if I kiss her I would have to kill her first.

— Ed Kemper
rss feed icon

Top 5 Most Recent Pages

Recent Posts

Subscribe here

Want to be the first to read the news on TwistedMinds? Enter your email address to subscribe!

New Look At Unsolved Colonial Parkway Murders


Between 1986 and 1989, at least eight people (four couples) were murdered along a Virginia route known as the Colonial Parkway. All four cases involve the slaying or disappearance of young people who were traveling by car in isolated areas. Two people are missing or presumed dead. The person responsible for these murders has never been caught.

The FBI believes those crimes are related (they were all young couples in “parking” situations in secluded areas), and there is a serial killer on the lose who is responsible for these killings and that person may have been (or remains) in law enforcement, possibly a police officer or security guard. Even though the case was never closed, it got attention again after a series of crucial photo evidence reached the public.

The first two victims were Rebecca Ann Dowski, 21 and Cathleen Marian Thomas, 27. Their bodies were discovered On October 12, 1986, inside their car. The vehicle had been pushed down an embankment. An autopsy found rope burns on their necks and wrists, signs of strangulation, and their throats had been slashed. Their purses and money were found inside the car. Both women were found fully clothed and there was no evidence of sexual assault.

In September of 1987 the bodies of David Knobling, 20, and Robin Edwards, 14, were discovered in the Ragged Island Wildlife Refuge. They had been murdered. The area they were found was on the south shore of the James River in Isle of Wight County, near Smithfield, Virginia. They were discovered about a mile down the river bank. Knobling’s truck was parked at the Refuge several days prior to discovery of the bodies.

On April 9, 1988, Cassandra Lee Hailey and Richard Keith Call were reported missing after going on a first date together. Call’s 1982 red Toyota Celica was found, abandoned on the Colonial Parkway in Yorktown, Virginia the following day. Neither body has ever been found, but both are presumed to be dead.

In October 19, 1989, the bodies of Annamaria Phelps, 18, and Daniel Lauer, 21, were found in New Kent County by a hunter in the woods near a rest area on Interstate 64 between Williamsburg and Richmond. They were found covered with a blanket. They had been missing since the previous month.

Four slayings are being handled by the FBI: two people killed — and two who disappeared and are presumed dead — on federal property along the Colonial Parkway. Four others are being investigated by Virginia authorities: the Phelps and Lauer slayings and those of David Knobling, 20, and Robin Edwards, 14, both of Newport News, whose bodies washed ashore on the James River at the Ragged Island Wildlife Refuge.

Agents met this month with members of the families in the FBI’s four cases and state and local investigators have recently met with the families of the Ragged Island victims. Also, last month, the FBI announced that, among other things, it was sending 130 pieces of evidence from its two Parkway cases for advanced DNA testing not available earlier. But Corrine Geller, spokeswoman for the state police, said last week that, “at this time we have not resubmitted any evidence. I can’t get into why because it’s an ongoing investigation.” But, she added, “it has nothing to do with the cost.”

Whatever their reasons are, the justice must be served because these victims can’t be forgotten, and all four cases deserve closure. It’s been 20 years since the last murder connected to parkway serial killer, and it seems like all the new technology still can’t do much about it. If you’re interested to read more about this case, I suggest you to go here.

And if you have any information concerning the Colonial Parkway murders or any of the victims, you’re advised to contact:

Virginia State Police at 757-424-6850
Federal Bureau Of Investigation, FBI Special Agent Crosby Brackett at 757-435-4708 NCIC Number: M-871430466


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

8 Comments to “New Look At Unsolved Colonial Parkway Murders”
  1. Rosanna Phelps Sedivy says:

    March 24, 2014 marks the day my sister would have turned 43. Not a day goes by that we don’t think about her or miss her terribly, but some days it just worse. I want to thank you personally for keeping the story out there and also let you know the correct spelling of her name is Annamaria. If there is only one thing I can do for her it’s to pass this around, it was one of her pet peeves. Thank you so much, her loving sister Rosanna

    • admin says:

      Hello Rosanna, thank you so much for your comment. I fixed the name mistake. Be strong, and hope for the best!

  2. Tonda Wolfgang says:

    To Kathy Erkelens – I can’t believe that you would even suggest that David’s brother had something to do with his murder. I personally know every member of David and Mike’s family and Mike would be the last person who would ever hurt
    David. This family has been through enough hell without people like you pointing fingers at the victims family members. You should be ashamed of yourself!!!! Unless you know the facts then don’t make assumptions

    *reason for editing: strong language*
    Please do not use strong language and/or insult other people. Thanks for understanding and thanks for sharing your opinion with us!

  3. kathy erkelens says:

    i’m wondering if michael knobling, brother of david knobling was ever a suspect in david and robins case. he had motive, according to his comments made, ‘he didn’t do anything that wrong,to be killed this way’.ok robin was 14 yearsold and she was going out with michael and his cousin jason,david was just subpost to to be the driver and after dropping her off he goes back and picked her up and went to a loverslane type place.

  4. admin says:

    Hello Bill, and thanks for your comment.

    Yes, I agree, too many lives were taken and not a lot was done. I am also glad the FBI is handling at lest two of the cases and I hope they cooperate with Virginia State Police in handling the evidence. Science has progressed, but it still takes a lot of time to do all the analysis, so it would be for the best if they started ASAP with what they have.

    Creating a task force sounds like a good idea, you should all unite and speed up the process if possible.

    Thanks again. Best of luck!

  5. Bill Thomas says:

    My name is Bill Thomas. I am the brother of Cathleen Thomas, who was one of the first two victims in the so-called Colonial Parkway Murders, which claimed 8 young people in and around Williamsburg, Virginia. These crimes remain unsolved; all of the families appreciate your interest and support

    We were so sorry to hear the news about Morgan Harrington’s murder. Clearly, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI), the FBI and local law enforcement need to be looking at the pattern of murders in this area over the last 23 years.

    Starting with the Colonial Parkway Murders, which claimed 8 young people, including my sister Cathleen Thomas and her friend Rebecca Dowski from 1986 to 1989, the Route 29 Murders, the killing of the Williams and Winans women in the Shenandoah National Park in 1996, the murder of the two Virginia Tech students in August 2009, and now Morgan Harrington in October 2009, and others, there is a distinct pattern of unsolved murders in that part of Virginia. With the exception of the two Virginia Tech students, all of these murders happened within a two hour drive of one another. Perhaps it is time for the Commonwealth of Virginia to step up and create a Task Force to break these cases?

    Since the story broke in that graphic crime scene photos of the victims had been leaked by the FBI in Fall 2009, we have seen much more attention and focus on the two Colonial Parkway double homicides being handled by the FBI. Yet much of the evidence held by the Virginia State Police BCI in the Colonial Parkway Murders has never even been tested for DNA using the latest forensic techniques.

    How many more people need to die before we solve these cases?

    Bill Thomas
    Brother of Cathleen Thomas

  6. admin says:

    Hello Jennifer and thanks a lot for your comment! Spreading the story is the least I can do to help and I really hope it will prove useful. No one will forget any of the victims and the justice must be served. I hope police will do their jobs right. You have my support. Hang in there!

    If you get any other news/evidence you want me to share in the future, just email me, or leave a comment here, and I will be more than happy to.

    Thanks, once again. Best of luck to you and your family!

  7. Jennifer Phelps says:

    I am AnnaMaria’s sister in law. Thank you for posting this and keeping our story alive. In recent weeks we have met with the State Police and they are going to submit our evidence for DNA testing. If anyone has any information, please contact the Virginia State Police – Richmond Division.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.