Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul Durousseau, the Jacksonville Serial Killer

A Deadly New Year's

Spanish Oaks Apartments entrance
Spanish Oaks Apartments entrance
 

Around 10:30 p.m. on January 1, 2003 family members of nineteen-year-old Nikia Shanell Kilpatrick went to her Spanish Oaks apartment in Jacksonville, Florida to check up on her. No one in the family had heard from her for several days, which was unusual considering it was the holiday season. When some of the family members arrived at the house they were surprised and worried to see Nikia's two-year old son banging on the window as if pleading for help. When they entered the apartment a putrid stench overwhelmed them. Something was terribly wrong.

Nikia Kilpatrick's apartment building in the Spanish Oaks Apartment complex
Nikia Kilpatrick's apartment building in the Spanish Oaks Apartment complex
 

Nikia was nowhere in sight. However, as they walked through the apartment they found Nikia's eleven-month old son crawling about on the floor. Then to their horror, they discovered Nikia's decomposing remains lying in one of the bedrooms. She had been bound and strangled to death with a cord. The police were immediately called to the scene.

Nikia Kilpatrik, victim
Nikia Kilpatrik, victim
 

Investigators conducted an extensive search of the home and its surroundings. Soon afterwards, Nikia's body was removed and taken to the coroner. The medical investigation later revealed evidence pointing to Nikia having been sexually assaulted and murdered up to forty-eight hours before the discovery of her body. Further examination of the body revealed that she had been six months pregnant at the time of her death. 

Although Nikia's two small children were unharmed, they suffered from malnutrition as well as the trauma of being confined with their mother's corpse.   According to First Coast News, the boys managed to survive by eating dried food from the kitchen. They were put in the care of Nikia's family.

Investigators were able to collect vital physical evidence from the murder scene, yet the evidence did not lead to the identity of the murderer. Police were confident that the murder was not the killer's first because some aspects of the crime appeared too organized. It was further speculated that Nikia would not be his last victim. They couldn't have been more accurate.

Within the space of approximately one month, three more bodies would be discovered that would be attributed to the same killer. Moreover, three other murders, including that of another unborn child, would later be added to the list, totaling eight known victims. It quickly became clear that Jacksonville had a terrifying serial killer on its hands.

Florida map with Jacksonville marked
Florida map with Jacksonville marked

 

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