Victims of the Eastbound Strangler: Unsolved Murders (2006)


On the 20th of November 2006, four bodies were discovered in a drainage ditch behind the Gold Key Motel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. All four women had been placed face down with their heads facing east towards the lights of the casino, approximately 60 feet apart from one another. They were clothed, except for their shoes and socks which were not found.


It's not clear in what order the women were killed because decomposition meant that for two women a cause and time of death was not possible.


 

The Women


Three women had been working as sex workers before they were murdered, with the fourth woman having no record of this, but it is believed she was involved in sex work on a casual basis.

Barbara V. Breidor (42) - Barbara was living in Brentor at the time of her murder. She has turned to sex work to support her cocaine addiction and she was last seen in October 2006. Sadly, she was not reported missing for weeks after this. Barbara was found wearing blue jeans and a brown, long-sleeved zippered shirt. Because of severe decomposition, a cause of death could not be discovered. She had one daughter (9 at the time) and she managed her parent's jewellery store in Ocean One Mall. She also worked as a waitress at the Tropicana Casino and Resort.



Molly Jean Dilts (20) - Molly had a young daughter and had been living with her father in Blacklick Township, PA. She had been working in fast food shops since leaving school, and her mother died in 2000 and her brother also passed in 2005. She was last seen leaving for Atlantic city on the 4th of October 2006. Molly was found wearing a mesh shirt, bra, denim miniskirt, and mesh blouse. She had a tattoo of a bulldog at the small of her back, a Playboy bunny on her upper right shoulder, and ‘Molly’ on her stomach. Because of the severe decomposition, her cause of death could not be identified.


Tracy Ann Roberts (23) - Tracy was a mother to a 5-year-old daughter, and at the time of her murder she had only just moved to Atlantic City, reportedly to escape an abusive relationship. She had previously worked as an exotic dancer but had turned to sex work to support her drug addiction. A fellow sex worker who knew Tracy reported that in November 2006 a man who had wanted to be Tracy's pimp had punched her in the throat so hard, she had coughed up blood and had to be hospitalized. This is the last time she can be accounted for. Tracy had a butterfly tattoo on the small of her back, found wearing a red-hooded sweatshirt and black bra. She is believed to have died from strangulation.


Kim Raffo (35) - Kim had been married to her husband Hugh Auslander with their son and daughter. However, due to her cocaine addiction, Kim ended up leaving the family and eventually moved to Atlantic City in 2002 with then-boyfriend Kenny Bilecki. In Atlantic, City Kim had been working at the Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort as a waitress, but upon losing her job she turned to sex work to support her addiction. Kim was found wearing Capri camouflage pants and a white Hard Rock Cafe tank top. Kim had last been seen the day before the bodies were discovered, and she had been murdered by ligature strangulation by either a rope or a cord.

 

Suspects / Persons of Interest


Terry Oleson (41) was implicated in the murders by his girlfriend, with whom he had been having a domestic altercation. He had been staying for free at the motel in exchange for repair work, and during the investigation, police found cameras set up and images of his girlfriend's teenage daughter undressing. They did not find any DNA evidence to link him to the murders.


Eldred Raymond Burchell who had given himself the nickname of the "River Man", being a possible reference to Green River Killer Gary Ridgway, was suspected after he had confessed to another prostitute that he had killed people. However, he has not been connected to any murders.


Charles Coles, a drug dealer and a friend of Kim Raffo, was questioned by police but released without charge, as was Mark Hessee, an acquaintance of Kim Raffo and Barbara Breidor.

 

The Killer


The killer or killers are unknown so there is nothing we can say with certainty. However below are thoughts we have about the potential murderer.

  • Statistically, serial killers tend to only kill within their own race. Because of this, it is likely the murderer is caucasian.

  • The killer seems to be a predator, preying on vulnerable women who are more likely to go with him willingly (because of their line of work.) The women are of different ages and do not look particularly alike, so he does not seem to have a 'type'.

  • Though the cause of death cannot be ascertained for all four victims, it's believed that they were all murdered by strangulation. This is a very personal and intimate way of killing someone. Some killers enjoy this method because it gives them more control (able to allow breath then take it away, sometimes multiple times.) For some killers, this can also be a sexual act.

  • Because of the location of the bodies, it seems that the killer is familiar with the area enough to not be worried about being caught placing the bodies. We don't know where the actual crime scenes took place, and we also don't know if they were placed one by one or all at once.

  • The fact that the shoes and socks of the victim were missing could indicate a couple of things. 1) the killer may have a foot fetish and wanted to keep their shoes and socks. Or 2) the killer may be forensically aware and the dirt etc on the shoes could have provided evidence of where they had been. It's also possible that their shoes were taken to make it harder for them to run away if they were taken to a secondary location before their murder.

  • Because of the poor choice of location that he chose to place the bodies in, I have to wonder if he on some level wanted them to be discovered.