Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Carroll Edward Cole

Killing Time

Las Vegas, Nevada (AP)
Las Vegas, Nevada (AP)

Nothing improved for Eddie and Diana in Las Vegas. They drank as much as ever, and both still had wandering eyes. Despite his ex-con status, Cole soon found a job transporting coins from the slot machines at McCarran Airport to downtown casinos. The lure of easy cash proved irresistible, and Cole soon fled with a day's receipts, leaving Diana behind as he set off on a rambling cross-country jaunt.

While working oil rigs at Casper, Wyoming in August 1975, Cole met Myrlene "Teepee" Hamer. He noted the wedding ring on her finger and Hamer's seeming disregard for what it meant. After hours of drinking they went for a drive, to find some privacy. Hamer had suggested sex, but Eddie wanted something else. He strangled her in the car, then left her on a grassy hillside, covered with an old sleeping bag. Her corpse was found by police on August 9, and Cole left town the next day, heading west.

Back in San Diego, Cole stayed briefly with Diana, then wound up in a local detox center after one of his drunken binges. Worse trouble followed when he stole a $1,500 government check from one of his fellow patients and tried to cash it for himself. Charged with mail theft in June 1976, he jumped bail but was soon recaptured and slapped with a new charge of unlawful flight. Conviction on both counts earned him a one-year sentence in February 1977. Paroled in April, he fled back to Las Vegas, a federal fugitive. A month later, he strangled prostitute Kathlyn Blum and dumped her body in a stranger's backyard, where police recovered it on May 14, 1977.

Detectives had no leads in that case, and Cole stayed in town long enough to be jailed for car theft in North Las Vegas, on July 19, 1977. Cole made bail, then skipped his September court date and made his way to Oklahoma City. Nevada authorities waited until December to swear out a warrant for Cole's arrest, too late to apprehend him—or to stop him from killing again.

On the night before Thanksgiving, sitting in an Oklahoma City topless bar, Cole met a woman who agreed to spend the night with him. "Somewhere in the middle of our making love," he later wrote, "the booze kicked in, or else my mind went blank—I can't say which." He woke at sunrise on November 24 to find the woman dead in his bathtub, both feet and her right arm severed and missing. Cole found those remnants in his refrigerator, while a steak sliced from the corpse's buttocks lay in a skillet on the stove. Using kitchen knives and a hacksaw, he finished the dismemberment, placed her remains in plastic garbage bags and drove them to the city dump, where they presumably were burned.

"That day," he later wrote, "was something else."

But it was not the end.

From Oklahoma City, Cole drove to Texas and found work at Denver City. Unfortunately, the town was "dry," but that didn't stop Cole from drinking whatever alcohol he could find. He was soon arrested for public drunkenness, and a fingerprint check revealed that he was wanted in California as a federal fugitive. One week later, Cole was headed back to San Diego, wearing chains.

 

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