Four victims and counting...
by Robert A. Waters
Daytona Beach is no stranger to serial killers. Eileen Wuornos lived there and was arrested at the Last Resort Bar. Gerald Stanos regularly patrolled the beaches, picking some of his estimated 40 victims from the area--in fact, his first victim was a local college student.
In 2006, police issued a warning that yet another serial predator is on the loose. He has escaped the clutches of the law for five long years, but investigators believe they are closing in on the killer.
His first victim was Laquetta Gunther, 45. A known prostitute, she was found in an alley and had been shot in the head. Julie Green, 34, was found dead on January 14, 2006. The circumstances were similar to that of Gunther. If cops had any doubt that they had a serial murderer on their hands, that doubt was dispelled when the body of Iwana Patton, 35, was located on a dirt road. Like the other victims, she had been a prostitute and was shot in the head.
The killer laid low for two years, then struck again. Stacey Charlene Page, 30, was found on January 3, 2008. Page had no arrest record but was known to use drugs.
Since the murder of Page, the killer seems to have stopped his rampage. Maybe the fact that police have obtained his DNA from two of the victims is part of the reason he went underground.
Here’s what cops know about the phantom killer:
He may have driven a 2003 Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable.
The killer used a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber Sigma Series VE to murder the women.
He left DNA but his sample was not found in the state of Florida databank or CODIS, the national clearinghouse for convicted felons who have been ordered to submit their DNA. Investigators have said there are other state DNA databases that aren’t connected to CODIS and they plan to contact each state and run the sample through those systems.
On March 19, the case will be shown on “America’s Most Wanted.”
The pressure is building on the serial killer. Here’s hoping he’ll crack.
If you have any information, please call the Daytona Beach Police Department at 386-671-5100.