Sunday, 14 December 2014

Lewiston, Idaho, Unsolved Murders

Another case highlighted by M. William Phelps in his "Dark Minds" TV series, features a number of murders and disappearances in 1982 linked to a local theatre in the town of Lewiston in Idaho.  The first concern was when Jackie Miller,18, and her step-sister Kristina Nelson, 21, went to a late night store to purchase some items.  They never returned.  Their mother searched but after time, called in the Police, who conducted a wider search.  The journey to the store would have taken them past a place they were both very familiar with; the Lewiston Civic Theatre.  They were both avid amateur actresses, working on various local productions.  A man was spotted going into the theatre, but he too, mysteriously went missing.  This man was 35 year old Steven Pearsall, like they, an amateur actor and also a musician.  But Steven was known to all as a very gentle,unassuming man, who had no maliciousness in him whatsoever.  It was inconceivable to picture him as a man of violence, but the mystery was his disappearance.  It did not bode well for him.  But it turned out that another man was there.  A man liked by some but disliked by others.  He admitted being there that night, and that Steven had been there as well, but claimed he hurt himself and went for a lie down in an office, and fell asleep.  He then claimed to have awoken the following morning.

    The case ran cold but some events did come to light.  In 1981, Kristin David, 22, vanished on a bicycle ride from the town of Moscow to Lewiston, a ride she had made many times.  She too, was part of the theatre.  So there was a connection to four disappearances; the theatre.  It was March 1984, and a young lad was on a roadside collecting tin cans, when, after the wind had blown his hat off, and he chased after it, he came across a skull.  It was on a hillside thirty miles outside of Lewiston.  A search by Police discovered two sets of remains.  Police thought they were the remains of Jackie and Kristina.  They were right.  A length of rope was found with them.  It was thought to be the same kind of rope used in the theatre.  Another connection?

    Phelps dug into the "Person of Interest`s" background.  This man had been interviewed twice by Police but now refused to take a polygraph and sought protection of a lawyer, stating he was refusing to talk to cops anymore.  This man had seemingly left a very dirty trail.  In 1979, 12 year old Christina White had vanished.  She was suffering from some sunstroke during a particularly hot day, and called her mother.  She advised Christina to bathe herself with some water and come home.  She would be watching out for her.  But Christina never arrived home.  She had vanished.  The last person to see her was "The Person of Interest."  He even offered to help in the search for her and was even trying to advise Police on where to look.  Was he trying to divert them away from where her body lay?  Christina was never found.

    But in 1972, a 17 year old girl, Antoinette, had argued with her boyfriend and stormed off along a beach one night, in Santa Cruz.  The next day, her body washed up on the beach.  She was nude.  Death was by drowning and Asphyxiation, so cops surmised it was suicide, as she had made suicidal comments before.  Seems tunnel vision is not the sole prerogative of British cops!  Then why was she naked?  Did she think, "Right, I am going to top myself but I must get completely undressed first?"  Yeah right.  But it does not stop there.  Police in San Jose received a call at 5.am, two days after the body was found, saying that somebody was trying to break into the Willow Glen mortuary!  Who did the cops nab carrying a torch and knife?  The "Person of Interest."  He pleaded to a reduced charge.  The only body in the mortuary, was that of Antoinette.  Why do you  break into a mortuary, carrying a knife?  What was he planning to do?  Then, fast forward to 1987, and a woman named Claudette was discovered dead in her home.  Police deduced it was an overdose suicide.  Who found her?  Only the "Person of Interest."  Is this man so unlucky to have death stalking him?  Or is there much more to him?  With Steven Pearsall not being found, there is always the lingering doubt that he may be the guilty man.  But many, and the Police also, believe he was a victim too.  He was thin and not very strong looking, mild mannered and no troublemaker.  A perfect patsy for a killer. Providing his body never surfaces.  There has been no proper evidence linking the P.O.I. to the crime and so cannot be named.  To this day, Phelps said he has done nothing to help the investigation or prove his innocence.  A terrible tale that hopes one day will be resolved.

Source; Dark Minds.