Cold-case detectives investigating Colorado’s 1,500 unsolved homicides believe that 24 of those are the work of an as-yet unidentified serial killer.
Investigators in Aurora, Arapahoe and Adams Counties in Colorado are reaching out to the public in an attempt to solve a decades-old possible serial-killer case. When Detective Steve Conner of the Aurora Police Department started plotting unsolved murders on a map, a pattern started to emerge, “Wherever the bodies were found, we just plotted them on a map and that was kind of an ‘ah-ha’ moment,” he said. All of the young women’s bodies were all found in the 1970s and 1980s, on the I-70 corridor, in ditches and in fields along the side of the road — not hidden, but displayed — legs spread apart and visible from the road, an intended shocker for passing motorists. The dump sites are all in Aurora, Arapahoe and Adams counties, and the victims all share similar physical characteristics.
Police now believe that high-school athlete Karolyn Walker, who disappeared on July 3, 1987, at age 18, was a victim of this nameless killer. Karolyn, who was popular and excelled in swimming, gymnastics and volleyball, was raised by her mother Claudine along with her siblings Gary, Glen, Victor, James and Charmaine. One night Karolyn went to her job at Domino’s in her boyfriend’s car and never came home. Her stalled, abandoned car was found in Denver, and three days later her nude, badly beaten, unrecognizable body was found posed with legs spread apart near I-70 and Colfax. She had been strangled. Stephanie Bauman’s family believed that she had fallen in with the wrong crowd when she disappeared from her group home. Her body was found two weeks later on October 26, 1980, bruised, nude, and posed with her legs spread apart on County Road 173 and U.S. 36 in Arapahoe County. Her clothes were found about a mile away. She died of hypothermia. Forensics was able to collect genetic material from the body for DNA testing. There is even less on record about Gayle Page Johnston, who was shot in the head on September 5, 1976. Her body was found on E. 100th Avenue and Highway 2 in Adams County.
Police hope that this appeal to the public will prompt anyone with information or who might have witnessed something to come forward. Callers may remain anonymous.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Denver Area CrimeStoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867) or any of the police departments in Aurora 303-739-6118, Arapahoe 303-795-4711 or Adams Counties 303-654-1850.