PHANTOM DNA– Worth Seeking

Genealogical DNA tracing is quite the rage, of course, for uncovering the guilty party through his kin. But there are crimes far back in history where there is no DNA– lovers’ lanes murders, for instance. There is little reason to suspect that there will be a solution (via DNA) to the Atlanta Lovers’ Lanes murders and several others where the killer merely shot his victims and escaped.

If the crime scene material was better preserved, however, from the Phantom of Texarkana Murders, there is a good chance that a skilled technician could lift touch DNA. A couple of his murders were particularly gruesome, and I should imagine he did some touching.

But to read what has been written on the Phantom investigation there is little reason to imagine the crime scene material was preserved, let alone pristine.

But . . .

Some studious criminalist/archivist in Texarkana perhaps should consider a search.

If the dresses of a couple of the female victims were preserved, there may be touch DNA when he carried their bodies or yanked them by the arm. It would be a great challenge, but one of the greatest discoveries in cold case.

I am eager to visit the area for the bulldog approach. Yet with a crime case like that, at present anyway, another book can only end with an accusation. Perhaps a publisher might put “SOLVED” on the cover, but we all know it is merely another accusation inside. Morris-today

Theory is easy. And too many so-called “solved” books have only given us another theory (on whatever case). If it is a sincere effort, there is, of course, nothing wrong with introducing ideas. But the marketing of today’s book covers is more or less clickbait.


Closer to our time, there is the I-70 Killer. If the I-35 Killer and he are one and the same, the last victim survived. He touched her. It’s worth a try there, from her shirt, or wherever they are certain she was touched. At least we have a face in this case, unlike with the aptly named Phantom.

It is unquestionable that the murderer of Winans and Williams touched them. These two were murdered in the Shenandoah in May 1996. They are often associated with the Colonial Parkway murders, though there may be no connection. They are associated because of the similarity (in some respects) to the first pair of murders there– Thomas and Dowski– in 1986.

Now, as to the double murder of Lauer and Phelps, also Colonial Parkway murders, the killer certainly drove their car and sat in it. But how well was it preserved?

There is naturally the Long Island Serial Killer. Much of the evidence was not in a condition to yield DNA, but behind-the-scenes we do not know all the evidence.

Effort I can imagine will be directed at those cases where there is a chance the killer is still alive and therefore represents a potential danger to society. So this would mean cases from the 1980s to today.

The most potent danger in the older cases like the Phantom or the Torso Killer murders is that there is little written on them and there is usually only one suspect proffered. Usually, this is because by the police methods of the time he was the main suspect, often for some reason that wouldn’t impress a detective or criminalist today.

At the very least these type of cases need more investigating and fresh approaches. They are the ones that need books where more suspects are introduced.

* * *
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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