Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

The Case of the Double Initial Murders

Victims

  

On January 10, 1977, five-foot two-inch, Roxene Roggasch was found dead, dumped near Fairfax, Calif. After receiving an anonymous phone call, the police drove to the road where the tipster's car had stalled and found the petite, freckled redhead buried facedown underneath some desert brush. Panty hose were wrapped around her neck, and her feet were bound. Police concluded she'd been dead for less than a day.

At first, the police looked to the most obvious solution. As Roggasch had been suspected of working as a prostitute, although her family denied any knowledge of that, police looked closely at a man who was alleged to have been a pimp in the area who was accused of assault by a woman who had claimed to have worked with Roggasch. But when that didn't pan out, the trail and the case went cold. Roggasch was just 18 years old.

Carmen Conlon of Rochester, N.Y.
Carmen Conlon of Rochester, N.Y.

The next year, another young woman was found dead. In 1978, Carmen Colon was found in Port Costa, 30 miles away. She was only 22 years old.

Then there was a lull in the killings connected to Naso; it wasn't until over 15 years later that another woman was murdered whom authorities later linked to Naso. Pamela Parsons, 38, a waitress who worked not very far from where Naso lived, was found dead in Yuba County; a year later, Tracy Tafoya, 31, was found dead, also in Yuba County. She had been drugged, raped, and tossed in a cemetery. It was estimated that she had been dead a week before her body was found. According to ABC News 10, Naso lived on Cooper Avenue in Yuba City during this time.

Michelle Maenza
Michelle Maenza

In all cases, the women were found strangled, and dumped naked in rural areas. They all reportedly either had problems with drugs and alcohol or they were prostitutes.

"His particular thing was possible prostitutes, strangulation and dumping the bodies in rural areas." San Anselmo Detective Julie Gorwood told the Marysville, Calif., Appeal-Democrat.

The most chilling similarity among the victims, though, was their unique names. All four women who were killed had alliterative initials: Their first and last name began with the same letter. This detail further piqued the interest of investigators because a few years earlier, another string of murders had occurred in Rochester, N.Y., where Naso was born, and those victims had also had the same first letters of the first and last name. Those murders had been dubbed the Double Initial killings or the Alphabet Murders.

Wanda Walcowicz
Wanda Walcowicz

In the mid-seventies in Rochester, N.Y., three pre-teens were killed. Like Naso's alleged victims, the three girls had first and last names that started with the same letter. One of them, Carmen Colon, even had the same name as one of Naso's alleged victims. When Naso's arrest was made public, the cold case detectives in New York cracked open their old files to see if anything squared up. But it was determined that though there was a similarity in the names of the victims, little else was the same. For one thing, the women connected to the Naso case, were much older and were mostly prostitutes. The victims in the original "double initial killings," were young. Colon, Michelle Maenza, Wanda Walcowicz were all between 10 and 12 years old. That they were from the same area where Naso had lived for a spell, and during that same time period he was back visiting relatives, seemed to be a coincidence. Police ruled Naso out when DNA from the California killings didn't match the DNA left on Walcowicz.

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