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