St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Tuesday, May 28, 2002
LETTER WRITER IS SERIAL KILLER, CONCLUDES CRIMINAL PROFILER ; "THE PERSON IS A SADIST AND SMART," EXPERT SAYS
Reporter Bill Bryan
A noted forensic scientist and criminal profiler told the Post-Dispatch on Monday that in his opinion the author of a letter sent to the newspaper revealing where a body would be found was a serial killer who would go on murdering prostitutes until he was caught.
"Unfortunately, you are dealing with the top half of 1 percent of serial murderers," said the profiler, Brent E. Turvey. "This person is the worst of the worst, sadistic but intelligent. This person has absolutely no remorse."
Turvey, of Bend, Ore., has studied hundreds of serial murder cases. He's written a book, "Criminal Profiling: An introduction to Behavioral Evidence Analysis. " He also offers training and consulting services in profiling and criminal investigation.
In the letter that arrived Friday at the Post-Dispatch, the writer said human remains would be found within "a 50-yard radius from the X" that had been inscribed on an accompanying map of the West Alton area. Police followed up on Saturday and found a human skull and bones at that location, just off of Highway 67. The remains were unidentified on Monday.
The letter writer said the remains belonged to another victim, and the author indicated that the locations of even more bodies might be divulged to the newspaper at a later time.
St. Louis police, who are spearheading a multi-jurisdictional investigation, have refused to talk about the letter.
"The letter writer believes he is brilliant," Turvey added. "And the letter writer has a proficient knowledge of evidence," illustrated by the fact that the letter was typed.
"There's only been a couple of serial killers like this person," Turvey said. "One was the Zodiac killer in the San Francisco area in the '70s who was never caught."
Turvey predicts that the letter writer will write again. "He'd love it if you'd print the whole letter," he said.
Although the grammar in the letter is good, Turvey said he could draw no conclusions as to the author's education level. He also can't tell the letter writer's age, race or gender. "You already know enough about this person - you don't need a profile. The person is a sadist, and smart - smarter than everybody working on the case."
The remains found Saturday were within 300 yards of where the bodies of Teresa Wilson, 36, and Verona "Ronnie" Thompson, also 36, were found just a few yards apart in May and June of last year.
In October, detectives from several jurisdictions in the St. Louis area began comparing notes after they realized that the deaths of six prostitutes whose bodies were found mostly alongside roadways might be the work of a serial killer or killers. The prostitutes were drug users, and most had ties to a trucking area in the Baden neighborhood.
This year, the skeletal remains of three unidentified women were found alongside roadways in the Metro East area. Those cases added to the list of the existing six cases.
Turvey was reached Monday in Sitka, Alaska, where he is trying to solve an 8-year-old case in which a 17-year-old girl was raped and murdered. He said it was fortunate that a police task force had already been looking into the killings here and warned not to make the letter writer angry.
Cite: Bryan, B. "Letter writer is serial killer, concludes criminal profiler" St. Louis Post-Dispatch, May 28, 2002