Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

John Norman Collins: The Co-Ed Killer

Mind Game

Two days after arriving, Hurkos received a call warning him to leave or be responsible for another murder. There is some evidence, too, that John Norman Collins actually went to a restaurant where Hurkos was showcasing his abilities so he could eavesdrop. He told friends that Hurkos was a fraud.

Hurkos then received a note that sent him on a wild goose chase and raised everyone's hopes, but indicated only that someone — possibly the killer — was taunting him.

Collins, with head down, under armed guard
Collins, with head down, under armed

On July 27, Hurkos went on television and predicted that an arrest was imminent. He hoped the killer was listening, because he was going to describe him. Now he changed the description to a man who was six feet tall and had dark brown hair.

However, Collins was not watching. He was picking up his next victim on a motorcycle. Her disappearance put pressure on Hurkos to deliver. However, a photo of her gave off no vibrations, although he believed that something bad had happened to her. He predicted that her body would be found by a roadway named Riverview or River Drive, and in fact it was found several days later in a ditch alongside Huron River Drive. That was about one mile from where Hurkos was staying, as if in challenge.

Upon hearing of the body's discovery, he hit his face and said, "Her face was beat, beat, beat. It was wrinkled, like a monkey face." He described the disposal site accurately, but still could not name the killer. When taken to the site, he didn't experience much in the way of "vibrations," but said the man he "saw" was not an American and that he was associated in some way with a ladder. That was all he could envision.

One account holds that a girl came to Hurkos' hotel at 1:30 a.m. one night, and in the presence of three police officers, said that she felt her boyfriend fit the description. She hesitated to give much information, but finally said that this name was John Collins and he rode a motorcycle. However, there is no indication that the investigation of Collins was prompted by such a report, although it could explain the dramatic change in Hurkos' description of the killer.

A book about Hurkos' feats claimed that he also led police to the wig shop where the last victim was seen getting on the motorcycle, but there was no mention of this by the police or newspapers. In fact, it was the missing girl's roommates, not Hurkos, who had alerted police to the fact that she had gone to pick up a wig.

The next day after the body's discovery Hurkos left the city, vowing to come back a week later to wrap up the investigation. Before he could return, Collins was arrested.


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