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The Stocking Strangler: My Home Town Serial Killer (A True Story)

When Theresa writes non-fiction, it is always somehow related to an event or something that touched her personal life in some manner.

I've been around for a long, long year

Stole many a man's soul and faith

... Pleased to meet you

Hope you guess my name

— The Rolling Stones "Sympathy for the Devil"

Wilhelm Gallhof-Halbakt.jpg 10 January 2010

Wilhelm Gallhof-Halbakt.jpg 10 January 2010

You're resting peacefully and comfortably alone in your own home, when suddenly without any warning, experiencing the horror of an unknown predator creeping into your home like a lion out to kill a sleeping sheep, all the while never saying one word to you while on top of you, punching you in the face, raping you and then choking the life out of you with one of your very own stockings. Before leaving you to succumb to death, this predator places a pillow over your face, not to suffocate you, but as some sort of final ritual.

Unfortunately, this was a horrific reality for seven mature women living in my home town at the hands of a serial killer known as "The Stocking Strangler," for obvious reasons.

Author's Note

My intent in publishing this article is not to rehash the entire gruesome story of these heinous crimes, but rather attempt to recreate the sense of fear that gripped my home town. Interestingly, however, I do have a bit of a small connection to part of the story ...are you intrigued?

The Fountain City

File: Columbus Historic District Fountain 4th Street.JPG Author: Deutschlandreform 12 October 2012 CC-BY-SA-3.0

File: Columbus Historic District Fountain 4th Street.JPG Author: Deutschlandreform 12 October 2012 CC-BY-SA-3.0

On the Grounds of the Bradley Library

My mother and my middle sister, sitting on a bench on the grounds of the Bradley Library in my home town.  My mother always cut my middle sister's hair like Dorothy Hamill for some reason.

My mother and my middle sister, sitting on a bench on the grounds of the Bradley Library in my home town. My mother always cut my middle sister's hair like Dorothy Hamill for some reason.

A year before I was to be married, beginning in September of 1977, my lovely home town, Columbus, Georgia, was terrorized by a serial killer of the most heinous kind, targeting mature women living alone in the affluent and historic area of the city known as Wynnton.

I was familiar with the Wynnton area only because my dear mother loved to take my siblings and I to the Bradley Library, which was located in that area of town. The grounds are beautiful, as I remember, filled with endless azalea bushes, pine trees and dogwood trees which all present as a floral wonderment during Spring. In addition to that, my mother loved to take all of us children to the different parks around my home town, including a beautiful one located right in the heart of the Wynnton area. I was a young child then, but still remember loving to go there, as there was much shade from the beautiful Oak trees, swing sets and picnic tables. Many people enjoyed jogging around that park for its peaceful and lovely setting. I mention this fact about the jogging for a specific reason as you will note later.

My home town is, or was, such a friendly city, yet modern in a lot of ways, with much going for it. It is a bustling city where one can always find something interesting to do. Columbus is also called the "Fountain City" because so many homes and churches have fountains. Columbus also has a national historic district in its downtown area that contains historic homes from the 19th century.

Although I refer to Columbus as my home "town," it is actually the second largest city in Georgia (Atlanta is the first). Columbus is located about 100 miles south of Atlanta. It is located on the Chattahoochee River. The Army base of Fort Benning adjoins the city.

My home town was known for having a high quality of life all around. One of the best aspects as far as quality of life was its low crime rate for a city of its size, which may have made it all the more shocking when a serial killer terrorized my home town.

At that time, I worked at the A&P (Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company) grocery store as a cashier just up the road from my home. I worked to save up to help pay for my upcoming wedding in September of 1978. We lived far from the historic district. Again, there is a reason I mention this fact here.

Columbus Historic District

File: Columbus Historic District Sign Fourth Street.JPG 12 October 2012 Author: Deutschlandreform CC-BY-SA-3.0

File: Columbus Historic District Sign Fourth Street.JPG 12 October 2012 Author: Deutschlandreform CC-BY-SA-3.0

Stocking Strangler victim, Jean Dimenstien  From The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Stocking Strangler victim, Jean Dimenstien From The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

On the night of September 25, 1977, unsuspecting Jean Dimenstien was about to become prey to the focused hunter just outside her front door. The calculating predator, after skillfully removing the hinge pins off her front door, like a wild animal encroaching upon its prey, entered her home with great stealth. Then after overpowering her with great ease, punching her in the face, raping her, and strangling her to death with her own nylon stocking, the predator left just as quietly as he came, with his prey dead in her own bed.

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Understandably, with the report of such a violent murder against Ms. Dimenstien, the older women of my home town, who lived alone, delved into great panic. They went out and bought up all the locks and deadbolts they could get their hands on to secure their homes. Even women who had never owned a gun before bought one.

Ms. Dimenstien was actually "The Stocking Strangler's" third victim by then, but I wanted to set the scene as to the kind of lengths this sociopath would go to in taking the hinge pins off the front door to carry out his evil obsession with killing mature women. It is enough to make chills run down anyone's spine! This is the kind of killer my once peaceful home town was now faced with, and how utterly terrifying for the entire citizenry.

National Registry of Historic Places

File: 1617 Summit Drive.jpg National Registry of Historic Places  19 May 2014 Ken Owens Photography CC-BY-SA-3.0

File: 1617 Summit Drive.jpg National Registry of Historic Places 19 May 2014 Ken Owens Photography CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Stocking Strangler's first victim, Mary "Ferne" Jackson   From the Columbus-Ledger Enquirer Group

The Stocking Strangler's first victim, Mary "Ferne" Jackson From the Columbus-Ledger Enquirer Group

Just Ten Days Earlier

Just ten days earlier of the unhinging of the door savage murder, on the night of September 15, 1977, the "Stocking Strangler" slipped in through a window of a brick home, once again in the affluent Wynnton area of my home town. Mary Willis "Ferne" Jackson, who also resided alone, awoke to find an intruder in her bedroom. "The Stocking Strangler’s" signature killing of choking the life out of women with their own nylon stocking all started with Ms. Jackson.

Ms. Jackson was found dead with a stocking tied tightly around her neck and a pillow covering her face.

My thought is that the killer went through the drawer to find a nylon stocking to choke the life out of Ms. Jackson by using her own stocking. Seems he was making the callous killings more personal by using the women's own stockings. Obviously, the motive was not burglary.

Was Ms. Jackson really the first victim?

Ms. Jackson's Murder

According to Columbus police detective Ronald Lynn, who was quoted in Murder in the Peach State as saying, "The only real sign that anything had been gone through was an open dresser drawer. We found it peculiar because there was a bank envelope containing money in the drawer that he would had to have seen."

Read all About "The Stocking Strangler" of My Home Town

The only Eye Witness

From the Book "Murder in the Peach State"

Bruce Jordan wrote in Murder in the Peach State, "Stakeouts were arranged throughout the Wynnton area. Marked and unmarked patrol cars combed the neighborhood. Undercover police officers were hidden inside the homes of elderly residents who were thought to be the most likely targets."

It turns out that five days before Ms. Jackson's murder, another older woman living alone in the same neighborhood had been attacked and survived! However, due to the severity of her injuries, the only eye witness was unable to speak to the police.

Then, after being hosptalized, the only eye witness had recovered enough to talk to police. She informed the police that her attacker had been a stranger, and was a black male. This confirmed suspicions of the police from the unhinged door murder, as they had found black hairs at that crime scene, not of the victim, but what looked like that of a black man. At that time, the police did not want to get the black community riled up prematurely before more evidence was gathered. Remember, this was a time before DNA.

Now that the stalking "Stocking Strangler" was behind bars, the police called off the Wynnton area stakeouts.

White Silk Stockings - Tranquil Garden CC-BY-SA 3.0 22 May 2007

White Silk Stockings - Tranquil Garden CC-BY-SA 3.0 22 May 2007

What about the confession to the Jackson and Dimenstien killings?

It turned out that Livas was one of those criminals who was willing to confess to just about anything. He would soon sign a confession that he was the assassin of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and President William McKinley in 1901 and had been in the infamous Lindbergh baby kidnapping of 1932!

Just as everyone else in my home town did, I, too, let out a gasp of horror. I remember becoming sick to my stomach at the very thought of knowing that heartless killer was free to continue his brutal murdering spree.

Obviously, Jerome Livas wasn't "The Stocking Strangler," however, he did remain in jail as a suspect in the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Beatrice Brier, only.

But wait ...This Time it was still Daylight

Stocking Strangler victim, Florence Sheible  From The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Stocking Strangler victim, Florence Sheible From The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Just 10 Days shy of Her 90th Birthday

This time the predator didn't wait, or maybe couldn't wait, for the cover of darkness to attack. Yes, in the middle of the day, Florence Sheible, just 10 days shy of her 90th birthday, suffered the same fate as the other women did at the hands of this present evil one.

Maybe the killer didn't like the thought of Mr. Jivas staking claim to his heinous handiwork.

It was reported that Ms. Sheible preferred radio to TV because she was nearly blind. She also had trouble with mobility and used a four-legged walker. A few hours later her son dropped by to visit her. He found his mother dead with a pillow over her face and a stocking tightly knotted about her neck.

I can just imagine what a field day psychiatrists, psychologists, and the like, were having with this one! I mean, we're talking about a nearly blind 90-year-old woman who could barely walk?

Stocking Strangler victim, Martha Thurmond From The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Stocking Strangler victim, Martha Thurmond From The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

When Martha Thurmond did not show up at her mother-in-law's, a niece had gone to check on her. After knocking on her Aunt's door with no answer, the niece called the police.

Once again, officers found Ms. Thurmond strangled in her home.

Just Three days after Christmas

Stocking Strangler victim, Kathleen Woodruff  From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Stocking Strangler victim, Kathleen Woodruff From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

The heartless predator did not care about the time of year, for he carried out his wrath on Kathleen Woodruff, a 77-year old woman, just three days after Christmas. Ms. Woodruff was found dead in her home, raped and strangled, just like all the Strangler's other victims.

A task force had been formed to work specifically on finding "The Stocking Strangler" who was also called "The Chattahoochee Choker."

Survivor

Stocking Strangler victim, Ruth Schwob  From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Stocking Strangler victim, Ruth Schwob From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Gasping and Gurgling Sounds were Heard

On the cold night of February 11, 1978, once again the Strangler set his sights on another older woman, Ruth Schwob. Unknown to the killer, Ms. Schwob had installed an alarm button next to her bed which would ring at one of her neighbor's home; the home of Dr. Burdette.

The killer slithered in through a window, like a rattler ready to strike, and attacked Ms. Schwob. She woke up face-to-face with a young black male with his hand around her throat. The terrified woman managed to press the alarm button. Ms. Schwob struggled with all her might. Then, without speaking a word, the Strangler's muscular hands wrapped a stocking around her neck.

The predator had no clue that an alarm had gone off next door and that Dr. Burdette had called the police. Within two minutes after being called, the police arrived at Ms. Schwob's house. Through the open window, police heard someone gasping for air. They were not too late for Ms. Schwob was still alive and the officers had hope they might catch the elusive killer that very night!

Thankfully, when the officers made it into Ms. Schwob's bedroom, she was still alive, however, she was alone. Immediately after having the stocking loosened around her neck, Ms. Schwob began vomiting.

A neighbor reported seeing a black man running through his yard, and the ambulance personnel had also seen a black male running across a road just before they arrived at Ms. Schwob's address.

Enter Stage Left ...Me

That's me, when I was young and a bit dumb, for what I was about to do.

That's me, when I was young and a bit dumb, for what I was about to do.

Yep, thats' me, young and a bit dumb, for what I was about to do next!

As I mentioned previously, I worked as a cashier at the A&P grocery store part-time to help pay for my upcoming wedding. Anyway, the older more mature women worked during the day as cashiers, and all of us younger ones filled in during the evenings and on weekends.

One of my co-workers, who I will call John, was a stock clerk, (I'm thankful I can't seem to remember his last name) was a seemingly well-mannered, hardworking and very intelligent young black male. John kept his hair cut low and very neat. I say John was young, not meaning as in teenage years, but maybe in his early 30s, possibly late 20s. I was only 18 at the time. John always had his clothing so neat and starched with seams. He was soft-spoken and quiet. John did have a very distinct facial feature of a very angular face shaping into an almost perfectly square jawline. I remember thinking that I've never seen anyone with such a square jawline. All of us who worked at the A&P grocery store had to take a test and score high to be employed there. Those who scored a 100 or close to 100 were hired before others. Surprisingly, for that time, the pay was quite good.

I have always been very observant of people, just in their mannerisms and how they relate to others. I think I would have made an excellent Behavioral Analyst for the FBI, but I never heard of such back in the day.

I noticed that after the older women left for the day, when John would sometimes have to help out on the registers, how he would make a point of commenting to the older more mature women who came through his line about their hair. He would not say how nice their hair was looking or anything like that, but instead would ask questions of them, inquiring why they styled their hair in the manner in which they did, or what they put on their hair. How odd, I thought.

John even did this to my mother who came through his line (our family members were not allowed to go through our line), and I remember my mother mentioning it to me and asking why he would ask whatever he asked her about her hair. John never commented on any younger females' hair, but only the more mature women. He seemed fixated on their hair. It was as if he almost could not restrain himself from inquiring of them regarding their hair.

My Family Kept Up with "The Stocking Strangler" News

I remember it so well, that one unpleasant and shocking (for more reasons than the obvious) day opening the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer to read the headlines of the latest news of "The Stocking Strangler." What I saw next made goosebumps cover my entire body and fear overwhelmingly consumed me. There on the front page of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer was a sketch of a "suspect" in "The Stocking Strangler" slayings, and it was the epitome of John, my co-worker, angular face/square jawline and all!

Police Sketch of a Suspect

Police Sketch of a suspect in "The Stocking Strangler" killings

Police Sketch of a suspect in "The Stocking Strangler" killings

My family were all in agreement that the sketch of the suspect in "The Stocking Strangler" slayings looked just like my co-worker John. I informed my family how John would ask about the older and mature women's hair, just as he did my mother.

Although I was a shy girl then, when it came to something of this nature, I could not help myself but to make inquiries of John. When I went to work after reading the latest and seeing that sketch in the newspaper of the suspect, I went up to John and looked him straight in the eye and asked if he had seen that sketch of the suspect in "The Stocking Strangler" killings, which looked just like him. Yes, I said that very thing to my co-worker, "...which looks just like you."

John looked me back straight in the eye without flinching or hesitation, and said in his usual calm and soft-spoken voice, "Yes, and the police questioned me."

My heart almost stopped beating at hearing this straight from John's own mouth! Then without missing a beat, I went on to inquire even more. I asked, "They did? Why would they question you, John?"

He said that he jogged in the Wynnton area!

I then inquired further, "Do you live in the Wynnton area?" He said that he did not.

I just turned away from him and clocked in and started working, with my thoughts reeling in an attempt to process the reality of what had just been said to me. I told my family of what John had told me.

He just Wanted to be My Friend

Thankfully, my dad, who was known to run off all males who came calling for me (except my husband to be, who was out in Texas at the time in basic training in the Air Force), answered the door. John told my dad that he wanted to talk to me. My dad politely told John that I was busy preparing plans for my wedding (which was the truth), and reminded him I was an engaged young woman. John said he understood all of that, but he still insisted on speaking with me. He told my dad that he just wanted to be my friend.

Now that I think about it this day, John must have followed me home, as I would sometimes walk home after work, as we did not live too far from the store. I did not have my own car. It was odd that John came for a visit when he did ...just after I had questioned him about that sketch of the suspect, which he acknowledged being a suspect.

Over the years though, I wondered if John actually did not come to visit me, but wanted to be around my mother! Those thoughts creep me out to no end. As I previously mentioned, my family did not live in the Wynnton area. Obviously, too, my mother did not live alone.

I often wonder now, whether I should have contacted the police back then to mention to them how John would fixate on, and inquire of, the older more mature women about their hair. He also would work during the day at the grocery store when all of the older women worked as cashiers. For some reason, the thought of doing that never entered my mind, maybe being I was so young? And I was so busy planning my wedding.

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A broken lamp on the floor

A broken lamp on the floor

The Strangler's violent murdering spree continued just 24 hours later with an attack of yet another older woman, 78-year-old widow Mildred Dismukes Borom. This time, he would kill her. Being the killer was not able to kill Ms. Schwob, maybe his insatiable desire to kill was so overwhelming that he couldn't wait another day to strangle the life out of yet another one of his chosen and unfortunate victims.

The stalking "Stocking Strangler" must not have had a chance to obtain one of Ms. Borom's stockings, as the newspaper reported that a Venetian-blind cut from a window of Ms. Borom's home was used to strangle the life out of her. There were signs that Ms. Borom fought for her life. A broken lamp was found at her feet.

Stocking Strangler victim, Janet Cofer  From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Stocking Strangler victim, Janet Cofer From the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer Group

Janet Cofer was the last known victim of "The Stocking Strangler," and it was on the night of April 19,1978. As in his usual and preferred manner, the killer strangled the life out of Ms. Cofer with a stocking.

Her son, Mike, was not at his mother's home.

The Killings Stopped

Just as I had been married and moved to Tampa, Florida, where my husband was stationed in the Air Force, the killings stopped. I don't remember hearing of this news, but I am sure my family must have told me. However, all of that seemed like a nightmare to me, and I was looking forward to starting my new life with my husband in a new state.

After six years in the U.S. Air Force my husband had gotten out of the Air Force and we moved to a state where his family now lives. I haven't been back to my home town in so many years. After my dad died, my mother moved away, and all of my siblings are now grown (of course), married and live elsewhere too.

I'm out of Here!

Leaving for Tampa, Florida on my wedding day

Leaving for Tampa, Florida on my wedding day

1970 Mug Shot of Carlton Gary (Albany, NY), apprehended in 1984 for  a couple of the 1977-78 slayings in Georgia

1970 Mug Shot of Carlton Gary (Albany, NY), apprehended in 1984 for a couple of the 1977-78 slayings in Georgia

Not until just recently, I happened to wonder whether "The Stocking Strangler" was ever caught. It wasn't until 1984 that a Carlton Gary was indicted and arrested for a couple of the murders in my home town. After reading a bit about Gary, the facts just did not add up in my mind. To me, Gary seemed more focused on burglarizing, as I remembered the time when an envelope filled with money in plain sight was not even touched. Gary is still on death row in Georgia! There's no doubt that Carlton Gary is a criminal and even a murderer (of a woman in Albany, NY), but there is plenty of doubt he is "The Stocking Strangler" for now DNA testing has cast such doubt.

There are many bizarre twists and turns in this story of "The Stocking Strangler" and it was even reported that he had an accomplice, who Carlton Gary later said did the actual killings. This accomplice's name is John Lee Williams, who did time in prison until Gary later recanted saying he made it all up. Mr. Williams was then released from prison.

As if the Columbus Police Department didn't already have its hands full in dealing with this mysterious and heartless murderer, things became even more bizarre.

A strange letter was sent to the Columbus Police Department claiming to be from "The Chairman of The Forces of Evil," informing the police that "they" were going to start murdering black females if they did not catch "The Stocking Strangler" soon! To make a long story short, it turns out there was no such group, but, believe it or not, he was one black man, William Henry Hance, who was enlisted in the U.S. Army and stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, which adjoined the City of Columbus. This man had murdered three women and was so paranoid about being caught and labeled as "The Stocking Strangler," that he concocted this bizarre story in an attempt to take suspicion off of him and his own dirty deeds.

He later confessed and led police to the bodies. The police hoped he was "The Stocking Strangler," but then Ms. Cofer was found strangled in her home.

Creepy Video made in My Home Town

Silk Stockings Woman's Half Leg

Silk Stockings Woman's Half Leg

Something wicked this way comes.

— Shakespeare's Macbeth

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References

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2014/02/23/2970172/stocking-strangler-comes-back.html

Rankin, Bill. "Tests cast doubt on 'Strangler' murders. Convicted serial killer's DNA doesn't match evidence from 1 victim." The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, December 14, 2010.

Comments

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on September 11, 2019:

Hi S. P.,

Thank you for you email via HubPages as relates to this hub. I’ll respond here to your email.

In your email to me you shared that in 1980 you were in the Army stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, and that the FBI had questioned you about strangling the seven elderly women after your aunt had mailed you a birthday card, which was intercepted by the FBI because someone had written “Wynnton Strangler” across the envelope.

I do recall reading back then about a soldier or soldiers who were questioned about a woman who had been murdered by strangulation but that it ended up being a murder unrelated to the “Stocking Strangler” murders, but maybe the murderer was attempting to make it look like another “Stocking Strangler” murder. It did not happen in the Wynnton area of Columbus. I think I remember one soldier may have been arrested for that murder and another just questioned. My memory may not be correct about that though, so I’ll have to try to dig up those old articles about the soldiers.

Thank you again for your email.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on March 18, 2018:

Yes, for sure, Shan ...

Shannon Henry from Texas on March 17, 2018:

Too bad the didn't have the technology available then that we do now. I'd like to believe there are less innocent people in prison for heinous crimes they never committed.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on March 17, 2018:

Hi Shan, Yes, for sure ... to say the least!

I wanted to give a brief update as I saw where Georgia had executed the man they thought was the Stocking Strangler. They waited four decades to do so! From what I read on Google, Carlton Gary didn’t have any last words. So, that really adds to the mystery but I do hope he was the real Stocking Strangler. I just have doubt because of the circumstances as I had written in my article, and I’m not the only one.

Well, we do know Carlton Gary was a bad man and had murdered in Albany, New York, but was he the Stocking Strangler?

Shannon Henry from Texas on March 16, 2018:

Came back because of a notification and saw the update. I still find this tale to be incredibly creepy.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on March 16, 2018:

Thank you, Frank!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on March 16, 2018:

a great update!!!!!!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on March 15, 2018:

UPDATE: Tonight, March 15, 2018, Georgia executed the man arrested four decades ago known as the Stocking Strangler. I do hope he was the true Stocking Strangler, but his lawyers still believe he was not the Stocking Strangler, as many others do not believe he was either, as there were many facts in the cases that did not add up. Carlton Gary was indeed a bad man, but was he the real Stocking Strangler?

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on October 26, 2017:

Hi Mike and Dorothy! Thank you so much for reading. Yes, truly heinous indeed ... It was not easy to write about this one for sure but being I lived right there at that time, I thought I could share my own personal account, thoughts and concerns. I do hope the real murderer is rotting away somewhere too! I can imagine you both have seen your share of the criminal mind in action ...

Mike and Dorothy McKenney from United States on October 25, 2017:

Amazing article. We are both former police officers and fascinated with stories of true crime. I hope the Strangler is rotting away somewhere. Truly heinous.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on September 04, 2017:

Hi Leigh, thank you for sharing about the new book too! I pray the true person responsible for these heinous crimes comes to justice finally! The poor victims' families are long overdue for closure.

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on September 04, 2017:

Hi T. A. Powell: So you're the author of the book? Were you a detective during that time? I will check it out. Thank you for letting me know. I do hope the true identity of the killer is known and brought to justice finally, unless he is already dead. I'll never forget the terror my home town experienced.

Leigh on September 04, 2017:

The truth has finally been revealed. Read Lords of the Harvest, by TA Powell. I will be following closely now - to see if justice will prevail in the Columbs Stocking Murder case. Buy this book! It is beyond fascinating!

T.A. Powell on September 04, 2017:

Now all these years later and after extensive researching, you can read the truth about the Columbus killings... Read the new release, "Lords of the Harvest: A True Crime Investigative Memoir" by T.A. Powell. The evidence trail in this book will shock you and leave you as to no doubt about the killer's true identity...a serious piece of forensic work. It's on Amazon- 2017

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on July 24, 2016:

Hello Dear Ann, again,

I am blessed to see you here this day again on my hubs reading! Yes, this one is a heart-stopper and not in a good way. I struggled with publishing this one, but I know so many love to read True Crime stories, and this is one humdinger of one no doubt about it. Can you even imagine living right there while these horrendous deeds were happening? It's hard to read about such evil, but even worse to have lived right there. Creepy, indeed!

I hope and pray that the real "Stocking Strangler" is in prison somewhere too! Yes, DNA is a wonderful thing and hopefully they can still use some of the DNA that was gathered from back then to know for sure in the murders where they just don't know.

These murders are so surreal to me for these cases had so many twists and turns and for the police to be so close at the crime scene where the woman survived and not catch him, raises other questions in my mind.

Hahaha, well, some humor is needed to break up the seriousness of this terror hub! I think the rest of my hubs are back to my "norm" of hubs ...thank goodness!

Peace always, sweet woman

Ann Carr from SW England on July 24, 2016:

You certainly grabbed my attention from the start and kept it going through this one, Theresa! How creepy to have had that conversation after the e-fit likeness; I would've felt really uncomfortable.

I hope they did catch him; DNA can be used so well these days. There is such evil in this world and it's well nigh impossible to get into such an evil or disturbed mind.

Having gone from your 'peaceful' hub to this one, I'm wondering what's coming next! Just kidding!

Ann

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on June 27, 2016:

Hi there, Happylovejoy,

So nice to meet you, and I love your hubber name!

Creepy and then some to say the least ...and imagine living right there when these brutal murders had taken place! Just the thought of it still creeps me out to this day.

I am hoping that is exactly what happened and the real "Stocking Strangler" is in prison and/or dead. It boggles my mind how evil a human being can become with no remorse, seemingly.

Happy blessings

Kawai from Singapore on June 27, 2016:

This story really gave me the creeps.. To think killers could be amongst us, our neighbor, friend, colleague! Very interesting read and I believe what comes around goes around - if the police didn't catch up with him, something else would..

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on May 23, 2016:

Hi sg,

It was truly terrifying beyond our comprehension to know there is one out there whose mind is so consumed with such evil. I do hope the true "Stocking Strangler" is in prison or dead. Yes, my co-worker at the time had too many coincidences to not take seriously. Scary thought and too close for comfort!

That too will forever be a mystery as to why he showed up at my house, but I'm relieved my dad was home when he did show up.

Thank you for reading this real life horror story.

Sheila Brown from Southern Oklahoma on May 23, 2016:

How terrifying this would have been! It does take a very sick person to rape a woman old enough to be his grandmother! My money is on your co-worker! I am so glad that you father did not let him talk to you! Who knows what he may have done or said!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on May 13, 2016:

Dear Sha,

Oh, dear heart, you are one intelligent woman, even in your 20s. I see nowadays they actually do the voice recognition and then investigate further the one's whose voice is recognized. Plus, maybe the amount of fluid is enough for today's DNA.

It is interesting that the one who they have on Death Row, Carlton Gary, was actually into burglary and so with your experience, they did say that he, Carlton Gary, left Georgia and traveled to Florida, committing burglaries. So, he is certainly a bad guy and in prison for murdering the woman in Albany, NY, and his MO was more along this line, and maybe not the older women. The "Stocking Strangler's" MO was always older, more mature women, and he was not concerned about robbing them.

So, it does give one a lot to ponder, and I hope and pray the one who committed the violent crime against you, is already in prison or dead.

The timeline of '81 or '82 fits the time Carlton Gary would have been in Florida.

Yes, precious heart, thank God he didn't slit your throat!

Hugs and peace always

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 13, 2016:

Faith, there actually was very little of his fluid when they did the rape kit. Also, the cops thought they might know who it was because a similar rape had happened not far from where I lived. I asked them to do an audio lineup. I told them I'd never forget the voice, but they refused because I never saw his face. I do know it was a black man. This happened in the early 1980s, say '81 or '82. I was 24 or 25. Thank God he didn't slit my throat!

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on May 12, 2016:

Oh, Dear Sha, I'm so sorry about those ugly memories. My heart just breaks for you having to experience such a horrifying crime against your person. I know you have written of your story before. You are most certainly a "brave warrior" without a doubt. You are a strong and beautiful person. I wonder if they kept the evidence back them, that maybe DNA could not find that person who violated you then? I can't remember what the statute of limitations is on such a crime. Were there any other rapes in your area reported then?

I am thankful to God that you are still here with us now, sweet friend.

As far as this "Stocking Strangler" serial killer and my co-worker being questioned by the police ...that is all I know. They very well could have interrogated him thoroughly. All I know is when I saw that sketch and I immediately thought of him, I felt compelled to just ask him did he happen to see that sketch of a suspect in the killings, and then for his answer to be what it was ...unnerving to say the least!

I think I may have left work after that to get the final details of my wedding done, or either when I did go back to work, I don't remember seeing him after that incident at my house. However, he could have very well just been working on different days after that?

It is pretty suspicious to me too, no doubt, about his fixation with older women's hair. I have always been one to notice how people interact with others for some reason, just observant, I guess. So, when I had noticed how he would make those inquiries to older women about their hair, a red flag went up in my mind, long before any sketch appeared in the newspaper.

You are brave to read this hub, especially with it being a true crime article. It sounds like the crime against you may have occurred within a couple of years of these crimes?

Peace and hugs

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on May 12, 2016:

Faith, when I read the intro it brought back ugly memories of something that happened to me when I was in my 20's. I was asleep in my little cottage in South Florida and was awakened by a body on top of me, a washcloth over my face, and my own butcher knife held to me throat. The guy kept saying, "don't move or I'll kill ya" while he raped me. Then he walked me (still with my face covered) to a closet, shoved me in and put a chair under the handle, as he slid out the way he came in: through jalousie windows. I'm highly claustrophobic and busted out of the closet once I was sure he was gone. As I was running out of the house to get away and call for help, I discovered he'd stolen my Seiko watch and all my money (I had just closed my checking account with intent of switching banks). I'll never forget his voice. However, because I didn't see his face, Ft. Lauderdale police didn't bother trying to find the guy who attacked me.

If your co-worker was a suspect in the case, why didn't the police question him further? Or did he just tell you he was a suspect? You were very brave to confront him. Thank God your dad answered the door when he came to your house! Did you ever see him after that? What happened to him? I don't think the right guy was arrested. Your co-workers fixation with older women's hair is not just creepy, but weird. Choking the victims with their own stockings puts his face pretty much right there in their hair. Pretty suspicious, don't you think?

Faith Reaper (author) from southern USA on May 03, 2016:

Hi Genna,

It is so great to see you this day! Oh, no need for any forgiveness, as I surely understand for I have not been able to be on here much myself due to regular life circumstances.

Yes, this "human creature" reminds me too of the Boston Strangler. You certainly have keen insight. It was a surreal experience concerning my co-worker and his being questioned by the police, coupled with the other facts!

Thank you for your kind words.

It has always been perplexing to me how he could slip through the fingers of law enforcement when they were right at the scene that one time. It brings up a lot more questions in my mind .

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 01, 2016:

Hi Faith. I've been away for a while on a work sabbatical, so please forgive me in being so late in reading your amazing story. This is excellent writing, Faith -- from your description of this Georgia community and your home town, to the human creature that crept with horrific and silent stealth into the homes of these poor unsuspecting victims. This killer was determined and patient in a way that slid chills down my spine. He reminded me of the Boston Strangler.

What a beautiful of photo of you! And you were spot on about John's odd behavior with the older ladies and his fixation with their hair; it was so strange. And how the sketch looked so much like him. You were very brave to confront him about the sketch, but your instincts were right. And to think he followed you home. Thank goodness your father was there.

Another way in which this story reminds me of the Boston Strangler is that they were never truly sure they caught the r