Search Saturday in Colonial Parkway murders cold case

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A search gets underway in the decades old cold case known as the Colonial Parkway murders. The victim's families met with a special investigator Friday night in Chesterfield, to talk about their plan of action.

Saturday morning, former Milwaukee homicide detective Steve Spingola will join the victim's families and a team of cadaver dogs to search for the remains of two of the eight victims. After reviewing some evidence, Spingola doesn't believe all the cases are related. The goal is to answer some questions that have lingered for over twenty years.

Joyce Call-Canada's nightmare started April 9, 1988, when her brother Keith and Cassandra Hailey disappeared on their first date. Keith's father found the car abandoned at the York River overlook off the Colonial Parkway. The focus of Saturday's search.

"We're hoping that we find something - some kind of clues maybe remains. It has been a long time," said Call-Canada.

Highly trained cadaver dogs will canvass the dense woods. 

"Some of those dogs have been known to recover the remnants of people killed in the civil war," said Spingola.

On the eve of the search, Spingola met with the victim's families. Over the last two days, talked with investigators and walked the crime scenes.

"I don't believe the bodies are going to be right in that area if we find them. I think that car was dropped off by somebody. I think they may have been disposed of along the way," said Spingola.

Spingola also doesn't believe all the cold cases are linked. But DNA testing by the FBI is still underway.

"They're spread out. There's different modes of death - gunshot versus manual strangulation versus knife," said Spingola.

Aside from Spingola's work, a private investigator has also volunteered to track down leads. Joyce says she's both realistic and hopeful.

"We never thought anything would go on this long. We thought we'd find answers and we're still hunting," said Call-Canada.

One challenge for searchers and the dogs will be the heat and humidity.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.

The search is scheduled for four hours.

 Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.