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FACTS BEHIND CIVIC THEATER HAUNTINGS/MURDERS/MISSING PEOPLE

The following articles have been taken from local news archives:

Original article:

April 30, 1979

Asotin girl, 12, missing

ASOTIN - An Asotin County sheriff's posse launched a search for a 12-year-old Asotin girl who disappeared Saturday night.

The missing girl is Christine White, daughter of Betty Eminger. Her stepfather, Mick Eminger, said the girl was last reported seen around 7 or 8 Saturday night at the Asotin County Fair.
She was riding a white Schwinn 10-speed bicycle which also is missing.


The Emingers notified the Asotin County Sheriff's office,
The sheriff's posse and some volunteers searched in the late afternoon and evening Sunday in the hills around Asotin for the girl's bicycle and any clue to her whereabouts.

Eminger said schoolmates of the missing girl reported she had been on her way home when they last saw her at the fairgrounds.

She was dressed in blue jeans, red leather tennis shoes and possibly a tan and pink striped shirt, Eminger said.

He asked that anyone who might have any clues to the girl's whereabouts notify the sheriff.


Transcribed from the Lewis-Clark State College microfilm archives of the Lewiston Morning Tribune.

******

Human leg, torso found on river edge

By Wendy Williams
of the Tribune

July 5, 1981

A headless human torso with numerous puncture wounds and a leg were found by a boater Saturday evening on the shore of the Snake River one half mile west of Chief Timothy State Park.

Whitman County Coroner Peter Martin said wounds found on the torso may be stab wounds. "There is no question that we are dealing with a homicide here," he said.

The torso appeared to be that of a female and had apparently been in the river about four or five days. No clothing was found on or near it.

Whitman County Sheriff Cleve Hunter said "there is a possibility" the remains might be those of 22-year-old Kristin David of Clarkston, who disappeared on June 26.

The leg and torso were found at 7 p.m. 50 yards apart on the north side of the Snake River , six miles down stream from the Re Wolf Crossing Bridge at Clarkston. The body was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital at Lewiston where it was to be examined today by a pathologist.

Martin said he was unsure what the method of decapitation was and he "couldn't say where the act was performed or what was the origin of the body parts."

Divers from Nez Perce County were expected to continue the search this morning. Hunter said police will also search around the river bank in hopes of uncovering additional evidence. The river bank search Saturday noght was hampered by rattlesnakes and a lack of light.

Although the torso and leg were found in an area under Whitman County jurisdiction, the sheriffs of Latah and Nez Perce counties are assisting with the investigation.

Meanwhile, law enforcement officers in the four counties continued their search for a brown van with Oregon License plates that may have figured in David's disappearance. Vehicles matching that description were being stopped and checked.

A Genesee man said Thursday that he saw a man in a dark brown van with Oregon plates stop to help a young woman along U.S. Highway 95 south of Genesee June 26 - the day David disappeared.

David was last seen riding her bicycle from Moscow to Lewiston.


Transcribed from the Lewis-Clark State College microfilm archives of the Lewiston Morning Tribune.

*****

More body parts found

By Wendy Williams
of the Tribune

July 6, 1981


A dismembered head and two arms were found by police Sunday within 300 yards of where a torso and leg were found by a boater in the Snake River Saturday, six miles west of the Red Wolf Crossing Bridge at Clarkston. Police also found part of a leg three miles west of the bridge and what appeared to be blood stains on the bridge's railing.

The body has been identified as that of a female and law enforcement officers are "operating under the assumption" the dismembered body is the remains of Kristin David, a 22-year-old University of Idaho student missing since June 26, Latah County Sheriff Mike Goetz said Sunday.

Goetz said the remains apparently were flung from the bridge and then floated downstream.

Despite the discoveries, Whitman County Sheriff Cleve Hunter said a positive identification will not be made until an autopsy has been performed.

The body has been sent to a private forensics laboratory in Wenatchee, Wash. Nez Perce County Sheriff Ron Koeper said the lab is well-equipped to perform crime-related autopsies.

The pathologist who will perform the autopsy, Dr. Robert Bonifaci, said he will need "a few days" to check dental records and X-rays before he can make a positive identification.

Meanwhile, two divers from the Lewiston Police Department searched beneath the bridge for more clues. Goetz said the divers were looking for the blue 10-speed bicycle that David was last seen riding.

A Genesee man who was driving north on U.S. 95 June 26, told officials while under hypnosis Thursday that he saw a man in a brown van stop to help a young woman cyclist. Police declined to identify the witness.

David was supposed to have taken that highway from Moscow to Lewiston on her bicycle that day but she did not reach Lewiston.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the three county sheriff's offices handling the homicide because the crime possibly extends across state lines and possibly involves a missing person, Hunter said.

The county sheriffs debated what to do with the body when it arrived at St. Joseph's Hospital, and considered sending it to an FBI lab, said Dr. Robert Cihak, a Lewiston pathologist who was at St. Joseph's Hospital Sunday when the additional body parts were brought in.

Cihak said he was prevented from examining the remains because he did not have the necessary permit from Peter Martin, Whitman County coroner.

The search has been called of until the victim is identified.

Members of David's family said they had not received word from authorities as of Sunday evening.

Goetz, who is in charge of the investigation, said the van, with Oregon license plates, is being checked through the department of motor vehicles, but it is a "time-consuming process" because only two digits of the license plate number were revealed by the Genesee man, and this could result in "thousands of combinations."

Goetz also refused to release any details of the search for the van because it could hamper the investigation, he said.

More than 70 volunteers combed the grass and brush along a 13-mile-stretch of U.S. 95 last week searching for clues to David's disappearance.

Transcribed from the Lewis-Clark State College microfilm archives of the Lewiston Morning Tribune

*****
July 1981

Murder Victim Identified as missing Kristin David

The mutilated body found Last Saturday in the Snake River near Clarkston was identified Thursday afternoon as Kristin David, the college student from Clarkston who disappeared June 26 on the road between Moscoe and Lewiston.

David, 22, disappeared while bicycling from Moscow to her job at Twin City Foods in Lewiston. The dismembered body was found in parts along the north shore of the river some thre miles downstream from Red Wolf Crossing Bridge.

FBI Special Agent Jay Bailey said Thursday " an extensive investigation is being conducted in a multi-state area" by the FBI, along with Whitman, Nez Perce and Latah county sheriff's deputies.

Bailey said positive identification was made by pathologists at Wenatchee, Wash., through comparison of David's dental charts. Forensic specialists haven't completed their examination.

"Every effort is being expended to identify the person or persons responsible and any citizen possessing information related to the slaying is urged to contact ...law enforcement agencies," said Bailey.

FBI agent Clyde Whitson of Butte said Thursday the agency "will target whatever resources are necessary to do the job.
"The combined resources (of all agencies involved) are certainly extensive," he said. "The FBI considers this an important matter in this area."

Police divers searching for David's bicycle and other clues were hampered on Wednesday by murky water from recent rains. Nez Perce County Sheriff Ron Koeper said they might try again later in the week.

Whitson said Thursday no cause of death had been determined by pathologists. "I don't know that the scientific cause of death is all that important at the moment," he added.

A memorial mass will be celebrated Saturday at 11 a.m. at St. James Catholic Church at 1519 Ripon in the Lewiston Orchards by the Rev. Joseph Schmidt of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Lewiston. The body will be cremated. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Vassar-Rawls Funeral Home.

David, who lived last year at 610 Urquart, Moscow, was born December 23, 1958 at Pierre, SD, the daughter of John W. and Sally J. David.

The family lived in Pierre until 1969, when they moved to Longview, Wash., where she attended school. The family moved to Lewiston in 1974 and she graduated from Lewiston High School in 1977.

While a high school senior, David also attended Lewis-Clark State College. She attended the University of Idaho at Moscow, majoring in broadcast journalism and political science.

*****

Two bodies found north of Kendrick

Identities remain a mystery

By John McCarthy
of the Tribune

Wednesday, March 21, 1984

Kendrick - A pathologist has been called in from San Francisco to help identify two "badly decomposed" bodies found by a Kendrick youth Monday afternoon down
steep embankment from State Highway 3 just about 2 1/2 miles north of here.

The pathologist is eexpected to arrive at Moscow to examine the remains by the end of the week, according to a Latah County Sheriff press release.

Positive identification of the age, sex or cause of death of the pair had not been determined Tuesday afternoon by Latah County Sheriff Laune Odenborg, who issued two brief press releases and made few comments about the case.

Lewiston police went to Kendrick as soon as hearing about the discovery of the bodies because there may be a connection to the disappearance of three young Lewiston residents in September 1982, according to LPD detectives.


One body was discovered at about 3:30 p.m. Monday by Marvin Meed, 16, of Kendrick, who was walking along the roadside on Bear Ridge leading up to Deary.
When reached at his home Tuesday night, Meed refused to discuss the incident.

Meed apparently lost his hat in the wind and while looking for it, he stumbled onto the body about 60 feet down a rocky embankment, according to a friend, David McKnight, 17, of Juliaetta.

After the discovery, Meed went to town and brought McKnight and another friend, Tony Meal of Kendrick back up the grade to verify it.

"We didn't believe it at first," McKnight said. "When somebody tells you they found a body you don't believe it."

Upon investigation, the three young men found a human skull about 15 feet from the rest of the remains, he said.

A second skull and body was found partially underneath the remains of the first body when investigators arrived ater being notified about 4 p.m., said Richard Abrams, Kendrick volunteer fire chief who assisted with the body removal.

Abrams and McKnight said the bodies appeared to be in women's clothing. One victim wore bright colored pants and both had women's style coats, Abrams said. A dress or knee length coat was visible and a knitted scarf also could be seen, McKnight said.

Fingernail polish was found on one of the bodies hands, Abrams said.

Abrams said a Latah County deputy measured the tibia or knee to ankle bones on each victim and speculated they were young women between 16 and 19 years old.

The jaws and teeth were found on both victims but little hair or other identifying features remained., Abrams said. "There was not enough soft tissue left to tell if they were stabbed or shot or what," he said.

Because of the advanced stage of decomposition, Abrams speculated that the bodies had been exposed to some warm weather and had been there at least through the summer.

At a grid pattern search conducted by the Latah Search and Rescue Council Tuesday afternoon, Deputy Tom Blewett said to look for body parts, weapons, shoes and other clothing. Some body parts were missing, he told searchers.

Odenborg would not confirm any details of the findings when contacted at Kendrick Tuesday morning or later at the sheriff's office. The bodies were "badly decomposed" and "had been there awhile," he said. His department was beginning "the tedious process to try to establish identification."

The Lewiston Police Department was not notified by Latah County of the bodies' discovery.
The department did not learn about it until 10 a.m. Tuesday when KLEW television station called to question if there was any connection with the disappearance of three Lewiston residents in September of 1982, said Rodney H. Frederiksen, LPD chief.

"We are concerned we weren't notified earlier, we's have liked to aided with the investigation," Frederiksen said Tuesday afternoon.

"It's puzzling why we're left out of the puzzle," Capt. M.D. Ailor of the Lewiston police said Tuesday morning at the scene where the bodies were found.

Three young Lewiston residents disappeared Sept. 12, 1982, in the Normal Hill area and virtually no clues have been surfaced to indicate what happened to them.

Two step-sisters, Kristina Daine Nelson, 21, and Brandy Miller, 18, are assumed to have been together when they left to go shopping in downtown Lewiston. Both were Lewis-Clark State College students and originally from Boise.

Steven R. Pearsall, 35, also was a LCSC student and an acquaintance of Nelson's., disappeared the same night and has not been seen since. But other than last being seen on the same night as Nelson and Miller, there was no evidence to link the cases, according to LPD investigators in 1982.

Lewiston Police have accumulated extensive background information on the three, including dental and medical records, the clothing and the jewelry likely to be worn by them, Frederiksen said.

Frederiksen said he was concerned that the bodies found near Kendrick might be related to the three Lewiston disappearances. But he would set aside his initial concerns to cooperate with other agencies to identify the victims and solve the crime, he said.

Further information on the victims is not likely to be released until positive identification is established and any family members are notified, Frederiksen said. But the bodies' clothing and descriptions could provide enough information to investigators to make some assumptions, he added.

The bodies were taken to Shorts Funeral Home at Moscow.

*****

Tribune

Published: Lewiston Tribune

Reporter: Diane Petite

1989-12-31

Page: A0

STILL A MYSTERY

The decade of the '80s leaves a number of lingering mysteries.

The murders of three young women, one a University of Idaho student and two stepsisters from Lewiston, remain unsolved. Six people have disappeared between 1979 and 1989, three from Grangeville and one each from Moscow, Lewiston and Asotin.

Two disappearances in 1979 have never been explained. Sometime after 10 p.m. on April 28, 1979, 12-year-old Christina White of Asotin disappeared from the Asotin County Fairgrounds. Extensive work by police and psychics have not located her.

Just three months later, Gayla Schaper, 27, vanished after going to feed her horses in a field east of Moscow on the evening of June 29, 1979. Again, searches and investigations were fruitless.

Two years later, on June 26, 1981, UI student Kristin David, 22, disappeared while riding her 10-speed bicycle between Moscow and Lewiston on U.S. Highway 95. Her dismembered body was found July 4 along the banks of the Snake River below the Red Wolf Crossing at Clarkston.

Law enforcement officers from four counties in two states and the FBI formed a task force to investigate the grisly murder, but the case has never been solved.

Four people disappeared in a two-week period, beginning Aug. 31, 1982.

Young Ricky Barnett disappeared Aug. 31 from Hillcrest Farms seven miles north of Grangeville, where he was visiting his grandparents. Hundreds of volunteers searched for days for the 2-year-old boy, but he has never been found.

Sgt. Herbert J. Lindsey of the Idaho County Sheriff's Department said the case is still open. Ricky's picture still appears on posters circulated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. ''We get leads all the time,'' Lindsey said. ''We check all of them out.''

He said he checked out a possible sighting in Montana just last week. ''But the subject was a year older,'' he said. Ricky Barnett would be 10 this year.

''There's every possibility that he's not alive,'' Lindsey said. ''But we have to treat it as though he is alive.''

Three Lewiston residents vanished without a whisper 12 days after Ricky's disappearance. Steven R. Pearsall, 35, and stepsisters Kristina Nelson, 21, and Jacqueline (Brandy) Miller, 18, all disappeared Sept. 12, 1982, from the Normal Hill area of Lewiston.

The bodies of the two young women were found almost two years later, on March 19, 1984, at the bottom of a steep embankment on State Highway 3 north of Kendrick. Pearsall has never been found.

A couple of months after the bodies of Nelson and Miller were found, Lewiston police announced they had a strong suspect in the killings. But no arrests were made.

The same suspect was being looked at in connection with the disappearance of Christina White, police said earlier this year. The person is still a suspect in both cases, and still resides in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, police said last week.

The latest unsolved puzzle is the disappearance of Marie L. Rogers, 50, and her ex-stepson, Samuel L. Webb, 16, of Grangeville.

Rogers and Webb were last seen the evening of Nov. 1 at the Cash and Carry grocery store at Grangeville. After the pair's pictures were run in the Lewiston Tribune, police also received reports that Rogers and Webb were seen at a restaurant at Craigmont and a store at Moscow.

Family members say they have their suspicions about what happened to Rogers and Webb, and police admit they considered foul play. But the initial suspect in the case, Rogers' ex-husband Pat Webb, voluntarily submitted to and passed a polygraph test.

So the whereabouts of Marie Rogers and Sam Webb remains the last mystery of decade.

*****

LEWISTON POLICE STILL TRYING TO GET IDENTIFICATION ON MYSTERY BONES

Mohsin Askari

Thursday, October 25, 1990


Two persons have responded to a Lewiston Police Department appeal for information about human bones found in Lewiston's Normal Hill Cemetery last year.

But neither has led to discovery of the identity of the person who was buried, apparently illegally, sometime within the past 10 years.

It has been established that the bones were not the result of a legitimate burial and that the person probably was male.

The skull was given to a reconstruction artist to create a likeness of what the person may have looked like. The reconstructed face was publicized by the police department last month in the hope that someone could provide information about the circumstances that led to the bones being found at that spot.

''We had two calls. We were given two names of individuals that were missing,'' Cpl. Alan Johnson said Wednesday.

One was that of Dan Wilson, who has been missing from Spokane since August 1988.

Police obtained dental records for Wilson but Johnson said they did not match those of the skull found in the cemetery.

The second report on a man who has been missing from the Kooskia-Kamiah area was eliminated on the basis of the physical description. The missing man was 6-feet 5-inches tall, while it is believed the man whose bones were found was about 5-feet 8-inches.

Examination of dental records also ruled out the possibility that the bones were the remains of Steven Pearsall, who has been missing from Lewiston for several years.

Police have entered the Normal Hill man's dental records into national computer systems. ''We are still waiting to see if somebody gets a hit on the dental records we have put in,'' Johnson said.

He asked anyone who may have information about the bones, or about someone who is missing, to contact the Lewiston Police Department.

Johnson said police are certain the bones are not the result of a legitimate burial for several reasons. One is that since the 1960s the law has required all burials to be done in a vault or casket, and these bones were in neither. Scientific examination established that the bones had been in the ground no more than 10 years, which means they should have been in a vault or casket.

Johnson said that bones for which there is no apparent explanation may be unearthed at other places in the cemetery because some burials were done many years ago without regular records.

But careful records have been maintained for at least the past 40 or 50 years, and these bones are too recent to have escaped recordkeeping, he said.

*****

Unsolved cases: Police books are open on murders; Those who have worked cases over years are frustrated to be so close to a solution but too far away for arrest

Joan Abrams

Published: Lewiston Tribune

1995-01-01

Page: 1C

Police are now speaking publicly about what the community has been whispering privately for years.

The prime suspect in four unsolved homicides was involved with the Lewiston Civic Theatre and told investigators he slept at the theater the night of Sept. 12, 1982, when Kristina Nelson, Brandi Miller and Steven Pearsall disappeared.

Police believe the three may have been killed at the theater that night.

The suspect also told former Asotin County Sheriff Herb Reeves he was with 12-year-old Christina White the afternoon of April 28, 1979. She has not been seen since.

''There are four victims involved and one suspect. We're 99 percent certain who the culprit is,'' Lewiston police Capt. M. Duane Ailor said last week.

Ailor and others who have worked the cases over the years are frustrated to be so close to solving the murders yet far enough away to prevent an arrest.

''Don't think for a minute this is put back in the files and forgotten about,'' Ailor said. ''Not a week goes by that I don't think about this case. Not a month goes by that I don't talk to someone about it.'' He often pulls out the foot-long stack of files he's complied and studies them to see if he's missed something that could crack the case.

''What concerns me greatly is we feel we have a suspect responsible for four murders. And what happened before he came to our area and since he came? ... There's a great possibility he may be a serial-type killer.''

*On the day she vanished, Christina White attended the Asotin County Fair and then went to a friend's house. She called her mother to say she wasn't feeling well and was told to come home.

Her mother watched down the road for Christina, but she never appeared.

Ailor said the suspect offered to help the sheriff's posse search for the girl, who was initially classified as missing or a runaway. Neither her body nor the 10-speed bicycle she was riding has ever been found.

Stepsisters Kristina Nelson, 21, and Jacqueline (Brandy) Miller, 18, apparently met up the evening of Sept. 12, 1982, to go to a downtown Lewiston grocery store. Nelson left a note in her apartment letting her boyfriend know where she was and who she was with.

Both women were residents of Normal Hill and may have walked by the Civic Theatre on Eighth Street to get downtown. Nelson had previously worked as a janitor at the theater.

Steven Pearsall, 35, was dropped off at the theater at midnight by friends. A janitor at the theater, he told the friends he intended to do some work, wash some laundry and practice his clarinet.

Earlier in the day, Pearsall had been working at the theater with the suspect. Pearsall left at about 7 or 8 p.m. to attend a get-together in Clarkston.

The suspect told police he also left the building for a time to get pizza at the former Red Baron downtown and returned to the theater at about 10 p.m. He fell asleep and didn't wake up until 4 a.m., he said.

''He claims he never saw or heard anyone come into the building,'' Ailor said. ''Needless to say, Pearsall has never been seen since he went in the (theater's) doors.''

He is convinced the two women somehow ended up at the theater that night and ''Pearsall got involved in this by mistake. ... I believe he was at the wrong place at the wrong time.''

The badly decomposed bodies of Nelson and Miller were found in March 1984 at the bottom of a steep embankment at Big Bear Ridge near Kendrick. Ailor declined to say how they died.

Because Pearsall has never been located, he cannot be completely ruled out as a suspect, Ailor said. ''But we believe he is a victim.''

Unknowingly, detectives on the White case and the Nelson-Miller-Pearsall case shared the same suspect. It wasn't until a few days following the Lewiston disappearances that similarities between the two cases caused something to click, Ailor said.

The suspect was interviewed by Lewiston police twice and twice refused to take a polygraph exam that could vindicate him. He then told police if they had any more questions to talk to his attorney.

At one point, he threatened to file harassment charges against the Asotin County Sheriff's Department.

He still lives and works in the community.

Sheriff's department Sgt. Tom White acknowledged officers are very aware of the suspect. ''We're doing as much as we are allowed to do. ... We've gone clear to the very edge of what the law says we can do as far as contacting this person.''

Like Ailor, White said the case is never far from his thoughts.

About five years ago, Ailor said he renewed the by-then 7-year-old investigation. He talked with former Asotin County Sheriff Herb Reeves and uncovered another piece of evidence.

''I about fell out of my chair,'' he said. The sheriff remembered the suspect telling him he was at the house Christina White was visiting and he had gotten her a wet towel to hold over her face when she became ill.

That information added cement to Ailor's suspicions and set him wondering about other unsolved murders.

''I think the chances are great that he's either done this before or will do it again. It's hard to believe he wouldn't do it again ."

Several other homicides and missing person cases in the region remain a mystery.

They include the murder of Kristen David, a 22-year-old University of Idaho student who disappeared June 26, 1981, while riding her bicycle between Lewiston and Moscow.

Several motorists reported seeing David on U.S. Highway 95 near Genesee, but she never arrived in Lewiston.

Eight days later, a headless torso and leg were found by a boater on the north shore of the Snake River downstream from Red Wolf Crossing in Clarkston. The next day, a dismembered head, arms and part of a leg were found downstream from the bridge. All the body parts were wrapped in clear plastic bags. They were identified as David's.

Police also discovered what appeared to be blood on the railing of Red Wolf Crossing. The bicycle was never found.

An intensive investigation followed that involved several local law enforcement agencies and the FBI. Numerous leads have surfaced over the years, but none have lead to an arrest.

Detectives interviewed the notorious Henry Lee Lucas and Ottis Ellwood Toole who claimed to have killed at least 100 women in 16 states in their travels around the country. Lucas denied killing David and Toole said he was in the area in 1981 and may have done it. His story was too vague, police said.

In April 1993, an escaped rapist-murderer from a Washington, D.C., hospital for the criminally insane was apprehended in Lewiston. Investigators with the U.S. Marshal's Service suspect Harry Anthony Hantman may have been responsible for many unsolved murders and sex crimes during his 20 years on the lam.

David's murder was listed as a possibility and one investigator with the Lewiston Police Department is convinced Hantman was her killer.

Ailor said when the common suspect emerged in the White and Nelson-Miller-Pearsall cases, he was also considered a suspect in the David case. ''It's a possibility, but the cases are not obviously linked,'' he said.

Every time there is a homicide in the Northwest or western United States without a clear suspect, information about the local crimes and the prime suspect is forwarded to the investigating agency, Ailor said.

The suspect was referred to the Green River Task Force looking into the serial killings of numerous young women in the Seattle-Portland area.

''I felt they needed to know,'' Ailor said.

Latah County Sheriff's Department detectives also believe a handful of local unsolved murders and disappearances may be connected and have shared files on the cases with the FBI in the hope some of the puzzle pieces may fit.

The Moscow cases include the June 29, 1979, disappearance of 27-year-old Gayla Schaper, who was last seen feeding her horses on Lenville Road, and the bludgeoning death of 18-year-old Janice Foiles at the Tip-Top Cafe in 1969.

A longtime suspect in the Foiles' murder was cleared in March 1994, leading investigators to seek a new direction. In the Schaper case, a Moscow father and son recently emerged as possible suspects.

According to court documents, an unnamed person told police William Gale Hagedorn and his father, Larry Hagedorn, that JoAnn Grace Romero confided the Hagedorns had raped a girl on Lenville Road many years ago and that the girl was never found.

William Hagedorn last year was convicted of Romero's murder. The police source alleged Romero was killed because of what she knew.

Other cases still unsolved include the 1990 stabbing death of 18-year-old Toni Ann Tedder as she slept in her Clarkston home; the disappearance of Clarkston resident Jason Goddard, 21, from Lewiston in 1990; and the strangulation of C. Bruce and Lynn Peeples, a Grangeville couple found in their burned apartment in April 1994.

Police in these cases said they have strong suspects, but no arrests have been predicted.

Until the cases are officially solved, speculation is bound to continue. An article in the London Times labeled Lewiston ''The Town Where People Vanish'' and called the disappearances ''one of the most baffling and terrifying mysteries that police in the American West have ever faced.''

The article mentioned several other unresolved cases, including those in Moscow and the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area.

''No theories are being discounted,'' the article reads. ''Police have even looked into the possibility that grizzly bears have been raiding the towns from nearby national parks.'' Ailor isn't losing any sleep over the grizzly bear theory, but he is uncomfortable the cases remain open.

He said he released new details of the White and Nelson-Miller and Pearsall cases hoping to ''to set off a spark in the community.'' He asked anyone who may have information to contact the Lewiston Police Department or the Asotin County Sheriff's Department.

''I'll do the best I can as long as I'm with this agency to see it solved.''

*****

People disappear. Their bodies sometimes turn up, sometimes not. It's murder, but the perpetrators go unknown or uncharged. Local law enforcement officials keep looking for clues, hoping they'll find new leads in a number of ... Unsolved mysteries


Tara Tuchscherer

Published: Lewiston Tribune

1997-08-24

Page: 1A

Sitting on shelves in area law enforcement offices are binders titled "Kristen David," "Christina White," "Toni Ann Tedder" and "Joyce LePage."

The pages inside have yellowed. The signatures at the bottom of the reports are of men who have since retired or died.

But the binders of unsolved mysteries -- some murder, some disappearances -- are pulled off the shelves every now and then, dusted off and reviewed.

In the case of Kristen David, the young University of Idaho student who was found dismembered in the Snake River near Clarkston in 1981, a detective at the Latah County Sheriff's Office has begun to re-read the volumes of reports and interviews.

New information on an old suspect who has since died in prison surfaced recently, Sgt. Earl Aston said. Although he declined to say what the information is, or which suspect he's interested in, he did say he would renew the now 16-year-old investigation.

David's grisly murder remains one of the area's most frustrating cases, partly because of the horrendous nature of the crime and partly because closure has eluded a cadre of relentless investigators intent on finding her killer.

She disappeared June 26, 1981, while riding her bicycle between Lewiston and Moscow. Several motorists reported seeing her on U.S. Highway 95 near Genesee, but she never arrived in Lewiston.

Eight days later, a headless torso and a leg wrapped in plastic bags were found by a boater on the north shore of the Snake River near Red Wolf Crossing in Clarkston.

The next day, a dismembered head, arms and part of a leg were found downstream from the bridge.

The intense investigation that followed took investigators on a search for the killer as far away as Florida.

Still, no arrest has been made.

Aston hopes his new information will change that, but he doesn't have much time on hands. He is the lead detective in the Hazel Martin murder case of last year -- an investigation he says is well on its way toward solution.

Martin, 73, was last seen alive May 17, 1996, at a card party at the Princeton Grange. After she was reported missing, her home in Princeton was searched and no sign of struggle was found. Days later, bedding eventually identified as Martin's was discovered along the Palouse River.

Some five miles from where the bedding was found, a skull and lower jaw bone were discovered this spring in the White Pine Drive area by mushroom hunters. Since then, Aston said, a femur has been found.

Initial indications were the skull showed signs of trauma from blunt force, he said, but forensic tests that could determine exactly how she died have not yet been completed.

Aston said the Martin case is one that won't be added to the binders on the shelf.

"We're very optimistic about solving this case. ... We're not going to stop until we solve it."

Aston and Latah County Sheriff Jeff Crouch say they have suspects and know why Martin was killed.

A homicide last year in Pullman also has been added to the area's list of unsolved mysteries. But, like the Hazel Martin murder, the Dorothy Martin murder is being worked on night and day by optimistic investigators.

"It's a very active case," said Sgt. Sam Sorem of the Pullman Police Department.

Martin, an 89-year-old resident of the Statesman Condominium on Military Hill, was found murdered by asphyxiation in her bed in July 1996.

Investigators in both the Hazel and Dorothy Martin cases say a connection between the two murders is not likely, despite the similarities in age, last name and time frame. But a link has not been ruled out completely.

"In murder investigations, you don't rule anything out until you have solid evidence that would tell you otherwise," Sorem said.

"New information still comes in all the time, and Baker (Fred Baker, the lead investigator on the case) checks up on all of them," he said.

Investigators have a lot to work with now, he added.

In addition to having "persons of interest," there are a set of missing keys to Martin's apartment and missing items that should have been found inside.

"The only person that knows they're gone is the person that committed the crime," Sorem said.

Baker will be presenting information about the Dorothy Martin case at a meeting of Washington investigators involved in Homicide Information Tracking System (HITS) this week in Kennewick. The hope is after investigators present the evidence in their unsolved murder cases, similarities with other murders will arise.

Det. Joel Hastings of the Clarkston Police Department also will attend the meeting.

Hastings has the Toni Ann Tedder murder on his shelf.

"To solve this, we would need some additional information and we're just not there yet," he said.

Tedder, 18, was stabbed while she was sleeping on a couch in her family's living room in Clarkston in 1990. Another family member was sleeping on the floor near Tedder during the attack and came face to face with the murderer, Hastings said.

The fisherman-type knife used to stab Tedder was found near her.

Over the years, Hastings said, one suspect in a field of many has not been eliminated.

A Tedder family member said she believes Toni was killed by mistake -- that the murderer intended to kill someone else in another house.

Another case in southeastern Washington that has plagued investigators for years is the disappearance and probable homicide of 12-year-old Christina White of Asotin in 1979.

The White disappearance is unlike most unsolved mysteries in that investigators are certain they know the culprit.

"We do have a primary suspect who has been our primary suspect for years," said Sgt. Tom White of the Asotin County Sheriff's Office.

In fact, he said, White was last seen standing with her bike outside an Asotin home often frequented by the suspect.

White had called her mother from the home to tell her she felt ill from the heat. Her mother told her to put a towel over her head and come to the Asotin County Fair when she felt better.

She has never been found.

The suspect in her disappearance is believed to have killed again.

Investigators in the White case and in the Lewiston Civic Theatre case announced in 1989 they shared the same suspect.

In the Civic Theatre case, police believe the suspect, who was working at the theater that night, was presented with an opportunity to kill Kristina Nelson, 21, and her stepsister Jacqueline (Brandy) Miller when the two women walked by -- and perhaps inside -- the theater Sept. 12, 1982.

Nelson had left a note in her Normal Hill apartment telling her boyfriend she and Miller were walking to a downtown Lewiston grocery store.

Steven R. Pearsall, a janitor at the theater, was dropped there later that night by friends. He told his friends he intended to do some work, wash some laundry and practice his clarinet.

Police believe the suspect killed all three of them that night.

In 1984, the decomposed bodies of Nelson and Miller were found by a Kendrick youth at the bottom of a steep embankment along State Highway 3, about 2 1/2 miles north of Kendrick.

Pearsall has never been found.

Former Lewiston police Capt. Duane Ailor, who died this summer, was the primary investigator in the Civic Theatre murders.

According to LPD Capt. Paul Ayers, nothing has changed in regard to Ailor's suspect.

"There are four victims involved (including Christina White) and one suspect. We're 99 percent certain who the culprit is," Ailor told the Tribune in a 1995 interview.

The suspect was interviewed numerous times by police and then refused to cooperate, telling investigators to talk instead with his attorney.

He still lives and works in the community.

Although Pearsall could not be ruled out completely because he's never been found, Ailor believed Pearsall was a victim.

Sometimes in an unsolved mystery, a fresh approach may be what it takes to close the case.

In the 26-year-old murder of Joyce LePage, a Washington State University student found in skeletal form in a ravine about 10 miles south of the university, a sergeant from WSU's police department recently has reactivated the case.

"I'm taking an active second look," Sgt. Don Maupin said.

LePage, 22, was last seen by friends who dropped her off at her apartment July 21, 1971. LePage often would stay at Stevens Hall on campus even though the building was being remodeled that summer and was supposed to empty.

It is there, Maupin said, that LePage was killed.

Her skeletal remains -- which bore signs of a stabbing -- were found almost a year later by a boy hunting for opals in a steep ravine off Wawawai Road.

Maupin said he has suspects and a motive, but declined to elaborate on either.

Other unsolved murders and disappearances continue to haunt law enforcement officials and family members in this area:

After working an evening shift alone, waitress Janice Foiles, 18, was killed in 1969 by two blows to the head at a Moscow cafe. There was no sexual assault, police said, and nothing was taken from the restaurant. Police found no weapon and no motive.

In June 1979, Gayla Schaper, 27, was last seen feeding her horses on Lenville Road. Nearby meadows were excavated and pieces of clothing were found, but investigators declined to comment on the results of forensic tests on the clothing.

Patty Otto, a 24-year-old Lewiston woman, hasn't been seen since September 1976. Her husband was a prime suspect in her disappearance, but he died in prison, where he was serving 25 years for hiring killers to murder Duane Ailor, who at that time was a Lewiston detective.

A young man who has never been identified floated down the Snake River near Hellar Bar in June 1982. When sheriff's deputies recovered his body, they discovered he had been shot. His age was determined to be 18- to 22-years old, he was 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighed about 150 pounds.

Daniel Walker, 31, a WSU student, was found shot to death in his pickup truck on the shoulder of Lewiston's Old Spiral Highway in April 1982. Police believe the shooting was drug-related and have issued a warrant in connection with the shooting for Edward L. Hart, who, after an extensive search in Alaska and Mexico, has never been found.

C. Bruce and Lynn Peeples were found strangled in their burned Grangeville apartment in April 1994. Their killer has never been found.

*****

To catch this area's most notorious serial killer, Lewiston police need to know how he lives, how he thinks and how he kills. In short, they need ... a profile of evil

Rebecca Boone

Published: Lewiston Tribune

2000-08-27

Page: 1C


He drives a late-model car that he's pretty proud of. He lives alone or with a girlfriend or his mother, who tends to be dominating.

He's intelligent, but considered an underachiever.

He has at least a high school education.

And he likes to kill if the opportunity comes up.

He's still out there. And his crimes are decades old.

Kristin David, Christina White, Kristina Nelson, Jacqueline (Brandy) Miller, Steven Pearsall.

Five people police believe all suffered the same fate -- all at the hands of the same man, Lewiston Police Lt. Alan Johnson believes.

The police cases are all still open, and Johnson, the Lewiston Police Department's head investigator on the crimes, says new information has been discovered.

But he's not saying just what that information is.

"The information is background in nature, and it has not produced any eye witnesses or new witness names," says Johnson. "Technology is one avenue that has been and is being explored, and DNA technology is one that we're kind of focusing on."

Most of the recent investigation has focused on the Christina White case with the Asotin County Sheriff's Department.

If the crimes are all connected, solving her murder should give some clues to the others as well.

"Every crime has a piece of the puzzle that is always going to be out there -- we just have to find it," Johnson says.

"Sometimes we have to be satisfied with knowing who is responsible, even if we can't get that individual into a court of law."

And the police do know who committed the serial murders, says Johnson. They just can't release the name.

But a suspect profile done when the cases were still fresh offers some clues.

The profile, a yellowed, typed list with notes scrawled in the margins, is in several of the blue binders that contain all the information police have on the cases.

It's most likely an FBI profile, since that was one of the only agencies doing profiling work at the time, says Lt. Ron Seipert. But the profile doesn't have an author name or an agency's heading.

The title at the top of the page is "Psychological Profile of Lust Murderer."

The list of 20 characteristics that follows reads like a horror novel -- seemingly benign at first, and then becoming a recipe for a psychopath:

Subject will have lived in the area for a period of time and will be known to various people in his community.

Bite marks or stab wounds, commonly made after death ...

As this fantasy wears off, will kill again and more frequently as time passes ...

Will have fantasized about what he would do to a girl if the situation presented itself, i.e. premeditated and when the situation does occur, he conducts himself as he has fantasized.

And the final characteristic: Might have left the area after the killing, moving to another town and establishing himself (job, etc.) before he will kill again.

Many detectives believe there are two types of serial killers, says Johnson, those who go on a killing spree and then stop for some reason, and those who just go on killing.

And which one is the suspect of these crimes?

"Will he kill again? It's a possibility," says Johnson. "We can't say for sure that he hasn't since these cases."

The detectives on the case when the profile was new believed the suspect matched at least some of the characteristics, says Johnson.

For instance, the suspect had a prior record -- he was arrested years earlier in California for allegedly breaking into a mortuary.

He was involved in the community, and was relatively well known.

And the suspect has moved from the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, and now lives in a southern state. Law enforcement authorities there, says Johnson, have been alerted.

As far as the authorities know, he has committed no new crimes.

*****

Killer's crimes are more than 20 years old

Published: Lewiston Tribune

2000-08-27

Page: 2C

For 21 years, someone has been keeping a dark secret.

And though at times the Snake River, a ravine near Kendrick, and even a Lewiston theater have offered up clues to investigators, the secret of who killed five area residents is still hidden.

The five unsolved murders police in the region are working on all happened in a four-year period, beginning with a vanishing little girl.

April 28, 1979

Christina White was at the Asotin County Fair the morning before she disappeared. She left the fair and went to a friend's house, where she called her mother at about 2 p.m. to tell her she was feeling ill from the heat.

Her mom told her to put a towel over her head and walk home when she felt better. Twelve-year old Christina never appeared.

People helped the Asotin County Sheriff's Posse search for the girl. One of the men who offered to help would later be considered the primary suspect in her disappearance.

Neither Christina White, nor the 10-speed bicycle she had with her that day, has ever been found.

June 26, 1981

University of Idaho student Kristin David was biking from Moscow to Lewiston on the day she vanished. Though several motorists came forward to say they saw her near Genesee on U.S. Highway 95, she never arrived in Lewiston.

It was eight days before a clue to the missing 22-year old student surfaced, eight days before the Snake River yielded its grisly offering to a boater near the Red Wolf Crossing in Clarkston.

A headless torso and a leg wrapped in plastic bags had washed ashore.

The next day, arms, part of a leg and a dismembered head were found further downstream, near the bridge.

Sept. 12, 1982

Kristina Nelson and her stepsister Jacqueline (Brandy) Miller were headed to a downtown grocery store from Nelson's Normal Hill apartment.

Nelson, 21, and Miller, 18, walked by the Lewiston Civic Theatre. They may have gone inside.

Steven R. Pearsall was a janitor at the theater. He had friends drop him off there that night to do a little work, a little laundry and practice his clarinet in the usually empty building.

All three were killed that night, police believe, by the same man responsible for White's and David's murders.

The badly decomposed bodies of Nelson and Miller were found in 1984 by a Kendrick youth. They'd been placed at the bottom of a steep embankment along State Highway 3, about 2 miles north of Kendrick.

Pearsall's remains have never been found.

*****


Psychics to help in old Asotin case: Team will search for the remains of girl who disappeared 25 years ago

Kerri Sandaine

Published: Lewiston Tribune

2004-06-24

Page: 1A


ASOTIN -- It's been 25 years since Christina White, a 12-year-old Asotin girl, vanished from the Asotin County Fair.

An eight-member team of "remote viewers" is coming here next month to search for the child's remains.

Christina's mother is hoping the search will bring some closure to her daughter's unsolved disappearance.

"It's because we don't know, that I guess we hope there's a chance she's alive," Betty Wilks said, her voice choking with emotion, "but in our hearts we know it's not true."

Ret. Maj. Edward A. Dames of Hawaii is leading the search. Dames served as the training and operations officer for the federal Defense Intelligence Agency's psychic intelligence collection unit, and is the executive director for the Matrix Intelligence Agency, a private consulting group.

"In this case, as is often the case, the child is close to home," Dames said in a telephone interview with the Tribune. "We've been working on this for 2 1/2 months. We believe the missing child is deceased. ... Our job is to locate her remains."

Dames and his team use remote viewing, which he describes as a trained ability to use the unconscious mind to gather data about any unseen or hidden person, place, thing or event and deliver it up to conscious awareness.

He rates his confidence level in finding Christina's remains at 80 percent.

"I've been doing this 20 years," Dames said. "We're the best there is."

Most of his team's child search work has been done in Japan, he said.

Dames, who is a frequent guest on Art Bell's "Coast To Coast" AM radio show, was contacted about Christina's disappearance by a police officer from Eagle, Colo., who is a friend of Christina's sister, Carlin White, and a fan of the late-night radio show.

After hearing about the case, Dames agreed to come to the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley for several days in mid July to conduct the search. He's doing it on a voluntary basis.

"No one can get over the grief of a missing child. Instead of treasure hunting. I've chosen this as a public service."

Wilks moved 13 years ago and now lives in Genesee, but still owns her house in Asotin where the family lived when Christina vanished. "I always think maybe she'll come back," she said Wednesday, crying softly.

Christina disappeared April 28, 1979. She telephoned her mother about 2 p.m. that day and said she was not feeling well. Her mother promised to pick her up downtown, but Christina did not show up. According to newspaper reports at the time, she was last seen at the carnival grounds.

Wilks thinks about her daughter everyday. "She was a good kid. She was just a sweetheart. She was elated because she was getting ready for her first communion."

Christina's father, Gary White, doesn't live in the area, and he and Wilks, who are divorced, are not in contact.

Christina's brother, Kirk, lives in Seattle and her sister resides in Colorado and plans to come here while the searchers are in town.

"We've had a lot of ups and downs trying to get to a point where we can make some sense out of the whole case," Wilks said.

"This is not a closed issue. We're always searching for answers. People are always a little uncomfortable asking me if there's anything new, but I'm always glad to have people ask."

Over the years, local authorities have worked extensively on the case of the missing child.

"The police department has been very diligent and followed every lead," Wilks said. "They've been really good about working on the case."

In addition, several psychics have attempted to locate Christina, to no avail.

"We can run rings around psychics," Dames said. "That's why the government used (remote viewing.)"

Law enforcement officials in Lewiston and Asotin County have been notified about the remote viewing team's plans to visit the area.

Wilks said she needs some closure and wants Christina's remains located, even though it means knowing for certain her daughter is never coming back.

"Actually, I think there's a whole lot of things worse than death. Your imagination can work overtime and be so cruel."


*****

Psychic search 'on right track'; Team thinks it's found remains of girl missing since 1979 in Snake River overgrowth north of Asotin

Kerri Sandaine

Published: Lewiston Tribune

2004-07-13

Page: 1A

ASOTIN -- A team of "remote viewers" is scouring through brambles, weeds and willows near the Snake River in an effort to find the remains of a 12-year-old Asotin girl who's been missing for 25 years.

They believe they know where to find Christina White, who vanished in 1979 during the Asotin County Fair. The search will continue today.

Led by Ret. Major Edward A. Dames of Hawaii, the psychic searchers went to work Monday morning about 350 feet north of the Asotin sewer plant in thick brush near the Snake River, Asotin Creek and an old dirt road.

"We think we have a crime scene," Dames said, standing near an abandoned mattress and an old file cabinet. "We think the child's remains are right here."

Dames is the executive director of Matrix Intelligence Agency, a private consulting group that uses remote viewing, which he describes as the trained ability to use the unconscious mind to gather data about unseen or hidden persons, places, things or events and deliver it up to the conscious awareness.

Dames, 54, once served as the training and operations officer for the U.S. Army Defense Intelligence Agency's psychic intelligence collection unit and now trains people to do remote viewing. He's also a frequent guest on Art Bell's "Coast To Coast" late-night AM radio show.

If his team of six finds Christina this week, it will be the first time Dames and the others will have successfully located the remains of a missing child.

Dames said he's found missing people who are alive in Japan, solved some criminal cases, and worked on two missing child cases in Oregon, where his efforts were thwarted by uncooperative law enforcement officials and family members, he said.

As the group raked and dug shallow trenches where the mattress was found, Dames said he understands some people are skeptical about the techniques and claims he's made, but he's convinced the remote viewers are on the right track in this case.

"Until we stand and deliver, they have a right to be skeptical," Dames said. "We're confident we're in the right place."

Paul Ramsey, 43, a former Eagle, Colo., police officer and friend of Christina's sister, contacted Dames about the case. He drove here from Colorado Sunday to participate in the search.

"This blows me away," Ramsey said, as he grabbed a shovel to help out. "I contacted him because I knew he did this and I knew he was the best."

Prior to their arrival in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley, the group worked on the case more than two months and sketched the area where they expect to find Christina.

"We knew what we were looking for," Dames said. "We knew we had to find a mattress."

Standing on the bank of the river, Dames pointed to nearby power lines. On the sketches three people on the team had turned the power lines into a ski lift, but it makes sense when you see how the lines look and note the nearby water skiers, he said.

Others noted the presence of butterflies, colors, unique items such as a discarded rear axle of a car and other things like the nearby stream and river they had sketched.

One remote viewer, Dawn Stoltz, was excited to find a crushed beer can in the rocks, saying it was sketched perfectly before the group ever set foot on the site.

The only woman in the group, Stoltz, 34, a massage therapist from Virginia Beach, Va., said this is her first search for a child's remains, but she's completed 120 hours of classroom work and the training offered by Dames.

"I've always been pretty intuitive and I was searching for an avenue to utilize those skills," she said of her involvement.

"I looked up Ed's Web site, completed the training and here I am."

The group's quick discovery of the mattress in a concealed area near the sewer plant and bike path didn't surprise Dames.

The logical conclusion is Christina is a victim of a crime, he said, and abductors typically choose such sites because they want the child's body decayed by the time the remains are found.

In those type of cases, the bodies are never buried, he said, but this particular spot is covered by 25 years of growth and that poses a challenge for the searchers.

The property is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Betty Wilks of Genesee, the girl's mother, is aware of the search that's under way on the outskirts of Asotin.

She has said she hopes Dames and his team will find her daughter's remains and bring the family some closure in the case of Christina's heartbreaking disappearance.

Dames and the others are doing the work on a volunteer basis. They have about 48 hours to find the remains before members of the party have to fly back to jobs and families all over the country.

If the team does find human remains, Dames said, it would immediately notify local law enforcement authorities and the site would likely then be treated as a crime scene.

Dames has asked Christina's family to stay away from the search site because he believes it's too hard on family members. "Why keep her mother on edge, especially if we come up empty-handed."

"There are three reasons we're here," Dames added. "We're doing it for Christina White, we're doing it for Betty Wilks and we're doing it in the name of justice. It's a noble use for a noble tool."

*****

Old mystery takes new turn: as psychic searchers try to solve Christina White case, Asotin County sheriff receives cryptic letter

Kerri Sandaine

Published: Lewiston Tribune

2004-07-15

Page: 5A

ASOTIN -- The Asotin County sheriff is seeking new information in a 25-year-old case of a missing Asotin girl.

Sheriff Wayne Weber said his office has received an anonymous letter from a person who claims to have some information about the Christina White case, and he wants to talk to whoever sent the cryptic note.

The Asotin sixth-grader vanished April 28, 1979, during the Asotin County Fair.

"We got a letter from an anonymous person saying they have information about Christina White," Weber said Wednesday. "I am treating this as legitimate. I want the person who sent it to come forward and talk to us."

Christina's disappearance has been in the headlines this week because some psychic searchers are here to look for the missing girl's remains.

A remote viewing team led by Ed Dames of Hawaii, the executive director of Matrix Intelligence Agency, has been poking around Asotin since Monday.

"I am glad those psychics are trying," Weber said. "I don't know if psychics work or not, but who's to say? I'm not discouraging them. I just want her found."

And even if the psychics aren't successful, the renewed interest in Christina's disappearance may end up helping law enforcement officers get some new leads in the case, Weber said.

The anonymous tip may prove to be nothing, but the sheriff said it's worth checking out.

Weber was a deputy at the time Christina vanished and said he wants to see the case solved. "I looked all night for that little girl," he recalled.

The remote viewers turned their attention to the girl's bike Wednesday morning.

Christina was riding her Schwinn 10-speed the day she disappeared, and it has never been located, according to authorities.

Dames was told about the bike Tuesday night. The next day his team was out looking for it around the sewer plant on the north end of town, but no bike was found.

"The undergrowth is too heavy," he said.

The focus of the search shifted this week, after the remote viewers gave up on finding Christina's remains. Dames said he believes the girl's remains are somewhere between the sewer plant and the Snake River, but there's too much overgrowth and too little time to find them.

He and his team have been working on other aspects of the case, trying to determine what led to Christina's disappearance. Dames believes she was murdered.

"Now we're trying to find the house in Asotin where Christina was murdered," he said. "Two viewers in California are faxing us information. What we find may open a brand new line of investigation for the police, and that's what we're hoping."

Earlier this week, Dames told the Tribune he plans to talk to the sheriff about his findings today, but Weber said he first learned of a potential meeting when he read about it in the newspaper.

"I don't mind them coming around and looking," Weber said. "We can use all the help we can get. But it's funny no one has called me personally and talked to me."

However, when Dames and his team shows up at the sheriff's office, they won't be turned away.

"I'm going to listen to the psychics and I'll listen to anyone who has any information," Weber said.

Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also were surprised to learn Dames and his group were digging, chopping and raking property owned by the corps.

Dames said he didn't contact the corps prior to the search because he didn't want to deal with any bureaucratic snarl during the short time he and his team had to work at the site.

On Wednesday, the remote viewers met with the girl's mother, Betty Wilks of Genesee, to update her on the group's progress. According to Dames, "she's doing fine."

The psychic searchers will be gone by the end of the week, but they plan to keep working on the case.

"I'm coming back," Dames vowed. "I'm not leaving this open-ended. It's not over until it's over.

*****

Psychic searchers shift focus

Remote viewers doubt they will find remains of Christina White, but they are looking for evidence of crime

Kathy Hedberg

Published: Lewiston Tribune

2004-07-14

Page: 5A


ASOTIN -- A team of psychic searchers has abandoned their hunt for Christina White's remains.

"We do not think we can recover the remains because of the overgrowth in the area," Ed Dames said Tuesday afternoon.

Dames, the executive director of Matrix Intelligence Agency, was leading a team of "remote viewers" in a search for a missing Asotin girl's remains on the northern outskirts of town, between the sewer plant and the Snake River.

That search is over and the team has shifted its focus to finding out what happened to Christina 25 years ago, through their remote viewing techniques. "We are now trying to identify legal evidence to turn over to police," Dames said.

The 12-year-old girl and her bicycle vanished during the Asotin County Fair in 1979.

"We're saying she was murdered in an Asotin residence and now we're trying to ascertain whether or not evidence of that crime exists and then locate it," Dames said.

He'll meet with representatives from the Asotin County sheriff's office Thursday to brief them on what his team has found. "We know we don't have anything substantial yet.

We are looking for legal evidence, outside of the body itself."

Earlier in the week, Dames said he was confident he would find the girl's remains, as he and his team dug trenches and raked through brush and weeds on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers property. An old mattress and discarded file cabinet at the site had been sketched by the remote viewers, before they arrived.

"We're very disappointed," Dames said. "We were hoping she was right there, but she's somewhere between the chain link fence that surrounds the sewer plant and where we were digging. It's not practical of us to retrieve the remains because they are under dirt and debris and 25 years of growth."

Before Dames' arrival, law enforcement officials who have worked on the case for many years worried the search may get the family's hopes up and cause more heartache if Christina wasn't found.

Dames said he plans to talk to Christina's mother, Betty Wilks of Genesee, tonight. His message to her will be, "We're on track and we're just doing the best we can," he said.

Wilks had hoped her daughter's remains would be found, so the family could have some closure. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday. In previous interviews, Wilks told the Tribune she's always searching for answers in the case of her missing daughter.

"It's because we don't know, that I guess we hope there's a chance she's alive," she has said, "but in our hearts we know it's not true."

Christina disappeared April 28, 1979. According to old newspaper accounts, she was last seen at the carnival grounds. The girl had telephoned her mother that day and said she was not feeling well. When her mother went to pick her up downtown, Christina did not show up.

Several psychics have attempted to locate Christina in the past, with no success.

Dames said it goads him to give up on the search for the girl's remains.

"I don't like failure," he said. "I didn't bring all these people here just to go home".

*****

Psychic search team heads home

25-year-old Asotin County case remains unsolved

Kerri Sandaine

Published: Lewiston Tribune

2004-07-17

Page: 5A

ASOTIN -- Ed Dames and his psychic cohorts have left town after several days of working on the 25-year-old disappearance of Christina White.

Dames, a regular on Art Bell's late-night "Coast to Coast" radio show, claimed he knew where to find Christina, a 12-year-old Asotin girl who vanished in 1979. But he and his team of "remote viewers" came up empty-handed. They did not find the girl's remains or her 10-speed bike.

If the psychic searcher had found Christina, it would have been the first time Dames has successfully located the remains of a missing child.

Before leaving, Dames, executive director of Matrix Intelligence Agency in Hawaii, gave Asotin County Sheriff Wayne Weber a report on the search. Dames said his team came up with some "significant findings."

"We got some information from Dames," Weber said Friday. "I'll follow up on it and do some background checking. The investigation will continue through the sheriff's office."

The sheriff's office has received dozens of calls this week from citizens who want to talk about Christina White's disappearance. Weber said he plans to follow up on all the information he's received since the case has been back in the spotlight.

"I'll take any leads I can get," Weber said. "We've had a huge response from people who have ideas about what happened to Christina and have heard things in the past. Some have theories and some want to pass along leads.

"We're listening to them all, and we appreciate the information. We cannot do our job without the help of the people."

Weber still is waiting to hear from an anonymous letter writer who claimed to have information about the case. Earlier this week, the sheriff made a public appeal to the person to contact him.


Lewiston Police Lt. Alan Johnson helps keep track of cold cases with binders full of facts ready to assist with any new leads.

By Brad W. Gary of the Tribune

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The black binders are loaded with notes, and visible to anyone who peeks inside Lt. Alan Johnson's office.

Those neatly kept files, with both typed and hand-scrawled notes related to five unsolved murders, will remain in Johnson's care until he walks out the door of the Lewiston Police Department for good.

He's not the first officer to investigate the cases, but Johnson hopes to be the last. His department reopened a series of murder cases in 1997, continuing an already decades-old investigation into the deaths of Christina White, Kristin David, Steven R. Pearsall, Kristina D. Nelson and Jacqueline (Brandy) A. Miller from 1979 to 1982.

Investigators at the time believed all five cases involved the same "person of interest." No arrest has ever been made.

"You're always hoping to find that one piece of evidence that either puts it over the top or identifies the criminal suspect, or provides closure to the family," Johnson said.

They aren't the only unsolved murders in Lewiston. And Johnson's list isn't the only one that has aged in the depths of detective offices around the region. As many as 19 suspected homicide cases, going back to 1961, remain unresolved in southeast Washington and north central Idaho.

Police suspect homicide in many of the cases, even when a person is still legally declared missing. Bodies of others have turned up years after the initial reports were made.

"It's really important that these folks are not forgotten," said Nez Perce County Chief Deputy Bill Madison. He has two cases on his department's evidence shelf.

ohnson admits the days in which new notes are added to his binders have winnowed. Working a two-decades-old murder case can often lead to dead ends, detectives say.

"It's true - 48 hours are the most critical hours in a homicide, witness interviews, that's when the information is going to be at its best," Johnson said.

But the boxes of evidence have swelled since he took on the investigation that began when 12-year-old White disappeared from the Asotin County Fair on April 28, 1979.

In June 1981, David, 22, was last seen riding her bicycle from Moscow to Lewiston. Her remains were found dismembered in the Snake River days later, and no killer has been found.

And in September 1982, Nelson, 21, Miller, 18, and Pearsall, 35, disappeared from the Lewiston Civic Theatre.

Nelson and Miller's bodies turned up two years later at the bottom of a hillside near Kendrick. Pearsall has never been found, but police suspect him to be a victim in the case.

Witness memories fade over time, and family member addresses spiderweb across the country. Some interviews are now conducted by phone, Johnson said.

Decades-old cases often don't get the resources of a full-time detective, and often take years to work through.

That is why former Lewiston Police Chief Jack Baldwin made contact with a group of retired detectives in 1997. Then living in northern Idaho's Kootenai County, the retired Los Angeles-area officers had formed a group to aid peace officers in their investigations.

Officers Without Legal Standing, as the group is called, looked over the Civic Theatre murders and White's disappearance. It was the only such instance Johnson can remember his department sharing an investigation with an outside agency.

Tom Johnston, a retired lieutenant from Los Angeles County, was the lead on that investigation, Johnson said.

"In his opinion, the investigations were looking at the right individual," Johnson said. That individual is the "person of interest" in both cases, and the case of David, he said.

That person of interest has never been named publicly, Johnson said. While not officially classifying the man as a suspect, Johnson said there were inconsistencies in his statements to investigators.

"That is why he has never been removed as a person of interest in our case," Johnson said. "He was also one of the last individuals to be seen with Christina White." He was later one of the last to be seen at the Civic Theatre before Nelson, Miller and Pearsall disappeared.

David's case was eventually taken over by the FBI, Johnson said, primarily because of the jurisdictional issues regarding her disappearance and subsequent discovery.

Follow-up interviews suggested by the law enforcement group led to the use of cadaver dogs, and excavation of separate sites in Asotin and Clarkston. The city contracted with a geophysics expert to conduct ground-penetrating radar at a few locations.

"There was never any physical evidence recovered at any of the sites," Johnson said.

Their efforts left the murder investigation open for eight years. Investigative efforts continued intermittently until 2007.

The cases were reopened without much fanfare - the same as many investigations throughout the region. Unsolved cases are periodically reviewed by the region's detectives in an effort to find any potential information.

Idaho County sheriff's Capt. Skott Mealer brought in the help of the state police, FBI and even psychics in efforts to help detectives solve the murders of Lynn and C. Bruce Peeples. The Grangeville couple was found strangled in their burned home on April 1, 1994.

Mealer said he's still collecting pieces of a puzzle that could one day lead to a resolution in the case.

"There are victims out there, and we have an obligation to do our job," Mealer said.

The Peeples homicide is routinely investigated, he said, as is the 1982 disappearance of 2-year-old Ricky Barnett, who was visiting his grandparents near Grangeville.

"Every time we have something new we check it," he said, noting calls do come in occasionally on both cases.

Sgt. Earl Aston also gets calls about missing persons. The Latah County Sheriff's Office detective is trying to find Gayla Schaper, a 27-year-old who was last seen feeding her horses on Lenville Road, southeast of Moscow, in June 1979. Clothing was later discovered in a nearby meadow, but Schaper has never been found.

Whenever an unidentified person is discovered that could match Schaper, a description is sent to the sheriff's office for review, he said.

"Generally it happens less and less frequently," Aston said. "It can go in spurts, you might get a few inquiries, or you might get a few pieces of information."

As time passes, the frequency of inquiries lessen. An inability to give closure to the families can also be difficult, Aston said.

"You try to think what it would be like for you if you were in their shoes," Aston said. "I think it would be extremely difficult. Hopefully it gets dulled by time, but I don't know."

In Pullman, Police Chief Ted Weatherly said the investigation of a 2004 serial rapist has run cold. Police have collected DNA from three suspected rapes in the city, and a warrant has been issued using the DNA signature absent a name. A suspect has not been identified, but may if the DNA ever gets a hit on national databases.

While DNA has proved a useful tool for today's homicide investigations, it might have to be ruled out in cases opened at a time when detectives never thought of collecting such evidence.

Prior to DNA's commonplace role in investigations, many detectives didn't seek it out as evidence that would be material to their case. Some evidence has been destroyed over the years, Johnson said, while other DNA evidence was just never collected.

"At the time the evidence was processed, people didn't know about DNA, and you can't make up 15, 20 years later, and can't anticipate what to do 15, 20 years later," he said.

But departments do keep the evidence they have, Johnson said. Laws require police to maintain evidence in a murder until either the perpetrator has served his sentence, or dies.

Investigative reports into the Civic Theatre murders have swelled into three binders of reports and notes, each three inches thick. The David case consists of two such binders. Boxes of evidence from the crimes fill shelves in the department's basement.

"They are inactive," Johnson said, a labeling that allows a case to be reopened but in which no current leads are being explored. When new information does come in, it typically passes over Johnson's desk.

And new leads often aren't publicized, in part to keep family members from building anticipation in the event detectives come up empty handed. Detectives say they also don't want to ruin a criminal case, and note that same feeling of cracking a case often ebbs and flows among themselves.

"You get that anticipation or that feeling that something's going to happen, that's going to clobber this," Johnson said. "That doesn't happen, so it goes back to inactive status. It's disappointing, frustrating."

Still, investigations continue, but slowly. Johnson said those efforts will continue even after he leaves his office.

"If and when I leave, somebody will inherit these books," he said.

But he likes to think the murders will be solved before then.

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