Survivor: Lisa McVey
Serial Killer: Bobby Joe Long
Bobby Joe Long
aka: "Classified Ad Rapist"
Exiting his plane, Rosen found himself at one of four Airside satellites where airliner embarkment and disembarkment occur. Less that a few hundred feet away was the people mover (APM) pickup station. An automated voice advised that a train was coming, there was a sharp whoosh of air and a bullet train appeared behind the glass-enclosed platform
Stepping into a hermetically sealed compartment, the fully automated people APM started up and popped out into the late afternoon sun, whooshing across the airport tarmac, heading towards the Landside Terminal. In a few moments the APM stopped and the doors opened into what sounded like a loud shopping mall. It was actually where all the airport's baggage and ticketing functions took place, not to mention rental cars and other transportation options. There were also all kinds of stores selling all kinds of products, from expensive leather jackets to $9.95 sunglasses.
Like most people, serial killers prefer working where it's warm rather than cold. For them, it's easier to locate and pick up victims when weather is not a factor. Since the weather is not a factor. Since the ideal of the APM system was to limit the walking distance between the automobile and airliner to seven hundred feet, Ted Bundy, Bobby Joe Long, Andrew Cunanen, and who know how many other serial killers who used the Tampa APM facilities surely appreciated its ease of operation and effortless transport between their destinations.
But as interesting as the airport's transportation system was, the roadway outside, Interstate 275, was just as boring. It was a "feeder" into Interstate 75, the major north-south road in Hillsborough County, the diverse area surrounding the city of Tampa. The county has its own police force, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, which has one of the best homicide bureaus in the county.
Before waling into the Hillsborough County Courthouse in downtown Tampa, Lisa McVey looked up Kennedy Boulevard. On the horizon, her intense green eyes picked out Interstate 75 snaking north. It beckoned any serial killer who drove a car, bought a bus ticket, or simple thumbed a ride south to sunny Florida.
Bobby Joe Long had traveled it many times.
Born in West Virginia in 1953, Long's parents divorced when he was two. While his dad stayed in West Virginia, Long moved with his mom down the interstate to Florida. Much of his time growing up was split between those two states. In 1983, when he was twenty-nine, Long traveled down the interstate for the last time to Tampa, where he got himself a nice apartment. Once he was comfortable, he began looking through the classified ads to meet women.
His first victim was a woman who'd place an ad to sell her house; Long responded. Once inside the victim's home, Long pulled out a revolver, forced the victim into her bedroom, and raped her. Long used the M.O. to rape fifty women over the course of the next year. The newspapers dubbed the unknown assailant, the "Classified Ad Rapist".
In May 1984 a new danger to the women of the Tampa area began to take shape. And as the headlines grew about that "bad guy", the Classified Ad Rapist faded into the background.
Late in the afternoon, the first …. The nude, bound body of a young Asian woman was discovered by two young boys in a remote area of southern Hillsborough Country. Corporal Lee "Pops" Baker of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office was the senior homicide detective assigned to the case.
Baker found the victim lying facedown with her hands tied behind her back with what looked like rope and fabric. There was a rope around her neck. It had a "leash like" extension approximately fourteen inches long. There were also ropes, probably used as some sort of restrains, around the wrists and neck.
Under the victim's face was a piece of fabric, which had probably been used as a gag. Her feet were spread apart over five feet; it appeared as if the body had been deliberately "displayed" in this manner. On the basis of how long the body had cooled, the medical examiner figured her to be dead for approximately forty eight to seventy two hours.
During the autopsy, a large open wound was discovered on the victim's face. Decomposition or "decomp" as it is called in the trade was extensive in this are. Cause of death was determined to be strangulation. The knots in the ropes were examined and identified as extremely common and not unique to any particular profession or occupation. The tire casts of the tire tread impressions were also examined and photographs of these impressions were kept for future reference.
The fibers that were removed from the items were also examined. Eventually it would prove to be the most critical evidence of the entire case.
Since the victim's body was found in a remote area, she had probably been transported in a vehicle and the carpeting of this vehicle was probably the last item she had been in contact with.
Baker identified the victim as Ngeun Thi Long, a twenty year old Laotian exotic dancer at a lounge in Tampa. A drug user, she had been missing for approximately three days when her body was discovered. Because of the decomp, it was impossible to tell if she had been raped.
Two weeks later, on May 27, 1984 at approximately 11:30 am, the body of a young white female was discovered in an isolated area of eastern Hillsborough County. She was nude, clothing lying wanly nearby. She was on her back, hands bound to her sides with a clothesline type of rope. She had what appeared to be a green men's T-shirt binding her upper arms. Baker saw her throat had been cut. Her head had sustained what he M.E. would later describe as "multiple blows."
The ligature at the neck was made of the same type of rope as the first homicide, and was tied in a type of hangman's noose.
There was a three to four foot length of rope extending from the noose. This also seemed consistent with the fist homicide.
She'd been dead about eight to ten hours.
Pops Baker knew it was the same guy. But again, there was no ID on the victim, no way to identify her, except the old fashioned way. Police sketch artist made a composite drawing of the victim. Vilma Bean, the crackerjack public relations officer for the department, quickly released it to the media. Out in California, someone recognized her.
Her name was Michele Denise Sims.
A twenty two year old California native, she had last been seen the previous night talking with two white males near Kennedy Boulevard, in an area popular with working girls. Simms has a record as a prostitute. Since this had been a "fresh" site, the chances of recovering significant evidence would be tremendously improved.
Not having had a chance to degrade through time, the tire cast were closely examined.
One of the impressions form the right rear area was identified as being from a Goodyear Viva tire, with the white wall facing inward. The tire impression from the left rear area was eventually identified by a tire expert in Akron, Ohio, as being made by Vogue tire, an expensive tire only on Cadillacs.
Fibber analysis revealed red lustrous trilobal nylon fibbers, which match the fibres found with the first victim. In addition a second type of fibre a red trilobal delustered fibre was found indicating that the killer was driving a vehicle containing two different types of carpet fibres.
Simms's body had not been exposed to the elements. Test done on semen stains found on Michele Simms's clothing revealed the B and H blood group substances. Brown, medium length Caucasian head hairs were on the body that did not match Simms's. baker logically figured the hairs came from the killer.
On June 24, 1984, the body of another young white female was found, the third victim in this serried of homicides, although this would not be know for a few months. The problem was "linkage" the ability to link specific homicide in a decipherable pattern.
To be continued …….