true crime, Virginia

Repost: The Colonial Parkway murders… and a near miss on the Parkway for me…

I am planning to write some fresh content today, but I wanted to repost this piece I wrote on March 23, 2015. It’s here “as/is”. I think it will be interesting to people who know the Williamsburg/Yorktown/Gloucester areas in Virginia, as well as those who knew me when I was young.

Today’s post is inspired by an article I just read in the Huffington Post…  The featured photo is a picture from the National Park Service of the Parkway in spring…

I have mentioned before that I grew up in Gloucester, Virginia, not too far from Williamsburg and Yorktown.  I spent much of my young life traveling on what is known as the Colonial Parkway, a 23 mile stretch of scenic road between Yorktown and Jamestown.  As a kid, I’d ride with my mom on the Parkway to get to Williamsburg.  We often went there to go shopping or stop by the Naval Weapons Station, which used to have a small commissary my mom favored over the larger ones at Fort Eustis and Langley Air Force Base.  It’s a beautiful drive.  I actually enjoyed making that drive when I was younger and had jobs in Williamsburg, though sometimes I would take an alternate route just to shake things up a bit.

I grew up in the 1980s.  During that time period, there was a series of murders that took place on the Colonial Parkway.  The first one happened in 1986, when I was fourteen years old.  The two victims, 27 year old Cathleen Marian Thomas, and 21 year old Rebecca Ann Dowski were last seen hanging out in a computer lab with friends at the College of William and Mary.  Three days later, a jogger on the Colonial Parkway spotted Thomas’s car on the edge of an embankment.  The women had been strangled and their throats were cut.  The killer was never found.

As time passed, there were more murders.  I’m not going to detail them in this blog post because you can read the article I linked for more accurate information than I can possibly offer.  I will mention one other pair that were killed because I remember them the best.  On April 9, 1988 20 year old Richard “Keith” Call and 18 year old Cassandra Lee Hailey went out on their first date.  They were both students at what is now Christopher Newport University.  They disappeared after that fateful first date and haven’t been seen since.  They are presumed to have been victims of the Colonial Parkway killer.

I believe Keith Call was from Gloucester, so I remember hearing more about him and Cassandra Hailey than the other victims.  I remember seeing the posters asking for information about their whereabouts.  That same year in Gloucester, a teenager named Laurie Ann Powell was also reported as missing.  She was a graduate of my high school and was last seen alive on March 8, 1988.  She was found in the James River April 2, 1988.  I remember there were posters on the walls at my school about her, too.  I remember reading her “senior will” in the Dukes Dispatch school newspaper and thinking how eerie it was.  She had written this memorial to her high school days, not knowing that she wouldn’t have many days beyond high school.  I never knew her because she was a few years ahead of me.  Over twenty-five years later, the murders still haven’t been solved.  The killer(s) must either be dead or locked up somewhere, since as of around 1989, the murders seem to have stopped.

It never occurred to me to be afraid to drive on the Colonial Parkway.  I did it all the time.  I remember having a job in Williamsburg and my boss– a woman I couldn’t stand and who likewise couldn’t stand me– used to scold me for driving that way to work.  Coming from Gloucester and needing to get to the part of Williamsburg where I was working, the Colonial Parkway was the quickest and easiest route.  And again, it was (and still is) a very lovely drive.  Fortunately, I never broke down on it, though I did end up in a very scary situation once that involved the Parkway.

I’m about to veer off topic a little bit, since this incident has nothing to do with the Parkway murders.  It does have to do with a sleazy person, though, who scared the shit out of me while driving on the Colonial Parkway.

From late September 1997 until mid August 1999, I lived with my parents in Gloucester County.  I was fresh from the Peace Corps and dealing with some rather serious depression and anxiety issues.  Because my father was an alcoholic and we didn’t get along, I needed support.  At my mother’s suggestion, I started attending Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings in Williamsburg.

The meetings were held every Wednesday night at a large Methodist church near the College of William and Mary.  I looked forward to attending the meetings because most of the people who regularly showed up were nice folks and it was helpful to talk with them.  One of the guys in it actually hooked me up with the therapist who helped me get over depression.  Because he had issues with depression and ADD, this guy knew all the shrinks in the Williamsburg area and said Dr. Coe was the best.  I have long since lost touch with the guy who recommended Dr. Coe, but Dr. Coe is now my friend rather than my shrink.  At the very least, I will always be grateful to ACOA for that connection.  

There was a guy named Peter who used to attend the ACOA meetings.  Peter lived in Surry, which is a community not far from Williamsburg, but in order to get there efficiently, he had to take a ferry across the James River.  He was a swarthy guy with dark curly hair and luminous hazel-brown eyes.  I don’t know what his ethnicity was, but I would guess he was of Italian or Greek descent.  Perhaps he had gypsy blood.  He wasn’t bad looking, but my initial impressions of him were not positive. 

I didn’t like Peter.  He used to make fun of me and harass me during the meetings.  I didn’t think he liked me; but in retrospect, he must have thought I was somewhat attractive.  His way of showing his “attraction” was to be annoying, snarky, and critical.  One time, he looked in the front seat of my car at some books I had picked up at the library.  One of the books I had borrowed was called Sex For Dummies.  He thought that was funny and felt the need to make rude comments about it.

After awhile, he either became less obnoxious or I got used to him.  For awhile, I didn’t dislike him as much as I had.  I even started bantering with him.  Though he had a lot of baggage owing to being raised by an alcoholic, he would tell us interesting stories about his plans to build a house out of straw.  Eventually, he hooked up with some woman and they had a baby girl, though they never got married.  I remember one night, they came to the restaurant where I was working and had dessert on the terrace.  I think I even waited on them.

In August 1999, I went to grad school.  I came back home for fall break.  A male friend of mine from college was in Williamsburg for a teacher’s conference, so we made plans to get together.  It was a Wednesday night, which was also the night of ACOA meetings.  I decided to stop by and see old friends I knew from that group, then meet my old college friend at his hotel room. 

Well, it turned out that night, ACOA was cancelled.  Since I no longer lived in the area, I didn’t know.  Peter also didn’t get the message.  He showed up at the church and we sat around and talked for awhile.  He made a comment about how “good” I was looking.  I had lost a lot of weight working at a restaurant in Williamsburg and hadn’t yet had time to regain it at school.  He asked me if I wanted to go see his baby. 

In retrospect, I should have said no.  My friend was waiting for me and, honestly, I didn’t even like Peter that much.  But we were getting along and, for whatever reason, I was curious about his baby.  I guess I also didn’t want to be rude.  He and his girlfriend had broken up, but she allowed him liberal visitation.  He called her and said he was coming over to see the baby and she agreed.

I stupidly let Peter drive me in his truck rather than following him in my own car.  We went to the ex girlfriend’s house and saw the baby.  The ex girlfriend was noticeably tense and seemed upset with Peter.  I seem to remember her telling him he was a jerk.  I paid little mind to it.  The baby was really cute and I was entertained by watching Peter thrill her by holding her up high and twirling her around.  The baby seemed to enjoy Peter’s roller coaster moves and responded by smiling and laughing.  She had Peter’s eyes and coloring.  She has probably grown up to be very exotic looking.

After our visit with the baby, we got back in Peter’s truck.  We were chatting casually.  I was telling him about school.  I expected him to take me back to the church.  He headed for the Parkway instead.  I told him I needed to get back because my friend was waiting for me.  He said he thought maybe I could blow off my friend.  I insisted that I wanted to get back.  He said he wanted to “hold me” for awhile.       

Suddenly, my brain was crystal clear.  I somehow managed to stay cool as I insisted that he take me back to the church so I could get my car and go.  I reiterated that my friend was expecting me and would call the police if I didn’t show up.  Now, in truth, I doubt my friend would have called the cops.  He probably would have worried, but ultimately might have thought I had simply stood him up.  However, he also knew I wasn’t the kind of person to stand people up, especially him.  He was one of my best friends. 

I sternly informed Peter that if I didn’t show up for our appointment, my friend would be looking for me.  All Peter knew was that my friend was a guy.  He may have even figured my friend could beat the shit out of him.

Peter argued with me, then started lecturing me about how I let other people control me.  What was the harm in blowing off my old friend and having a little fun with him in his truck?  I thought that was a pretty rich comment, since I had made it clear that I didn’t want to be with him in the way he was suggesting.  Indeed, it was obvious he was upset because I wasn’t allowing him to control me.  Fortunately, my tone of voice convinced Peter that he needed to do what I said.  He finally took me back to my car and I will never forget the overwhelming sense of relief I felt when I was no longer in his truck with him.  I swear, I felt like I was about to shit my pants.  I was petrified.

I remember being polite to Peter as we said goodbye.  Then I went to see my friend.  I was really shaken up and upset.  We tried to go out, but I was too freaked out to enjoy the evening.  Later, I was really pissed off.  I have mentioned before that I have never been much of a dater and I don’t generally attract abusive people.  Most of the guys who have liked me are nice to a fault.  Peter didn’t like me.  He saw me as someone he could talk into fucking him.  He was a colossal asshole.

Not long after that incident, I visited friends at the restaurant where I had once worked.  I was pretty shocked when I saw Peter on the waitstaff.  He didn’t last long, though.  He came over to say hi to me.  I am sure he could see it written all over my face how much I despised him for what he tried to do.  Perhaps he didn’t have any criminal intentions toward me, but he showed extreme disrespect.  And it’s that experience, not the Parkway murders, that makes me think less of the pretty 23 mile drive.  I haven’t been to another ACOA meeting since. 

I wonder if Peter’s ex girlfriend continued to be so liberal about letting him visit their baby.  That girl is now a teenager.  Hopefully, Peter wasn’t a terrible father to her and my instincts about him were wrong.  I can’t help but feel sorry for his ex girlfriend, though.  I would hate to have a child with a man like Peter.  Clearly, he was aptly named, too.  

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Duggars, true crime

Wonder if she’s eating her words yet…

I hope everyone had a good Mother’s Day. Mine was spent alone. I was not in a great mood, although it was better last night than it was Saturday night. Fortunately for all of my loved ones and friends, I was alone to enjoy my misery. Well, the dogs were with me, but they don’t mind when I get a bit crabby.

I spent way too much time watching YouTube videos in bed. I saw a bunch done by Katie Joy (Without a Crystal Ball), then took the time to find out why she’s so controversial. People complain that she shoots her mouth off about things, says “defamatory” things and has even been sued for defamation, and she supposedly rips off Reddit threads. All of those things may be true. I still think she’s kind of interesting, although now that I’ve see some of her work, I think I might find her interesting because of her speculation about the Duggar family. She watches them very closely and notices when things are “up”.

About a month ago, Katie Joy mentioned that the Duggars were acting “weird”. She had several theories as to why they were acting so strange. Think about it. Two sons got married in the span of just a few weeks– Justin Duggar married Claire Spivey and Jedidiah Duggar married Katey Nakatsu. Both weddings were, by Duggar standards, very private. By normal people’s standards, they were just kind of private. Katie Joy was able to live stream Jed’s wedding and report on it as it was happening. Naturally, People Magazine ran wedding announcements and photos. But this was still strange behavior by Duggar standards, and Katie Joy rightfully realized there was something rotten in Tonitown. However, I don’t think any of us had a clue about the seriousness of what was about to go down.

TLC cameras supposedly weren’t around to film the nuptials. That seems ominous to me, since even if they were thinking of canceling the show, one would think TLC would at least film these major events just in case they didn’t. Sounds like maybe a death knell is sounding for Counting On and the rest of the Duggar shows. I think Josh’s perversions have finally driven people to the point of lasting disgust.

Last night, as I was lying in bed about to fall asleep, I happened to see the below photo, which was shared to the Duggar Family News page…

I wonder if Elizabeth Davis is cringing yet.

Back in 2011, when Michelle had just miscarried the “doomed” 20th child, Jubilee Shalom, I kind of “lost” a longtime female friend over the Duggars. People on my Facebook page were discussing Michelle’s miscarriage and one guy, no longer a friend because several years later, he took issue when I later pointed out his misogynistic comments about Natalie Maines, cracked a tasteless quip about “19 kids and no longer counting.” My female friend– still technically a Facebook friend, but she no longer “talks” to me– got upset and shamed everyone for being insensitive to Michelle Duggar’s pain at losing a baby. This friend had publicly expressed that she “loved” and “admired” the Duggar family. Or, at least their public visage.

I was a bit annoyed by my friend’s shaming comments, and I wrote that I thought it was shitty that Michelle Duggar kept having babies, despite having so many young children who still so desperately needed her, and in spite of almost dying during her previous high drama pregnancy with Josie Duggar, who was born VERY prematurely. I thought it was very irresponsible and selfish for her to be having her 20th baby when she still had a medically fragile toddler (Josie) who needed her mother so much, in spite of all the sister-moms who were around to look after her. My “friend” deleted her comments. She didn’t unfriend me, but she doesn’t engage with me anymore.

Over the years, I’ve wondered if my old friend still “loves” the Duggar family so much that she’d ditch a longtime friend for them. Or maybe the Duggars were just an excuse. The truth is, she and I are very different, and we have rather divergent opinions about almost everything– especially politics. It’s a pity, though, because there was a time when we were good friends and had a lot of fun riding horses together.

So this morning, I woke up and checked Facebook. I was actually feeling okay, because Arran let me sleep until almost 5:00am. That’s a rare and beautiful thing, especially when Bill isn’t home. The first thing I saw was a now deleted comment that we should leave Josh alone because he’s getting “help”. Naturally, that comment caused a flood of indignant responses about what a piece of shit Josh is and how he deserves to be abused when he’s in prison. The person who made the inflammatory remark never came back to the discussion. Frankly, based on the deluge of angry and insulting comments she got, I can’t really blame her for not responding. I don’t agree with what she wrote– that Josh should be “left alone” and that he’s getting “help”– but I do think people should try to be more civilized when they interact on the Internet. Piling on someone and being rude isn’t a good way to get them to communicate. In fact, that’s a good way to squelch communication– and it’s hard to learn new things when people aren’t communicating.

Many people were saying Josh Duggar is scum of the earth and ought to be crucified. I understand the sentiment. However, I try to keep in mind that he still has a right to a fair trial. He hasn’t yet been proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. Anyone in Josh’s situation, and anyone who presumably loves and depends on Josh (ie; his soon to be seven innocent children and his long suffering wife) would want for him to have a fair and impartial adjudication. You and I would certainly want a fair trial for ourselves and/or our loved ones. I can’t blame Josh for getting the best lawyers and experts he can afford to defend himself. I’m sure he will pursue every avenue. If I was in his shoes, I would do the same. On the other hand, I don’t have any plans to hang out on the Dark Web.

Moreover, while I definitely don’t think Josh is a good person at all, I also don’t think Josh is the worst person on the planet. I can think of quite a few people who are much, much worse by far. For instance, I think Larry Nassar is a lot worse than Josh is… although given more time, I think Josh could easily approach Larry’s grossness. Larry Nassar sexually abused hundreds of elite female athletes in the name of providing “medical treatment”. To my knowledge, Josh hasn’t yet approached the sheer volume of victims Nassar has. That doesn’t mean he wouldn’t try if he had the opportunity, but he’s not there yet, as far as I know. Also, Josh hasn’t killed anyone, nor have I heard of anyone killing themselves because of Josh’s actions. Nassar, on the other hand, is partially responsible for at least one suicide… maybe even two, if you consider that his former sidekick, John Geddert, recently committed suicide as the law was closing in on him. He’s probably also not as repugnant as Jeffrey Epstein was… at least not yet. Maybe they’re cut from the same cloth. Jeez… as I sit here, I can think of a bunch of really awful men who used to be thought of as okay… Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, O.J. Simpson, Jared Fogle… the list goes on and on. And those people aren’t even mass murderers. If you think about it, Josh is in the company of a whole lot of reprehensible humans with penises.

Found in the files on Josh’s computer was a reportedly horrifying video called “Daisy’s Destruction”. I have not looked up this video, but I have heard people talking about it on YouTube. I also saw someone post the general specifics of what it’s about. Make no mistake about it. Based on the very limited knowledge I have of it, it’s definitely not something decent people want to be viewing. However, while I think anyone who enjoys watching such a video is totally vile, much viler still are the people who produced and distributed it. I don’t want to go into specifics of what’s in the video or the generalities of what it took to make it. Suffice to say that to make this video, some extremely horrible, inhumane, and heartbreaking things happened… things that are just unconscionable. Anyone who enjoys viewing that kind of material is, for sure, extremely sick and depraved. But I don’t think people who view the video are worse than the people who dreamed it up, made it for public consumption, and shamelessly raked in all of the money the sick and depraved are willing to pay for it. I think the people who make and sell this stuff are worse than the people who consume it.

I also disagree with people who think Josh should be abused or killed by other inmates. I certainly don’t condone what Josh has admitted to doing in the past, or what he’s allegedly done more recently. I wouldn’t blame other inmates for wanting to hurt or kill him, simply due to what’s been reported about him. However, it’s not the inmates’ place to exact justice on others. Ideally, people in prison should be focused on paying for their own crimes, rather than punishing others. Moreover, while I personally believe Josh Duggar is probably beyond rehabilitation and he clearly has issues with harming women and girls, I don’t know that for certain. All I know is what I’ve seen and read in the media, what I know from my formal studies, and what I know from personal experience. I suspect I’m right about him, but I don’t know him personally. I’ve only seen the whitewashed version of his life on TV and the more salacious items that have been in the news.

I have always believed Josh Duggar’s parents are, at least in part, to blame for the fact that he’s so fucked up. It’s pretty plain that Josh had problems way before he was an adult. The Duggars’ response was to tell him to repress his sexuality (but offering no real help), avoid all sin, and do hard labor. They did nothing to help the victims of Josh’s abuse, but instead pressured them to forgive and forget and sweep it all under the rug so Jim Bob could get rich and famous on reality TV. I heard them say they were looking to the Lord, but their actions didn’t match their words. That’s pretty far from Christlike behavior, even though I hear them “praising God and Jesus” all the time, and cringe when I hear Michelle’s highly irritating baby voice. Maybe Josh would have still been the person he is if his parents had done more to help him, but at least if they’d tried to get him real help as well as hold him (and him ALONE) accountable for what he did to his sisters and the babysitter, he might have had a chance to become a better person.

I want to share a few interesting TikTok videos I just watched. Someone calling herself “Lawyer Carrie” just brought up a point that I think a lot of people haven’t considered. I hadn’t considered it myself, mainly because it never occurred to me. Before this morning, I had never heard of “glitter bombing“. Check this out…

@carriejernigan1

Reply to @hoodiegirl1011 This is all speculative on what various defenses we could see at a trial #lawyer #duggar #joshduggar #duggartiktok

♬ original sound – ✨LAWYER CARRIE✨
Interesting… I don’t know if it will work, given Josh’s history, but it is definitely possible the defense lawyers will try this.
Glitter bombing? That’s a new one for me… and food for thought.
I have heard of the Dark Web, because Bill got a master’s degree in cybersecurity. It’s a world I don’t want to access, but it’s not illegal to be there.

Josh Duggar is a fraud and a massive hypocrite. He’s definitely got serious issues. Anyone who listens to him is liable to come away with the idea that Josh is a smarmy, fake, narcissistic creep, and that’s not even knowing what he did to his sisters and his alleged issues with receiving and possessing CP. That being said, he’s one person among an ever expanding group of really bad people. He’s probably not the worst of the worst… yet, anyway.

This video is a load of crap that hasn’t aged well. Wonder if the interviewer is eating his words yet.

That being said, I do think it’s possible that Josh told the truth when he said someone “sent” the videos to him. When the Feds came to talk to him, Josh allegedly asked if someone was downloading CP to his computer. It sounds like if he wasn’t himself accessing the images, it’s possible he was threatened by someone and that person carried out their threats. Some people are saying that the fact that he brought that up is damning, but personally, I think if he was really viewing CP, he would be more tight-lipped about it. I definitely think this is a theory that should be thoroughly investigated, if it hasn’t been already. However, I have also read that over 90% of federal charges lead to convictions. So, the chances of Josh getting off are probably pretty small. I do think he’ll get some time in prison.

Could it be the case for Josh? Maybe…

Lawyer Carrie on TikTok has pointed out that they only found three days worth of images on one computer. It does occur to me that if Josh was really addicted and a hard core user, he probably would have a lot more bad stuff– more than just three days’ worth–, and there would be evidence of heavier usage than what has been reported. I also think he certainly could be the type of person who would piss someone off on the Dark Web and they might try to get revenge by “glitter bombing” him. The Dark Web is not known for its fair and law abiding citizens. The very fact that Josh was hanging out there is shady enough. No, it’s not illegal to be on the Dark Web, but many of the people hanging out there are up to no good and a lot of crimes get their start there. It’s possible Josh screwed someone over financially and they got back at him by pinning him with CP. But, like I said… simply hanging around on the Dark Web is suspicious and shady enough. It’s not a place where law abiding people tend to hang out much.

The fact that Josh was on the Dark Web is definitely questionable, and makes me think he’s definitely guilty of something. But… as slimy and revolting as Josh is, I do think there is a chance that someone was getting revenge on him for some reason. That doesn’t mean I think he’s completely innocent, a good person, or that he should be completely exonerated. But I do think that because he’s never been convicted of a crime before, has access to expensive lawyers and computer experts, and there may be a motive for someone to fuck him over, he might not get the decades in prison that a lot of people are hoping he gets. And I wouldn’t blame him for taking his best shot at beating the charges.

I do wonder if any of the people who used to defend the Duggars are eating their words yet. But then, I don’t think they should be too hard on themselves. The Duggars have fooled a whole lot of decent people for years. I’m sure there’s a whole lot of stuff under the surface that could come out, now that the perfect Christian facade is slipping. I feel sorry for the innocent children who are associated with this ugliness… especially Josh’s children, who are probably going to be paying dearly for the rest of their lives for their father’s reputation.

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