We are building awareness of the Colonial Parkway Murders, in which eight young people were killed in a series of four homicides of couples in lovers' lanes in and around Williamsburg, Virginia from 1986 to 1989. Often attributed to a serial killer, the Colonial Parkway Murders remain unsolved. The investigation is handled by FBI Norfolk/Newport News offices and the Virginia State Police.
October 9, 1986: Cathy Thomas, 27, a United States Naval Academy graduate and her girlfriend Rebecca Dowski, 21, a senior at William and Mary were last seen on campus. Three days later, they were found murdered in Cathy's 1981 Honda Civic at Cheatham Annex Overlook along the Colonial Parkway. They had been strangled, throats slashed, and the car and bodies were doused in diesel fuel. After an attempt to set it on fire, the car was pushed off a grassy parking area and rolled down an embankment toward the York River.
Their murder may be a hate crime, or related to Cathy's Naval Service.
September 20, 1987: David Knobling, 20, and Robin Edwards, 14, had gone out with a group of friends to a movie and arcade. After making plans to meet up later, they drove in David's Ford Ranger pickup across the James River Bridge from Newport News to the Ragged Island Wildlife Refuge to a sandy parking area to be alone. David's truck was found the next day with radio and wipers on. Three days later, searchers found both bodies washed up downstream along the James River; David had been shot twice, once the shoulder and once in the head, and Robin once in the head with a small caliber weapon.
April 10, 1988: Christopher Newport University Students Richard "Keith" Cal, 20, and Cassandra Hailey, 18, went missing while on a first date, attending a college party in Newport News, VA. THey left the party around 1:30 am to make Sandy's curfew. Keith's red 1982 Toyota Celica was found abandoned at the York River Overlook along the Colonial Parkway at a similar site to where Cathy's car was found about a mile away. It appears that National Park Service Rangers removed and then replaced clothing found in the car. Keith and Sandy have never been found despite extensive searches.
September 5, 1989: On Labor Day weekend, traveling companions Daniel Lauer, 21, and Annamaria Phelps, 18, went missing as they drove in Daniel's 1972 Chevrolet Nova from Amelia County to Virginia Beach, VA to meet Daniel's brother Clint, Anna's boyfriend . Daniel's car was found abandoned at a rest stop along I-64. On October 19, 1989, their badly decomposed bodies were found by hunters under a blanket off a logging road about a mile away. Cause of death was difficult to determine, Anna appears to have nick marks from a knife on her hand bones. Daniel was carrying $6-800 from painting jobs he had earned working that summer, so robbery may be a motive.
In 1989, Ron Little, co-owner of Liberty Security (later called Advance Security), a Virginia based firm, wrote a curious letter to a number of media outlets and elected leaders. In it, he appeared to out himself as a potential suspect in the unsolved Colonial Parkway Murders as well as other open murder investigations in Virginia.
The letter was written shortly before Ronald Little was deported by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service back to his
native New Zealand.
The distribution list from 1989