Is a certain area of Conecticut’s Route 8 a Burial Ground for a Serial Killer(s)?
November 14, 2006, a hunter discovered skeletal remains of a woman in Litchfield just off of route 8 near exit 41 on the northbound side of the highway. Weeks later the victim was identified as 22 year old Jessica Muskus of Waterbury, She was originally reported as missing in Waterbury on Aug. 2, 2004.
This area of Route 8 has been no stranger to homicide and mystery. Years before, about a mile from where Muskus was found, the body of Karen Everett 24, was found off of Valley Road in Harwinton, near the highway in October of 1988. Months later in almost the same spot the body of Mildred Alvarado, 30 was found in January of 1989. Both victims were known to have engaged in prostitution, drugs and had been strangled. Some theories point to the same individual in both of those killings. In 1993 Evelyn Bettencourt was located near the Valley Road area and was shot to death. An individual was eventually convicted for her murder however, he is not a suspect in the deaths of Everett and Alvarado. In 1994, the body of Olga Maria Cornieles-Ubiera, 32, was found off Route 262 in Thomaston, approximately eight miles south from the Valley Street area. She had no history of drug use or prostitution and Police have never indicated whether they think her murder was related to the homicides of Everett and Alvarado.
One common thread between the four murdered women is that they are all from Waterbury. There is also an additional woman from Waterbury that is missing since 2000 named Bernadine Paul. It is believed that she is a victim of foul play. She was last seen at a Bradlee’s Department Store on Chase Avenue in Waterbury during the month of June.
On December 19th, 2021 human remains were found by a hiker a wooded area bordering Campville Road on the Harwinton/Litchfield town line. Months later they would be identified as 20 year old Brianna Beam who had ties to the Connecticut towns of Waterbury, Thomaston and Bristol as well as the state of Rhode Island.
But the most bizarre murder in this area happened at a now closed rest area in Litchfield not far from the other victims. In 1986, the arms and torso of 26 year old transient Jack Franklin Andrews were found wrapped in quilts and garbage bags. His head, legs and genitalia were never located. His murder is still unsolved, and police have theorized that he may have been the victim of a serial killer. His murder is not believed be related to any of the other homicides in the area. Convicted serial killer Richard W. Rogers has been considered a person of interest in the Andrew’s case. Rogers had been convicted of the murders of two men in New Jersey and a solid suspect in murders in Florida and Pennsylvania as well.
Convicted rapist/murderer Stephen Hayes confessed in a letter to an anonymous individual that he is responsible for 17 murders of women in New England. Hayes is currently serving a life sentence (commuted Death Penalty) for the 2007 Cheshire Home Invasion murders of Jennifer Hawke Petit and her two daughters Haley and Michaela. Many in Law Enforcement are not taking these claims seriously, as Hayes is known to be a pathological liar. However, Hayes lived in the town of Winsted for much of his life which is off of route 8.
A Familiar Method of Operation: Is a Convicted Killer Responsible for Several other Unsolved Murders?
From 1969 to 1970, there were four young girls from the Southern part of Connecticut. 14 year old Dawn Cave from Bethany, Ten year old Mary Mount from New Canaan and eleven year old Diane Toney were all abducted during the last two weeks of May of 1969. Their bodies were found dumped in the woods, they had been bludgeoned to death with a rock. In September of 1970, five year old Jennifer Noon disappeared on her way home from school, eight days later her body was found in a section of woods in the town of Hamden. She was also beaten to death with rocks.
At the time that Jennifer Noon disappeared, people reported seeing her with a white male that was between his late 50’s to early 60’s in age. He as believed to be between Five foot six inches to five foot eight inches as well as weighing 190 to 200 pounds. A witness described him as wearing a dirty, yellow pulled over short sleeved polo shirt. The man was also described as having a protruding belly but of a stocky build.
Police had no suspects in the case but noticed similarities to the August 1970, triple murder of three residents of a home for Mentally Disabled persons. The three individuals were all killed by being bludgeoned with rocks and dumped in wooded areas. In 1972, Harold Meade a truck driver in his twenties was convicted for the killing of the three mentally disabled victims. Witnesses of some of the four girl’s murders also identified him as being in the proximity of where the victims had last been seen alive. While Law Enforcement considered Meade a prime suspect they never had enough evidence to convict him of the other homicides. He was sentenced to life in prison and many figured that he would never be out in public again.
If it only were true.
In 1992, forty three year old Linda Rayner was visiting family in Connecticut when she went to Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison. Her body was found the next day in a remote part of the beach. The Social Worker’s skull was crushed by a rock and much of the physical evidence had been washed away by the ocean. Police have a prime suspect who was camping there that weekend who has a history of indecent exposure to women.
However, Harold Meade was in the area at the same time. According to statements from other prison inmates Meade confessed to Rayner’s murder. The three time convicted murderer had been granted weekend furloughs for several years despite his violent past.
Even though he is not officially named as a suspect in the Rayner homicide, Meade was no longer granted access outside of prison. According to a Hartford Courant article, he has even made confessions to other people about some of the murders of the four young girls. In 2007, Meade would die after a lengthy illness. He never did tell Law Enforcement if he was responsible for the murders of the girls. He only claimed responsibility for the three adults (William White, Sandra Hedler, and Donna Schilter) whose lives he took in 1970.
While Meade is a prime suspect in the murder of the four girls, there has been speculation regarding the murder of Mary Mount from New Canaan and that of a resident in the same town. A book by Erika Grey named “The Wind Cries Mary: Murders That Shook a Power Town” point to a seventeen year old young man named John Rice Jr. who brutally killed his mother, grandmother, brother and sister by bludgeoning them to death. One blog points to Rice as a possible suspect. Rice served time in a Mental Hospital but was eventually released in the late 1970’s for the brutal quadruple murder. Since then, he has apparently steered clear of getting in trouble with the law.
DNA Links Convicted Killer to Four Murders in Bridgeport. Are there Others in Connecticut and Georgia?
Emanuell Lovell Webb had already served time for manslaughter of a woman he knew in Georgia. Soon DNA evidence linked him to the murder of 34-year-old Elizabeth “Maxine” Gandy, .Sharon Cunningham, Minnie Sutton, and Sheila Etheridge. He was found guilty of the four murders putting his victim tally to five. However, during the late 80s and early nineties, more than a dozen women were killed in Bridgeport, Conecticut. He lived in Bridgeport from 1987 until August of 1993 when he moved back to Georgia. He was charged in July 1994 in the Georgia murder of Evelyn Charity, whom he sexually assaulted and strangled. Webb pled guilty and received a prison sentence of 20 years.
He was paroled in 2001.
Webb plead no contest to murdering Sharon Cunningham, Minnie Sutton, and Elizabeth Gandy. He is now serving what amounts to be a life sentence. He has not confessed to killing any other women even though he is a suspect in other slayings. However, Law Enforcement in two states are still looking at him for several unsolved killings.
Murders in the Berkshires, Is there a Connection
November 1st, 1974, was the last time anyone ever saw 18 year old Kim Benoit alive….except for her killer. She had left the Sons of Italy Lodge in North Adams and her body was found weeks later on November 16th in Florida, Massachusetts. She had blunt trauma to her head and was strangled.
Two years later on October 7th 1976, 17 year old Cynthia “Rocky” Krizack of Williamstown vanished after leaving the Williams College library. She was found murdered weeks later on October 31st off of Main Dalton Road in the Massachusetts town of Windsor. Her crime scene had similarities to that of Kim Benoit.
On April 17, 1982 Lynn Burdick (pictured)disappeared from the Barefoot Peddler Country store in Florida. Money was stolen from the store but there were reports of a failed abduction earlier that night in another town nearby. Foul play is suspected in her case. Some theorize that all three cases are linked and could be linked to a serial killer.
Several suspected serial killers have been looked at. Two are deceased. One from a standoff with police. Another named Lenny “The Quahog” Paradiso was a convicted murderer who passed away from cancer in prison.
Paradiso has long been considered a suspect in several Boston area murders of women. Law Enforcement also looked at an individual who was a one time person of interest in the Martha Moxley murder case in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1975. This person is a Williams College graduate and minor trouble with the law. With the conviction of Michael Skakel of Martha Moxley, that likelihood has gone down.
For more information about the disappearance of Lynn Burdick visit the http://charleyproject.org/cases/b/burdick_lynn.html
If you have any information about these cases, please call the Massachusetts State Police at 413-499-1112.
A Gruesome Killing in Chelsea Has Other Detectives Looking At Convicted Killer
It was on November 12, 2000 a disturbing discovery was made on the property of the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea, Massachusetts. The headless, handless, toeless body of a light-skinned black female that was between the ages of 17 to 25 years old. Even more disturbing, her heart had also been removed. In 2004, the head, and hands of the victim were found in a container on a beach in the town of Nahant. Surveillance footage and good detective work eventually led police to a man named Eugene McCollom who was convicted of the murder. He told authorities that he believed the woman was named “Lisa” and that she may have been from Philadelphia. She was a prostitute in the Boston area with short reddish hair. McCollom killed the woman after an argument about payment regarding her services.
McCollom was sentenced to life for the gruesome murder, however, McCollom also confessed to another slaying in East Boston. In March of 2001, he killed a man named John “Jackie” Leyden. McCollom beheaded his victim and left the body in Leyden’s apartment. McCollum then took the victim’s head and left it in Fort Lauderdale, Florida at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Leyden’s skull was found in March of 2002. Now police from both Massachusetts and Florida have been eyeing him other murders that have similarities. The 1995 murder of Darlene Toler who was a prostitute who worked the Miami-Dade area has a striking similarity to McCollom’s first known victim. For she too had her heart removed. In Massachusetts, two other murders have been looked at as possibly being committed by McCollom. The slaying of of 23 year old Kelly Ford, whose dismembered body was found on October 22, 2001, on Scusset Beach in Sandwich. Ford has disappeared on her way to an interview in the town of Marblehead. The other murder that McCollom has been looked at is the slaying of 17 year old prostitute Latasha Cannon whose remains were found on April 2001 in the town of Bedford. Whether or not McCollom committed these murders or others remains to be seen. For now, he is serving a life term in prison however, in a few decades he could be out on parole.
For more information about the unidentified victim of McCollom visit http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/421ufma.html
Is the Murder of a Hartford Woman the Work of a Serial Killer?
Christine Tortoro was a twenty-two year old woman who was enjoying living in a new apartment in the blue collar city of New Britain. She had lived in Hartford for the majority of life. In late August of 1988, her naked body was found near the Riverside Park Boat Launch along the Connecticut River in Hartford. She had been strangled. Since the investigation began, police have been looking for a mysterious man that was seen walking with Tortoro when she was pushing a silver 10 speed bicycle on Franklin Avenue. He could either be a suspect, or a valuable witness. At one time, the State of Connecticut offered a $20,000 reward to solve this case. It is possible that the reward still is on the table.
At the time, a Task Force was formed to investigate several murders of women in Connecticut. Tortoro’s was one of them. The cases looked at involved several of the cases on this site and occurred from 1985 to 1994. The murder of Carla Terry of Hartford garnered a conviction of Alfred Swinton. In 2018, his conviction was thrown out of court due to DNA testing that revealed that he might not be her killer. Other victims around the time of her murder were Tameiko Mayo (pictured), Deidre Dancy, Patricia Thompson, and Mary Shirley. All the victims knew Swinton and in some cases were intimate with him. It is possible that someone Swinton knew (a friend or acquaintance) could be responsible. Other murders that were on the task force include the homicide of Maria Parreno (pictured left) who was found November 2, 1989 in Newington (two towns away). The 21 year old spent much time on Park Street in Hartford where she battled drug addiction and was known by her street name “India”. Her body was found in the parking lot of Data Mail Service which was located at 240 Hartford Avenue. Her cause of death was a gunshot to the head. Her murder has some similarities to that of an unidentified woman murdered in New Britain in 1991. See second case down on savagewatch.com/connecticut-cases/
If you have any information about the murders listed above, please contact the Hartford Police Department at (860)757-4000. For the murder of Maria Perreno, please call the Newington Police at (860)666-8445.
Did a Murderer of Two Have Even More Victims
Hadden Clark was an oddity in life, he never could find the right path. Instead he turned to one of evil and in separate instances brutally murdered 6 year old Michelle Dorr and 23 year old Laura Houghteling who both lived in the state of Maryland. Clark admitted to the two slayings that occurred in Maryland and has told Law Enforcement that he has committed up to eleven more woman and girls across the Atlantic states. Law Enforcement in different states originally took the claims seriously. In an odd twist that would be seen in most movies and TV shows. Clark and an inmate that he befriended were taken out to spots where Clark had claimed to bury more victims in the nineteen seventies and eighties. The properties he showed them were on or near where relatives of his had homes at one time. Clark thought of his inmate friend as “Jesus Christ” and Clark himself was a cross dresser. Law Enforcement were taken to locations on Wellfleet, Massachusetts on the Cape area of the state as well as the allegedly haunted West Peak mountain in Meriden, Connecticut. No bodies were found. Police began to doubt Clark and his visits to sites were stopped as he was deemed an escape threat.
To this day, Clark has also claimed to be the killer of an Unidentified woman in Provincetown, Massachusetts in 1974 called “The Lady of the Dunes”. She was estimated to be around 145 pounds and 5 feet, six inches tall. She had long auburn or reddish hair that was tied in a ponytail with an elastic barrette. However, another convicted serial killer is also rumored to have killed her. Notorious Boston Gangster, James “Whitey” Bulger. (UPDATE: 11-2022, The Lady of the Dunes has been identified as 38 year old Ruth Marie Terry.)
While Clark may have lead the police to spots where there were no bodies, he is a proven killer. He should still be taken seriously. His two victims were known and reported immediately missing. His other victims could be transients and never reported as missing persons.
One possible victim of a serial killer in Connecticut (Hadden Clark or not) could be that of an unidentified white female found in 1979 on property owned by the New Haven Water Company property which is next to Route 34/Derby Avenue. They estimate that she was between the ages 18 and 25. She was also missing her wisdom teeth (congenitally) and had some fillings in others. She may had arthritis due to a possible missing vertebrae in her back. If you think you know who this woman is please call the West Haven, Connecticut Police Department at 1-203-937-3900 or the Connecticut Office of the Chief Medical Examiner 1-860-679-3980.
Did a Serial Killer Stalk Fort Lauderdale?
Three Victims. Black and Female. And police believe they may have been murdered by the same individual in Fort Lauderdale in Florida. The first one was found on February 17th in 1981. She was murdered “by unspecified means” and to date has never been identified. She was found near Everglade Middle School near a primarily black residential area in a field. On June 1st, an unidentified young black girl estimated to be around 13 years old was found in the same field. Just a little more than a week later on June 12th, a third woman was found murdered. This time, she was identified as 30 year old Eloise “Pip” Coleman. She had died from head wounds attributed to a weighted blunt object and had last been seen days earlier.
If you have any information about who killed these three women and who the first two victims may be. Please call the Fort Lauderdale Police Department at 954-828-5700.
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