Kemberly Ramer Case Back in the News

The unsolved 1997 disappearance of Kemberly Lorin Ramer, which I previously wrote about here, is back in the news.

The Andalusia Star-News is currently running a series on Covington County's unsolved cases called "Somebody Knows Something." Kemberly Ramer's case was featured on Tuesday:

http://www.andalusiastarnews.com/201...-girl-is-dead/

Gone in the Great Smoky Mountains

Great Smoky Mountains National Park sees more visitors each year than any other national park in the United States. It encompasses 522,419 acres (816.28 square miles), features elevations from 876 feet (at the mouth of Abrams Creek) to 6,643 feet (summit of Clingmans Dome), and is home to as many as 100,000 species of plants and animals, including some 2,000 black bears as well as panthers, rattlesnakes, and wild hogs.

While GSMNP — with its flowing streams and rivers, jagged cliffs and crevices, dense thickets of vegetation, and mazes of canyons — seems an easy place to go missing, unresolved disappearances within the park are rare. Today an average of 20 to 30 people are reported missing in the park per year, and 90-95% of those people are found within twelve hours.

However, 3 mysterious disappearances spanning the last 40-plus years haunt GSMNP:

Dennis Lloyd Martin

Along the Tennessee-North Carolina border, three thousand feet above Cades Cove to the north and Fontana Lake to the south, a highland meadow covering approximately 200 acres spreads out atop a crest. Featuring thick grass and sparse tree coverage, the meadow is split from east to west by the Appalachian Trail; a shelter just off the trail provides hikers a place to camp overnight. This is Spence Field.


Saturday afternoon, June 14, 1969. Father’s Day. Dennis Lloyd Martin, due to turn 7 in six days, was for the first time taking part in the Martin family tradition of spending Father's Day weekend in the Smokies. He was there with his father, grandfather, and brother Douglas, as well as other Martin family members.

As five adults talked and watched from a grassy clearing nearby, Dennis, his brother, and two other young boys gathered and began whispering behind some clumps of bushes. They had an idea: circle around through the woods, sneak up on the adults from behind and scare them.

Douglas and the other two boys went southwest. Dennis, wearing a red shirt that day that the others felt would give them away and spoil their joke, was sent off by himself; he went northwest along the Appalachian Trail and disappeared into the forest. Moments later, the group of three boys jumped out; Dennis did not. He was nowhere to be found.

Dennis Martin

Hampering early search efforts, heavy rains (between 2 and 3 inches) fell that night, and the rain continued through the week that followed.

The search for Dennis Martin — one of the largest in National Park Service history — would ultimately last a full three months, until September 11, 1969. The case gained national attention.

Thousands of searchers were employed, including some who had grown up on the land and so were very familiar with its idiosyncrasies. National Guard units were called in. Green Berets from Fort Bragg, North Carolina searched the mountains for weeks, feasting on rattlesnakes when they got hungry. Bloodhounds and helicopters were used. A total of $65,000 was spent on the search. The FBI investigated. An estimated 70,000 linear miles were said to have been walked by searchers.


A few potential clues were found but quickly eliminated as having anything to do with the disappearance:

Though footprints made by young children were discovered during the search, park officials believed the chances that any of them belonged to Dennis were remote.

Six weeks after the disappearance, a man came forward and told park officials he had heard a scream the evening of June 14 in the Sea Branch area of the park. Sea Branch, it was believed by park officials, was too far from Spence Field for the scream to have belonged to Dennis Martin.

October of 1969 brought another false lead, as a pair of boy's underwear were found near a shelter at Spence Field; Dennis Martin's mother, though, said they did not belong to her son.

In the end, no trace of Dennis Martin was ever found.

Trenny Lynn Gibson

A 16-year-old sophomore at Bearden High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, Trenny Lynn Gibson accompanied 40 of her classmates on a field trip to GSMNP on October 8, 1976.

Upon arriving, the class got off the bus in the Clingmans Dome parking area and separated into small groups for the hike to Andrews Bald. Trenny, wearing a blue blouse, a blue and white striped sweater, blue jeans, and blue Adidas shoes, jumped from group to group during the hike that day. She was often seen with classmate Robert Simpson, and at one point Trenny borrowed his brown plaid jacket.

Trenny Gibson
 
Trenny was last seen at approximately 3:00 p.m. near Clingmans Dome, walking on a steep trail with sharp dropoffs and dense undergrowth on both sides. Although Trenny was walking alone when last seen, there were groups of students behind and in front of her. No one claimed to have seen anything that could possibly be related to Trenny's disappearance.
 
Extensive searches of the park lasted through the end of the month, but Trenny Gibson was never located.
 
Robert Simpson was later found to have Trenny's comb in his car. According to Trenny's mother, the comb was something Trenny never parted with under any circumstances. Simpson was never questioned in the matter.
 
During the search for Trenny Gibson, two potential clues were discovered:
 
A recently-opened can of beer and three cigarette butts were found on the trail near where Trenny was last seen.
 
Tracking dogs were immediately brought in to aid in the search. They picked up Trenny's scent and followed it 1.6 miles from the Clingmans Dome parking area to a highway roadside. On Sunday, October 10, three additional tracking dogs were brought in; working separately from the first group, the dogs tracked Trenny's scent to the same roadside. It was here that searchers discovered cigarette butts matching the brand of those found on the trail near where Trenny was last seen.
 
Thelma Pauline "Polly" Melton
 
On the afternoon of Friday, September 25, 1981, Pauline Melton prepared a spaghetti sauce for that night's dinner and took a nap before heading out to hike Deep Creek Trail with two friends.
 
Pauline had been hiking Deep Creek Trail for close to 20 years, and so was very familiar with the trail. Just after 4:00 p.m., she suddenly sped up her pace and walked ahead of her friends. The friends thought this odd — Pauline was overweight, a smoker who suffered from high blood pressure — and they jokingly called out to her about her sudden burst of energy. Pauline turned and laughed and kept going.
 
The friends then saw her walk over a hill on the trail and out of view; when the friends crested the hill, Pauline was nowhere in sight.
 
The friends thought Pauline must've returned to the nearby campground where the trailer belonging to Melton and her husband was parked. At approximately 4:30 p.m. the friends arrived at the campground and found Pauline's husband inside the trailer; he had not seen Pauline since the three friends departed for their hike earlier.
 
At 6:00 p.m. Pauline was reported missing to a park ranger. Her familiarity with Deep Creek Trail was noted. Upon examination of the trail, there was no sign that anyone had ventured off the trail's path.
 
Pauline Melton has never been found.
 
Pauline Melton circa 1981
 
Though she had suffered from minor bouts of depression in the past, and though she was grieving at the time of her disappearance over the recent death of her mother, Pauline was not thought to have been suicidal. She left behind her medications, her money, and her identification when she disappeared. She was not permitted to drive during September 1981, so she had no car keys.
 
Some strange facts surfaced in light of Pauline Melton's disappearance:
 
Her husband noticed a bottle of his Valium prescription was missing.
 
Pauline volunteered daily at a center where she served meals to senior citizens, and she never missed a day — until, that is, the morning of September 25, the day she would later vanish. The reason for her absence was never made clear.
 
Pauline's supervisor at the center where she volunteered reported to authorities that Pauline had never once used the center's telephone — until the day prior to her disappearance, when she placed several calls to an unknown individual. The calls were not long distance.
 
Based on some comments made by Pauline, her minister believed she may have been having an extramarital affair at the time of her disappearance, though no evidence has ever been found that supports this theory.
 
At some point before her disappearance, Pauline had engaged in a conversation about wishes and fate. She reportedly said, "If fate would grant me a wish, I would wish to be light enough to walk without leaving footprints."

The Beasley-Hawlett Murders: Haunting Evidence Episode

The first four minutes of CourtTV's Haunting Evidence "Wiregrass Murders" episode are packed with facts and valuable information about the Beasley-Hawlett case. The rest of the show, available in four parts on YouTube, is dubious: it features a team of psychics and their visions of the crime.


Mobile: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xinS0wn_Ca4

The Beasley-Hawlett Murders: Thinking in Circles

 
Targets?

Tracie Hawlett didn't just work at JCPenney, but in the menswear department in particular. She likely came into regular contact with strange men due to her job.

This brings to mind the horrific 2007 home invasion in Cheshire, Connecticut. Jennifer Petit and her daughter Michaela simply went to the local grocery store to pick up food for dinner that evening when they were observed and "picked out" by Joshua Komisarjevsky in the parking lot. He then followed them home and planned to return later that night with his accomplice Steven Hayes to rob them by home invasion. The fact that a quick run to the store led to the nightmare of rape and murder that followed that night for the Petit family is chilling; by contrast, Tracie worked her job in the same store week after week and could have easily been targeted by someone who similarly settled on her.

On the other hand, the facts that a) it was J.B.'s car, not Tracie's, that was driven the night of the murders (then again, Tracie drove her car home from JCPenney that night and J.B. followed her; Tracie went inside to change, then came out and they left in J.B.'s car, so Tracie could've been followed from the mall), and b) the evidence shows that J.B. was sexually assaulted to some degree while no evidence exists that Tracie was as well, leads me to think that if anyone was specifically targeted, it seems to have been J.B. I've always had a feeling that Tracie may have been caught in the middle of something that had nothing to do with her, and was killed because she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The DNA evidence shows that J.B. was very likely forced to undress to some degree while nothing suggests the same about Tracie. Evidence shows that Tracie was in the trunk first, which means that J.B. was out with the killer — perhaps for only a moment, but possibly for an extended period of time, especially if the killer closed Tracie in the trunk. J.B. was the driver of the car; it is J.B. the killer would have likely threatened first. A mysterious grease stain discovered on the back seat of J.B.'s car on the driver's side suggests that the killer may have sat behind J.B., controlling her driving at gunpoint. And J.B. was shot in the face while Tracie was shot in the temple.

And then there is the key chain. While it may mean little or nothing, the fact is the key chain was the only item missing from the crime scene. "Hard2Get" — did the killer see this as a challenge before the fact, or did he perhaps notice this after the crime and, finding it amusing considering the events of that night, decide to hang onto it as his own little sick joke? The possibility makes the killer's connection with J.B. more personal, whether he knew her beforehand or not.

Then, recently, I came upon a post on a message board discussion about the case. The poster, a cousin of Tracie's, wondered if anyone has ever looked into a possible connection between the murders and Tracie's biological father, Robert H. "Bob" Hawlett, who died in 1987 when Tracie was 4 years old. According to the poster, Tracie's father was a state police officer who had "put away some important people in his time." The poster then goes on to say that Tracie's father died under mysterious circumstances: he drowned while out fishing with what the poster called his (quotes are poster's) "buddies." How, the poster wonders, does a man drown and the others aboard don't realize he has gone off the boat?

Was Tracie targeted by a parolee who had once been arrested by her biological father?

Barrentine

According to The Troy Messenger, one-time prime suspect Johnny William Barrentine's address at the time of the killings was 110 Young Avenue in Ozark, "within walking distance of where the girls' bodies were found," Ozark Police Chief Tony R. Spivey said.

Here's a map that illustrates how close Barrentine's home was to where the girls were last seen (the Big/Little Store) and where they were found (Herring Avenue). Strange coincidence: immediately south of Barrentine's home is the Elevations School of Dance; J.B.'s life centered around dancing.

 
Though we can't rule him out completely, Barrentine's actions in the days following the killings, however misguided, show a man interested in solving the crime himself in order to cash in on a reward, not a man who is trying to evade capture.

Barrentine visited the Herring Avenue scene looking for clues, he went to the Ozark Video Warehouse video store asking if he could rent a copy of the Big/Little Store surveillance tape from the night of July 31, he talked up his "knowledge" of the case to family and friends not as a confession of guilt but as a "I know who did it and I'm going to turn him in and collect the reward" declaration. His acquaintances finally talked him into going to authorities with what he "knew." It took time for him to finally do so; about 50% of what I've read in media reports says he did so voluntarily, exactly one month after the crime took place. Once he finally did talk to law enforcement, he told six completely different versions of the events of that night. The man he swears did the shooting was cleared immediately, as he had an alibi.
 
Video Warehouse store in Ozark. Bizarrely,
Johnny W. Barrentine asked a clerk here if
he could rent a copy of the Big/Little Store's
surveillance video from the night of 7/31/99.
 
It's unclear whether Barrentine was even gone from home long enough to commit the sexual assault and the murders that night; some media reports state that his wife says he was gone only 15 minutes. Her other version of events — that he was gone from 11:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. — may actually have been his version of "her" story when trying to convince police that he knew what happened and should be rewarded accordingly. Later, on the stand during a bond hearing, Barrentine would say his wife's story was all a lie. "I don't know why she would say it," he said.

Another weak point in Barrentine's story is that he actually thought that standing by watching the crime and then helping the killer exit the scene would leave him innocent in the eyes of the law.

Finally, all the physical evidence was tested specifically against Barrentine, and nothing came back to show that he was involved. It was never proven that Barrentine owned, had access to, or had ever even fired a gun.
 
This, and Barrentine's mental impairments (a special education student, he finished seventh grade and a portion of eighth), remind me of Jessie Misskelley and his "confession" in the West Memphis 3 case.
 
Exactly like in the WM3 case, a month had passed since the crime and the pressure on law enforcement to make an arrest was great. Here's what Barrentine's attorney, Bill Kominos — a 36-year veteran lawyer — said in The Mobile Register, "Killer Still On the Loose, Baffles Police," July 23, 2000:
 
"Well, they started. They questioned. And questioned. And questioned. Four hours," the lawyer said, punctuating each sentence with a moment of silence. "It's all on video and the questions turn from questions to accusations. From accusations to suggestions."
 
And Barrentine himself said he grew "tired and confused" during the interview. "I was tricked into saying things that weren't true," he said, and eventually he agreed to say anything the authorities wanted if they would let him go home.

The Beasley-Hawlett Murders: Ozark Photos

The Big/Little Store as it looks today. According
to locals, other than new paint and signage,
the store looks exactly as it did in 1999.
 
 
The pay phone used by Tracie Hawlett 
on the night of July 31, 1999.
 
 
Depot Lane meets Jones Street. Media reports stated
that investigators conducted multiple searches for
evidence of murder near this intersection.
 
 
The abandoned ACL/SCL train depot near
the Depot Lane-Jones Street intersection.
 
 
Looking down Herring Avenue toward James Street.
A memorial now stands where J.B.'s car was discovered.
 
 
Memorial.


The Beasley-Hawlett Murders: A Clue to the Killer's Identity?

From The Troy Messenger, "One Year Later, A Father Remembers," July 30, 2000:

At about the same time the girls were reported missing, J.B.’s car was found parked on a street in Ozark, about a block away from the Dale County hospital.
Could the car's proximity to the hospital be a clue?

Looking at a map, one sees that the car was left just around the corner from the hospital. Here's a Google Earth screenshot; Point A is where the car was left and Point B is the Dale County Medical Hospital:

 
The car was found on Herring Avenue 90 feet from James Street. It is approximately 0.2 miles from the car to the hospital. To walk from the location of the car to the hospital takes about five minutes, according to Google Maps.

Note the large parking lot on the east side of the hospital. I think it's interesting that this lot is on the near side of the hospital when approaching from the direction of Herring Avenue on James Street.

One of my two initial thoughts on a possible hospital connection was that the hospital would have a large parking lot. While likely far from packed at that time of night, there still would have been a fair number of vehicles parked in the lot. The hospital would have been one of the very few places open at that time of night in Ozark. A person walking up, getting into a car, and driving away would have been less conspicuous here than the parking lot of an establishment that was closed for the night. Like say, for example, the Big/Little Store.

Was the hospital parking lot a key location in the killer's getaway plan?

Did the killer have access to a vehicle that was parked at the hospital while he was with J.B. and Tracie?

Did the killer work at the hospital?
 
My other thought:
 
Though the perpetrator seems to have kept his distance during the commission of the crime, thus making it unlikely that one or both of the girls injured him — according to one media report, the girls when found showed "few signs of struggle" and it was never reported that DNA evidence was found, for instance, under the girls' fingernails — he still could've sustained an injury, possibly while leading or pursuing the girls through the same rough/wet/dark landscape that led to the girls' wet pants, muddy shoes, and the scrape on Tracie's arm. Possibly he hurt his ankle or something along these lines. If injured and in pain, he might've driven the car with the bodies as close to the hospital as was comfortable, then hobbled the rest of the way to the ER.

Hospital admittance records should be checked for the night of July 31 and the early morning hours of August 1.

The Beasley-Hawlett Murders: Reckless and Risky Behavior on the Part of the Killer

  • This crime almost certainly involves several steps: getting the girls to stop their car, abducting the girls, exiting the car with the girls, possibly marching through a wooded/wet/muddy area with the girls, sexual involvement to some degree with the girls or just J.B., ordering the girls into the trunk, shooting the girls, driving J.B.'s car to Herring Avenue, returning to his own vehicle or to his home. The girls' estimated time of death was variously reported as being between 12:30 a.m.-2:00 a.m., 12:00 a.m.-3:00 a.m., and 11:40 p.m.-8:00 a.m. Bottom line: this crime took time. During at least some of these steps the killer risked being spotted by a witness or police. He had no control over other vehicles suddenly coming upon him during the steps that involved/took place near roadways.

  • No attempt was made to alter, conceal, or destroy evidence. The bodies were left to be discovered. A hasty exit by the killer after the shootings contradicts the above point — that the killer risked capture by committing a multi-part crime over some period of time. If the killer took his time with the girls until the shootings, then wanted to rush away, why the extra step of driving the car/bodies to Herring Avenue? If the shootings took place in a fairly isolated area such as off State Route 123 or Depot Lane (two areas believed by LE to be the possible murder site), why not leave the car and the bodies there? What is it about Herring Avenue that led the killer to risk taking this additional step? Was his car parked near Herring? Did he live near Herring? What advantage does the killer have in leaving the car and bodies at Herring that is worth the risk of leaving the car and bodies at Herring?

  • The killer likely drove J.B.'s car to Herring Avenue. Although it is apparent that no foreign DNA was found in the car (as none has ever been mentioned in media reports), how did the killer know for sure he wouldn't leave more DNA behind in the car? Again, as above, why risk leaving more evidence as to his identity behind just to get the car and the bodies moved over to Herring?

  • The killer left a palm print on the trunk lid.

  • The killer left his DNA on the body of one of the victims.

  • The killer used a firearm on a late quiet night in a small town, potentially drawing attention to himself.

  • If local, the killer's choice of Herring Avenue — a little-known back road in Ozark — as a dump site points to/gives away his being local.

  • The killer drove J.B.'s car away from the murder site with the bodies in the trunk. Why not shoot the girls and leave them at the murder site and drive J.B.'s car back, sans bodies, to his car or other place of safety? Why was Herring part of his route of escape?

  • The killer may have left his own vehicle behind for an extended period of time after forcing the girls away from the original point of abduction.

  • If the killer did in fact pose as a police officer in order to lure the girls into his trap, why leave J.B.'s license on the dashboard? He took the keys; why not take J.B.'s license too? Why reveal his means of tricking the girls into stopping? Though this may not point directly to his identity, it does reveal something about the killer.
  • DBSK Timeline

    The Daytona Beach Serial Killer case has a very odd timeline:

    • December 26, 2005: The body of Laquetta Mae Gunther is found in a narrow alley off Beach Street. She had been killed at least 2 days before.

    • January 14, 2006: 19 days later, the body of Julie Ann Green is found in a ditch near a construction site. She had been killed less than 24 hours before.

    • February 24, 2006: 41 days later, the body of Iwana Patton is found on a dirt road. She had been killed less than 24 hours before.

    • March 2006: Following the one-murder-a-month pattern, law enforcement and citizens of Daytona Beach are gripped with fear that the killer will strike again any day.

      However, a 21½-month silence ensues.

    • December 11, 2007: 655 days after the Iwana Patton murder, Stacey Charlene Gage is murdered. She was last seen the day before.

    DBSK TIMELINE QUESTIONS

    1. Where was the DBSK during the nearly two-year stretch between the third and fourth murders?

    2. Where has the DBSK been since December 2007?

    3. All four of the DBSK's known murders took place during winter months (December, January, February, December). Why?

    The Daytona Beach Serial Killer

    Did J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett cross paths with the man now known as The Daytona Beach Serial Killer?

    I've been researching unsolved homicides that could possibly be connected to the Beasley-Hawlett murders. While J.B. and Tracie may or may not have been the first victims of their killer, I believe there's a very strong likelihood that their killer did not stop killing after murdering the girls. And, as no similar crimes have been committed in southeast Alabama in the years since, the killer must have moved on.

    The Daytona Beach Serial Killer first caught my eye as a possible connection based simply on geography and time frame. From there I discovered many more points of interest that strengthened the theory that J.B. and Tracie could have been murdered by the DBSK. Here's what I've found so far; points of interest to the Beasley-Hawlett murders are bolded:

    THE DAYTONA BEACH SERIAL KILLER: FOUR MURDERS

    Between December 2005 and December 2007, four women were found murdered in Daytona Beach, Florida:

    1. Laquetta Gunther, 45, was found in an alley on December 26, 2005. She had been shot once in the head, execution-style. The killer's DNA was recovered from the scene. No attempt was made by the killer to conceal the body.

    2. Julie Green, 34, was found on January 14, 2006. She had been shot once in the head, execution-style. Though no DNA was found at the scene, no attempt was made to conceal the body. Tire tracks belonging to a 2003 Ford Taurus or Mercury Sable were found at the scene. Investigators later located the exact tires that had left the tracks.

    3. Iwana Patton, 35, was found on a dirt road on February 24, 2006. She had been shot once in the head, execution-style. It appears she may have struggled with her killer. No attempt was made to conceal the body. DNA was recovered from the scene and was later found to be a match to the DNA recovered from the scene of the Laquetta Gunther murder. A shell casing was recovered from the scene that allowed investigators to identify the make and model of pistol used. Ballistics linked the weapon to the Gunther and Green murders.

    Although a 9mm was used in the Beasley-Hawlett murders and the weapon used in these three murders was found to be a .40-caliber Smith & Wesson Sigma Series VE, this discovery immediately led LE to wonder if the murders had been committed by a police officer or a former police officer. (More on this below.)

    4. Stacey Charlene Gage, 30, was found January 2, 2008. Authorities believed she had been killed about three weeks earlier, on December 11, 2007. She had been shot once in the head, execution-style. Immediately investigators noticed that circumstances surrounding the Gage murder were "eerily similar" to the unsolved Gunther-Green-Patton homicides. A year later, on January 23, 2008, authorities formally announced that Stacey Charlene Gage had indeed been murdered by the same man who killed Gunther, Green, and Patton.

    Gunther, Green, and Patton were believed by law enforcement to have worked as prostitutes in the Daytona Beach area. The discovery of a link between the Gage murder and those of Gunther, Green, and Patton brought investigators to a new conclusion: because Gage had no criminal record involving prostitution but she did have a history of drug problems, authorities now believed that what linked the victims was more than likely the fact that they were all vulnerable and may have voluntarily accompanied their killer, possibly in a vehicle. (For more on this, see killer's profile below.)

    THE I-10 CONNECTION

    The four linked murders detailed above are among 28 unsolved homicides in Florida alone that have been connected to serial killings by the FBI. The Bureau suspects that many or all of these murders may have been committed by long-haul truckers. An astounding 19 of these murders occurred along Interstate 4 between Tampa and Daytona Beach, a distance of only 140 miles.

    With this I-4 fact in mind, I wanted to check for any popular trucking routes that might lead a trucker to the Dothan/Ozark area. The most obvious link was Interstate 10, the southernmost transcontinental highway in the U.S., stretching from Jacksonville, FL to Santa Monica, CA.

    The first interesting fact I discovered is that most of I-10 in Florida travels through some of the least-populated areas in the state. This led me to think that perhaps a long-haul trucker/serial killer might really favor this particular stretch of I-10, which would have no shortage of remote, isolated spots.

    That's when I noticed that, traveling along I-10, exactly between Marianna, FL and Chipley, FL, I-10 is intersected by U.S. 231, the same route J.B. and Tracie left the Big/Little Store in search of on the night of July 31, 1999. Roughly 40 minutes north of the Florida intersection of I-10 and U.S. 231 lies Dothan, Alabama — hometown of J.B. Beasley and Tracie Hawlett. Continue following 231 north for another 20 minutes and you will find yourself in a rural, isolated area with a low population: Ozark.

    THE KILLER'S PROFILE

    According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the profile of the DBSK, as generated by profiler Tom Davis, is as follows (all points of interest to the Beasley-Hawlett case bolded):

    • Probably in a dysfunctional relationship with a woman.

    • Has little control over the relationship, which may be the catalyst for his attacks.

    • Victims were chosen at random.

    • Victims are a substitute for a close female interest.

    • Most likely clean-cut man who is employed.

    • Articulate and well-groomed.

    • May seem "normal."

    • Good social and verbal skills.

    • May also have a volatile temper.

    • Average guy from an average neighborhood.

    • The killer is said to seek out "substitute victims" in order to relive his rage. He seeks out women from whom he can easily gain confidence. These are women from "high-risk" lifestyles. The murderer made no apparent attempt to hide the bodies, suggesting that he did not plan the disposal of his victim, opting instead to leave them in the area of his attacks.

    SUSPECTS

    Among several specific one-time persons of interest who have since been ruled out, I found two parties included on lists of potential suspects in the Daytona Beach killings especially alarming in light of the details of the Beasley-Hawlett case:

    • Law Enforcement Impersonators. The fact that J.B. Beasley's driver's side window was down and her driver's license was on the dashboard when her car was found points to the killer being a police officer or someone posing as a police officer.

    • Man in a Truck. Reporters from WESH 2 News spoke to a woman who said she was walking down the street in January of 2006 when a truck pulled up next to her. "He pulled over. I thought he was going to ask a question, but he pulled a gun on me and says, 'Get in,'" Nelita Ramos said. She said that she was taken to an alley on Beach Street where the man put the gun to her head. The man reportedly told Ramos she was going to die. After a few hours, during which she begged for her life, Ramos was let go.

    THEORIES

    Two strong theories held by investigators in the case of the DBSK are of particular interest when looking for connections to the Beasley-Hawlett murders:

    • The killer is law enforcement or former law enforcement. The Daytona Beach News Journal ran a story on March 22, 2006, in reference to the (at that time) three unsolved murders. The story included the following:

      Talk around the city that a former cop is the serial killer behind the unsolved murders of three women is not farfetched, a Daytona Beach police captain said Tuesday. "All theories are open right now, including that it could be a former cop," said Capt. Brian Skipper, who oversees the detectives involved in the investigation. "It could be anybody, from any department, from any city."
      On April 22, 2006, local police confirmed that police officers were questioned in the slayings.

      Many of the area law enforcement agencies issue a .40 caliber weapon to their officers.

    • The killer is an out-of-towner. Iwana Patton, the third victim, was killed on February 24th, 2006. Stacey Gage was killed approximately (according to pathologists) December 11, 2007. That is nearly two years between the third and fourth victims. Could the killer have been a visitor to Daytona Beach?

    Ozark-Daytona Beach: Did a serial killer roaming the
    Southeastern U.S. cross paths with J.B. and Tracie?
     
    THE MILITARY/LE CONNECTION
     
    Law enforcement officers with a military background are common. Were any of the officers working in or around the Daytona Beach area between 2005-2008 former military who were stationed at Fort Rucker in the summer of 1999, when J.B. and Tracie were murdered?
     
    Fort Rucker is 10 minutes from Ozark.
     
    THE "TWO LOCATIONS" CONNECTION
     
    The following is from the March 23, 2006 NBC News article "Daytona Beach Serial Killer Set to Strike Again?" written by Clint Van Zandt, a former FBI profiler:
     
    Evidently the killer made no significant attempt to conceal the bodies. This suggests that he simply wanted to separate himself from his victims, with no well thought-out or previously identified body disposal site that he could use to make identification of the victims more difficult for the authorities. As all three victims were shot, it would appear that the killer felt safe in discharging a firearm, perhaps multiple times, into the victims without being seen or heard. This further suggests that he could have killed the victims in a location different from where their bodies were found.
    Important Note: Ozark police confirmed from the beginning of their investigation that J.B. and Tracie were killed in one (unknown) location, then moved to where they were found on Herring Avenue.
     
    MORE POSSIBLE LINKS
     
    Here are some further points of interest I've discovered in researching a possible connection between the Daytona Beach Serial Killer and the Beasley-Hawlett murders:

    • A television news report on the Daytona Beach killings noted that all four known victims of the DBSK were found in the city, but in remote locations. J.B. and Tracie were found in the city of Ozark, but in a remote location.

    • DBSK Victim #4 Stacey Gage was last seen driving just before midnight. She had gone out to get some ice at a convenience store. J.B. and Tracie were last seen driving away from a convenience store shortly before midnight.

    • It was noted by Daytona Beach authorities that, based on the locations the four bodies were found, the DBSK had to have been "very familiar" with Daytona Beach. Similarly, the fact that J.B. and Tracie were found on Herring Avenue led Ozark LE to believe the girls' killer was either a local or someone very familiar with Ozark.

    • Below are photographs of the four known victims of the DBSK. Based on these photographs it does not appear the DBSK has a specific victim type. Also supporting this is the fact that the victims' ages range from 30 to 45 years old. Thus there is nothing to suggest that J.B. and Tracie fell outside a particular appearance type preferred by the DBSK, as there is none. And while the girls were only 17 when they were murdered, the DBSK himself would've been 6-8 years younger in 1999.

    Clockwise from top left: Stacey Gage (30), Laquetta
    Gunther (45), Iwana Patton (35), Julie Green (34)