The first of many murders
Wuornos’ first known victim was an electronics shop owner, 51-year-old Richard Mallory from Clearwater, Florida, who picked up Wuornos on 30th November 1989. She claims that he tried to rape her, and that she killed him in self-defence (he was later discovered to have a criminal record for rape, although it was not raised at her trial.) She shot him three times with a .22 pistol, dumped his body in a wood beside Interstate 95 in Volusia County, Florida and stole his Cadillac. His car was discovered abandoned outside Daytona a few days later, and two young men discovered his naked body on 13th December 1989. During the investigation of Mallory’s life and death, police discovered a pattern of alcohol and sex binges, extending back over a number of years, and made little headway in the search for his killer.
It was six months before the next victim was discovered, 43-year old David Spears, a heavy machinery operator from Sarasota. His naked body was found on 1st June 1990 in Citrus County, 40 miles north of Tampa, Florida, and he had been shot six times with a .22 pistol. It took police another week to effect identification, via dental records, and they discovered that he had been missing since 19th May, and that his truck had been found some days later, abandoned on Interstate 75.
By the time Spears had been identified, another naked victim had been found, this time thirty miles south of Pasco County, near the Interstate 75, on 6th June 1990. The body was so badly decomposed that police were unable to progress their identification immediately, but the fact that the corpse was naked, and riddled with nine .22 calibre bullets, led to it being tentatively linked to the two previous victims. The victim was later identified as 40-year old rodeo worker, Charles Carskaddon.
The police received their first real break on 4th July 1990, when Wuornos and Moore crashed their car near Orange Springs, Florida, whilst in the midst of a heated argument. They left the crash scene, but were described to the police by a witness later, when the vehicle was found to belong to a missing 65-year old retired merchant seaman called Peter Siems. He had last been seen on 7th June 1990, and the interior of the vehicle, when examined, exhibited signs of a struggle, and yielded a number of finger- and palm prints. The description of the two women, and the crime MO, was circulated throughout Florida and nationwide.
Wuornos’ next victim was 50-year old delivery driver Eugene Burress, whose employer raised the alarm when he failed to complete his delivery route on 30th July 1990. His delivery truck was found abandoned the next day, and a picnicking family discovered his body, on 4th August 1990, in the Ocala National Forest. He had been shot twice with a .22-calibre pistol.
A month later, 56-year-old Dick Humphreys, a former police chief and Department of Health employee from Sumterville, was reported missing by his wife, on 11th September 1990. His body was found the next evening in Marion County. He had been shot seven times with a .22 pistol.
Another two months passed before the discovery of Wuornos’ seventh victim, a 60-year-old truck driver from Merrit Island called Walter Antonio, whose naked body was discovered in Dixie County on 19th November 1990. He had been dead less than 24 hours, shot three times in the back and once in the head, also with a .22 firearm.
Recognising the similarities in all the cases, the police released the photo-fit identities of the Siems car accident women to the media, which received statewide coverage throughout Florida, due to the potential of a female serial killer being at large.
By mid-December 1990 the police had a number of useful leads, which led to the identification of Tyria Moore, as well as three other names: Lee Blahovec, Lori Grody and Cammie Marsh Green, which all matched the description of the second photo-fit. When Wuornos used the Cammie Marsh Greene identity, to pawn a camera belonging to Richard Mallory, she was required to provide fingerprint identification, in accordance with Florida law. She also used the Greene ID to pawn a set of tools that matched a description of those missing from David Spear’s truck. An analysis of these fingerprints linked Greene to Grody, and also matched the prints lifted from Siem’s stolen car. The information was passed to the National Crime Information Center, and the three aliases were linked to Aileen Wuornos. By 5 January 1991 the police finally had a focus for their investigative efforts.