Bobby Joe Long
Serial Killer at Large
It took more than two weeks before her body was found on a Sunday morning in an orange grove, severely decomposed. Ward says that she was nearly liquefied. Unlike the earlier two victims, she was fully clothed, but her hyoid bone was broken, indicating death by strangulation. Since there were no ropes at this scene and no interstate nearby, she was not immediately linked to the serial killer. She was also not a prostitute, drug addict, hitch-hiker, nor dancer. Only later would her clothing be checked and found to yield the same two types of red fibers that would link her case to the others. At this time, she was considered merely the victim of a random murder, possibly a copy-cat to the others.
But she was not.
There was a hiatus of several months before more victims were linked to this killer:
- The fourth set of remains was found on October 7, 1984, by a ranch hand on a cattle ranch north of
. The body, dead for nearly a week, had been shoved under a barbed wire fence and was lying facedown. Her head was a mass of maggot activity. Her clothing had been scattered, her panties on the fence, her bra on the gate. The girl had been raped and strangled, and then killed with a shot to the back of her head a different method from the others. She was identified by her fingerprints as Chanel Devon Williams, an 18-year-old black girl who had just been released from jail after being arrested for prostitution. The FBI lab found both types of red carpet fibers on her clothing, a brown Caucasian pubic hair on her sweater, and semen stains on her clothing that contained both A and H blood group substances. The semen stains found in this case did not match the Simms case, but both had been prostitutes, so the similarities among the evidence outweighed this difference. Hillsborough State Park
- On October 14, 1984, a fifth body was discovered in northeastern
. Her wrists were bound with a red bandana, and her legs and neck had been tied with a long thick shoelace. She had been beaten about the head and raped. Her yellow sweatshirt was pulled up to her neck, exposing a bruised and bloodied torso, with indicators that she had been dragged. She was wearing only the sweatshirt, although the rest of what appeared to be her clothing was scattered nearby. The cause of death was strangulation. Because she was a known prostitute and drug addict, the investigating team had recognized her, but she was officially identified by her fingerprints as Karen Beth Dinsfriend, 28. To link her with the other victims, both types of the red fibers had been found on her clothes. There were also brown Caucasian pubic hairs and semen that indicated A and H blood substances. Hillsborough County
- The next body was found two weeks later, on Halloween by a 71-year-old man clearing a ditch next to US 301 on the northern edge of Hillsborough County. This one was mummified, with hair still attached to her skull, so it was difficult to tell when she had been killed and dumped here. They did not rule her out of the investigation, but they did not have much evidence to use. They tried to identify her, but it wasnt until much later, when they had the killer in custody, that they learned her identity. She was Kimberly Kyle Hoops, known as Sugar, a 22-year-old prostitute. She had been strangled to death with the black cloth choker that she wore around her neck.
- Another womans body was found on November 6, 1984, in
, the next county over from Hillsborough. A woman out horseback riding on her ranch had come across this victim. Body parts had been severed and scattered throughout the field. Dr. Joan Woods, chief medical examiner of Pasco County , determined that the victim had been dead and dumped there for about two weeks. Although the bones had been gnawed by animals, Dr. Woods could still determine that the girl had died a violent death. There was a 9-inch cord tied twice around the neck over a piece of cloth and a thick shoelace bound the wrists together. There were no bullets or bullet wounds, so the cause of death was deemed strangulation. Despite the dismemberment, there were many similarities to the other murders. The victim was a Caucasian female, about 20 years old and 5-foot 5-inches tall. She was later identified, after the killer was apprehended, as 18-year-old Virginia Lee Johnson, a prostitute on the Tampa Strip. Pasco County
- On November 12, 1984, a sign painter in
came across another womans body. The Tampa Police called in HCSO to take a look at the murder scene. This victim wore the leash-like noose around her neck and bore rope burns on her body. Her face was severely beaten, and her legs were forced open for a shocking display. Her clothing had been thrown near her, and fecal matter lay on the shirt. Dr. Miller estimated that she had been dead for two to three days, and that the cause of death was strangulation. Inside the jeans there was a drivers license for a Kim Marie Swann. She was 21, and like a previous victim, she worked as a dancer at the Sly Fox Lounge on the Tampa Strip. Also like most of the previous victims linked in this series, on her jeans they found small particles of reddish carpet and some brown hairs. Tampa
The police worked this case hard, given all the bodies they had within a short period of time, but no leads panned out. They were desperate to find a suspect.