Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Derrick Todd Lee, Baton Rouge Serial Killer

A Murderer Among Us

Pam Kinamore, victim
Pam Kinamore, victim

Pam Kinamore left work on a Friday evening, July 12, 2002. A mother, decorator and antiques dealer, Pam owned her own business called Comforts and Joys in Denham Springs, Louisiana. When her husband came home from work later that evening, Pam's car was there, but she was not. He waited for her to show up, but became worried as time passed. It was not like her to disappear without saying where she was going. Later that evening he called the police and reported her missing.

Police investigators did not initially suspect foul play. Perhaps she had forgotten to tell her husband that she had made other plans that evening or maybe there was an emergency with a family member. As the days passed, however, foul play became more likely.

Missing person's poster of Kinamore
Missing person's poster of
Kinamore

Shortly after her disappearance, Pam's family posted billboards with an award of $75,000 for her safe return and any information concerning her whereabouts. They were beginning to fear the worst-case scenario and prayed she would be found alive. Their hopes were dashed five days after she was reported missing.

A state survey crew working near Whisky Bay Bridge discovered a gruesome sight on July 16, 2002. Located on the boundary line between Baton Rouge and Lafayette, in a marshy area of the woods beneath the bridge, they noticed a human-like figure lying at the water's edge. As they approached, they discovered it was the nude body of a dead woman.

It was Pam Kinamore.

Her remains were sent to the Orleans Parish Coroner's office, where an autopsy was conducted. She had died from gash wounds to the neck, believed to have been made by a knife. She had been sexually assaulted. Police learned that Kinamore's death bore similarities to two other murdered women found in the same general area months earlier.

Investigators suspected that, on the night of her disappearance, the killer found his way into the Kinamore family home at 8338 Briarwood Place in Baton Rouge and abducted Pam. Because there was no sign of forced entry, police believed she trustingly let the killer in or he entered through an unlocked window or door. At the time her body was discovered it appeared as if the killer had taken a trophy of his victim. A plain silver toe ring that Kinamore almost always wore had been removed from her body. Investigators believe the ring, if found, could be valuable evidence linking the killer to Kinamore.

Kinamore missing ring
Kinamore missing ring

One week after the discovery of Kinamore's body, police learned some important information. A woman came forward claiming that she may have seen Kinamore's body in an unidentified pickup truck on the night of her disappearance. According to the witness, who remained under police protection for fear of her life, she saw a man driving westbound on I-10 in a white pickup at about 3 a.m.

She claimed there was a woman fitting Kinamore's description slumped in the passenger seat. She appeared to be sleeping or dead. The witness glimpsed a white male driver, who she described as slight in build. She noticed the truck getting off at the Whisky Bay exit, close to where Kinamore's remains were later found. She immediately contacted the police when she realized that there may have been a connection between the man and woman in the truck and the disappearance of Kinamore.

A statement from the police concerning the suspicious vehicle was released after more details surfaced. Police were looking for a white General Motors, possibly a Chevy, pickup truck, and possibly a 1996-1997 single cab model. The witness claimed to have seen the symbol of a fish on the rear left side part of the truck. Investigators believe the license plate may contain JT341. The state of origin of the license plate remains unknown.

Truck similar to vehicle seen by witness
Truck similar to vehicle seen
by witness

The police suspected that the same truck and driver were connected to the rape of a 28-year-old Mississippi woman two days after Kinamore went missing. The woman told police that she was stopped by a man in a white truck fitting the description of the one seen on the night of Kinamore's disappearance. She was coerced into the vehicle on I-10 and raped before being let go. The police released a composite of the man in July 2002 based on the witness's information.

Police composite of rapist, possible link to serial killer
Police composite of rapist,
possible link to serial killer

Investigators working on the Kinamore murder case began looking for more similarities between Pam Kinamore's death and the earlier murders of the two other women. Investigators set out to match DNA samples taken from the three cases. As police searched, they discovered mounting evidence that suggested Kinamore was not the killer's first victim. Nor would she be his last.

 

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