Saturday, February 6, 2010

Daniel Dewey, murdered by a twisted serial killer


An Unknown Serial Killer in Louisiana?

by Robert A. Waters

The last struggles of Danny Dewey ended in a patch of woods near Greensburg, Louisiana. The seventeen-year-old lay in a fetal position, hog-tied on the cold ground.

According to an article from APBNews.com, Dewey “was bound alive with [an] elaborate rigging. Knotted ropes lashed him wrist-to-wrist, ankle-to-ankle, wrists-to-ankle. Another cord was wrapped around his neck to his feet. The more the victim squirmed to break free, the tighter the ropes constricted his breathing until he was asphyxiated.”

No doubt, the killer stood watching, experiencing pleasure as the helpless boy’s final breaths rendered him lifeless. Some accounts of the crime assert that the boy had been sexually assaulted--others state that he wasn’t.

In any event, it was a horrible end to a short, sad life.

On November 12, 1979, deer hunters came upon the body. The victim had long blonde hair, blue-gray eyes, and wore pants that were too big for him.

Police were unable to identify the remains, so residents of the community took up donations to bury him. For twenty-nine years, his headstone read simply: “Unidentified Homicide Victim.”

Louisiana State Police Detective Dennis Stewart had been a child when Dewey was found. In 2000, Stewart obtained necessary court documents to have the body exhumed so additional tests could be performed. Dental records were taken, and DNA obtained from bone marrow. The new information was submitted to several state and national databases, including the FBI’s CODIS (Combined DNA Index System). Still, there was no match.

Later that year, Stewart submitted fingerprints that had been taken at the time of the boy’s discovery to another FBI database. This time there was a match. Records show that Daniel Dewey had been arrested in Baytown, Texas not long before he was murdered. He’d been stopped for driving a motorcycle without a helmet or driver’s license.

The detective contacted Billy Dewey, Danny’s older brother, who described a chaotic childhood. There were four boys, and they grew up in Texas.

“Our mother died in a car accident when I was seven and Danny was six,” Billy Dewey said. “We were all just sort of farmed out after that, going from relative to relative. Our upbringing was pretty rough.”

When Danny was seventeen, the family they were living with moved away, leaving the boys homeless. “The last time I saw Danny,” Billy said, “he was getting on a bus.”

In 2000, Danny was exhumed for the final time. This time he was given a family funeral.

While Detective Stewart was happy to identify Dewey, he can’t rest. There’s still an unidentified killer out there who has gotten away with murder for thirty years.

In fact, Daniel Dewey’s killer is almost certainly responsible for two other murders in the area. On February 1, 1978, the body of Dennis Turcotte, 22, was discovered near Abita Springs, Louisiana. The next month, the remains of Raymond Mark Richardson, 17, were found in a wooded area near Gulfport, Mississippi.

In both cases, the method of killing was the same as that of the Dewey case. “[Turcotte and Richardson] were in a fetal position,” Stewart said, “hog-tied, if you will. When they struggled, the ropes constricted and caused their deaths.”

It seems unlikely that two killers with the same unique MO would be operating in the same area.

What happened to the killer?

“I’m sure it was the same person,” Stewart said. “But after those three it ended. Either the killer died or went to prison.”

Or maybe he was institutionalized, became disabled, moved to another location, or simply stopped killing.

Whatever the case, the deaths of three young men scream for justice. And Detective Stewart is to be commended for his persistence and dedication. Without him, it’s doubtful anyone would have ever known the sad story of Daniel Dewey.

8 comments:

Infidelis americanus said...

PART ONE:
I cant recall clearly what I did this morning, but I can recall with absolute clarity much information regarding the Daniel Dewey murder over thirty years ago in November 1979 when I was fifteen. I assume that these memories stick so hard with me yo this day because of the degree that the incident disturbed me at that point. It disturbs me even now, traumatic "carry-over" from oh-so-long-ago, but also from the bizarre and malevolent nature of the crime.
We lived in south Louisiana until I graduated from high school in 1982, yet at that time we spent numerous weekends in north Tangipahoa and St. Helena Parishes, especially during hunting season. We had friends and relatives on my father's side there, and we spent nights at a very modest "weekend residence" in the small Tangipahoa town of Kentwood, Louisiana, while spending most of our daytime in neighboring St. Helena Parish. Later, shortly after I graduated from high school, we moved to St. Helena Parish when I started college in the south Tangipahoa Parish town of Hammond, where I remain to this day.
My parents really close friends with a family from Greensburg, and we spent much time there with our parents. My dad's close friend, Jack Foster, was a Department of Highways employee, but he was a volunteer deputy with the St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office under Sheriff Duncan Bridges. Mr. Jack got really deeply involved in law enforcement work, spending much more time with that than with his actual paid employment. I clearly recall him doing some local narcotics work, and other similar stuff.
My father went with Mr. Jack on a few occasional law enforcement calls, I believe actually doing some photography work on some of the few murders that were committed at that time in the area. Those were uncommon, but not non-existant, and I recall seeing some pictures of an elderly black man that had been shot and left in the woods. It was disturbing to me, and bothered me to a great degree, but not nearly so much as I would soon learn that I could be disturbed by such viewing.
One weekend during deer season of '79, we went to Mr. Jack's, and my brother and I poked around the yard while my parents spoke with Mr. Jack and his wife, Ms. Marie. I could tell by the conversation that the discussion was law enforcement, which was no surprise, and in fact, it was expected. But, judging by the hushed comments when we came near them, and the slightly furtive glances they directed our way, I knew that my parents and the Fosters were discussing something that at least had the propensity to rise to a level such that it would need to be kept from us. The mumbling increased in volume, and the sideways glances stopped,and we were called over to the discussion. In hindsight, I now see with absolute clarity that the decision had been made to expose us in some limited way to the discussion, solely as a way to help assure that we were aware of what could happen to you out in The World. I was fifteen, yes, but it sure seems like a different fifteen than now ... a more innocent time, even if only in perception.
We walked over, and Mr. Jack said, "Boys, I want ya'll to look at what was just found out in the woods by deer hunters", and he handed us a large, oh, probably 8" x 11" color photo. The image is burned into my mind even now...how accurate my memory is of it, I am not sure, but I could bet with some effort that I could identify it from a handful of different shots of the very same case, if such were even in existence then, and somehow able to be found today.
(CONTINUED)

Infidelis americanus said...

PART TWO:

There was a kid about my age, lying on his side on the lightly pine-straw covered ground. He was stark white in complexion with long, fine, and straight blond hair that rose somewhat upward from the top of his head almost as if his hair had been combed up, sprayed with hair spray enough so that some of it stayed poking upward even when gravity was working against it. He had on jeans, oversized shoes, and a black T short with "Sex is Better than Weed if You Have the Right Pusher!", and "Sworn to Fun, Loyal to None" on it. He was all tied up in some extremely weird configuration, multiple rows of 3/8" or so of white cordage snaking uniformly across his body, and it even seems to me now like there were layers of the longish hair streaming from the back of his head tucked evenly between successive rows of the offending rope winding around his neck.
I recall Mr. Jack telling me that the kid had been "hung upside down" by the bizarre and quite disturbing hog-tie rigging that he had been subjected to, and that the streamers of hair rising from his head were due to being hung upside down. We were told by Mr. Jack that there were two similar murders in nearby rural areas, and that the others...or at least one of them...were far more decomposed and even "partially eaten by 'possums and whatnot".
As you can imagine, this was a big deal then and it became frequent fodder for discussion for months or even years later, and the other things that still bounce around now in my mind are not nearly so clear, especially as to when/where I may have heard it. Some of it is as clear in my mind now as the foregoing, some not, and one thing in particular still stands clear in my memory. From the foregoing "less-than-clear-as-to-time,-place,-and-speaker" category, it seems that I recall some autopsy commentary from some point later on that there was one or more abrasions on his lower back, etc., with speculation that it was sue to the fact that he was tied up and moved into and out of a vehicle's trunk multiple times, likely being "held for days" and moved into and out of the vehicle, and I can recall Mr. Jack often referring, even if unintentionally, to multiple offenders, like "they did this", or the like.
On the day I was fisrt informed of this, I also clearly recall just like it was said to me yesterday Mrs. Marie saying to us, "See, now, that's why you never, ever get into a vehicle with someone you don't know. See what they did to this young boy? They took him, tied him up, and they hung him ip by these ropes and they raped his anus many many times, then they killed him and threw him away in the woods. Ya'll need to remember that!" (Incidentally, although Mr. Jack has been long deceased, Ms. Marie still lives there, and I definitely took her admonition to "remember that" well to heart to this very day). I recall later seeing somewhere in official paperwork that the victim was suspected of frequenting areas of male prostitution in new Orleans, most vividly recalling the reference of, I believe, "chickenhawk", "chickenhawk area", or something like that to describe this sort of prostitution.
(CONTINUED)

Infidelis americanus said...

PART THREE:

I can recall various other tidbits from that general time, most clearly something told to my father by Mr. Jack at some point months after that disturbing day. He told dad, and by default me since I was sitting in the same vehicle) that he (Mr. Jack) had gone to interview an inmate at some jail or prison in regard to the murder. Who this guy was, where he was, what he was incarcerated for, or even how he came to be a person of interest I have absolutely no idea whatsoever, but I recall Mr. Jack saying that he had "sat down with this guy and started to interview him", and at some relatively innocuous point in the conversation intended to disarm the suspect, he (Mr. Jack) slid crime scene photos of the victims across the table to the guy, asking "what can you tell us about this?!" or something like that. He said that the guy glanced down, saw the pictures for a split second, then slid them back very forcefully at Mr. Jack, saying "Get that disgusting shit the fuck outta my face!!". Then, at some point well into the most disgusting details of the conversation/interrogation, the guy's face and eyes suddenly "glazed over", and he reached out, picked up the photos, and began to pull them close to his face, turning them around at all angles while staring intently at them, studying them very closely in rapt silence until they had to finally reach over and take them back from him to get him to continue the interrogation.
As I said, Mr. Jack died many years later, and I have never forgotten this young boy, and I can recall seeing his local grave several times with it's sad and simple "Unidentified Homicide Victim" marker in Pine Hill Cemetery a few miles from my home in the Sixth Ward of St. Helena Parish. I would think of this young boy many times over the years, and then, many years later, when Trooper Dennis Stewart had the body exhumed and finally IDed the boy, it brought me right back to those photos of the unidentified young boy who was tortured, killed, and thrown down like a cigarette butt on the cold, wet ground so far from his home.
Considering the leaps and bounds made in technology that this case, with its uncollected contenporary evidence, voluminous by today's standard, and with several of its victims tied together by their shared place of employment, I still now find myself thinking about it from time to time, hoping to hear that Dennis (Trooper Stewart, a personal acquaintance of mine) found the no-good, predatory son-of-a-bitch that perpetuated these horrible, sick crimes. I even recall a point a few years ago when Dennis was looking into this cold case, calling him one night after watching a documentary about some sicko pervert who was luring young men into the woods of the Florida panhandle with promises of payment for their posing for bondage type photographs, then tiring them up and killing them, time after time until one finally escaped and brought the bastard to justice. From online info, it seems that I had figured that the guy would have been of the age of majority in '78-'79, and thus possibly the perpetrator of these horrible crimes in "the Florida Parishes" of southeast Louisiana, and the gulf coast of Mississippi. It was an extremely tenuous link at best, and I felt a bit silly afterward, this despite the fact that Dennis thanked me and told me that the LSP "had contacts with' the Discovery Channel'", and that he would "check it out". I seriously doubt that Dennis ever even thought about it again after my call, and that's totally understandable. I am sure that they get all sorts of silly amateur gumshoe advice all the time. I mean, Dennis is a good guy, and he showed it even then by not laughing and hanging up on me.
CONTINUED

Infidelis americanus said...

PART FOUR:
After Danny Dewey was finally IDed by Dennis, a good friend of mine's mother had occasion to speak with Dewey's family members around the time they took custody of Dewey's remains, and I believe that she somehow heard that Dewey was a Deadhead, following the Grateful Dead around to concert after concert, although I am not at all sure of that.

I hope that one day the monster that did this is caught. Surely, if there really is a Hell, he is headed that way, the sick, demented, and evil predatory bastard.

Robert A. Waters said...

Hi, Can you send PART TWO, THREE, & FOUR separately? My blog won't let me publish them altogether. Thanks for your compelling inside information. Robert

Infidelis americanus said...

PART TWO:

There was a kid about my age, lying on his side on the lightly pine-straw covered ground. He was stark white in complexion with long, fine, and straight blond hair that rose somewhat upward from the top of his head almost as if his hair had been combed up, sprayed with hair spray enough so that some of it stayed poking upward even when gravity was working against it. He had on jeans, oversized shoes, and a black T short with "Sex is Better than Weed if You Have the Right Pusher!", and "Sworn to Fun, Loyal to None" on it. He was all tied up in some extremely weird configuration, multiple rows of 3/8" or so of white cordage snaking uniformly across his body, and it even seems to me now like there were layers of the longish hair streaming from the back of his head tucked evenly between successive rows of the offending rope winding around his neck.
I recall Mr. Jack telling me that the kid had been "hung upside down" by the bizarre and quite disturbing hog-tie rigging that he had been subjected to, and that the streamers of hair rising from his head were due to being hung upside down. We were told by Mr. Jack that there were two similar murders in nearby rural areas, and that the others...or at least one of them...were far more decomposed and even "partially eaten by 'possums and whatnot".
As you can imagine, this was a big deal then and it became frequent fodder for discussion for months or even years later, and the other things that still bounce around now in my mind are not nearly so clear, especially as to when/where I may have heard it. Some of it is as clear in my mind now as the foregoing, some not, and one thing in particular still stands clear in my memory. From the foregoing "less-than-clear-as-to-time,-place,-and-speaker" category, it seems that I recall some autopsy commentary from some point later on that there was one or more abrasions on his lower back, etc., with speculation that it was sue to the fact that he was tied up and moved into and out of a vehicle's trunk multiple times, likely being "held for days" and moved into and out of the vehicle, and I can recall Mr. Jack often referring, even if unintentionally, to multiple offenders, like "they did this", or the like.
On the day I was fisrt informed of this, I also clearly recall just like it was said to me yesterday Mrs. Marie saying to us, "See, now, that's why you never, ever get into a vehicle with someone you don't know. See what they did to this young boy? They took him, tied him up, and they hung him ip by these ropes and they raped his anus many many times, then they killed him and threw him away in the woods. Ya'll need to remember that!" (Incidentally, although Mr. Jack has been long deceased, Ms. Marie still lives there, and I definitely took her admonition to "remember that" well to heart to this very day). I recall later seeing somewhere in official paperwork that the victim was suspected of frequenting areas of male prostitution in new Orleans, most vividly recalling the reference of, I believe, "chickenhawk", "chickenhawk area", or something like that to describe this sort of prostitution.
(CONTINUED)

Infidelis americanus said...

PART THREE:

I can recall various other tidbits from that general time, most clearly something told to my father by Mr. Jack at some point months after that disturbing day. He told dad, and by default me since I was sitting in the same vehicle) that he (Mr. Jack) had gone to interview an inmate at some jail or prison in regard to the murder. Who this guy was, where he was, what he was incarcerated for, or even how he came to be a person of interest I have absolutely no idea whatsoever, but I recall Mr. Jack saying that he had "sat down with this guy and started to interview him", and at some relatively innocuous point in the conversation intended to disarm the suspect, he (Mr. Jack) slid crime scene photos of the victims across the table to the guy, asking "what can you tell us about this?!" or something like that. He said that the guy glanced down, saw the pictures for a split second, then slid them back very forcefully at Mr. Jack, saying "Get that disgusting shit the fuck outta my face!!". Then, at some point well into the most disgusting details of the conversation/interrogation, the guy's face and eyes suddenly "glazed over", and he reached out, picked up the photos, and began to pull them close to his face, turning them around at all angles while staring intently at them, studying them very closely in rapt silence until they had to finally reach over and take them back from him to get him to continue the interrogation.
As I said, Mr. Jack died many years later, and I have never forgotten this young boy, and I can recall seeing his local grave several times with it's sad and simple "Unidentified Homicide Victim" marker in Pine Hill Cemetery a few miles from my home in the Sixth Ward of St. Helena Parish. I would think of this young boy many times over the years, and then, many years later, when Trooper Dennis Stewart had the body exhumed and finally IDed the boy, it brought me right back to those photos of the unidentified young boy who was tortured, killed, and thrown down like a cigarette butt on the cold, wet ground so far from his home.
Considering the leaps and bounds made in technology that this case, with its uncollected contenporary evidence, voluminous by today's standard, and with several of its victims tied together by their shared place of employment, I still now find myself thinking about it from time to time, hoping to hear that Dennis (Trooper Stewart, a personal acquaintance of mine) found the no-good, predatory son-of-a-bitch that perpetuated these horrible, sick crimes. I even recall a point a few years ago when Dennis was looking into this cold case, calling him one night after watching a documentary about some sicko pervert who was luring young men into the woods of the Florida panhandle with promises of payment for their posing for bondage type photographs, then tiring them up and killing them, time after time until one finally escaped and brought the bastard to justice. From online info, it seems that I had figured that the guy would have been of the age of majority in '78-'79, and thus possibly the perpetrator of these horrible crimes in "the Florida Parishes" of southeast Louisiana, and the gulf coast of Mississippi. It was an extremely tenuous link at best, and I felt a bit silly afterward, this despite the fact that Dennis thanked me and told me that the LSP "had contacts with' the Discovery Channel'", and that he would "check it out". I seriously doubt that Dennis ever even thought about it again after my call, and that's totally understandable. I am sure that they get all sorts of silly amateur gumshoe advice all the time. I mean, Dennis is a good guy, and he showed it even then by not laughing and hanging up on me.
CONTINUED

Infidelis americanus said...

PART FOUR:
After Danny Dewey was finally IDed by Dennis, a good friend of mine's mother had occasion to speak with Dewey's family members around the time they took custody of Dewey's remains, and I believe that she somehow heard that Dewey was a Deadhead, following the Grateful Dead around to concert after concert, although I am not at all sure of that.

I hope that one day the monster that did this is caught. Surely, if there really is a Hell, he is headed that way, the sick, demented, and evil predatory bastard.