Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

LA Forensics: The Chinatown Widow

Trapped in Her Own Home

The hallway outside the bedrooms had a table with a telephone. That cord had been cut as well. But it was the master bedroom where the attack apparently originated. The bed was still made, with indentations at the foot of it. White droplets of what appeared to be semen were on the bedspread and the carpet at the foot of the bed.

White Droplets on the Carpet
White Droplets on the Carpet

Blood spatter was on the bed and also the wall. Donna was probably on her bed when the attacker surprised her and she put up a vicious fight before being raped. Then her assailant left the room without going through any of the drawers and went into John's room. After she thought he was gone, Donna crawled to the hallway in order to escape or to use the phone. She had to have been in agony as she pulled herself along the floor. The killer heard her, coming back to strangle her.

The whole scenario looked like more than just a botched burglary.

Detective Robert Bub
Detective Robert Bub

"It appears that there was some thought put into this ahead of time," Bub said. "The fact that the screen was cut and it was set in a way that the cursory glance would not reveal it to be a point of entry. Unless someone's trying to hide the fact that they're inside. They cut the phone cords, again, a way that prevents someone from screaming for help.

"It implies that once the person has the victim inside the apartment, they're going to be there for a certain amount of time," Bub continued. "It's not going to be a very quick crime."

Red Scarf Left by killer is Found at Crime Scene
Red Scarf Left by killer is Found at Crime Scene

And then there was the red silk scarf that the killer brought along to strangle Donna. The crime looked planned, as though rape was more of a motive than robbery.

 

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