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 havent 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 Ive 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 fathers name, Robert, under it), but some I likely have not. In general, Ive assumed somethings true if I read it in more than one place, but thats 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 COMEANSCase 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 61] Weight: 170 lbs [One news source says 177 LBs] Hair: Brown Eyes: Brown Law enforcement agency: Franklin County Sheriff's OfficeCase 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 BCs body was discovered after the 3rd and final assault) (4) From various sources (see listing after this post): TIMELINE September & October Threatening Notes Recd 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. Bills best friend and a girl friend each also received a note in their lockers. These messages, typed in red ink, say Blood will spill, Its your turn, and Bill has three mths. left. ps. make the best of it. At least one note is found at Westland HS after BCs 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 Bills 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 Bills 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 BCs bike at scene, plus note that says He was warned. Bill later files an assault report with Sherriffs 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 Sheriffs 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. Bills 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. Bills 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 Bills 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 Coroners 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 sheriffs 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 BCs 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 Its time. (left the night before Halloween) Police believe the letter writer may be BCs 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 cant 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 wont 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 dont 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 BCs 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 dont 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, BCs clothes and shoes werent soiled. LE claims that BCs 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 Bills 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): EVIDENCEMedical 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." FBIs 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 STATUSA 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.