New findings revealed by FBI in 1996 double homicide at Shenandoah Park


The Unveiling of a 30-Year-Old Mystery

Authorities in Richmond, Virginia, made a groundbreaking announcement, revealing that new DNA testing had identified Walter “Leo” Jackson Sr. as the likely perpetrator behind the brutal killings of two female hikers in Shenandoah National Park nearly three decades ago.

A Breakthrough in Cold Case Investigations

The stunning revelation came after advanced genetic testing was conducted, shedding light on the 1996 murders of Julianne M. Williams, 24, and Laura S. “Lollie” Winans, 26, providing long-awaited answers to a case that had baffled authorities for years.

The Investigation Unfolds

Investigators previously considered other suspects, including one who faced capital murder charges, before uncovering evidence that linked the crimes to Jackson, a deceased serial rapist from Ohio, whose DNA matched samples found at the crime scene.

A Strong DNA Match

Special Agent Stanley M. Meador emphasized the significance of the DNA match, stating that the probability of the genetic connection to Jackson was exceptionally high, surpassing the world’s population multiple times over.

A Tragic End

Christopher Kavanaugh, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia, acknowledged the brutality of the crime, revealing that the victims were sexually assaulted, had their throats slit, and were found with their hands bound, highlighting the profound impact on their families.

Unveiling the Perpetrator

Jackson, who had a history of violent crimes, including rape and assault, resided in Ohio and was identified through a review prompted by a new special agent in charge of the Richmond office, ultimately providing closure to a case that had remained unresolved for decades.

The Victims’ Story

Winans and Williams, both experienced hikers, met through an outdoor program and tragically lost their lives while pursuing their passion for the outdoors, leaving behind a legacy of adventurous spirits.

A Complicated Past

Initially, another individual was arrested in connection with the murders, leading to capital murder charges against Darrell D. Rice, yet forensic testing later excluded him as a suspect, redirecting authorities to focus on Jackson as the prime suspect.

The Path to Justice

While the road to justice was long and complex, the identification of Jackson as the likely perpetrator marked a significant milestone in resolving a case that had haunted the families of the victims and investigators alike.

Remembering the Victims

As the investigation continues to unfold, the memories of Julianne M. Williams and Laura S. “Lollie” Winans serve as a reminder of the enduring impact of their tragic deaths on their families and the community at large.


Read More of this Story at www.washingtonpost.com – 2024-06-20 18:24:34

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