Other Articles Clipping from Towanda Daily Review, Sun, Jan 20, 1991.

Clipped from US, Pennsylvania, Towanda, Towanda Daily Review, January 20, 1991

forfor killers around the U.By FRED BATHSAP National Writer•miWas the killer who left Wayne Rifendifer’s body in the Pennsylvania woods the same murderous stranger who dumped Marty Shook’s butchered corpse by a Utah highway 2,000 miles away?Both victims were young men last seen hitchhiking. Both were found naked, shot in the head, their genitals carved away. Were their deaths, a year apart, connected to similar victims in Connecticut, Georgia, Kansas and Wyoming?And what of Cynthia McVey, found nude, hogtied and strangled outside San Diego? Was she the only victim of her killer, or is her death linked to dozens of local murders, and perhaps Seattle’s Green River killings?Around the country, police tackle similar questions about serial killings with little more to go on than lies and a few scraps of clues. It is a task of great frustration and little success.“They are a total nightmare to investigate,” said Lt. Ray Biondi, who was involved in seven serial cases for the Sacramento County, Calif., sheriffs department. “You don’t have any physical evidence, most times you don’t have the identity of the victim. Sometimes you don’t know you have a serial killer until the killer tells you.’*Organized serial killers are methodical, carefully choosing victims and leaving no evidence. Disorganized killers murder spontaneously, leave evidence and are easier to catch. Spree killers kill in bursts, then may stop, sated by their rampage.But most serial killers never quit once they have started.“If the killing stops, it’s our experience that he’s dead, he’s in jail or he’s gone to somebody else’s area,” said Terry Green, program directorof the FBI’s Violent Criminal Apprehension Program.And though few women are serial killers, investigators say it’s not unheard of. In one of the most recent cases under investigation, authorities in central Florida on Wednesday charged Aileen Carol Wuornos, 33, in connection with the serial slayings of seven middle-aged men.Investigators have gone high tech to track what they call the most elusive kind of killer. Computers sort huge amounts of information. Psychological profiles target a field of suspects. Phone bills, credit card records, even parking tickets are checked to place a suspect near a ,/nurder or disappearance.Yet victories are few, often the result of chance.“In traditional murder cases, you’d look at people who knew the victim. In these cases, if you were to bring the victim back to life, they still couldn’t tell you who killed them,” Green said.No one knows how many murders are the work of serial killers. Estimates have gone as high as 3,000 a year, but experts put the figure much lower. James Fox, a Northeastern University criminologist who has consulted with police departments on several cases, estimates there are 10 to 12 known cases of serial killers a year, an increase over past decades.“The average serial killer kills about six people a year,” he said. “Even if you double the cases, that means about 150 to 200 victims ayear.Whatever the total might be, it makes for a grim census. Forty-three women in San Diego; 49 Green River victims; 19 Miami women beaten and strangled over three years; perhaps as many as seven prostitutes killed in Washington, D.C., in the last 18 months.But even when arrests are made, mysteries remain. In November, Alan “Buzzard” Stevens, a 300-pound ex-biker, was convicted of the 1988 murder of Cynthia McVey, one of the 43 San Diego victims. Bonnie Dumanis, until this month a prosecutor involved in the investigation, said Stevens is a suspect in some of the other killings.“It could be one or two, but we don’t think it is 43,” she said.Seattle investigators were consulted for any connection with the Green River killings, which stopped about the time the San Diego murders began, Ms. Dumanis said.“We have found no connections,” she said.No place is immune to the carnage. Eleven men, most with ties toIndianapolis’ gay community, have been strangled and dumped in remote areas of Indiana and Ohio over the past decade. The bodies of nine women with backgrounds of prostitution or drug use were found along roads outside New Bedford, Mass. A local attorney has been charged with one of the murders.Hardest to track are the interstate killers. Authorities in Wisconsin and Massachusetts are interested in the travels of James Duquette Jr., now serving four concurrent life sentences for raping a 13-year-old Southampton, Mass., girlfour times.Duquette faces trial next year in the kidnapping, rape and murder of an 18-year-old Wisconsin woman. Several police agencies are trying to determine if he was in their area when young girls were killed or disappeared.But when there is no suspect, it’s hard to see a killing pattern that crosses police jurisdictions.Stevan Ridge, a Wasatch County, Utah, sheriffs detective, spent six years trying to solve the death of Marty Shook, a 22-year-old Nevada drifter whose body was found near Heber City, Utah, in 1982. The body was nude except for socks and “really carved up,” Ridge said.Shook was a stranger to the area, likely killed elsewhere and dumped by a killer passing through. Yet the case has haunted Ridge.“I would expect if a person from here was killed somewhere, the officers there would spend the same amount of effort,” he said. “We all owe it to each other.”Two years ago, Ridge submitted details of the case to the FBI’s VICAP system, a computerized database that tries to match murdercases from around the country. Ridge got a call from Stephen Toboz, a Pennsylvania state trooper with a 7-year-old murder case in his files.The victim, Wayne Rifendifer of Connecticut, was about the same age and build as Shook. He, too, was shot in the head. Like Shook, Rifendifer was found nude with his entire genital area cut away.Ridge sent Toboz the bullet taken from Shook’s body. It matched the one found in Rifendifer. Similarities also were found in cases from four other states. Still, there has been little progress.“Initially, I was excited,” said Toboz. “I thought we could do something. But all we could do was exchange information on the victims,not suspects.”Additional VICAP matches might help, but few departments use it. Only 4,000 cases are in the system out of some 20,000 unsolved murders on the books since the system started in 1985.Some investigators say VICAP’s 189-part questionnaire is time-consuming and bulky and that it looks at cases in the broadest of categories.“I don’t think it will work until a cop can sit down at a terminal and query some central location,”Biondi said.Some departments have developed their own computer systems. Washington State built its own VICAP-type program during the Green River investigation. Statewide systems are being developed in California, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and New York.More and more departments are trading information via computer and even homicide conventions in an attempt to help each other spot andtrack serial killers.The hardest thing an agency is faced with is when you have three murders and then they stop,” said Jim Bell, an investigator with the Salt Lake City medical examiner’s office. “It becomes your responsibility to let the rest of the country know because he’s out there and he’sping to kill again.”Such cases haunt investigators like Gary Dotson of Wichita, Kan. Since the 1970s, Dotson has been trying to catch his city’s BTK killer, who murdered seven, including a family of four.The murderer sent letters to the news media suggesting his own nickname, based on his method of binding, torturing and killing bystrangulation.The case was reopened in 1984 in hopes that new lab tests would turn over an essential clue that had been missed before. 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