Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Aileen Wuornos: Killer Who Preyed on Truck Drivers

Mysterious Deaths

Richard Mallory liked a change now and again, too. The middle-aged owner of a Clearwater, Florida electronics repair business was known to close up shop abruptly and disappear for a few days at a time on drinking and sex binges. He changed the locks to his apartment eight times in three years. He kept employees at his business only long enough to clear the backlog of work that accrued during one of his disappearances, letting them go once his repair orders were caught up again. His only constants were alcohol, sex and paranoia. So when he didn't show up to open his shop in early December 1989, no one thought much of it. There was no one close enough to him to notice he was gone. It wasn't until his 1977 Cadillac was found a few days later outside Daytona that anyone knew anything was amiss.

From left to right, investigators Richard Vogel, Bob Kelley, Larry Horzepa and Jake Erhart in 1991 (Getty Images)
From left to right, investigators Richard Vogel, Bob Kelley, Larry Horzepa
and Jake Erhart in 1991 (Getty Images)

On December 13, 1989, two young men were looking for scrap metal along a dirt road close to Interstate 95 in Volusia County, Florida. Instead of saleable junk they found a body wrapped in a rubber-backed carpet runner. Fingerprints carefully taken from the badly decomposed hands proved that this was Richard Mallory, who had last been seen 13 days earlier. He had been killed with three shots from a .22. Several months of investigation into his sordid lifestyle and somewhat shady acquaintances produced no real leads. Initial suspicion revolved around a stripper who went by the name of Chastity.

Sue Russell writes that Chastity had told her boyfriend that she had gone for several days to party with Mallory and that she had killed him. When investigators arrested Chastity, they realized that her "confession" was prompted by a burst of anger at her boyfriend and was not true. After a number of dead ends, Mallory's case went cold. 

On June 1, another unidentified naked male body was found in the woods of Citrus County, Florida, about 40 miles north of Tampa.  The victim was identified on June 7 as that of David Spears, 43, of Sarasota. Spears had been a heavy-equipment operator who was last seen on May 19. He told his boss that he was going to Orlando, but he never made it.  His truck was found shortly after that on Interstate 75 with the doors unlocked and the license plate missing. Spears had been shot several times with a .22. Manners writes that a used condom was found near his body.

Meanwhile, thirty miles south in Pasco County, yet another naked body was found a few miles off Interstate 75. This one was discovered on June 6, and was so badly decomposed that medical examiners were not able to obtain fingerprints and could not estimate time of death. The nine bullets found in the remains were damaged by the decomposition, but were determined to have come from a .22 caliber weapon. According to Michael Reynolds, Pasco County detective Tom Muck had no immediate luck identifying his John Doe (later determined to be Charles Carskaddon), but had heard about the case in Citrus County. He notified Citrus County sheriff's investigator Marvin Padgett about the similarities and told him to stay in touch.

 

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