Skip to comments.No suspect named yet in serial slayings Native women from Oklahoma are at least two of the victims
Posted on 12/09/2004 9:07:30 AM PST by Ellesu
The latest victim to be identified in a string of prostitute slayings was killed a year ago and had never been reported missing, authorities in Oklahoma said.
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation identified Vicki Anderson, 46, of Oklahoma City, as the woman whose body was found dumped off Interstate 40 in the Texas Panhandle. Anderson was last seen at the Flying J Travel Plaza in Sayre, Okla., trying to hitch a ride. Her body was found off Interstate 40 in Texas, 45 miles west of the Oklahoma border on Oct. 16 of last year.
At least four of the killers victims were last seen at a truck stop, and at least three were strangled. Some were also sexually assaulted.
Anderson, who was identified through fingerprints, is one of about 10 women possibly killed by someone targeting truck stop prostitutes. The bodies were found in Oklahoma, Tennessee, Indiana, Texas and Mississippi. The victims are disproportionably Native American.
"She had some folks who did miss her, but due to her lifestyle, she was fairly transient, and it was hard to establish whether she was missing, Terri Turner, senior intelligence analyst with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, told the Associated Press.
Investigators across the country continue to track leads in hopes of finding the killer, or killers, who they think works as a long haul truck driver.
"It's a pretty massive undertaking, looking at all the truckers out there," said Sgt. Todd Dearing, a spokesman for the Grapevine Police Department in a Dallas suburb. "We get tips and we follow up on them, but it just takes a lot of time."
Grapevine police are continuing to investigate the slaying of Casey Jo Pipestem. A passing motorist discovered the nude body of Pipestem, 19, on January 31 in Grapevine. Officials say she was she was choked to death, and then dropped from a bridge. Pipestem was a member of the Seminole Tribe. Relatives say as child Pipestem worked as a shell shaker at powwows, but later developed an addiction to crack cocaine and was pushed into prostitution by a boyfriend/pimp.
Investigation and tips have yielded no suspects, only persons of interest, said Jessica Brown, a spokeswoman for OSBI, the agency that is coordinating the national investigation into the deaths.
OSBI has labeled Carl Lawson, a truck driver from Lincoln, Neb., a person of interest. Lawson faces charges of rape, kidnapping and assault and battery with intent to kill a 51-year-old woman. The woman told police she blacked out after being punched and choked and woke up on the shoulder of Interstate 35 near the Kansas and Oklahoma state line. Her clothes were scattered around her and a passer-by stopped to help her and brought her back to Oklahoma City. Lawson has been jailed since his Sept. 14 arrest. DNA evidence from Lawson has been taken and will be compared with DNA found of the bodies of the slain women. Some DNA evidence has been found on the women, but it can be difficult to get an accurate match since many of the slain women traded sex for money.
Oklahoma City Police Department Capt. Jeffery Becker said law enforcement agencies investigating the murders have been notified that a DNA sample from Lawson exist, but he could not say which agencies, if any, had requested the sample.
Lawson faces no additional charges, at this time.
Officials are also searching for the man last seen with Taddemika McHenrey, whose body was found Aug. 7 at a rest stop east of Hydro. McHenrey was last seen getting into a yellow semi-truck cab with a slender black man who has two gold teeth and a Jamaican accent. In New Orleans, officials are investigating a former Oklahoma man's link to the murder of a local prostitute.
The nude and badly decomposed body of Katherine Collins, 47, was found in an empty lot on Feb. 14. Her body was not identified until October, when friends recognized an anthologist's reconstruction of her face.
Sgt. Paul Accardo with the New Orleans police department said Jeremy Bryan Jones, 31, a former truck driver from Miami, Okla., is considered a person of interest by the department. It's unclear if this slaying is linked to the other 10 murders, Accardo said.
Jones is a suspect in the murder of a Turnerville, Ala., woman who was found beaten, shot and raped in her mobile home Sept. 18.
As officials continue their investigation, there is a bit of good news. There are no new victims or at least they haven't been reported, Turner said. A victim's body hasn't been found since August, when McHenrey's body was recovered.
"Whoever the perpetrator is has either changed routes or gotten arrested for whatever reason," Turner said. "Something has changed in their life."
The body of a prostitute found strangled to death March 24 in Hendricks County, Indiana, gives an indication of the type of person law enforcement are working to apprehend. Buffie Rae Brawley, 27, was known to ply her trade from truck stops, just like many of the other victims. The circumstances of Brawleys death were brutal enough to shock police.
This guy is a monster -- there's no two ways about it. He tortured this girl," Hendricks County sheriff's Lt. Clarke Fine said after Brawleys body was discovered. "She was in terrible pain. I'd like to get him. I want to put him in prison."
A list of victims furnished by the Associated Press, not including Anderson is widely believed to include the following, although some may not be related and other victims may not be included:
Vesta B. Meadows, last seen alive at a truck stop in Knoxville, Tenn. Her body was found June 11, west of Harrisburg, Penn., along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.
Brawley, last seen at a Flying J truck stop on the southside of Indianapolis on March 23. She was found March 24 at an abandoned truck stop along Interstate 74. She had been bound, strangled, beaten and run over.
Pipestem, found nude near Big Bear Creek off Texas 360 in Grapevine on Jan. 31.
Patsy Laverne Leonard, 23, a prostitute last seen in Wichita Falls, Texas. She was found nude and strangled Jan. 1 in a creek in northeast Pottawatomie County, Okla.
Sandra Richardson, 39, of Oklahoma City, was found at the junction of Highways 62 and 48 in Okfuskee County east of Oklahoma City on Nov. 22. OSBI reports she died from physical trauma. The body was unclothed.
Sandra Beard, also known as Sandra Bates, age 43, of Oklahoma City, found along I-40 at the Tiger Mountain Road exit in McIntosh County, Okla. She was a prostitute. She died of asphyxiation and was found nude Sept. 18.
Jennifer Hyman, 24, of Oklahoma City, last seen at an Oklahoma City truck stop. Hyman, a prostitute, was found nude and strangled, below a Tallahatchie River bridge near Oxford, Miss., on Aug. 20.
Margaret Gardner of Memphis, Tenn., last seen at an Arkansas truck stop. She was found partially nude on an entrance ramp to I-40 near West Memphis, Ark., on July 11, 2003. A blow to the head killed her.
a young NJ woman travelling across the country was killed in a similar manner out that way at a rest stop a couple years back. They shouldn't just look at prostitute victims.
Truck stop prostitutes = quick money + fast death.
I'm sure that with the technology and databases available, any similarities between all the past crimes are popping up for the investigators to look at.