ELIZABETHTON, TN (WJHL) - On Tuesday, students from Elizabethton High School and law enforcement agencies in our region presented a profile of the serial killer they say is responsible for a series of murders in the 1980s.
The high school sociology students coined the term "Bible Belt Strangler" as a name for the suspect. They revealed a timeline of events leading up to the murders. This was a semester-long project for the students.
They are calling on the public to help bring closure to the families affected by the murders.
The news conference included some recent findings by crime podcaster Shane Waters of "Out of the Shadows". Waters, according to Elizabethton City Schools, has been researching the "Redhead Murders" for years.
“These cases are difficult because five of the six victims are unknown,” said Waters. “They have no families speaking out for them, so being a part of this effort with the class and law enforcement – it’s kind of like we are able to take it on our shoulders and be their family. We’re all very passionate about this so hopefully people will hear this and become passionate and start talking about it.”
Students said they are confident about their eight-page, 21- characteristic profile. Their goal, they said, is to help identify the remaining victims and the killer.
Teacher, Alex Campbell, gave a summary of the profile. Students determined he is a white male, born between 1936 and 1962, between 5’ 9” and 6’ -2”, weighing between 180-270. Student's believe he was a commercial truck driver who commuted near Knoxville, TN region on Interstate 40.
“Bible Belt Strangler, we know you are out there. We know someone saw something, and after today, everyone knows we are looking for you. We are our sisters’ keepers; we are their family," said Campbell.
A letter, read by a student, was reportedly written by Elizabeth, a woman from North Carolina who believes her mother was one of the Knox County, KY victim.
"I never gave up hope, but I didn’t think I would live to see this day, or to even be a part of this unraveling story,” she wrote. She closed the letter with words for her mother…All my life I hoped to find you alive and well. To greet you one day with open arms and wrap you in a tight embrace. To tell you that even in not knowing you, I have loved you,” said Elizabeth in her letter.
Law enforcement never confirmed the murders were related. The students believe there is a definite correlation. The students said the victims were female, between 17 and 45, red-headed weighed under 145 pounds, and were left along major highways in Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Arkansas. Only one of the six women has been identified.
Anyone with information related to these six murders should contact the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-TBI-FIND. TBI will coordinate with state and local law enforcement agencies.
The students' research was previously featured in the "Out of the Shadows" podcast, late last month.
The names of the students involved in this class project are as follows:
- Wesley Andes
- William Bowers
- Nicole Caponero
- Macie Churchill
- Brianna Finkle
- Summer Johnson
- Cassidy Kaldy
- Gabriel Larkins
- Avery Leonard
- Jagger Mathes
- Noah May
- Ethan Norman
- Alizabeth Osborne
- Clinton Parlier
- Mason Peterson
- Malena Pierce
- Alyson Roberts
- Seth Sexton
- Alexis Shelton
- Kagan Tester
- Kayla Vandeventer
- Loutisha Williams
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