FBI takes fresh look at unsolved Colonial Parkway Murders

Published: Jan. 9, 2010 at 3:19 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2010 at 6:26 PM EST
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By Tara Morgan - bio | email

NEWPORT NEWS, VA (WWBT) - A more than 20 year old cold case is getting a fresh look by the FBI.

The killer struck along the Colonial Parkway, leaving victims from Isle of Wight County to New Kent County. But now, the FBI will use modern technology to help solve the crimes.

The FBI met with victim's relatives for three hours Friday in Newport News. Some of the relatives had traveled all the way from California and Florida for the meeting. The families were told each case will get a top to bottom review.

The unsolved murders date back to 1986 and inspired a book by crime writer Patricia Cornwell. The lives of five women and three men believed snuffed out by a serial killer. A frustrating investigation for victim's families and the FBI.

"We were, I think, very pleasantly surprised by the volume of evidence they have preserved from as far back as 1986 and the fact that they are going to be testing everything from the top," said Bill Thomas.

1986 was the year Thomas' sister, Cathleen and Rebecca Ann Dowski were stabbed and strangled. Their bodies found inside a car near the Colonial Parkway.

Two of the unsolved murder cases are being investigated by Virginia State Police, including the deaths of Daniel Lauer and Annamaria Phelps. Their bodies were found near a rest area off 64 in New Kent County.

Chris Call, whose brother Keith and Cassandra Hailey vanished from the Colonial Parkway in 1988, says the FBI has fingerprints from Keith's car.

"They feel strongly it is a serial killer they're still thinking that way," said Call.

But FBI officials say they haven't narrowed down the list of more than one hundred suspects. New investigators are searching for leads, even turning to America's Most Wanted.

"They've got a very fresh approach focus energy and time," said Thomas.

Re-testing of evidence could take six months. If you have information that could help the FBI, you can send investigators an email. The address: colonial_parkway_murders@ic.fbi.gov.

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