Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Addicted to Murder: The True Story of Daniel Conahan Jr.

Puzzle of Murder

On April 16, 1996, two Charlotte County road workers were working along Highway 41. Around noon, they decided to take a break from the scorching sun and walked down a nearby hog trail to do a little hunting.

As they reached the top of an embankment, they stopped momentarily and peered into a gulch below. They immediately spotted a suspicious object in the shadows of the dim light. Uncertain what they were looking at, the two hunters circumspectly made their way down the embankment to satiate their curiosity. There, in thick underbrush of foliage, the two men found a human skull lying on the ground. Horrified, the men quickly made there way back to their vehicle and drove to the nearest gas station, where they found two police officers on their lunch break.

After listening to the stories of the two hunters, the officers agreed to accompany them back to the scene. The officers looked closely at the skull and confirmed that it was human. They immediately reported the discovery to headquarters. The woods were soon swarming with homicide investigators from five agencies -- the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the State Attorney's Office, the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, the Fort Myers Police Department and the North Port Police Department.

Investigators scoured the woods and soon made another startling discovery. Beneath a piece of old carpet, they found the body of a young white male. The victim was lying nude on his back. Rope burns were evident on his neck and investigators saw that the victim's genitals had been removed. They also made note of fresh footprints visible around the body.

Richard Montgomery, body at crime scene
Richard Montgomery, body at crime scene

Detective Rickey Hobbs of the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office was appointed as the lead investigator. Hobbs' duty at the scene was to have the crime scene sketched, photographed, and searched for possible clues. When pathologists finished their preliminary autopsy report on the second corpse, they turned it over to investigators. The report stated that the victim found under the carpet had been raped and strangled with a rope, possibly clothesline. The pathologists were also able to identify the victim through dental records and fingerprints, as 21-year-old Richard Allen Montgomery. Bill Kelly (The Fifteen Most Horrific Murder Cases Ever to Shock America) provides details, with some from The NewsCoastHerald Tribune.

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