Tuesday, 4 March 2014

The Daytona Beach Killer

As serial killings, there are  a great many we simply do not hear about because they do not have the media buzz about like Bundy, Dahmer, Ridgway, etc but these killers have one big advantage over their compatriots, in that they are still free or they have died knowing that they have gotten away with multiple murder.  One such case that I came across was that of the Daytona Beach Killer.  He is believed to be responsible for four murders, in that the similarity of the attacks, then a matching of DNA and ballistics, led Daytona cops to realise that they had a serial killer on the loose.  These murders spanned a two year period, from December 2005 to December 2007.

    The first victim was Laquetta Gunther, a 45 year old woman, claimed to have been a prostitute.  She was found in an alley on December 26th 2005, with a gunshot to the back of her head.  Police recovered DNA from the scene, but had very little to go on.  Then on January 14th 2006, 34 year old Julie Green was found shot in the back of her head.  She too, was thought to have been a prostitute.  There was no DNA found but there were tyre tracks found, thought to have been a 2003 make by Taurus or Sable.  The killer struck again on February 24th 2006, when 35 year old Iwana Patton was found on a dirt road.  She too had been shot but not in the back of the head, as it appeared she struggled with her assailant.  A shell casing recovered at the scene showed the weapon to be a .40 Smith & Wesson Sigma Series VE.  DNA and bullets linked all three murders.

    Then there was a long break from anymore killings, until the body of Stacey Charlene Gage was found on 2nd January 2008.  Police believe the 30 year old was murdered on 11th December 2007.  She was not a prostitute but a woman with drug problems, so it is logical to assume she may have decided to try prostituting in order to get drug money.  She ran into the wrong man.  A prostitute was found dead in October 2006, and was at first, thought to have been strangled but an autopsy was inconclusive.  Local Police Chief Michael Chitwood said that it was possible she did not die by foul play, which leaves it open to further investigation. 

    Two other murders possibly linked to this serial killer are that of Regan Kendall, whose dismembered remains were found between Osceola parkway & Boggy Creek Road - the dismembering is a different MO to the four - and Kelly Lanthorne, found dead at the South Orange Blossom Trail in Orange County.  Here`s hoping the killer(s) of these women is apprehended and punished.