citizen.”
    • Bill had a passion for music, played piano, and was in the school choir and musicals.
    (3) Created by pdxmama:

    MAP

    For a visual of locations mentioned in the timeline that follows, pdxmama created a Google Map with colored pushpins showing:

    • Red -- The family residence on Maple Drive
    • Aqua -- Westland High School (where BC was a freshman and received notes in his school locker)
    • Yellow -- Prairie-Lincoln Elementary School (site of the 1st assault)
    • Magenta -- The intersection of Maple Drive and Beacon Hill Road (site of the 2nd assault)
    • Green -- Where Buena Vista Ave. dead-ends by the railroad tracks (where BC’s body was discovered after the 3rd and final assault)
    (4) From various sources (see listing after this post):

    TIMELINE

    September & October Threatening Notes Rec’d at School

    • Throughout the fall, Bill finds 3-4 threatening notes in his school locker, which he gives detectives.
    • Some are typed, some are written, and some are cut from pieces of magazines.
    • Bill’s best friend and a girl friend each also received a note in their lockers. These messages, typed in red ink, say “Blood will spill,” “It’s your turn,” and “Bill has three mths. left. ps. make the best of it.”
    • At least one note is found at Westland HS after BC’s death. It says, "You're next" and is signed with a red "S." (A source says this is according to BC's parents, as deputies would not confirm such a note was found.)
    • LE compares Bill’s handwriting to the handwriting on the notes.
    9/5/1979, Wednesday First Assault (Attempted Murder?)
    8:30 PM

    • Bill is on his way home from a friend's house and cuts through the woods behind Prairie-Lincoln Elementary School, at 4900 Amesbury Way.
    • Bill is on a trail 50 yards into the woods behind the school.
    • Bill is knocked from his bike by “two unknown men” who approach from behind.
    • They tie a plastic garbage bag over Bill’s head and wrap a bicycle inner tube around his neck.
    • Bill nearly loses consciousness but frees himself.
    • Bill returns home with bruises on his neck.
    • Police find inner tube, plastic bag, and BC’s bike at scene, plus note that says “He was warned.”
    • Bill later files an assault report with Sherriff’s deputies, and police find Bill's bike bag, inner tube, and note at the scene.
    • Bill is unable to describe his assailants.
    10/22/79, Monday Second Assault (Attempted Murder?)
    6:30 PM

    • Bill is out collecting money on foot for his paper route near Beacon Hill Road and Maple Drive.
    • Two men leap from an older model, aqua/turquoise car and jump him from behind.
    • They tie a rope around neck and leave him for dead under a tree or some shrubs.
    • Bill lies there unconscious for 5-1/2 or 6 hours, then walks home at 1 AM.
    • Bill arrives home with rope burns on his neck and a gash on the right side of his face.
    • Bill tells his parents what happened.
    • Bill quits his paper route after this attack.
    • Bill sees a doctor and files an assault report with Sheriff’s deputies.
    • Bill describes his assailants as two white males in their late teens/early 20s.
    • Four days later, Bill takes a polygraph test at Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation in London, Ohio.
    1/7/80, Monday The Murder
    About 9 PM

    • Sister Kathleen (age 9) attends a birthday party two doors down the street from the family home.
    • Bill goes to pick Kathleen up, but she asks for more time and Bill leaves.
    • Mother is in living room of family home.
    • Father is working on the car in the garage.
    • Bill brings his father coffee twice.
    • Bill wanders from the garage to the porch to the yard and never returns.
    • Nearly 20 minutes later the family becomes alarmed when they realize Bill is gone.
    • The family believes he was abducted.
    • Father says Bill would not have left the yard without telling someone.
    9 - 9:45 PM

    • Father searches for Bill with a neighbor.
    • Bill is found near the Conrail RR tracks at the north end of Buena Vista Ave.
    • Bill’s winter scarf was used to choke him and is still knotted tightly around his neck.
    • He lies face down in a snowy ditch, about two blocks from home, amidst beer bottles, broken tree limbs, and rusted car parts.
    • Brother Mike cuts the scarf free with a pocket knife.
    • Bill’s father and brother Bob give Bill CPR until ambulance arrives.
    • The ambulance takes Bill to Doctors West Hospital.
    • LE determines that, aside from the strangulation, there are no signs of a violence/struggle, no marks on Bill’s body, and Bill was not robbed (one source suggests he was not robbed during any of the attacks); they are unsure at this time if his death was caused by murder or suicide
    About 11 PM

    Bill is pronounced dead at Doctors Hospital West.
    4/22/80, Tuesday Coroner’s Report Released

    • Coroner William Adrion rules death a homicide. (Adrion may have had to put his name on all reports, as another source says Dep. Coroner Patrick M. Fardal conducted the autopsy.)
    • Finding is based on autopsy findings and sheriff’s department investigation.
    • COD: Cardiac arrest due to compression of the neck by ligature.
    • MOD: Petechial hemorrhaging shows he was most likely strangled.
    • Toxicology report shows diazepam (valium) in BC’s blood, but LE sees no evidence of personal drug use and does not know how Bill may have gotten any.
    • The report says Bill has internal injuries from the strangulation as well as facial hemorrhaging, but no other wounds to his body.
    • Coroner declares death “a very bizarre case.”
    7/21 - 10/31/80 Neighbors on Maple Drive receive threatening letters/notes

    • 13-19 letters (sources are mixed on the exact number) are received by eight families living w/in 200 yards of one another on Maple Dr. (or within 200 yards of the Comeans home)
    • Families on Maple Drive who receive the notes include: Armstrong, Baker, Blain, Comeans, Kidwell, Stormont, Tope, and Watts
    • Families receive identical notes on same days.
    • In July they start to arrive at two-week intervals.
    • Some are mailed, others hand-delivered at night (several sources say tied to porches and cars with leather belts; one source says taped; one source says leather straps).
    • First to be delivered in person arrive 9/9/80.
    • Sometimes arrival is 4 days apart, other times 33 days apart.
    • Handwriting is described two ways:

    • “crudely printed messages”
    • “neatly penciled on pieces of cut envelope.”

    • Handwriting analysis reveals all are written by same person. (Unclear whether comparison include pre-death notes.)
    • Messages are “very brief in three or four words or in poorly constructed sentences.”
    • Messages reported in press:

    • Parents should guard their children carefully, signed X.
    • “Time is short”
    • “[Name] is next” (seven neighborhood females, aged 7-50, were specifically named across in these notes)
    • “All have been warned”
    • “Death in October”
    • “U R Next”
    • “It’s time.” (left the night before Halloween)

    • Police believe the letter writer may be BC’s killer.
    • On Nov. 2, LE calls the letter writer a “terrorist” and go to Syracuse to get a psychological profile done on the letter writer.
    December 1980 54-Year-Old Woman Arrested for Penning Letters to Neighbors

    • Alean J. Tope, 54, of 387 Maple Dr., is arrested for writing threatening letters to her neighbors from July - Halloween.
    • Tope, a clerk in the Ohio Dept. of Taxation, and her husband, retired mail carrier Willard Tope, 56, have lived in the neighborhood for seven years and have four adult children (in 1980 they include a 22-YO daughter and three sons “ranging in age up to 30”).
    • Alean is allegedly diagnosed in November by a psychiatrist as having “dual personalities” (one source calls this diagnosis “tentative”); she had nervous breakdowns in 1973 and 1974; and she spent three weeks in University Hospital in November (presumably as a psych in-patient-- this stay shortly following the writing of the last note on Mischief Night/Halloween Eve).
    • At the time the neighborhood was alarmed by the notes, Tope claims to be one of the first to receive a note and participates in the neighborhood response to the letters. Early on, she tells the Columbus Dispatch, “This is a sick joke or someone ready to go off the deep end.”
    • She also tells police two men tried to force her into a van about a block from her home.
    • She also calls LE about prowlers, getting threatening phone calls, and attempted break-ins.
    • LE begins to see her as a suspect when her claims can’t be substantiated (once source says “proves to be false”].
    • The county sheriff executes a search warrant on her desk at the Dept. of Taxation Nov. 11 because she won’t surrender a handwriting sample or take a polygraph.
    • She is charged with disorderly conduct, pleads “no contest” (reportedly fainting and falling to the floor during the proceeding, something she reportedly had done several times since being found out), and is fined $50 (half of the maximum $100).
    • Exact charge is “did recklessly cause inconvenience, annoyance, and alarm to other persons by engaging in threatening harm to such persons when taken in the context of the death of William Comeans,” a misdemeanor.
    • Mrs. Comeans says of her, “She was a good friend, but I don’t even want to look at her.”
    • She offers no explanation as to why she wrote the notes.
    • LE claims she is not a suspect in BC’s death or in the writing of the notes he received.
    Sept. 1981 LE Proposes New Theory of Crimes

    • LE advances a theory that BC died of accidental suicide by way of autoerotic asphyxiation.
    • NYPD is asked to weigh in and agrees, while FBI calls COD “inconclusive.”
    • Coroner has not changed ruling of homicide and does not speak.
    • LE claims homicide investigation continues “officially” while detectives state publicly that they don’t believe BC was murdered.
    • Deputy Coroner claims ruling of homicide was given “to keep the case open.”
    • LE claims scenes of first two attacks showed no signs of struggle, and that in spite of wet ground from heavy rains, BC’s clothes and shoes weren’t soiled.
    • LE claims that BC’s responses to the lie detector test he took were “significant of an attempt to deceive.”
    • LE claim the trampled “death scene” [Bill dies at Doctors Hospital West] hurt their case: 35-40 people were present, many panic stricken, as the family and emergency services tried to save Bill’s life.
    • A teacher tells LE that, before Bill died, he asked him Qs about “how to make yourself pass out.”
    • Case remains open as a homicide.
    (4) From various sources (see listing after this post):

    EVIDENCE
    Medical Report
    • Bill sees a doctor after the second assault, and his physician sees signs that Bill was choked (the choking caused blood vessels in his face to rupture).
    Final Crime Scene

    • Knife, beer bottle, and scarf from murder scene sent to crime lab in London, OH.
    • Family: "Franklin County Sheriff Cold Case unit has files, evidence, the scarf, statements, the butcher knife, pictures, DNA sample, everything."
    • FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Lab and NYPD both perform "personality analyses,” using interviews with relatives, friends, and school officials, to determine "personality traits and habits" of the victim (a handwriting sample is included).
    • Trace DNA found on scarf, awaiting release of new testing procedure that will better preserve sample (test was expected for release in Jan. 2013, but has not yet materialized).
    CURRENT CASE STATUS
    A cold case detective says they found bodily fluids on the scarf and plan to send it for DNA testing, but that has not been done yet. Since there isn't a big sample, they are waiting for a new test, currently in the works, to become available.​
     
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    Pdxmama's CASE MAP



    [​IMG]

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    Bill Comeans Twitter Account Gives Voice To Teen Murdered 34 Years Ago
    Social Media, Newly Discovered DNA Breathes New Life Info 32-Year-Old Cold Case
    Family of teen murdered 34 years ago create Twitter account recounting his death from 'beyond the grave' as they continue to look for his killer
    [​IMG]


    Case of the Month: Bill Comeans Jan 11,1965 - Jan 7, 1980
    Defrosting Cold Cases - February 1, 2014​
     
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    Death of William Comeans being treated as homicide
    The Columbus Dispatch - January 18, 1980
    Coroner Says New Rome Boy Murdered
    The Columbus Dispatch - April 23,1980
    Bizarre' strangling of boy ruled a homicide
    Columbus Citizen - April 23, 1980
    Mystery Still Lingers Over Death of Billy Comeans
    The Columbus Dispatch - September 13, 1981
     
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    Fear Strikes A Quiet Street

    Reading Eagle - November 1, 1980

    Death Threats Raise Spector of Fear in Ohio Town

    AP, The Freelance Star in Fredericksburg, VA (?!), Nov. 1, 1980
    Neighborhood in Fear: Will the Killer Strike Again?
    Spoke Daily Chronicle in Washington state, Nov. 1, 1980
    A Day of Terror on Maple Drive
    The Hour in Norwalk CT, Nov 1, 1980
    Eight Ohio Families Live in Fear of Killer
    The Lewiston Journal in Maine, Nov 1, 1980
     
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    Death Threats Terrorizing Neighborhood
    The Columbus Dispatch - October 31, 1980
    Threat Letters Believed Written By Same Person
    The Columbus Dispatch - October 31,1980
    Neighborhood Saturated by Police
    The Columbus Dispatch - November 1, 1980
    Terrorist Search Enlist Aid of Handwriting Analyst
    The Columbus Dispatch - November 2, 1980

    Neighbor of Slain Youth Arrested for Penning Series of Death Notes
    The Columbus Dispatch - December 5, 1980
    New Rome Woman Admits Threats to Neighbors
    Columbus Citizen - December 5, 1980
    Obituary of Hoax Letter Write
    Aug. 21, 2012
    Alean June (Greene) Tope (obituary), Columbus Dispatch
     
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