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Episode 36

The Freeway Phantom

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For 17 months in the early 1970's a serial killer stole six young women and girls from their families and the community of Washington, D.C. Below is a map of their location and information on each case. 
Carol Spinks:
13-year-old Carol Spinks went to the grocery store for her older sister on April 25, 1971. Carol was abducted somewhere between her home and the four blocks to the grocery store on her way back home. 

The body of Carol Spinks was discovered six days later. Carol's body was located behind St. Elizabeth's Hospital on a grassy embankment near I-295. She was strangled and sexually assaulted. There were defensive wounds on her body. Her shoes were missing and based on her stomach contents-it is believed she was held for several days before killed. Also green synthetic fibers were found on her clothing.


Darlenia Denise Johnson:
Darlenia had a job at the Oxon Run Rec Center the summer of 1971. The 16-year-old went missing when she failed to show up to work on July 9th. There were two witnesses who reported seeing Darlenia. One said Darlenia was with her boyfriend; the other said they saw her riding with an older black male in an older black car. Neither lead led anywhere.

Eleven days after Darlenia went missing her remains were located. The remains were badly decomposed due to the heat and humidity, but she was found only 15 feet away from where Carol's body was discovered. Cause of death couldn't be determined because of the state of the remains, but again her shoes were missing.


Brenda Faye Crockett:
Brenda was the youngest of the Freeway Phantom victims--just ten years old. Brenda had gone to the local grocery store to buy bread and dog food on July 27th. 

Unlike with Darlenia and Carol, this time Brenda called home an hour after she disappeared. She spoke to her little sister and said that a white man had kidnapped her but she was taking a cab home. A second phone call was made to the home, this time Brenda asked her mom's boyfriend if her mom had seen her. The boyfriend was puzzled by the question because Brenda stated on the call that she was in Virginia.

Eight hours after Brenda went missing her body was discovered by a hitchhiker on Route 50 in Cheverly. She had been sexually assaulted and strangled. A scarf was tied around her neck and green synthetic fibers were again found on the remains. But unlike the first two victims, Brenda had left home with no shoes but her feet had been washed clean.

Nenomoshia Yates:
12-year-old Nenomoshia Yates went to local Safeway grocery store to buy flour, sugar and paper plates. It is unclear whether she made it to the store on October 1, 1971. 

Her body was discovered within hours of being sent to the store. The body was still warm to the touch. The remains were found by a teenager on Pennsylvania Avenue in Prince George County, Maryland. Nenomoshia had been sexually assaulted and strangled. Again green synthetic fibers were recovered from the remains.

It was at this point the media dubbed the killer the "Freeway Phantom."

Brenda Denise Woodard:
Brenda Woodward was the oldest victim of the Freeway Phantom at 18 years old. She had gone out with friends the night of November 15th. Her friends saw her last when she got off the bus at 8th and H Street to transfer to a different bus. 

Her body was discovered six hours later just south of Route 202 near Prince George's Hospital. She had been sexually assaulted, strangled and stabbed three times.

Inside her pocket was a note written by Brenda, dictated by the Freeway Phantom. Below is the note.

Diane Denise Williams:
Diane was a 17-year-old junior at Ballou Senior High School. She had gone out with her boyfriend on the night of September 5th, 1972. He walked her to the bus stop around 11:20 PM. It was the last time she was seen alive.

Her body was discovered by a trucker several hours later along I-295. Unlike the other victims, Diane's shoes were found with her. But like the others she had been strangled.
ASSIGNMENT:
We are looking for any information on all six cases. It is possible that people who were in the DC area during the early 1970's may know something--please talk to your friends and family from the area.

If you have any information about these cases, please contact us.

We also would like you to help with a letter writing campaign to get DC Metro Police to reopen these cases. Their address is:

300 Indiana Avenue, NW, Room 5059, Washington , DC 20001 

or

Email at:  mpd@dc.gov

CODE OF CONDUCT:

1. Do not name names publicly. Send everything to the police or to this page and we will forward to the police.
2. Do not post side by side photos.
3. Do not contact any family members.
4. Do not doxx each other and be civil. We all want to the same thing. 

As tips come in, Jensen and Holes will work to verify them. If they look good, we will publish them here to try and get us closer to their names.

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