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  • Mark Rein

Looking for Trouble: Cascades Killer

Welcome to Crime Raven; true crimes, real-life stories from law enforcement and issues crime fighters face. This blog highlights crimes researched by retired Detective Sergeant Mark Rein, using publicly available information, court records and personal recollections. Content may be graphic, disturbing, or violent. Listener discretion is advised. Suspects are considered innocent until found guilty in a court of law.


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Watcher

Watcher was a guy who liked his job. He worked the highway for the Oregon Department of Transportation. The road was like life itself. You never knew what was around the next bend. And when the unexpected arose, you had to be decisive to rely on yourself.

In that respect, Watcher felt a kinship to those he imagined were his pioneering ancestors. They were the people who had traversed these same mountains and survived raging river crossings, desert-dry summers, snowstorms, and apocalyptic wildfires. Things hadn't changed much. The stretch of Mountain Road where Watcher worked was the wild west, lawless, empty.


Sure, the occasional car passed swiftly through, but his road was never the journey's end. Desolation bounded on either side, mostly steep slopes, a few flat turnouts winding through River Valley and pass. It was a rugged wilderness sandwiched between the green, wet central valley to the west and the arid high desert to the east.


In his saga, Watcher was the hero. He spent his time, day and night, looking for trouble. Sometimes he found people. Their pilgrimage interrupted. They were in distress on the roadside. Sometimes he came across collisions or travelers who missed the curve.

Rescuing stranded travelers, helping them get their cars towed to get gas, whatever they needed. Watcher was there to help everybody and, in doing so, he was helping himself.


The girl is blonde, pretty, and just out of high school, so she's at a crossroads. It's really the first crossroads that everybody recognizes. What would her path in life be? She couldn't bear the thought of staying in the tiny, dusty town, living with her boring ass parents until she could squeeze her way into some boring ass job, maybe in some office somewhere, answering phones, maybe at the school. She imagined herself as one of those lunch ladies and shook her head. Etch a sketch style to erase the image. No, she had to get the fuck out of there, at least for a while.


Do something. See something before the rest of her life, solidified slowly around her, like wet concrete on a cold day. So, one day the girl kissed and hugged her mom and dad, lied about staying over at a friend's, picked up the pack that she dropped out of her bedroom window, and walked away. Eventually, her parents would find the note explaining what she planned to do.


She loved them. She didn't want to argue, didn't wanna see the fear and uncertainty in their eyes. In a few days, she would call. Maybe by then, she would be at her friend's place in Eugene, safe and Sound. She shed guilt with every step, and by the time she hit the highway and was lifting her thumb to passing cars headed west, she was beaming with excitement again.


The girl was lucky. A family headed south to Nevada was the first car that stopped for her. The dad smiled and nodded from behind the wheel when he pulled up. While the mother pretty maybe mid-thirties questioned her out of the window in an almost scolding tone, asking, "why was she out here all alone?" Telling her to get in while looking into the brush on the roadside, as if someone was gonna jump out of one of those scrubby bushes at any minute.


They made her feel at home piled in the back of a station wagon. Kids bounced around her, wrestling with each other, shooting her nonsensical questions. The mother turned sideways and, from the front seat, asked the girl questions. In between refereeing the kid mayhem swirling across both back seats. As the girl replied, the mother parroted the answers to the side of her husband's head.


It soon became clear that the mother thought the girl's plans were crazy. "The girl is headed to Eugene. Could they maybe drop her off in Eugene?" The husband chuckled to himself and said, "Hun, there is no way we can go all the way to Eugene and make it in time." They were going south to Nevada. Family thing.


Husband said, "I can take you as far as Bend, and then you gotta catch a ride west." The girl smiled, "Great, thanks." The mother, faced troubled, spent the next two hours alternately trying to manage the kid craziness while counseling the girl.


The girl was not as fortunate in her next couple of rides. First, a man mainly wanted to know if the girl had accepted Jesus Christ as her savior. She told him yes, but apparently not to his satisfaction.


Then a lady was nice enough. The problem with those rides was that they were locals and not going far. The girl stayed overnight at a thankfully cheap roadside motel. The fatigue overcame the excitement of the journey that first night, and she was asleep within a minute of her head hitting the musty pillow.


Mid-morning found the girl walking on the shoulder of us 20 in Oregon. The first ride had been fortunate. A man headed west on 20 took her out of the high desert, across the mountain passes and into the dense forest that blankets the west side of the cascades.

The driver, a man who reminded the girl of her dad one day, was too soon to be homesick, right? Turned out to be a college teacher. So, when the girl didn't know much about the scenery, he filled what might have been an awkward silence with an hour's worth of geological facts.


The professor dropped the girl off at a gas station at the turn where he went south and she continued west. There wasn't much traffic and the few cars that passed were headed east. It was a sunny day, a pleasant breeze on her face. The girl counted her blessings and enjoyed the new scenery.


First, she was thankful that so much of her walk was downhill. She could see a river running parallel to the road in the valley below. In the distance, farmland looked like a patchwork quilt visible through the gaps in the dense surrounding forest.


In the early afternoon, a truck driving east with an insignia on the door that read Oregon Department of Transportation pulled across the lanes of traffic and onto the shoulder behind the girl. The driver, a big bearded, bearish man, leaned out. He wanted to know if she was all right. She told him she was trying to catch a ride.


The man said that he had to go further up, but if he saw her when he came back, she could ride with him. He pointed in the direction she was walking. "There's a gas station a few miles on down."


Then she was walking again. The girl caught a ride from the gas station, a local lady who could only take her a couple of miles before she had to turn off, but she figured every mile was progress.


As the afternoon turned to evening, the girl continued to hike West. She knew there was a reservoir up ahead and beyond that, a town where she planned to stay the night if she couldn't catch a ride. In the late afternoon, clouds had rolled in, casting everything in a gray pall. The girl was worried that it would soon be very dark and worse might rain.


Just then, a truck pulled past, stopping on the shoulder in front of the girl. She ran up to the passenger door. The driver looked familiar, but it took her a second to realize it was the Oregon d o t guy that she talked to earlier. Only the truck was different. No insignia. The guy was the same. Bearish with a dark bushy beard. Looking through the open side window, she could see it was his personal truck.


He smiled at her. "I told you I'd give you a ride on my way back. You made it farther than I thought you would." The girl opened the door just as a light rain began to mist the windshield. "and just in time," he joked. The pickup's rear wheels slipping on gravel as it accelerated back into the westbound lane.


It filled Watcher with relief to spot the girl for the second time that day. It was getting dark, and he was about to give up. He smiled to himself. Such a pretty little girl. 'what was she thinking coming out here all alone?'


His life on the road was like that. He was often in the right place at the right time. There were lists of people who would swear that he had saved them in their time of need. For all those people that Watcher had helped, the road had repaid him. He could legitimately call himself the Guardian Angel of Highway 20. No one could blame him for the occasional indulgence. He only took a little off the top.


Sometimes he drove his own truck, which made him anonymous. But the state rig that put people at ease. They suspected nothing with the state rig. After all, he could be anywhere and still be just doing his job. What he loved was that it was just like hunting. Call it poaching of the very best kind. He knew his stretch of road, like the back of his hand, all the stopping spots, all the stalking spots.


He knew where he could get away from the road and not be interrupted. The times he had been interrupted, he was just out hunting. He had even admitted to poaching outta season once. Gotten a ticket. Yeah, that wasn't dear blood. Stupid assholes.


Watcher was always careful. He had passed on girls that were ripe for the taking. After a little conversation, he could tell who would be missed, the ones who would bring the heat. He wanted the unaccountable girls, the ones who gave off that aroma of being strays, like

that drunk Indian bitch.


Nothing says stray like a young, drunk Indian bitch. After he fucked her, he wanted more. He decided to let her live so he could have more, but she had betrayed his trust. No matter. The cops hadn't bought her bullshit, anyway. This one, she felt like a stray.


The girl relaxed into the old truck seat. After walking as long as she had today, it felt great.

The guy asked her a couple of the common questions. Where is she from? Where is she going? She's honest with him because why not? The guy was quiet for a few minutes. They passed the reservoir as the darkness outside enveloped. For a few minutes, there was light again as they went through the small town. Then they were back in the dark. The only illumination was two yellow headlight beams cutting through the misting rain and a weak green glow from the dashboard. The girl was almost asleep when she felt the truck slow, then turned left.


She raised her head but could only see a dirt road and an opening in the trees. The sound of the tires changed as the truck left the pavement and rocked slowly as it moved through uneven, wet dirt. The girl asked where they were going. The guy said something about taking a leak, but there was something new in his voice.


Fully awake now, the girl sat up and turned toward the driver. The guy stared back at her. His eyes were wide. She could see his teeth. He was breathing heavily. He was excited. He stopped the truck and reached down between his legs. It took the girl a second to realize that the guy had a hunting knife in his hand. He's holding it up. It had a green hue like everything else, but the blade flashed metallic. The girl reached down, desperate to escape. She realized there was no handle. No release. She screamed. Loud.


He held the blade up and threw gritted teeth hissed, "Do that again and I'll gut you bitch." The knife moved down. He pulled up her shirt and pressed the sharp cold metal against the skin of her soft belly. She submitted. He began cutting and ripping at her clothes. It's his ritual.


Suddenly, he opened the door and backed out, dragging the girl with him onto the damp ground. He cut and ripped at the fabric, a show of strength, of domination. He stripped off all of her clothes and groped her with rough hands. He's fat. Breath wreaking of food and coffee and beer. His beard rubs against her body as he violates her.


Investigation

In December 1978, investigators from the Oregon State Police responded to a report of a woman who'd gone missing at Camp Sherman, a remote recreational site in central Oregon on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Range. The area boasts scenic, rugged geography in an alpine setting and is popular for hunting, fishing, boating, photography, and trail hiking.

35-year-old Kaye Jean Turner and her husband had been spending the holidays at the camp with a group of friends. All had driven up from Eugene.


Just after 8:00 AM on Christmas Eve morning. Kaye, who was an avid jogger, set off on an eight-mile run that should have taken less than an hour. Her preferred running circuit followed camp roads that led out near US Highway 20.


Despite it being the end of December, the air temperatures were unseasonably warm, mid-fifties, and made for comfortable running. Kaye was wearing a blue sweatshirt, yellow shorts, and Adidas shoes. Kaye's husband Noel became increasingly concerned when his wife had not returned by 10:00 AM. He drove all the camp roads and, finding no trace, called the police around 2:00 PM.


The first agency to respond was the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. After a brief consultation, they called out search and rescue personnel. Those teams brought in assets, including volunteers, dog teams, and aircraft. The only thing they found by the time the sun set that day were suspicious tracks in the snow on the side of the road. The prints were a tangle of two distinct sets of shoe impressions. One was large, probably a man's boot. The other was a small Adidas running shoe.


The ground search continued on day two. As detectives from Oregon State Police join the effort. As a matter of routine, they began victimology, examining Kaye's life for risk factors and scrutinizing the people around her.


They discovered Kaye was having affairs with two men back home in Eugene. This led to obvious questions. Were they involved in her disappearance? Could this be a motive for her husband? Investigators quickly discounted the boyfriends, and significantly they did not cast suspicion back on Kaye's husband. Although Noel Turner could never be completely ruled out, the police found no evidence that he was involved in his wife's disappearance.


With the ground search and initial investigation underway, the community gave police their second suspect. Several locals pushed police towards a guy named John Ackroyd, a man who lived in the area. He wasn't well liked, and rumors swirled around him. Many people characterized him as weird, creepy, and often hostile.


He worked for the state DOT as a mechanic and road safety monitor, which meant Ackroyd spent long hours driving up and down a stretch of remote Oregon highway looking for trouble.


As police officers combed the small community, an informant tipped them off. Ackroyd was talking about seeing Kaye Turner while she was jogging on Christmas Eve. It didn't take the police long to find Ackroyd, who was fairly unremarkable. Six feet tall, medium, build dark hair and glasses.


When questioned, Ackroyd told the police that he worked as usual overnight shift that Christmas Eve morning while driving towards one of his favorite hunting areas. He saw Kaye Turner jogging. Ackroyd pulled over and spoke with her, briefly explaining that he thought he'd hit a dog in the area and asked Kaye if she'd seen anything.


Ackroyd denied that there was any more to the contact, but his admission made him the last known person to see the missing woman. This placed him firmly on the top of the suspect list until his friend and coworker, Roger Beck, gave Ackroyd an alibi.


Beck said that he and his friend had been together in the area illegally hunting deer. This assertion was corroborated by Beck's wife. The admission against self-interest. In mentioning the poaching and the alibi witness deflected the investigation away from Ackroyd as fast as it had focused.


The ground search rambled on for five days without success before they canceled it.

Seven months after Kaye Turner's disappearance, On August 12th, Ackroyd walked into a local store. He told people he had found Kaye Turner's remains in the woods while walking his dog. When police arrived, Ackroyd led them to his find, and they confirmed that the remains, although in an advanced state of decomposition, appeared to be human.


Investigators found the fact that the last person to see Kaye Turner was the same person who happened to find her remains months later, highly suspicious. In the interview, they asked Ackroyd to describe how he knew the remains were those of Kaye Turner. Ackroyd's description of the body site confused the investigators.


The area they were looking at was fairly nondescript. In the time Kaye's body lay in the densely wooded hillside, it had been completely reduced. The bones were weathered. There was no flesh. Debris partially buried what was left of her clothing on the forest floor.

Yet Ackroyd described Kaye Turner's yellow shorts and the reek of decomposing flesh as if the body were still fresh. Police and volunteers conducted a series of increasingly detailed area searches, ultimately recovering major bones, a shoe, clothing items, and a wristwatch.


In the days following the recovery, the medical examiner confirmed the bones were Kaye Turner. He could compare her dental records to a lower jawbone found at the scene. Kaye Turner's skull would be found a year later by another hunter. It had been carried almost a mile away from the other remains.


Ackroyd's submitted to follow-up interviews and polygraph examination. Under pressure, he changed his story by saying that he'd actually found Kaye's body in the snow in February. He gave details about her decomposing body, that her throat had been cut. She had a bullet wound to the chest and animals had consumed part of her, including her eyes. Ackroyd told investigators he was nervous after the February discovery, that they would suspect him in her death, so he didn't say anything. He could not explain why he chose August 12th to

change his mind.


Perhaps Ackroyd came forward so that he could claim the Find Kaye Turner reward fund. The administrator of the fund refused to pay him because they had not ruled him out as a suspect.


The Kaye Turner missing person turned murder case spent a decade like this, brief flurries of activity and long periods of dormancy as interest waxed and waned, and investigators came and went.


July 10, 1990, was the day that a 13-year-old girl named Rashonda Pickle disappeared. Rashonda lived with her mother, Linda, her brother Byron, and a stepfather in Santiam Junction, barely a wide spot in the road where US Highway 20 and Oregon Route 22 meet.


On the day her mother reported Rashonda missing, she was described as four foot seven, 90 pounds with brown hair, wearing black pants, a white T-shirt, sneakers, and silver stud earrings. When police began interviewing about the girl, they discovered that there were problems inside the family. While the stepfather outwardly presented a calm, competent demeanor, those closest to him saw beyond the facade. Inside the home, he was a brutal dictator, severely beating Linda and her children regularly. Rashonda's brother Byron described the man's rages as sudden, unexpected, and volcanic.


Friends said that they regularly saw bruises on both kids. Some of Rashonda's closest confidants went further. They said the girl never wanted to go home. She would often bring a change of clothes to school and beg friends to let her stay with them. The reason was simple. Rashanda was trying to stay away from a stepfather who was sexually abusing her. That same stepfather was the last person to see Rachonda. His name was Ackroyd.


Investigators interviewed Ackroyd several times at Key points in the search and investigation. He didn't have much to say and denied knowledge of what happened to Rashonda. He told them that on the day she disappeared; he spent the entire day driving around, taking pictures and scouting hunting locations.


The only alibi he could offer is that several of his highway department coworkers saw him while he was out. The coworkers later confirmed seeing Ackroyd driving around with a camera that day. But Ackroyd's appearance was weird. They said it felt like he was going out of his way to be seen and waving the camera around like a prop.


When the police talked to Rashonda's biological father, who lived in a nearby city, he told them he had recently talked to Linda, his ex-wife, about Ackroyd abusing his children. Byron had filled him in on some things happening at the home in Santiam Junction. Although Linda denied any abuse was happening, the ex threatened the report Ackroyd to the cops. Rashonda disappeared the next day.


The investigators confronted Ackroyd with this new information. He denied everything but made some unusual comments as the interrogation progressed. When asked, Ackroyd speculated that someone passing on Highway 20 took her against her will. At this time, Ackroyd was six feet tall, heavyset, almost bearlike in stature, with a dense scraggy beard that complimented that overall impression. He said 87 pounds is nothing for a guy like my size to carry. He also theorized that the kidnapper had a knife, and that Rashonda was the kind of girl who could be intimidated.


The Sheriff's Office started a labor-intensive search as the facts became widely known and Ackroyd's link to Kaye Turner's murder hit the local media. The district attorney set up a task force. Their mission: justice for Rashonda Pickle and Kaye Turner.


To this end, detectives spent almost two years working Rashonda Pickle's disappearance, while reviving the Kaye Turner case. Progress was slow, but persistence was rewarded with breakthroughs. Ackroyd's alibi, witness and friend from Beck in 1978, Beck was no longer married.


When the detectives re-interviewed his ex-wife, she told them that she lied. When she supported Beck's Alibi. At the time, she was afraid the men would hurt her. The woman told police that not only were the two men unaccounted for after Turner's disappearance; she had heard the men talking about shooting her.


The results of a forensic reexamination of Kaye Turner evidence allowed the prosecution to

assert confidently that Kaye Turner had been kidnapped, raped, beaten, stabbed, and shot. Oregon media outlets took notice of the task force activities as they churned through old police reports on crimes that had occurred over the last two decades along the Highway 20 corridor.


There were numerous unsolved missing person reports over the years, along with several bodies, mostly young women discovered in dump sites adjacent to the roadway. The problem was that most of the remains by the time of discovery were almost impossible to identify, with cause of death, difficult to pinpoint beyond simply likely homicide.


While canvassing old crime reports from towns in the Highway 20 corridor, a sexual assault caught the investigator's attention. Ackroyd was the named suspect. Although the rape was never charged, it gave the investigators a template, a kind of Rosetta Stone of Ackroyd's MO linking cases, and answering some questions about what he had been up to.


One evening in 1977, Marlene Gabrielsson left the sister's rodeo and began hitchhiking home. The route was isolated, leading up into heavily forested mountainsides. A man she later identified as Ackroyd pulled over his truck and offered her a ride. At some point during the drive, Ackroyd turned off onto a logging road and pulled out a knife.


Marlene tried to flee, but there was no handle on the passenger side door.. Arod used the blade menacingly. He would wave the blade in front of Marlene's face and then slice away parts of her clothing. Suddenly, he dragged her out of the truck and pinned her to the ground as he raped her.


Marlene tried to look away, tried to imagine being somewhere else, but the assailant demanded she looked directly at him while he assaulted her body. When Ackroyd finished, Marlene was afraid for her life. She pled with him to take her home, promising not to tell. She told him that her mother was babysitting her child, and that she was expected to be back soon.


Finally, in response, Ackroyd drove Marlene the rest of the way. Dropping her off near her mother's house. Marlene told investigators in 1990 that she never washed herself after the rape. She made her mom drive her straight to the hospital, bringing the slashed clothing with her.


The 1990 investigators examined the 1978 ER doctor notes. The cuts to the clothing corresponded with lacerations on Marlene's body. They also noted that the cuts seemed almost ritualistic. The jeans were cut straight from the crotch to the hemline. The 1990 detectives.


After reviewing the old reports and talking to Marlene, believed she was lucky to have lived through the incident. The problem was the original investigator in 1977 clearly believed that Marlene was lying.


The initial interview with Marlene had devolved into an accusatory interrogation where minute details were scrutinized and her answers discounted. Conversely, when Ackroyd was interviewed, he admitted to giving Marlene a ride but insisted that she came onto him. He denied having sex and claimed to have no idea how her clothes got slashed.

His account went largely unchallenged. Task Force Detectives saw many similarities between the cases they examined and what Marlene had experienced. Clothing found in one of the Jane Doe found body scenes were slashed in a fashion similar to Marlene's.


As the task force was finalizing its first case, tragedy struck again.

In May 1992, 2 girls from the town of Sweet Home, Sheila Swanson, 19 years old, and Melissa Sanders, 17 years old, disappeared while hitchhiking on Highway 20. Both girls' skeletal remains were found together at a remote dump site near the town of Chitwood. In October 1992. Between the time Sheila Swanson and Melissa Sanders went missing, and when their bodies were recovered, the task force had charged and arrested Ackroyd for Kaye Turner's murder.


There were many compelling aspects of the Sheila Swanson and Melissa Sanders' case that led the investigators to believe that Ackroyd was responsible. Timing. The girls were hitchhiking along Highway 20 at the same time Ackroyd was driving in the area.

A witness. A woman in a passing vehicle claimed to have seen an Oregon DOT-marked

pickup truck, picking up two girls in the area.


Coworker suspicion. Around the time the girls disappeared, two DOT shop workers on overtime unexpectedly encountered Akroyd, who came in late one night, probably expecting no one would be there. The coworkers said his hands and arms were covered in blood. He claimed to have hit a deer, but neither man believed him and Ackroyd knew the girls, although he denied it.


Ackroyd was living in the town of Sweet Home at the time the two girls disappeared. He frequented a popular local teen hangout. Because of his age. The kids there called him the perv. Some kids said that Swanson and Sanders both had spoken to the perv.

Ackroyd and Beck, both 42, were arrested on June 12th, 1992, for the rape and murder of Kaye Turner.


The following year, they tried both men in front of separate juries. In the trials, Beck's ex-wife testified about covering their alibi and helping with cleanup, which included burning their clothing.


The forensic work on Kaye's clothes and bones revealed the truth about her death. Her clothing had been cut off, not torn. Her bones bore marks where she had been stabbed. Metal fragments were embedded in the bones, showing that they'd also shot her. This evidence corresponded with guesses Ackroyd had made at the time that he claimed to have discovered the body. It turned out that Marlene Gabrielsson was not the only woman to have survived a brush with Ackroyd.


Investigators found another woman who worked as a waitress at Black Butte Lodge. She testified one day, as she was riding her bicycle home from work, Ackroyd stopped on the roadside in front of her pointing a gun. He tried to make her stop, but she was able to elude him.


At the conclusion of the murder trials, both men were found guilty on all charges and given life sentences. Several years later, Ackroyd pled no contest to a charge of murder, for his stepdaughter, Rashonda Pickle. This plea eliminated any possibility that he could ever be granted parole. Despite the plea, he refused to disclose the location of Shonda's body.


Akroyd died of natural causes on December 30, 2016, while incarcerated at Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem. He was 67 at the time of his death. Investigators from the Lincoln County District Attorney's Office were preparing to charge him for the murders of Sheila Swanson and Melissa Sanders.


Discussion

Marcy: Transitioning to the discussion, this is really a set of cases over a very long timeline. Let's start by talking about Kaye Turner. They were in a pretty remote area when this happened. What does the response look like?

Mark: As a responding officer, you're sent to a missing person, and this is a pretty common call. Wherever you are. I think you go and you start talking to the complainants and ask the initial questions. Who's missing? How long have they been missing? What's the situation?

What's already been done? Where have you looked? And try to basically get a general feel of that situation.

A search for a person, especially one that's urgent, is a considerable deployment of resources. Basically, to have a major situation like this where everybody's gonna be called out, you have to.

The original responding officer has had pretty high confidence that the situation's real, the person that's missing is in danger, and that that kind of deployment will likely find this person. And the whole time you're really hoping that the person's going to, and honestly you're hoping the person shows up, the first thing that's gonna be done is, who is the person likely to be with their friends? And we contact all those people and run through that list of where is the person likely to be, let's check all those places first, like if you go for to a house where there's a kid missing, the first thing you're going to wanna check is the officers are gonna ask to thoroughly check the home. Now, if you have people that are like you're not checking our home.

Wait a minute, your kid's missing. We need to check your home; we wanna check that off because if we begin a huge overland search here or an ever-widening search for a truly missing kid; we need to say we checked off A to B first place, always the house.

And likewise, here, we're gonna make sure that all the likely places are checked. Where Kaye Turner was likely to be where she could have stopped off, does she have any friends in the area? Where does she like to go in the area? Is there a place she might go find a park bench and look at her favorite mountain?

And obviously, here the Sheriff's Department assessed that, yes it's a situation that needs to have resources brought out on. And they called out their search team volunteers. They had some Boy Scout groups in the area and those search teams brought out other resources like aviation and tracking dogs.

Any major missing person is gonna follow two tracks. You're gonna have the ground track which is searching the areas I just described. And then you're also gonna have the investigative portion. You're gonna take all the people aside and you're gonna interview them and see what they really think separately from one another.

Because these friends that went up with Kaye Turner into the mountains, some of them knew some things about her that maybe the husband didn't know.

The other thing you would wanna know is what do the friends there have to say about the relationship between Noel, the husband and Kaye Turner, leading up to the event? Did it seem like they were happy? Were there any fights? Did they hear any arguments? This kind of thing. And those interviews will inform where you're gonna search,

Marcy: This morning you were talking about a recent Anchorage case. How does that relate here?

Mark: Yeah, I keep track of what's going on in, back in my old city and about. At the time of this recording, almost a week prior, there's a 21-year-old female that was missing. And what I noticed about the missing personal report was that the report was coming from a family that was, I think they might have been visiting South Africa or she had some family in South Africa.

And my, the first thing I thought was, why was there not a local appeal? Does she have no family in Anchorage? Now some people are military. They may not have any family in Anchorage, but why wasn't there somebody local announcing this calling for her search?

My first question there when I thought when I saw that, I was like, does she not have a boyfriend or a husband here in town? What's up with that? The reason I thought that is if you listen to our episode on Susan Bailey, a DV situation, the same thing. The husband who lived in town was not eager to report this thing.

It turned out he had killed his wife. And even though he should be the first reporter to the police, the people I went to, to talk to about her being missing, were her coworkers. Likewise, I didn't know anything about the missing lady in Anchorage. But my first thought was I wonder if she's got a husband or her boyfriend in town.

There was a lot of media on this missing person and searching for her. And it turned out five days later, her body was found near where she and her husband significantly lived. It turned out that on the weekend prior; the husband had shot her in the middle of the night and hid the body in the woods nearby.

Here's a situation where an overland search, if you don't have a specific location, would be difficult to search. Although eventually they probably would've found her because she wasn't far from her house. But here, the investigators directed the search that ultimately turned up her body.

Marcy: You've been involved in searches where the family was not immediately excluded, but then it turned out the family wasn't involved. How does that sort of thing get sorted out?

Mark: Yeah. Especially with kids, it's hard to know. I helped in the ground search for a couple of missing kids a long time ago.

It wasn't clear that the parent wasn't a suspect. Some of those situations are ambiguous. There's some suspicious background issues here. So one of the detectives had the unenviable task of pressing the parent, and they pressed the parent hard.

And it later turned out the kids were deceased. And the parent wasn't directly involved. This missing kids thing lasted for a few weeks. And, I talked to one of the detectives that was, An interviewer there.

And I can tell you that finding out that the parent that he had interrogated confronted actually didn't have anything to do with it. He felt like shit, but it had to be done. We had to find those kids; we had to figure out if they knew anything.

In this case with the K turned, you'd locked the husband down to a timeline going in and you'd see if they had any arguments.

What did the husband say about the stability? Did he know about the boyfriends? And in those interviews, you'd see what reaction you got. A lot of times they're not gonna be honest and there's gonna be clues to that. And like I said, you'd talk to the friends and see if they did they see Kaye leave?

Did they know she went running? Or is that just what the husband said? And in general, what was the whole situation in the days prior?

Marcy:Do you think that the husband knew about the boyfriends? Do you think one of the friends knew and told investigators? How did that come up?

Mark: I actually don't know who spilled the beans on that, or if he knew, or who knows. But it was something they investigated. In that case, say this came up in a case I was working at, track down the boyfriend, see if they knew anything, and significantly, what did those guys say about the husband?

Did the husband say that she's, seeing them because he's a tyrant and beats her, what's he saying? Or does he not know? Is he clueless? I imagine that based on the cases I'm involved in, the detectives pretty early had a theory about how that was gonna go. Just like on the case I talked about in Anchorage last week, I would bet those detectives had some idea pretty quick after touching base with that husband.

Maybe the neighbors, because she was shot in an apartment, they had a pretty good idea that things weren't right inside the house. What was their relationship like? And I think in this case with Kaye Turner, they would've had a pretty good idea that this doesn't smell like something that went bad suddenly, and she just disappeared.

And as far as Kaye Turner goes, you might say, is it the kind of thing where she would just up and leave her husband? It probably didn't feel like that either. Because why would she go away on a trip, a Christmas trip with her friends and her husband, and just step out on them?

It just, it doesn't seem right.

Marcy: In the middle of nowhere.

Mark: Right in the middle of nowhere. And verses, the week prior, she leaves him or something. And like I said, in other cases I've seen and are familiar with husbands that just did in their wives or did something. Their wives often aren't in a hurry to make that report.

They want to delay it. They want to delay that confrontation with the cops. It's inevitably coming.

Marcy: This certainly served as a red herring for a while with the investigators.

Mark: Yeah, the boyfriends. Yeah. The good thing is, like I said, with the two tracks, they were able to area search, which unfortunately the area search wasn't successful.

They had the manpower to actually work the investigation too. So I think they pretty much discounted the boyfriends that red herring. And were able to move towards a real suspect

Marcy: setting plays a really huge role in this whole story.

Mark: Oh yeah. And I'm familiar with searches in very large areas, densely wooded, rugged, relatively sparsely populated.

It's funny when I think of that. It's like that movie Alien where no in place areas where no one can hear you scream anywhere where these places where any help is gonna be a long time in coming. Ironically, Ackroyd's job was that guy to come and help.

The thing about the setting in this situation was Ackroyd was a predator in his own territory. He's been traveling it for years. He's familiar with the whole area and he legitimately had a reason to be where he was committing crimes. So his presence is never suspicious.

Marcy: And when they really scrutinized him, he had this believable fallback excuse of, I'm just hunting, or I'm poaching, or I'm running over wild animals.

Mark: Yeah. And he wasn't a dumb guy. He told investigators who's poaching, and that's what's known as a, an admission against self-interest. And it is one of the indicators that he might be telling the truth.

It's an effort to appear that he's just an honest guy, caught making a small mistake when he doesn't really wanna admit to the big thing. So it's the perfect environment, and it's coupled with poor oversight and supervision on that highway job. It's perfect for him to do what he wants to do live out his fantasies.

As far as his preferred victims went, he obviously he wasn't picking up every woman he saw. He was selecting those that were vulnerable. And he had control enough to bide his time and wait for somebody. That's right. And as far as the body dump science he could, he picked places where he knew only a few people frequented, not on popular hiking areas.

, it makes me think of if you watch the show Yellowstone. They have a thing called Moonlight Train, where the people on the ranch that are supposedly good guys, although this is a bad thing. When they want to bump off somebody when they wanna kill somebody and eliminate them they call it, they were taking 'em on the Moonlight train and they drive 'em out to a Clifftop and they shoot 'em and toss 'em off the cliff, and they can do this time after time because they know nobody's gonna go in the rugged cliffside area that they're doing that on.

And that's what makes me think here is this guy knew all those places. And the other thing that the other thought that brought to me was he pled to Rashonda. And it made me wonder why he didn't just give up where her body was located. It made me wonder if he had his own Moonlight train location where, if he gave up Rashonda, there'd be other people there.

Marcy: Presumably he'd been killing for years by then. Do you think he would've developed a special spot to dump bodies rather than spreading them around that region?

Mark: I know investigators are fairly certain that some of those women that were found at dump sites are his.

I don't know, but I think it's possible, and I think that may be a reason why he wouldn't want to give up Rhonda's location is because there were other ones that he liked that spot. That's what I think.

Marcy: There were several initial searches for K. What were the problems with those overland searches?

Mark: Yeah. When the investigators in later years looked at the original search, what they saw was there, some of the areas where they searched were too broad, too big. And I think the investigator is right. A victim is unlikely to turn up miles off a roadway or path without any kind of means of getting there easily.

And most dump bodies are found near the road, not five miles back. And same with corresponding articles of evidence. If you listen to our episode on the Bethany Carrera case, that's a good example. The suspects there drove her body away from the urban area of Anchorage out into the wilderness.

And then when they got to where they thought they were safe, they drove basically across a gravel parking lot. And they couldn't dig a grave due to the ground conditions. So they threw her body down in embankment, but she still turned out to be very close to the road.

Marcy: Yeah, but the drive between Anchorage and Fairbanks is seven hours of wilderness.

She could have been on the edge of the road and you still would've had trouble finding

Mark: her. Yeah. That was the problem that they had to have some somebody point. And that's the problem they had with all the murders that we profiled here.

Lots of densely wooded area, lots of roadside turnouts to scour. And it's much too big an area. Just to randomly search

Marcy: while we're on the subject of Bethany Carrera, the investigation at the dump site had some commonalities with Kaye Turner because her skull was found a year after the rest of her body, about three-quarters of a mile away.

Very similarly.

Mark: I thought of that when I heard, when I looked at this case, both sets of remains were scattered by animals as they decomposed in the Bethany career case. Her remains were spread by animals, downhill across a meadow in case's case. And this may be in the place that she was found. It wasn't super rugged in case.

And in her intact skull was found. It's a pretty large item to be carried almost a mile. But it was probably decomposed enough to easily separate, and it did separate from the jaw because they found that at the original site, and it separate from spine and any tissues left, which meant it'd be lighter than an intact head.

So what you'd expect is remains would travel more easily downhill. This is a rugged area. But you're still probably talking about a d a dog or coyote versus a small rodent.

Marcy: Back to the huge search area. What do you do with that kind of an area?

Mark: Yeah. You take a look at what resources you have. You try and figure out the highest areas of probability of discovery. Maybe you look at places where the victim or suspect like to spend time. If you have that information, you try to think like the victim or like the suspect, and you search for places that seem right for the situation.

You use resources like aircraft, canine to augment your effort. Basically you do the best you can with what you have and you have to accept it even after a search is complete. It doesn't mean that the target wasn't right there and that you just missed it.

Marcy: You did say you were surprised that they used Boy Scouts in the search for Kaye's body.

Mark: Yeah. My immediate reaction was, I was surprised that you're gonna bring, basically what are young some, sometimes young kids. But I guess I was spoiled living in the city. There were some fairly strict requirements on who could be a part of the civilian team.

They need background checks, but I guess in a very rural environment, you can't be selective. I feel very fortunate that I never had to be part of a search that was so large that we were calling for, just any volunteer.

Marcy: You did coordinate overland searches that were strictly police?

Mark: Yeah. The Kincaid Park searches that we're looking for, the episode we had with Mindy Schloss. She was killed by serial killer Joshua Wade. That was just Anchorage Police, FBI and any other federal agents who they could scrape up. I ran the line searches for that.

Marcy: why would you keep it just police versus adding civilians or boy scouts?

Mark: Even some investigations are sensitive with Mindy Schloss case. The homicide team wanted to keep that information tight and have the fewer leaks, the better. So they saw to keep it as sworn personnel or only, I'm not trying to say by any means that civilian team members are unreliable.

They're great and they're essential. But in that case, particularly sensitive, we're trying to keep the identity of the, by that time, the name Josh Wade. What it was explosive. He had gotten away with it, pretty much everybody knew he got away with it before, and for him to turn up in this high-profile missing nurse case would've been explosive.

We're trying to keep that noise down as long as we could.

Now my concern with Boy Scouts searching is the effect that, if you find things that could have on a child, some of my adult searchers talked about some of the depression and being upset by finding some of these things.

So I'd be worried about kids, especially with fresh body parts. Like I said, even adults can have trouble with experience. But again, if your choice is searching with kids or not searching at all, I'll take the kids.

Marcy: You mentioned that cases sometimes need shepherding or they risk being forgotten.

Mark: Yeah. If you listen to Susan Bailey, that murder is a good example. And there's some other ones that I can think of where they're not easy to solve. In Susan Bailey, we, everybody, knew what happened and who did it. The case needed somebody to be an advocate, to shepherd it, to push it through the end zone.

And it gets stale. These cases get cold, grow cold, and get stale on that. I was the initial responding officer. But I cared about it enough. I knew she was dead right away. I cared about the case. I checked back in homicide with it regularly, and it got passed between detectives because people are coming in and out.

But I was thrilled when the detective who eventually ran with it cared about it as much as I did. On the other hand, some cases have to ripen. Witnesses can come forward after years of living with guilt or the horrible knowledge of what happened. Or, kids grow up and they can say, Okay, now I'm gonna talk about it.

For but for most cases, time does not make 'em better. They don't get better with age like wine. One of the problems with the detectives is sometimes not taking action is easier than grinding out a tough case both for the investigator and a prosecutor.

Marcy: Now that sounds a little like you're trying to say investigators might be lazy.

Mark: No, I'm not. I absolutely don't wanna give that impression. Quite the contrary. But keep in mind that investigator units are never over-staffed and over budgeted. There's always a new case coming in to distract you from that pile of shit you already have.

Marcy: It seems like the Marlene Gabrielsson case that initial rape was forgotten until much, much later, maybe even till after Rashonda Pickle's disappearance.

Mark: Yeah, I think that's true. I think that the reason that people, that investigators and later the press started looking back was that you had this Kaye Turner, he's the main suspect. Like I said, on the, on some other things, you just know that's the people involved in that just know he's the guy.

We just can't prove it. And here you have. A young girl, she's missing. He's the guy we pretty much know. He is the guy after looking into it a little while. Now we're gonna pull out all the stops 'cause this guy, we're not, we gotta stop this guy. And the thing about the Marlon Gabrielson case is that it was a historical case.

It's thought of to be as he, it's his first, it's Ackroyd's first known rape case. And back then there wasn't a database. Case relations were not easily searched. And that's changed quite a bit.

Now I could go to the computer and find cases, all the contacts, all the associates that dating back decades. And the ability to do that is only getting better. Despite people's fear of big brothers watching. I think that's a great thing. And I know I've benefited greatly from my career from that particular technological process.

Marcy: Okay. But the police were downright unresponsive to Marlene Gabrielson's initial report of being raped.

Mark: Yes, they were. And it was significant in the later case, only as historical case because it pretty much showed what he what he liked to do, what he did and from, and they had the ability to talk to her first person and get the story.

So we want, we wanna talk about why it wasn't worked. So first of all, I think it should have been worked. I think it; I think looking at the, at that specific case, I think there was plenty to go on. And let me explain that when the decision process for charging a complaint of sexual assault, what the investigator has to prove or has to secure evidence for is consent, right? So we have to prove that non-consensual sex happened, and that there was no consent. That's the investigative burden. I'm trying to look at that case and figure out what would make the investigator skeptical, right?

You have so much evidence there. The suspect talked to them and the victim talked to them and the victim told the story that he did this. And he cut her clothes up and you have he picks her up. He drives her to the place; he threatens her, holds a knife up, he cuts her clothes off and she convinced him to take her home.

And she gets out of the car and she goes right to her mother and says, this guy raped me. Take me to the hospital. I've got all this cut clothes evidence, and we drive over the hospital and the ER doc takes a look at her body and says, yes, those cuts that are consistent with where he cuts your clothing and also cut your body while he is doing that.

You'd have questions like of the mother. Hey, did you hear that truck drop her off? Because you can interview the mother on hearsay things because she's the first reporter or the first person that was reported to.

She would get to tell her observations, but she also to say what was said to her. And then you put all that together, and it makes sense. And now you talk to this other guy who picked her up and drove her somewhere and she came onto him. And then, at what point there she, he didn't see her cut, her clothing cut up.

So what a point did her cut, her clothing become cut up, like between the time she jumped outta the car and what would the motive be there? And so there's so much here in this case that's provable. I do not know why they did not take it seriously and go with it other than. There's a couple of reasons why I can, there's conjecture, but I can say these cases, consent in this case based on my experience, would not be really a problem unless you had something else, right?

Like you found out that the complainant had made all kinds of crazy things happen in the past that would cloud that at the same time you couldn't discount her statement. So you're looking for things that would add credibility to his defense or, that, 'cause that's what you do is you sort through this what you have as much as you can get and you weigh it and you weigh it with the prosecutor.

And can we overcome that consent? And in this case, it's pretty serious. She's got cut up clothing and stuff.

And having just met this guy, it's unlikely they were into some weird. Weird game with a knife thing that where she was, it was a consensual situation. So these are the things you'd look for. And I would say, based on what I know about this case, there's no reason to not move forward with Yeah. He lacked consent when he did what he did to her.

Marcy: And there's no evidence that they knew each other before this interaction. There was no prior association.

Mark: In a case like this, that's, that is a very big piece of evidence. What's the likelihood that all of these things are gonna happen like that? Like he's saying nothing. There's nothing wrong here.

She came onto me and all I did was take her home and look at what ha what she's got evidence wise, and you talk to those two people and you. And a lot of it has to do with who's we have to. Everything is overcoming consent, but some of that is whose story. It makes sense and whose story is off now that may not overcome that burden because sometimes content is very difficult to prove when you lack evidence like they have in this case.

But in this case, I can tell you if it came into my office and somebody worked, it would very likely be an immediate arrest.

Marcy: So Marlene Gabrielsson is Inupiat, Alaska Native, and she believes the reason that they completely discounted her complaint is because they thought of her as just a drunk Indian.

And I actually think she's right. And that the initial investigation was a completely racist response.

Mark: I can't say that you're wrong. And I can say that I think there's a that they should have arrested him for rape on this first case. Maybe not even his first case, but the one they got him on the first one they know about.

But I can't say. In my mind, I can't say whether it's because she's an Alaska native. They would've thought of as her as Indian. But being from Alaska and tell you that she's thinking of herself as Alaska native what, the reason I say that is because if you look at the cases we have covered that are historical cases, and from my experience you look back at some of the cases we've covered, where white women were the victims and so forth, and they've received responses that were consistent like this, like a complete lack of appropriate response from all races of female victims of sexual assault.

So part of that could have been just been. She was a woman in 1978. And no, I'm not about to say that's not. These things don't still happen, and they do.

Marcy: And both can be true, but do you think that the situation has improved much? We still have a problem with missing and murdered indigenous women across the United States and Canada.

Mark: As far as that goes the situation may not have improved much, but as far as the investigation, I think that in a lot of places, a lot of areas, I'm not saying across the board, there has been a lot of improvement. I think training, awareness, victim services have greatly improved in a lot of places.

And there's a huge effort to do that nationwide. But there's still a long way to go. Just a few days before this, we're making this recording. The US coast Guard Academy has a scandal where the top commander of that institution was caught covering up decades of sexual assault complaints that happened at the military academy.

Have we improved? I think we have. Are we where we need to be? Absolutely not.

Marcy: In the end, Marlene and Gabrielsson talked about going back to Alaska after she was raped so that she could feel safe.

Mark: Yeah. That part I, when she said that I thought, it's so ironic. Alaska, where I worked in the largest city in Alaska, has, and this is true of the whole state, has some of the highest per capita levels of sexual assault in the country.

And Alaska native females are disproportionately represented in that statistic.

Marcy: So a lot of work still to be done to make sure that indigenous women are protected appropriately.

Mark: Yes. And all women.

Marcy: Yes, and all women. Rand's mother does not believe that Ackroyd killed her daughter. In fact, she was entirely super defensive about the idea that there was any sort of abuse of her daughter or anybody in the family, or any problems at all with Ackroyd. And it so pisses me off when mothers fail to protect their children from shit like this.

Is she being selfish in pretending that everything was perfectly fine? Or what the hell is going on with

Mark: that woman? I think it's selfish in a self-defense kind of way, in a denial kind of way. It's the same reason that the woman who alibied her husband in Ackroyd knowing that they just killed a woman that the fact, that she would block investigation like that for years is pretty amazing.

And why, Rashonda's mother's protecting herself. She doesn't want to admit that she basically brought the guy in who murdered her daughter and allowed the abuse to happen. She's not gonna admit that to herself or anybody else.

The alibi witness there, she's living in a rural place. She's maybe dependent on financial support. I think they had kids. Where's she gonna go? What are they gonna do? How's she gonna get away from that guy that just helped murdered her murder, rape a woman?

Obviously, she knew what was going on, because it was big news in that area, right? This woman is missing. And then later she's raped and murdered and her husband and her husband's friend show up with blood and talk about shooting her. So she knew what was going on.

That aspect, people covering for other people, it's heartbreaking, but I think it's human nature and it's not surprising in a DV relationship that happens.

Marcy: So he moved on to killing two people at once with Sheila Swanson and Melissa Sanders. That seems super risky to try and control two people at the same time. Do you think his buddy was involved in that one also?

Mark: I don't think so. I don't think there's evidence of that. I think the buddy had moved to California by that time. These are two girls young and he's a big guy, and he's got a weapon and he's got, He's got the element of surprise, he may be the perv, they may joke he's the per 'cause.

He is the old guy at the teenage hangout. But they're gonna take a ride from him so they can get back home. And who knows how that went down? Maybe he's threatening one and kept the other one under control by threatening the other one.

One of the other murders they suspect him of was actually a young woman and a young man. That's another issue of control. I don't know how he would've done that, but they're pretty sure he did that one too. We didn't profile that one 'cause there isn't a lot known.

They just know that the young woman, young man, turned up at a Highway 20 pullout. Pretty same situation. I think that was maybe one of the ones where the clothing was cut. So I don't know. But it's not impossible, and I know that a lot of those depend on securing one, one, threatening one.

Marcy: It doesn't seem like we know a whole lot about Ackroyd beyond what's directly related to all these crimes.

Mark: We know he grew up in the area he worked, which is very rural. There was a story from between 10 and 12 when he was a boy.

His father was going to sell a litter of puppies that he had and Ackroyd took a machete and killed, cut up all the puppies so that the father couldn't sell them. That's an indication he was sadistic back then. We know he's as an adult, he's fairly antisocial. He had a couple of friends, and he had a friend who would be willing to kill with him.

But his coworkers mainly thought he was a weirdo and most of them didn't like to be around him. We know that when he did have a living girlfriend with kids, he terrorized them. Which probably sadly also gives us insight into what his home life was like when he was growing up and

Marcy: we know he was actively raping and killing along that stretch of 20, between 1977 and 1992, is there any kind of estimation of how many more missing and murdered women he could be responsible for?

Mark: I've seen guesses of 10. They're fairly certain four, but 10. When you look at the number of found bodies they had and the, they never found Rashonda Pickle. If you look at the 10, they think that's a possibility. And maybe there's some that weren't found like Rashonda.

I don't know that there's a firm number there but a long time and with a lack of oversight and all the conditions that made him a perfect predator in the area. That was his hunting ground.

Marcy: I'm really interested in the fact that Rashanda Hass never been found and how that was probably his closest relationship of all of those victims.

That was the person that he actually knew. I wonder if that's related to the fact that they've never found her. I think that the reason that we've never found her is because he knew her, that she was special to him or that relationship was different than just a random stranger off the street.

Mark: Or like I, my theory is he found a place he liked to put her.

Marcy: And with K Turner, there was a little bit of indication that he might have gone and visit her body over time before he finally called the police and said that he found her officially, that he, that maybe he was revisiting the site, which I guess is a fairly normal serial killer kind of thing to do.

Mark: Yeah. Lots of information about that. My theory about why he wouldn't give up Rashonda's resting places because it's a place he liked and there might've been others there. That's just my personal theory.

Marcy: I hope that Marlene Gabrielsson feels safe now.

Mark: I hope so too. She certainly feels vindicated, although, sadly, I know that she feels if they had listened to her way back in 77, that a lot of this could have been avoided.

Marcy: Just an unspeakable tragedy.


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