Not all murders have an element of rage. If I killed for financial gain there is a possibility that is all the motive I would need. However, most murders have some dislike and even hatred at their core. Some stand out as motivated by intense anger. This is the case of a series of unsolved murders that exhibit clear hatred. Who killed these young men and felt the need to castrate them? To add to the burden of thought were there five murders or two?
There are five victims in this series by some accounts. The murders occurred between August 1980 and November 1986. There is little on the internet about this case. In some places only a possible two of the killings are linked. Elsewhere all five murders are linked by a .38 revolver.
The first body turned up in August 1980 ( I have seen 20th given) near to Casper, Wyoming. This man was about 27 years old. He had been shot multiple times. He has never been identified.
I looked for the case. I found nothing about a John Doe from that time. I am not saying it did not happen. I am saying that mentions of it are on fringe rather than mainstream articles and posts.
19th August 1981, Wayne Leigh Rifendifer, 30, was found in woods near Rauchtown in Pennsylvania. Apparently he had been hitchhiking from Bridgeport, Connecticut about 250 miles away. He had been castrated post mortem.
On 14th June 1982 a third victim was found in a mountain pass in Utah. Marty James Shook, 22, was another hitcher. His mutilated body was found by fishermen at a place called Daniels Pass. In this case a young blonde woman had been observed near the scene. She was never traced. Please note this gentleman is also called Snook in some places you can find. The name Shook is elsewhere mentioned . It is the name on his headstone.
In July 1983 another man was found castrated. Like the first murder this guy has never been identified. This time the body was discovered in Georgia.
The only John Doe still outstanding in Georgia that fits the year is an older man. Originally this was billed as a series of attacks on young men.
The final murder victim was found on 26th November 1986. Jack Franklin Andrews had a criminal past that went through several states from Oregon to Florida. His body was found near Lichfield, Connecticut. He had been castrated and he had also been dismembered.
I have seen a claim that ballistics links the murders. I do note that Jack Franklin was only identified by DNA which suggests that he was unidentified for quite sometime. Another scant detail is that the bodies of the victims were often found near major roads.
I looked at the case of Wayne Leigh Rifendifer who is the second victim. He came from Bridgeport Connecticut. That is only 38 miles away from Lichfield where Jack Franklin Andrews was found. There was a review of this case this year. It mentions that Mr Rifendifer and the third victim, Mr Shook, had been jointly looked into. Police said they had the same build, injuries and the same weapon was used.
This is where the internet can be a breeding ground for inaccuracy. Wikipedia links the first three murders with the last two. The problem is when I read the review by cops of the murder of Mr Rifendifer they only make mention of a link with Mr Shook.
I will work on this and if you come across it in the meantime I am sorry it is a bit confusing. Several references talk of five similar murders. The issue is the only time all five have been connected was when the FBI looked at links years ago. It does not appear that they connected them. Nor can I see any agency stating that the same .38 was used in all.
The fourth ‘victim’ was said to have been found in Georgia in July 1983. The only reference I can find to a John Doe from 1983 is from an appeal by Georgia Bureau of Investigation. He was much older than the other reported victims. He was in his 40s. The cops have not said how he died which might fit with the gruesome nature of the killings. This unnamed man was found near Cairo, GA near Highway 93.
There was a nasty killer operating and dismembering bodies in the 1990s. I have described the case below. He was looked at for the murder of Jack Andrews but only briefly. Andrews had been arrested for prostitution and the New York killer targeted gay men. He stabbed his victims to death and there is no mention of sexual mutilation.
At the time of writing I am inclined to think that Mr Rifendifer and Mr Shook were killed by the same killer. The other poor victims were murdered by others.
If you know more about these cases please set me straight. Meanwhile below is the case where they did convict.
Richard W Rogers
Linked into the possible series of sexual mutilation murders was mention of police departments being contacted about a male nurse called Richard W Rogers. One of those departments was Bridgeport.
Rogers was later convicted of the murder of two men though originally he was seriously considered for four crimes. All the cases were from the 1990s. The thing that drew me to Rogers was that originally he had been looked at for the last of the castration murders, Jack Andrews.
Certainly he used a method of disposal similar to that used to dispose of Andrews. Rogers was given a life sentence. Though he dismembered his victims, no specific mention was made of castration.
What does make Rogers worth a look is that he first came to the notice of the law in 1973. He killed a student called Fredric Spencer. This was in Maine while he was at Grad school. He gave an account of the incident where he said he was attacked with a hammer. He took the hammer off Spencer and killed him with it. Notably he then dumped the man’s body by a roadside. He was cleared of charges when it was held that he was acting in self defence.
Later Rogers attended a reunion at the same time as a man was murdered in similar circumstances to those he was later convicted of. This victim was found in the Lake Mary district of Florida and the case remains unsolved. It should be pointed out that the crimes he was convicted of all had a basis in NYC. New Jersey was used as a dumping ground, but cops felt that murders from further afield were unlikely to be those of Rogers. Rogers worked at a NYC hospital from the early 1980s.
I guess it cannot be overlooked that in the castration murders ( even if there were only two) the hunting ground was over a large geographical area. It was thought it likely the killer was a trucker etc. Rogers did kill in Maine, New York City and possibly Florida. That leaves the reality that despite living and working in NYC in the 1980s, like anyone, he could have taken various trips to various parts of the USA.