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Cold Case: Freeway Phantom - Part 2

He killed six girls in sixteen months and was never caught. Now there may be new clues and new hope.

Six victims snatched from the street, raped and strangled. Thirty-six years later, DC Police Detective James Trainum says, he's still looking for that killer.

"The reason they get away with it is because they are not much different than you and I, and they can pass unnoticed," says Trainum.

Police paint this profile of the killer:

  • socially inept

  • menial job

  • looking to control his victims.

  • Now, there's even a geographic profile; he likely killed in his own neighborhood first.

    The first two victims were killed two months apart and were left in the very same spot on I-295. Their bodies were found by hitchhikers.

    Through the spring, summer and fall, the killer stalked and killed and saw his headlines multiply.

    He even grew bold enough to leave a note, dictated to one victim, cut from her school notebook paper and left in her pocket.

    In the note, the killer spoke of his insensitivity to women. She must have fought back because, unlike the others, he stabbed her. He made her sign the note with the nickname the newspaper gave him: the Freeway Phantom.

    More clues: 10 year-old Brenda Crockett, who was taken from her U Street NW neighborhood, called home to say she was with a white man, in Virginia. Trainum says the killer thought he had been spotted, "He had her call to see if he was safe, had time to do what he wanted to do. So of course we know he's not white, not from Virginia."

    Green carpet fibers, maybe from a car or a bathroom, were found on four of the bodies. One of the victims was last seen in an old black car driven by a black man. But the physical evidence from the murders-clothing, hair-disappeared or disintegrated long ago.

    Click HERE to Watch 9NEWS NOW Archive Tapebr>Detective Trainum says, he's been hoping for a long shot to solve the case, "I think about somebody coming forward and confessing because it's been years now and they want to get this off their chest."

    Now, the key to solving this coldest of cases may be in an old box of evidence found just last year: Diane Williams' clothing. Could there be DNA evidence there? Trainum is ever hopeful, "absolutely, absolutely ... we're just keeping our fingers crossed."

    If you have any information that could help solve this case call DC Police at 202-727-5037 or the Cold Case Tip Line at 202-895-5750. Or you can send an email to: unsolved.murder@dc.gov.


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