Daytona Beach killer
|Daytona Beach Serial Killer|
Daytona Beach, Florida location of the killings
|Other names||The Daytona Beach Serial Killer|
Span of killings
|December, 2005–December, 2007|
|State(s)||Daytona Beach, Florida|
The Daytona Beach killer is a serial killer responsible for the murders of four women in the Daytona Beach area from December 2005 – December 2007. The killer has never been apprehended. The involvement of a serial killer was feared after the discovery of the first three victims.
The first known victim was 45-year-old Laquetta Gunther, who was found in an alley on December 26, 2005. She had been shot in the back of the head. DNA was recovered from the scene. The second victim was 34-year-old Julie Green, found January 14, 2006. She had also been shot in the back of the head. No DNA was recovered, but tire tracks were found. The tires were for a 2003 Taurus or Sable and in fact the exact tires were later found. Just over a month later, on February 24, 2006 police found the body of Iwana Patton, 35, on a dirt road. She had been shot, but not in the back of the head, and possibly had struggled with her killer. DNA was recovered, along with a shell casing that allowed police to identify the make and model of pistol used. (.40-caliber Smith & Wesson Sigma Series VE.) Ballistics from recovered bullets and recovered DNA matched. Authorities received an anonymous telephone call describing the location of Patton's body, but the caller was eventually identified and questioned, and is not a suspect in the killings. All three women are believed to have worked as prostitutes in the Daytona Beach area. Police believe the victims voluntarily accompanied their killer, possibly in a vehicle, and were subsequently murdered and dumped in the same area of Daytona Beach. The killer did not attempt to conceal the bodies.
The remains of Stacey Charlene Gage, 30, were found on January 2, 2008. She had been shot in the head. Police believe she was killed December 11, 2007. Police have further stated that the circumstances surrounding the case are eerily similar to the three previous unsolved homicides. Unlike the first three victims, Gage did not have a criminal record involving prostitution. However, she did have a history of drug problems. The van Gage was driving the night she disappeared was later recovered.
Other possible victims
In October 2006, the body of known prostitute Lisa Marie French, 39, was found in Sanford, Florida. Police first reported that French had been strangled to death, but autopsy results were inconclusive in regards to the cause of her death. Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood has since disclosed that French was probably not the victim of foul play.
The Orlando Sentinel reported that, "According to the FBI, the four killings are among 28 in Florida that are unsolved and connected to serial killings that the bureau suspects were committed by long-haul truckers. Those include 19 deaths along the Interstate 4 corridor between Tampa and Daytona Beach...", but it also noted that "all but one local law-enforcement agency denies any serial-killer cases on its books." The Sentinel identified as two possible further victims (1) Regan Kendall, whose dismembered body was found near Osceola Parkway and Boggy Creek Road in Osceola County in July, and (2) Kelly Lanthorne, who was found near South Orange Blossom Trail in Orange County.
Attempts to solve
The Daytona Beach PD used field DNA kits to take DNA samples from motorists fitting the profile of a white male with a girlfriend. The samples will be taken to a lab to match with genetic material taken from the crime scenes.
- Michels, Scott (9 January 2008). "Is Serial Killer Stalking Daytona's Women?". Cuomo on the Case. ABC News. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
- "Daytona Beach Serial Killer". America's Most Wanted. 19 March 2011. Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
- Waddell, Lynn (10 January 2008). "A Serial Killer On the Loose?". Newsweek via The Daily Beast. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
- Police: No visible cause of death
- Pacheco, Walter (12 January 2010). "Are 28 deaths the work of serial killers?". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 6 April 2012.
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