My daughter and I are working on a new book on a serial killing cold case. Imagine my surprise this week to learn that DC has another serial murderer. You would think this would have made more headlines than it did. A part of the reason you may not have heard about it is that the Washington DC police are downplaying it as much as possible.
In April of this year, the skeletal remains of three women were found in the Congress Heights neighborhood when construction workers enlarging a crawl space at an apartment building uncovered the first body. A search of the wooded area adjoining the house uncovered the remains of two other women buried in the same shallow grave.
The three victims, Jewel Marquita King, 48; Verdell Jefferson, 41; and Dorothy Jean Butts, 43 all showed signs of foul play. Ms. King and Ms. Butts had been shot, where Ms. Jefferson showd signs of being bludgeoned. All three disappeared from the same neighborhood where they were found at different times. Police did not disclose if bullets had been recovered, but it is a safe bet given the advanced stage of decomposition of the remains.
According to the Washington Post, Police Chief Newsham was open to the thought of a serial killer being responsible. “We would always consider that to be a potential in this case.” Really? While I commend the effort that the Metropolitan Police are putting into this case at this point in time, I think it s more than safe to say that we have a serial killer on the loose. These women all disappeared in 2006, not at once but over time. According to the FBI, a serial killer is someone who commits at least three murders over more than a month with an emotional cooling off period in between. Clearly these crimes are connected.
The Washington DC police have done a great job in using DNA to identify the victims. What has been glossed over is the fact that three women disappeared in the same neighborhood and no one connected the dots to see that they might be connected. This automatically puts the Metropolitian Police playing catch up with a killer that struck years ago. It does make on wonder, did the killer operate in other nearby neighborhoods and his other victims haven’t been found yet? What other murders are tied to these cases? What evidence has been gathered? How did the ball get dropped up to this point? What other community law enforcement agencies have been engaged in these cases?
DC and surrounding communities have a long history of unsolved murder sprees that qualify as serial killings. Look at the Suitland Slayings in the 1980’s where a number of victims were found in Suitland Maryland and their cases never resolved. There’s the Freeway Phantom case – and others.
These victims and these cases cannot be treated lightly or glossed over.