7. The Colonial Parkway Killer
During the late ’80s, Virginia’s Colonial Parkway served as the hunting grounds for a killer targeting couples. The Colonial Parkway Killer murdered at least six people between 1986 and 1989. Two more people disappeared in the area and are presumed dead, but their bodies were never recovered.
Despite the murders taking place 30 years ago, the most notable developments happened within the last decade. In 2010, the victims’ families hired retired homicide detective Steve Spingola to look into the case. He opined that the murders weren’t necessarily the actions of one killer, particularly when it came to the first couple. Unlike the others, they were two slightly older women who appeared to have been bound and strangled.
In 2009, the case gained new national attention when it was revealed that dozens of crime scene photos had been used to instruct an FBI photography class and were, subsequently, released online. Although the case was never closed, the FBI announced that it would be dedicating new resources to solving the crimes and testing all the original evidence for DNA using modern technology.
So far, they have two new leads. They believe the killer might be a police officer, forest ranger, or someone posing as either one. Furthermore, authorities found similarities between the Parkway killings and the 2009 murder of a couple in the wilderness of Jefferson National Forest.
6. The Route 8 Killer
Off Route 8 south of Torrington, Connecticut, there is a remote wooded area which may have served as the dumping grounds for one or more killers since the late ’80s. Between 1988 and 2004, four young women were murdered there and they had one thing in common—they were all from Waterbury.
Curiously enough, investigators don’t have just one viable suspect connected with the murders. They have three. All of them are suspected serial killers and convicted murderers already in jail on other charges.
The first is Richard W. Rogers. Already imprisoned for two other murders, he is believed to have also killed Jack Franklin and dumped his body parts throughout the same region. Although authorities looked into him as a suspect, Rogers targeted gay men and dismembered them.
Another suspect is Steve Hayes. He’s in jail for the home invasion and murder of Jennifer Hawke-Petit and her two daughters. In a letter, he confessed to 17 murders throughout New England, maybe including the ones in Waterbury. However, authorities consider Hayes a pathological liar, possibly a serial confessor, so his claims are taken with a grain of salt.
Perhaps the best lead is William Devin Howell. He is currently in jail for one murder and being investigated for seven other victims whose bodies were dumped behind a mall in New Britain, Connecticut. Authorities believe he could be responsible for other murders.
5. The Hartford Killer
In 1991, Carla Terry was strangled to death. In 1998, Alfred Swinton was convicted of her murder. He was believed to be responsible for at least four other murders in the Hartford area between 1987 and 1991. In 2017, Swinton was released from prison after his conviction was vacated due to faulty evidence.
Swinton was initially charged with Terry’s murder in 1991, but there wasn’t enough evidence to establish probable cause. Seven years later, he was convicted based mainly on testimony from an expert witness who claimed that bite marks left on the victim’s breasts matched Swinton. In 2017, the Innocence Project showed that DNA from saliva left with the bite marks and from the victim’s fingernail scrapings did not belong to Swinton.
Despite his release, the prosecution made it clear that Swinton has not been exonerated and they are preparing for a new trial. The state prosecutor also clarified that Swinton remained a suspect in “a number of similar homicides.”
If Swinton turns out to be innocent, then police could be looking at another serial killer with a much higher body count. Back in the early ’90s, a task force headed by state police was investigating up to 19 unsolved murders within the state, including the killings in Hartford. All the victims were young women who had been strangled or stabbed.