20 year old note resurfaces in Colonial Parkway cold case

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Could a scrap of paper, tucked away for 20 years hold the key to catching Virginia's Colonial Parkway killer? Relatives of one victim think the answer is yes.

The mother of one of the people killed in that crime spree still has that note.

Annamaria Phelps' family came across the note earlier this summer while looking through a box of evidence from December 1989. They didn't feel comfortable showing the note on TV, but believe it's vital to solving the case.

Two weeks after Jewel Phelps buried her daughter Annamaria, investigators returned a box of her daughter's belongings after they'd analyzed the items.

"I got this box back from the police. I just put it up. I wasn't ready to go through her stuff," said Phelps.

Only recently, Phelps' relatives went through the box after former homicide detective Steve Spingola independently investigated the Colonial Parkway murders and later wrote about the case in an e-magazine.

At least eight people were killed during the 1980's crime spree. Jewel wouldn't talk about what was written on the note. But Spingola reportedly said the note had a name, phone number and description of a car to meet at the New Kent County rest stop the night Annamaria and her friend Daniel Lauer disappeared.

"I didn't know he was going to put it in a magazine and sell it and make money, or I wouldn't have let him have it," said Phelps.

Despite her anger with Spingola, Jewel believes that note should get a second look by state police.

"Big key," said Phelps.

But a state police spokeswoman says investigators reviewed the note twenty years ago and it didn't lead to anything significant in the case. That's not good enough for Jewel.

"I want them to do their job and find it. That's what they get paid for. They treated her like dirt from the beginning. How would they feel if it were their kid? I think, yeah, find him," said Phelps.

We reached out to Spingola but he did not return our call. In the meantime, Annamaria's family plans to hold a fundraiser later this month to raise money for another search for clues including the remains of two victims along the Colonial Parkway.

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