Phantom Fusion: The Colonial Parkway Murders and . . . ?

As I continue with the preliminary pages and analysis on the strikes of the “Phantom of Colonial Parkway” on Q Files I see the Jason Voorhees element to the killings. The Friday the 13th series was quite popular in the 1980s, but I don’t know what inspiration if any that may have provided the killer. It is a curious aspect of the crime spree, however, that an analysis does reveal the swimming hole aspect of youths caught off guard.

The approach by the killer could have happened at a petting spot, and he may have staged clues to indicate skinny dipping holes to hide the actual area where he took his victims by surprise. In the case of Call and Hailey, who were never found, Call’s watch and glasses were found on the dash of his car, his clothes in the back seat. Yet the car was found where they never would have been skinny dipping. Either they really were out at a swimming hole or the killer told him to take those items off as well in order to solidly convey that image to investigators. I suspect the killer liked to leave false clues.

Today I work on the Lauer/Phelps murder, and these throw a kink into the lovers’ lane theory. They were at a rest stop on I-64 and were not lovers. Yet what happened in their case reveals so much about the Call-Hailey disappearance. It will also shed light on the others. lauerphelps

After I do the analysis page, I will engage in some fusion of facts. I will discuss the Winans/Williams double murder of 1996, one that is often linked the the Colonial Parkway Murders because of the apparent similarity to the Dowski/Thomas murders which were the first on the parkway in 1986. But I am also going to discuss the Hall/Margaret double murders in 1984. They were particularly vicious. They happened in the woods near an apartment complex and, sadly, have been attributed to someone “getting even” and not to a random killer.  There are many examples in the annals of crime where victims who led lives that had some danger to them are written off as the result of payback rather than the result of a serial killer. A famous example of how this theory confused one investigation is found in one of the ‘Zodiac’ Killer strikes. Vallejo Police were blindsighted for decades over the Ferrin murder, believing that because of those anonymous phone calls to her family members shortly after her death that ZODIAC must have known her.Whether that is the case here or not, I do not know, but it is necessary to discuss the case in relation to the CPM since it happened just west of Richmond, Virginia.

Another case which I will discuss is the far more recent case of the double murder of David Metzler and Heidi Childs at Caldwell Fields near Blacksburg, Virginia. This murder occurred in late August 2009. The young couple were also in a Federal forest area– the link with the Colonial Parkway Murders. All victims were either in Federal jurisdiction or State jurisdiction. I say “area” in this case because though the news articles mention the national forest the Sheriff seems to be handling the case, which is curious because it implies it didn’t happen right within Federal property.

All cases are also united by the stunning lack of evidence released to the public, none of which is necessary to protect the case. We do not know the caliber of gun used in the Ragged Island double murder. We know in the Metzler/Childs murder that the caliber was 30.30 so we can deduce a common Winchester lever action rifle was used rather than another model that might have been easier to trace that also fires the 30.30 slugs.

The killing field was just up the road from Camp Tuk-A-Way– another odd association with a traveling Jason Voorhees. Craig’s Creek Road was not isolated. All the locals knew the students from Virginia Tech frequently came to Caldwell Fields. Deer hunters abounded in the area. A 30.30 is the prime deer hunter rifle. A serial who knows the national forests would likely know the area, at least in passing. He would know youth came out there. But so little is known of this parking lot shooting that it is hard to draw similarities between it and the Colonial Parkway Murders. We know that Knobling and Edwards had to be taken off guard in the parking lot there.  Call and Hailey were surprised somewhere before their car was driven to where it was staged on the parkway. Lauer and Phelps were driven into the woods from the rest area parking lot where they were approached, presumably at gun point.

In the CPM the men’s wallets remained behind whereas the woman’s was taken. Childs’ purse was taken at Caldwell Fields. I assume Metzler’s wallet was left behind. Some say that Childs ran and was found at a distance from Metzler’s car, but that he was found therein. I can find no reliable source (so far) that says she ran. But it could be that the killer tried to get them to go into the forest at gunpoint and Metzler refused. The killer shot him in the car and Childs bolted or was told to run.

In any event, the tragic case must be discussed.

Sadly, the Metzler/Childs double murder does not present as a unique MO. The double murder at Jenner, California, in 2004 is just one example where a couple is gunned down without any preliminaries. Without more details it is impossible to theorize with any degree of confidence that the same killer who possibly traveled 180 miles from the parkway area to the Shenandoah in 1996, seven years after the last CPM, was still traveling about the Virginia State in 2009 and attacked again.

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Since 1990 Gian J. Quasar has investigated a broad range of mysterious subjects, from strange disappearances to serial murders, earning in that time the unique distinction of being likened to “the real life Kolchak.” However, he is much more at home with being called The Quester or Q Man. “He’s bloody eccentric, an historian with no qualifications who sticks his nose into affairs and gets results.” He is the author of several books, one of which inspired a Resolution in Congress.


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