Suspect In National Park Double Murder Identified As Serial Rapist
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Suspect In National Park Double Murder Cold Case Identified As Serial Rapist

FBI believes that they can finally bring answers to a decades-long cold case. Nearly 30 years ago, someone murdered two women in Shenandoah National Park. The culprit has baffled investigators for years. However, now, they believe their suspect was a convicted serial rapist from Ohio.

Unfortunately, the person in question has died in the years since. According to Fox News, DNA evidence links Walter Leo Jackson Sr. to the deaths of 24-year-old Julianne "Julie" Williams and 26-year-old Laura "Lollie" Winans. Both were murdered on May 24, 1996.

"After 28 years, we are now able to say who committed the brutal murders of Lollie Winans and Julie Williams in Shenandoah National Park," U.S. Attorney Christopher Kavanaugh said. Both women went camping near the Skyland Resort when the FBI believe Jackson murdered them. When neither came home, their families contacted the authorities.

Both went hiking several days before. They both worked in Vermont for the summer, but neither showed up o May 28. Authorities later found their bodies on June 1.  "Their murder sparked shock and fear throughout the community and nation," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stanley Meador. "We now know who is responsible for this heinous crime."

Murders In National Park

Sadly, justice will never be served for these crimes. However, Jackson did die in prison. He passed away in Ohio in 2018. Authorities had arrested Jackson on rape with the Ohio native having a long history of kidnapping, rapes, and assaults. Those who knew him considered him a frequent hiker and he visited Shenandoah National Park.

This news comes after prosecutors indicted Darrell D. Rice for the murders in 2004. Ultimately, they dropped the charges due to a lack of DNA evidence for the crime. In 2021, the FBI decided to take a closer look at the cold case. They began to retest evidence given advancements in DNA technology.

After conducting the additional tests, the organization confirmed a positive match to Jackson. "Those results confirmed we had the right man and finally could tell the victim's families we know who is responsible for this heinous crime," Meador said.

"There was a one-out-of-2.6-trillion chance that it originated from someone other than Walter Leo Jackson," Kavanaugh said. "I've prosecuted many homicides and cold cases, and I have never witnessed statistics that high."

However, FBI believe that Jackson could have committed other unsolved crimes. They're investigating to see if he played a role anywhere else.