A.V.C. Review: Frankly, the more alarmist qualities of this series feel like a reach, given that what Zeman and Mills actually find over the course of these eight episodes is plenty disturbing without the use of grabby names like “Long Island Serial Killer,” “I-4 Killer,” and “Long Haul Killer.” The Killing Season is more affecting when the filmmakers are sitting in living rooms with men and women who themselves exist on the edge of the law and thus can’t get the police to find out what might’ve happened to their missing or dead loved ones. At one point, an investigator, (PI Bill Warner) laments the hype that sprung up around a serial killer in Daytona, Florida, and how it seemed to die down once the media realized that his victims weren’t the kind of sexy spring-breaking co-eds who’d be featured on a Law & Order or CSI episode, but were rather plain-looking middle-aged women who were practically homeless. The point of the series isn’t, ultimately, that we’re all in constant danger of being killed by some maniac. There are, however, some women we rarely notice—many, many of them, in fact—who are targets. We shouldn’t live in fear for ourselves. We should take better care of everyone else.
I-4 in Florida runs from the west coast in Tampa directly across the state to Daytona on the east coast it is 132 miles long and very heavily traveled by cars and big rig truckers, see map above. I-4 connects to I-75 on the west coast and I-95 on the east coast also very heavily traveled by cars and big rig truckers going north and south. The body of the first known victim of the Daytona Beach killer Laquetta Gunther, 45, was discovered in an alley off of Beach Street on December 26th, 2005. She had been shot in the head with a .40 caliber handgun. She was found lying in a fetal position. Due to the damage from the gunshot, (hollow point bullet) Gunther had to be identified by her tattoos. She had been killed at least two days before her body was found. A taxi driver told Stacey Dittmer, the victim’s closest friend, that he saw an older-looking man with a cigar in his mouth walking out of the alley.
Since then, three more women with known criminal histories have been found slain execution-style, shot in the head, in this Central Florida beachside city best known for its love of motorcycles, auto racing and sunbathing. When the fourth victim was discovered, shot in the head with a .40 caliber handgun, Daytona Beach police knew they were looking for a serial killer. Police think the Daytona Beach killer — who profilers peg as an everyday guy with relationship troubles — has slain four women in the past two years, luring them into his car or truck and leaving their naked bodies in secluded areas. Daytona Police Chief Mike Chitwood would not discuss details of Gage’s slaying. The other three women, LaQuetta Gunther, Iwana Patton and Julie Ann Green, were all shot in the head. All three had histories of prostitution and their naked bodies were found in relatively secluded areas of the city. With each murder, experts and investigators say, the killer could be emboldened.
According to the FBI, the four Daytona Beach killings are among 28 in Florida that are unsolved and connected to serial killings that the bureau suspects were committed by long-haul truckers. Those include 19 deaths along the Interstate 4 corridor between Tampa and Daytona Beach, although all but one local law-enforcement agency denies any serial-killer cases on its books. The FBI report documents dozens of serial killings of people whose bodies were dumped near popular trucking routes. The report is accompanied by a map that shows the FBI plotting more than 500 serial killings — mostly prostitutes and female drug users — across the United States. Daytona Beach police have their killer’s DNA from two of the first three victims, but they won’t say which. And they won’t say whether any DNA was recovered from the fourth. Police have entered the DNA profile into a national database, hoping it will pop up if the killer gets arrested someplace else, obviously the killer is not in the National DNA Index System or NDIS is considered one part of CODIS, the national level, containing the DNA profiles contributed by federal, state, and local participating forensic laboratories.
A few cases are in metro Orlando, according to the FBI map, seen above, but neither the bureau nor local law-enforcement agencies will acknowledge any cases involving serial killers. The FBI also declined to provide a more-detailed map of the Florida deaths. Sheriff’s offices in Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Volusia and Polk — ones that service the I-4 area in the region — said they have no serial-killer cases. Police agencies in Orlando and Kissimmee said they don’t either. None could explain where the FBI got its information. Only Daytona Beach police acknowledge they are working a serial-killer case. “We have several people, including volunteers, looking at evidence and following up on leads,” Capt. Kerry Orpinuk of the Daytona Beach Police Department said. “But there are no leads that point in any one direction.”
Bill Warner Private Investigator Sarasota SEX, CRIME CHEATERS & TERRORISM at www.wbipi.com