This Serial Killer's True Toll May Never Be Known

'Boston Globe' relates the amazing story, revolving around an abandoned girl
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2017 12:51 PM CDT

(Newser) – Meet Bob Evans. Or maybe it's Curtis Kimball, or Gordon Jenson, or Jerry Gorman, or Gerry Mockerman, or Larry Vanner. Or none of the above. The Boston Globe relates the incredible true-crime story of a man believed to have been a serial killer who used all of those aliases at one time or another. When he died in prison in 2010, "he took his secrets to the grave," writes Shelley Murphy. The truth, or what's known of it, began unraveling thanks to the efforts of a dogged homicide detective for the Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department named Roxane Gruenheid. She helped get the mystery man, then going by Vanner, sent away for the 2002 murder of his wife in Richmond, Calif. But in the course of investigating that case, she discovered (thanks to his fingerprints) that he was linked to a young girl abandoned in the 1980s at a California trailer park, when he was using the Jenson alias.

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Gruenheid vowed to get to the bottom of that story, too, and she did that and more, thanks to a massive hunt involving ancestry records, old police records, fingerprint matches, and interviews with possible relatives of the girl, who is now a grown woman with three kids of her own. The upshot: Authorities now suspect the mystery man killed not just his wife in 2002, but a woman and her young daughter in New Hampshire in the 1980s, his own infant daughter, that child's mother, and, given this track record, almost certainly more. What's seen as nearly a miracle is that the man did not kill the young girl he abandoned at the trailer park in the 1980s. He'd told people at the time she was his daughter, but that turned out not to be the case. She was the daughter of his girlfriend (one of those earlier murder victims), and she has since learned her true identity through the sleuthing. Click to read the full story. (Read more Longform stories.)

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