The Mysterious Redhead Murders: Serial Killing or Mere Coincidence

The Mysterious Redhead Murders: Serial Killing or Mere Coincidence_ Forensic Yard (17)

Redhead murders is an unsolved serial killing case that remains unsolved till date. The case was named as redhead murders due to the hair color of the victims the killer assassinated.

Starting the killing spree from 1983 to 1988, some victims were strangled, some were suffocated and some were sexually assaulted along with strangulation. It was believed that the redhead murderer has killed around 6 to 11 girls, confirmed ones are 9 while the rest are not included due to inconsistencies.

The terror of killer was sustained in regions of Tennessee, West Virginia, Campbell, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, etc. Due to the areas of assassinations the killer was also named as “Bible belt Strangler”.

Overview & Victims

Several other bodies were found in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee regions which were thought to be victims of redhead murders but due to some inconsistencies they were ruled out from the theory. 

  1. On February 13, 1983, two elderly West Virginians spotted something laying on snow while driving on route 250. When reached close to the thing they witnessed the naked body of a white female.
  2. On September 16, 1984, a female with strawberry blonde hair was found lying near interstate 40, Arkansas area. She was identified a year after the murder by some of her friends with whom she lived temporarily. Her name was Lisa Nicholas, a 28-yr-old girl.
  3. On January 1, 1985, a decomposed body was discovered on Interstate 75 in Campbell. The girl was wearing jeans, a shirt, and a tan pullover.
  4. On February 24, 1985, another body was recovered from the DeSoto region of Mississippi. The girl was wearing a pinkish pullover along with jeans. Her hair was also reddish in color.
  5. On March 31, 1985, the skeletal remains of a white female with red hairs were obtained from interstate 24, Tennessee.
  6. On April 1, 1985, along route 45 of Knox County, the body of a white female was discovered in a refrigerator.
  7. On April 3, 1985,  the second body of Campbell County was discovered, this time place different from interstate 75.
  8. On April 14, 1985, another victim from Tennessee was found with brownish-red hair.
  9. On December 16, 1988, another victim was discovered from the Alabama state border with red hairs and a fully clothed body. The victim was also wearing two pieces of jewelry, one golden necklace, and a heart-shaped pattern-bearing ring.
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Investigation in Case of Redhead Murders

Investigators were called to the crime scene of the second victim and after their arrival, it was determined that the body has been brought here and the murder has been committed somewhere else.

The examination of the body showed the time since death to be two days prior to the discovery. This assumption resulted from two theories, one that the body was laid over the snow and another were footsteps moving away from the body.

The cause of death was not conclusively determined but was presumed to be suffocation or strangulation. There were no signs of sexual assault and the lady was well-groomed with auburn-colored hairs.

When analyzing the second body, experts concluded that the woman was strangled to death and only a sweater was there to cover her body.

When investigated further, investigators came to know that the girl had crossed a truckstop which indicates the murder to be after that. Investigators acquired information about Lisa and got to know that she was in a fight with her family because of which she remained unidentified for 9 months.

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The third victim’s body showed freckles and burn marks and similar to other victims the girl had short red hair. The age of the victim was estimated to be between 17-25. The autopsy report revealed her 2 months pregnancy while becoming the victim and her manner of death was inconclusive.

There were some tattoos inscribed on the body like THC, REJ, or RET. The cause of death was determined to be strangulation along with sexual assault. Her autopsy report revealed her smoking and nail-biting habits.

The next victim was also fully clothed and her age was described to be between 31- 40. This time the authorities believed that the murder is somehow connected to previous ones.

The case’s next victim was found fully naked with a yellow striped sock on her feet. Her age was estimated between 21-30. Investigators determined the cause of death to be suffocation and presumed that the girl might be on her way to South Carolina before her death.

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The condition of the next victim was partially identifiable. She was discovered with her skull and 31 other bones only which ruled out the determination of the cause of death and linkage to redhead murders. The girl’s age was assumed to be very less when compared to previous ones i.e. between 9-15.

The next victim was examined by experts and they stated that she was 6 months pregnant who was first miscarried and murdered. Her age was determined between 14-20 and there were several bruised wounds with one stab wound that experts conclude to be the cause of death.

The last victim was found to be strangled to death and sexually assaulted. The victim was assumed to be a runaway or hitchhiker.

SUSPECTS

  1. A 37-year-old truck driver, who tried to strangle a red-haired woman.
  2. A 32-year-old truck driver, who was interrogated for the case due to the accusation of raping a young woman in Indiana State.

Conclusion

Both the suspects were released due to a lack of corroborative evidence and investigators came to a dead end. The killer was never apprehended and was estimated to be dead or alive continuing his killing spree.

The decomposed body found in Campbell (January 1, 1985) was identified to be of Marie Farmer from Indianapolis. She was 21 yr old during her death. Yet with the extreme efforts of the authorities, the case of Redhead Murders remains unsolved.

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