“The victims of Jack the Ripper were never ‘just prostitutes’; they were daughters, wives, mothers, sisters, and lovers. They were women. They were human beings, and surely that in itself is enough.” Quote from Hallie Rubenhold’s The Five: The Lives of Jack the Ripper’s Women.

The 1970s and 1980s are often thought of in modern culture as the heyday of serial killers. California valleys, Texas highways, or New York City’s dark streets are the images we see in all of the documentaries about these criminals. But throughout the late 70s into the early 90s, a series of states that are part of the geographical area of the U.S. known as the “Bible Belt” had a series of unsolved murders on their hands. Some of these unsolved murders were linked, not just by the cause of death, but by the color of their hair.

Poster of victims in the Redhead Murders (Source: WJHL)

Like most unsolved murders that are suspected to be the product of an unidentified serial killer, there is a fair amount of debate about the number of victims that are truly part of the Redhead Murders. Until all of the victims are identified and their murders solved, we won’t truly know how many victims there are. But estimates fall anywhere between five to fourteen victims. We also don’t know for sure if all of these murders were committed by the same person. However, since the primary theory is that most of these murders were committed by the same person, that unidentified suspect is usually referred to as the Bible Belt Strangler.

Geographical areas where the victims were found (Source: Reddit)

Primary Victims

Wetzel County Jane Doe

Wetzel County Jane Doe (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

February 13, 1983, two elderly citizens stumbled upon what they initially thought was a mannequin in Wetzel County, West Virginia. Upon closer examination, it was the nude body of a Caucasian female, discarded beside Route 250. The body had recently been placed there, as snow had fallen earlier. Snow was blanketed on the ground, but it wasn’t on the body. Authorities would describe tire tracks and footprints that indicated she had been killed at a different place and dumped at this specific location. Examination of her body would lead to the conclusion that she had been murdered around two days before her body was placed at the location it was found in. Her cause of death is officially listed as undetermined, but authorities heavily theorize strangulation or asphyxiation. There was no evidence present to suggest that a sexual assault had occurred.

The Wetzel County Jane Doe had auburn hair and brown eyes, although postmortem changes may potentially impact eye color. She stood at around 5 feet 5 inches tall, and weighed approximately 130-140 pounds. She had what appeared to be a Caesarean section scar, and another scar on one of her index fingers. Her ears were double pierced, her toes were painted orange, she had a mole on her chest, and her underarms and legs were shaven. She has type B blood type, and had an immediate type upper denture that was most likely fitted within eight weeks before her murder. She still has no name attached to her remains, and therefore it makes it difficult to determine her whereabouts or business in the area. She may have been seen alive in Wheeling, West Virginia as an employee or as a customer at a bar shortly before her death.

Wetzel County Jane Doe (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

Lisa Ann Nichols

Lisa Nichols (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

On September 16, 1984, the partially nude body of a woman would be found along Interstate 40 close to West Memphis, Arkansas in Crittenden County. She had been strangled, and discarded. She would be identified approximately nine months later in the summer of 1985, through her fingerprints, and through a couple from Florida. 28 year old Lisa Nichols had stayed with this couple in their home for a length of time. She was found to have been a resident of West Virginia.

Lisa Nichols had strawberry-blonde hair, and was found only wearing a sweater. It’s believed that she had been hitchhiking, given her whereabouts in various states. Investigators believe that after leaving a truck stop, Nichols had attempted to hitchhike, and was subsequently picked up by her killer. Because of her transient nature and the fact that she was a full service sex worker, there wasn’t much priority placed on solving her murder. In fact, when the original lead detective was interviewed shortly after her identification, he was quoted as callously stating, “Lisa Nichols had a drug problem like my car has a gasoline problem.” To law enforcement, Lisa was just another throwaway. But Lisa was loved. There were people who cared that their loved one was gone.

Lisa Nichols (Unsolved Wiki)

Cheatham County Jane Doe

On March 31, 1985, the skeletal remains of a red haired woman were found in Pleasant View, Cheatham County, Tennessee. Her body was found on the side of Interstate 24 between mile markers 29 and 30. It is estimated that she was murdered sometime in between October 1984 to January 1985. The cause of death was undetermined. She was Caucasian, around five feet and five feet two inches tall, and examiners were unable to determine her weight. Her teeth showed that there was crowding and overlapping in her mouth. It is believed that she was in her 30s.

The Cheatham County Jane Doe was wearing several articles of clothing when her remains were found. She was wearing a light pink shirt with pink flowers, a pink sweater with small blue spots, pants, underwear, and a black bra. A cap with a palm tree on it was found close to the body.

Images of clothing belonging to Cheatham County Jane Doe (Photos obtained from NAMUS)

Tracy Sue Walker (Previously known as Campbell County Jane Doe)

Tracy Walker (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

On April 3, 1985, the skeletal remains of a young girl were found near a strip mine, a few miles southwest of Jellico, Tennessee. Only part of her remains were found, and various items were scattered throughout the immediate vicinity. A necklace, bracelet, scraps of clothing, and a pair of size five boots were found close by her, but it was unclear as to whether or not all of these items belonged to her. It was estimated that she had been dead for at least a couple of years by the time her remains were found. There were knots in material found at the scene similar to the knots seen in some of the other suspected Redhead Murders.

In August of 2022, 15 year old Tracy Walker would get her name back. Tracy Sue Walker was from Lafayette, Indiana, and had been reported as having run away from home by her mother at least twice before her disappearance. Tracy had last been seen with a friend at Tippecanoe Mall in 1978. Her identification was made after Othram Laboratories located a possible relative of hers in the Lafayette area.

Sketch of Campbell County Jane Doe (Source: NCMEC)

Espy Regina Black-Pilgrim (Previously known as Knox County Jane Doe)

Espy Pilgrim (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

On April 1, 1985, the naked body of a woman was found inside of a refrigerator with a sticker on it that read “Super Woman.” The fridge was located alongside Route 25 in Gray, Knox County, Kentucky. The woman had been dead for several days, and had been killed by suffocation. She had on two necklace pendants, one with a heart and the other with an eagle in flight, and mismatched socks. She had long red hair, brown eyes, and was between four feet nine and four feet eleven inches tall. She had a scar on her abdomen that indicated she had given birth before.

The town of Gray, Kentucky was tiny, sleepy, and uneventful. When the unidentified body of a woman showed up inside of an old refrigerator, it was the talk of town. A funeral was held for the Jane Doe, and around 500 people were in attendance. It was even televised in the local area. There were also reports from locals that she may have been searching for a ride to North Carolina over CB radio. This hasn’t ever been confirmed by authorities though.

The two necklaces the Knox County Jane Doe was wearing would end up being the key to solving the mystery of who she was. Espy Pilgrim had recently had a daughter before she vanished. That daughter was just an infant, and had to rely on her four older siblings for memories of their mother. In her search for her mother, this young woman, Elizabeth Pilgrim, was put into touch with podcaster Shane Waters, who revived the Redhead Murders investigation and helped identify multiple victims. When Pilgrim told Waters that one of her brothers had given their mother a necklace with a heart pendant, the podcaster’s interest was piqued. Then she stated that one of her other brothers had given her mother a necklace that had a local mascot on it. An eagle in flight, wings fully spread and ready to strike. Identical to the necklaces found on the Knox County Jane Doe. In October 2018, DNA comparison showed that the unidentified woman was indeed Elizabeth Pilgrim’s mother.

Reconstruction of Knox County Jane Doe (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

Elizabeth “Liz” Lamotte (Previously known as Greene County Jane Doe)

Elizabeth Lamotte (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

Elizabeth’s body was found on April 14, 1985, completely nude, and lying close to 60 feet off the ramp by southbound Jearoldstown exit 1-81 in Greene County, Tennessee. A teenager looking to fish that day stumbled upon her remains. The medical examiner would determine that she had died from blunt force trauma to the skull. She had been killed anywhere between three to six weeks before her body was found. Authorities were able to obtain her fingerprints, but weren’t able to immediately identify her. For decades, she was just “Greene County Jane Doe.”

Elizabeth was identified November 13, 2018 through the UNT Center for Human Identification. There was a positive match between the DNA obtained from her remains, and the DNA of her brother. Like most of the other victims, what little is known about Elizabeth Lamotte’s life is that it was very difficult. The last time she was seen alive was in 1984 in Manchester, New Hampshire, at a youth development center. The exact date she went missing is unclear, but it was sometime in between April and November 1984. She had brown hair with red highlights, and was 17 at the time of her murder. She stood somewhere between five feet four and five feet six inches tall, and weighed approximately 130 to 140 pounds. Examiners could determine that she had been six to eight weeks pregnant but had miscarried shortly before her death.

Childhood photo of Elizabeth Lamotte (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

Suspected Victims

Margaret Mary Calciano (Previously known as Scarlet Jane Doe)

Margie Calciano (Source: Umsolved Wiki)

The body of the Scarlet Jane Doe was discovered on December 23, 1984, alongside a highway in Goulgersville, Pennsylvania. Her body had been wrapped in an army green blanket and bound with rope. It was suspected that she had been dead for about three days. She had been killed through strangulation. Authorities took her fingerprints but couldn’t make an identification initially. There were also hairs at the scene that did not belong to her. Both the fingerprints and the hairs would be crucial to solving the mystery of who this woman was, and who was responsible for discarding her like trash.

In October of 2003, authorities were finally able to make a positive identification between the Scarlet Jane Doe and Margie Calciano. The following month, her family was located and notified. She was only 30 years old at the time of her murder. Margie had disappeared in late 1984 following an argument with her mother, Joan. Margie had left the house in New York, and had last been seen in the company of a man named Peter Williams, a handyman and local drug dealer. Joan and Margie’s friends told authorities that Margie had purchased cocaine from Williams in the past. Williams would later be connected to her murder, and will be further discussed under the “suspects” section.

Margie Calciano (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

Tina Marie McKenney Farmer (Previously known as Campbell County Jane Doe)

Tina Farmer (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

As people began to wrap up the New Year’s festivities, the body of another young woman was found on January 1, 1985. Her remains were found in an embankment off of the southbound side of Interstate 75, near Jellico, Tennessee, clothed and bound. She had been strangled, and it was determined that she had been murdered approximately 72 hours before she was found. She had curly, shoulder length red hair, and had been wrapped in a blanket. This blanket was later found to have seminal fluid on it. The young woman’s eyes were green, and she was covered in freckles. She was ten to twelve weeks pregnant at her time of death. She was between five feet one and five feet four inches tall, and weighed around 110 to 115 pounds.

Tina Farmer wouldn’t get her name back until September of 2018. For decades, her remains sat with no identity attached to them. But September 6, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office announced that the remains belonged to Tina Marie McKenney Farmer. They had identified her through fingerprint after relentless investigative work and tips by podcaster Shane Waters. She was from Indiana, and was last seen in Indianapolis, Indiana, accompanied by a trucker at a truck stop. The trucker was said to have been headed to Kentucky. She was in her early 20s, and had one daughter before her murder. She had been reported missing by her family when she initially vanished. The entire time that her remains sat, unidentified, there was a family out there searching for her.

Reconstruction of Campbell County Jane Doe from University of South Florida (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

Desoto County Jane Doe

Reconstruction of Desoto County Jane Doe (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

In the early morning hours of January 24, 1985 near Colwater River Bridge in Olive Branch, Mississippi, a truck driver discovered the body of a young woman. The driver was headed southbound on U.S. highway 78, and the woman’s body was located approximately 20 feet south of the highway. She was found with a ligature that had been used to strangle her, and was potentially sexually assaulted.

To this day, the Desoto County Jane Doe remains unidentified. She stood between five feet two inches to five feet four inches and was 110-130 pounds. Her age is estimated to be in the range of 20 to 40 years old. She had light red hair and a freckled complexion, and both of her ear lobes were triple pierced. She had poor dental hygiene, and had a habit of nail biting judging by her heavily bitten fingernails. During her autopsy, it was found that she was a heavy smoker, and her Fallopian tubes had been tied. Given that many doctors won’t perform a tubal ligation without the woman first having children (especially back in the 1980s) there’s a good chance that the Desoto County Jane Doe was a mother. She was found wearing a light peach colored top with short sleeves and embroidery on the front. She was also wearing Blue Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans. She had two tattoos, both on her ankles. On the right ankle were the letters “T.H.C.” and on the left ankle were the letters “R.C.J.”

Original reconstruction sketch (Unsolved Wiki)

Priscilla Ann Blevins (Previously known as Waynesville Jane Doe)

Priscilla Blevins (Source: Wilkes Journal Patriot)

On March 29, 1985, the remains of an unidentified woman were found along Interstate 40 in Waynesville, North Carolina. The body was discovered by a member of a highway work crew doing work in the immediate area. Investigators couldn’t determine a definitive cause of death, and believed the woman had been dumped along the interstate a few years before her remains were found.

In 2012, the unidentified woman would be named as Priscilla Ann Blevins, via DNA and dental records. Blevins was from Charlotte North Carolina, where she was last seen alive on July 7, 1975 by her roommate at the time. It is believed that she was killed not long after she went missing. The strawberry blonde young woman was only 27 at her time of death.

Priscilla Blevins (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

Pulaski County Jane Doe

Reconstruction of Pulaski County Jane Doe (Source: NAMUS)

On April 20, 1985, the body of Pulaski County Jane Doe was found in Pulaski County in Wrightsville, Arkansas. Her remains were located roughly 1/4 of a mile south of Wrightsville Park Road, 75 yards west of the Arkansas River. The remains were completely skeletonized, making identification difficult and details known about her very few.

The Pulaski County Jane Doe was found wearing a bra and a multicolored size 5 blouse with the brand name of “1045 Park.” Further examination of her body and testing showed that she had strawberry blonde hair. She was Caucasian, approximately 30 to 40 years old, and had previously fractured her left femur. She stood at around 5ft 3in, but her weight wasn’t able to be determined.

Reconstruction of Pulaski County Jane Doe from various angles (Source: NAMUS)

Roane County Jane Doe

Sketch of Roane County Jane Doe (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

Very little is known about Roane County Jane Doe. She was found in Roane County, Tennessee, on August 29, 1987. Her remains were found charred, and authorities suspected that her body had been burned to hinder identification. Her cause of death could not be declared with certainty.

The Roane County Jane Doe’s autopsy would reveal the few things we do know about her. She had an old gunshot wound to her third thoracic vertebrae, with parts of the bullet still lodged in her spine. She was a white female, and anywhere between 5ft to 5ft 8in. She was between 35 to 50 years old, and had naturally brown hair that had been dyed a reddish color. She had breast implants and a mole on the left side of her back. Scarring present indicated that she had a tracheotomy at some point, as well as a hysterectomy. As previously stated with an earlier victim, given how difficult is for women to obtain tubal ligations or hysterectomies, it’s likely that Roane County Jane Doe had children before her hysterectomy.

Stacy Lyn Chahorski (Previously known as Rising Fawn Jane Doe)

Stacy Chahorski (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

On December 16, 1988, the remains of a young woman were found alongside northbound I-59 close to Rising Fawn in Dade County, Georgia. Her body was found approximately 5 miles from the Georgia/Alabama state line. Investigators determined that she had been sexually assaulted and strangled before her body had been dumped. Prior to her identification, all that was known about Rising Fawn Jane Doe was what was present at the crime scene, that she had strawberry blonde, shoulder length hair, and was in her late teens or twenties.

In March of 2022, the Rising Fawn Jane Doe would get her name back. 19 year old Stacy Chahorski had vanished back in late 1988. She was reported missing in January 1989, about four months after anyone had heard from her. She had last contacted her mother through a phone call, where she informed her that she intended to hitchhike from her location in North Carolina to her home state of Michigan. In addition to helping positively identify her, Othram Inc. positively identified her killer as Henry Frederick “Hoss” Wise in September 2022. He will be further discussed under the “suspects” section.

Sketch of Rising Fawn Jane Doe

Donna Sue Nelton (Previously known as Benton County Jane Doe)

Donna Nelton (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

On May 7, 1990, the unidentified body of a woman was found along state route 102 in Rogers, Arkansas. Her body was found approximately 8 miles west of Decatur, Arkansas, close to both the Oklahoma and Missouri state lines. The young woman had been shot to death. Along with her body, investigators found shotgun wadding and buckshot pellets (type #4) at the scene. Specifically, the buckshot pellets were located in the ground, underneath the woman’s skull. After further examination, authorities came to believe that the woman had been shot, then potentially run over with a vehicle, then set on fire to make identification as close to impossible as the perpetrator could. A neighbor who lived in the area would later report having seen a fire in the area back in February 1990, but never went to investigate. They simply assumed that someone was burning trash.

In late October of 2022, Othram Inc. positively identified Donna Nelton as the Benton County Jane Doe. After more than 30 years, she finally got her name back. 28 year old Nelton had last been seen in the fall of 1989.

Donna Nelton (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

Who is the Bible Belt Strangler?

As of December 2022, when this piece was written, there has not been one specific individual or set of individuals named as the Bible Belt Strangler. The closest we have is a suspect profile, and a handful of men who have been linked to some of the identified victims. The most thorough suspect profile comes from an unlikely group. A podcaster, a teacher, and a class of high schoolers.

Suspect Profile

Shane Waters (Source: KnowTechie)

In 2016, podcaster Shane Waters began placing red crosses at the site where each of the primary victims associated with the Bible Belt Strangler were found. This would lead to him posting about each victim on social media, and trying to identify as many of the women as he could. He is largely responsible for the renewed interest in this case and for helping identify several victims.

Alex Campbell (Source: Knox News)

In 2018, teacher Alex Campbell and his high school class helped podcaster Shane Waters breathe life back into the case known as The Redhead Murders. Campbell taught sociology at Elizabethton High School in Elizabethton, Tennessee, and worked with his students in the 2018 spring semester on a project relevant to his course. They were re-examining the string of murders known as the Redhead Murders. This would ultimately lead to connecting with Shane Waters, creating the name, Bible Belt Strangler, and creating a detailed suspect profile.

After choosing to call the unidentified perpetrator the Bible Belt Strangler, it was time to evaluate his signature. Out of his known victims, they were Caucasian women, ranging in age from teens to early 40s. They were around average height to being on the shorter side, and approximately 110 to 150 pounds. All had red hair, ranging from strawberry blonde to dark auburn. The women lived transient lives, participated in sex work, and/or struggled with drug addiction. Many were estranged from their families. This was a specific victim profile.

In addition to the profile of the victims associated with the Bible Belt Strangler, most of the women died in the same manner. The majority of them died from strangulation, possibly for the psychological satisfaction of the perpetrator, or to quiet and control his victim. The level of injury to them was enough to be fatal, but not necessarily overkill. All of the victims were disposed of near highways, which lead to the theory that the perpetrator is a truck driver.

Alex Campbell’s sociology class (Source: Knox News)

The location of the bodies weren’t the only thing that made the group suspect that their guy was a truck driver. The expanse of land that the victims cover leads to someone who can easily travel between states. A truck driver would have easy access to transient individuals, hitchhikers, sex workers, and other vulnerable groups of people. He most likely met his victims at truck stops, gas stations, or rest areas along the routes that he traveled. He could’ve even used CB radio to find women who needed rides. He likely gets the women inside of his truck under the pretense of soliciting sexual services, access to drugs, or the offer of a ride. There’s a good chance that he killed the women not long after he initially picked them up.

The Bible Belt Strangler typically doesn’t use a weapon, suggesting a confidence in his physical ability to manually kill. This also leads to the likelihood that the Strangler is a male and not a female. He is probably an unsuspecting, average Joe type. He hasn’t actively sought after attention and has remained under the radar for the most part. He was likely aware to some degree that choosing victims who didn’t have concrete ties to one area would help him remain undetected.

Suspects

There have been a handful of men linked to specific victims who are suspected to be tied to the Bible Belt Strangler. Each of them have their own characteristics that make them an ideal suspect for the bulk of the killings.

Redheaded Woman (Source: Pinterest)

The first man connected to one of the victims is Peter Williams, who was charged in the murder of Margaret Calciano in 2005. After Calciano’s identification in 2003, authorities began the process of testing the foreign hairs found at the crime scene all of those years ago. Due to Williams having had a personal relationship with Calciano, authorities tracked him down, where he was living in Wisconsin. Williams, now 76, willingly provided a saliva sample. It was a match to the DNA from the foreign hairs. January 20, 2005, Williams was arrested in Tucson, Arizona. He was finally charged with the murder of Margaret Calciano.

Peter Williams would die in July of 2005, just one month before his trial was scheduled to begin. He has not been directly named as a suspect for the Redhead Murders, but local authorities do believe that he has other victims besides Margaret. Williams himself had led a bit of an unpredictable lifestyle, earning a living through truck driving, handyman work, and dealing drugs. He had previously sold Calciano cocaine, and had been engaging in a romantic relationship with her at some point. He had been the last person seen with Calciano before she vanished.

Margaret Calciano (Source: Unsolved Wiki)

The second man to be linked to one of the killings in the Redhead Murders was Jerry Leon Johns. In 2016, the semen found on the blanket that had been wrapped around the body of Tina Farmer was tested and found to match the DNA of Johns. He had died in prison just the year before, in 2015. Johns had been imprisoned since 1987, after attacking a woman who looked similar to Tina Farmer.

Jerry Leon Johns (WBIR)

Two months after Tina Farmer’s body was found, Johns picked up a woman in Knox County who he had met at a strip club in the area. He strangled and bound her with her own clothing, then dumped her along I-40. He assumed that he had killed her, but she survived. She ended up testifying against the truck driver, which lead to his conviction for aggravated kidnapping and assault, among other charges, in 1987. Johns would claim innocence for the entirety of his sentence, until his death. In 2019, three years after the DNA match, a grand jury took place in Campbell County, Tennessee. Their goal was to determine whether or not Jerry Leon Johns would have been indicted in the murder of Tina Farmer had he still been alive. They were presented with the case and all of the available evidence. In the end, they determined that Johns was indeed guilty. Authorities believe that he has other victims, but he has not been named as the Bible Belt Strangler.

Jerry Leon Johns (Source: Indy Star)

The third man to be connected to one of the women in the Redhead Murders was Henry Frederick “Hoss” Wise. After the recent identification of Stacy Chahorski, previously known as the Rising Fawn Jane Doe, Wise was linked to her murder in 2022. He would have been 34 at the time of her 1988 killing.

Henry Frederick Wise (Source: New York Post)

After identifying Chahorski in 2022, authorities got to work identifying her killer. After speaking to the family of Wise, they were able to gain DNA to test. It ended up being a positive match. Wise had worked as a truck driver at the time, and even had a known route that went through Dade County, Georgia, where the Michigan teen’s body had been found. Like the previously mentioned men, Wise had also died before his victim was identified. He burned to death in a stunt car crash at the Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina, eleven years after killing Chahorski.

Investigators at a press conference for Stacy Chahorski (Source: New York Post)

The final man to be linked to one of the women suspected of being a victim in the Redhead Murders was George Alan Bruton. He was the boyfriend of Donna Nelton at the time of her death. He was under investigation by authorities for numerous different offenses at the time of his girlfriend’s disappearance, as Bruton had a lengthy criminal record.

George Alvin Bruton (Source: FBI)

For 3 months in 1979, George Bruton earned a place on the FBI’s Most Wanted list, after he took two families hostage and wounded two police officers in Utah. He had several convictions already including burglary, bank robbery, and auto theft. Authorities tracked him down, and a shootout ensued in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He was wounded, but captured and taken into custody. However, he was paroled and released from prison in 1988. He came under investigation in the summer of 1989 for activities that would violate the terms of his probation. He would then be suspected of involvement in his girlfriend’s disappearance when she vanished that fall.

In September of 1989, Bruton and an associate of his were seen in the North Kansas City area, disposing of trash bags that contained the personal belongings of Donna Nelton. Her car would also be found in a storage unit that was owned by Bruton. Without more evidence or Nelton’s remains, there wasn’t much that could be done. But in April 1990, he was arrested for violating his parole. He was then indicted on drug charges after being positively identified as an alleged leader of a multi-state drug ring operation. He was eventually sentenced to life in prison for his drug related offenses.

Donna Nelton (Source: NWA Online)

In July 1990, an anonymous source would report to the FBI that Bruton had confessed to murdering Nelton. His alleged motivation was that she had threatened to expose his activity within the drug ring and his theft schemes. It was assumed that her remains were located on land owned by Bruton in Ozark County, Missouri. However, a four day search by authorities would turn up nothing. They wouldn’t know until 2022 that her body had been found in Rogers, Arkansas. According to Nelton’s family, the couple had been known to pass through Benton County, Arkansas. The couple had also been known to visit the Pine Island Resort RV Park located in Jay, Oklahoma. A flyer for that very RV park was found with Donna’s remains. Unfortunately by the time that all of this was pieced together, Bruton was already deceased. He had died in prison in 2008. Like the previously mentioned men, he has not been named as the Bible Belt Strangler, but is suspected in other murders.

Conclusion

Like most serial killing cases, a certain amount of blame falls on the shoulders of law enforcement and the judicial system. They had some outside factors working against them of course, like the lack of technology available in the 1970s and 1980s. Forensic testing wasn’t as advanced back then compared to what we have today. The suspect is most likely a truck driver, and was careful to dispose of his victims far away from where they actually lived. But what is inexcusable is the attitude law enforcement had towards most of these women. Because most of them were either hitchhikers, sex workers, or struggled with addiction, they were deemed as less important. Police didn’t see them as worthy of the resources they had at their disposal. But all of these women were human beings. They were daughters, they were siblings, they were cousins. Many of them were mothers, whose children expected to see their parent’s face again. They had friends who loved them, and hung to their every word. These women were living, breathing, human beings, no matter what law enforcement says.

Collage of various victims from the Redhead Murders (Source: Front Page Detectives)

All of these women were once newborn babies, that somebody held and gazed upon in wonder. Someone cradled them, and imagined all of their hopes, dreams, and wishes for the tiny little infant in their arms. Every single one of these women, identified and unidentified, matter. All of them deserve to have their names given back to them, and to rest peacefully. Part of resting peacefully requires that we on the other side of the veil have to identify who is responsible for every murder. No matter how many perpetrators there are, they all need to be punished. They need to feel vulnerable and small, like they made these women feel. They need to shake with terror, like the terror that they inflicted upon each woman as she struggled for her last breath. They need to feel their anonymity stripped away from them, like they stripped these women of their personhood. Finding answers and exposing the person or people behind the Redhead Murders is the least that can be done in honor of these victims.

Rest in love, Wetzel County Jane Doe, Lisa Nichols, Cheatham County Jane Doe, Tracy Walker, Espy Pilgrim, Liz Lamotte, Margie Calciano, Tina Farmer, Desoto County Jane Doe, Priscilla Blevins, Pulaski County Jane Doe, Roane County Jane Doe, Stacy Chahorski, and Donna Nelton.

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