Chicago Serial Killer Brutally Murders 11 Women And Then Steals Their Shoes
On September 23, 1993, a construction inspector guarding an abandoned property on the South Side of Chicago made a shocking discovery. He tripped over the body of a woman on a loading ramp and called the police.
The victim was naked from the waist down and had abrasions and defensive wounds on the hands. Investigators were impressed by the fact that her brutally beaten face was covered with a cloth.
"We definitely made a note of that," said Anthony Flowers, Tactical Unit Officer of the Chicago Police, of "Mark of a Serial Killer," which aired on Oxygen.
Investigators also found that her shoes were missing while the rest of the victim's clothes were on the scene. The police suspected that she had been sexually assaulted. However, the coroner found no evidence of rape.
Using fingerprints, police identified the victim as Patricia Dunn, 37, who lived in Englewood. Her loved ones described her "Mark of a Serial Killer" as "elegant" and "a role model".
Police searched the area for clues but had no witnesses, DNA evidence or fingerprints of the attacker. The case went cold and hung in the balance for two and a half years.
Andre Crawford Moask 304
In the spring of 1995, children exploring an empty house a few blocks from the Dunn crime scene discovered the body of a woman. Like Dunn, the victim was naked below the waist and her face, which had been badly beaten, was covered. A string was wrapped around her neck. Her shoes were missing while her other clothes were in the room.
The "similarities were striking" with the Dunn case, said Chicago Police Department Det. Sergeant Frank Luera.
While the police were processing the scene, the body was sent to the medical examiner, who determined that the victim had been sexually assaulted. She was pregnant too. She was identified by fingerprints as Angela Shatteen, 36. Despite the fact that DNA had been extracted from her body, the case went cold.
Two years later, on Thanksgiving Day 1997, 42-year-old Claudia Robinson was walking in the same neighborhood and was forced into an abandoned building where she was raped and brutally beaten. The perpetrator threw a mattress over her body and took off her shoes. Robinson played dead - and survived.
The DNA found on Robinson matched the genetic material found on Shatteen. Investigators suspected that Robinson's attack and the 1995 murder were linked. Robinson described her attacker to the police as a black man who was about 6 feet tall.
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Robinson helped detectives create a composite sketch of their attacker, which they distributed around the neighborhood. Detectives worked hard, they told producers, to build relationships with locals, including street walkers, gang members, and others. They believed someone out there might have a clue.
Progress in this case was minimal for nine months. Then, on August 13, 1998, police found two women in two abandoned buildings one mile apart. Nicole Thompson, 32, and Evandre Harris, 44, had been beaten, their faces were covered and their shoes were nowhere to be found.
The DNA found on the two victims was consistent with the genetic evidence obtained by Robinson and Shatteen.
Police continued to paint the neighborhood, taking DNA swabs from men who volunteered to give a sample. They collected more than 500 DNA samples this way, but there was no match.
Over the next five months, police found two other victims, Cheryl Cross, 38 and Sheryl Johnson, 44. Like the other victims, they were discovered in abandoned buildings, their shoes were missing and the DNA on their bodies matched that found on the other women.
The FBI was implicated in the case when the number was six. The community was on high alert. And finally, the bond brokers forged with locals paid off, according to FBI special agent Michael Steinbach.
Two women gave a tip about a man named "Dre". He is known to have been violent in abandoned buildings with women. Another person told the police about a man named Andre who wanted to go high with sex workers in empty buildings.
Investigators found that their suspect was Andre Crawford, a local who was under arrest for drug and sexual assault. They also found that he occasionally worked on delivery trucks for the Chicago Sun-Times.
The police created a timeline of Crawford being locked up and a pattern was created. When he was behind bars, the murders stopped. When he wasn't there, they started again. According to investigators, that was an "aha moment".
Crawford was arrested on January 28, 2000. Although he initially refused to give a DNA sample, he agreed when authorities indicated they had a court order.
Crawford told police that he traded drugs for sex, according to "Mark of a Serial Killer". When women in any way betrayed him in this transaction, he became violent. He confessed to the murders for three days, including five murders that police had not yet linked to the case.
Crawford also admitted that he had sex with the women before and after they were dead.
Police said Crawford routinely sold sacrificial shoes that he picked up on an Englewood street corner, the Chicago Tribune reported in 2009.
Dr. John Fabian, a forensic neuropsychologist who investigated Crawford, found that his mother was negligent and abusive. She prostituted herself and her son when he was 14 years old.
"He wanted to let these women suffer because he wanted to do that to his mother," Fabian theorized. Covering victims' faces could indicate shame or regret.
In November 2009, more than 16 years after his first victim was found, Crawford was tried on 11 homicides and one attempted murder.
He was convicted in 2009 after nearly a month's trial in which his attorney argued that Crawford suffered sexual abuse and neglect in his childhood. The jury spared him the death penalty. He was sentenced to life imprisonment, where he died of liver cancer two days before he was 55 in March 2017.
To learn more about the case, watch Mark of a Serial Killer on Oxygen or stream episodes here.
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Patricia C. Dunn
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