Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Ward Weaver: Like Father, Like Son

The Trucker

It was about 10 p.m. when Ward Weaver Jr., driving on the opposite side of the road toward Tehachapi in his big rig flatbed, saw Robert's car on the side of the road as he passed by. While it isn't known why Weaver took the next exit and circled back to Robert and Barbara's location, it was generally speculated that he must have seen Barbara. Whatever his reason had been, Weaver stopped along the side of the highway and offered to drive Robert and Barbara to Mojave. They accepted his offer and climbed into the truck's cab, likely glad to be out of the chilly night air. Even the Mojave Desert gets cold at night during the winter months.

Cheater Pipe, Similar
Cheater Pipe, Similar

About five miles down the road, Weaver pulled his rig off to the side of the road and asked Robert to help him shift the load on the flatbed. Robert got out with Weaver, and Barbara stayed in the warm cab. While Robert was bent over in preparation to begin shifting the load, Weaver approached him from behind, wielding a three-to four-foot length of metal pipe that truckers often use for leverage when tightening the bindings on their load. It is known in the trucker world as a "cheater pipe." Without any warning, Weaver repeatedly struck Robert on the head with the pipe as he slumped first into unconsciousness and, eventually, into death.

Weaver, excited and crazy with twisted lust, climbed back into the cab where he threatened Barbara and waved a knife in her face. He forced her to lean forward with her head between her legs and her hands, fingers locked, behind her back. It was a procedure that he had learned when moving prisoners during his service in the armed forces in Vietnam years earlier. Confident that Barbara would remain in the position that he had forced her into, he turned the truck around and drove towards Bakersfield. At approximately 4 a.m., he stopped at a location near Kettleman City, where he raped the terrified young woman, and then continued driving toward San Francisco. He stopped again at another point and raped her a second time.

During the time that Weaver was raping Barbara and driving toward San Francisco, a passing driver saw Robert lying along the side of Highway 58 where Weaver had left him for dead. He was still alive, but only barely, as he lay in a large pool of blood that continued flowing out of his head. Although the police and paramedics rushed to the scene, they were unable to save his life. The damage of the blows to his head were too severe, and the loss of blood too great. He died en route to a hospital.

While at the hospital, police discovered Robert's wallet, which held his driver's license that was issued by Washington State. Although the process took some time, the police were eventually able to connect the inoperative vehicle parked along Highway 58 to Robert Radford. When they examined the car's interior they, discovered a female's purse and a set of luggage. They quickly found identification inside the purse that belonged to Barbara Levoy, confirming the fact that Robert had been traveling with a woman. Investigators quickly issued a missing person report for Barbara, and put into motion a plan to try and find her. However, by the time they did, it would be too late.

 

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