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Author Topic: Another Victim of The Gypsy Hill Killer?  (Read 3669 times)
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« on: March 09, 2014, 10:22:00 PM »

FBI, authorities launch task force after DNA lead reignites interest in decades-old cold case
March 9, 2014

The victims of the Gypsy Hill killings. From top left to right, Veronica Ann Cascio, 18, Tanya Blackwell, 14, and Paula Baxter, 17. From bottom left to right, Michelle Mitchell, 19, Carol Lee Booth, 26, and Denise Lampe, 19. (FBI)

The FBI and California law enforcement agencies are launching a task force in an attempt to solve a decades-old cold case after linking another victim to a series of 1976 murders.

The FBI announced Thursday that they suspect the murder of 19-year-old Michelle Mitchell, in Reno, may be linked to the killings of five females in San Mateo County between January and April 1976.

The announcement came after authorities found DNA evidence at Mitchell’s murder scene that ties all the cases together, a Reno Police Department spokesman told KTVN.

Starting this week, FBI agents and police officers from the San Mateo and Washoe County sheriff's offices, and Daly City, Pacifica, South San Francisco and Reno police departments will comb San Mateo County neighborhoods, asking residents to recall anything suspicious they may have seen during the time of the killings, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

Mitchell, a University of Nevada-Reno student, is believed by authorities to have been contacted by the murderer on Feb. 24, 1976, near the school, according to the newspaper. Witnesses said Mitchell’s car broke down and they saw someone help her push it into a lot. She was later found dead in the garage of a nearby home.

FBI Spokesman Pete Lee told CBS SF that Cathy Woods was convicted in Mitchell’s murder, but they believe she had an accomplice based off the new evidence.

The other five victims -- Carol Lee Booth, 26, Denise Lampe, 19, Veronica Ann Cascio, 18, Paula Baxter, 17, and Tanya Blackwell, 14 -- were killed while walking alone, to their car or to a bus, and the FBI believes it was all done by the same person, dubbed the Gypsy Hill killer.

The victims were stabbed multiple times and all of them were suspected to have been raped before they were killed, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Authorities in 1976 said the killer seemed to go after teenage females with brown hair parted down the middle.

Jerry Bessette, FBI San Francisco's assistant special agent in charge, said the task force will focus on residents who know someone who traveled to Reno during the time of Mitchell’s killing.

  " Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."  - Daniel Moynihan
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« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2015, 03:09:42 PM »

California police charge suspect in four-decade old 'Gypsy Hill Murders'
January 22, 2015

Nearly 40 years after the infamous and gruesome “Gypsy Hill murders” shocked the Bay Area, California investigators said Thursday they have the man behind at least two of the five killings.

Police in San Mateo County announced murder charges against Rodney Halblower, 66, in connection with the 1976 killings of Paula Baxter, 17, and Veronica Anne Cascio, 18. Halblower was already serving time in Oregon State Prison for an unrelated attempted murder.

Using DNA evidence, investigators last fall linked Halblower to two of the five murders which terrorized the Peninsula between San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean nearly 40 years ago, authorities said.

Halblower was charged with two counts of murder and special circumstance of murder during the course of a rape in the 1976 deaths of Baxter, a Broadmoor resident whose body was found in Millbrae, and Cascio, who was found dead in her native Pacifica.

The five slayings known as the Gypsy Hill Murders occurred between January and April of 1976 and took their name from their proximity to Gypsy Hill Road in Pacifica.

Cascio was abducted on her way to a bus stop, and her body was found Jan. 7, 1976, near a creek on an area golf course. Baxter was taken Feb. 4, following rehearsal for a school play at Capuchino High School in Millbrae. She had been stabbed to death with her head bashed in by a chunk of concrete. Investigators determined common DNA evidence indicated the same person killed both.

Halbower was formally linked to the killings in September after the San Mateo County Crime Lab, working with crime labs in Oregon and Washoe County, Nev., made a DNA match. It capped a months-long effort by the Gypsy Hill Task Force, a law enforcement team made up of officers and agents from the FBI, the San Mateo and Washoe County sheriff's offices, and Daly City, Pacifica, South San Francisco and Reno police departments.

Halbower has not been linked to the three other victims in the Gypsy Hill murders. They included Tanya Blackwell, 14; Denise Lampe, 19; and Carol Lee Booth, 26. Nearly all of the victims were confirmed to have been raped before being killed, according to the FBI.

Wagstaffe said Halblower has been ruled out as a suspect in murder of Lampe, but said DNA does link him to the death of Mitchell. But that case will not be tried along with the other two "Gypsy Hill" cases, he said.

Authorities have also linked the Reno, Nev., murder of Michelle Mitchell to the Gypsy Hill murders, because she was killed at the same time. A man who was convicted in her killing after confessing to the act is now being re-tried.

  " Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."  - Daniel Moynihan
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